This one has Chris Pratt in it.

I walk through halls of white effervescent walls, humming…the walls hum. I don’t. I’m just quiet. There’s a breeze. It’s warm. There shouldn’t be a breeze down here. I’m underground. It’s numbly lit down here.

I might be going to a pool. The bleached walls say pool. There’s a door with a little black plaque over it that reads, “01”. Also on the door is a window lined with metal bars. Past the window it’s dark. There’s a rumble. I think the breeze might be coming from back there.

My feet keep moving, but it’s hard to tell if I’m going anywhere. It’s just white walls everywhere. It smells like hot chlorine.

There’s a girl now. A girl with ruby colored hair down on the ground. Did she fall?

Now, I’m walking out of a bar. I didn’t get any drinks, but my parents did. They have come to visit me. Or maybe it’s spring break. Chris Pratt brushed by me on my way out. I couldn’t place his name. I think I said something to him. He was nice.

Why is the girl with the ruby colored hair on the floor like that, in this place that may lead to a pool? She’s laying so that her back is lifted off the ground, so that she’s made a little bridge with her head and her hips. She’s looking up at me through square glasses. Her eyes close and open. Close and open. She’s got a bag. It’s down on the floor too. I wonder.

She’s like an anime character. She twists her head. If she had bigger eyes she’d be an anime character.

I’m down on the ground now too. I’m kneeling. I can’t remember if we say anything. I think we do. I know her. She knows me. My mom is there. I say, this is X-san.

She’s different than normal. I kiss her like that, with her head upside down, or is it mine that’s upside down? I kiss this girl who doesn’t kiss boys. I never wanted to kiss her. Not really. Not especially. But it feels right, even after.

But the wind doesn’t stop. I can still hear the rumble. My mom is talking to Chris Pratt.

I ask X-san when she got here. She’s not supposed to be here. She said that she’s going to be coming over more now to take a swimming class. They have at least two olympic sized pools where she comes from. Why come here? I can’t complain.

My mom says that it’s time to go now. I’m touching her hand, and I’m feeling her plump belly through her shirt. Why is she on the floor.

Silly silly silly. Just like you Drac. Just like you to want something you could never have. Silly silly silly.

That Which Smears Fair

I

Karl Better lived with his mother in an apartment he couldn’t seem to shake. And why would he want to? He could keep to himself, play his clarinet when he wanted to and spend hours surfing internet message boards without anyone telling him that he was wasting his time. His room was on the west wall of the building – as far from the other apartments as he could get. He had a rather large room in which he could keep the various drum machines, mixers, microphones and other recording devices he liked to have around piled around the room without fear of tripping.

His mother, Elizabeth the second, stayed out of his way mostly, as long as he accompanied her on walks. She liked living with someone stable, someone who kept a routine, and she liked having him all to herself. He’d tried to move out years before, but it hadn’t worked out. It had been hard on the both of them, but especially hard on Elizabeth.

The day before, Karl had heard a bout of commotion in the hallway, but Karl had simply turned up his music and made nothing of it. His mother told him on their morning walk that a new girl was moving into one of the neighboring apartments. People were always moving in and out of the apartments, and he often questioned why more people didn’t simply stay put.

Karl, continued on his chosen path, mixing new sounds and melodies to create pastoral skylines, and verdant landscape sound collages. He cut, screwed, mix, mashed, and morphed orchestral triumphs, against raw 80’s synth and created something new. He filled his days with his creations as he always had, but they were becoming boring, stale. Not, perhaps, because of their inherent staleness, but because there was no audience for them. Out of the few songs he’d released, one had received a torrent of views from the indie electronica enthusiast scene, that song being Asiatic Antonin. But, abrasive as the internet is, the experience left him scarred, and unwilling to share any more of his music with the world who wouldn’t appreciate it.

One day, while slumped in the chair before his computer, idly clicking through things, he noticed a new device on the apartment’s shared network entitled “Emily-PC”. Karl snarled to himself at the crass unoriginality with which everyone named their computers. Then without realizing what it could mean, he clicked on it. A series of folders appeared in his browser, and he clicked through to the “Public Pictures” folder, marked by a little flower icon.

Karl had seen his fair share of naked women via scandalous internet sidebar ads, and pop ups, not to mention the few internet porn sites he’d visited out of curiousity when his mother went out of town, but he’d never seen anything like this. Before him were dozens, if not hundreds, of jpegs named in a harmless serial like fashion, containing somewhat grainy, provocative nude webcam pictures. After cycling through the first few, Karl landed on what he believed was a modern wonder of the world. Basked in the golden light of the sun, Emily’s figure was spread across her bed completely buck and completely beautiful, her frame smeared with a thick brown paste. A bottle of nutella completed the picture by covering her most intimate details.

Karl checked over his shoulder to see if his mother, or anyone could see what he was doing, but his room door was closed as always. He returned his gaze to the picture which seemed to ravish his mind like nothing he’d ever seen. It touched him in a way that nudity had never managed. His mouth curled up, and his tongue sought something, almost like it was searching for a clarinet; his fingers too began to quake, and they fell upon the buttons and knobs of his synthesiser with unprecedented ease and passion.

“Karl!” There came a banging at the door that snapped Karl out of his dreamlike state. “Karl!!!” yelled his mother for a second time.

Quickly, spastically, Karl closed the picture, but then, thinking on his feet, copied the entirety of the devilish collection into a new folder lest he be deprived of them in the future. As he rose from his chair, Karl could only think of the beauty of what he’d seen, and not of the bizarre chance of fate that lead him to it.

“Yes, mom,” said Karl opening his door.

“Lunch is ready,” she said.

“Oh. Actually I think I might go for a walk.”

“Be careful! It’s not safe out on the streets!”

And so did he take to the streets with a quick, rash step. Coming down the steps of the apartment complex, however, he ran into the girl – Emily. Seeing her with her bag of groceries, and fully clothed at that, put him in state of shock. She glanced up, met his eyes, and then simply smiled at him as his feet stood stock still in their place.

“Hi!” she said.

Karl swallowed a great deal of fear and was able to mutter something small in response as she walked by.

“Your name’s Emily?” he said, now that he only had her backside to watch.

She turned, ruining the illusion, “Yeah. How did you know?”

Karl felt his face rise to the color of a rasberry sherbert.

“Oh, I think I…saw it…somewhere…”

“And what was your name?”

“Oh, Karl Better.”

“Karl better what?” She waited for a response, but there was none to be had. “Well. Nice to meet you!” she said, and then she bounced up the rest of the stairs and disappeared.

Karl waited a moment and then immediately returned to his computer.

He found, over the course of a few days, as he looked through the pictures of Emily that he had acquired that she was a model of sorts. One of her pictures held a link to a website that she modeled for. You payed a little fee to watch her on her webcam, and she would perform for you and chat with you. Every day Karl neared clicking the ominous “Join Chat” button, but refrained.

Perhaps if he composed a song just for her. A song that could capture everything he felt about her. Maybe then he could reveal himself to her, or at the very least just be free of her commanding presence in his mind.

II

Emily Enticing, as she was known online, was despite all her online acts very much a normal girl trying to make it in the big apple. She had just so happened to have found a niche in the erotic food market that treated her well. But it was just another stop in the road for her, just a temporary bump. Emily was headed real places, everyone that met her told her how beautiful she was and how destined for the screen she was!

There were girls on hottiesfromhellskitchen.com that strived and worked hard for the kind of action they got on the webcam shows, but not Emily. She grew up in a small town, with no place and no time to learn such a trade. A trade which she fell into by chance, and with ease, but one in which she knew she was not destined.

One day she accepted a webcam request from Shyguy380 and started her now tired routine. But her guest, Mr. Shyguy380 told her to stop emphatically. He said that he just wanted her to listen to a song and tell him what she thought of it. So she listened to it like she asked since it seemed like a harmless enough thing. And when he asked what she thought of it she simply said, “Sounds like a bunch of techno bullshit to me!”

It’s Cool

This is the fifth in a series of short stories written to music. It’s Cool was written while listening to Devo’s album Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!

This is Jimmy. Jimmy is in the ninth grade. He’s one of those kids that just kind of does everything right. Very few people particularly like him, but no one really hates him either. It’s an agonizing shade of grey.

Jimmy has perfect A’s, takes all the advanced courses, and has never been truly in trouble. Yet at this very moment Jimmy is walking to detention.

Why? Why is Jimmy going to detention? Did he get in trouble? No, of course not! I just told you he’s never been in trouble.

To answer this question we have to travel back two years and enter the life of Ali Najjar, an extremely persecuted man, who after many years of extreme ass kissing landed himself a TV show on one of the major networks. The moment in question happened before his television show, Metropolis, first aired.

Metropolis was an introspective look into the lives of citizens all across the country. It was an ambitious project that Ali Najjar hoped would display the impressive emotional ties held between people despite geographic connections. Everyone is a person and everyone can love everyone. He thought it was an important message, now of all times.

He had just been told that his show wasn’t being received well by test audiences. Ali Najjar Ahad could have told them what them that, they didn’t have to spend thousands of dollars testing. The test audiences thought it was slow, boring, and they didn’t get the point. They didn’t think the characters were interesting enough.

They were wrong. At least, Najjar thought so.

Cutting to the point: Ali Najjar had a choice. They were going to gut the show, replace the actors and bring in new writers, and they were giving him the opportunity to stay on and shepherd the show through the transition and beyond. Salvage the wreck said the memo. The day before, Ali Najjar was simply happy to have his work considered for publication on a platform that went out to millions of people every day. In fact he was astonished that it could ever be picked up at all more than anything. However on that day two years before Jimmy stormed down the halls of Kingsley High to the fear filled detention room, Ali Najjar found himself furious.

And there was nothing he could do. He held no sway over these executives. He didn’t have any past work to point to – to say see! My vision works. If you show people something real they will respond to it. These executives had never learned that so they would only have Ali Najjar’s word against theirs. Theirs won.

So Ali Najjar stepped away from the project. He couldn’t take a part in bastardizing his own creation. The executives came in and hired some white guy to come in and fix everything up for a mass audience. The show launched with a new cast and a reworked script. It wasn’t the show Ali Najjar had dreamed up. He couldn’t bring himself to watch it.

Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is that they changed one of the leads from a black codeine addict to a hunky white guy named Jimmy who worked at a bar. I know.

So let’s flash back to present time, just a few hours before our Jimmy was marching through the halls with such determination that if a hall monitor saw him they probably wouldn’t stop him or ask him what he was doing out of class because they’d think: wow he’s so determined; I wish I’d have ever been that determined in my life because then I wouldn’t be here monitoring halls at a shitty high school.

Here: Nancy Thatcher, a peer of our ninth grade hero Jimmy, wrote a note to her friend Sarah Krauchevick. We’ll get to the note in a second. First you should know that Nancy Thatcher and Sarah Krauchevick were 100% hot. Like date twelfth graders even if it’s not such a good idea kind of hot. The whole ninth grade knew it. Jimmy knew it. Jimmy had even known Nancy since like fourth grade or something. She’d always been in his sights so to speak.

So what did Nancy Thatcher, established babe, write to Sarah Krauchevick? Well. They were both avid viewers of the television program Metropolis. They loved its fast pace, easy to understand plot and of course it’s endless supply of hunky guys.

They were talking about it when second period Geometry started, and would have kept talking, but Mr. Cunningham yelled at them to shut up. He wasn’t at school to make friends. So Sarah, completely used to that sort of thing, tore some paper from her math notebook and wrote: who’s your favorite?

Nancy of course wrote the only answer imaginable at this point: Jimmy. After all everyone knew Jimmy was the hunkiest of the hunks on Metropolis, even Ali Najjar would have to agree if he ever worked up the courage to watch an episode of the show that had his name plastered over every opening credits sequence. Nancy finished the note off by dotting the eye with a little heart that she even filled in with a little anime sparkle. Who knows. Maybe that’s what did it.

Either way, Sarah left that little note on her desk because it didn’t mean anything. It was just one dumb piece of paper with one dumb piece of one dumb conversation. Sarah had thousands of dumb conversations to get her through the day. She didn’t have time to remember one of her dumb friends opinions on a TV show that was in truth not an opinion because lets face it: Jimmy was every teenage girls favorite.

Jimmy, on the way out of second period Geometry found the paper, thinking he would recycle it. That is until he read what was on that shred of paper.

SCAN0358

Duh. Heart. Jimmy. Jimmy knew who passed that note, and suddenly the world was like a crystal ball. He could see his future. His future was Nancy. Man she’d probably been in to him since fourth grade and he just hadn’t noticed it. All those other guys she’d “dated” or whatever were just like practice cause she didn’t want to mess up with him. Maybe he should have done that? No… she probably had enough practice for the two of them.

The next passing period Jimmy hunted through the halls for her, but he didn’t know which class she had. Instead he found Sarah. She said that Nancy was in detention.

So there we are. That’s the answer. End. Goodbye. Oh. Fine, I guess that’s not really an end is it.

OK so here’s where we stand: Jimmy marching towards detention totally and utterly ready to declare his love in front of everyone. Nancy, the damsel in distress, chewing peach gum and trying to hide the earbud in her left ear.

Got it? Good cause here we go.

Jimmy slammed the detention room door open. Ms. Newton, the detention room…person sat behind her desk with a scowl on her face. She had one of those big, big, BIG crooked noses that made it so you couldn’t really look at the rest of the persons face. It was like it was all nose. She turned her nose to Jimmy and demanded to know what he wanted.

Jimmy had never been here before, and never heard Ms. Newton’s voice. It was cacklish like a witch on an old early morning cartoon. Behind her the phrase, the witch is watching, was written in black on her whiteboard. This was followed by a series of no’s. No moving tables. No talking. No cellphones. No happy thoughts.

There were four rows of eight or so seats about half full of students. He didn’t know any of them. That is, except for Nancy. Her graceful brown locks were hiding her face, as she rested her head on her hand. This place was destroying her! The rest of the denizens looked mostly bored, and pouty.

The extreme divisiveness of the room made Jimmy chuckle. In fact it emboldened him to do what he was here to do. This place was a joke. Jimmy, head high, announced his love for Nancy.

A few people looked up. She wasn’t one of them. Maybe he wasn’t loud enough. He was starting to draw some interest though which meant he was doing good.

Ms. Newton asked again who sent him, and called him a wise ass. Jimmy met her gaze. He’d just moments before convinced himself that he was a man of action.

Just then: a screech. The screech of metal rubbing, un-cohesively against tile. The sound was short, but loud. It’s frequency was exact, piercing.

Jimmy was so in his own zen like state he would have hardly noticed the distraction if not for what it did to Ms. Newton. The sound seemed to catalyze some biomagical reaction in her that started a transformation.

Jimmy watched as Ms. Newton’s nose extended even larger than he thought was possible. It widened and darkened. That’s when Jimmy began to notice that the rest of Ms. Newton was changing as well. Her entire body was growing in size, and to a dark red color. Scales protruded from her skin, as her frame extended to the ceiling. With a roar the roof bust open, while Jimmy deftly dodged the oncoming debris.

Where before had stood Ms. Newton now stood a forty five foot tall red dragon. It roared up into the sky, and made a show of it’s fiery breath.

Jimmy rolled his eyes and drew his trusty rangers sword. He leapt thirty feet into the air and met Ms. Newton’s red nose in the air. It snapped at him, but he was able to use his small size to his advantage. Jimmy grabbed a hold of Ms. Newton’s gums and swung up to the dragon’s crown. He summoned all of his might for a mighty swing just as Ms. Newton rocketed into the air.

Jimmy flattened against Ms. Newton’s scaly brow. He held onto a mighty horn as Ms. Newton rose higher and higher into the atmosphere. Jimmy thinking he’d had enough, slowly rose to his feet and brought his sword up.

He slammed his sword down into Ms. Newton’s skull with a satisfying thunk. The beast roared and fell to the ground. Surely the whole world heard the crack as Ms. Newton fell to the ground.

From the rubble and dust our hero rose, his head held high. He took his fair maiden’s hand and lead her out of the dungeon. It was out of pure awe of his might that the rest of the room stood stock still.

“Jimmy,” said Nancy. “What the hell are you doing? You know they’re going to like suspend you for ever or expel you or whatever.”

“Whatever,” said Jimmy trying to mean it. “I mean. I just had to come get you.”

“Why?”

“The note,” said Jimmy smiling. “I’m your fave.”

“What?”

Jimmy handed the note over to Nancy nervously.

“Jimmy. I was talking about the Metropolis character. You know. The hunk.”

“So it wasn’t. Um.”

“Sorry. Um. I guess I’ll go back in there. I don’t want to get any more detention. Thanks though. I mean that was pretty cool.”

Jimmy nodded weakly. His legs started to shake as he realized what he’d done. His legs gave way and he backed into one of the security guards. The fight had gone out of Jimmy.

A couple of days later when Jimmy returned from his suspension he was known around the school. No one had ever taken it to Ms. Newton like that before even though everyone had always wanted to. He was suddenly the baddest, ballsiest kid around. Nancy even came back and asked him on a date.

After the rush of being popular wore off Jimmy found he really didn’t like his new status. He didn’t like who he had to be to hang around the sorts of people who suddenly wanted to be around him. He didn’t like putting up an act so he slowly tried to go back to his old life. Turns out he actually liked being ignored by most everyone. By the end of it he couldn’t remember what had gotten into him in the first place. Nancy sucked. Like at everything, but especially being a decent human.

Ali Najjar eventually sat down with one of those executives who’d stolen his show. This one turned out to be the guy who argued for his show to get picked up in the first place. He said that the script had really spoken to him, but that there was no denying that it would never work on a network. Ali Najjar wanted to yell at him and ask why he’d optioned it in the first place then, but the executive seemed like a was trying to be nice so he held his tongue.

The executive said that he was starting up a new cable station as a subset of the network and he wanted Ali Najjar to create a new show for it. He promised full creative control.

Basically art is dead and things that you think are going to be good aren’t most of the time. But, eh, whatever. It’s cool.

 

THANKS TO Ms. Mareavment for the note.