i’m feelin fine

twirling twirling twirling! layers of magic. Magical Cartwheel. are you looking. look! look! LOOK! jump. unicorn over to there, under those twisty branches.

ok now you ask me a question. hurry hurry! the magic shield isn’t going to work much longer. look at that wizard over there reading the spellbook. he is doing his part! so come on! we have to help him! I know the answer! I know this one! Indian Ocean!

hands rubbing together and the sticks crumble. crumbly dusty pile at my feet and it goes in through my toes like little bits of food stuck in teeth. Ew at dentists. wiggle wiggle wiggle my toes feel free.

Hop hop hop! LOOK see it’s working. we can stay out here forever and ever now. Right, look. big bad lizard monsters stay out! And now we can live ever after like we’re all happy princes and princesses. doggeee! can we go pet the doggeee? good doggeee. hi! yummy yummy fur wrapped around my fingers! oooh wet licking on my face! hehehee. that’s my face! i’ll lick back, you know!

bye bye! look the wizards leaving. he doesn’t look so happy. did we do something wrong? oh well! Uh uh, you see, Garlack the Destroyer is coming back with even more powerful magic. won’t be easy next time. can’t just wait and and time to go. no its not. and look.

hand over hand up into the tree. my big boots are good for climbing. thats why we picked um. up and up. that’s where i have to go to get the best spot. i have to collect the sunrays like a big sunflower. just like mrs. Garfield says. and oooh there’s the sun. don’t worry i got it. don’t worry! im not that high! stretch stretch. more powerful than ever. there’s doggee out there. he’s like a big plane in space. fine. down down down. woah, world fall. sucked away. knee part open. rip open. ow.

oh Garlack! you evil man got the tree to bite me! i wanted to trust you treeeeee! why treee! this place isn’t safe anymore. can we go somewhere else. bad tree. bad.

lifted up by Beautiful One. like skies fingers up there, but bad! i just see the tops of the big boxes where i can’t go. i get big sloppy kisses. ewww. i don’t want um. tree must have poisoned me, it still hurts, still sings like pain. i don’t like that song. It’s like Daddy’s songs.

big red cage with choking that smells as much as Sandy’s mom that zooms. no. back in is not what i want. i just want my knee to stop singing. do you know a spell like that? back home! no! the backyard is boring! i feel fine. look, it’s not bleeding. see all dried up cause i told it too. i can get leaves and things and make a cover too.

were moving in the gray now. and it’s loud and it’s rumbly. i smear my hand in the red. i lick it. that’s how i get my power back. that’s what Jade said. its good, i know it’s what is right. i don’t like the rumble in my belly. i don’t like the sound of other cars whooshing past. i don’t like hearing the honking. i like looking up at the big sky ocean and watching the pretty white bird fish swimming and i want to be up there too and i think that if people are good then they get to go up there with the birds i think someone said that but i wasn’t listening too much oh well i can up there if i want everybody says so.

yeah. how much longer? bounce bounce bounce. i’m feelin fine.

Purple, green, haha

Purple, green, haha blue/black flipiing and wiling in the true blue yellow high man yep it’s coming, what you doing in the red of the zone it’s going south fast, don’t you know. The people down there are dying in the fiery red light of the high type zone Nihon in the yatzee in the paper pad it’s like up from the sky in the star place it’s in the yellow interview. Coming in through the paper it was cut a hole with a tongue and made an eyehole, don’t let it fool you they want to taste as much as look, the feeling its true more true when the senses are connected that’s why the grey goop won’t work, that’s why the dead chopped up people won’t take over it’s in the red zone of the big red crater planet where there is no life where we want it; we don’t want to be alone like a trashbag caught in the sidewalk hand brought up through the grates of the sewers and grabbed the bag with a dozen eggs unsheathed and gleaming wet heavy with time and yolk. They don’t crack don’t crack don’t crack. If we don’t want to be alone then we also don’t want this. We’d rather be broken than held. We’d rather have an enemy than nothing at all, but so, isn’t it? Lovely mess like soup of yellow and the other colors too that make you sick to your stomach when the rain comes and you have no coat and no umbrella and no hat and no protection at all and you’re caught in the storm and you incredilously weep because you can’t move and can’t stray and can’t change your life. You’re wet and shamed and endlessly it is full of water – that is you are and you know it so why do the tears bite? and why does the rain singe? Can you find no love in your heart that can’t be locked away going away through the canyon riding away on a rockity horse that is falling apart at the bolts, it’s wooden heart overheating and burning like a fired-nut. Can you see the cross burning? it’s all there in the high sky if you look, all that is inside you is up there in the unified field and if your mind opens then it all comes flooding in and what separates you from the high is nothing and what the sky was is everything and you are everything and you are no longer on the ground and no longer anywhere because you are everywhere, but you look alone. This is the power of expansion and turning down the ridden and the repeatable and changing your mind to the new; you’ve got to get off your tracks, off them and on to the wide open grassy field where the dragons roam and steampunk trains can fly through the air, that is where you should be and also big buildings with scripts you can read and sometimes they aren’t there, but that’s OK. When you reach these places it is with a good heart, no heart attacks and all soul just like grroooooovvvvyyyyy babbby, and suddenly you’re somewhere new.

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!”

Loving Brother

The man is silent in his home. A mug full of cold, dark liquid rests on the edge of his coffee table. Today’s paper is open on the table, splayed with no modesty. It’s a wonder that he can read it at all at his age. His finger slides along the passage another time.

Loving brother. Dead. Yesterday. He’s not alive. Not anymore.

But he doesn’t feel different. He wonders, briefly, if the paper might be right. Maybe he really is dead.

He gently pushes his cold cup of coffee to the ground with the back of his hand. Could a dead man do that? No. It was a silly thought.

The man watches as dirty water sinks into his carpet. The pool seems to stretch out beyond its means. Each tendril wants to get away. Let that be a problem for the living.

The man gets up and looks at the mess in his sink. It’s terrible, and he won’t let it be his problem. He should have left when he had the chance. The man slowly revolves, peering out of the kitchen window into his sun-soaked garden, brown from negligence, green in spots out of heavenly defiance. His cupboards are simple and clean. They’ve never been a problem. The dining table is set for guests as it has been all these years, although these days he wouldn’t know what to cook if anyone did come over. The tile was scratched in places like placards of existence standing stoically in a forest of equally traveled paths. He should write a book. He should tell people about the paths he didn’t go down. Roads not taken. A spider crawls its way along the wall, and it continues past his foot and around the corner. Finally the mug on the carpet. It hasn’t gone anywhere.

The man grabs a rag off the counter and sets his knees against the ground. Childish to think it would go away. He bends over the spill and drops the rag to the ground. He picks up the mug and feels a creak in his back muscles as he lifts it. The muscles around his neck contort as he sets it on the counter. Then he presses his palms into the rag. He can hear a raggedness in his voice, deep in his throat that he remembered hearing from his own father, and grandfather before that.

He wonders what they’ll do when they all figure out that they don’t have a body to put in the ground. When they realize they bought a coffin for nothing.

He rises to his feet and decides that something has to be done. He picks up the phone and dials his sister. He gets some sort of sound he doesn’t recognize coming through the line. No, wait, he does recognize it. It’s happened before. He must have forgotten to pay. Maybe it’s best if she figures it out the hard way. He sets the phone down on the counter and lets the sound run. He can hear it cycling as he walks away.

He munches on his teeth as he watches his sports. He doesn’t do much, never really had, he knew that, but he could keep track of his teams. His mother had always told him not to grind his teeth like it was going out of style, but he knew better. He liked to think about what the boys did in the dugout. He wanted to know if they talked to each other, or if they just sat there each in their own thoughts too worried about the game to talk. He liked to think that they shared pictures of their babies and wives and grandparents. He liked to think they talked about which was the better soda: Pepsi or Coke. He bet big baseball stars had big opinions. He liked to think they shared industrial sized bags of sunflower seeds of all different flavors. There is a lot of time to think about little things during a game.

The camera went careening after a ball as it flew into a blue, silent sky. He looks out his window and saw his own blue, silent sky. He gets up and walks out the door. The air outside nestled into the crooks of his skin and found a way to comfort him in its touch. Small hairs on his lip drifted along with the wind up his nose and into his lungs. He kept his steps small and gentle, the way he’d always walked with others. It was just him now.

He squints against the day’s crowded beams of light. Couples, no more than outlines, walk past him smiling to each other, and he smiles at them. A boy plays fetch in his front yard with a small brown and white dog that never actually catches the frisbee in its mouth. His eyes follow this dog and this boy for a few minutes. He counts four cars go by behind him, and the smell of his own car returns to him like an old friend who got put in the gound when he wasn’t looking. His driveway was empty now. So was his wallet. The frisbee falls to the ground at the man’s feet and the dog runs to him. He bounds and leaps, nothing but a ball of thin, shiny skin. It retrieves the frisbee, dragging it along the ground as heavy as it was. The man’s eyes lift to the boy, but the boy only has eyes for his dog.

The man smiles and makes the return journey to his home. The baseball game was still on in the living room, and he could still hear the slight drone of the phone off the hook. He chews on his teeth a little and walks to the kitchen. He finds in his drawers a package of chocolates all for him.

He sits again in front of his game and munches on the chocolate. His mother had always told him not to eat chocolate like it was going out of style. With a flick of his wrist he turns off the sound and just watches. A slight, heavenly glare smears the part of the screen with the scorecard so he can’t see the score. His team was winning.

At the commercials, the man rises and checks on his coffee spill. He retrieves the rag and tosses it into the sink. Remaining is a dry, light stain. A mark unlike any other. He welcomes the spot to his home. Then with scissors in hand he cuts out the small chunk of newspaper with his name on it. He then carries it to the corkboard he’d hung over the fire and pinned it up so he would remember. Yesterday he’d died. And from where he was standing, things weren’t too bad.

 

What If Dale Can’t Come Back From The Lodge

This is the last of the shorts I’ve written to music. What If Dale Can’t Come Back From The Lodge was written while listening to Seafoam. It’s a free(and awesome) album on bandcamp.

The Biggest question in the world is: What If Dale Can’t Come Back From The Lodge.

Seriously. Don’t fucking laugh.

There was a point where you wanted to give up, I know. I know because we’ve all felt that right? You’ve given your life to something and you can’t even look at it there’s so much disgust there. Why the hell did you go and do that?

It’s a heaping pile of garbage any way you look at it. How are you going to let anyone see this, much lest expect them to pay for it? Pay for it? You can’t make a living like this. You can’t even be a starving artist type. No one’s even going to notice. That’s the truth. And you know it, in fact it’s the only thing you can think about most of the time.

You stare into the ocean, and it’s just fucking there. You want to delete it, drag it to your trash. Clear that shit. It’s a few megabites you could do with out. More room for torrents.

Torrents to pass the time because you’ve given up. You haven’t even looked at anything that could possibly remind you of it in weeks, and you don’t want to start. You want to keep pressing play on Netflix because that will pass the hours fine enough.

And suddenly months go by. When was the last time you opened up that file? When was the last time you didn’t feel worthless.

Of course you’re going to get something to write about when you go on that trip and of course your brain is going to start firing again. Pathways in your brain that have lain dormant are lit up and it’s like that one scene in Return of the King when all the fires are being lit one by one. You wish your life had such an awesome soundtrack.

And once you start thinking about it again, you find out you never really stopped thinking about it. Even when you tried. Especially when you tried.

How could you forget about all those sleepless nights lying awake thinking about it, and not writing any of it down. You should have written that shit down.

At night with your family. The real family you’ve made. The ones who really share, and really care. Is it shitty to say that? Am I alone in thinking that? Those people make you remember what’s important. Those people remind you about what you should be doing, and there’s only one thing you should be doing, and you haven’t been doing it. You’ve been making excuses.

You’re too busy. You’ll get to it. It’s not worth it. When are you going to watch that video about that game you’ll never play? It’s not the right time. You’ve got to do a little more research.

And slowly, you remember the most important things you’ll ever learn. You remember the small, pesky, beautiful things that make the world what it is:

1. This isn’t the end.

2. The end is coming.

These are the two most simple, important, small things you’ll ever learn.

One reminds you that there is always time to keep going. You can always make the next one. You always get a second chance. Always. So don’t give up. Whatever you think you have to make up. Whatever guilt you carry. Whatever master plan you had that didn’t work out. It’s ok. Whenever you’re scared remember that this isn’t the end.

The other reminds you that you have to act now. There isn’t time to not do what you love. There isn’t time to not do what you should be doing. When you feel a calling, you have to go. You won’t always be here to do it, so do it now. There’s no telling when the end is coming, so why would you wait? Your end – THE end could happen at any minute. It’s both terrifying and relieving to think about, but none of it stops the fact that it is happening. The end is coming.

And this isn’t the only time. Our lives are going to be full of these moments. It’s not enough to have this realization once. It’s not enough to have that gut wrenching, head splitting nervousness once. It’s not enough to pace around once. If we want to keep living, if we want to keep loving, keep being humans who know what a real party is then we can’t ever let ourselves stop. The moment we settle is the moment that those two very important lessons cease to apply. The moment we stop we die, and it is the end, and the end isn’t coming.

So look forwards to it. There’s more where this came from. The way I see it you have three options.

1. Dread it and be miserable like we have been in the past.

2. Stop and die.

3. Look forwards to it. We can set our feet out on a path smiling. Knowing full well the ups and downs of life will be magnified for us.

After all, a certain person we know would be happy to remind us that: “If you don’t suffer than it’s not art :|”

Try not to lose track of the simple, important, small things.

You can stress all you want over the Big questions like: “What If Dale Can’t Come Back From The Lodge”, or you can just let it go.

Control

This is the seventh in a series of short stories written to music. Control was written while listening to The Olivia Tremor Control’s album Black Foliage: Animation Music, Volume 1

Jimmy: Short. Eh. Five foot six, let’s say. Yeah. Blue button up shirt. Brown khaki pants.

Jimmy just got out of a meeting in which he was offered the job of his dreams. A coding position at Smarple, a tech giant in the Greater Bay Area.

He put each foot out in front of the other, taking massive steps because he was feeling grand. This was the moment his life had been leading up to.

He’d grown up in the 90’s. His first love had been Windows 95, C++ his sexy, complicated mistress. He’d never had many friends in school. His favorite subject was math, an area in which he surpassed his teachers abilities by the 9th grade.

He learned to express himself through code, building elaborate interactive stories and prank programs for his friends. By the tenth grade he wasn’t doing math homework anymore because he’d constructed a program that would do it for him. He was still forced into math class because the American school system is a broken system of misery.

But now he was out, and now he’d be doing what he loved. Full time. All the time. Jimmy loosened his tie. Stopped by a bakery: Gluten free. Made it home quick.

The traffic: Light.

He crashed into his chair: Red. Velvety. Wide arm rests.

His TV: 48 inch. Flat. LCD. His Tuoko box turned on and gave him his options. He cycled through them. What looked least soul crushing: Some new NBC comedy. He’d already forgotten the title. It was probably garbage.

It was, and Jimmy found himself wishing he’d had something better to do. Halfway through the show his Tuoko box glitched out.

On the screen: Green text. onload agitate()

The screen refreshed and it was gone. He shook his head and figured he’d been staring at code too much recently. Jimmy shut off the TV and went to his computer. His copy of Visual Studio was still open.

Jimmy rubbed his eyes and then stared at the screen closer. He’d never finished the writeOn function on the graphics program he’d been working on. Jimmy sat down and put his fingers to the keys.

Continue reading

Empty Wrapping

This is the sixth in a series of short stories written to music. Empty Wrapping was written while listening to Public Enemy’s album It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Back

 

Come on, turn it up

Can I get a crowd to turn up

Making the music for none

Rocking and rolling my way through the slums

The way I act you could say I ain’t a nun

Fucking bitches making um want more of um

Me

That’s what they see

When their heart goes flutter

Sticky sticky in my butter

Yeah they all know me but her

friends are all lauging bout it though

wanna make um wait until they see my show

maybe then they won’t boo no more

 

Jared’s felt something on his arm, and he swiveled his body around. There was this guy with his hand out. Jared took one of his earbuds out playing the Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe instrumental that he’d been rhyming with.

“You’re good,” said the man. Deep lines in his brow showed age.

Jared looked up and down the alley. He didn’t think anyone else hung around here. He didn’t like other people listening to his unfinished… whatever, he just had to get out of here.

“Do you have any change?”

Jared shook his head. God this was really bringing him down. This what fiends look like?

“No, course not. You’re all rapping about money and women so fleetingly, and none of ya’ll got a piece for Al.”

“Whatever, man,” said Jared. Just looking at the guy made Jared squirm. He was ready to get out of here.

“Why don’t you take a hand at talking about something else for once? Why don’t you,” he said sticking his finger into Jared’s chest, “say something decent.”

“The hell you talking to me anyway?”

“Who else am I gonna talk to. I figured I might as well try and help someone out before I go.”

“What you got the bug or something?”

“Maybe. Listen, all I’m trying to say is that if you want your work to mean something you gotta put something real in it. You feel me? It’s gotta be one hundred percent you.”

He rammed his finger into Jared again.

“And,” he continued, “if you ain’t real enough to put yourself out there, then who’s gonna fuck with you?”

“Yeah, cool man. Whatever.”

Jared shook his head and popped his earbud back in. He bobbed his head and tried to get back into the rhythm.

#

“Naw, man,” said Carlos laughing. “Naw, naw it’s like he’s just sitting there with this like mound of coke just staring into the camera. It’s whack.”

“Yeah, yeah. Hey did you see Nikki’s new video. It’s, Jesus man, you see the way Drake was looking at that booty! Ooooh, boy looking like he praying to god.”

The room bust into laughter. This place was their sanctuary. A red walled room filled with junk, empty wrappers, and comfy enough chairs.

“Anyway, you brought a new beat right Chris?” said Jared.

“Yeah, yeah,” said Chris. “You know I got some new synth kinda work I got in there.”

Chris jacked his laptop into the sound system. Then the beat started. Bass rumbled through Jared’s system. He closed his eyes and listened for the boom bap. Feel it. He tapped his foot along. He found the beats groove. It was alright. He could jam to it, but he wasn’t sure it was good enough. It was kind of flat. It didn’t have that kick that the best beats brought.

“Dude, this is awesome!” said Carlos slapping the arms of his recliner.

“Um,” said Jared.

“Yeah, we’re def using this,” said Jay.

Chris grinned and bobbed along with the song.

“So Chris, you still got that connect right?” said Carlos.

“It ain’t no fucking connect, just a fucking dealer dumbass,” said Chris.

“Yeah, I know you know but it sounds real cool when we call it a connect. Like all Reasonable Doubt or whatever.”

“I’m reloaded!” yelled Jay.

The room bust in to laughter. Jared smiled and shook his head.

“Whatever motherfucker, yeah I got your ‘connect’,” said Chris waving his hands in the air. “Hungry motherfuckers.” He chuckled.

As Chris handed a package out to Carlos and Jay, Jared thought about their set. What the hell were they doing.

“Hey, what do you guys think about rewriting some shit.”

“Huh?” said Carlos.

“Like all our songs are about the same shit. I’m thinking we should like just change it up a bit.”

“What are you talking about?” said Jay.

“I mean, like how we gonna get noticed if we’re just like everybody else.”

“Listen motherfucker you wanna write some new shit do it some other time,” said Jay. “I got us a show tonight, not next fucking week. We on stage tonight baby!”

“Yeah, yeah,” said Jared. “Just an idea I guess.”

#

The Chronic wound down and Jared stuck his earbuds in his pocket. This was the place. The stone here in the alley was old. Jared really didn’t know anything about the history of the city.

Jared looked around. He didn’t know why he thought that old dude would be here again. He probably didn’t live around here anyway. Jared kept his head down and went on down the alley.

“Yo motherfucker give it up!”

Jared froze. He heard the sound of a beat down. A scream. He turned his head to look. Two guys were beating on somebody.

“Come on motherfucker! Think you can put one over on us!”

Jared’s heart was on overdrive. Every scream put him on edge. He couldn’t take his eyes away. The old dude was here. He was on the ground. Getting pulped. Jared swallowed hard. His body was telling him a million things at once. Run. Fight. Everything in between.

Jared wished he could do something, but he knew that wasn’t him. He’d never been in a fight in his life, and he wasn’t going to start like this. Jared’s feet won out. His heart clenched. He dashed out through the alley. He didn’t look back, but his mind wouldn’t stop going over it. He didn’t stop running.

#

“Yo motherfucker where you been at?” said Carlos.

“Shit look at this motherfucker thinking he so cool he can show up whenever,” laughed Jay.

Jared kept his head down, his hands in the front pocket of his hood.

“Yo… what’s up,” said Carlos.

“Nothing,” said Jared.

“You ready to tear it up out there, hey! I seen plenty fine bitches out there you know?” said Carlos.

“Yeah boy!” said Jay dropping into a stance and throwing a few punches.

“Nah,” said Jared. “You guys go on. I just came by to tell you guys, I’m out.”

“What?” said Jay.

“The fuck you talking about?” said Carlos. “You the best rhymer in the group. I got this gig showing um your cut you pussy bitch.”

“I can’t rap those fucking lines,” said Jared. “their fucking shit. I don’t know about you but I never been in a fight. I’ve never held a gun motherfucker. Those rhymes aren’t me, you feel me.”

“Their lies? Whatever fucker it’s what they want to hear,” said Carlos.

“Hey, yo, you guys have a good show.”

Jared turned around and smiled. He through up his hood and walked out.

Now he just had to figure out who he was.

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.

This Old Town

This is the fourth in a series of short stories written to music. This Old Town was written while listening to The Flying Burrito Brothers’ album The Gilded Palace of Sin.

“Jill…this town is freaking killing me.”

Jill sighed through the phone.

“You don’t have to stay,” she said.

“But I’m so close to a discovery,” said Sarah. “Like one that actually might mean something.”

“I’m just saying,” said Jill. “You know I’d come down if it wasn’t for work.”

“I know.”

Now it was Sarah’s turn to sigh.

“Hey I watched that episode of Louie last night with the fat girl.”

“Oh yeah?”

Sarah leaned back and reached for her glass of wine.

“Yeah that actress really like. Really made it… I don’t know.”

“Yeah, I got you. They got it right.”

“Yeah that’s definitely one of the best episodes ever,” said Jill.

“Oh oooh. Just wait till you get to the rest of the season.”

“Fuck me. God dammnit. I wanna go watch those right now.”

Sarah drank deeply.

“How’s the weather over there,” said Sarah.

“Its, uh. Cold. Why?”

“Sounds nice.”

“Just hurry up with that dig, OK?”

Jill hung up first. Sarah stared at Jill’s contact picture on her phone before it blinked away.

She put the phone away and moved to the cardboard box sitting on her floor. Dirt was rubbed into the carpet around it. She hoped the landlord wouldn’t mind. He was a weird one.

She opened the box, and pulled out a bubble wrapped rock. She stared at it, turning it over and over in her hand. There was something to this rock. On the surface it wasn’t anything special, but this rock was older than human civilization. And it had writing on it. Not english or any other language Sarah knew about, but it was definitely writing. If there hadn’t been repeating characters Sarah might have discounted it as some lucky scratches, but they weren’t. Someone had put them there.

The box was full of them, all alike and all different. She wanted to find all she could before someone else found out about her dig site.

The etchings were feint. She dragged her finger across the indentations. She looked at the clock. Unsurprisingly, two hours had passed since she’d opened the box. It had only felt like four minutes. Exactly four minutes.

Sarah careful wrapped the rock back up and it in it’s container. She fell back into her bed. It was stiff, and springy. She hated it. And the blankets were that weird shinny smooth fabric that always felt a little cold. She wanted something soft and fuzzy.

She had trouble falling asleep, again.

 

#

Sarah’s jeep bumped along the canyon landscape to her dig site. It was four in the morning.

The horizon here was endless. If there was one thing about this place that was nice it was the horizon. Golden cascades of rock. It made you believe anything was possible. Plus you could always see someone coming.

This early in the morning there was no one else out. Not in town. Not out here.

She’d started leaving this early for two reasons. One, it was nice and cool out, and the light was still good. Two, there were no people out. That was the main reason. If she left at any reasonable time, she was accosted by locals at every turn. Gerry was always asking her to come to bingo night. Sarah didn’t know how many ways she could say no.

There was one boy, named Alex who walked around barefoot in a speedo, and she had been the first person to tell him that he was weird. And now she got crap for it everywhere she went. It was like Alex was some sort of local hero for being a complete freak bag.

And the dogs. God dammit those dogs. They were everywhere. Everywhere. On top of houses, in the gas station, in the gas station bathroom, in and around the post office and how could she forget the dog that came out of the dry cleaner in a smart looking suit. Someone laughed and said Ol’ Gerry’s dog was doing it again. Seriously. What the fuck.

She parked above the pit and went around to the trunk to find her things. She pulled out her toolbox, and the big hammer that wouldn’t fit in said toolbox. She couldn’t risk any more dynamite blasts, so she had to go old fashioned.

She stopped at the crest of the pit. She heard herself squeak in response to what her eyes saw. It wasn’t possible.

Soot covered a good portion of the previously rock red pit. Disgusting, awful, jagged, black holes dotted her dig site like pimples. It had been pristine last night when she left. As pristine as a dig site can be anyway.

I hate this place, thought Sarah. She almost turned back there. She almost went home, but that same rage compelled her to stay. Obviously there was something here. Someone didn’t want her to find it.

She hopped into the pit and opened her toolkit. She started brushing at one of the damaged areas. The black soot was charred into the rock itself. She went around and checked each sabotaged spot. Nothing too bad seemed to have happened. Then again, the blasts could have destroyed any number of priceless artifacts revealing the history of mankind and she’d have no real way of knowing.

She suddenly doubted whether or not she’d remembered to lock her door. Alvin, the man who’s guest room she’d rented was the only other one with a key, but he wasn’t the mischievous type. But if someone had done this, that meant someone was gunning for her, and was watching her.

“Hey there, Miss.”

Sarah jumped, and turned. A man in a cowboy hat stood ten feet above her at the top of the hole. The sun was directly behind him, making him nothing more than a dark outline of a body.

“Hello?” she called.

“Miss.”

“Yes?” It was five in the morning. What the hell was anyone doing out here?

“Just came to check up on ya, out here.”

She recognized his voice now. It was Sherif Sparks. That would explain the hat too.

“Hey, do you know who would have done this? I mean someone just came and vandalized my dig site.”

“Boy, well I know I sure am sorry to hear that.” He said it like a game show host. “Boy I don’t even know what I would do if something like that happened to me.”

“That’s because you’re not an archeologist.”

“That I am not. That I am not!”

“So. Do you have any ideas?”

“Not a one! Well. I do have one idea, since you asked.”

Sarah waited, but it appeared he needed some prompting.

“Such as?”

“I recommend you going to Gerry’s bingo night! Best damn time you’ll find round these parts.”

Sarah laughed and waited for the Sherif to laugh along. After a few moments it became clear that he wasn’t going.

“Wait,” said Sarah, the smile dropping from her face. “That’s your idea?”

“Yes sir, and if you think me telling you about bingo night is a hoot just wait till you get there. Boy almighty some of the things I see there aught to send people to the penitentiary. And I should know!”

This time he chuckled. Sarah shook her head. Whatever. She didn’t need these people. She could do this herself.

“I’m going to go back to digging,” said Sarah.

“Have a good day,” said the dark figure.

She moved back to the ground and started removing her tools. When she looked back up he was still there, watching her. She stared back. It was starting to creep her out, the absolute motionlessness of his stance. And of course she couldn’t get over the fact that she couldn’t make out his face. It was like a staring contest except she couldn’t see his eyes. Eventually she figured it would be better to just ignore him.

She went about her work and at some point he left. She didn’t hear him go, and to think of it she hadn’t heard him come either.

Continue reading

I Wonder

This is the third in a series of short stories written to music. I Wonder was written while listening to Doldrums’ album Lesser Evil.

“I wonder.”

“Who was that?”

“Jeff. He’s worried about Lizzy.”

“I’ve got it under control… I saw someone get picked up today… Only it looked like he was trying to get out.”

“And this was today too?”

“Yeah. Today.”

“Why the rush?”

“It just came to me. It was like… I don’t know, a lightning bolt or whatever.”

“So… you want me to look at it right now?”

“Yeah.”

“OK. But I don’t get why you want me.”

#

She watched as the two girls disappeared into the woods. The tall one was wearing pink booty shorts. They were both wearing designer wear. Not the kind of stuff you wear on a hike. The one with brown hair lead the way. They were going off the path. She was sure they knew what they were doing.

She smirked as she considered what they might be up to. The woods aren’t a bad spot. She kept walking. She had thick legs. It was steep. She had one of those backpacks with a straw so she could always keep sucking when she got thirsty.

She wasn’t too thirsty. She wanted to get to the top. That’s why she was here. Smoke something with that view? Why not. It was a good thing this was a long drive from the city. Guppies would be here otherwise. Took something special to get out here. And she wanted peace.

She rounded the corner. There were some pretty big rocks up at the top. She hopped up on one, and pulled out her stash.

The trees fell all the way down to the water. It was like a painting, but big enough to make life feel right. Plus it was alive. It was breathing. With her. Some bird was circling overhead. It was big enough She could feel it’s shadow over her every now and then.

Typical clouds crowded in. It was a party by the river. A party of clouds ready to throw their guts up after a long night. Somehow they still found the urge to party. She knew that feeling.

She finally broke her gaze. There was someone else here. There had been for a while. He was sitting up on a rock too. He had on one of those safari hats that cover your neck. Why. It’s Oregon. Cargo shorts and a black t-shirt with some indie band’s bad logo completed the man. She wrote it all down in her notebook. It was a good detail.

She met his eyes. He drank from his water bottle. He came over. Why. Oh. He wants some.

There was enough room on the rock for two. And the view. It was triangles on his shirt. He touched her hand when She passed the torch along. Something about it shocked her. The length. The warmth of his skin maybe. She didn’t want anything. He asked if She was sure.

When he kissed her it was sudden. There was something rough on his tongue that melded into her and became a part of her. She wanted to push away. She didn’t want to be rude. She didn’t want anything. This time she was sure, and her mouth tasted funny.

She told him to keep it, and hopped off the rock. He didn’t protest. Free is free. She didn’t feel like saying goodbye, so she didn’t. She didn’t know him. That would be it. He watched her as She left. She could feel his eyes. Like hot bullets.

She walked on down the mountain. By now the clouds were getting darker. She picked up the pace when they turned red. The mountain is not a place to be when it rains blood.

She broke the tree line, and the parking lot was small. Her car was somehow far away. Like her legs forgot was space was. They found it underneath her of all places. It was paved.

She opened her car door and watched:

A man slid back into the passengers side of a blue Hundai. She saw the locks go down, synchronized to some hidden beat, through the windows. The car slid backwards at an alarming rate while it’s passengers stared forwards. The driver’s head twitched in a small, winding pattern.

She looked down at her arm. The sweat was running up her arm. It was coming for her.

#

Lizzy climbed up the rock wall hand over hand. Her ponytail swung behind her in the breeze. She clenched her muscles and hauled herself up. She should have clipped her nails before she left this morning, shouldn’t she have?

She sat up on the ledge, and snacked on an energy bar. Her butt was warm on this soft dirt that padded the ground up there. She lay down and looked up at the blue sky above her. Motherfucker didn’t know what he were missing.

No homework was worth missing this. Carlos. Carlos needed to get his priorities straight. This was nature. This was the world. Didn’t he want to spend time with her? If he was too busy to go on a hike, where would he be when one of their kids needed to be picked up from day care?

Fuck don’t think about kids. Definitely don’t do that. That’s not good for anybody.

Lizzy watched as a couple of hikers, neckbeards probably, made their way up the slow way. The boring way. Her way was awesome! She stood up and tried to get excited.

Lizzy sighed. That idiot, Carlos. He shoulda been here.

Lizzy turned away from the ledge and peered into the forest. It was mysterious up here. She had no idea where the hiking trail was. She could probably do anything she wanted up here, and no one would bother her. Her mind drifted.

This was one of the most beautiful spots in the world and all she could think about was Carlos. This. This right here sucked.

She wandered into the woods. The sound of water compelled her forwards. There was a stream bubbling low to the ground. A small bank let her stand by the water. She could feel that the ground, the air, everything was cooler here. She dipped her hand in the water to get a drink, but something snapped across the bank.

She looked up in time to see a boar charging from across the river bank. Lizzy screamed and fell backwards into mud. The mud sucked at her body, reaching around her neck. Her eyes were wide. There was no one around. Neckbeards wouldn’t save her. She had no idea where the trail was. And now the mud was sucking her in.

The beasts feet dug into Lizzy’s legs, and she wished she would have worn pants. The boar reared up and bit her in the arm. Two fangs sunk into Lizzy’s skin and through her flesh meeting bone. Blood bubbled to meet the air, turning it a dark red. She felt the rough tongue of the beast as it lapped up the red paint of her life.

No one would find her. No one knew she was gone except for Carlos. No one knew where to look. No one would care to. The beast on her chest breathed heavily. It was already on to other things.

The mud ate Lizzy up.

#

“I don’t get it.”

“Uh huh.”

“Yeah, like what’s it about.”

“Um. I don’t know. Regret, I guess?”

“Regret?”

“But that’s the end.”

“I could always go somewhere else with it.”

“I just mean, like there’s nothing more.”

“There’s always more.”

#

She woke up and her arm was caked in the stuff. Red, dried on blood. Just one arm. Just the right one.

She sat up. She was in her bed and everything. Where was the rest of the blood? Where was the wound? She ran her fingers over the bloody area. There was no pain. No cuts. Nothing.

She got up and washed her hand off in the sink. Her hair looked nice. She admired it’s sheen. The red paint formed up with the water. Good pals.

It had to be paint. She must have painted something. Sometimes you forget what happens when it’s late. She got dressed and went to live in the living room. One of her chairs was broken. Last night?

One message on her phone.

Hey. Sorry I couldn’t make it out yesterday. You went without me, anyway, huh? Well I’m sure you made a time of it…I’ll…talk with you later I guess, it said.

Whatever, Jeff.

She turned on her computer. She made a cup of tea while she waited for it to load. She bobbed the bag up. Plastic boats in bathtubs were as pretty. She lost track of time.

She opened up her word processor. No one else used it. It was hers. She was going to start writing. She realized she hadn’t checked twitter.

When the fuck is Starbucks going to quit with this shit. @Gatorteen844

I still can’t believe about Richard Simmons.” @Simmons_Ralf

Fuck. @tinkerballer

The. @tinkerballer

In. @tinkerballer

Mini Album Review. The Doldrums – Lesser Evil. Three stars.

Definitely worth a listen. @CannonballMusix

What. @tinkerballer

Actually never mind that pizza place is really good. @Scubamans

That was a first. @Gatorteen844

Two teen girls found dead in the Gorge this morning. http://bit.ly/45gty... @Oregonian

Are you shitting me! @Gatorteen844

Anyone ever notice how the musics relly good in Scoot Pilgrim? @tinkerballer

She stopped her hand. Hovered over that link. B had retweeted that. What in the fuck was right. She glanced down at her arm and for a second she thought the blood. The paint. Was it back? It wasn’t. She clicked on the link after two more minutes of motionless denial and fear. It was irrational. She couldn’t. They couldn’t. It wasn’t.

It was. Some guy drew a black three. He wanted a red king. Flushes and such. Shitty draw. He found two dead girls in the woods up by Angel’s Rest. There was a picture of the two girls. Sure enough. Tall one. Brown haired one.

She stood up and stepped away from the computer. It was bright out. She thought she might start crying. Why. You didn’t know them.

The blood. The sky.

A dog barked loudly up in her brain. It told her to eat flesh and slithering worms crawled out of it’s eyes. They cried and reached for the sky.

It was pure white up in the sky now. Her fingers were shaking. She saw the blood dripping from them. Her phone was in her hand.

There was something big in her mouth. It wanted out. It was pushing her.

“Hello?”

“JAANNNIICCEEEEEEEEEE!”

“…Jesus. What is it.” Janice chuckled harmlessly.

“I think I did it,” She said.

She was still laughing.

“Is this like a thing? Did I forget about something?”

“No! I killed them. I killed those girls. It was their blood. It was their blood Janice. I should have fucking tasted it. That’s the only way to know.”

Laughter on the other side. Different this time.

Still. This wasn’t going anywhere.

“Hello, Portland Police department what can I help you with.”

“I fucking did it. I fucking killed those fucking cute little girls. I shoved it down their gut.”

“…Please stay on the line.”

They were scared. Not nearly scared enough. Not to understand her. Not to get it. This was a thing. Janice was right.

“Please stop screaming. A squad car is on their way. You’re going to be OK.”

“I killed them! I killed them! Send someone.”

“Someone is on their way. I’d like you to stay on the line for me.”

“I don’t remember it. I just know I did it. The sky was red.”

“Just hold one youre ok. Just remain calm.”

Fuck. Fuck. It’s real. It happened.

She ran to the sink and slammed her fists against the drain. Bring it back. Bring it back. I want it. I want it.

Her fingernails dug into the stopper.

A roar started in the floor and erupted through her body. The great cat vibrated next to her body while she blinked. It’s skin fell off into a heap. She was standing on it. She fell to her knees.

The hair dryer was on the ground with her. Hair dryers have cords.

#

“Since you asked, it needs more work.”

“Sure.”

“Well I mean it’s not.”

“No… I got it.”

“Come on. Just come back to it. You look tired. You just need a good nights sleep.”

“I wonder.”