Justice Squared, Bitch

Howdy, y’all.  Once more into the breach.  Wendig has asked as politely as he could, swinging a live badger, to write 1000 words on the following:

What I want is for you to choose a famous person from history — be it Mark Twain, Babe Ruth, Nikola Tesla, Hannibal, whoever — and use that character as the protagonist in your short fiction. Bonus points for spinning it in a cool way: Shakespeare-as-detective, Nero-as-witch-hunter, Tesla-as-secret-alien, etc.

What follows is my bullshit.

“He went this way!”  The perky blonde sprints down an alleyway.  Debris closes in around her, the smell of human sweat, feces, and disappointment is more appalling than the sight of rotting garbage, endlessly birthing throbbing maggots and the animal in man.

“Hold on girl, these bones aren’t as quick as they used to be.”  A weathered old man with wild hair wheezes and lurches down the dark alley.  He clutches in one hand a German Luger, in the other the frayed and yellowed notebook that was illegible to all but him.  The old Austrian leans against one of the buildings gesturing a silent, dismissive, “feh” after the girl’s bobbing ponytail.

So much haste that one had, always jumping out of the squad car and jumping to conclusions.  No, to catch the fugitive, one must be methodical, cautious.  Weigh the evidence against the gut.  It was why he was asked to come out of retirement and advise the Major Crimes Task Force.  Certain criminals could only be caught with precision, not brawn.  The girl was one of the best in her Academy class, quick, strong, yet so determined to use the muscles in her arms rather than the one in her pretty blonde head.

“Always running, always running.”  The old man chuckles as he reaches behind his ear and starts encrypting his notebook in his lead pidgin calculations, all the while muttering to himself the variables.

“If he was running at top speed…”

“…combat boots…”

“Alley ends in a dead end…but this road actually curves…”

He scribbles faster and faster, his body starts rocking forward and back like a Chasidic rabbi making new headway in the Rashi.  Suddenly he snaps to attention.  His tired body straightens like a greyhound spotting a hare in the field; a wild maniacal grin splits his face.

“A Ha! Albert, you’ve done it again!”  He spins in a small circle, dancing madly, briefly.  Absent of eyes witnessing his fumbled attempts at aping Zev Tevye, the dance you do when you’ve impressed yourself yet again and no one is around to accuse you of self flagellation.

The old man, dances with his arms flailing in the air making individual circles.  “One, two, three, four, five, six…”

When the old man hits seven he stops dancing and sticks his foot out slightly into a blind curve in the alley.  A man running for his life from a perky blonde slams into the leg and sails into a far wall with a sick wet thud, sliding downward unconscious.

The blonde arrived seconds later, finding the old man slapping bracelets on the sleeping, disfigured man.  Her eyes searches for an answer in the crazy world that not only was she outran but she was out copped by this grandfather.

“I don’t get it, Albert, why…how?”

“We’ve done it again little Lisa.  We have apprehended the Brother Killer.”

“But I was chasing him… and we doubled back!”

“Ah, my dear, sometimes when trying to catch a man accused of killing his brother…it’s a relative.  At least that is my theory.”

***

“So do we have any leads on this crew?”  The chief was looking stressed.  The bank heist was nearly a week old and the only concrete evidence was five bodies getting colder in the morgue.

“Nothing firm.  The one we got outside the bank with the female hostage had a letter on him.”

“Addressed?”

“No, just written to a ‘Mom,’ the asshole didn’t have it in an envelope.  Most we got is some background information.”

“Scotty, for fuck’s sake, my patience is wearing thin.  What particulars?”

“Like most guys in this town, he was an actor.”

“Christ save us all let me see the letter.”

Dear Mom,
I hope all is well with you guys.  I miss you all terribly.  How’s Sis.  Any boys I need to come home and beat up for Pops?
Ha!
How is Dad?  He won’t answer my calls.  I know he still is mad that I left the Corps to come out here, but I think he’d be surprised by how nice it is out here.  I know, I know once a Marine always a Marine, but I think I’m making headway.
My agent seems to think that I’m real close to making a breakthrough.  I’ve done a commercial and hell even last week I was the “Killer of the Week” on Einstein: CSI.  You love that show don’t you Mom?
I think I found my calling and even though Dad might be a hard ass about it, it warms my heart to know that you support me.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I love you.
Well, I’m off to go do a job (haven’t made enough acting to quit my day job).  It’s real exciting and I think I should be able to send some money back to you to help with Dad’s treatments.
Love,
Me
PS Give Dad a kiss for me.

“So does this give us an idea?  Says he was on that bullshit Einstein cop show.”

“We are looking into it but the character had a prosthetic face or something.  We have a call out to their casting agency but honestly they have every fresh face in this town, it’ll take some time.”

“This is about the only lead we have.  When we get an 8×10 we should be able to get some info.”

“ID might be an issue too, remember he took about have a magazine to the face.”

“Fuck.”

Bayonetting Babies

Another challenge from Wendig’s terribleminds.com:

Well, really, all I ask is that you write a piece of crime fiction that features — and c’mon, this is so easy — guns as a feature. That’s like a present to you, from me. Mmmm. Guns.

You have 1000 words.

Short flash fiction. Not a vignette but a complete story.

Due by Friday, August 19th.

I’ll pick a favorite in the week after.

Post at your online space. Link back here. Direct us to your tale in the comments of this post.

Crime + Guns = Awesome.

Get to work.

               

               He hated this more than anything, but after a year of making this bullshit trek to the Eastvale, Tom had to admit that maybe it worked.  Still, he took the last deep breath to calm himself before he entered the doors of the psychologist’s office.

                Doctor Carter seemed bored at the start of the session.  Idly brushing lint off of his pants.  Tom sat in the corner of the couch.

                “So, Tom…last week we spoke about some…uh…anxiety you were having about your granddaughter…”

                “Yes,” Tom swallowed hard, anxiety was an understatement.  Soul crippling, piss your pants fear would be closer to the mark.  “Yes, my granddaughter made me anxious.”

                “Made?  As in past tense?  Are you feeling better about the speech?”  Brush, brush, brush.

                “I actually did it on Thursday.”

                “Really?”  Carter stopped fidgeting and looked at Tom.  “Let me first say that I am very proud of your progress.  I truly did not see that coming.  How did it go?  How long did you speak?  What did you talk about?”  Carter leaned closer to the couch, his eyes wide with eagerness.

                “Uh…I guess it was about an hour and I mainly talked about Cu Chi.  I suppose it went well enough they asked me back.”

                “Tell me all the details about Thursday.”

***

                The lecture hall at West Desert University was nearly empty.  About thirty college aged kids sat randomly throughout the four hundred seat room.  Tom’s granddaughter was sitting behind a small table next to the lectern with an older woman.  Tom was not impressed by her looks at all.  No tits to speak of and eyes that made her look like the word “man” was as filthy as the word “cunt.”

                Tom’s granddaughter rose and went to the lectern, “Thank you everyone who showed up for tonight’s WDU History Alive Club special event.  For those of you attending from Helen Maynor’s class please stay until after so that I can sign your attendance slips.”  Tom sees several rolling eyes.

                “ Viet Nam.  One of the most controversial conflicts in this nation’s history.  A proxy war deemed unnecessary by the younger generation, and the only salvation from Sino-Russian conquest by the older generations.  Communism was an evil that infected most of the United States policies at the time.

                “Today, Viet Nam is considered a mistake.  A black eye on the military, the White House, and the surviving soldiers.  Tonight, my grandfather, Sergeant Tomas Black of the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, survivor of what is called “the Devil’s Half Acre.”  The applause was sparse.

                To the kids Tom felt he must look like a joke. When he was their age he was five foot six and chubby.  Now at sixty-three he had lost the baby fat and three inches of height.  He lost those things because of old age.  The three missing fingers, left ear, and glass eye came from the war.

                Tom started out slow.  Tiny drips of information, high school, the draft, boot camp, all the boring bullshit that most movies cut out because it is agonizing.  Tom felt it was important though.  He was blind in a sense, a butterball fuck thrown into Tigerland, by the time he arrived in the Shit his body was hardened but his man still dripping with the fat of youth.

                It wasn’t until he joined the Tunnel Rats when he felt he became a soldier.  “They built the Cu Chi HQ out there because it was the only clear spot to get supplies in an out during monsoon, but soon after they built it they got attacked inside the perimeters.  Turns out the Cu Chi land was honeycombed with over 200 miles of tunnels.  The commanders couldn’t send most troops down in the tunnel because the Viet Cong were short bastards.  So they came to me and some other guys all under 5’6”.  They gave us a pistol and a flashlight and the orders to clear.

                “I did maybe sixty drops into that hell.  The tunnels were bent back every 100 meters or so.  Every step forward was another step into ambush alley.  Most of us died.  But we were all short Napoleons that lived for the next dive.

                “My last mission was simple, find the radio console.  The VC dropped land mines around the shaft that killed five of us and took my ear.  I rounded the corner and took shrapnel near my eye.  I laid under the bodies of my squad for three days before more Rats came down and pulled me out.”

                Tom continued with details, stark, real.  His granddaughter beamed with pride.  This is what her organization was about.  Seeing the survivors of history speak truth.  Tom’s hands were shaking nonstop.

***

                “So how did that make you feel?”  Brush, brush, brush.

                “Like a fucking kid.”  Tom wiped away tears.

                “Interesting, speaking to a room of people is frightening, when jumping down into a Viet Cong tunnel is…”  A soft digital beep sounded through the room.  “I’m sorry Tom, that’s our time this week.”

                “I have to go to work anyway.”

***

                Tom stood in the corner of the bank, smiling at the pretty girls and sizing up any man that walked in.  That’s what you do when you are barely five foot and carry a pistol.  The gun the security agency gave him was shit.  A snub nose revolver barely long enough to get the muzzle flash away from your knuckles.  He longed for Romana, that sleek cobalt 9mm that was his only true companion while he crawled around in VC tunnels.  All for freedom.

                Movies, Tom felt were bullshit; he could tell within an instant if an actor had ever held a gun before.  You can tell someone told them how to place their hands and how to duck walk, but they always lacked the familiarity one has with their weapon.  When Tom had Romana, his entire fucking body swaggered.  His dick was in his hand and all the pretty bitches were getting some.

                The four guys who busted through the bank door were holding their dicks.  They filed in fast which each covering an angle through the door.  Short guy first, gun straight ahead, second guy over the left shoulder of the lead, third guy over the right shoulder of the guy in front of him, and the fourth covering the rear.

                They all had military issue M4’s, Desert Eagles strapped to their legs, and bullet proof vests.

                Professionals.

                As Tom fumbled for his shit gun, a bullshit Asian dick, he had a smile on his face.  At least it wasn’t some horseshit gangbang amateur.

                The third soldier spotted him and shot Tom four times, once in the thigh, moving up and putting two in his chest, one in the face.

The Bus Driver Had to Shit

Chuck Wendig has asked us all again to write 1,000 words which in we do the following:

Your task is to write a flash fiction piece wherein the protagonist of that piece is subject to some manner or method of torment, trial, and torture. It’s your job to put that character through the wringer, whether that be physical, emotional, spiritual, moral, or some combination of the bunch. I want you to fuck with and fuck up that protagonist. I want to care deeply about that character and feel every sting and barb.

I can think of nothing more soul stealing or tormeting than waking up to a 9 to 5 job.

              The alarm didn’t go off.  When I finally did open my eyes those big red numbers are showing a number I can’t quite comprehend.  It’s supposed to go off at 5:30 AM every morning to beat cross town traffic.

                The clock glares 8:45.

                I drank way too much last night.

                I drag myself out of bed into the bathroom.  The reflection showed a ghoul.  Somehow during the course of the night I turned from a mild mannered data entry clerk into a shambling hangover monster.

                I cut myself shaving.

                While on hold trying to get my boss, I stub my toe on the transfer plate in between the dining room and kitchen, a maniacal brass shiv in the middle of my floor.

                My boss is not happy.

                I finish getting dressed, only grabbing my phone as I race out of the door.  The message light is blinking.  Four unread text messages, two missed calls, and a voicemail, all from Darlene.  I get a queasy feeling in my stomach.  I wasn’t with Darlene last night; I was out with the guys.  Before I blacked out I remember them telling me that I should let Darlene know how I feel.

                I cue the voicemail.

                “Bill, fuck you.  Who the fuck do you think you are?  My pussy stinks?  Grow the fuck up and lose my number.  My pussy stinks?  Find some other whore to lie to you and tell you your dick is a good size.  Fucking pathetic.  My mom has cancer you fuck not a bad hairstylist and you know that…”

                I wonder how I’m going to get back the ring.

                The local Starbucks people know me by name and one good look at my slack jawed and bleary eyed face they start making me the trente espresso with a million extra shots.

                It is hot, and I spill it on my crotch driving into the parking lot at work.

                “What’s up Bill?  A little too much fun last night?”

                “Whoa!  Bill, looks like you pissed yourself.”

                “Bill, did you forget that you take it out of your pants first, again?”

                “Bill, the boss wants to see you.”

                My boss is one of those beautiful bastards that actually believes what we do here is important.  Checking one excel spreadsheet against another.  Rinse, repeat, slash wrist.  He “came up through the ranks!”  We were supposed to look up to this guy but I doubt we would piss on him if he was covered with badgers.

                “Bill, this is the third time you’ve come in late.”

                “This month?”

                “Since you’ve started…”

                “I’ve worked here three years!”

                “Exactly, your lack of dedication to your job and chronic tardiness is worrying.  I didn’t get where I am today by not showing up for my shift.  In fact I showed up an hour early and stayed late every night.  And now I am the Shift Supervisor.  If you weren’t trying to be so cool and not care about your work, in a few more years you could be like me.”

                “Three times in three years?  That’s not chronic, it’s just sad.”

                “It is sad.  Sad that I have to do this.  Here are your exit papers.”

                “What?  Exit…I don’t understand.”

                “We won’t be needing your services anymore.”

                Boom, fired.

                The drive back to my shitty fucking rental house in a shitty fucking neighborhood is the longest it has ever been.  My foot is throbbing from the stubbed toe.  Makes it hard to push the pedals.  My pants still aren’t dry. 

                At least I can go back to sleep.

                You know maybe today isn’t so bad.  That job was just a big fucking roadblock.  Maybe I can finally dedicate my time to my webcomic, “Eat Ninjas, Shit Pirates.”  You know this could fucking work.  I feel oddly victorious.  At least it could be victory I’m feeling, more than likely digesting whiskey boiling in my stomach.

                The radio station starts the first three notes of a Spin Doctors’ song.  With a scream of anguish I look to change the station, the car in front of me stopped.

                I smack into her, my sore foot not reacting to the brake pedal fast enough.

                Wrecking one’s car is the best response to a Spin Doctors’ song.

                I realize that my car insurance expired last week.

                Then I see that the girl driving the car in front of me is Darlene.

                Fuck.

                She thought she saw a cat; my car is fucked, fluids draining out of it faster than…a thing that leaks fluid.  My brain isn’t really working.

                Her car isn’t in that bad of shape and I have no insurance.

                She bitches me out in the same vein as her voicemail earlier as I see my car drive off on a tow truck.

                She gives me back the ring.  Luckily, there is a bank across the street, and I had just gotten my tax return.  I offer her $700 dollars to make her go away.

                “Maybe I can fix my car and the smell in my pussy?  Fucking asshole.”  We head over to the bank.  She is just radiating heat and hate into the back of my skull.

                The bank is pretty crowded, first of the month, and I’m about to empty my account.  And with no job.  My foot really hurts.

                I hand her the envelope full of all the cash I had in the world, and head for the exit.

                That’s when four guys in skimasks rush in with automatic weapons and shotguns.

                The guard makes a slow reach for a side arm and is shot dead.

                “Everybody get the fuck down!”

                We all drop.  I catch the eyes of a cop kneeling next to a pretty lady.  They both look to be weeping.

                I keep my eyes down and only here randomness.  Sobs, grunts, screams, gunshots, and finally the ringleader asking us all for our wallets.  I throw the sad empty Velcro thing in front of me.  I see Darlene slide the envelope next to it.

                The goons grab the cash and some hostages and head out into the fray.

                Darlene looks shaken up, but I’m more concerned about the cash.

                Hours later, after the cops are done with us, Darlene offers me a ride home.  She tells me that maybe I was drunk last night and she shouldn’t blame me.  In fact, maybe I’m a good guy, with a decent job (I haven’t told her about the firing, like I need that spiking the kool-aid).

                We slow to a stop at an intersection about a block from my place.

                She looks at me meekly, those perfect lips slide over perfect teeth.  “Bill, I’m sorry.  I’ve been such a bitch lately.  Can I have my ring back?”

                I hand it over and we move through the intersection.  We are moving into a new relationship, a new understanding.  Everything is forgotten and washed away.

                That’s when the bus hit us.

A Coward in Blue

Chuck Wendig is pulling those puppet string again, 1,000 words about flea markets.  What follows is my bullshit:

“It’ll be ok, trust me…”  She could barely look me in the eye.  She is so scared.  Those lips that I have kissed a thousand times mouth the words “my God,” in an endless litany.  “Shhh, baby, it’ll be over soon, just stay cool and we’ll get through this.”  She finally catches my eyes and the anguish and fear is palpable, a pale horse driving a wedge between us.

The groan of a turning combat boot startles me with its nearness.  I could smell the gun oil.  He is so close.  “Just don’t look at him honey, eyes to the floor.”

“Hey, fucko! You got something to say?”  He pushes my head forward savagely, I stay quiet.  “I’m talking to you mother fucker!”  He presses the gun barrel to my temple.

I raise my head and can’t help but take in the scene.  Lunchtime, first of the month, bank is packed with people trying to deposit checks to cover their bills.  Twenty hostages all on their knees with hands behind their heads.  Four heavily armed men, two white, one black, one Latino, all wearing masks but leaving their forearms bare.  Living machines of guns and knives.

My wife of twelve years kneeling beside me, weeping, desperately wanting to grab my hand and bury her face in my shoulder.  We were on our way to lunch at Tessaro’s.  I was planning on giving her an early anniversary gift.  The small hinged box in my pocket feels heavier than it should.  But first we had to deposit a check…

“Like I thought, fucking pussy.”  He drives the gun barrel into my head hard, and I piss my pants.  Then he walks off.

I lower my head in shame.  I should be at work now, miles away from this bullshit.  It’s all her fault.  I can’t walk in a fucking straight line.  Over a decade of “hey babe get this, hey babe let’s stop here…”  Again and again.  I wanted a fucking burger.  Lunch hours aren’t that fucking long, a fucking hour.  Sixty god damn minutes to steal in the middle of the bullshit day.  But no…

She is crying again, hard, agitating the robbers.  One of the whites and the Latino are at the counters, the black guy is on crowd control and the other white guy is watching the street.  There are five kids here.

The security guard is dead.  Shot in the very beginning of the event.  His blood has been making a straight red line to where I kneel in a puddle of my own piss.

The white guy on the door starts screaming profanities and runs back to the counters.  “That fucking cunt hit the alarm!” He unloads four bullets into the fat lady behind the computer.  I think her name was Gloria.

“Fuck man, we have to get out of here.”

“Too late, three fucking berries just pulled in.”

“What the fuck…Jake what are going to do?”

“Not use our names you fucking dipshit.  Grab a couple of hostages.  Bitches.”

The robbers, now full of direction, dash into action.  The black guy walks over to my wife.  “Come on bitch.”  As he grabs her arm savagely, I think two distinct thoughts:

The first thing I think is that the black guy as a weird scar on his inner forearm.

The second is that this is the moment you always see in movies.  “No, take me, not her.”  Chivalry, heroism, all that shit.  I look into my wife’s eyes as she is pulled pleading towards the front door.  We are locked.  We see each other souls at that moment and I turn my head.

Heroes die, cowards live.

The leader, “Jake” starts asking us to empty our pockets.  I slide the little hinged box as far away from me as hard as I can.  The security guard’s blood makes it a difficult task.

Jake is smiling as he picks it up.  He kneels in front of me, “This is a nice locket, Jennifer and Mike until the stars turn off…”  He turns his head to wear the black guy is holding her like a shield against his body, the non-gun hand fiercely molesting her breast.

“Sure, you don’t want us to, you know, take you instead?  Seems like you love her a lot.”

Jake gives me a mocking smile through the hole in his ski mask, snot comes out of my nose as a snob racks my body.

“Didn’t think so, what a fucking hero.”

The run out of the door shielded by my wife and three strangers.

I roll on my side covered in piss.

***Six Months Later***

I am walking in a flea market over at the La Costa Drive-In.  There are kids everywhere, screaming, the noise nearly kills me.

My phone rings, collection companies hunting me down.  Since the divorce my credit went to shit, so here I am looking for a used coffee table.

Yet I don’t find much.  I wander down the aisle and tables.  I spend much of my time alone.

In the back, near the main screen I see a table with some nicer things.  Silver vases, televisions, DVDs, and jewelry.  My nights really consist of me hiding from the reporters that hang out in my yard every night.  I jerk off two or three times before going to bed.

I cry a lot.

DVDs are always a welcome distraction so I head over, killing time browsing.

“Hey man, what are you looking for?  I kind of have a hard on for organization so you want horror, mystery, anything like that I’ll show you what box.  The uh, adult stuff is in the red box.”  The speaker is a burly black guy with a not-quite-there mustache.

I mumble something and continue looking.  I can’t find anything I can’t live without and get ready to walk away when I see a small hinged box with a locket.

My knees buckle a bit and great sob wracks me.  The black guy comes over, “You like that one?  Fifty bucks man.”  When he points I see a funny looking scar on the inside of his forearm.

I throw everything in my wallet on the table, grab the locket and run away.

Behind me I hear the guy say, “Thanks Officer.”

Tell Me a Story

Written for Chuck Wendig’s weekly Flash Fiction Challenge.  Mention a unicorn anywhere.

 

 

Hello, are you awake?  Good.  I’m afraid my associate has a distinct lack of a light touch.  Ugh, that’s going to bruise.

I know, I know, this is very confusing.  Let me guess, “Where am I?”  That’s usually the first question, followed by another much more important, “Why me?”

Why me?  Might be the most important question in the world.  Well we’ll get to that one later.

Where am I?  You are in a warehouse with the words “Jenkins Cannery” on top of a red roof.  The outside veneer is more of slate gray siding.  We are next to the Tuna Bee distribution center and the Baby Acres Warehouse.  They are blue and I guess “steel” colored respectively.

The road we are on is Industrial Drive.  If you were to take it East you will meet with Franklin which will take you to the 70.  Highway 70 East towards Harmerville is home.

Hold on, there’s more.

Outside the door there is a forest green ’96 Pontiac Grand-Am.  There is slightly less than a half tank.  The keys are in the center console.  Careful, a wind storm hit the driver’s door when I was going to Taco Bell one day and jackknifed the door open.  I had to pry it out of the quarter panel with a screwdriver.  It makes a god damn awful racket when you open the door.  What else?

Plates are good, lights all work, as long as you drive about five over the limit you shouldn’t get pulled over.  If you do, I forged a registration in your name in the glove box.  Your wallet is over here on my work table.  See?

I know that look, you want to know why I’m telling you all this.  I’m getting to it.  Just a couple more things for the…prologue, if you will.

Your room is back there, it has a cot and a working toilet.  Your door will be locked at night but a stiff kick will bust it open, it barely even qualifies as cardboard.

At night, my associate will be keeping guard.  He has a little desk with a TV and a laptop with an internet connection.  So he’ll be engrossed with porn or the NFL network at any given time.  He will be armed with a tazer, buck knife, and a 9mm Beretta.  Now this is important, are you paying attention?

He is left handed.  That means if you see his right hand go into his coat he’s grabbing the knife, the reverse, left hand, right side of coat means bang bang.  Got me?

On my work table which is right next to the door to your room are my tools.  Lots of gnarly shit but you should focus on the Desert Eagle .50.  It will be enough to handle my associate.  Serial numbers are scraped as well as any identifiers.  I oil it every morning so I promise you it will not jam.

Now why am I telling you all this?  Your escape is all but guaranteed if you heed my directions.  The main doors are locked but after you shoot my associate you will find the keys in….  Paul, where do you keep the keys?  Left front pocket?  Thanks.

The keys are in the left front pocket.

So kick door, grab gun, shoot Paul, get keys, unlock main door, get into Pontiac, go home.  Simple enough.

But I don’t think you’ll do it.  You’re smirking.  You must one devious bad ass mother fucker, am I right?  I played right into your hands, like I’m some dipshit Bond villain giving you the goods while you are strapped down.  Damn it, man I am just dumb.

But there is that other question.  I answered, “Where am I?”  But if you bolt out of here first night, you’ll never find out, “Why me?”

Hmm?

Now I don’t see why during all of this we can’t be friendly, or even become friends.  There’s no reason to behave uncivilized towards each other.

However, I am very good at my job and I was paid $750,000 plus expenses to bring you here.  That’s an awful lot of money, and I am the very best.  Someone has a hate boner for you.

Now comes the unfortunate time where I prove to you how good I am at getting information.  This first time I won’t be asking a question.  Just applying my trade to your left inner thigh.  It will hurt.  Hurt more than anything you’ve ever experience.

You need to do something for me.  Picture in your mind the happiest day ever.  The day you got that puppy, the first time you got to second base, uh Rush live in 1978.  Whatever, just think about it hard.

Now shut your eyes and put yourself in that one shining moment, the light in the darkness…

***

She is standing there with a pout on her face, idly toying with one of her braids.  Her whole body is selling the slump in her shoulders.  Boredom, thou art defined.  The carnival is small this year, just a Ferris wheel and scrambler.  The games are the usual throw a dart, throw a ring, everyone is a winner. 

When her father glances back at her for approval, she rolls her eyes.  Thirteen years on the planet and she is not impressed any more.  It has been discovered, weighed, and assessed.  Lame.  Boring and lame.

She doesn’t see her father ring the bottle with the star, so she is taken completely by surprise when he walks to her with a big grin and even bigger purple stuffed unicorn.

She squeals and kisses him on the cheek…

***

Sorry about all of that.  How bad was it?  Where you able to focus on something?  Good, remember it you are going to need it more and more.

So, um, leave the bandage on all night.  I left some antiseptic in your room.

Tomorrow we will start for real.

Your homework tonight is to think on two words, “Why me?”

The Things I Know for Sure

Originally on ficly.com.  I really liked the story but it fell like a wet paper towel on the kitchen floor.  Wet from blood…and feces.  Any shits, my favorite thing is a hook line.  A final uppercut at the end of stories, and this is my favorite.

There are few things I actually know for sure. At this age you should probably be more certain, but alas, mysteries abound.

One thing I know is that a bull is colorblind. They don’t hate the color red. I am missing most of my thigh muscle in my left leg, which was carefully dressed in drab black when I learned the errors of my ways.

Another thing I know is that the love of a woman will be the greatest happiness and sadness you can know. And you will love and cherish those emotions.

The last thing I know for sure, is that there was a tiny ship that for a time was orbiting the earth. It spun madly around the world, faster and faster until it lost its trajectory and burned up in the atomsphere. It was a glorious meteor of metal and passenger.

Inside the ship was a dead dog.

Mixtape

I saw a movie once.

I know big deal right? No this one was cool, it was like this insurance guy talking into a old school tape recorder. Only it wasn’t like on cassette or anything, it was totally like the Flintstones. Anyshits, this guy is confessing all this ill shit he did with this chick.

Yeah that was cool.

So I’m most probably dead right now. Or going to be soon. I recorded a couple of files to play after this one. Those are the goodbye tapes. This is more like a commentary track on how it feels. Fuck man, it’s just cold.

Cold and empty.

Look man, no need for me to bum you out even more. Let’s just say that the end is fucking heavy dude.

Oh shit! I think they are here. I’ve got to go, remember play the tapes in order. Hey man, I lo…

**

Remember that time we tickle Patrick so hard he shit himself?

That was cool.

Hey this is Tape 1 side two and I’ve a confession to make. I made these tapes in advance and mailed them to you. Problem is I didn’t have your address. So I made some calls. Gloria is not happy with you at all…

***

Welcome to tape 4.

Like I was saying. You need to watch who it is you are messing with. They know, dude, they know…

***

Tape 2 back in school.

So Gloria was telling me you turned me in….

***

Boop! Tape six

Not necessary to run. Before they come for me I’m going to tell them every…

***

Tape ten is in

You deserve everything you assho…

***

Tape one side one

I love you dad

Originally posted over at critiquecircle.com in one of their exercises.  Actually was pretty fun.  And inspired a longer work that probably should be drug out again soon.

Desolation with Strange Camels

Another installment in the weekly Chuck Wendig’s terribleminds flash fiction challenges.  Up to bat is “Uncharted Apocalypse.” 1,000 words on a new kind  of Armageddon that we don’t usually see (nuclear holocaust, oil shortage, weird monkey evolutions, etc.)  What follows is my bullshit:

 

                And like that I was in the desert. 

                Eyes open, a nice Sunday drive with the misses.

                Eyes shut, fucking boom.

                Eyes open, alone in a desert.

                What in the fuck?

                A cold wind is howling through desolation.  White sands slip over black rocks.  There is heat, and frost, and loneliness.  I am confused, drawn out and empty.

                Where is my fucking wife?

                There is nothing out here, just swirling dust and in the distance a few hills.  The incessant wind carries a fragrance of rotting meat, of decay, but it is far away and old.

                I am not hot.

                I am not cold.

                I am not thirsty.

                I must be dreaming.  I have to be dreaming.  I reach down and grab a handful of sand, and watch it slide through my fingers.  It feels like silk.

                I have to find my wife.

                I run to the hills in the distance, oddly not feeling any effects of sprinting a distance in ankle-deep desert terrain.  As I crest the dune, I can see in the distance a caravan of sorts, tents and wagons and weird not-quite-right camels dozing in the blazing, but rather comfortable sun.

                I trudge cautiously towards the camp, I hope they speak English.  Where in the fuck am I?  As I get closer, I see that the people are mixed, whites, blacks, and all different creeds and cultures just cohabitating here in the middle of fuck all. 

                It had to be that meatloaf for dinner.  A brick of bread and meat in my stomach would trip me out come sleep time.  But hey, no sense looking like the crazy guy…

                “Uh, excuse me…mister?”

                “Mister Moor, if you please, how can I help you?”  The tall man I had singled out was covered in linen and scarves and left little of his coal-black face uncovered, except for his piercing blue eyes.

                “Moor?  My name is Tom.  Where are we?”

                “Where do you think we are?”  Even though his mouth was covered you could tell he was smirking.  Delighted that he could draw the confusion out of me, to be fed on questions.

                “I am in a nightmare.  What do you call it here?”

                “We call this the Wastes and this is all that we have left.”  He moved towards one of the not-quite-right camels and stroked underneath his chin.  “May I ask you something personal,  Mr. Tom?”

                “Uh, yeah.”

                “What were you doing before you blinked?”

                “Driving in Los Angeles with my wife.”

                “I see, then you woke up standing alone on the other side of that hill.”  He stuck a long gloved finger in the direction I had just ran.

                “How did you know that?”

                “Because we all did.  I personally was in an alleyway in Paris, when I heard some less than gentleman run up behind me.  Blink and I was here.”

                “Everyone, in this camp?”

                “Everyone in this world that I have met or heard stories, at one moment ended up here.”

                My mind was racing, what could I make of all this.  Was I really dreaming this?

                “Mrs. Anderson over there by the red tent, she went to sleep in a hospital, riddled with cancer and surrounded by loved ones, woke up here.  Al Jacquar Ha Salam, the man sitting by himself on that rock was sitting in a McDonald’s in Dubai, then here.”  Moor continues pointing out individuals as he leads me through the camp.

                “Wait a second, Moor, I’m starting to get the idea.  Did a nuclear bomb go off?  Are we the survivors of Armageddon?  Did the Rapture actually happen, I’m Jewish so that might explain things.”

                “Mr. Tom, you hear but do not hear these stories.  What is the date?”

                “Uh, July 18, 2011.”

                “Mrs. Anderson, my dear, what is the date?”

                The beautiful cancer woman, that is full of life and vigor turns towards us, “August 2nd.”

                “And the year?

                “Nineteen Eighty-five.”

                “Ha Salam, what is the date?”

                The solitary Arab will not meet our glance but I can hear him mutter, “Ninteen seventy-nine.”

                “So you see Mr. Tom?  I myself was in that alley in 1162.  Yet we are all here.”

                “So what are you saying?”

                “This Wasteland is it.  You have made it to the end.  That sun that does not burn you, the cold wind that does not freeze you, the absence of hunger, thirst, and fatigue, this is your eternity.”

                “I’m dead?”

                “I’m afraid so, it takes awhile when you first arrive to comprehend.  That is why I started this camp, as a…how do you say…welcome.”

                I sink to the ground, my wife, the desert it all was too much.

                “This can’t be heaven, is this hell?  What the fuck, I was a good person, I was Bar Mitzvah’d.”

                “This is in between.  This is where you go when you were a basically good person but didn’t make the cut for the domain above.”

                “The cut?”

                “It’s a lot stricter than you would believe, Mrs. Anderson was a preacher.”

                “What did she do?  Adultery or something like that?”

                “Ate meat on a Friday.  Turns out my new bewildered friend, all those commandments were meant to be taken very seriously, the heavens do not open if you have failed any of them at any time.”

                “So who gets in?”

                “So far, during my travels….You said you were with your wife but you did not arrive together, you were alone?”

                “Yes…”

                “Then congratulations, she did not die with you, but she will eventually, and she will be coming over that hill soon.  That’s what the others are here for,  waiting for others to come.”

                “How can you be sure they will end up here and not in heaven.”

                “During all my time, I have never met anyone here that is still waiting for someone.  Everyone comes here.”

                “What does that mean?”

                “Here on these wastes, is everyone who has ever breathed air in life.  My friend, this desert is unending, full with billions upon billions of souls…

                Heaven is empty.”