Story a Day in May 6

Wonder if I should title these.

It was a warm night in Charlotte, humid and still light out, and Tom was sawing his Aunt Sadie’s head off. He was having some trouble getting through the connecting tissue in the spine, but he was pretty sure he would get through it pretty quick with that new hacksaw of his.

Now you can say Tom was being unkind to a relative, but really, she had it coming. You don’t just die five years ago, and then show up at your house. Seeing as she was an abomination before God, Tom and I had no problem with tying her down in the backyard and making sure she stayed dead this time. She;d hollered and hooted about Revelations and God for a while, and said Tom and I were the real abominations, but then I, Melvin Terwilliger Jones, his husband, turned her jaw into a jigsaw puzzle with one good kick. She’d been a self righteous bitch when alive, and death had not improved her temperament.

All the excitement had made me dizzy. I have diabetes,so Tom went and got me my pills. Tom was always good about looking after me. All we had was each other. You settle down as a gay couple in the South during the 60’s, you’d better be ready to kick ass, or surrender yours. Neither was an option for us. But we’d both been in the closet, met in a bar in Spartanburg, and things had just clicked. People say that sometimes you wander the world,and when you find the right one, you just stop where ever you are. So that’s how Tom and I ended up living in Charlotte when the world went to shit.

That’s what we were figuring on what was going to happen, anyway, when the bitchiest of Tom’s dead relatives had shown up on our doorstep. She’d probably figured it was hers anyway still, since it had been in life. We’d settled the estate years ago, and Sadie had never married. Probably looked like two saltines down there when she died. Dry country, I tell you.

So she was still gurgling and spitting and trying to cuss us out when Tom decided that chopping her head off was a good start. He sawed through that last piece of gristle and Sadie stopped hissing. She didn’t turn into ash or anything cool like that. Tom and I were covered in blood and gore. I was trying to decide how to clean up when the screaming started next to us.

Sadie’s house was in an okay part of the city, commonly known as NoDa. It’d had some rough parts, but it was getting really arty and pricey. You’d think an older gay couple would be happy about it, but no. Living through watching lots of our friends die from AIDS, beatings, and general hatred from the world had made us sort of closed off. Besides, we were still from the South, thank you. Church BBQ and Duke football were about as social as we’d get.

Along with gentrification came new neighbors, and the Hendersons had moved in about a year earlier. They were nice enough people,grew pot in their backyard, but not really our kind of people. I mean, they were Yankees. And they were both standing and screaming ,locked in place.

Tom started towards them, but I pulled him back. Anything we would have to say would be lost to them, right now. I still don’t know why we were so calm about it. Maybe it was all those years of horror novels Tom reads, or my job as an EMT. Or maybe we were just in shock as well.

I grabbed the hose from the garage while Tom piled Sadie into a large leaf bag. She’d been a tiny thing, so she fit alright. IF it had been my mom or Tom’s dad, though…

It was suddenly silent, The Hendersons had stopped screaming. Now they were both staring, their fists in their mouth. Glad they didn’t have kids, those two. After a few years of diapers, these two would have needed a psych ward. After a few years of every substance known to man, a dead body is a half hour job, max.

I stopped for minute, thinking about our girl, Mandy. One of Tom’s sisters had passed giving birth to her. We pulled a few strings(my ex-boyfriend was now in the state senate) and were one of the first gay couple allowed to adopt in the South. Yes, there were death threats and flaming shit in bags on our doorstep. But we never looked back.

I figured since this might well be the apocalypse, I should call her. She’d be home from Duke in two weeks, but the dead rising might be worth telling her about.

Tom grabbed my shoulder and pointed. More folks were running in the streets, people chasing after them in funeral clothes. Except the naked folks, who I assume had been cremated. They did seem all ashy. Tom said we should move inside, and I agreed. Tom sat down in front of the computer, looking for news. I just sat in my recliner and clicked on the TV.

There was nothing on the news about this, which I found bizarre. Until I realized that CCN was playing a tape of yesterdays broadcast. All the networks were. I wondered why, then the buzzing started.

Tom and I went back and looked skyward. It was an entire flight of F-16’s flying so low as to make the house rattle. Tom just looked sad, took me by the hand, and kissed me on the cheek. He whispered one word in my ear.

“Northwoods”

I felt tears start streaming down my cheek. We’d met in Spartanburg, but that was not what we were both doing. We were both working for the NSA. We’d left when we’d started dating, but by then,we were both tired of the spook show and wanted out.

Before we left though, we’d seen what the government’s plans were for ELEs, extinction level events. The plans had different names, but they were all the same. Find the problem nuke it till it glows.

We knew then we’d never get out in time. We hoped Mandy would be alright, carrying on with friend’s help. Tom sat down on the couch, me next to him, WE held each other close, and then we were gone.

So that’s why I’m telling you this, as you pin me to the wall, sir. I don’t know where I’ve been, or where Tom is, but can you help me find him?

 

Story A Day in May #5

“I don’t make music for you. I make music for me.”-Andrew Eldritch

I don’t, but since I have nothing but radio silence here, it’s what’s keeping me keeping on.

Story:

Xavier sat down on the park bench, the fifth of Jameson’s in one hand, the paperwork in the other. He hadn’t pulled up the pants legs as he sat, so there were going to be wrinkles. Considering the paperwork in front of him, it was hard to find the will to care about his suit. Still, it was new and Burberry. Xavier looked at the bottle, thought about how it might look if he drank straight from it, and decided that too, was something he no longer cared about. His phone was going off, but it had faded in to a distant din, along with all the other noise around him. He cracked the seal on the bottle and began to drink and drink.

 

 

* * *

Dave Tippet hated this movie. The second GI Joe one, with an idiotic plot, and people shoe horned into it for no other reason than a paycheck. Like a lot of cops here in the San Fernando Valley, he thought he could do better. Dave’s difference was that he’d actually done it, sold a movie. But it had come at a time when he was 90 days out from having his twenty, so he just had to skate until then. He could live off the script money for a while, but why chance it? Every cop who worked out here among the dream merchants had dealt with someone who’d burned too fast, too much. Better to ease along here on desk duty.

“I’m sorry about that one. It’s my fault.” The slurred words came from the drunk tank, Dave’s least favorite part of the job. Working the front desk on nights meant there was nobody but you to clean up when the drunks spewed. Dave looked over,eyed the alkie. Nice suit for a drunk, but not surprising. People in power tended to blow off steam like rock stars, just with less girls.

“No really, that piece of shit film is my fault. I made that fucker happen, for reasons nobody but a few cared about.” Dave looked at the drunk again. Didn’t look familiar, and he read the trades enough to know most of the power people at the studios on sight. He decided to shut the guy up.

“Your fault, huh? So I could find your name in big ass letters in the beginning? Why aren’t you drunk in Beverly Hills or something?”

“I’m the most important man in Hollywood, and you will have never heard of me.” The coldness of the drunk’s tone shocked Dave. He hoisted himself out of his chair and went over to look at him. He knew he looked odd, almost waddling due to the knee shot that had put him on a desk. That robbery had cost him rank, his health insurance and his second wife.

Dave peered closer at the lush. Cold brown eyes stared back at him. He’d seen rape victims with that same harsh look behind their eyes. His old partner had called it the thousand yard stare,

“So what makes you so important,bro? You Hollywood’s biggest dealer or something? From here you don’t look like much.”

The man looked downward.”I have been nothing in this town,and yet everything.” Now the guy was talking in riddles. “Want proof? My name is Xavier Rhodes. Put it into Google, see what you come up with.” His eyes dared Dave, so Dave waddled back to his desk and typed it in. He normally didn’t even talk to the bums and dregs of humanity, but there was something about this guy.

When he hit return, there was nothing. Literally nothing. Google didn’t even give him similar names or nothing. Just zero results. Dave had been working with computers and search engines for a decade now, and he knew everyone had something come up when Googled. Even people who weren’t you, with similar names. Nobody ever came up as no results.

Dave logged into the department computer, pulled up Xavier’s arrest record, which proved he was real, at least. Dave hadn’t been sure for about four seconds. IT showed a license with an address down by the beach, condo in an OK neighborhood.

“For being so important, you sure are living large.”

Xavier spit on the ground.”You seem like a nice guy, Officer Tippet Might even be smart. But I’ll help you get a clue. The people I work for,who put me here? They don’t want to be visible, so why would I be?” Xavier shook his head. “Don’t really matter anyway. It’ll all be over soon.”

Dave got incensed. “Really? Going to bring about the end of the world? Or just a new Saw movie?”

Xavier looked up at the clock on the wall, his eyes rimming with tears.”Nope, not for you., anyway, if you’re smart.” He looked Dave square in the face.”Me, however, will be dead in the next half hour.”

“Really? And why is that? Did you break some secret pact? Sacrifice the wrong goat?” Dave was getting nervous, and when pressed, his sarcasm got turned to eleven.

“No,all I had to do was have you look me up on Google. That was my death warrant.”

Dave just laughed. “Yeah, right, like that could do any-” His words were cut off by the sounds of shots from the parking lot.

Dave scrambled to his desk. On the camera for the outside door were four huge men, all dressed in black fatigues and riot helmets. One of them was kneeling in front of the door to the precinct, kept locked during overnights. He appeared to be sticking some sort of gunk to the door. He stepped back, and Dave dove behind his desk.

The explosion shook his desk. Dave pulled out his 9 millimeter, planning on taking some of these guys with him. He might be nearly a cripple, but he was still a cop. He crawled along the side of his desk, peeking around the corner.

“TIPPETT!” the shout echoed through the remains of the room as he looked on. The four men were standing in front of the holding tank, Xavier was standing at the bars, shouting at the top of his lungs,

“Stand down, Tippet, don’t be a hero.” Xavier seemed oddly calm as one of the men used some sort of torch to cut around the lock. Dave stood shakily and aimed at the four.

Instantly, four red dots appeared on his chest. Dave had never been this close to death since the robbery. He hadn’t missed the tightening of his sphincter or shakes this moment was bringing on. The world was still for a minute, until Xavier spoke again.

“Stand down, man. I caused this, This is my play.”Alarms were supposed to be going off, but the men had apparently taken care of that as well. Dave’s hands and brow were sweating, making his trigger finger slippery. This had to end before he slipped.

Xavier tapped one of the men on his shoulder, and handed him a sheet of paper. The man walked over in front of the dots and shoved it at Dave. Dave looked at it, and put his gun down, the full effect of what was about to happen weighing his trigger finger. Dave dropped his weapon and turned away, not wanting to see what came next. There was a loud crack of a gun, and then silence. When Dave turned back, Xavier was crumpled in the cell, and the four were gone, as if they’d never been.

Dave Tippet was cashiered out withing a week, his pension kept safe by union rules, but he left under a cloud. There would always be ugly things said behind his back, but Dave didn’t care. Those harpies hadn’t been there. They hadn’t seen.

The crime scene investigators never found the sheet of paper. Dave had taken it home, and on cold nights when his knee acted up, he sometimes took it out and looked at it. The top line said it all:UCLA Hospital Oncology Report.

 

Story a Day in May #4

No commentary, let’s just get to it.

 

The casket closed over Ricky’s face, and he sighed with relief. So long one life, he thought. Now it was time to get to another. He just had to get out of the funeral home alive.

November 23 was the day Ricky Montavlo died, at least by his reckoning. He was in Club Tiesto, another one of Chicago’s never ending parade of dance clubs. Ricky had the world by the stones, he’d thought. He’d stated slinging rock at 18, when it became clear he had no other career options. The family grocery store had become a prison, the girl his immigrant parents had arranged for him to marry, the warden. Oxy had just started filtering into the neighborhood, and like young men before him, Ricky had recognized a growth industry. Two years later, he was running ten square blocks, and had two paid cops in the local precinct. It was good to be Ricky Montavlo.

Now he was here in the club, which he and his supplier had bought into. It was a good way to clean all their drug profits, and provide a refuge from their enemies. Which were growing by the day as the economy had tanked. Less money in people pockets meant less pie to share. And you didn’t get into dealing for the retirement plans or 401K.

So they’d armored the club, mainly due to an continuing problem with o all things, the Westies. He’d figured it’d be the cartels or the Crips, or MS13. But a bunch of pasty white dudes?It was almost embarrassing. Until his suppliers car and driver had gone up in a flash of thermite. But that was seen as just the cost of doing business.

Ricky had been on his third Oxy of the night, crushed and snorted , and making him feel high,alert, and alive. It was breaking one of the biggest dealer rules ever, but Ricky didn’t care. He was so gone it took him five minutes to realize there was someone standing in front of him.

The flashing lights made it hard, but he finally saw the guy was wearing UPS brown. That was how he’d gotten up here. If it was a fake, Ricky had a .22 in the boot, but still. The guy mouthed words, finally handing Ricky an iPad to sign. Ricky did, figuring it was just club bullshit. He’d have to remind the club manager to get this handled. He took the thick padded envelope from the guy, and tossed it on the table ,almost losing it among the empty beers and pill bottles.

Then Ricky noticed the blood on his hand. He looked down at the envelope, and a small pool of it was leaking out of a corner. He picked it up, time slowing down to a crawl when he recalled it in his head.

The smell was first, making bile rise in his throat. The first thing he pulled out made it worse. It was a pair of ears, tied together. They were stapled to a photo of his father. Ricky put two and two together, and promptly sprayed the table and floor with his dinner, the normally non-vomit inducing Ann Sathers.

There were seven photos in the envelope, each with body parts. His mother’s nipples. His sister’s eyeballs. His supplier’s wife’s picture was in there, with what was later identified as her ovaries.

He’d blocked out the rest. But all of his and his supplier’s immediate family had been wiped out in one move.

They’d found the bodies in a warehouse on Lawrence, right below the El tracks. By that point, Ricky was gone. The shock and horror of what he’d caused to his family had cored him like a deer hanging in a tree after the hunt. It was this lost soul that the devil himself showed up to take.

Lieutenant Croucier wasn’t Satan, it was just the term everyone who dealt in Chicago referred to him as. He was the scourge, the wrecking ball. When the Chicago PD decided they needed a neighborhood cleansed of a dealer, Croucier was the one they called. He somehow made deals that wiped out entire gangs with a single informant. He’d turned OG’s by the dozen,and no one was sure how he did it.

Croucier didn’t look like much, Slightly overweight, balding, and mousy. He looked like a mall cop or worse yet, one from the suburbs. And yet here he was, whispering in Ricky’s ear. It wasn’t that hard a sell, though.

Ricky wanted to die. He’d thought about going to the pathetic excuse of a bar the 33 Street Westies used as a headquarters with four of five bricks of plastique strapped to him. He’d think about it, then remember how he’d died inside since the murders, and didn’t wish that on anyone. But any move he’d make would cost him his life anyway. SO he was busy murdering his liver when Croucier found him.

Croucier’s plan seemed idiotic at first. Rat the Westies? Ricky may have been many things, but a rat wasn’t one of them. And what about his partner? He’d likely kill Ricky as well.

“Who do you think led us to you?” Croucier said, his voice like a stage whisper or soft breeze. Through the next months as they plotted and schemed, Ricky never saw Croucier display any emotion, or raise his voice. If he wasn’t ice, he was certainly snow.

Ricky was nervous as he stood outside the Westies’ new bar. Bought with blood and flesh, he thought. All of it his and his partners. But Ricky steeled himself with Klonopin and coke, which put him right into the land of Do Not Care Anymore. He was normally there all the time already, but the drugs kept his rage safe inside.

It kept him through the next four hours, where he faked his way through a surrender to Big Mike Falstaff, the gang’s leader. Once they’d shook hands, even the drugs couldn’t hold him anymore. He’d lunched himself over the desk at Mike, pinning him to the floor. By the time his handlers had blown the front door and taken the gang prisoner, Ricky had broken the man’s skull, nearly putting him in a coma.

The next day had been scary, even for Ricky, who was still numb and uncaring. It had taken a film school student stunt class to fake the accident that “killed” Ricky by putting him and his car into the Chicago River. One bribe to a coroner later, and Ricky was where he was now, being shipped back to a non-existent family enclave in Manitoba Waters, Wisconsin.

Ricky wondered when he could get out of this thing. He was not claustrophobic, but you spend four hours in a coffin and see what it does to your head.

Finally, the coffin opened. It was a gray sky that peeked out above Croucier’s head, as he pulled Ricky out of the box. Croucier was all smiles as he pulled Ricky up.

“Welcome to the land of the living! Well Wisconsin, anyway.” Croucier’s reasoning was that even if the Westies got suspicious, none of them would think to look this close. By then, all the surgery would be done.

It was another four month of hell as Ricky got a new face, a new identity, and spent hours testifying before grand juries. He told everything on everyone. The dead may hold secrets, but not the living dead, Croucier said.

So now they were here, in a small town outside Madison. Close enough to get some civilization, but not enough people to get too nosy. His new identity,Thomas Kane, had some money, but Ricky was going to open a store, just like his father. He owed him that much at least.

Ricky was stocking shelves, readying for opening. He couldn’t count on much traffic, not at the end of the tourist season. But Ricky hadn’t been dumb with his money, and had enough for a few years anyway. Couple that with a foreclosed house, a disability check every month, and SNAP, and he’d get by.

Croucier was walking around the store, face still ice cold. Ricky figured this was the last time he’d see the guy, so he had to ask.

“How do you do it, Croucier, how do you get everyone to turn?”

Croucier’s expression turned into what one could calla smile, but it looked horrible on him.

“Well, you’ve been sworn to secrecy, and you’re dead, so I suppose there’s no harm.”

He went out to his car and came back. He handed Ricky an envelope, and told him he couldn’t read it until he was all alone. He shook Ricky’s hand and then drove off.

That night, Ricky sat on his couch, exhausted from the day’s work. He cracked open a Miller and slit open Croucier’s envelope.
He went numb. He tried speaking, but no words came out. His mind raced, wondering, hoping, that this was not true. He looked inside again, stood up and walked out his front door. Later, the police report said the semi had been doing 80 when it turned him into a pile of flesh.

The police explored, but could find no explanation. No note, no clues, nothing was found. What made the mystery even worse were the two extra fingers the corpse had seemed to have,both sheared off during the crash.

Story a Day in May #3

No commentary tonight except that the people who gave Prisoners an 85% approval rating on Rotten tomatoes are on something. Here’s story number 3:

Blood flew from Bob’s nose as Ray’s knee connected with it. Bob staggered back, annoyed. Ray was taking a victory lap, which was true to his character,Baron Rodrick, the English Duke. What wasn’t part of the match was Bob’s now broken nose.
Bob turned to the ring post, sneezing the blood out of his nose. If this cost him TV time tomorrow, he was going to kick Ray’s head in. Might anyway, for making a screw up like that. Sure, mistakes happened in matches, but damn it, this was the third time this year. Maybe it was time to teach Ray a lesson.

Then Bob looked over to his corner, where Marie was standing. To everyone outside the business,they were Battling Bob and Mistress Mayhem. To him, she was everything. He was so distracted by her he almost forgot to duck when Ray flew into him. Ray slammed into the turnbuckle,and as he staggered out, Bob flung him across the ring, slamming him into the opposite corner. Bob smiled as he heard Ray hit the other side with a crack. Maybe that would teach him.

But here came Ray again, charging like a madman. This was a house show, not TV. Why was Ray going so hard. Sunday shows were supposed to build for Monday TV. Was Ray Juicing. He wrestled Ray so infrequently,it was hard to tell. Ray was younger, way down on the food chain. He’d done something to tick off the boss, and was jobbing to everyone in sight, which was causing his merch to gather dust at these shows. Baron Rodrick was boring, the dirt sheets were saying. Maybe Ray was trying to insert himself into Battling Bob’s storyline.

Not on Bob’s watch. Like most wrestlers, he knew the finish before he got in the ring. Tonight’s deal was for him to go over clean,without any problems. He and Marie would then drive over to Columbus for tomorrow’s live TV. Where he’d start a feud with Manta, aka Mark Du shay, also known as Marie’s ex-husband. Keeping it in the family while boosting their star was good for everyone all around.

Bob was thrown out of his figuring by Ray’s fist upside his head. Bob couldn’t understand it. Why was Ray doing this? It had to be drugs. Bob looked over at Burt, the referee,his eyes asking questions. Burt just shook his head, and looked away/ What was that about?Bob knew right there , he had to put a stop to this. He hated to do this in this YouTube age, with cameras everywhere, but Ray was flying way off the rails. As Ray kept swinging at him, he ducked down and punched him square in the balls.

That should have stopped any male on the planet,but not Ray. He roared,and headbutted Bob hard. Bob staggered back, his head ringing and everything going hazy for a second. He needed an out. He was already going heel tomorrow night, so the crowd wouldn’t be too surprised at what he did next. Marie and him had signals for every possible plan of attack. He took one index finger and circled his ear and then pointed down. Marie nodded, and reached under the ring. As Bob pushed off Ray,Marie came back up with a steel folding chair.

The reaction from the crowd was instant. Catcalls and boos echoed through the building, as Bob took the chair from Marie. Stuff like this was not supposed to go down in the post-concussion sports world, but Ray was not stopping, and Burt didn’t seem to care. Either drugs or a rat were involved here, and Bob had a good idea which drug dealing rat it was: Manta

One of the surprises Bob had coming up through the ranks was how upside down the backstage area of pro wrestling was to reality. What appeared random out there was planned, what everyone though was planned was free form, and most good guys were flaming assholes in real life.

Manta was no exception. Sure he’d had a great run ten years ago, but he was using a cocktail of supplements, hormones and painkillers these days. Apparently Ray was one of Stinger’s new “buddies”,using chemicals to get an edge.

Bob hated those things. He’d worked hard to get where he was at, and all those chemicals seemed like more trouble than they were worth. And they shrunk stuff, things Marie was fond of when they’d get a moment alone and awake. Bob was going to have a talk with Manta, AKA Eugene Dershowitz of Albany, tomorrow in Columbus.

But first,he had Ray to take care of. Bob gripped the chair like a bat,and swung for the fence. He was going to waste no more time screwing around with this putz. He hit Ray clear in the face, teeth spraying like rice. Ray collapsed like Enron stock, falling flat on the floor. Bob dropped the chair and glared at Burt, daring the referee to do something. Burt just shrugged then began counting Ray out. Bob began climbing out of the ring when everything went black.

He came to slowly, his ears ringing. He rolled on the mat, trying to get his bearings. Through the ringing, he could hear screams and yells. As he rolled , he felt something wet on his back, Looking over, he saw the referee laying in a pool of blood. Ray was turning Burt’s head into a cherry slushie, and the crowd was locked in horror. Where was Security. He staggered to his feet, appalled. Was this somehow planned? He looked over to the timekeepers table, and stared,eyes going wide with shock.

There sat Manta, holding a gun on the security squad. His eyes were glazed over, and one arm was flopping in the wind. The other Ray’s jaw was hanging from his mouth, blood pouring out. Bob’s brain connected the dots quick:PCP

He’d heard about it on the road. Animal trank, made you feel invincible. Most didn’t mess with it though, due to the psychosis in induced. Apparently the two Ray’s drug buddies had gotten them some, and Burt had paid the price.

Ray finished pulping Burt’s head and turned to Bob. Bob was hoping he’d stay focused on him but Ray then turned to where Marie was standing in the corner of the ring. Why hadn’t she run? Bob could hear people fleeing and screaming. She should have joined them. But she’d stayed true, and it might cost her her life tonight.
Bob had loved her from their first night on the road together. Eight hour drives had gone by in a haze with her. They were saving pennies, like every wrestler should. One bad match and this gig went away. Bob had a sinking feeling this was his and her’s end both.

Ray advanced on her, pulling down the straps on his tights. Good God, he thought. Ray was going to try that in the ring? Bob hated drugs more than he ever had anything in the world right then.

He pushed to his feet, dizzy as all hell,a plan coming together in his ringing skull. If he did it right, this could still end OK. One wrong step and bad was going to rain in here hard.

Bob grabbed Ray, not even trying to punch him. He threw him against the ropes, then ran behind him as he rocketed off the steel cables towards Manta. He had one chance to nail this.

Ray flew over the ropes, Bob close behind him. He hoped Manta was too out to notice the 500 pounds about to land on him. He hit hard onto the timekeepers table, his aim off a hair.

The shot exploded in Bob’s ear, and the pain in his chest staggered him. It broke the spell of the security crew, who pounced on Manta, beating him into oblivion. Bob laid there, the lights in the arena getting dimmer by the second.

Then she was there, raven curls around her face. Bob smiled, his last thought of her face sending him into oblivion happy.

 

Story a Day in May#2

Yes, i know it’s technically day 3 now, but I’ll go by West Coast time if I have to. Anyway, here goes nothing:

The Devil sat upon Mt. Ararat, watching the battle. Seraphim were flailing demons, while cherubim were being spit upon an arch-devil’s pitchfork. Damn, but he was tired. He looked at his watch,wondering. When was the guest of honor going to show?

A loud click in his ear held the answer. He stood, dusting off his suit,and flicked his cigarette away. He took out the mirror he knew he’d need for this day. He couldn’t look at the guy directly. So he held it up, and grinned at what he saw.

The war had not been kind to Yeshua ben Joseph. Most folks called him Jesus, but Lucifer knew the deal. One advantage to being what he was, he never really forgot. He wondered what Yeshua’s followers would say if they could see him now.

He was appearing as had on Earth, not as Leonardo and the rest of the Renaissance bigots had painted him. Long curly hair, black as sin(which caused Lucifer to giggle), a permanent shade of tan on skin, yes. But he’d switched his robes for white fatigues, and a cross big enough to make a Texan feel embarrassed. The battle had left scorch marks in places, and Lucifer was pretty sure that was Asmodeus’s right fang in Yeshua’s shoulder. Yeshua was holding a gold plated .50 caliber Desert Eagle to Lucifer’s head.

“I have you now, Lucifer!” Yeshua roared, so loud the mountain shook. His face, beard and all was a mask of rage. If only Falwell and them could see his Highness now, they’d die again from joy. And all the Quakers would throw themselves off a cliff,if they hadn’t all been wiped out in the first hour on Judgment Day.

“Pipe down, sonny boy, no need to shout. Everyone is buys killing each other off down there. Even if you blew me up with an atomic bomb, there’s two millennium or so of pissed off getting let loose in that melee.”

“I suppose you’re right,Satan. Or is it Lucifer? Or Old Scratch?” Yeshua pressed the gun into Lucifer’s temple again, causing a slight burn as the blessed weapon bit into his flesh.

“It’s Satan, honestly. I didn’t have any other names until that opium head Milton came up with the rest.” Satan reached into his suit pocket, took out another Sobraine. He was going to miss those things. Suddenly tired, he sat down on the rock. Why did the end of the world have to be so damn uncomfortable?

“Get up, you piece of scum!”Yeshua looked pissed. That’s what happens when you let Americans get hold of a deity, he thought. A hundred year case of testosterone poisoning.

“I’m not getting up, if you’re going to shoot me, shoot me, otherwise, I’m going to sit here and watch this thing go down.”

Yeshua backed up. This is not what he had planned. He’d marched victorious armies out of the Heavens, armed with the latest versions of man’s weapons. He’d killed demon after demon, and taken out the Anti-Christ with a drone. And yet,here he was with Satan himself, and there was…

 

Nothing.

 

Yeshua sat down next to Satan, watching the spectacle. A demon driven Abrams fell over down in the valley, crushed under the weight of several Nephilim. Yeshua wondered when they’d gotten to this thing.

“Hard to believe it all comes down to this,isn’t it?” The Devil handed Yeshua a rolled up joint. Yeshua took it,figuring if Father didn’t say it was bad, it must be all right.

“Damn, that’s making me hungry.” said Yeshua as he inhaled. He hadn’t eaten since he’d come down. “I could use a feast or two now”

“Well,forget about it, Yeshua. After this,you don’t get a feast. All the humans are gone, remember? And they ain’t coming back.” Lucifer stood up, this time looking angry. He grabbed Yeshua’s gun and pointed it at his temple. Before Yeshua could react, he’d pulled the trigger.

And nothing happened. Lucifer tried four or five times before handing it back to Yeshua. Then he hauled off and clocked Yeshua, knocking him to the ground. Yeshua came up with the Desert Eagle in his hand and pointed it at Lucifer’s head again. He clicked off the safety, and was preparing to fire when he stopped cold.

Lucifer was crying. Blood red tears were flowing down each cheek. That wasn’t what was freaking Yeshua out. It was the expression on Lucifer’s face. He’d seen it every day since he’d ascended. On mothers begging for children’s lives, on husbands begging for wives to come back,all of them asking, begging, and pleading.

Yeshua fell to his knees, tired again. It was easier to bear,there in Heaven,when you were part of the command team. But down here, it was , no pun intended, too big a cross to bear.

“Why? Why won’t you do it?” Lucifer was pleading now. “I did my part, now you do yours.”

“Finish me.”

“No.” Yeshua stood, and brushed off his clothes, turning them into robes once more. “I am a merciful God, Lucifer, and so I grant you release. Even you can get forgiveness, here in the end.”

“Except you can’t, Yeshua.” The devil was striding toward him, then blocking his path.Yeshua tried walking around him but Lucifer blocked him at every turn. He felt the anger rising inside himself again.

“Do not make me regret my decision, Lucifer!” Yeshua slapped Lucifer, the noise ringing across the valley. Anger rising, he found the gun again in his hand. Yeshua looked down, confused, wondering what game Lucifer was pulling in the end.

“What trickery is this,Devil?” His fatigues appeared again, and he was confused. He looked skyward for guidance.

“No trickery, Yeshua.” Lucifer sighed, his shoulders slumped. He pointed behind Yeshua “Maybe He can explain it better.”

Yeshua turned around surprised to see the Meta-tron, Father’s official voice on Earth here. It was, as always, a hot mess of eyes and wings. Yeshua turned and faced it.

“Yes, Father. I’d like some clarity here. What’s going on”

 

IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD.

 

Yeshua looked at the Meta-tron Another one of Father’s riddles?Now,at the end, in this place?

Lucifer came and stood beside him, his flesh burning from the holy radiance.

“You don’t get it yet, do you?The Word, it was always about the words.”

It came clear to Yeshua now. All the words were written down then they were changed, and so he changed with them. As did Father, and the angels, and all of it. Near the end,the words of unbelief had almost undone them. But here they were now.

And Yeshua understood. His part was written. And now there was no one to change the end, no more writers to write him a way out. He knew what he had to do. He turned to Lucifer, understanding all of it at once. He clicked off the safety again and aimed right between Lucifer’s eyes.

“Thank you.” said Lucifer.

 

Story a Day in May #1

So there’s this crazy thing going around about doing a story a day in May. Going to give it a shot. Here’s the first:

Jesse woke up groggy and cold. Greyhound was not known for comfort, but half a bottle of Robo cured all,especially on the night trips. Night trips were all he’d take now,anyway. Day meant sun, and people, and hope. Jesse wanted none of these.

He hopped off the bus, bag on his shoulder. Same McDonald’s at 3AM, same staff firebombed by life. Minimum wage and minimum lives, slowly being crushed by reality. He used to care and think they were sad. But that was a lifetime ago,it seemed. He splashed water on his face, hoping to stay awake long enough to feed, then take the other half of the bottle of Robo.

Looking in the mirror was always a mistake. He never wanted to anymore. Some guy was staring at him in the mirror, then blinked. Not his eyes, just himself. Jesse turned, but then guy just walked off. Robo did some strange stuff, especially in large amounts. Jesse shivered, then headed to line up with the rest of the travelers.

Two cheeseburgers and a Coke later, and Jesse was getting close to awake. Another trip to the john and one long chug would take care of that. He could sleep without the Robo, but the Robo held the dream in check. Last thing Jesse wanted to do was dream. He was rising to go hit the head when the guy sat down across from him.

The first thing Jesse noticed about him was that he didn’t notice him. Your eyes kept sliding off of him. Jesse was unsure of what the guy wanted from him. Some wanted drugs, others a quick trip to the stalls before boarding back up. Jesse didn’t swing that way,but it didn’t bother him when they asked. Only when they wouldn’t take no for an answer. The last one had taken Jesse’s Robo stupor as a reason to discount his 300 pounds and 6 feet of height. That guy was still in a cell in Knoxville, he hoped.

Jesse sat down. Years later, he wouldn’t be able to say why. He couldn’t figure out why he kept not looking at the guy. You’d think he could the way the guy looked. Not too many dread heads on a bus to Green Bay,especially old ones. And the pink parka should have made him stand out as well, But Jesse kept not looking at him.

“Give me the gun”. The voice was a low rumble,snapping Jesse’s head up in an instant. He didn’t know how the guy knew. The guy just stared at him now, his eyes locked on Jesse’s.

“Give me the gun. Just slide it under the table.” Jesse started to sweat,wondering if this was some cop thing. He’d spent one night in jail around here, and didn’t care to repeat the experience.

“I’m not a cop, and you don’t need it.” Jesse just stared at Mr. Old Rasta, his Robo buzz gone in a flash of adrenaline. The weight of his journey was suddenly clear, and tears welled in his eyes.

“I’m afraid I can’t do that,man.” The backpack was resting on the seat next to him. He tried to look over at it, but his eyes wouldn’t leave the piercing stare. He never could remember later what color the man’s eyes were.

“Don’t do it, Jesse. You think this is what they’d want? What you’ve become? To have it end like that?” The bag seemed to be made of lead now. Jesse was wondering what show he was on. He glanced around, seeing a state trooper at the registers. Maybe it was time to go for it.

Then a little girl wandered in front of the trooper, and Jesse froze. She was the same age as his Alice. Clarity hit him, shattering his nerve.

Jesse unzipped the backpack, and slid out the .22, hidden in a folded up shirt. He slid it under the table, not sure why. The man just smiled,stood, tipped a non-existent hat, and was gone.

“All passengers for Greyhound 45, time to go!” The world snapped like a rubber band around him. He stood, groggy, wondering about the dream. He slid his hand into the backpack, finding the pistol gone. One of his fellow passengers was standing as well. Jesse asked him about the old Rasta he’d been talking to. Guy hadn’t seen him,and asked what Jesse was smoking,since he’d been alone this entire time.

Jesse boarded the bus, sitting down in his seat. As the bus went down I-94, dawn crept over the horizon. It was still dark, Jesse thought, but a little light was coming back. He hugged the bag,holding what little he had left of Alice. He was taking it to where she’d been born, and maybe he could start living there as well.

one, no title.

 

Short and sweet

So, in an effort to see if/wHo/what is reading this thing, I’m offering up my first attempt at a micro short story. I’d love some feedback, just to know I am not just typing into the void. I think this is what they call flahs fiction, but I wrote it as a warm up for a 100 word story contest.

Oops.

by

Trevor Curtis

Today, the sky went out. People came outside, looking for it. All the stars and clouds were gone, replaced by black. Stocks fell and babies cried, cars crashed on streets and the world descended into chaos.

Tim was the reason. The thought went through humanity’s brain all at once. Around the world, all people named Tim died, were captured, or even raped in the next twelve hours. Above the clouds, a small alien cursed,thinking this was the last time he’d use a Windows product. Translate, my ass.

 

Outing myself 1:I’m a liberal

 “I’m sick of being ashamed. I don’t mind being dejected and rejected, but I’m not going to be ashamed about it.”-Pump up the Volume(1990)

The secret is out, I’m afraid. I can’t hide in the dark any longer. Why am I making this grand announcement now? Two things have precipitated this: Bundy Ranch and Stephen Colbert. In case you live under a rock, Colbert was named as successor to Letterman,arguably the most important late night host since Carson. And the Neo-cons of the world went apopleptic, claiming that Colbert is somehow “racist” against right wing ideas and figures. I believe this falls under the category of “let’s find the people whose sense fo humor is less than the Taliban”.

The second is that piece of puerile public theatre known as the Bundy Ranch standoff. Here’s what isn’t in dispute: dude owes twenty years of grazing fees to the Feds. Feds decided to come round up his cattle because he owes them money and broke the law. Somehow, this got turned into some kind of Robin Hood  scenario that had gun rights advocates and militia members getting into physical confrontations with protesters. Sadly, the Feds backed off. I’d love for some of those weekend warriors get into it with real fighters. It sure worked out well for Koresh, didn’t it?

All of this has left me a little annoyed and ticked off. I’m annoyed that the conversation about Colbert is not about a giant of television passing the torch. Nope, it’s about how partisan this country has become. So let me say it loud and clear:enough is enough.

I’m a liberal, and I’m pissed. I’m tired of mass media passing off centrists like Obama as liberal when he isn’t. There are only two stereotypes of liberals allowed in the discussion these days, either milquetoasts or shrill fools like Feinstein. Let me assure you, there is a bunch of us who do not resemble either of those.

I’m a liberal, yes. Mainly because Neo-cons won’t stay out of my prayers or my daughter’s vagina. I support the right to bear arms, but I also support the right of my children not to die because a bunch of gun company whores won’t regulate them fairly. I think the Democrats need to stop spying on everyone, because that’s what we have Facebook and Twitter for. I want welfare to end, but for companies, not people. I’m pro-choice, and I’m pro-what happens to kids after they’re born.I’m fed up with voter apathy, climate change denial for cash, and media consolidation, I think if 90 percent of the wealth is in the hands of ten percent of the population, and you don’t think that’s a problem, you’re a fool. I don’t like the ACA, but only because it doesn’t go far enough. I don’t care about record profits because the market is a scam, period. I think things are getting better int he US not because of the market, but because people I know are in general, doing a bit better. I think all CEOs should make no more than 250,000, and that taxes should be assessed on all income, period.

My political heroes are people like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren,who are fighting the good fight. I think we need not two parties, but several. And anyone who justifies the electoral college to me will have my new wrestling hold put on them, called the Partisan Gridlock. It’s a triangle choke while I take your wallet.

This will be continued shortly. What will I come out as next? Hint:it’s not as a brony

Grinding it out vs. Goal oriented.

One of the biggest problems I have is consistency of writing. One of the reasons I got this website made was to force myself into writing consistently. I love those people who have so much story in them that they could just sit in front of a computer for years until their  hearts give out with joy. The number of successful writers who are that way number in the statistically insignificant.

My writing gurus, Joe Eszterhas and Chuck Wendig, both are advocates of the sit down and write like a motherfucker as much as possible. They’re advocates of  the grind enough shit out, and eventually you’ll get something you can polish into a diamond. It’s a formula you’d be well advised to look at, since it’s worked for pretty much everyone you can find on a bookshelf.

Here’s my problems with that theory of work. I can’t do it. If I sit down in front of a computer with no goals to write for an hour, all you’re going to get is self-involved BS about how my life sucks. If I really wanted to do that, I’d be back on Tumblr. I’d also be failing miserably at my policy of trying to be more positive in my public outporings.

So what should I do? I think I need to have things be goal oriented.I think this is due to having a BA in Journalism, where I was drilled in the school of word efficiency. This is fine for me, since my writing idols are people like Joe Lansdale and Andrew Vachss. Vachss said and I’m paraphrasing a lot, that “writing should be like a prizefight, with each sentence being like a jab or a feint, setting up for the roundhouse  at the end of the story” He believes in word economy, of using every word just right.

But put me on a deadline with a goal, and all bets are off. I’m a ninja  at getting into it once i have a goal and the clock is ticking. I think the trick for me is getting into that mode,that mindset of got to get it done, now. Yes, I did Nano wrimo, but I spent half the time I should have, because I work better under pressure. Boy, was I trained well. Can you say Pavlov?

So, dear readers(all five of you that aren’t related) I’m putting it to you, do I do a short story? A novel? A rewrite? I need a goal. If anyone knows of a site for finding out who’s looking for what for short stories, let me know. Me, I have a  wife to wake up from her nap and garbage that needs to be taken out.

Lazy entry:500 words about stuff I’m grateful for

Can’t think of a topic to write on that won’t make me sound like a whiny ass hipster, so going to try and be positive instead. Here’s some random words about what I’m grateful for.

My Wife and Children. Words can never do justice to the ways in which my life has improved by their presence. I’d like to tell you that children have made me more patient and tolerant, but at least they make me try to be, anyway. And my wife is honestly, the best friend I’ve ever had, which leads me to the next  entry.

Friends(aka Family): My biological family is a story for when I finally decide to write my autobiography, but  lets face it, I’m trying to be positive. But my friends, they’re the real deal. How they’re still friends with me after all these years is beyond me. I mean, I suck as a friend, let’s be honest. I have left behind a trail of unpaid bills, forgotten social engagements, and enough ride cajoling to choke a horse. I’ve slept on their couches for years, and was the last of us to bother to grow up. I owe them so much, I can never repay. And just when I think they’re quit of me, some of them drive six hours to see me at my first(and hopefully not last) book signing. Even when it meant driving in Indiana, where there’s at least six portals to Hell.

The South: Man, I’m going to get a lot of crap for this. But there’s a lot to recommend down here. First of all, it’s got good weather. Yes, it’s not California or Texas, but both of those have too many Californians and Texans in them, and I’ve never gotten along well with people from either place. Plus, compared to someplace like Chicago, the rates of official corruption are almost nothing.Minus side, is that like the place I last lived(Kenosha,WI), there’s a church on every corner. Bad part is that unlike Kenosha, there isn’t a bar on every opposite corner.  Plus, everyone here is so nice,even when they’re assholes to you. If someone’s a jerk to your face  down here, chances are, he isn’t a native.

Magazines: I could do entire columns on my love for music,movies or books. I shoudl do one on magazines, but not going to. Not sure why I find them appealing. It’s not like I couldn’t get most of what’s in them off the net. Maybe they remind me of  the past, when I’d spend hours reading magazines in Shinders(RIP) or Borders(RIP2).  Even if I was in there reading Terrorizer or Rue Mogue, the act fo doing that combined being in public, which I have issues with, and reading, which I’m an addict of. I could subscribe to most of what I get, and probably should, if just for economic reasons. But it takes me back to go hunting for the latest issue on the stands. It reminds me of going to Chicago to get the latest issue of Hit List or Locus, because no one within fifty miles were carrying either.

That’s it for now, feel free to comment, because gods knows, my writerly ego could use the stroking.