Refrigerated Dreams (Act 2)

The wheels suddenly slowed, and the bottom of her sneakers slid into the gravel as Veronica Genesis stopped her bike at the rim of the garbage-strewn hole in the ground. Rude Rudy came up behind her in a cloud of dust.

“He’s in there?” she asked, pointing down into the trash pit and where an old goldenrod-colored refrigerator stuck out like an alien monolith.

“Yep,” Rudy smacked.

The girl turned to look at him. “You really locked him in there?”

“Yeah. You should have seen him. He was crying and acting like such a pussy.”

Veronica looked back down at the refrigerator. “That’s murder.”

Rudy scoffed. “So. No one’s going to miss him. He was a nobody.”

She snapped her head back in his direction. “He had a family.”

“They probably suck, too,” Rudy laughed, and he climbed off his bike and let it fall to the ground. “Come on,” he said, and he started making his way down the side of the landfill pit.

The girl reluctantly followed after him.

She stood before the nasty looking old refrigerator and watched as he undid the scrap wiring that they had wrapped around it to keep poor Adam Longo securely shut in. When the last of it dropped away, she stepped back as he went to pull the door open. He looked at her and grinned. “Are you ready?”

She shook her head, but her face showed she was frightened.

“You might want to hold your nose because he’ll probably be a bit ripe,” he said, and he laughed and yanked it open.

It was empty.

They stood there and stared inside it, absolutely puzzled.

“You made all this up, didn’t you,” Veronica snapped. “What an awful dirty trick.”

Rusty was stunned for a moment. “No. I swear! We put him in here.”

Veronica rolled her varnished lemon-yellow eyes and scoffed. “You’re so full of shit.”

“Go ask the other guys!” Rudy yelled.

“I don’t want anything to do with your stupid friends,” Veronica said, and she turned and started to make her way back up.

“Wait!” he yelled out. “I swear it. He was in there!”

“I’m going to the mall,” she yelled out without turning to look at him. “And I think we need to reevaluate our relationship.” When she got to the lip of the landfill, she got on her bike and rode away toward the Grainer Falls Outlet Bazaar.


The mall was a mix of inside and outside spaces connected by walkways and manicured green areas and small bricked plazas where there were little booths set up that sold sodas and snacks and homemade trinkets and wares, and they sat in the shadows of the big box behemoths stuffed with China-made crap. Somebody somewhere decided to turn the place into a festival of shopping, a carnival of capitalistic hot iron branding and the cattle came in droves and made animal noises as they grazed the asphalt acres.

Veronica Genesis sat on a slotted wooden bench beneath a tree and licked at a vanilla ice cream cone. She was watching a man on stilts juggling bowling pins. He was dressed as a scary clown for some reason. In the other direction, she saw a bare-chested man with big muscles and hairy arms swallowing fire. People with fancy shopping bags dangling from the crooks of their arms were gathered around him and clapping and yelling out “Oh my!” and “Whoo.” Veronica rammed the tip of her tongue deep into the ice cream to make a fashionable dent. “People are so god damn stupid,” she mumbled to herself.

A figure suddenly appeared at her side, and she looked up. It was Andy Bliss from school. He wore a shirt with horizontal stripes, tight jeans and a had a blue baseball cap plopped atop his head of curly brown hair. Veronica thought he was dreamy.

“Hi,” he said, being very friendly.

She quickly wiped the ice cream from her mouth with her forearm and looked up at him and smiled, hoping to God there was nothing on her face still. “Hey,” she said back.

“Have you seen Rudy anywhere?” he asked her.

“I left him at the dump.”

The boy snickered, climbed off his bike, and sat down next to her on the bench. “He is kind of a piece of trash,” Andy laughed.

Veronica made a noise of agreement as she shoved the last of the ice cream cone into her mouth, her cheeks puffed out like a fish. “You got that right,” she sloppily grumbled. “Sorry,” she said with a white smile. “I shouldn’t talk with my mouth full.”

Andy Bliss studied her for a moment. “It’s okay. I think you’re pretty no matter what.”

Veronica’s heart invisibly swelled, and her stomach tingled with happiness. She could feel the heat rising to her face and she knew she was blushing. “Thanks,” was all she could say.

“I was supposed to hang out with Rudy, but… Do you want to go get high?” He reached into his pocket and carefully showed her a baggie of meaty, glistening buds.

She stared at it. “I don’t know,” she said, and she looked up into his rich green eyes. “I’ve never done it before.”

Andy was surprised. “Really?”

“Yeah. Really.”

“It will be fun. I won’t let anything happen to you,” he reassured her, and he climbed back onto his bike and motioned to her with his head to follow him.

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You can read the previous part of this story HERE.


Refrigerated Dreams (Act 1)

He opened a door and went into a room that looked like an old, empty kitchen. The floor was a dirty white and blue tile. The walls were once virgin cream but now a nicotine-smeared yellow. There was a goldenrod-colored refrigerator from the antique days against one wall and it hummed like an old man sleeping in a comfortable chair after a few too many Rob Roys. He went and pulled on the handle of faux wood and hardened aluminum. There was no food inside but instead a hot gray sky with spotlights of white gently boiled there like mystical magic dreams. The bare branches of trees reached toward the stars in the upper corners like crooked black fingers. Rows upon rows of Wizard of Oz green corn below stretched toward some infinite horizon he puzzled over.

He stepped inside and closed the door behind him. It was suddenly dark and smelled a bit musty. He wanted to get back out and so he pushed on the door, but it would not open. He started pounding on it, but it was useless. There was no one out in that old vacant kitchen that would help him. He was alone. His breathing sped up. His heart began to race. He was scared. But they said it would be fun. They said it would be a great exercise in imaginative play. Now he was trapped, and somewhere in the distance, on the crest of the junk heap, they were pointing down and laughing at him. They shook their heads and climbed onto their bikes and rode home with an odd sense of war-time victory.


Someone had left out a plate of cookies for the leader of the young gang of present-day bullies, future politicians and obnoxious assholes. He was big for 13 and he had a round head and orange curly hair and freckles on his ever-angry face. He scooped up the plate and took it into the room where the video game console was set up. He plopped down into the worn couch with crumbs scattered about, turned on his game and started killing bad people with medieval weapons. He laughed and felt superior when the blood splashed, and the bodies fell.

The leader’s cell phone lit up. It was his mother sending a text, and she was going to be late coming home from work — again. He shook his head and tossed the phone aside without replying. “Bitch,” he mumbled, and he went back to slaying the innocents that wandered the cobbled streets of some historical playground.

The kid’s name was Rude Rudy, and his gang was known as the Black Disciples — a crew of white suburban middle school latchkey bullies who thought they were invincible kings in their sheltered kingdom of neon convenience stores, strip malls and fast-food hangouts rung by littered forests and low hills perfect for hideouts and fooling around with chicks. Rude Rudy’s “queen” was a neighborhood girl by the name of Veronica Genesis — a rich kid intellectual with shiny chestnut-colored hair who wanted to be a psychiatrist when she grew up so that she could “Mess around with people’s brains,” as she liked to say.

Now she came calling.

“Come in!” Rude Rudy yelled out, for he could not be troubled with getting up and opening the door, not when he was in the midst of a deadly multi-combo barrage of melee attacks.

A moment later, she stepped into the room.

“Hi,” she said, and she went to sit down uncomfortably close to him.

He bucked his shoulders to get her off of him. “Not when I’m playing. Never when I’m playing,” he reminded her.

“You’d rather play your stupid game than kiss me?” she asked him.

He turned his head but kept his eyes on the game. “Do it quick,” he told her.

She gave him a short peck on the corner of his mouth. She suddenly pulled away and made a face. “Have you been drinking?”

He laughed. “Yeah. It’s so cool.”

“Where did you get alcohol?”

“Our high school friend, Steve. He works at the grocery store and sneaks it out, duh. I thought I told you that we can party whenever. When I talk, people listen. They react. They do things for me.”

Veronica Genesis sighed aloud. “I don’t know why I waste my time on you,” she complained.

Rude Rudy laughed again through a sneer. “Because I’m the best you’re going to get, little lady. I’m a powerful figure in the underworld of Grainer Falls.”

She shook her head in befuddlement. “Are we going to go do something or not? I don’t want to sit around here watching you play video games for the rest of the day. Can’t we go to the mall or something?”

He suddenly hit the pause button on his controller and turned to look at her. She was wearing makeup and her face looked like a glossy picture in a teen magazine. “Do you want to see a dead body,” he asked with all seriousness.

She stared at him, stunned, and then she laughed. “What are you talking about? What dead body?”

“You know that kid, Adam Longo?”

“The new boy you’re always picking on?”

“Yeah. What a loser dweeb.”

 “Did you do something to him?”

“Me and the fellas dragged him down to the dump and shut him in an old refrigerator,” Rude Rudy bragged. “He might be dead by now… Come with me and we’ll go check.”

Veronica Genesis put a finger to her lips and thought about it for a moment. “If he’s still alive, I would like to document the state of his mind… For scientific purposes. The research could help me get into a good university.” He looked at her and shook his head and then he leaned in and awkwardly kissed her. “Let’s just go take a look.”

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