The Revenant Tender

The hiss of summer lawns is gone.

Heartbeats stumble among the missing.

The Tulsa streets dry as bone and marbles.

And Mother Mary the Vicious is drinking alone.

On a stool of torn red vinyl in a yellow brick bar with one glass and silver door smudged with human residue.

She’s tipping back buckets of wine and regretting the stings of a new world religion. She turns her partially veiled head toward a cacophony of dart playing and loud, boastful inebriation. Mother Mary the Vicious looks up to the Tender and nods her head and asks in a whisper, “Do they always make so much damn noise?”

The Tender is mopping the guts of a glass with a white towel. “What’s it to you, God chick?”

“I’m trying to commune with the heavens and they’re disturbing me.” Mother Mary the Vicious turns back to look at the rowdy rebels. “I would think they would have better things to do on a Sunday afternoon.”

The Tender, that being the tender of the bar, looked at her and snorted a scoff. “Who the hell are you to talk. You’re in here drinking buckets of wine. Big buckets, too. So big you gotta use two holy hands. Just let ’em be. They’re just having a little fun on their one day of rest.”

“They should be at the church… Volunteering and such. The lawn could use a good mowing. Christ on the cross needs his nailed feet polished as well.”

“Piss off!” the Tender snapped. “You’re nothing but a hypocritical revenant come haunting my bar again.”

Mother Mary the Vicious took offense. “I’m very much alive.”

“Are ya now?”

“Absolutely… Bring me another bucket to celebrate my own breathing days.”

The Tender turned in a huff and went off to find another gallon of wine down in the hidden back and out and around of a stuffy stone cellar.

Mother Mary the Vicious got off her stool and went to where the hooligans were. They quieted down when they saw her coming their way. Their eyes followed her.

“I’m surprised you could walk all that way in a straight line,” the big one with the dark green shirt said as he clutched a handful of darts. He had a large head, shaved by stone, and a once broken nose on his street-tough looking face. “Ya didn’t fall down a bit, sister.” They all laughed out loud at her.

She made a motion with her hands. “Give me them darts. I want to play.”

They all laughed at her again.

“Jesus, sister,” the same one said. “I don’t think you could hit the side of a house in your condition.” They roared with laughter again.

Mother Mary the Vicious grew impatient. “Stop mouthing off and just give me the darts.”

The rough one shrugged, stepped forward and handed her the darts. “Here ya go, sister. Don’t poke your eyes out.”

She smiled and grimaced at the same time. “Just clear me a path to the dart board.”

The hooligans stepped aside as she stepped up to the line. She squinted at the board. She raised one dart and moved it back and forth in the air as she set up her shot. She threw it and it stuck in the hole-strewn wall inches away from the board. They clapped, whistled and laughed. “Good one, sister!” a short skinny one who looked far too young to be in a bar shouted. Then he pointed. “The board’s over there!” More rowdy laughter.

“I’m just warming up,” Mother Mary the Vicious sneered in the smoky, dense beer-scented air. Then she lined up another dart, threw it, and once again, it pierced the plaster inches to the side of the board.

“I don’t think you’re warm enough yet!” the young one said, and as he hoisted a mug of ale to his mouth, another dart whizzed through the air and hit him directly in the eye. The mug fell to the floor in a splash and a crash. The young one wailed, clutched his aching, bloodied socket, and fell to his knees.

“Ya blinded him, ya fucking bitch!” the rough one yelled out, and he came at her as the others surrounded their wounded companion. He grabbed her by the throat and walked her back with force until she was pinned against a far wall. Framed photos of olden days rattled. His hands clamped down on her neck. Mother Mary the Vicious was about to drop down into blackness when a gun shot went off.

The Tender stood in the room holding a smoking Spanish pistola aimed at the ceiling. “The next one’s going straight in your thick head Bruno boy if you don’t let the sister go right now.”

Bruno looked at him, his face wet with sweat and anger. Then he turned back to Mother Mary the Vicious. “You’re lucky this time, sister,” he sneered. He released his hands and stepped away from her.

The Tender nodded at Bruno with his head. “Now gather your injured boy and get him out of here. You tell them doctors it was all an accident. There was no vicious intent here by the sister, or anyone. You got that?”

Bruno looked at his companions as they got the whimpering young one to his feet. “Let’s go,” he said. And they all made their way to the door and out to the street and disappeared into the Sunday golden mist.

The Tender went to Mother Mary the Vicious. He studied her. “Are ya all right?” he asked with a strange degree of concern.

“Yes. I think so. Thank you for helping me. I thought you found me distasteful.”

“Not really.” The Tender leaned back and watched her swirling eyes watch him. “But this has nothing to do with love, sister. I was merely protecting my property. Don’t get any funny ideas now.”

She laughed softly and with a sense of slight disappointment. “I didn’t say a word about love.”

“You didn’t have to. I saw it in your eyes. I can taste it in the room.”

Mother Mary the Vicious snickered with embarrassment. “You don’t have to worry about me loving you like that… I prefer the company of women.”

The Tender raised his eyebrows in blown away wonder. “You enjoy going down under with the ladies, do ya?”

She nodded her head in an absolute. “That’s why I like wine so much. It pairs well with the taste.”

“Don’t the gods in the heavens have a problem with that?” the Tender asked, looking up through the ceiling of the bar.

“Not my gods,” she answered, and then a shadowy figure appeared in the doorway, and the woman was partially backlit by the Sunday sun. “I have to go now,” Mother Mary the Vicious announced. “It’s time for our Sunday drive to the edge of town. To the edge of good and bad and everything else in between.” She looked around at the memories she forever scarred the bar with. “I trust you will clean up the blood I spilled and put any charges on my tab. The church’s tab?”

The Tender traced everything she had just looked at with his own eyes. “No charge today, sister. And I’ve got plenty of towels for the blood. You just go and love like thunder and then some. It’s all this world’s got left.”


The Dweller in the Christmas Mustard (Ep. 2)

The man was identified as Oswald Madness, a drifter through time and space and now under special scrutiny in a locked room down in the hidden bowels of Denver International Airport. Two men from security stood around him. They were both wearing white dress shirts and red ties and sunglasses the deep dark color of alien eyes. The younger one was sucking on a colored toothpick. The older one had his foot up on a chair and was twiddling his thumbs while he looked at the detainee with a dubious stare.

Then he cleared his throat. “What business do you have in Denver?” he asked.

Oswald looked at him and then the other before speaking. “Leisure.”

“Vacation?” the younger one asked.

“Something like that,” Oswald answered.

The older one brought his foot down off the chair and walked slowly around the small, brightly lit room with no windows. “Something like what? Could you be more specific?”

“I’ve come to visit a friend in Arvada. He’s a butcher and he’s invited me to the grand opening of his new shop. That specific enough for you?”

The younger one chuckled. “Do you enjoy the complete and utter annihilation of others?”

Oswald made a what the fuck face. “I don’t understand.”

“The knives Mr. Madness,” the older one chimed in. “We discovered the knives. In your backpack.” He glanced over at his partner. “What are the knives for?”

“I told you. My friend is a butcher. They’re a gift for him. To celebrate his new way of life.”

The younger one laughed again, broke his toothpick, and threw it into some invisible space in the corner of the room. “Just how did you get through security in Milwaukee with a backpack full of knives?” he desperately wanted to know.

Oswald was quiet for a moment. “Security doesn’t ever see me.”

“So, you bypass security somehow?” the younger one said, glancing quickly at his partner.

Oswald looked at him deeply. “No, they just don’t see me. I stand in the queue, I politely wait my turn, I go on through. I don’t know what else to tell you.”

The older one went over to the younger one and whispered something. He shielded his words with a hand thinking that would keep Oswald from hearing what was said.

But he heard anyway.

“Have them pull surveillance from Milwaukee…”


There was a light knocking and the heads of the two interrogators snapped toward the door.

“Oh, shit,” groaned the younger one. Then he looked at Oswald. “Whatever you do, don’t piss her off when she asks you questions.” He went over to open the ugly door, and what appeared in the frame like sudden magic was something Oswald had never expected. It was the young girl who had been sitting in the airport food court and staring at him.

She looked at the two officers. “Leave me alone with him,” she ordered, and they quickly hustled out of the room. The door closed with a heavy, metallic click. The girl slowly circled Oswald like he was prey. She didn’t look like she did before. The conservative religious sect garb of yesteryear was replaced by a loose-fitting snappy navy-blue pant suit, and she wore a crisp white shirt and had on a red tie like the other two. Her hair, the color of a lemon-yellow sun, was pulled back tight and the excess pinned neatly into a circular mass on top of her head, and it looked like she was wearing a cinnamon roll for a hat. She wore black-rimmed glasses over her small eyes that hung below her oddly oversized forehead. Her nose was like a rabbit’s and her small mouth poked out like a swirling peppermint candy. Her stern look made Oswald nervous, but at the time he wanted to laugh at her because she was swimming in those clothes, and she made the harsh room smell like bubblegum.

The girl stopped moving and sat down in the chair opposite him. She looked so small and awkward in it, he thought.

“Who are you?” he asked.

“Who are you?” she shot back.

“You must already know.”

She leaned forward and put her small arms on the table. “I know a lot of things,” she said. “Most of all I know that you have disrupted the vibrations of my particular plane in time and space.”

“Look,” Oswald began. “I was on an airplane to come see my friend in Arvada to help him celebrate the launch of his new business. The next thing I know, the world goes weird and suddenly I’m here being accused of whatever I’m being accused of.”

“Bullshit,” the young girl said so plainly and straightforward that it forced Oswald to take her more seriously. “That sounds like a very normal story but there is nothing normal about you.”

“Where are your parents?”

“I am the parent,” she snapped back.

You’re in charge around here?”

“You seem so surprised, Mr. Madness.”

“You’re a kid. How old are you?”

“Right now?”

He studied her intently. “Yes.”

“12… Yesterday I may have been 54. I never really know until I get there.”

“I don’t really get what you could possibly mean. Can I get a lawyer?”

“No.”

“But it’s my right.”

“Not here.”

Oswald pulled on the restraint that kept him chained to the table like an animal. “You can’t do this!”

The girl stood up and made a face to the camera in the corner of the ceiling. She made a strange nod with her head. A moment later two people entered the room, a man and a woman, and they were garbed like doctors. One wrapped something around Oswald’s head to keep him from spitting and screaming while the other one quickly injected something into his arm with a long needle. The girl happily smiled while watching the green liquid enter him.

TO BE CONTINUED

Go HERE to read the previous episode.


Revolution Meat (Last Part)

After cleaning up the kitchen, Marsella Blume stood out beneath the carport with a cigarette and three fingers of whiskey in an iced glass. She exhaled toward the heavens and laughed to herself. “What a fool I’ve married,” she said, her thoughts lighthearted at first but then she suddenly deeply regretted most of what she had done with her life, and she almost started to cry. “I live on a planet of murderers and I’m the only one who seems to care. Rubbish.” She tossed the glass out into the street and listened for the glory of the scattering smashing.

The record store downtown was open late on most nights because it was the cool thing to do. The sidewalk there was dirty, and rebellious teens loitered about talking loudly and laughing and playing music out of their cars. Marsella pushed on the door of silver metal and heavy smudged glass and went in. The place smelled like the smoking of marijuana. Loud music blared from hidden speakers. She went over to the area where they had the alternative rock, post-punk indie music CDs. S, S, S, she was looking for something that began with S. Then her fingers hit on it. The Smiths. The album was titled Meat is Murder and she pulled it from its place and looked it over. “Hmm, this used to be one of my favorites,” Marsella mumbled to herself aloud. “How strange that I had forgotten about it for all these years and then suddenly it comes back to me… Memories do tend to return to find you and shake you at the most unexpected times in our lives.”

Marsella went to the counter and presented what she wanted to buy. The young man with blue hair and piercings that made his face look like a pincushion looked at the CD and then looked at her. He made a weird face with his already weird face.

Marsella gave him a playful smile. “Don’t you get it, Johnny? It’s for me.” She handed him the money, took her change and bag, and walked out of the store and to her car.


Marsella drove fast and in complete disregard for the laws of the prickly electric night. She had the windows rolled down and the volume of the stereo was turned up high to overtake the whoosh of the air blowing in. She had track 10 on repeat, and the lyrics of Meat is Murder burrowed into her head and stoked the flames of her disenchantment with human beings and the world in general:

Heifer whines could be human cries
Closer comes the screaming knife
This beautiful creature must die
This beautiful creature must die
A death for no reason
And death for no reason is murder

And the flesh you so fancifully fry
Is not succulent, tasty or kind
It’s death for no reason
And death for no reason is murder
And the calf that you carve with a smile
It is murder
And the turkey you festively slice
It is murder
Do you know how animals die?…

“Do you know how animals die!?” Marsella screamed out as she brought the car to a stop in the nearly empty parking lot of the grocery store. She got out of the car and went around to the back and popped open the trunk. She reached inside and pulled out the can of red paint she had pilfered from her husband’s work shed, set it on the ground, and undid the lid with the screwing end of a standard screwdriver. She dumped some of the paint on the ground and watched it pool and slowly spread like a wound. The unnatural smell of it drove up her nose. She took a breath, and then she went inside the store.

The lights were bright, and they hurt her eyes as they buzzed and dazzled above her. The place was mostly empty except for the lone cashier flipping through a magazine, the young night stockers tossing boxes around, along with a few zombified customers perhaps craving a midnight pot pie. No one paid her any attention as she strolled down the cereal aisle with an opened bucket of red paint. When she got to the meat department, it was barren as a midnight graveyard in western Oklahoma. She heard wolves howl. She heard people chittering and giggling somewhere off in the distance. The music up above was sterilized, vomit-inducing ass hat glitter pop.

The custom meat case was empty, the animal flesh now removed, and the area behind was dark and quiet. Marsella looked around again before setting the paint can down and kneeling beside it. She dipped two fingers deep into the paint like it was a woman spread wide, pulled them out, and then wrote Meat is Murder, Don’t Ya Know? in a crooked, dripping scrawl against the exterior plexiglass of the meat case. She stood and looked at her handiwork as it continued to slowly bleed on itself, a very fitting touch to her art she proudly decided.

Next, she went over to the display case where they had all the packaged meat and she gripped the paint can in two hands, cocked it back and thrust it forward repeatedly as she haphazardly splashed the glossy red all over the chicken and their bones, the ground beef, the roasts, the steaks, the lamb, the porkchops, and all the groaning loins they had stacked there like genocide bodies.

“Hey!” someone suddenly yelled out from somewhere behind her. “What the hell are you doing there!?”

She turned just as the man got to her and she threw red paint on him, took the can by the carrying handle and whopped him upside the head with it as hard as she could. He made a pain-filled grunt like ooomphhh, then slipped and fell. She dropped the can with a clank and dashed down the soda aisle toward the front doors. For a woman of 39, she flew out of there like a wild bird, got into her car and sped off just as two other grocery store workers came hustling out after her screaming and yelling and carrying on as if she had just possibly committed a felony.

Marsella Blume sat in her car at the end of her block with the engine purring. She blew cigarette smoke out the open window as her eyes fixed on her house that sat like a morbid shell down the street and to the left. The air around the neighborhood was salted city orange and misty. The Smiths were still bubbling out from the stereo, but quieter now for she didn’t want to wake anyone. She took a final puff and then threw the butt out the window like she was Josey Wales cool. She pulled the shifter back into the D position and stomped her foot on the gas pedal. The car shot off surprisingly fast and Marsella gripped the steering wheel as she aimed the engine block straight for the corner of the house where her husband was hopelessly waiting beyond the brick and glass.

The impact was more violent than she expected, and her body snapped back and forth as the car drilled into the house. And it looked like being in an automatic car wash, she thought, with that suffocating blizzard of water and soap blotting out the windshield, the weighty thunder of the mechanical mops as they molested the filth away, the quaking turbulence of the high-powered dryers as one’s vehicle slowly emerged from the wash tunnel like a turtle’s head checking to see if it was safe out in the world.

Through the chaos she saw her husband’s startled face as his body was thrown back as if by a poltergeist, the bowl of buttered popcorn just moments before in his lap now curling high in the air and scattering its contents like youthful mischief. And then she watched as the debris rained down all around her in dust wallowed slow motion, bricks and glass and splintered wood hitting the car, and the sound came like ludicrous hail, and Marsella felt like she would soon be buried alive by the burdens of her own madness.


When Marsella opened her eyes, the butcher was sitting in a chair beside her hospital bed. There was something wrapped in fancy paper on the bedside table. She didn’t recognize him at first without the hair net, but the eyes were familiar. Those unsettling eyes were very blue as she recalled, almost a fake blue.

“Hello,” she managed to say. Her eyelids fluttered to batter away the stinging light.

“Hi. Do you remember me?” the man said, leaning in closer.

“You’re the butcher.”

“That’s right. How are you feeling?”

“Not terrible, but far from wonderful,” she said, and she tried to sit up more. “How did you… Why are you here?” She looked around the room trying to establish more thoroughly where she was.

“I read all about it in the newspapers. I just knew it had to be you,” he said. “The policeman let me in to quickly visit.”

“The policeman?”

The butcher turned his head and nodded. “Outside the door. I’m afraid you’re under guard.”

“I did something bad, didn’t I?”

The butcher sighed but tried to smile. “You made a terrible mess of my meat department. I’m afraid in your attempt to save the beasts, however, you inadvertently cast most of them off to the trash bin… So, in that effort, it seems you failed. But that’s really the least of your concerns considering the other charges.”

“Other charges?”

“Felonious assault. Aggravated homicide.”

“Aggravated!?”

“Don’t you know you killed your husband in a very terrible way? They had to pull him from the rubble piece by piece.”

Marsella shook her head in denial.

“They didn’t tell you?”

“Perhaps someone did. I can’t remember much… Just the cigarette and the grainy light and the music and the sound of the engine beating faster… And then it was just like a terrible storm but then bright like heaven.”

The butcher beamed at her with a gentle butcher-like smile. “Maybe you escorted him part way, hmm?”

“Huh?”

“Your husband. To heaven.”

“I do doubt it,” Marsella said. “He was a terrible person. He really was.”

“We’re all terrible people who do terrible things at times. We are after all, merely animals.”

“But I must have loved him at one time. I mean, real human love. Don’t you think?”

“Doesn’t appear that way, now does it, considering your present-tense situation,” the butcher with blue eyes said coldly. He glanced up at the black and white clock on the wall. “I’m afraid my time is limited so I must be on my way. But there’s a present for you there. I don’t really know why I felt you deserved a gift; I suppose I’m strangely sentimental like that. Hopefully you can do something with it before you go off to jail.”

She looked up at him, puzzled. Then he drew closer to her, and she jerked back when he bent to grasp her hand and shake it. “Good luck,” he whispered. He made himself upright again and looked down at her. His eyes were taking pictures.

“You aren’t really a butcher, are you?” Marsella said as her gaze crawled up his body and to his face.

“We’re all butchers,” he said, and he turned and walked out of the room without another word.

Marsella drowsily sat up on the edge of the bed and reached for the present on the bedside table. She shook it like a curious child, and then carefully peeled it open. Inside was a package of meat — a flank steak. It was the color of a broken heart and lightly marbled with thin rivers of greasy cotton. Some blood pooled in the white tray. She drew it closer to her face and studied it and her soul shook like grass in the dawn of spring.

She poked a hole in the plastic wrap with a finger and stripped it away. She lifted the meat out and held it in her hands. It was cold. It was wet. It was heavy. She opened her mouth wide, moved her head forward, and clamped her teeth down hard on the animal flesh. She fiercely strained and pulled until a piece tore off. She chewed on it slowly, ingested it, and went in for another bite… And then it was another and another and yet another until the whole cut of the meat was gone from the space in front of her and slowly sliding down into her belly in various shaped chunks.

She went into the bathroom and turned on the light. Her animal reflection stared back at her from the other side of the mirror. She barely recognized herself. An ugly murderous stain bloomed around her mouth like a pink flower. She grinned at herself; a thin film of red juice was still collected on her teeth. Then the screams of all the beasts she had ever known crawled up from her bloated belly and into her head. And there they stayed and got comfortable, always calling to her until the death chamber of man snuffed her out forever like a quick puff of breath on a flame.

END


Refrigerated Dreams (Act 5)

empty hallway
Photo by Aaron Mello on Pexels.com

Veronica Genesis sat nervously in class trying to focus on the puzzling geometry book spread out before her. She lifted her head and painfully watched Mrs. Anderson’s back as she scratched something into the green blackboard with a thick piece of white chalk. She was wearing a yellow blouse and black pants that were too tight for her and Veronica thought she looked like a bumblebee painfully stuffed into a sausage casing.

Her blonde hair was pulled back tight into a ponytail, and it bounced as she frantically worked to complete whatever equation she was trying to complete. It was all a foreign language to Veronica. She hated math. She hated equations and formulas and calculations that to her seemed so meaningless in the scope of real life. She wanted to be in art class drawing pictures of hopeful summer days with colored pencils and inky markers that somehow only smelled good to her; every other girl in the class crinkled their nose and said, “Eww,” when she would push them toward a face. Maybe she was destined to become some sort of non-traditional and pushy drug addict. The boys never smelled their inky markers for some reason, and she never forced it upon them. She didn’t know why.

Veronica looked across to the side of the room near the windows and there sat an empty, cold desk. No one had seen or heard from Andy Bliss recently, and at that very same moment as the girl thought about it and how she was practically involved, his parents were a few blocks away at the sheriff’s office on the square and they were sitting at the desk of a detective and reporting their son as missing. His mother was crying. His father was pained with worry. A younger brother somewhere else didn’t care.

And then all that dissipated in Veronica’s mind as the door to the classroom opened and Adam Longo stumbled in.

Heads shot up and turned in unison toward the front corner of the classroom. Geometrical-minded Mrs. Anderson stopped what she was doing and lifted her chalk away from the board. She was puzzled, angry, and emphatic all at the same time. “Adam?” she said. “Is everything okay?”

He looked at her and then he turned to look at the sea of faces lined up neatly in rows and he felt their mocking stares and he heard the whispers and he caught onto the teasing, muffled laughs. But he ignored all that and his focus bore into Veronica like a huge drilling machine on a mission to the center of the Earth. “Everything is fine,” Adam said to Mrs. Anderson without really seeing her.

The teacher looked him up and down. His clothes were dirty and torn in places. His shoes were muddy. His black as night hair was uncombed and flat from not being shampooed. His face displayed a draculian pallor of death. And then she noticed his hands. There were streaks of what looked like dried blood on them, as if he had tangled with a rose bush. “Adam,” she repeated. “Will you wait for me in the hallway?”

He broke the mental connection he had with Veronica and sleepily gazed at his teacher. “The hallway?”

Giggles rippled through the classroom. “Yes. Please,” Mrs. Anderson answered. “Right now.”

“But I’ve come to do my math lessons. I need to learn how to do my problems.”

“He’s got some problems all right,” someone in the crowd murmured, and there was more laughing.

Then Adam patted at himself and looked around in a sudden state of confusion when he realized he didn’t have his schoolbooks with him. “They must be in my locker,” he said aloud.

Mrs. Anderson pointed with a stern finger and repeated herself. “In the hallway, Mr. Longo.”

Again, snickers rose among his classmates, and he looked into them deeply and recorded and filed the memory of who they were before turning and stepping out of the room.


“Do you get a kick out of disturbing my classroom, Mr. Longo?”

Mrs. Anderson had him backed against a wall on the opposite side of the hallway. She was so close to his face that he could smell the abundant makeup that nearly dripped from her own face. Her mouth was thick. Her eyes looked like watered space jewels, and they contained all the colors of an English garden somehow. Her skin was seemingly flawless beneath the masking powder. He almost loved her.

“I’m sorry I was late,” he said. “And that I didn’t have my math book.”

“And what is all this?” she wanted to know, taking a step back and gesturing with her hands. “You look like you crawled out of a garbage dump. Don’t you have more self-respect than that?”

He just stared at her oddly and didn’t know how to answer. But instead of telling her that he had an inkling that she was right, it was all still too foggy to him and he instead said nothing.

She clamped her lips tight and shook her head with frustration. “You certainly are an odd young man,” she said. “I want you to go to the restroom and clean yourself up. And then I want you to report to the school nurse. You don’t look well. Don’t come back until you do. Understand?”

“I understand,” Adam Longo answered.

She shot a wondering sigh in his direction, turned, and went back into her classroom.


It was just a short time later when she turned from the blackboard to address the class about some sort of puzzling triangle, when something out the window caught Mrs. Anderson’s attention. It was Adam Longo, and he was power walking across one of the playing fields behind the school. He was recklessly waving his arms around and it appeared as if he was arguing with the oxygen. She excused herself and quickly went out and cautiously ran down a corridor, the bottoms of her shoes making an echoing tapping sound against the glossy school tiles as she went. When she reached the end at the exit, she pushed on the metal bar of the door that led to the back side of the school. Sunlight and air burst in as she stepped out.

“Adam!” she called out to him. “You can’t just leave! Adam! Get back here! You’re my responsibility!”

He paid her no attention and he just kept on going. When he reached the low chain-link fence at the boundary between the playing field and the wild lands of a fresh yet downtrodden suburbia, he leapt over it like an animal and disappeared down into a mound of brush and trees and into a ravine the depth of a tall man and it bore through the landscape brown and crooked like a jungle river with the light of day looking down upon it through the canopy thoughtlessly rearranged by man. He moved through it like a piece of electricity.

MORE TO FOLLOW

You can read the previous part of this story HERE.


Refrigerated Dreams (Act 4)

The boy from the refrigerator was perched upon a steel beam like a vulture high above them in the old shoe factory. His slick black hair was more slick than usual. The dead eyes of alien blue that punctuated his pale face swirled like a spiral arm galaxy as he looked down at them. He cocked his head in an odd manner as he listened to them talk beneath him. Adam Longo recognized the boy as one of them that was there when they locked him in the old refrigerator that day. He was one of them that held him roughly by the arms as they led him down into the pit of the dump. The girl was someone he recognized from that school he knew as his living hell. She was the one he stared at when she wasn’t looking. She was the one he thought about at the closing of the day when he would lie atop his bed in his quiet room at home. She was his only good memory.

Then Adam Longo recalled how the other one, the red-haired one, their leader, had laughed without remorse, how he had gotten right in his face and said something like, “Are your balls all shriveled up… Is that why you don’t ever talk?” His breath was overpowering. Rudy was his name. He hated Rudy. And now here was one of his rooks and that girl thinking they were all alone in this immense place lost in time. He thought about leaping out into the air and floating down and he would come upon them in a fury of revenge. He could do that now. Something drastically changed after he went into that refrigerator unwillingly. Sheer human cruelty had given him a power he never expected.


Veronica took a step back from him. “You were part of that?” she wanted to know.

Andy paused for a moment. “I was against it.”

“But you still allowed it to happen.”

Andy looked up and sighed with frustration.

“What!?” the girl snapped. “You’re angry because I’m upset you let a boy get locked in a refrigerator? He could have died.”

Andy bent down and picked up a metal rod and tossed it into the void. It tumbled and clanked loudly. “Why are you getting bent out of shape? Let’s just get high.”

“I think I want to go home,” Veronica said.

Andy’s demeanor suddenly changed, and he grabbed her by the shoulders. “What’s your problem?”

“Let go of me!”

He pushed her away and turned. “Fine. Do what you want,” he said, and he started to walk away.

She called after him. “Where are you going?”

“Just go home,” he called back, and then, like the sudden snap of a bone, something fell from above and was on top of him. It attacked him with the ferocity and conviction of an angel bred by animals, and the boy struggled and shrieked as he was mercilessly beaten and clawed.

In the epilogue of the boy’s torn moans, a panting Adam Longo turned to look at her through the dim light. He was mystically aglow, and his gaze froze her in place, and like in a dream she struggled to run but her legs refused to receive and follow the command. Veronica had no control over her own self now and could only watch in wonder as the figure stood. He was just a boy, but nothing like a real boy. He looked down at Andy twitching on the dirt-strewn floor of the factory. Then he looked up, toward the place from where he came, and he suddenly ascended in a completely inhuman way.

Her legs became free from their dream burden and Veronica ran toward the lighted frame of the doorway they had entered. She burst into the outside world and leapt down the iron stairway, past the loading bays and toward the hole in the chain-link fence. She scrambled through, a piece of metal bit into the top of her shoulder and she winced as she dove into the sea of weeds and tall grasses on the other side. She went for her bike, lifted it up and got on. She pedaled toward town with an urgency and fear she never knew she could possess.

Once she was long gone, her scent and heartbeat now carried away to the place where the terrible people were, Adam Longo curled into himself for comfort and warmth as he perched on the wide beam. He watched the day turn to night through the broken factory windows. Living had been lonely enough he thought as his eyes set on the few stars he could see, but now, now this, whatever it was, whatever he now had become. It was lonelier than death itself — lonelier than the dirt piled upon the lost ones.

MORE TO FOLLOW

Read the previous part of this story HERE.


Refrigerated Dreams (Act 3)

They meandered along the less known paths on the edge of Grainer Falls, beyond the industry, beyond the neighborhoods scrunched up against the low hills. She trailed behind him and stared at his back.

“Where are we going?” Veronica Genesis wanted to know, somewhat excited, somewhat apprehensive.

“The old shoe factory,” Andy answered, his voice going up and trailing behind him like smoke from an Old West locomotive.

She pedaled her bike a bit harder to get side-by-side with him. “The old shoe factory?”

“Yeah. It’s cool. I like to hang out there. No one ever goes there. We’ll be alone.”

“I didn’t know there was an old shoe factory. I haven’t lived here my entire life like a lot of people have.”

“That’s because it’s real old. Now all our shoes are made somewhere else, by penniless kids in other countries. That really pissed off my grandfather… When he was alive. He was in the war and always wondered what the hell he had fought for.”

“He used to work in there?”

“Yep. Now it’s just a bunch of ghosts and the lingering scent of leather and rubber.” He turned to look at her. “Are you afraid of ghosts?”

“No,” she quickly answered. “I’m not afraid of no ghosts.” But inside her guts, she really was.


The old factory soon came into view in the distance, and it was a foreboding stack of rust-colored bricks and crumbling mortar stuck to rebar and snake-like pipes and a couple of industrial spires and tall rectangular windows made of glass you couldn’t see through, many of the individual panels now busted out, the broken pieces gathered in heaps at the bottom like jagged snow.

They went down a hill and to the perimeter of the old factory where there was a molested chain-link fence that bowed and bent all along its crooked setting. NO TRESSPASSING signs were haphazardly attached to it every 25 feet or so. The two dropped their bikes in the overgrown weeds there and she followed him to a place where the fencing was peeled back, like a can lid that hadn’t been completely undone by an opener and someone had to push it back with a thumb or the backside of a sturdy metal spoon to get to the contents inside.

Veronica hesitated as Andy ducked down to make his way through the opening. He looked back at her. “Are you coming?” he wondered.

She bit at her bottom lip and looked up at the old facility and the blue sky littered with white fluffy clouds that slowly churned like an acid trip above it. “You sure it’s, okay?”

“Of course, it is. I do it all the time,” Andy said. “I told you; no one ever comes out here anymore. It’s fine. Besides, we’re young and strong and can take on anything the world throws our way.”

He went through the hole, and she looked at him from the other side and smiled. He was smart, witty, and brave, and she suddenly didn’t care about anything but being beside him and so she quickly crawled through. He reached out a hand to help her up and she grasped it. His skin was warm, soft, yet strong. She blew some wisps of raw almond-colored hair out of her face after she stood. “Thanks,” she said, and she tried to catch his scent as he tried to catch hers. He didn’t release her hand.

“Come on,” he said, and he pulled her along as they walked toward the back end of the factory and the place where the old loading doors and docks sat dormant and quiet like long forgotten time portals and landing pads.

They climbed a set of old iron stairs, now rusting away, and the sounds of their footfalls floated up and scraped against the large loneliness of the towering building. He led her to the top and a metal door where another NO TRESSPASSING sign was attached. Someone had written “Fuck Off” in red spray paint below it. Andy tugged on the crooked old door until it opened with a scrape and a creak. Veronica followed him inside and they stopped, and she looked around at the factory’s guts — dark, gloomy, and ancient like a still photograph, remnants of life and work delicately, nearly invisibly, floating in the air like cemetery ash.

Andy cupped his hands around his mouth and cried out, “Hello!… Anyone here!?”

Veronica panicked as his voice echoed and bounced through the quiet yet menacing spaces all around them. She playfully slapped at him. “Don’t do that,” she teased. “It freaks me out. What if someone answers? I’d probably pee myself.”

She was suddenly embarrassed, but Andy just smiled because he thought she was being cute. He was still holding her hand and now he squeezed it and then without any warning he moved in and kissed her. She was somewhat shocked at the same time she melted. Veronica never wanted him to pull away, but when he did his taste lingered on her mouth and she wanted to hold it there forever, to brace it from any wind that might wipe it from her lips and send it off into oblivion.

“Was that, okay?” Andy asked her. “I’ve been wanting to do that… Like, forever.”

“You have?”

“Yes… But I know you’re with Rudy.”

Veronica shook her head. “It’s never been anything serious. I’ve decided to end it with him.”

“You have?” Andy hoped.

“I think so. He just doesn’t know it yet. Or maybe he does.”

“Oh,” Andy said softly, and she could tell he was the sensitive type when he looked away toward the loneliness in those industrial catacombs monstrously arranged all around them.

“But I’ll be sure to let him know… That boy has really been getting under my skin lately. Do you know what him and a few of his friends did?”

Andy swallowed and looked at her. “Are you talking about Adam Longo?”

“Yeah. How did you know?”

“I was there when they did it.”

MORE TO FOLLOW

Read the previous part of this story HERE.


Vinegar Village (2 of 2)

So, I was sort of sad about the unfortunate death of Mr. Hulk and was walking around the VILLAGE and it was getting a little later in the day and then I soon found myself inside this electric saloon and casino that looked like the old Wild, Wild West but with neon and crackling and rebel rousers in fancy pants and trollops in stilettos all smacking away and laughing really wild, like animals, and there was the smell of perfume and smoke all mingled like hot sex in the back seat of a silver Opal and there I was trying to sit by myself at a small table to smoke a ciggy wiggy and enjoy a few glasses of imported Scotch whiskey, but then people were bumping into me and stealing the other chairs from my table and laughing at me because there I was all alone in this wild crowd and no one seemed to give a damn that Mr. Hulk had just been killed by a yoga chick.

Yeah, no one ever really knows what’s going on inside your own world and why you be the way you be and their bimbo, bozo narrow-minded misunderstanding makes them just laugh and point like a bunch of spoiled bitches. And I grew tired of it all and saw that there was a staircase that went up, up, up and so I went up, up, up.


And up there it was a home-style country scene all warm and soft and peaceful that showed how people used to live like a century plus a go. There was a long hallway with a wooden floor and off the hallway there were several rooms where actors and such were all dressed up in fashion appropriate for the period of time they were portraying and they were pretending to live life like it was when it wasn’t the mad mess we have now.

I looked into the room at the very end of the hall. There was a girl in there wearing a long, green and white checkered dress, like old-fashioned armor for a sinewy body. There was a white bonnet upon her blonde head. She was holding a stuffed dog and walking around the room, a room sparsely furnished, with white walls, white curtains slapping around the frame of an open window. And as she walked around the room with the stuffed dog she talked about life back then and how it was and how she liked to churn butter the best because it was so “sexual” and then she sat on the edge of a squeaky bed clad in fresh, white linens, and then suddenly this young man dressed in similar time fashion and with thick curly dark hair stormed into the room right past me and he moved on her without any hesitation and kissed her right on her unadorned mouth. She looked a bit puzzled at first and then she seemed to get even angry. She stood up, threw the stuffed dog across the room, and started talking about how she would tell on him for his “indiscretion.” There was a momentary pause, and then they both turned to me, smiled, and then bowed like actors.


I went back downstairs to the noise and wild lights. I needed a drink and maybe something to eat. And while I searched for a table in all the hoopla, I saw Mr. Gorgon come in through the doors followed by Mr. English who was holding a girl in one hand and his bottle of Red Wine Vinaigrette Salad Dressing in the other. I moved through the crowd to greet them and to my horror noticed that Mr. Gorgon had big chunks of broken beer bottles sticking out of his stomach and chest. They were real nasty wounds and I could even look inside his guts and see a pile of broken glass there and Mr. Gorgon just laughed and whooped it up and acted like nothing was wrong.

I had to yell over the roar of the crowd to him.

“I think you better go to the hospital. Those are some nasty wounds you got there, Mr. Gorgon.”

He just smiled and looked down at his body.

“What? This? Aw come on, it’s just some bits of broken glass. Doesn’t hurt a bit.”

“It looks rather nasty,” I said to him. “It could get infected and then you’ll be in real big trouble. Maybe even dead like Mr. Hulk.”

“Ah, you worry too much Mr. Hat. Always worried about shit and you never take the time to just relax and have some fun.”

Mr. English leaned in then.

“What’s this about Mr. Hulk being dead then?”

“Yes, he’s dead all right,” I said to him. “That yoga chick shoved him into a tree and done him in.”

“What in bloody hell would she do that for?” asked Mr. English, looking at his chick and shaking his head. “Sounds like one of your friends killed one of my friends, sister. What the hell is up with that then?”

The chick pulled away from Mr. English and put her hands on her hips.

“Well, she wasn’t my friend and don’t get all nasty with me about it. I had nothing to do with it. For all we know, he was trying to rape her and well, then he got what he deserved.”

“Ah, piss off you bitch. You don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re just a drunk and a stupid girl,” Mr. English said to her.

I could tell the chick was steaming mad and about ready to haul off on ol’ Mr. English, but she clamped her mouth tight, looked up at the ceiling, frantically tapped her toes and then burst out like a tea pot come to boil: “Well at least I don’t chum around with a bottle of salad dressing all day, ya bloody freak!”

The entire place suddenly went silent except for some soft whispers and the shuffling of sleeves against sleeves. “You didn’t have to say that then did you?” a dejected Mr. English said to the chick. “That was a mean thing to say, and in front of all these people, too.”

Mr. English clutched his bottle of Red Wine Vinaigrette Salad Dressing, bowed his head and worked his way through the crowd, out the EXIT and into the night.

The noise began to roar again immediately like some great conflagration in a hip Albuquerque dancehall.

Mr. Gorgon tugged at my sleeve.

“I’m going to the bar; would you like me to bring you back a drink?”

“No, I don’t think so… You’re really not going to the hospital?”

“Hell no, it’s party time mate and I feel fine. I feel fit.”

“All right then,” I said to him. “I think I’m going to leave.”

“Aw, you don’t want to stay and see if I can get more broken glass in my belly?” Mr. Gorgon said with a laugh. “I bet we can find you a girl in here. You just need to loosen up a bit, like me.”

And he slapped me on the shoulder.

“There was a girl upstairs, acting out some scene with a guy who looked like Arnold Horshack.” I said to Mr. Gorgon. “He tried to make it with her, but she got all psycho and said she was going to tell on him. I don’t know who.”

“Well, that sounds bloody weird,” Mr. Gorgon said.

“Yes, it was weird, very weird, but it wasn’t a bad scene. They were reliving history, just for me.”

“Well, there’s a feather in your cap… Mr. Hat. Heh, that’s kind of funny isn’t it?”

“Yes, I suppose it is.”

I drained my last bit of Scotch whiskey and just dropped the glass on the floor.

 “So, Mr. Gorgon, how do I get out of this dream?”

END