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48 A Little More Kick Ass

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About Narias1989

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    Reading, Writing, Skateboards, Fishing

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  1. Relapsed last night and been drunk all day. I guess I really am a mean guy. Drunk words are sober thoughts. Sorry, but what can I do? I'm just a bad guy.

  2. I don't care if I'm flayed alive. I'm a writer and I will say what I wanna say. Masturbating in front of someone is not sexual harassment. Prudes are the worst people on the planet. Yes, I will stand by Mr. CK. Well written comedy and art supersedes the feelings of even a thousand dumb broads who get sexually harassed. Yes I said it.

    1. Show previous comments  6 more
    2. MacGreg


      It's disrespectful with a capital D, for everyone. 

    3. BlindAmbition


      @Puppilull I can’t believe more haven’t. This behavior is disgusting. A violation is a violation. No sugar coating. Now this guy has clearly shown what he is. Trying to excuse the inexcusable. Sorry you had to see this.

    4. Timothy M.

      Timothy M.

      You're welcome, my Swedish friend. :hug:

      But I do wish people wouldn't mix up their admiration for art with opinions about the artist as a private person.

      I can still admire the Ender's Game books, Richard Wagner's music and the role of Verbal in The Usual Suspects, in spite of my reservations about the artists behind those.

  3. I got a Switch and Zelda for my birthday. Looks like I won't be writing much for NaNo this month haha

  4. Calamari Codependency -17.438327, 178.954304 I read Matt's text while swinging in my bungalow hammock, butt-ass naked. M: Cruise over for a rescue mission, MOFO. And bring the Elephant Juice!!! Using only thumbs, I responded: TC: Let's stick to Rooibos tea instead. M: HELL NO AMIGO. We need the Spirit of Africa, right meow. Copy? TC: Copy. M: And wear your squid hat. Copy? TC: Copy. Soon as I wrestled on pants and undies, I went into the kitchen and got a heavy brown bottle of Amarula Cream from the pantry and then grabbed a pink hat from the hanging rack. It was a squid beanie from Seaworld, my single keepsake from home—equipped with ten tentacle dreadlocks and two eyes that when placed over the noggin, looked like someone gave my skull a boob job. Only in America would I be self-conscious go outside wearing such an atrocity, but this was the Cape of Good Hope. I was hopeful no one would judge me, I mean, have you seen the surfers here? Those bros wear patterned scarves and Uggs all year long. Ugh. Out the door, it was clear and sunny and the ibises called through the hills. It's good to be back in the country of my youth. The native proteas bloomed, hanging heavy off long stems, in reds, blues, and pink ones true. I walked over to a bush and sniffed a big puffy blossom. Sometimes Matt and I found fat shrews burying their heads in the petals for nectar. Inspired, I fingered inside one of the plants, pulled out a thread of sweetness, and puckered my lips. Sugarbushes tasted like Shocktarts. When I finished sampling, I jumped onto my black Vespa parked beneath an old banyan tree. Where was I going? I asked myself this all the time, today was no different. I couldn't let my thoughts take control of my actions—I just turned the engine over and let the put-put-putter drown my mind. Matt wanted to meet at Jammer Island. That little cay was the one dead area in J. Bay the local surf-kooks didn't rowdy up. No one came to our Spot. Not even baboons. So what's happening now? My pocket buzzed. M: Hurry up, MOFO. Copy? TC: On the road. Copy. Matt was itching to booze; during a rescue mission of all times. How could he be so irresponsible? I looked down at the glass spout sticking from my pack: labeled DO NOT DRINK EVAH!!! in silver sharpie. He kept the bottle around as a way to defeat temptation in the face. We shouldn't cower from the things we fear. Maybe Matt's using it for antiseptic? We were supposed to stay sober while we were doing our charity work for The Sponsors. Just help the animals. Do whatever you can and we'll ensure all expenses paid. I was tempted to drink right then, fuck The Sponsors, but I wouldn't let go of my moped's handlebar. Think. Think. Think of something different. Saan legend said alcohol was originally a gift the Ancient Elephants gave Adam and Eve after they walked up to a herd in a Marula grove. The pachyderms were feasting on fermenting fruit, fallen and wasting on the ground. Adam and Eve were very hungry and were just thrown out of Eden for eating a pomegranate. Pitying them, the elephants shared their funny fruit and taught the first couple how to drown their sorrows whenever God abandoned them. Nice of the elephants to take pity on A&E's poor souls and give the first humans something to console their heartache. Wait. Was that the legend? Huh! Stories have a way of warping when they're retold. Was it a Saan story? I could mean the Xhosa or Lesotho. Whatever. My Vespa chugged, but I didn't pedal off. I heard laughing behind me, so I turned back and saw some black boys scaling the walls of my complex. They balanced on the top and clung to nearby banyan boughs. The tallest boy waved. “Off to save the animals, Chinaman?” “We'll see, Tembo. You guys be careful,” I ordered. “See you in class.” “Drive safe, Chinaman.” “Zoom zoom.” “Bye bye, Chinaman!” By now they should know I'm American with Japanese heritage, but there's a language barrier, a class barrier, several barriers to consider before I criticize their expressions. Tembo and his friends attended my ESL class down at the chapel by the well. They were good kids even if they considered my Asian ancestry a comedic quality. I threw them some Kit-Kats and they waved me off, tearing the wrappers with their teeth, which would never see a dentist. I hoped the snacks coaxed them to show up tomorrow. I drove down the highway along the jagged coast. The Eastern Cape was poor, but the surfing brought tourism, paved roads and of course, the tollbooths installed during the 2010 World Cup. Shantytowns lined the road opposite the shore, and their inhabitants idled about, wearing faces of men buried alive. Ahead, I saw the checkpoint. I slowed for the tollbooth attendant and signaled him with a V-sign. “Sixty Rand,” he droned. “It was fifty yesterday.” He grunted. “Then you can't pass. You short.” “And you're incredibly dull and I hate you,” I said. I flipped him the remaining ten and he scrambled onto the floor for it. All the service workers in this country had terrible manners. I paid my fare and sped off without a receipt. Past the checkpoint, the foliage thickened into dense ironwood groves, and the shantytown rows vanished. Summer estates rested high in the hills above the treeline and supported only one family each. Not two-dozen people in an aluminum foil shack. Sometimes ladies walked along the highway, balancing wicker-baskets on their heads. Sometimes they went out topless and their boobies jiggled. They had a long walk back home. But it's not like they'd hitchhike. Some people went their entire lives here without ever riding a vehicle. Four miles down, I pulled into a dirt parking lot and locked my bike to a Dung Beetle Crossing sign. You never saw those buggers this close to the ocean. There weren't any megafauna roaming J. Bay like you'd find in Kruger or Addo, pooping up the land for the beetles to eat like kings. I watched the water and a little inlet invited me for a swim. December waters were warm down here. Seasons switched in the Southern Hemisphere. It felt like San Diego, but the air was a wee fresher, with a Antarctic bite. Hornbills honked in the mangrove patches loitering ankledeep in the shallows. The amphibious trees monopolized the beachfront, except for the parcel Matt erected his wooden Lincoln cottage. His door swung open, banging at the hinges. He'd left a few books tee-peed face-down on his picnic table. Beyond the house, a flock of seagulls divebombed Jammer Island and so I ran over in their direction, wondering what they might be snacking on. Hopefully not on whatever creature we were rescuing. This better be worth it, Matt. The weight of his bottle dragged down my shoulders. I pulled it from my pack. What was so special about a drink? I heard someone approaching and I turned to see Matt, tanned and tall, wearing only his silver Champion basketball shorts, a backwards Angels cap, a backpack, and red high-tops. He crossed his arms, and furrowed his thick brows, sinews of his body tightening all over. He'd caught me holding the Amarula Cream bottle, gazing fixedly at its contents. “You haven't opened it,” he said. “Obviously.” “Never crossed your mind?” “We'll see,” I said. “Reporting for duty, Mr. Matt.” I saluted him. Crowfeet scratched his eyes as he laughed and walked off, expecting me to follow. The sun blinded me as he moved away, so I walked under his shadow. “Glad you were brave enough to wear your hat.” “Why'd you want me to wear it?” “We'll see.” He lead me on to Jammer Island, connected by a landbridge of dagger-rocks big enough to leapfrog. Matt helped me onto the first boulder, laughed as I scrambled to a second. One slip and the rip current would ship me to Great White territory. Maybe the J. Bay surfers and seals would distract all the seamonsters. That's all they were good for. I could hear their barks around the bay. “Getting the shakes?” Matt caught my arm as I dropped another landing. A rogue wave wet my bum. Nearby, I saw sunbathing macaroni penguins, the juveniles ones lined up to slide down a big rock to seek lunch, launching their streamlined bodies into the blue, with wild honks. We scared the seabirds away as we crossed our obstacle course, stone to stone and finally landed upon the white sandy beach. Our Spot! Lacewings crashed my face and I swatted them off. At the edge of the forest, were little indentations in the sand, where antlions ambushed ants. Betcha didn't know these tiny hook-jawed predators provided the inspiration for the Sarlacc Pit from Return of the Jedi. While inspecting the holes along the beach, my shorts caught the protruding end of a cycad. “Oh, bother.” Carefully, I unhooked the spiked leaves from my thighs, then I wandered deeper into the dense trees and thought about the duckbilled dinosaurs who used to chew off the fronds like nobody's business 66 million years ago. “C'mon, don't wander off,” said Matt. We stepped outta the shade and rounded the island, following a bend in the river. A rocky estuary, where a stream mixed with the saltwater, roared and crashed. Beneath the falls, was a gigantic shadow. Our biggest rescue yet. A golden hump, rose out the estuary. First I thought it was a sleeping hippo, heaving and breathing. But hippo's didn't have huge spheres attached to their sides, or a network of long tentacles pulled taut by the current. I touched myself (on my hat, silly). Felt fabric constricted my head, and my hands rested on the booby eyes only a fraction the size of the genuine thing staring at me. “Jeepers creepers, check out those peepers.” I looked at Matt. “A giant squid?” “Nope. Colossal,” said Matt. “Let's get to work.” I'm not big on calamari ecology, but from the look the squid gave me with its baskeball-sized eyes, I knew she was unsettled. I saw one of her tentacles jammed in a crevice—she's stuck, although not quite beached. We'd save the poor girl. Then her eyes started to brim, but I don't believe they knew how to cry. They were just pooling moisture to keep the eyes well lubricated. “Is it safe?” “You tell me, MOFO.” The squid looked my direction, maybe sizing me up for a snack. “Don't worry,” I said. “I'm just a man, not a mean sperm whale or shark.” I grinned because I said the word “sperm.” Why was I talking to the squid? I didn't know its language. Waist deep, I had three feet clearance from the bulb of its head—bigger than my whole body; a mound of amorphous rubber flesh. Inside, a rubber soul. The huge mass hadn't deflated because the water was deep enough to give it wiggle room, enough structural support. “Maybe it's hungry?” I called to Matt, seeing him walk down a rock-formed terrace to stand over me with his shadow. I felt his force wherever he went, a gravity. He dominated me. “The only squid chow around here's us,” he said. “No more talking about food, you're giving the gal ideas, let's just set her free.” The squid looked at Matt and moved its head in a nod. It agreed to our help? Sighing, I splashed it but got no reaction. Then I touched the slimy skin of its big bell, containing the largest extant invertebrate brain, and a jet propulsion system. But it couldn't use its jet-stream to launch itself back into the sea. It kept looking at me. If humans had the same bodyplans as this gal, our eyes would rest on our hips and be big as grapefruits, and our limbs would stretch out three times the human proportions. “If you help me rope it, we might be able to hoist her down from the rocks. The water ain't deep. You see where she's hitched?” I saw where two shorter tentacles tangled in the rocks. Pulling with too much force, the way Matt intended, could snap an appendage. Was this a frail creature? It went toe-to-toe with giant toothed whales, the biggest predators on earth—sperm whales. The squid would make mincemeat out of my arms. I lifted a tentacle and it felt like a thick waterlogged rope. “Careful underneath,” said Matt. He pointed to hooked spines running in rows down all the tentacles. I scratched myself on one, drawing blood. These were thick fishing hooks for grabbing...anything. Matt waded behind me. He had his cords and ropes encircled around his arm, all of varying thicknesses. He prepared the right gauge, and the first slipknot. I tried slackening the squid's caught limbs. We'd get her out. We could save others. Be our own gods. Serve life. Then I cut myself again on a hook and the wound dribbled into the sea. A thin red line flowed from the shallows to the deeper water. “You're sharkbait now, MOFO,” said Matt. “Today wouldn't be the first time I attracted bloodthirsty brutes.” Matt shook his head and grinned. He threw me the end of the nylon rope, about fifty millimeters thick. Hope it holds. Fastening the slack end around my waist, I dropped underwater without taking a breath, and pulled the line under the the squid's mantle. My back swept against the squid's smooth body and my tummy swam only inches from the stony bottom. The water was approximately seventy-two degrees Fahrenheit. Beneath, I got up close and personal with the Colossus' bulk, which I reckoned twice the girth of a Giant species. Boy. The tentacles were like God-sized spaghetti. As a Japanese man, I felt at ease in the presence of so many gigantic tentacles. They touched me. Thin flaps spread from the Colossus' head and rippled in the current. Trails of red from my bleeding arm and calf swirled around us both—bloody beautiful. Underwater plants massaged our undersides. And I saw a pair of smaller tentacles pulling at the seaweed. Opaque white forms, like rice grains the size of my thumbs stuck to the ends. Squid eggs! I returned to the surface, with the rope safely wrapped around the squid. “She's clutching,” I said, spitting seawater at Matt. Phooey. He was used to being blasted in the eye by me, so didn't flinch. “You're gonna tell me we can't move her.” “Not until she's done.” I searched the horizon of the sea, and my arm stung. “We might not be alone much longer.” “Then tell her to hurry up.” He helped me finish the Double-Barrel Windsor Keynes knot we'd learn from a BDSM expo back in Cali. The DBWK was good for wrangling cattle or resistant straight boys or in this case, colossal squid. The knot was so awesome, it wouldn't break even under seventeen thousand kilos of tension. “We can't stay here,” said Matt. “I'm pulling her out. Do what you can.” “But-” If we moved the squid we could harm its reproductive life cycle. Sea creatures were complex. Each life stage was like a wholly different creature that demanded specific needs and habitats. Maybe Jammer Island and the waters in its estuary were critical for squidbaby development, something to do with the biochemistry we lacked any understanding of. If we disturbed the peace we'd jeopardize an entire generation of squid. I didn't want to be an accessory to squid abortion. Just then, the Colossus looked at me. We were trying to understand one another. Matt heaved at the ropes, pulling a thousand pound load. “You just gonna watch me work?” he said. I shook my head, even though watching him perform manual labor was one of the reasons I loved him. So I took up my end of the rope, and heaved forward until the water reached my chest. The squid kept laying its eggs, unaffected. Watching me with its eyes whenever I turned back to look. I tugged and tugged. The rope wouldn't give. The Colossus' eyes were brown and human-like. Then: we saw knifey fins pointing from the swell, narrowing into the inlet for a chowdown. The sharks attacked. We knifed five foot leopard sharks as they latched onto the squid with their jaws. One bit Matt and he splashed in panic. I grabbed the biter's fin, and punched my hand down its throat. As it threshed its tail, it skinned my hip. I cringed and ripped its tongue from it's throat and it floated lifelessly away. His mates swam in, tagged him out. Then I brained another through the skull, yelling, “This is a knife,” in my best Crocodile Dundee. The estuary turned deep red. I hope to god no great whites showed up. The leopard sharks swam away but regrouped and swam around us in a circle. I stared at the squid. “Hey girl, you almost done?” I tried channeling the spirit of my favorite My Little Pony, Fluttershy. Just give the squid The Look. Its eyes are giant windows into its soul, or whatever squid's have. Give it The Look and make it do what you want. It did not work. The squid did not care fore my penetrating gazes or attempts at psionics. Its soul was rubber. Pulling out was our only hope. I grabbed up my rope and pulled the squid. Heave-ho heave-ho. I felt the rope tension release, and the squid budged. Screaming our lungs out, me and Matt pulled the Colossus out of the rocks and over the sand of a shallower end of the water. The immense weight strained my back, but I kept pulling. A shark grabbed my leg and I dipped below the waves. I struggled and pounded the shark's cartilaginous skin, scraping my knuckles bloody. Then the water temperature dipped and turned inky and I couldn't see the shark. It's jaws let go. I felt the huge body of the squid writhe past me, jetting itself into the vast Southern Ocean for Freedom. I got back to the surface and took in a big breath. “We did it Matt!” He looked up in awe. The squid had grabbed hold of all the remaining leopard sharks. The terrorizing fish flew through the air, constricted by tentacles. The colossus flicked one twenty feet into the air and dashed another against rocks. The water flooded with red. Not one leopard shark remained on Jammer Island when the squid calmed down. “Rescue complete,” I said. Then squid waved goodbye and it pulsed away on a jetstream of water. Its golden hump sailed away until it was gone. Me and Matt watched the sun until it started sinking and the sky matched the water. We went and sat on the beach. “Well, this'll be a day to remember,” I said. “How about we celebrate?” Matt had taken out the Amarula Cream and shook the bottle. “Maybe you could reconsider opening it. We've come so far” “I know man, we didn't come halfway across the world just to open Pandora's box.”Matt looked thinner, his hair redder. “Never again, man.” “Did you know that this country was where the first humans evolved and spread to the rest of the world?” “I know now,” I said. “Two men, together in Eden. What's the world coming to?” Matt threw the bottle into the sea and it waved around in the swell. I was shocked. “Someone else's problem now?” “Yup.” “Good.” Behind the waterfall, the clutch of eggs glowed gold. We felt their light warm our bare chests. We'd watch over the eggs. But there was no way we'd count them before they hatched because there were millions. Today, my bud and I slayed some sharks, maybe jumped one too, and saved our squid. In a few months, we'd have enough calamari to keep our tummies happy until the end of time.
  5. I'm generally a forgiving reader but I can't stand terrible dialogue.
  6. Very atmospheric and I enjoyed the fragmented narrative in the first chapter. I liked trying to piece the narration together. It works and you show the confused, drug-addled mind of Joel very well. The relationship between Grif and Joel is intriguing and sexy. There's a lot of mystery here and the writing is sharp and flows well. Off to the next chapter!
  7. Narias1989

    Chapter 1

    Hey Jeff, Thanks for the read. I write lots of vignettes and short stories about these same characters. I guess I could start compiling them here. I've got whole binders full of Teddy and Danny stories
  8. At first, I didn't give a damn about my reputation, but I wanna post stories without the moderation queue. Whaaah!


    BTW, anyone doing NaNoWriMo? I'm gonna make it this year :)

  9. I live in a suburb and there's a starbucks across the street from my house. By now I'm probably considered a regular even though I don't talk to the baristas. It's my community, why shouldn't I be able to hang out here? I just buy a coffee and sit in the corner to write. Sometimes I get a refill or go to Taco Bell for lunch and come back. No one seems to mind as long as I'm quiet and respectful. The time limit is usually reserved for homeless people and I don't look homeless. Someone mentioned here they go to Lestat's. Is that the one in San Diego? I live a few blocks away in North Park.
  10. Three men sat on the bench atop Koi Hill, hanging out between classes, wasting precious time. The tallest man rose from his seat, demonstrating brilliant upright American posture. He sighed and looked at the sky, brown hair blowing in the summer September wind. “You all right, Spaulding?” said Teddy, to his left. He kept his nose poked inside the pages of small leatherbound book. “Sounds like someone needs a hug,” said Danny, on the right. He had a skateboard flipped upside down on his lap, and he was adjusting the rear trucks with a wrench. Spaulding saw a single cloud wandering about, roaming like a sheep on blue pasture. He sighed even deeper. “OK, stop hounding for attention and spill the beans,” said Danny in a hostile tone. “What’s wrong, man?” “You don’t understand,” said Spaulding. Then: his stomach growled and some nearby squirrels turned in the direction of the three men. The earth moved. The gales stilled on the mountainside to the sound of a digestive didgeridoo. “Guys, I’m really craving Mexican food right now,” he said. “There’s like a taco truck on every corner,” piped Teddy. “I’ll purchase your lunch if you’re broke again.” “I’m not broke.” Spaulding hung his head. “Just jaded. And cold. Really cold.” It was seventy-five degrees fahrenheit. Danny slapped the bench. “Dude, drive us to Santana’s. Humpday special will slay that rumbly in your tumbly.” “Guys. Stop. I need real Mexican food. Not that San Diego local stuff. Only in Cali do they think it sensible to jam fucking French fries into a burrito.” “Hey Mr. Hangrypants, watch your language,” said Danny. He took out a notepad from his pocketses and jotted down a little reminder: “Nine-Twenty-Six, 1:04PM, Mr. Spaulding Auden Douglas IV slipped an F-Bomb from his smug little mug; myself, Daniel Tiberius Flower, and my comrade, Teddy Chen: in attendance as witnesses. That’s two strikes for you, pal.” Danny poked Spaulding’s elbow with his pen as he finished punctuating. “One more and you’re out of the running.” “Flippin-A, man!” The boys were in on a bet with Danny’s grandfather. If they could endure a semester without saying Naughty Words, AKA anything that would get beeped on the telly by the FCC and similar overreaching bureaucracies, they would win an old ‘29 Duesenberg Model J, with a silky smooth, milk white paintjob and matching rims around the tires. A classic. The prize sat in the Flower family garage with only twenty miles under the hood. Come graduation day, one of these three men on the bench would claim it for their own. Just one. They would keep verbal tabs on each other until the contest finished. “Nyah!” whined Spaulding. “I need Arizona cuisine right now. Otherwise I’m gonna explode with profanity.” “Arizona and cuisine are two words I never thought I’d see spoken together in the same sentence,” said Teddy. He was writing in the margins and between the lines of his book. “Unlike here, back home they have the decency not to put fracking french fries next to my carne asada and pico de gallo.” “Bite your tongue!” said Danny. “I said ‘fracking,’ dude.” “Quit badmouthing our town’s culinary choices, bro,” said Danny. “If you hate this place so much, why don’t you go back to Phoenix?” “Yeah, well maybe I will,” said Spaulding, stomping his Converse into the cement. “Good. We don’t take kindly to your kind around here if you’re just gonna moan, man. Right, Teddy?” “Huh? Right, what? C’mon guys stop raising your voices, all the squirrels are watching us.” “Teddy are you gonna stand for Spaulding’s potatophobia?” asked Danny. “Cause that’s what this amounts to. His hatred for french fries in burritos is due to a sinister and deeply ingrained prejudice against spuds.” “Spaulding, you’re a Taterphobe? I don’t even know you anymore.” Spaulding shook his head and as he grabbed his own skateboard from the bench, he nudged the end of Danny’s deck and knocked it from his friend’s hands. It clattered on the ground, wheels spinning. “Hello! You just knocked over my stuff,” Danny protested. He threw the wrench in Spaulding’s direction but only hit the cement. “Hey man, where are you going?” Teddy cried. But Spaulding had already pushed off and was bombing down the hill. “Don’t worry about it. Where I’m going no one’s gonna miss me,” said Spaulding. And he accelerated away to do something mysterious and silly. “Gosh, that guy is total freakazoid,” said Danny. Teddy gasped. “Lookie, he left his iPhone!” The cracked smartdevice sat on the wooden timbers of the bench. “Eh wot? Gimme that,” said Danny and he swiped the machine and gave it a looksee. “LOL he only has a 4-S. Loooser.” “We shouldn’t be snooping through his private communication device.” “Your precious Poldy Woldy left it unlocked, so he basically invited us to look through it--we’re not snooping,” said Danny. “Sweet Yahweh’s yardstick!” He looked away. “Teddy, I’m sure you might appreciate this, ahem, little discovery of mine.” Then he busted out laughing when he showed the phone screen. “Porco dio! You found his pornstash!” “And I proudly bequeath it unto you my dear friend and fruit loop.” “Gee, Danny. These are some...naughty pictures.” “Looks like the love of your life has a fondness for snapping candid moments with his little soldier standing at attention.” “He’s actually a decent length, just kinda thin, like a carrot or an eggroll.” “OK I don’t wanna look at these anymore.” Teddy continued swiping through apps, pictures, and folders. “I know there’s something in here for you, man. And: bingo! Check out them apples, or more like watermelons. Great brown rings of saturn.” “That’s Tess!” Danny jumped ten feet into the air, metaphorically. “And she’s na-na-na-naked.” “Na-na-na. Hey give that back!” “Why does Spaulding have nudie pics of my beloved? My Goddess?” “I told you they were dating. Time to face reality.” “I need to think.” “You wanna be alone? I know I do,” snickered Teddy. “Oh wowzers, this next one’s gonna burn your eyes out.” “Lemme see!” “Read ‘em and weap.” “Oh hell. She-she-she fudged him. No! No, no, no, no, no, no!” “Danny, calm yourself.” His pal said nothing. Seeing the love his life naked had almost stopped his heart. Then the image of Dear Tess in the arms of that skinny skaterboy, Spaulding, in a lustful wet embrace of human love juices--well he was about to go supernova. “What, what? Gimme that mobile. It’s time to play with people’s fates. I’m gonna ruin Spaulding’s life and break his spirit.” “How so?” “For a start, I’m gonna post all these embarrassing photographs onto the internet.” “Won’t that implicate Tess? You wouldn’t wanna scandalize her, would you now?” “Ack! All you do is overanalyze stuff.” Then the phone started ringing. It buzzed and vibrated. The earth moved. “Danny, it’s Tess. Are you gonna answer it?” It took him a moment to consider the alternatives, but the mischievous and stupid inner twelve year old took hostage of Danny’s hands. He answered: “Hey howdy, Tess.” “Spaulding does not have a Texas twang.” “Shuddup, I’m putting her on speaker.” Over the phone: “Hey,” said Tess. “I’m just gonna go to the clinic on my own. You don’t have to be there, so don’t worry about the money.” She sounded tired and defeated. “Just text me if you want to know how it went.” When she hung up, Danny scratched his chin. How what went? There was a mystery to be solved here. And Danny started thinking for possible solutions within his walnut sized brain. Whyever would Tess be at a clinic and refuse payment from her boyfriend? “Dude, I think I figured this whole thing out. Methinks Tess is gonna have an abortion,” said Danny. He smiled at himself for figuring it out. “So that’s why Spaulding was being a bigger prick than usual.” “I thought we established Spaulding has an average sized prick, but woefully lacking in girth--” “Gosh, did you send all of Douglas’ nudies to your phone?” “Oh yeah.” “Oy vey.” “So based on that truncated exchange over the phone, you think Tess is gonna get her plumbing vacuumed out and you think Spaulding’s the babydaddy of this aforementioned unborn spurious spawn? Wow, cool story. Tell me more.” “It makes so much sense. Tell me, am I ever wrong?” “Well there was that time only an hour ago, when I asked in calculus--” “Rhetorical question, dude. All I’m saying is that I cannot let Tess abort her unborn child.” “Hypothetical unborn child. How you manage to squeeze a conspiracy theory outta one phone call is beyond me.” Ignoring him, Danny texted to Tess: Where r u? Teddy sniffed. “That won’t work, Spaulding always uses proper grammar and spelling over his electronic correspondences.” “Shuddup now. She’s at the Planned Parenthood on El Cajun.” “It’s pronounced: El Cajon.” “This is America,” said Danny. “I refuse to pronounce anything in Mexican.” Teddy rolled his eyes, and sighed. “El Cajun it is. Onward for an Expedition. Huzzah!” *** Danny Flower and Teddy Chen set off on their midday Expedition, which was the boy’s codeword for, ‘using public transportation.’ They’d bus it over to the Planned Parenthood. Since the Flowers owned the MTA, Danny and his chums never had to pay fare, although the value of such a perk in a sprawling suburban city like San Diego was dubious at best. He and Teddy sat side by side on the hardbacked seats of a Number Eleven, holding their complimentary compass cards. The model 450 Nebulon’s gas-powered engine made it almost too noisy for conversation. So Danny monologued really loud to himself while writing notes in his journal. A thousand houses and strip malls and palm trees that all looked the same passed by in the window. The bus propelled down the wide streets of Midtown at a stately pace. “Tess doesn’t have a car,” said Danny, scribing away, “so she’ll take the Green Line over to Fashion Valley and hop aboard a Twenty-Seven at 10:44 AM. I reckon total transportation time from thenceforth, is approximately forty-three minutes. While on the phone, I heard her bearded dragon, Mr. Wilson hissing in the BG, so that means Tess hadn’t left her apartment yet. If our dearly beloved Number Eleven,” he pat the seat of his chair, “meets little resistance from traffic, we can intercept our target en route at about 11:27 AM on El Cajun and 55th, if we walk fast.” He looked at Teddy’s watch to confirm the time. “Are you listening?” “I’m somewhat worried about the calculus quiz,” said Teddy. “We’re missing another one.” “Tess’ baby is in terrible danger and that’s what you’re thinking about? Ach. You need to get your priorities straight.” Teddy shrugged. “I can’t do anything of the sort.” Danny slouched in his seat and drummed on the deck of his skateboard. “Man, I always told her that if she needs help, I’d help. I’m here to take care of her, every bit of that woman, all her curves and all her edges: even this baby that I suppose is now a part of her. Dude! I gotta protect this baby before Tess destroys a part of herself.” “I don’t think you have much choice in the matter.” Danny shook his head. “She prolly feels like she has no one to support her--but I’m here. Gosh, if she was in trouble why didn’t she talk to me? She never comes to me for help.” “Maybe you should take a hint and stop trying to be her white knight.” “No man, she needs saving.” “Do you say that out of love, or pity?” “Why not both?” “Eh...look. If she keeps the baby who’s gonna raise it? This isn’t a bearded dragon we’re talking about, it’s a whole human life that needs constant dedication and love for years and years. Not everyone is capable of giving themselves up to that responsibility. I’m sure Tess knows what she’s doing. She’s a clever girl.” “Not nearly clever enough to escape Spaulding’s seductions.” Danny looked out the window. The bus passed the Kensington Bowling Alley and the Silver Luna Carousel. They were almost at their stop. “I know,” he said, pointing his finger up. “I’ll take care of the baby.” “You shouldn’t be anywhere near children.” A pair of stars formed in the cloudy nebulas of Danny’s eyes. “My mum always wanted to raise another kid, a daughter really, but ever since that witch cast a gypsy curse on my poor mum, she can’t have children anymore.” “You have a funny way of describing menopause, Danny” “Whatever, semantics,” he said. “I will convince Tess to keep the baby and have my mum adopt it.” “Are you even certain Tess is getting an abortion?” asked Teddy, once again. “Did the words, ‘I’m preggers and I need my vajayjay scooped clean of an unwanted baby, kthnxbai,’ actually come out of the horse’s mouth?” “Compare Tess to a horse again and I’ll drop kick you into the floor.” “Don’t be so touchy, I only used an expression,” said Teddy. “All I’m saying is that this might be a misunderstanding. You get into a lot of those.” At that moment, Danny saw Tess walking down the south sidewalk of The Boulevard. A cold itch crept down his spine and he glued his eyes to the emergency window glass. As his Beloved paced, she walked over each and every sidewalk crack, so elegant and careful so she wouldn’t break her mother’s back. Her hair dropped to the lumbar curve. She wore short jean cutoffs that exposed her tattooed thighs, and draped over her torso, a red, white, and blue blouse, speckled with stars and stripes. The Doors was printed beneath the Grand Canyon of her cleavage. American Woman, Danny thought. Stay away from me. Our thoughts are a symphony. Danny jumped up from his seat and from the depths of reverie. “Driver! That’s Tess over yonder, stop the bus!” He scrambled to the front, jamming people with his bony elbows. “Sorry friend, you didn’t pull the string. Just have to wait for the next stop,” said the merry driver. “Goshdarn, this light’s taking forever. Gah, just let us off.” “Sir, I’m gonna have to ask you to stand behind the Yellow Line while the vehicle’s in motion.” “We’re at a red light, nobody’s in motion,” grumbled Danny. “I’m gonna karate chop this douchewaffle pretty soon.” Teddy stepped up from the back console his friend. “Please don’t hurt the driver, you’ll put everyone in danger, Dannyboy. Don’t be so inconsiderate.” “I have ears, boys,” said the bus driver. He pulled some switch and the doors opened. “If you’re gonna make threats to me, you’re outta here.” *** The boys were promptly thrown off the bus and they dashed for the abortion center two blocks away. Danny called out to Tess fifty meters up, only in vain, for she had headphones plugged into her ears. Iron filled Danny’s soul, as she entered through the clinic’s automatic doors. He raced ahead, dragging the weight of his soul behind him. Teddy had stopped to catch his breath multiple times. Inside the Planned Parenthood, it was very cold and bright. A trio of frumpy white women knitted in the corner and a teen couple, who looked fourteen apiece, talked in Mexican by the vending machine. Tess was nowhere in the sitting area. At the frontdesk, shielded by bulletproof glass, sat a young lady with a big Colgate smile and plump red lips. “She looks like Jynx from Pokemon,” Danny murmured. Teddy had caught up behind him and heard, so he punched his friend as a warning. “Hello desk woman, I’m Danny Flower.” “Mr. Flower,” said the receptionist, scratching her dark powdered nose and flicking a bleached blond strand of hair from her eyes. “Do you have an appointment?” “Afraid not. I’m looking for a girl who just came in here.” “Drop in hours are at noon. Please take a seat, sir.” “You will tell me where Tess is, NOW.” “Who’s Tess?” “I told you, I saw her just come in here. Through those darn doors right in front of you.” “Nope, nobody’s come in for twenty minutes. Sorry.” “Are you calling me blind?” asked Danny. “Or just a liar,” said the receptionist. “And a big nuisance.” “You’re up to something, woman.” He scanned the lounge and made eye contact with everyone. He theorized they were all conspiring. “Oh I know what this is, I watched those Youtube videos about places like this. You’ve abducted Tess to harvest her baby parts, haven’t you?” At this moment in the exchange between the receptionist and his friend, Teddy stepped up and said, “Please don’t make a scene.” Danny slipped his hand to his belt where he’d hid a special parrying dagger called a Main Gauche. But before he could brandish his sixteenth century LARPing weapon and give the desk-jockey a good scare, the automatic doors whooshed open. In rushed a thick cloud of heavy oniony body odor. Gagging, the boys turned around. A fat man, holding a bag of Hot Cheetos and a sawed off shotgun, walked onto the scene from stage right. He sung in a mumbling-barking voice: “My father said when I was ten, he’d slaughter us in our sleeps and dissect us in our dreams. Now that I’ve grown up, I’ll pass on his favors to other folks it seems” The rest of the verses were too horrid to tell. “Grr, I hate people who kill innocents, so I’m gonna relieve my middle-aged male frustration by killing myself some innocents. Grr. Muh hypocrisy. Double Standards. Entitlement. Outrage!” He cocked the shotgun. Everyone started shouting and ducking for cover behind chairs. “A domestic terrorist!” exclaimed Teddy. “Here? Danny we have to do something.” “Why is it he’s so cartoony and villainy?” asked Danny. “Well, maybe he’s intentionally written over-the-top to telegraph to all the readers that this story isn’t making any sort of meaningful social commentary and that it’s all for fun.” “We should stop breaking the fourth wall,” said Danny, “It breaks the reader's immersion.” “Well, let’s get cracking. Ninja Power!” Teddy and Danny positioned themselves around the gunmen and side-circled him. He didn’t seem to notice the two boys because he really just wanted to shoot up some women and was completely blinded by misogyny. Danny rushed the gunman. “Oh look, my first target of the day,” said the villain. “Not on my watch,” said Teddy and he fiddled with some of the buttons on the custom silver Rolex around his wrist and released a wave of rippling energy that enveloped the domestic terrorist. The gunmen couldn’t move a muscle. “Dagnabit,” he cried. “It appears I’ve been thwarted by some Magickal form of new technology!” Sparks of energy entrapped wrapped his torso and limbs like chains. He should know better not to take Millenials and their wondrous technology lightly. “Go for it, Dannyboy,” said Teddy steadying the tractor beam on his watch. “Aye aye, cap’n,” said Danny, and he jumped four feet into the air, with his hand formed into an ax. “Karate chop!” He slammed his hand into the gunman’s clavicle, hitting a lumpy nerve that bulged through the skin. The terrorist, made a “guh” sound and several grunts. He fell back, pulling the trigger of his weapon. The nozzle burst, and the ceiling lights crackled with sparks overhead and came crashing down onto the lounge. All the patients were screaming, and the clinic went completely bonkers in a rain of falling debris. Facedown on the floor, the gunman twitched and sputtered. Danny placed his foot on the man’s fleshy keister, and proclaimed, “Now where the heck is Tess? All these distractions are making me angry.” But everyone in the clinic was too concerned that they’d all dodged the bullet, literally speaking. They crowded around Danny and Teddy and gave their thanks. Someone mentioned the police were on the way. Late as usual. “Sweet manna from heaven,” cried the receptionist behind her safety-glass. “You boys saved our lives, how can we ever repay you?” “Uh,” said Teddy. “Be eternally grateful? I’ve never been comfortable with people’s praises.” Danny cleared his throat and kicked the unconscious gunmen on the floor. “You can start by telling us where Tess is. I feel like I’ve been repeating myself this whole story.” “Sir, I still don’t know who that is,” said the receptionist. Then the door opened again. It was Tess. “There you are,” cried Danny and he rushed up to hug her. “Touch me and I’ll taze you,” she said, halting Danny. She had her hands in her purse, digging for her taser. “Hey Teddy, what are you guys doing here?” “We’re here to save your unborn baby,” he said. She blinked. “My what?” “You can’t have an abortion,” cried Danny. “Please, I’ll do whatever you want, just let the kid live, and we’ll think of something, like have my mom adopt it or whatever. Just hear me out: don’t destroy a part of yourself, Tess. Please.” He started to tear up and looked really pathetic. “Um, I’m not having an abortion. Why would you think that?” “When you called Spaulding earlier, you said you were going to the Planned Parenthood.” “Not for an abortion.” Tess placed her hands on her waist. “Is this what you guys are here for? Well, that’s kinda sweet.” “Aw, shucks, don’t mention it,” said Danny. “You’re still an idiot.” “Well then why are you here? And how the heck did you leave the clinic? We saw you come in.” “I left through the back, it’s pretty discreet,” said Tess. “But then I heard Danny yelling his martial arts attacks and then I saw the police cars, and finally that gurney being pulled through--” Just then a gurney rolled through and everyone looked-- “So I went back and here you are, causing a ruckus.” Tess sighed. “Wow, for a second I thought Teddy and I got caught in another time loop,” said Danny. “The receptionist told us no had come in, even though we saw otherwise. So maybe we’d seen it happen before the fact.” “You used that weird watch again?” said Tess with a frown. “Oh boy.” Teddy jumped up and down waving his custom silver rolex. He’d built it for last semester’s engineering showcase and got a red ribbon. “We had to use it, Tess, otherwise, what do you think that domestic terrorist would do to all us? We’re the heroes, you know. In comics they all use cool gadgets, just like Batman or Spiderman” “Idiots,” she said. “Thanks for being concerned about me--I guess. Things could’ve been a lot worse knowing you two.” “You still haven’t told us why you were here,” said Danny. Tess blushed. “Just a checkup, that’s all.” “For what?” “Strictly need-to-know basis.” “I know, Spaulding gave you crabs didn’t he?” cried Danny and he scratched his basketball shorts. “If you’re not preggers, then that has to be it.” Tess frowned again and shook her head. Danny looked to the receptionist who was filing her nails now. “So why did you tell me you didn’t see Tess? It caused a lot of confusion, you know.” The receptionist shrugged. “We say that because we have to protect the anonymity of our patients. We get a lot of nosey bums in here.” “Well why didn’t you say so?” cried Danny. The receptionist shrugged. “We say that because we have to protect the anonymity of our patients. We get a lot of nosey bums in here.” Danny scratched his head. “Um, you just said that.” The receptionist shrugged. “We say that because we have to protect the anonymity of our patients. We get a lot of nosey bums in here.” “Oy vey,” said Danny. “This can’t be happening!” But it was happening: Tess and the boys had indeed been trapped in a time loop at the Planned Parenthood. How will our heroes escape this nonsense? Find out next time, on the next serialized installment of The Kids of Koi Hill.
  11. Narias1989

    Chapter 5

    3:17 AM When I saw what looked like a Flying Spaghetti Monster's silhouette flying across the full moon, that's when I knew Bennet was telling the truth. Even if I blinked ten-thousand more times, it was still there, that wiggly pasta of doom. Then I saw them split off into smaller entities, that spilled over her round face like dripping eyeliner. La Luna, mi amore! How dare they touch you. Those fiends up there must be the Trespassers, Bennet mentioned. “You see them,” he said. I nodded, still looking skyward. “They'll make an appearance in a couple hours. Just keep an ear open for the click beetles. They’re on lookout. What's this place called again? I gotta text them directions” “Koi Hill. Turtle Pond Place. The Smoke Spot.” I inhaled my cigarette, maybe my tenth that night, and puffed out deeply. “This setting has a lot of names depending on who you ask.” But come morning, this green pastoral place might be completely gone. “Must spend a lot of time here.” “It's a chill spot to relax between classes.” I sparked up another one of my American Spirits. “Never really saw this place after dark.” Bennet was reading my latest story attempt. “You wrote about the pond down there, although you chose to set everything during the day.” Bennet was poring over the pages with arched eyebrows. “'A stranger walks into your life. You're not sure if he's good or bad. You're friends for a while, but how long's that going to last?'” He was reading my words. Pretty cringe-worthy. I'd have to apply major edits later. “No, I like it,” he said. “With a bit of work you could turn some of this garbage into a masterpiece. If we get through the night, that is.” “You're reading my thoughts.” “Finally figured it out.” I felt myself flush. “I had an idea. But I didn't wanna sound drunk. Part of me wanted to impress you.” “You're sober now. Keep it that way. It'll help with the writing, trust me. I'm sure by now you realize I'm not your type.” Porco dio. He knew everything. Why were all the cute one's psychopaths? 3:28 AM “Man, this is really getting convoluted,” said Bennet. “And you don't even bother to explain all the weird shit happening. You're rushing, man.” “It's magical realism,” I said. “The characters just roll with the weird fantastic elements as the plot unfolds. The weird elements are all supposed to mirror the inner states of the characters. What's to hate?” “I've seen fourteen-year old girls do better than this.” He poked his gun into the notebook for emphasis. “Here's a good reason why you don't write the night before a deadline. Give yourself a chance to fail and then give yourself time to pick yourself up.” “This is what you get when you make me write at gunpoint. What happened to turning garbage into a masterpiece?” He dragged his cigar to its end. Not sure how he finished without coughing out a lung, but I'm too apathetic to care. “Can I read some of your books?” He'd built them into a leaning tower of paperbacks and pulp-fiction. “Don't see why not.” “Swell. I'm gonna read and you're gonna write until your fingers turn to ash and your carpal tunnel develops cancer.” “Sure, Smalls.” “Gimme a smoke.” “Sure.” And so I gave him one of mine. “Why don't you write too?” He gave me a blank stare. Then he threw his book over his back. “Maybe I will. Then when we're done, you'll show me yours and I'll show you mine?” “I've already seen yours.” Bennet gave me his best Steve McQueen grin. “We'll write nonstop for an hour. What time is it?” He craned his neck to see my watch. “Tres y media—en cinco, quatro, tres...” “Si, si.” “Dos, uno...” “Vamos!” 4:17 AM “Let's stop early and get stoned.” He lit up his pipe and puff-puff-passed it on. “You barely wrote anything, Smalls.” “You're the Author, not me. ‘Sides, I'm enjoying this book of yours—Women in Love, by our friend DH-Longwinded-Lawrence.” “There's a lot of talking in it. Great conversations, but I doubt you'll finish it. DH is a bit crazy.” “Give me a summary.” “It's about two sisters who get involved with a pair of closeted best friends who run the local coal mine. The boys and girls pair off and one of the men eventually kills himself in the frigid Alps because he can't connect with his woman, while the other gets told that, 'There can't be two kinds of love,' and gets locked into marriage. It's ho-hum, but pretty edgy for its time.” “OK I'm over it. You might be the only man alive still reading DH Lawrence.” That made me feel proud and pretentious. “So what about him?” “Just making an observation. Do you carry his books around because you're a showoff or do you really admire him as an artist you yourself want to be like?” “Well, it's a bit of both.” “What if I told you all those Lawrence novels you've read weren't just a waste of time. There was a purpose for reading them, and that it's led to this very night. Literature really does have a higher power—and it's not just liberal elite propaganda. Personally, I didn't know DH, just heard from the bugs that he was a kind of wanker, but I do know one of his novels is pertinent for what's gonna happen tonight. Have you read The Plumed Serpent?” “Not yet.” “You have a copy right here.” He wiggled it. “When I finished writing, I wanted to get to it eventually.” “You say that about a lot of things,” said Bennet. “What if I told you this book is a prophesy for the end of the world, and the reason why Lawrence wrote so much was because he was protecting humanity from destruction with the verbosity of his stories alone?” “Anything can happen, right?” “Now you're catching on. Stories contain magic in their words.” I nodded enthusiastically. “And the greatest magic is subtle and embedded in the words we don't always appreciate.” “That's what I always thought. So Lawrence has something to do with the Moonfall?” “You're on fire, Mr. Shinozaki. Very perceptive. Now that Lawrence is gone, you're gonna pick up where he left off.” “Told you to call me, Dave,” I said, looking up at the big wobbly moon. She had tons of craters close-up and deep lines and ridges and pits. Old girl, we'll lift you back up where you belong, just you wait. Nobody should see you droop so low. “The moon's an egg,” said Bennet, looking up with me. “Look closely and you can see the embryo stirring inside.” Examining the porous surface, I concentrated and placed all my faith and belief in what Bennet was saying. I'd always wanted to take my writing to another level, expand my imagination, so maybe this was just the opportunity I needed to open my eyes and reach a whole new consciousness. I needed to really believe anything can happen. Steam shot from the lunar vents and through cracks opening to the mi amore’s surface. How was combustion even possible without an atmosphere to feed the smoke? Anything can happen. Anything can happen. Anything can happen. Turn off your inner logic. At last, I peered through the veil, and beyond the rocky lunar crust and deep into the dark side, where no one ever caught a glimpse. A colossal wyrm slithered and coiled inside the moon's core, the same way you saw a chick if you place an egg up to a flashlight. You could see the wet feathers covered in amniotic fluid. The Plumed Serpent stirred. “That thing is going to hatch,” I said. “Only if it falls. Every time the Trespassers tried to bring the moon down in the past, and wake the dragon inside, DH Lawrence wrote a story that thwarted them all. His words were so terrifying and powerful that they sealed the universal dimensions and banished all evil.” Lawrence was lush, but boy, he could rend spatial rifts with the obnoxiousness of his purple prose? Oh boy. “What do I write?” “Write as if you were God. You can be anyone. Go anywhere. And anything can happen. The pen has the Magick of creation and destruction—choose wisely, Dave.” For a moment I thought about what I wanted to say. Be my own God. Let the pen create. You are the heir of DH Lawrence, so keep on telling yourself that, pumping up your overblown ego: only you could save this good-for-nothing rock with your literary Genius-Art™. “Let there be light,” I said, then scratched down a sentence. Then a couple more. It was so easy now, as if someone had opened up a deeply buried well inside me and the rush invigorated me with the cool onslaught. My pen unleashed its fury and wrath on the paper. It was time to speed this plot up a bit. The wind picked up, and for the first time tonight, the shadows started to slink away. “Here comes the sun,” I said. Time: 5:50 AM Word Count: Armageddon Arrives Something clicked in the meadow. Tap-tap-thud. Tap-tap-thud. I heard the click beetles' alarm. I stared at the last page I filled in my notebook. So not everything really rolled together, but this jumbled mess of a story now surpassed ten-thousand words. Bare minimum success, right here, and only ten minutes to spare. Yes, you heard me. Ten minutes to save the world and then hightail it over to the EBA building for submission. The full moon wobbled over me, but her shadow was retreating. Bennet looked around, confused, then he threw away his cigarette. The sun rose slowly over the Diablo Mountains. He spun around and scowled. “Dave, what did you do? They're here.” I raised my head from my finished page with a cheeky smile.“'Suddenly, time sped up and it was ten minutes before sunrise.'” “Ach, don't say it out loud!” The sun fast-forwarded into the sky in a steep arc, then planted itself against the moon for the face-off. For the first time in forever, the Moon was bigger in the sky than Senor Sol. But her shadow was retreating. Just keep writing, Dave. “'Then the Author and the Hero steeled themselves for battle.'” A pot-lid poofed into being above me, when I'd wrote I wanted a shield, and it fell on my head1. Ouch. Then a metal colander and a spatula spontaneously generated in the air too. I dodged those. “Your writing isn't quite good enough for the Magick to translate 100% into reality,” said Bennet. He shimmied away from another falling pot. “You want me to write more like Lawrence?” “No, no, of course not. We don't need another one of those. Be yourself. Use your own voice and words, just do it better. Don’t worry about being pretentious, because we’ve already established that long ago. More concrete details and less vague language and flowery stylistic choices. More action.” He spread with hands out and wiggled his fingers. “Oh, and watch your punctuation too.” So I rewrote a few things. And plop. A medieval mace fell five feet from the sky and both of us threw ourselves out of its way. .326 seconds later, there was a walloping dent in the bench. Then I rolled away from a falling arming sword and two kite shields. Crash. Clang. As I caught my breath, a crossbow thumped into the grass. I crawled over and picked it up and grinned seeing Bennet shaking his head while inspecting some of our sky-forged weapons. “For long range-assault,” I said, holding up my crossbow. It was already loaded with a bodkin-tipped arrow. “I should probably make more ammo.” “Less thinking about writing,” said Bennet, “and more actual writing. But don't rush. Take time to find the best, most beautiful words. We'll arm ourselves with those.” Nodding, I took up the pen. “'Bennet the Hero held up his sword in the morning sun.'” And so he did. Without any resistance from his tight little arm muscles, he held aloft a nice Italian rapier, with a hilt of threaded gold leaves. Of course, he was impressed. We both turned hearing the click beetles again. Then the sound of wood splintering, followed by loud barks. “But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?” cried Bennet, and he pointed his sword down the hill. The shining sun rose at our backs. Outside Scripps cottage, nine white foxes stalked from the shadows of the shade-trees and encircled me and Bennet. They snarled and raised their tails in aggression, snapping their jaws. Here be the Trespassers. Tap-tap-thud. Tap-tap-thud. My first instinct was to hiss at the foxes, a bad habit when I'mtired, but the blasted canines snapped their jaws back at me. Then lurked closer. I raised my bow. “Too bad we didn't have any of those back at camp,” said Bennet beside me, now holding a shield, and looking all hot and knight-like. Seems like he forgot that his gun was still stuck in his waistband. Good. I steadied my aim. The nine foxes were within lunging distance. Their eyes turned white like attacking sharks and they ran full-sprint. Then the foxes miraculously stopped moving while our heroes traded banter. “Weren't the Trespassers flying spaghetti monsters earlier in the story?” asked Bennet. He gave his rapier a little flourish. “Last minute revisions,” I answered. “Feeling foxy now, are we?” “You know exactly what Daddy's thinking.” “Please stop referring to yourself as that.” He sighed. “You're making this all up as you go, aren't you?” “Who cares about inconsistency when you can write anything you want? Besides, I'm the Author, bruh. And we've got a deadline. What I say goes—” That is, until two of the foxes jumped up and bit my arms, sinking their teeth in, as I yelled, Holy potatoes. My triggerfinger slipped and let loose my bodkin arrow. A third fox died as the shaft pierced through its throat and lodged into its brain. I was able to convey these details whilst foxes Number One and Two chomped at me simultaneously, only because their bite force was terribly weak. Ha! I flapped my arms up and down, wiggling the foxes hanging from my biceps. Their teeth couldn't pierce my Spidey suit. How's that for plot-armor? Bennet stabbed at the fox on my left with a swift strike. Then he hopped back and lunged forward for the riposte on the beastie to my right. They dropped dead and would make fine coats when winter ever came. Our six remaining fox-foes backed up, snarls turning into whimpers, with an understanding in their eyes that they were outmatched. The sun blinded them. This is what happened when nature tried to oppose humanity. It got fucked. “Now it's time to wield some of your newfound authorial power,” said Bennet. He was spinning my notebook around in his hand like a pizza. Where'd he get that? He had opened the notebook to a page full of writing and presented it to me like a platter right before my chin. “Blow on it,” he said. “But we only just met.” “Oy vey. The ink. Blow the ink.” I chuckled, then with a big-boy breath, I huffed, and I puffed, and I blew the shit out of that notebook. The pages fluttered and I saw inside, all the words shimmering and glowing with rainbow light like that escaping a prism. First one by one, then in bunches, the words wiggled free off the pages and floated into the air. Dazzledazzledazzledazzle. The foxes darted their heads back and forth as the airborne inkscratches flew around, morphing quickly into Magick multicolored moths with big wings. The swarm encircled the evil canines, barking now like bitches. A bunch of disco and technicolor flashes sparked. “Finish it, Dave.” Something clicked in the meadow. Tap-tap-thud. Tap-tap-thud. I heard the click beetles' cheers, compelling me to look at the foxes trapped by the really glittery/gay insects of sparkly awesome. “Finish them!” Finally, I erupted into a megalomaniac laugh, then I grabbed the arrow from the dead fox, ripping out some brain-guts. I pulled up my left sleeve, then pressed the bodkin into my skin, without applying any antiseptic, then etched onto my wrist, still laughing mind you, the fox's blood into my blood for the final sentence to finish this fucking story. God I was crazy tired. 5:59 AM The charred bones of the six Trespassers were still smoldering when Bennett picked up one of the skulls and put it over his hand like a sockpuppet. He mimed the words with the dead fox, making its jaws snap. “Hey Dave, looks like we did it. That was quite a shocking finish.” “You're an idiot.” “You think I'm adorable though.” “Bennet, let's not be coy, I gotta get this assignment in. Can I go now?” “You wanna know who else is coy? The Koi fish.” He was still puppeting the skull. “We need to work on your sense of humor.” I got my bag, and was gonna run for it, but I winced as I took a step. A searing pain shot up my ankle. During the battle I must’ve twisted it and not noticed the injury. Unless of course, I’m retroactively placing this injury into my story. Hmmm. Bennet squatted. “That leg of yours looks totally beat. Hop on. We’re gonna make that deadline.” So I got on his back, and he ran across the quad at ostrich-speed. “For someone so tall, you have no upper body strength,” I said. Watching the clouds go by, and trying not to lick his ear. “This would be easier if you didn't have a boner pressing against my spine.” “That is my phone.” “Whatever, would you stop slipping!” “Would you lift some weights. I thought you were a marine.” “And I thought you weighed less.” “Ass.” “That is something I know I don't have, you don’t have to rub it in. Hashtag skinny-whiteboy problems.” “Straight as a board certified. That's why I keep slipping. Gah. Watch the stairs, man!” *** Well, what else can I say? We made it. And I did it without creaming my pants. “You think my prof will mind the beerstains and the bloodstains?” I asked, wiping the sweat from my head and shaking off the manuscript. The faculty building was empty so our voices ran down the hallway ahead of us.“He accepts handwritten work. Slip it under already.” When I stuffed the notebook beneath the doorcrack, I let out a big sigh. “Armageddon averted.” *** So we went there and back again, just a short prance to Koi Hill. By the turtle pond we lit victory cigarettes while we reflected and threw bits of bread into the water. We saw that the moon had returned to her place in the sky. Bennet kept looking down at my left arm, at the Spidey sleeve worn through with dried blood. “Will you let me see what you wrote?” “You'll laugh.” “I won’t.” “Just something short, simple, and sweet.” “No kidding. Lemme see.” I wanted to tell him the words weren't ready for the world, but still surrendered my arm, and I felt my body tingle as he unsheathed the spandex and touched my bare skin. Bennet smiled but then I pulled away. His brows knit. “Show it to me.” “Not yet.” “If you refuse to take the offer I'll take this gun, put it in your mouth and pull the trigger. You wanna be the author, you gotta let the Hero know the ending.” Right-ho. If that's not manipulation, I don't know what was. “Why are the cute sociopathic ones always drawn to me?” “Maybe you smell.” “Well then, shoot me.” I proudly puffed up my chest. “Don't think I won't.” Bennet reached for his gun. But his confidence formed into a scowl when he discovered his sidearm missing. The slit in his suit was empty. “You were saying?” I pressed the pilfered Mauser into his belly. “Spiderman doesn’t use a gun you know.” “Little sneak!” “Careful kid,” I angled the nozzle downward, and brushed his suit with the pistol. “One wrong move and I’ll change your religion.” Bennet gulped. “Oy vey. Don’t be hasty, now. Maybe we can make an arrangement.” “I’ve already made my decision.” The handgun hammer clicked. “Oh boy. Oh no.” I looked to the moon, up where she belonged. Using all my might, I threw the pistol down the hill and it splashed into the pond and then I wiped my hands clean. Bennet was ghost white. He let out a sigh of relief. “I hope no one finds that.” I slapped my knees. “I accept the position of Author. Now would you please, fill me in? ” Color slowly returned to Bennet’s face. He shook his head, grinning and laughing. “Well, Dave, glad we could recruit you. It’s simple. So long as you sit here at this spot and write your stories, about anything, no matter how bad they are, as long as each attempt is honest, brave, and an act of self discovery, then that moon won't ever fall.” “Sounds like a lot of responsibility.” “Would you rather go back to drinking and depravity? Do you want to see the end of the world as we know it? The Trespassers will come back.” “I work at the post-office, just so you know.” “You do have a day-job.” “There's a lot you don't know about me, Smalls,” I said, batting my lashes. “Do I get any incentives for saving the world? Seems like a full-time gig, and I'm a busy guy.” “Sorry bud, your writings starting out all pro-bono with little chance of promotion. You’ll write and write but don’t ever think you’ll get any appreciation for what you do, at least, in your own lifetime. Look at Lawrence. I still don’t think people like him. But who knows. Anything can happen. You might hit a stride with the people and make it big. Plus--” He raised his eyebrows suggestively and nudged my side with his elbow. “We'll be working close together from here on out. The Hero and the Author. How's that for incentive? For our next adventure we'll bring my best friend back to life. You’ll like her, she’s a giant space moth.” He held his catkin again and wiggled it around. “That's what I'm concerned about—more adventures, with you.” I looked at the little eggs. “And more bugs.” “No going back now, bro. The Cataclysm has happened; so you've got to write, no matter how many moons have fallen.” He smiled and looked at me. My Hero. My Muse. My Marine. “Maybe we can rework everything that happened tonight into a novel,” I said. “Let's stick to short stories. Your present oeuvre could use some polishing and a couple rewrites.” “Nah, think about it. My story can be expanded super easily.” “How about bed first?” He stretched and yawned, and to my surprise, put his long arm around my shoulder. The sun made his muscles warm. “Actually, maybe you could buy me breakfast, for keeping me up all night.” “Even though you’re at fault,” I said, “you got yourself a deal, partner.” We started walking to find someplace open to dine. I was being the perfect gentleman. Getting the kid breakfast. I hope he’d be a happy camper. “After we grub we can shack up at your place. You're right down the street, right Dave?” OK, now he’s making it hard to be a gentleman. Time to change the subject. Here was my opening. “So you wanna see the the perfect last line?” “Don’t be a tease.” Finally, I showed him the words forever scarred into my flesh. Together we read aloud, Bennet holding my other hand as the sun woke the world: “‘And they lived happily ever after.’” The end.2 1Giving a whole new meaning to the term “pothead.” 2Now read the sequel. Coming soon!
  12. Thanks man, I'm so happy you feel that way. Your words are really an encouragement. I'll make sure to give some of your stories a read when I can. best, narias
  13. Longtime lurker here. Thought I'd drop by and finally say hello to everyone. I've been writing on and off and lately and decided to put more effort into it, and this seems like a nice place to post stuff that I'd be otherwise embarrassed to share. Other than writing, I like to read and skate and go fishing. Hope to see y'all around. narias
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