Friday, February 29, 2008

The workout. A conversation

I used to work with this woman. She was insane. We still talk pretty regularly through email. We swap information on THE WIRE. We talk about the sluttier corners of pop culture. She is funny. She is real. But rather than giving you this big gush blog about Lisa Marie, you might as well read some of our dialogue. You see, Lisa Marie has recently started going to the gym. Her perspective on gymwear is similar to my own. These are little gems that make getting through the work day a little easier. Read on:

Lisa Marie:
So I have been going to the gym pretty regularly since we quit
smoking I seem to be very grumpy if I don't get some exercise so I guess it's a good side effect of breathing free. Oprah said to not say I can't smoke but I want to breathe free. Anyways I have two observations:
1. I was on the bike doing my cardio thing and the woman on the tread mill in front of me was a big person not fat but she has more pounds to lose then I do. So she has on the trendy designer spandex like capris, I know they were designer because it was written across her butt and it was the only thing to look at. As I was saying she was a bigger woman with only a sports bra on actually she had two on, I don't know why people do that but she was. As I stared at her since there was nothing else to look at I thought wow she has a lot of confidence in her self. I am smaller than her and though why am I so insecure. So my cardio is done and then I head downstairs to lift some weights, getting my swell on. Anyways I see her again and she is on the leg machine where you lay down and the big lady with the fancy pants and then I decided fat people need to wear shirts at the gym. What do you think?

2. People that wear all black at the gym. Really gym clothes are not slimming no matter what color they are but to think you look better than you do by dressing in black your just depressing me and making me focus on your spare tire. I probably wouldn't have looked if you were just wearing a white t-shirt and sweatpants but really these people bring it upon themselves. Talk to you soon

Listening to the Boss, I am having a blue collar day.

Peter:

> Lisa-Lisa,
Good on the non-smoking. I was in this weird tug of war. I like to smoke, but I feel like trash afterwards. So I would smoke hard for 3 days to get the nicotine monkey on my back. They I would enjoy every smoke, but then I was a slave to the monkey...and that meant mood swings if I couldn't get away from everyone (kids) and have a smoke. So I rode this badly timed pendulum for years. Then I saw an episode of Sex in the City where Carrie hooks up with this politician who says he only smokes one cigarette a week. I bought into that. But I still felt like trash after each cigarette. It was easy to go from 1 a week to none a week.

This is good stuff. I have been thinking the same thing. I go to the gym 3x a week if I can work it, and I see all sorts of things that make no sense. There is a woman there who does the extremely tight sweatpants/sportsbra thing. She is in good shape, but her stomach and lower body are covered with tattoos. The thing that is weird for me, is that I am not going there to pick up, or stare. However, if she is wearing something midriff baring, and she is covered with ink down there...I am really put into a hard space. I think she knows it, and that is why she dresses this way. What kind of contact should there be between people at the gym? I have these hotties who are in my vicinity when I am working the dumbbells. Sometimes they set up camp right in front of me. This means that I have to look around them or down. Usually, I work out in front of the mirror because the mirror is the entire wall in my gym. I stand back a bit so that people can pick up iron (that is up against the mirror). I stand back as a buffer for people to pick up iron...not to get between me and the mirror. It makes the situation awkward. Or they aren't directly in front of me, just a little to the side. I'll tell you, Lisa, when quarters are cramped, I go somewhere else, I don't put my ass in someone's face. It is this weird thing...do you want people looking at you or no? Do people want you looking at them or no? Sometimes I watch the guys sneaking glances at the ladies. Sometimes I play the mirror angles and catch the ladies sneaking glances at the guys. It is all very complex. I have been going to gyms for YEARS and I have never landed the proper etiquette. Perhaps a separation of the sexes would be nice. But hey, some of those women are hot. Hey, some of the guys are hot too. Perhaps separate sides of the gym? No, we should all be adults and treat each other with fairness. But there is something primitive, pheromonal and vain about men and women sculpting their bodies in a relatively public place.

Lisa Marie:

The Gym has been weird for me lately. I started going to the gym in high school and didn't stop until we moved here and Mike made me feel guilty for not hanging out with him after work. I have had a membership at Garden since I did the tri [Lisa Marie was in a thriathlon last year] but I only rode the bike and swam and then ran home. So this is what I notice at the gym being an almost 30 year old, married, and a mother.

1. I don't like working out near anyone. I pick my machines based on whether or not there is someone near it like. Like if someone is next to the bench press then I will go do the sit up machine.
2. I take a yoga class and I have been going off and on for the last couple of months but I have been there every Monday for the last month. It seems like a group of people that have been doing it for a long time they all know each other. So last week a new girl showed up and they made a big deal about her and introduced her to the teacher invited her to other classes. Does anyone know my name, no! did they ask me to go to pilates, no. So I ask what is wrong with me. I don't want to talk to anyone in the weight room but I am offended that the yoga people don't know my name. I do look around a lot at the gym but I do that at restaurants too I am just nosy. I don't like when I catch people looking at me.

Peter:

Interesting. I look around everywhere I go. When I am driving I am scrutinizing everyone around me. Trying to read their faces. Trying to see what they are dealing with or what they are about to deal with. When people are driving, they are emotionally vulnerable in a lot of ways. Some people know it, and put a steely look on their faces...but then you know that they are REALLY dealing with something.

I was out grocery shopping with my son last night...putting the scrutiny ON these people. That's how I do. That's how I roll.

At the gym, I look around and people are vulnerable too. This is their BODY. This is the be all and end all of THEM. No cars, no money, no bling...just the flesh. I get to see if they like their beer, if they like their smoke, or if they have let themselves go over the years...etc. However, I know that I am under the same sort of scrutiny. And if I can tell stuff about them, then they can tell stuff about me. They can tell that I use the weights for the upper body more. They can tell that my legs are athletic in a different sense than my arms are athletic. All of my business is there for the reading. I don't like being scrutinized...but I know that I scrutinize...so I look at it as some sort of wacky eyeball karma.

You at least have a yoga class that you go to. In that class, you can probably lean over to the contortionist next to you and ask them if they have ever ripped a tendon trying to get into a certain position. it is always a gamble, but then you have a dialogue going. Soon, people will be flocking around you as you tell them about your triathlon and how you are the woMAN. I would suggest plunking down to another quiet person and finding common ground. You are friendly...and sharp. You could make some other 30 year old mother of 1 laugh her yoga'd ass off. And in the process, ask her what pilates class she goes to. What's up, you'll be a gym class rat in NO TIME.

I work out in close proximity with other people. I just do my best to keep my eyes averted. So much so that my eyes are TRULY AVERTED. I ignore the person. I can't gamble stealing a glance at them and letting them know that they are in the presence of one who scrutinizes. Downside to this is that I can get myself scrutinized.

Here is one that I notice though: SMELL.

Too much cologne/perfume? WTF are you doing? This isn't a singles bar. A mild whiff of some cologne is ok, because that means to splashed it on before you went to go work in the fields, and now you are here with residue. But to show up smelling like you just hopped out of a shower on your way to a blind date? NO. DOUBLE NO.

But the same goes for the reverse. I hate working out next to people that smell like an unwashed, unventilated armpit. It is the WORST.

I am also one for smalltalk in the gym. Bad breath is totally wrong. Chew gum or something...I mean dear Lord, you are there representing your flesh, and you smell like hot air blowing over a vat of rotted cabbage?

And how are those streets of Philly? That is the only song by the Boss that I really like.






And that is when I lost her.

She later informed me that I had written too much and she's gotten bored of it.

That Lisa. What a character.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

TEETH


His engine froze and the front wheels locked, spinning the rear of the vehicle to the left with a squeal. Instinctively, Willie pumped the brake which forced the vehicle into a three-hundred and sixty degree reverse spin into the opposite lane. The Taurus flew into a parked Toyota pickup with a two-syllable crunch and forced it up onto the curb breaking two of its wheels off of their axles. The impact forced Willie’s head into the windshield with a spray of cube-shaped safety glass, which knocked him immediately unconscious. The wreckage tore into the worn concrete wall of the Sheraton Hotel with sparks and the groan of twisting metal before it ground to a halt with a vulgar hiss.

Willie reached under the seat. He knew that he’d wrecked his car. He knew that he was in Monterey. He knew that he needed something to defend himself with. His hand felt the tire iron. The blood from his forehead had caked his hair and was in the corner of his eye. Willie was careful as he pulled on the tire iron; everything felt fine, but his back could very well be broken.
“Gimme your hand, I’ll pull you through the window!” A voice said from the passenger side. Willie looked up and looked into the eyes of a really thin face attached to a lanky body that was hunched over the passenger side. Willie didn’t like the face, or the yellow teeth.
“I got it.” He said.
“Like hell you do. You need medical attention!” The man said.
“Is there a hospital in Monterey?” Willie mumbled, as he tried to make his pulling on his tire iron inconspicuous. Willie started towards the window, planting his right palm into the seat and leaning on it with his shoulder. He dragged himself out of his seat into sort of a half crawl towards the window. The driver’s side of the Taurus was completely destroyed. It was also totally entangled in the Toyota which had become part of the wall.
“Got you right where I wantcha!” The thin man with the yellow teeth snarled. His hand shot into the window and grabbed Willie by the ear. Yellow Tooth pulled and pulled, bracing his other hand against the top of the door, and Willie slowly complied.
“Let go! I’m coming, I’m coming!” Willie shrieked. He could feel something popping in his ear, he knew that his cartilage was giving away. The temptation for him was to let go of the tire iron and deal with Yellow Tooth some other way, but Willie didn’t know what Yellow Tooth was armed with, or what drugs he was hopped up on. Willie’s upper torso had cleared through the window when Yellow Tooth let go of his ear. Willie fell out of the vehicle, crashing onto the sidewalk, dimly aware that there was a crowd forming. The tire iron clanged to the ground beside him.
“Busted.” Willie mumbled to himself.
Yellow Tooth had reached into his belt and pulled out a knife. He lunged forward and grabbed Willie by the ear again.
“Was you gonna hit me with that? I don’t like being hit.”
Willie looked into his skeletal face and noticed for the first time the blond, stringy hair that wisped about his face. Yellow Tooth leaned in, hunkering down, pulling on the ear and raising the blade.
“Somebody help me!” Willie shouted at the crowd that was gathering. No one moved. They all watched, stupidly.
Willie heard the report. Then his face was spattered with blood. Suddenly, he had a burning pain in his shoulder, as if someone had just punched him with a jackhammer. Yellow Tooth grabbed his stomach and slowly turned around, to face the gun that was aimed at him. There was another shot, and Yellow Tooth twisted further around on his feet, he had been hit in the side of the head; knees buckled, one of his dark, cowboy-booted feet slipped on the pavement and Yellow Tooth collapsed in a twisted bleeding mess. The man who’d shot Yellow Tooth stepped forward. His arms were massive. He was wearing a tank top. His hair was short and he had a wicked grin on his face. His teeth weren’t yellow, they were gold. His eyes were locked on Willie’s as he walked up. Then he looked down at Yellow Tooth. Yellow tooth was twisted into an unnatural position from spinning and constricting in pain. The back of his head had been blown off, but his eyes were still tracking. Yellow Tooth looked up at the man and began to scramble as much as he could, but it was more of a spasm than a controlled motion. Gold Tooth squatted beside him and held the gun’s barrel in Yellow Tooth’s face. Yellow Tooth gritted his teeth and looked directly into Gold Tooth’s eyes. The barrel went up against Yellow Tooth’s yellow teeth with a mild click. Gold Tooth pulled the trigger and Willie recoiled, working on processing the image of someone with a bullet shattering their teeth. There was another click.
“Damn. Looks like I’m empty.” Gold Tooth said. He flashed his smile at Willie. Willie felt the pain in his shoulder and hoped that the bullet had gone through his back. He’s seen medical footage of what it takes to remove a bullet from a wound, and he wasn’t really up to it.
“Get up, I’ll take you somewhere where you can get fixed up.” Gold Tooth said. Willie staggered to his feet and began to limp after Gold Tooth. The crowd began to disperse. They had seen violence like this before. Some were actually put out that they hadn’t been able to witness a murder. People stepped away from the twisted car wreckage and stepped over Yellow Tooth. Someone kicked the tire iron and it slid and re-clanked somewhere else. Yellow Tooth clawed at the ground, multiple pools of blood had started around him. As far as the crowd was concerned, he didn’t exist anymore. He was a medium of entertainment that had just been turned off. He was going to die, and no one was going to do anything about it.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Deep Down Fear Confronted and Dismantled

Unhinged. Dysbalanced. I should explain to you how I have opted for the spelling "dys" versus "dis" for the usage of the prefix that means "not." I will do that some other time. I will stop doing it for now...it will be another blog for another time. Right now, I feel displaced. It is a weather thing. It is Mother Nature flexing...and I am tired of her piss. I feel off. Mildly psychotic.

I have been trapped indoors for days. It has been raining nonstop and we are all stir crazy. Television, PS2 and Internet only holds so much distraction...we want OUT. The lines between reality and media have officially blurred. Too much pop culture. Not enough fresh air. I am slipping into a rain-inspired zone of cabin fever. Below are some rain shots. It is really coming down.







As a kid, I used to have to turn down the commercials. My parents had this explanation that television commercials where a waste of brain space. My mother told me a story about a kid who she babysat as a child who had memorized all of the commercials on the tv. She lamented that it was a total waste. I am sure she was right.


To make up for that kid's sins and any number of others, Casson and I had to turn down the commercials. Consequently, the few commercials that did slip through stuck in my head like cheap taffy. I can remember fighting myself to sleep trying to get that damned "Baby Alive" commercial out of my head. I think I had only hear a kid singing it on the schoolyard, but the infection was damn near fatal.


The commercial that I did see, that scorched my brain-pan for life was the one for Chiffon Margarine. I of course had to look it up, because all I can remember is a pissed old woman bringing the destruction of the fifth horsewoman saying "Its not nice to fool Mother Nature." Youtube pulled my account a little bit ago, apparently I had put up too much footage that belonged to other people. Ever since Google took over, they have steadily become more milquetoast. So milquetoast that I can't give you that commercial to see. Frick Youtube. I got another account with them, but I am more into just ripping what I want from them and keeping it on my Blackberry. Ooooh...the Blackberry, that will be another blog.

Enter this weekend. Enter these past few weeks.


I have a new job. It is within biking distance of where I live. This is a triumph in my life. I haven't been able to bike to work for well over a decade. Plus, Santa Cruz is one of the most bike friendly places I have ever lived in. There is a war that is obviously on between cars and bicyclists, but there are bike lanes on just about every main street. For example, some guy yelled at me to be careful as I powered past the Burger King driveway. My take was that he should be watching for bicyclists. So I hit my brakes and swerved 180 degrees while firing profanities that took out his windshield and the kid in the back seat. The words continued to hail on him and his doors pocked and buckled as they penetrated the metal like anti-tank shells. I really let that fool have it. I let him have it like Omar in Season 1 of THE WIRE. I watched a few episodes of that on Friday night, and dear Lord, my mental landscape is burred. Part of the gunpowder laced, percussion blast was that it was Fat Tuesday, and I was preparing for my yearly attempt at a cleaner mouth for 40 days.


So Mother Nature has been stepping to me. Stuff like: I don't hear any rain but as I get ready to leave in the morning, it looks like it is going to rain and sure enough, before I push my choke in at Soquel I have to hit my windshield wipers.


So this weekend, I have the kids over, and I have big plans. I was going to purchase my beach cruiser and I was going to take them to the Boardwalk. Well, I picked up the beach cruiser, I even had them install a little bell on the handlebars. You know, "Wo-oah! GTFO of my wa-aaaAY!" Oh, it is on for the local neighborhood. Ivan has a Schwinn Chopper and I have been completely overpowering him with my street/mountain bike, so I was looking forward to some even biking. Furthermore, with the new cruiser, everyone in the household has a crack at a bike.


Here are some new cruiser shots. The Felt Crass is some good old fashioned street dope. Pic one is at the bike shop. Pic 2 is beside my bed because it is like Christmas and you always keep your new toys beside your bed until they go out into the rest of your life (plus, it is raining outside). Pic 3 is Ivan's chopper. I didn't stand it up, I just shot it where it lay. It is raining outside, and I didn't feel like moving the Mustang. The Blackberry takes some mean pics though. I'll get to that in a different post.












Then it started to rain at about 2pm. Initially is was a mild sprinkling, but it got uglier and uglier. I brought my new bike into the house and rode it around a bit, trying to get a feel for it and not break anything. Bottom line is that I need to be outside. I want to ride around outside dammit.


With the loss of the weekly roller coaster ride and the forced abandonment of my bike ride with the babies, came the blossoming of a new era. Who is to blame for all of this? Who is stepping to me? As I look outside right now and see the gallons of rain drizzling down every point where water can drizzle, my anger grows.


This is about Mother nature. This is about that woman from decades ago that really got under my skin. And what can I do about it? I began hashing out the plan with Ivan. There is a mountain somewhere that I would have to climb. What weaponry could I use? No doubt, I would have to have a rocket launcher. I think the main thing would be to just bust into her palace, storm up to the throne and slap her across her stupid face. Then if she were to step back and try and get her "margarine payback" antics on, then I would have to open fire.


Recently, Luther and I watched Judge Dredd. It is a mediocre film with such good intentions. As a kid, I thought Judge Dredd was the hardest comic book character out there. You British geniuses. We have Spiderman and Archie, over there you have judge, jury and executioner. Part of my Mother Nature Takedown would entail a lawgiver...which is one of the baddest guns ever to be created for use in fiction or reality, period. Robocop's gun was close, but the Lawgiver will blow up if the wrong fingerprint gets on the trigger. While researching this idea last night, I found that Lawgiver models are sold out. But here is what the box looks like:



So obviously, I would have to unload the Lawgiver into Mother Nature...no contest. She would not understand the slapping, and I would have to immobilize the elemental goddess before she tries to get all Storm on me. We watched X2 last night, and I am still giddy every time I see nightcrawler single handedly take down the White House. I onl;y wish to God that was the real president. This country is so screwed. If Obama gets close to getting into the White House, the powers that be are going to snuff the life out of that man...just you watch. America is not ready for this. I have no faith on anything positive coming in 2008. I would also have to use a pickaxe. I would love to sink a pickaxe into her forehead. What would she bleed? Probably leaves and peat moss...silly wood goddess.

The rocket launcher would have to be for Father Time, who would show up shortly after I incapacitate his stupid wife. My time playing Time Crisis has shown me that you can't spam rockets, it takes a second to reload. So I would have to send one in his direction and then continue sending them until the old fart knows what time it is.

If I beat Father Time's ass correctly, he might let me go back and adjust some of the wrongs that I have done in my past. However, as EC comics have taught me, one should never go back in time and straighten things out. You might slip up and kill your own father before you are born or some stupid trash like that. No, I would have to wrap my hands around his head and get all Rutger on him. Blade Runner final cut status (I ordered the complete set on Amazon last night, briefcase and all). Luther and I watched Blade Runner this week, and my God, I forgot how dope it is.



"I WANT MORE LIFE FATHER." Oh yeah, I'll implode his skull with my bare hands. If he still twitches after that, I would have to bust out with the two swords, Cervantes style. There has been a lot of Soul Calibur 3 this weekend BTW. What would pop out of his head? Musical notes? Gears and sprockets and pocketwatch parts? Who cares. I would have to light his remaints on fire with gasoline that costs $3.24 a gallon. I just got paid, so I would go 2 or three gallons on that withered piece of junk.

Holy smokes...this negative incantation is working. The sun is actually coming out. I am gonna get dressed and go ride a roller coaster with the babies. Cleanse this indoors palate for real. Those ridiculous fossils know what is coming. Mother nature, I ain't fooling with you. Below are some more shots of the wet rampage that bitch has been on.






Wow my kids are patient. Letting me get all of this poison out like this. They have pretty much left me alone. They could see the cloud over my head I suppose.
Yeah, I used to be scared of Mother Nature...but I think those days are over.
I'm done. I'll try and write something coherent later.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

PISSED

He hated fighting with her. He hated it with a passion. But there they were, deadlocked and neither were going to back down anytime soon.

And as he drove, he pushed it on the gas a little harder. The car was a little older, but it was strong. A workhorse. All cars are workhorses if you treat them right. When he turned, he carved into the corners a little more. He could hear the slightest of squalling from the tires. It felt good to take the anger out on the road. It probably wasn't good for the car or the tires, but she had really gotten under his skin this time. And on this straightaway, he knew he had a half of a mile before a stop sign. He knew that the speed limit was 35mph, but he also knew that he could probably double that before he had to hit his brakes.

She had dug her heels in, as stubborn as ever. She wasn't ever going to apologize. That wasn't how she operated. Years and years of this misery. This dealing with a self-serving individual who couldn't see her own faults but sure could see his. he hadn't really thought of it as bad. it wasn't until he was backed up against a wall as he was now that he actually realized his situation. He had these moments of clarity, and then he was lulled back into his life, away from the crisp coherence that she was indeed a poison to his soul.

His foot leaned on the gas pedal and the tires grabbed the road a little harder, pulled him a little faster. Just a little bit. He was ten miles over the speed limit, but it probably wasn't enough for a ticket. She had goaded him this time. Really laid it on thick. She knew he was angry and she had leaned her face right into his. She had dared him to hit her. She told him to hit her. Perhaps he should have. The tension as he stepped away from her had been remarkable. Like she had won somehow by his not following through with the belting she'd deserved. If he'd hit her, then maybe he wouldn't be out here speeding around, asking for trouble on his way to the bank.

Now he was at 55. 55 was manageable, but he was still pissed. He pushed it a bit more. He was a a quarter-tank. He would hit the bank, and then the gas station. The houses lolled by, unrecognizeable. Lots of picket fences. No one seemed to be out this afternoon. This was fine with him, because he was ready to force some air into that carburator.

He had to go to the bank to cover a credit card that she was abusing. Of course she could made it look like he benefited from her abuse of this card. Of course she demonstrated how everyone in the household benefited from her lack of control. But these were benefits that weren't necessary. It didn't need to be this way. What happened to waiting for clothes and dishes and fun things? What happened to jars where you tucked money away? That was how his mother had handled it. Not by getting an American Express card and racking the hell out of it. He'd stood by his point. His point was that he'd told her not to get it. Now she had it and the minimum payment was bigger than they had budgeted for. The part that had triggered him was that it had been manageable the month before. He had no idea what the money was actually being spent on. She wasn't really copping to it either.

68 now. Almost to the doubling point. He felt better. He could look at the road and concentrate on it. This took his mind off of the here and now. The wind whistled outside the car. The radio was off, and all he could hear was the hum of the engine, the hum that had a lot more growl to it if he wanted to use it. It was a smooth hum. There were no ticks and no pops. No grinding sounds and nothing scraping. It sounded healthy, and it was. He let off the gas. He would roll into the stop sign and hopefully feel a little better. There was no traffic on the road. No one was out to see him whizzing by in the family jalopy. The road was his, and with no one out, he felt entitled to it. Hitting 68 in the city limits was always a positive accomplishment.

But what was he going to do about her? He had been raised to think that separation and divorce were bad things...but there was no other way to deal with this one. This one was a serious pain in the neck. This one had issues way beyond him.

The coasting down was smooth and 55 felt like a slow speed. It could have been 25, the way it felt. After almost being at 70, 55 was completely small potatoes.

He would knuckle under again. he would apologize again. He would try and make it work one more time. He would pick up flowers on the way from the bank. There was enough cash in his wallet to pull of a slight bouquet, and that was what he was going to do. It would be better to apologize and try to make nice out of this whole thing than to have another cold night like what had been in his personal weather pattern for the past month. Flowers would do the trick.

And now he could see the stop sign ahead. He touched the brakes just a bit to bring it down to 40. 40 miles per hour. A cop would have to be a complete prick to ticket him now. However, if a cop was anywhere nearby, they would probably have him at the 68. He mused how the signs always said that speed was patrolled by aircraft, but he'd never received a ticket as a result of some pilot.

So tired of fighting. Their relationship was like a glass of water. He wanted to keep the water clean and drinkable. She was willing to allow all sorts of pollutants in, and remain satisfied that there was indeed still a glass of water. Shit water. Well, flowers might kill off some of the pollutants. Counselling maybe? He needed to think. With a sigh, he brought his right hand up to massage his temples.

That was when the kid on the bicycle shot out in front of him. That was when he felt the impact. That was when the windshield bent abnormally and at its last second of stability, it shattered. It blew in patterns of small things too quick to record. Like a thousand dandelion seeds being pushed in random directions by several straight, strong winds. The glass was hard, angry, and it ripped at him. The boy's body went sprawling off of the buckled hood, and for a second he saw the shock in the kid's eyes. The locked brakes caused the car to slow with a lurch and a nosing tip down in the front before settling. It was all quiet, except for the crinkle of glass covering him like a layer of chipped ice. The radiator began to hiss, angrily.


He realized that no, flowers weren't going to cut it this time.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Spaghetti

-There is more to this one too.


His eyes shot open. He was sweating. The room was cold though. A pure cold. Sanitized and clean. But familiar. This was no hospital. This wasn't a morgue either. This place was something that he knew, he knew it very well. He saw the cracks in the ceiling...but they weren't cracks. They weren't the cracks that he remembered. These were something else, reaching out to him. Holding him. Bundling him and making him feel...full. Then he felt them. The needles, thousands of them under his skin; burrowing.
It wasn't pain, is was an irritation. As if each of these needles had been under the skin of his arms, legs, chest, face and groin for days. It felt as if each one of these filaments wriggling under his skin had been there for days, amassing infection, and as they moved, the pus was being released from a million small wounds at once. It felt lie a baptism. A warm baptism of decaying liquid.
He opened his mouth to cough, and realized that his mouth was already open. That the needles were in his mouth too. He bit down and felt his teeth test thousands of plastic tubes and he realized then and there that the tubes were attached to the ends of the needles under his skin that wriggled so.
Violently, he turned his head to the right, and he felt the needles pull out of the pores in his face, ripping and tearing but the pain was dull. His cheek pulled away from his teeth and flapped back when free. His eyelid lost the battle and ripped back into the socket. His forehead popped and bubbled and released the needles. As his left eye washed over with blood, he ripped his left arm free of the needles and tubes by raiding it over her bleeding, prostate head. The needles and filaments gave way from his neck down to the quick of his fingernails. Fiberoptics. That is what it felt like. It felt as if every pore on his arm had been reversed with a small, sharp snag hook simultaneously. His now free arm felt thick with the now brimming blood on the surface.
Wrapping his wet fingers around the cluster of tubes going down his throat, he pulled. He felt his tongue splintering and pulling, a if he had the winter pole that you are not to lick inside of his mouth.
He felt his gums scrape as layers of skin from his throat worked past. His throat felt charred, like the worst winter couch, with a throat meat purchase. As he pulled, he felt how deep the filaments went. Internal, deep. The more he pulled, the more he felt the vomit stir not so far below his neckline.
And then it launched. An acidic wash of liquid barrelled up his throat, digging into the wounds he already had, filling every fresh rip with stomach acid. The roaring continued. It was a taste unfamliar to him. He knew the bile, but the other milky liquid jetting out of his mouth and his nostrils was something else. It was sweet. It was what he'd always thought milk and honey would taste like.
The jagged blast of vomit arced out of his mouth and carpeted the rug below him. As his stomach spasmed again and again, he could hear the plashing of the newer layers of vomit onto the old. It was an incredible amount. It was gallons.
His stomach twitched and balled into a hard, deflated soccer ball. The questions were upon him now, and he was fully conscious.
He sat up with a slight slip. It was at this point that he realized that the tubes, the needles were only on his front side, and there was no ripping from his back. Wincing, he looked around the room. It was the room that he had remembered. it was the last room he had fallen to sleep in. Yet the magazines on the nightstand were grimy and cracked and now vomit spattered. How long had he been in this place?
Taking his throbbing, raw left hand, he wrapped his fingers around the slick, vomited filaments covering his right arm. He paused for a second, recognizing the pain to come before he tore them loose. Through his good eye he was able to see the spray of his own fluids from the now free tubes. Or was it his fluid? Was he being pumped full of something? Pickled?The countless cords dripped of the liquid that he knew was sweet. They dripped with the drip of a stream of water that has been recently shut off. He now understood his gallons of vomit.
Odd, unpulled tubes stuck into his arms at various points. The tubes were small, the diameter of a strand of spaghetti. But the length of the strand was a different issue. All of these strands seemed to go into the ceiling. The whole room was shrouded in these strings, these tubes, these needles. They were all focused on him though. Except for the ones that he'd pulled, they all led to him. It was as if the room itself had reached out and was drawing him in.
He looked down, and saw the cluster of tubes patched into his genitalia. For some reason, there were so many filaments working in the area between his legs that the entire area was obscured. But he felt it. He felt the needles working in and through his innards. He also felt the anesthetized dulling. Lastly, he knew what he had to do. With both hands, he grabbed the stalk of tubes above his groin. Slowly, he slid his hands down to the base, directly above his probed genitals. There was a second pause and then he yanked back, fierce and hard as one pulls off a Band-Aid.
The pain and shock was immediate and convulsing. The absolute white-fury pain that he felt as his crotch was self-obliterated was more than he could stand. The blood had spattered his thighs and stomach and it was only at this moment that he realized that he was naked. He laid back into his vomit-stained, blood-spattered pillow and attempted to absorb the stinging shriek in his crotch. He felt the blood pooling around his buttocks and hits. He felt the wet sheets as he shifted with every tense breath. Slowly, he looked down, over his chest and stomach towards the mess that was once his manhood. Slowly crunching forward, gripping the sheets for leverage, he continued the long journey to a seated position. The destruction of his flesh was vicious. There were streams of blood coming from all parts of his body. The amount of liquid that he had purged in the last little bit was more than a human could contain. In his last inches before a full view of his mangled male construct his blown nerves yelped as shrilly as possible, letting him know that the wound inside of his thighs was gaping and free. He felt pain that he didn't know existed. His good eye was wide open, his other winced with the flush of blood still racing before it.
Looking down, he now saw what was left of him. Looking down, hunching into a position where he could see, suddenly the pain didn't matter anymore. He may as well have had a question mark over his head. Something made no sense. But then something made complete sense. He was looking down at his vagina.
Peace and calm flooded over him as he laid again, back into the soggy pillow. He closed his eyes.



THC EPILOGUE:
His eyes opened. Looking at the ceiling now and focusing, the spiderweb cracks looked less menacing. Not like the tubing that had tormented him in that dream. And there was Jackson, standing over him. "You had a horrible dream." He said, in that soft unbalanced tone. "You screamed several times." His voice was soft, grandfatherly. "These dreams, they are killing me." William sobbed. The vision of his dream was already fading, but he knew he would have to ride that vaginal image out for the rest of the day at least. Jackson pulled a chair up to the bedside. "I have what you need." He said, as he packed a small wooden pipe with a solid chunk of marijuana. He clamped the pipe in his mouth, with his molar, giving his unshaven, weighty face a strange grimace. The match flashed against the strike pad and Jackson tossed the pack next to William's leg. He brought the match to the pipe and pulled, sucking like the exaggerated suck a child does on a straw. Suddenly, his eyes lit up and he turned his head, coughing explosions of smoke from his throat. The tears pooled under his eyes. "Little bit harsh." He said, with a voice that sounded small and tearful. He passed the pipe to William.
Taking the pipe in his hand and placing it in his teeth similar to the way Jackson had, William fumbled for the matches. He had promised her and promised her, but he had never been able to put the pipe down. And now she was gone. But he could feel her staring him down from the grave. The kids never really understood, and sometime he got lost in the innocent pools of their eyes as they babbled to him and he was a million miles away in his head. A good smoke was what he needed. He struck the match, put it to the bowl and sucked the flaming, polluted air into his lungs deeply. He sealed off his throat and took the pain. Underneath it all was his pondering of his vagina.
"You done? Jackson asked, scooting back. William let the smoke blast out of his mouth like a plume of exhaust from a Diesel truck. No coughing. "Done." William said.
Jackson stood and shambled out of the room. There was no light coming in from the windows. It was still dark outside. Thank God for Jackson, William thought. Thank God for that simple, psychotic son of a bitch. He is the only thing keeping me stable in this horrible life I lead.
William laid his head back into his crisp, cool pillow and allowed his thoughts to wander. He kept them away from his vagina though. That vagina thing was weird.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Compromise

I wrote this for Casson years ago. It was for some project that never lifted off. It has an edge to it that I don't really like, but then again...it has other things that I do like. This is a crude spasm I had after spending too much time working in a pub. It isn't pretty. it isn't supposed to be.




“Yeah, about three.” Brad said. He was talking into a phone.
“Yeah, I’ll be there. I just have to serve he poison, you know.” He said.
“Jeff, I love you too, later” He said. He put the phone down and opened the register.

Mike had been at the bar for the last half hour. Tony was late again. Late enough for Mike to order a second Bud Lite. Tony wasn’t late like Mike’s recent ex. He had just gotten off the phone with him. Shauna had taken the pregnancy test and was positive. Mike winced as he thought about it. He didn’t need another kid, this was like high school all over again. Mike had told Shauna to handle the kid situation and come back to him after she was done. He had let her down an hour ago.
“This is gonna be a good night.” He muttered to himself. Mike turned to see Tony making his way down the bar.
“Hey man.” Tony said. Tony took off his leather trenchcoat, threw his tie over his shoulder, dropped the coat at the base of his stool and sat down.
“Dude, you’re running late.” Mike said.
“Man, I had to go to the clinic.” Tony said.
“Clinic? Sounds like you have my problem. Shauna is preggers.”
“Not my problem. I have been pissing yellow for the past bit. Had a little discharge. Now I know what it was.” Tony was looking down. Brad walked up, behind the counter.
“Can I get you something?” He asked. His sleeves were rolled up. He was a kid, and he had Popeye anchor tattoos on both forearms.
“Yeah, I need three shots of Irish whiskey, lined up here.” Tony said, gesturing.
“Three. Wow man.” Mike said.
“Sure thing. My name is Brad, I’ll be your bartender tonight.” Brad turned and went to the other end of the bar.
“Yeah, chlamydia. Never expected it. I go without a condom one night, and this is what I get.” Tony shook his head.
“Man, you can’t go one night in this town. Too much stuff is going on these days.” Mike smiled to himself in the mirror behind the bar, proud of his retort.
“It must have happened last month, if she was the one. Brenda and I broke up, and I went on a bender. I slept with everyone for about three weeks straight.” Tony said.
“I remember you had a lot on the go. I didn’t know that it was all pussy. I thought that the job was tearing at you.” Mike said.
“Well, I guess some of it was rotten.” Tony still hadn’t looked Mike in the face. Brad walked up with a tray and laid the three drinks down.
“You want me to close you guys out?” He asked.
“Nah, keep it open, Brad. Tonight is going to be a long night.” Mike said. He slapped Tony on the shoulder as he said this.
“Here’s the deal men: if I serve you drinks after you are intoxicated, that is a misdemeanor on my part. But I can see that both of you are a little low. So if you swear to me that you guys are getting a cab out of here, I will help you drown your sorrows.”
“Deal Brad. Look, here’s my card and my license. Hold me to the deal at the end of the night.”
“I’m liking you guys already.” Brad said, as he squinted at the Visa card. “Can I get you something else, uh, Michael?”
“Yeah, I go by Mike, get me three Irish whiskeys, just like Tony here.”
“Three more, coming up. Gentlemen. When you feel low, the best comfort you can possibly take other than three Irish whiskeys is that of a woman.” Brad said, smiling.
“Women are just the problem on this side of the bar Brad.” Tony said.
“Women are always a problem. You two need to meet new ones. Get laid. Look, if you see someone in here tonight that interests you, hit me up, I’ll send them the drinks, on me.” Brad turned and walked to the other end of the bar again. He was a muscular fellow, with blond hair, but still a kid.
“This might be the coolest bartender I have ever had.” Mike said.
“Whatever.” Tony answered. He slugged back a shot.
“Brad’s right. Let’s get laid. I need to crack twenty-five in the next month. Tonight, I think I can do twenty-four.” Mike said. He had finally caught Tony’s eye in the mirror behind the bar.
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“I turn twenty-five next month. I sleep with a woman for every year I have been alive. I am at twenty-three. I will finally be on par this year if everything works out.” Mike said, beaming.
“Just put a fucking sock on the pickle.” Tony said.
“You know what? Fuck you. I got herpes back when I was in high school, so just drink your shots and quit being such a bitch.” Mike said.
“Herpes eh?” Tony said.
“Yeah, I haven’t had an outbreak in five years, but I did get the old lump-lump. You know something? I have been involved with more women than I can even count. Long-term, short-term. I have put in my time in the old relationship game. Still, this herpes thing plagues me. Fortunately, when I do put a sock on the pickle, girls think its about pregnancy and not about that fucking virus.”
“Well, apparently, I can keep this chlamydia as long as I want. The doc suggested that I get the shot, but it really doesn’t do much to me, besides this yellow discharge thing.” Tony said.
“What, you leak all the time?” Mike asked.
“Yeah, it’s a leaker.”
“Get the shot.”
“Next week, if I’m up to it.”
“Hey, you still have it then!”
“Yeah, you are talking to an infected man!” Tony laughed. Brad walked up and put the three drinks in front of Mike. Mike picked one up.
“To infection!” He said.
“Infection it is!” Tony responded. Tony picked up his second shot, toasted and knocked it back.
“I don’t even want to know.” Brad said.
“We are going to infect the world. We are going to inflict ourselves on society!” Mike said.
“You two really just need to get laid.” Brad said. He smiled a half smile and walked back up the bar.
“He’s right.” Tony said.
“What? Get laid?”
“Yeah. But I don’t want to get laid. I want to get myself a classy woman. I want a relationship.” Tony said. He hovered over the second vowel on the word so it sounded like ‘relaaaaytionship’.
“Here’s my problem. Shauna is late on her period. She takes a test. She’s positive. I’ve only been with her for a month, so I kicked her to the curb. I don’t need to worry about a kid right now.”
“You’re cold. Did you infect her?” Tony was smiling.
“Damn right I did. To infection!” He said, reaching for his second drink.
“To infection!” Tony echoed, knocking back his third shot.
“Brad! Brad! We need backup!” Tony yelled. Brad tuned from the woman he was talking to at the end of the bar, nodded and reached for the bottle of Bushmills.
“Seriously. Tonight, let’s meet some women, some classy women and do this right.” Mike said.
“Classy women. You know what? I need a woman who knows how to handle me. You are aiming for twenty-five? You are talking to mister forty-two!” Tony said. Mike turned and looked at him.
“So why the hell are you so twisted up? Forty-two and all you have is a little yellow discharge? Buck up! You’ve beaten the odds!”
“Yeah, I guess I have. But I want to settle down with a woman now. I need to settle. I need to look at a woman for more than something to get me off. I want to have a meaningful relationship. I’m almost thirty-two here. Marriage is what is next in my life, I can feel it.” Tony said. Brad walked up and placed six drinks from a tray down in front of them.
“Gentlemen, I can tell that the mood is lightening up.” He said.
“Yeah, you know what Brad?” Mike asked.
“What’s that?”
“We don’t need to get laid. We need to get out and get ourselves into some long-term relationships with classy women.” Mike said. He slurred the word ‘ourselves’.
“I heartily agree. Holler when you need back-up again.” He said. Brad turned and walked back towards the woman that he was talking to at the other end of the bar.
“Mike, you just dumped a girlfriend. What the hell are you talking about a ‘long -term relationship’?” Tony asked.
“Just that. I want to meet up with a woman who I respect. I want her to take care of herself. I want no diseases. I want no kids in the making. I need to just focus on the relationship end of things.” Mike said.
“Shauna wasn’t that sort of focus?” Tony asked.
“Tony, Shauna wanted to hook me. That’s why she got preggo. I don’t want to be hooked. I need a responsible, classy woman.” Mike said. As he said that, the bar behind them erupted. Twenty new faces walked in.
“The movies just got out.” Tony said. He knew this because there was a movie theatre next to the bar that they were in.

Jeanette and Maria sat down at the table. It had been a long afternoon for each of them. They had worked their respective jobs, gone to the gym together, gone to the movie for a treat, and were now out for an after movie drink.
“Do you think we should order something to eat?” Maria asked. Her long straight black hair hung behind her shoulders with weight.
“Honestly, Maria, what could they have here that you would possibly want to eat?” Jeanette answered. She was looking through the laminated pub menu, wrinkling her nose.
“Well, drinking on an empty stomach is a total no-no, plus, we pushed it pretty hard tonight on the cycles you know.”
“Just one drink. Then we go our separate ways. You can go home and cook something, and me? I’ll go home and sleep.” Jeanette said.
“We could get a drink here and go for dinner somewhere else you know. Its not like we have husbands and kids to answer to.” Maria said.
“Cash is getting short here. Plus, I stink. I didn’t have a shower. These are my work clothes. Thank God this is a smoking bar, or people would smell through my ruse spritz.” Jeanette said.
“I have the same spritz on that you have, honey. Forget all of that, what did you think of the movie?” Maria asked.
“I have seen it all done before. Typical paranoia. It had the Exocist thrown in there for good measure.” Jeanette answered.
“So you took that for demon possession? I thought that she was just consumed by her passions.”
“The wide eyes? What about the growl? She was totally demonized.”
Woah, woah, woah ladies! Demonized?” Brad said.
“Nice tattoos. I take it you like Popeye?” Maria asked.
“I’m still on demonized here. Look, I’m a Bible School dropout, but my ears still prick up when I here words like, ‘demonized’.” Brad said.
“Don’t worry, it’s this crappy flick playing across the street.” Jeanette said.
“What’s it called?” Brad asked.
“You know what? I don’t even think that I should tell you the title. This film was so worthless. It was such a minuscule blip on the big radar screen.” Maria said.
“Fine then. I’m up for the challenge. Listen, my name is Brad, I’ll be your host for the rest of the evening. Can I interest you two in some drinks? I will get the title out of you two before the night is out.” Brad said.
“So, you expect us to tell you the name of the movie when you won’t even tell us if you like Popeye?” Maria asked.
“Popeye isn’t the subject right now. Your drinks are. So what’ll it be?” Brad asked. If Brad hadn’t been smiling, his tone would have betrayed his irritation.
“I need a whiskey.” Jeanette said.
“Whiskey!” Maria repeated.
“Yes, and let’s make it a double.”
“Jeanette!” Maria said, astounded.
“Yeah, I need a double. A good kick in the ass before I go home.” Jeanette said.
“Well, can I have a glass of white wine?” Maria asked.
“Umm, what kind of whiskey would you like?” Brad asked. His hands were behind his back. He stood at a sloping angle away from the table, yet his head was crooked forward.
“Popeye, surprise me.” Jeanette said. Her voice wasn’t flirtatious. It was the voice of a woman who couldn’t be bothered with the decision making required for her order.
“Irish whiskey seems to be the hit tonight.” Brad said.
“Irish it is.” Jeanette said. She looked Brad in the eye, but it was the formality of eye contact, and not the longing for connection that Brad was hoping for.
“And you? Any old white wine?” Brad said, turning his head towards Maria.
“I’m sure that you know what is good and what is not, Brad.” Maria said. Again, the eye contact caught Brad, but again, there was nothing more than the decorum of it all.
Brad turned and walked to the bar.
“The boy wanted to flirt with you.” Maria said.
“Boys are trouble. This is not the kind of place to meet a boy.” Jeanette said.
“You’re right. Two girls should be able to go to a bar and have a drink without having to worry about that kind of nonsense.” Maria said.
“Did you think he was cute? He’s probably a rapist or something though.” Jeanette said.
“I guess he was cute in a high school sort of way. The thing is what we have been talking about for the past several weeks. It’s ok not to want that kind of relationship right now. We have both been hurt, and it’s ok to take a breather.” Maria answered. “Why do you have to say that he was a rapist?”
“Because I am sure that once a guy finds out that you have been raped, then its over.” Jeanette said.
“This isn’t the middle east. Men understand these things. If I found out some guy that I was dating had been raped, I would still like him, rape isn’t the issue.” Maria said.
“Well for men, it is. It means someone was where they want to be before them. That someone was also there by force.” Jeanette said.
“Bullshit. If I had been raped and I met a man and I told him about the rape, I would still have him, if the relationship was strong.” Maria said.
“That would be a special man. The run of the mill male isn’t going to go for you. The run of the mill male is going to think of you as damaged goods.” Jeanette countered.
“You know something, I have been thinking about our little ‘let’s get healed before we date’ philosophy. I have been thinking about it hard. I don’t think it could work if we didn’t have each other to pull each other through.” Jeanette said.
“He broke my heart you know.” Maria said.
“I had my heart broken too.” Jeanette answered.
“How can a guy pledge all of his love to you like that and just cheat on you?” Maria asked.
“I don’t know. How can a guy pledge his heart for you and leave town without a word?” Jeanette asked.
“I mean, its not like guys are scum or something, it’s just that we both had two real assholes.” Maria said.
“And that’s why we have been going o the gym. You have your pain, and I have mine. Somewhere I read that it really helps to work out to master heartbreak.” Jeanette said. Her hand reached up, and by habit, began to twirl the ends of one of her dark brown curly locks. She was wrapping it around her finger and pulling the end through, yet the knot wasn’t able to tighten, it just worked its way to the end of the lock, only to be started again by Jeanette’s twirling finger.
“Jeanette, thanks for helping me to get through this mess. Seriously. If I didn’t have you these days, as someone to fill my odd hours with, I would have gone insane.” Maria said. She picked up the pack of matches in the ashtray and folded the cover back.
“I think that its great that we are both in the same frame of mind. We can heal together. And when we both are in the shape to go back out dating again, we will have each other to check on. You have been great for me.” Jeanette answered.
“So, demonized?” Maria asked.

Mike kept on stealing glances behind his stool.
“The fuck is your problem?” Tony asked.
“There are these two girls behind us. They look like they might be classy.”
“Well tonight is classy night.” Tony slurred. He spun around on his stool and looked hard at Maria and Jeanette.
“I’ll take the one on the right.” Tony said.
“I don’t know…I haven’t played this game in awhile. How do you want to play this?” Mike asked.
“We’ll get Brad to send over the drinks. Its that simple. Brad? Hey Brad! Over here!” Tony was waving his hand in the air like he was flagging a cab.
“Yes gents, what can I do for you?” Brad said. He was wiping a glass down with a sterile white terry cloth rag.
“Brad, those girls behind us. Those are the ones that you need to send the drinks to for us.” Mike said.
“Gentlemen. I don’t think that these are the women for you.”
“What would make you say such a thing?” Tony asked, swiveling in his stool, leaning in towards Brad.
“They just don’t seem, interested. I think that they have other things going on. Like maybe they have men in their lives or something.” Brad said.
“Brad, your mission is to go over there and buy the two women drinks for us. You said you would, and personally, if you don’t want to do it, then I’ll pay the bill. You did say you would though.” Mike said. He ran his hand through his tousled hair and watched himself in the mirror behind the bar.
“I did say that I would. Gentlemen, I am a man of my word. Let me walk over to them and talk to them. They already ordered drinks, I’ll just make them ‘our’ treat, what do you say?” Brad said.
“Excellent job!” Tony said, reaching across the bar and slapping Brad on the shoulder.

Brad walked up to the table with the two drinks.
“A double Irish whiskey for you, and a white wine for you.” He said, as he put down square beige napkins and placed the drinks on top.
“Ladies, these drinks have been taken care of courtesy of the two men directly behind me.” Brad said. Maria and Jeanette looked behind Brad and saw Mike and Tony looking their way, smiling.
“Oh God.” Jeanette said.
“Is there a problem?” Brad asked.
“No, no problem. Just that we’re not here for that. I mean for that.” Jeanette said, gesturing towards the men.
“I don’t understand?” Brad asked.
“Tell the men that we appreciate their kindness, but we can pay for our own drinks.” Maria said.
“So, I will tell the gentlemen that their goodwill was refused. I will let them down nicely.” Brad said.
“Look Popeye, let them down real nice and I’ll tip you an extra three dollars.” Maria said. She turned her head and laughed, lightly. Her black hair jangled behind her.
“Done.” Brad said. He turned and rather than going straight to the men, he went around the bar, forcing Mike and Tony to turn away from Maria and Jeanette.

“Guys, I don’t know what to tell you. They aren’t into it at all. I poured it on. They would rather pay for their own drinks.” Brad said. He shot his eyebrows up, exhaled and turned to handle customers up the bar.
“They must be gay.” Mike said.
“Must be dykes.” Tony said.
“Impossible. Look, if you are a woman, and you look as good as they do, you don’t go into a bar and sit down and order drinks. They are on the prowl. We just have to find out what their secret is. If they were gay, they would be up at that bar up the street. They are in here, and we have to find out what the combination is to crack them.” Mike said.
“Where are you going?” Tony asked. Mike had already slippe off of his barstool and was headed towards the women.
“Where do you think I am going?” Mike answered.

“Prowler at three o’clock.” Maria said.
“Shit.” Jeanette answered.
“Um, so ladies.” Mike said.
“Look, when a guy refers to us as ‘ladies’ it really sets me on edge. How about you just kill the act and get to the point?” Maria said. She never looked Mike in the face, but her voice was very loud.
“Ok, well, my friend and I couldn’t help but notice you two over here.” Tony said. He was standing behind Mike, speaking over his shoulder.
“That’s strike two. That ‘couldn’t help but notice you’ line is tired.” Jeanette said.
“Well, can we sit down here and try and have a decent conversation with you two?” Mike asked.
“I would rather you didn’t, but since you are here, go ahead and sit down.” Maria said.
Tony went to another table and grabbed two chairs. Mike and Tony both sat down. They were between Maria and Jeanette.
Before you totally blow us off, how about we get to know each other? Let’s get to know each other and if you still hate us, then we’ll leave.” Mike said.
“We don’t hate you; we just aren’t up to the games right now. This sounds a little more intelligent now.” Jeanette said.
“I have one game I would like to play with you two if that’s ok.” Mike said.
“Didn’t we just get done telling you about games?” Jeanette asked. She was twirling her hair again.
“Yeah, but this is a game that we can play and we can tell each other truths about ourselves and go from there. If you don’t like what you hear, we’ll leave.” Mike said.
“So, you will leave us alone if this stuff doesn’t pay off? Because you two already have two strikes.” Maria said. She was smiling. This wasn’t the smile of a flirt. This was the smile of one preparing to accept an easy challenge.
“Yeah. Sure. The game goes like this: You take this quarter here. We rotate this quarter from boy to girl, er, man to woman, and you flip it. Heads, you tell a fact, tails you drink.” Mike said.
“I don’t think anyone has anything to lose.” Tony added.
“This could be interesting.” Jeanette said. She sipped on her double.
“The key is that it has to only be about relationships. We play for facts about relationships, nothing else.” Mike said. Jeanette and Maria looked at each other. There was a conspiratory note hanging in the air somewhere.
“Sounds like a deal. Guys go first.” Jeanette said.
“But of course. We’re here, bothering you, we brought the game, we should show you how it’s done.” Mike said.
“I want him to go first.” Maria said, pointing at Tony.
“Why me?” Tony asked.
“Because your friend here is doing all of the talking. You are the mystery man. Let’s lose some of the mystery.” Maria said.
“Brad!” Tony yelled. Brad perked up at the bar, like a dog being called for a treat.
“Brad! Get your ass over here!” Tony yelled. Brad walked in their direction.
“Brad, we need drinks. We need another of everything that we have been drinking so far.” Tony said.
“So, three Irish whiskeys and a wine?” Brad said.
“Yeah, sounds good.” Tony said.
“I told you that Irish whiskey was the flavor of the evening.” Brad said, winking at Jeanette.
“Just get the drinks Brad.” Jeanette said, cold.
“Ok, so, my name is Tony, ad I am going to flip the coin here.” Tony said. He flipped the quarter, hard. It flew, spinning in the air and bounced off the table and onto the floor. It rolled to a table fifteen feet away.
“I have this.” Maria said, getting up. Brad and Tony watched her ass as she went to go get the quarter.
“Don’t.” Jeanette said.
“Don’t what?” Tony asked.
“Don’t look at Maria like she’s a piece of meat.
“We weren’t!” Mike said.
“I know how men look at asses, you both scoped her out hard as she got up. I bet you can’t wait to see my ass too. I bet you can’t wait to see if it fits my face. I know how you guys work. My ass is a big part of whether you will accept me or not.” Jeanette said.
“That’s ridiculous!” Mike said.
“Ok, ok, so I looked at her ass. For the record, she has a nice ass.” Tony said.
“And what makes a nice ass?” Jeanette asked. Her smile was malevolent.
“Heads!” Maria yelled.
“Ok, um, let me tell you about myself…something to do with relationships. I recently had my heart broken.” Tony said, looking down.
“Heat broken?” Maria asked as she took her seat.
“Yeah.” Tony said.
“I say that we get to ask questions about what has been shared.” Jeanette said.
“Why not?” Tony said. He leaned back in his chair and exhaled slowly.
“I found out that my girlfriend was seeing another man.” Tony said.
“How did you find this out?” Maria asked.
“Let’s just say that there is evidence.” Tony said. He looked at Mike and they both began to laugh.
“Drinks, drinks drinks!” Brad said as he placed drinks on the table.
“This round is on me, people.” Brad said. He looked at Mike and Tony and winked.
“There is a lot of winking going on at this table.” Jeanette said. Her hand pulled away from her hair.
“Ok, so my heart was broken. She was playing around. She infected me with her evil heart, let’s leave it at that.” Tony said.
“Hmmm, infected.” Maria said. “My turn” she added. She took the quarter and flipped it. It spun in the air. She snatched it out of the air and slapped it on the back of her other hand. She closed her eyes and peeked at it when she removed her hand.
“Ok, heads. My name is Maria, and I have three kids. From three different men.” Maria said. She giggled when she said this. Jeanette giggled too.
“Three kids?” Mike asked.
“Yeah, three. There was a time in my life when I was a little rowdy. I have changed since then, but seriously, three kids is the deal right now. I’m going to have to call my nanny in a bit.” Maria said. Jeanette held her mouth to suppress the giggles.
“What’s so funny?” Mike asked.
“I just can’t believe that she told you that first thing.” Jeanette said.
“This has to do with relationships because, if you want to have a relationship with me, you have to realize that I am split in three directions already.” Maria said. She reached for her wine and pulled hard on it.
“I’m up.” Mike said.
“Go then.” Maria said. Mike flipped the coin. He snatched it out of the air with a fist, just as Maria had. He slapped it on his other hand. He closed his eyes, mocking Maria, then he squinted at the coin.
“Heads. Damn.” Mike said.
“Well, what can you tell us?” Jeanette said.
“My name is Mike and I don’t have any kids!” Mike said.
“Give us something else.” Maria said, disgustedly.
“Ok, I am turning twenty-five soon and I have only been involved with two people.” Mike said. His eyes flashed to Tony. Tony caught his eye, then looked back down.
“Only two? High school and everything?” Jeanette asked. She reached for her drink and slugged it back.
“Yeah. I always wanted to have a whole bunch, but I guess you could say that twenty-three of my almost twenty-five years have been terribly unlucky.” Mike said. Again he flashed his eyes at Tony. Tony didn’t meet them.
“My go,” Jeanette said. She reached for the quarter from Mike. She flipped it so high that it hit the ceiling and crashed back down to the table, landing in Tony’s drink. Tony picked his drink up and looked to the bottom.
“Heads!” He yelled.
“Ok. My name is Jeanette. I thought I was in a good relationship with a guy, then he raped me and left m for dead.” Jeanette said.
“He what?” Tony asked.
“I was raped by my boyfriend. I stayed in the relationship for a little while longer, but basically, he branched out and went on to do other things.” Jeanette said. She didn’t look at Maria, she had pushed it too far.
“Wow, that’s some story. I really don’t know what to say.” Mike said. “I would like to ask you more, but, I don’t know.” Mike continued.
“Mike, shut up.” Tony said.
“Well, she brought it up, I figured it was good for discussion.” Tony said.
“I have to take a piss.” Tony said. He got up and headed to the bathroom.
“So do I” Mike said. He got up and followed Tony.

In the bathroom, Tony and Mike pissed into neighboring urinals.
“I really thought Jeanette was hot.” Mike said.
“Damaged goods.” Tony responded.
“Amen brother. And three kids with the other one?” Mike added.
“What the fuck is this world coming to?” Tony asked.

Maria looked at Jeanette. Jeanette stared back at Maria.
“Do you think we scared them off?” Jeanette asked.
“They won’t be coming back.” Maria answered.
“Guess again. Here they come.” Jeanette said.
“You know what? Fuck it. This is going to get ugly. I want a cigarette. You want one?” Maria asked.
“We just came from the gym! We haven’t even had dinner yet! We are half drunk taking to these two losers and now you want to smoke?” Jeanette asked.
“That last bit sat strange with me, and here they come. I want a smoke.”
“Then get some Camel shit-ends.” Jeanette said. Maria got up, and left the table. She hustled out of the bar, in the opposite direction of Mike and Tony who walked up, with inquisitive looks on their faces.
“Where did she go in such a hurry?” Mike asked, as he pulled into his chair.
“That girl wants to smoke.” Jeanette said.
“Like we had sex or something.” Tony slurred.
“Yeah, like you had sex or something.” Jeanette mocked. She rolled her eyes. Brad stepped up.
“More drinks?” He asked.
“You buying?” Tony responded.
“I don’t know what you are talking about.” Brad said, with a smile, and eyes locked on Tony’s.
“Yeah, we need another round, bill me later.” Tony said.
“You’ve got it, anything else? You guys want some mozza sticks or something?” Brad asked. Now his look was pleading, and he met everyone’s eye, starting with Jeanette.
“No, no mozza sticks Bradley, how about an ashtray though?” Jeanette aksed.
“Um, the state of California strictly prohibits smoking in a public building. I can’t do that.” Brad said.
“Brad, Brad, Brad. B-Dog. Can I call you that? Look, you have us covered that we are going to take a taxi outta here. You have my license up there. What are people going to say? Is someone going to call the cops?” Mike said. He looked up.
“Brad! There’s a fucking fan over my head! Hit that ceiling fan and earn a tip! It’s that simple, Mister Dog!” Mike said. He smiled at everyone. Mike was the star of the moment.
“First off, I am not from ‘the hood’ so B-Dog will get you no play on this course. Second off, my boss could walk in here at any minute and fire my ass for this. So, the answer has to be no.” Brad said.
“Brad, there is going to be one really unhappy woman here in a minute. Um, Julie just stepped out for the smokes.” Tony said.
“Julie will have to be sad then, a rule is a rule.”
“Her name is Maria, Brad, and there is no loophole here?” Jeanette asked.
“The only loophole that I know is sitting you by the door. I could prop the door open, I could get a fan going, and you people could be discreet. If I get one complaint from another patron, you’re cigarettes are done, and I’ll double tonight’s bill.” Brad said. There was a smile, but there was malice too.
“Deal, buddy, hook up the new table.” Tony said.
“Right this way. Gentlemen, your job is to pick everything up at this table, that is part of the deal. Bring it all to the new one. I will show the young lady to the new table.” Brad said.

In the ten foot hustle to the door, Brad used his dishcloth and stalled at a table, wiping it off.
“Is this it?” Jeanette asked.
“No, this isn’t it. Look, these guys? They’re bad news. They are not for you. You could do better than this.” Brad said. He looked her in the eye. He winked.
“So you are saying that you are better?” Jeanette asked.
“No, the wink? It’s a habit. I’m sorry. Look, nevermind, its none of my business.” Brad said.
“Just show me the table.” Jeanette said. Her voice sounded tired. She looked over her shoulder and saw that Mike and Tony were watching her walk away. They were watching her ass.
“Here’s the table.” Brad said. Maria walked in from outside.
“Hi!” She said.
“Hey, we had to move closer to the door to smoke.” Jeanette said.
“Thanks!” Maria said to Brad. She was undeniably perky. Brad didn’t answer. He flashed his teeth with a sneer and went back to the bar.
Tony and Mike came to the table, and put glasses, half-empty around the table.
“I think this was our configuration.” Mike said.
“Oooh, configuration! The big words now!” Tony said. Mike shot a furrowed brow look at Tony. Tony caught it and looked down.
“Actually, this is rather stupendous.” Tony mumbled.
“Is that the best you could do?” Mike asked.
“Hey man, fuck you.” Tony said under his breath.
“Fuck me? No, but I would like to get fucked.” Mike said. He sat down and looked at Jeanette.
“What the fuck are you looking at me for?” Jeanette asked.
“Sorry.” Mike said.
“Let’s smoke!” Maria announced. She had already worked the cellophane top off of the pack of Camels.
“Shit-ends. If you are going to smoke, you need to smoke a hump like that!” Jeanette said.
“Shit-ends? Is that what you call them?” Tony asked.
“Yeah, shit-ends. There is no filter, silly. You get shit all over you if you’re not careful!” Maria said. She lit the cigarette that was hanging from the side of her mouth. She pulled on it hard, and brought in an air chaser as she pulled the cigarette away from her mouth. She coughed a little hack.
“Wow, you smoke like a sailor” Mike said.
“If I’m going to smoke, I am going to do it like a pro.” Maria said. She blew a ring over Mike’s head.
“Impressive. Give me one of those.” Mike said.
“Me too.” Tony said, right on the heels of Mike.
Soon they were all smoking. The door was propped open and the fans were turned on. Brad bought over the ashtrays, a fresh round of drinks and the night seemed to be moving.

“I say we flip the coin again.” Maria slurred.
“Yeah, I say we flip the coin again!” Jeanette added.
“I have to let you ladies in on a little secret.” Mike said, as he leaned forward and stubbed out his cigarette.
“Secret?” Jeanette asked. She leaned forward, suddenly sober.
“Yeah, I have a secret.” Mike said.
“What is it?” Tony asked, leaning directly into Mike’s face.
“Well, I haven’t been entirely honest with you.” Mike said.
“You what?” Maria asked. She leaned in and blew smoke directly in Mike’s face.
“You know, in some societies, to blow smoke in someone’s face means that you want to fuck them.” Mike said.
“That is not the case here. Now are you going to continue being a prick, or are you going to tell us your little secret?” Maria asked. She was blunt. Her straight black hair hung over one shoulder. She was smoking, holing her head at an angle.
“The secret is that it was a two headed quarter.” Mike said.
“What?” Jeanette asked.
“It was a two headed quarter. How the hell do you think we got heads every time?” Mike asked. He was laughing as he told this fact.
“Let me see it!” Jeanette demanded. Mike leaned back in his chair so that he could access his jeans pocket.
“Here it is.” He said. He slapped it onto the table. Maria snatched at it.
“Tricky, very tricky.” Maria said, slowly.
“Yeah, I got it at Disneyland when I was little. I have kept it in my wallet and messed with it off and on for years.” Mike said.
“You have kept that on you for years?” Tony asked.
“Yeah, years. It looks like I have a condom in my wallet, but its actually my lucky two headed quarter.” Mike said, looking directly at Maria.
“I don’t think that tonight is going to be your lucky night, Mister.” Maria said. She laughed and leaned towards Jeanette for back-up.
“You never know.” Mike said.
“Um, I don’t think so. I’m not the kind of girl that you can just sack like that.” Maria said.
“But you said earlier…” Mike said.
“I said what?” Maria asked.
“Well, when we were flipping the coin, you said that you had three different kids by three different men.” Mike said. Tony flamboyantly slapped his forehead.
“Shut the fuck up Mike.” He said.
“Well, she did say…” Mike said.
“Shut the fuck up, now.” Tony said, with a notch cranked up in his voice.
“Oh, what the fuck would you know? Mister, ‘my girlfriend was seeing someone else?’” Mike said.
“Didn’t I just tell you to shut the fuck up?” Tony asked.
“Mister, ‘oh, I’m all heartbroken! She was diddling somebody else!’” Mike said
“I am sure I just told you to shut the fuck up!” Tony sated.
“Oh, and the evidence! The fucking evidence that she played me. Oh, the fucking evidence! This evidence, why don’t you tell them about the evidence! Its such an infectious story!” Mike yelled.
“Why don’t we play the game again. This time with a real quarter?” Jeanette said.
“There is nowhere worse this conversation can go.” Maria said, scowling at Mike.
“Yeah, let’s play it again. I’m sure that there is more truth to be told here.” Tony said.
“Yeah, let’s bring out the truth this time.” Mike said.
“Heads or tails, the truth comes out.” Maria countered.
“Then what is the point of flipping the coin?” Tony asked.
“Ritual.” Maria answered around exhaled smoke. She stubbed her cigarette out.
“I’ll go first.” Jeanette said. She opened her purse and pulled out a quarter. She flipped it. It hit the floor. Tony went after it.
“Don’t bother. Here is the truth.” She said. Tony sat back up in his chair.
“The truth is, I wasn’t raped. The truth is that I was madly in love with this guy. We were so in love. Then he just up and left me one day. Pledged me his heart and then left. That is the truth. I guess you could call it a rape, metaphorically, but he never forced his person on me. There were no torn clothes or a trip to the emergency room. There was no rape kit, no DNA, none of that shit. He just broke my heart, hard.” Jeanette said. She was done. Spent. She reached for the pack of cigarettes that Maria had left on the table. She fumbled one out and lit it.
“My head is really going to hurt in the morning.” She said.
“I’m up.” Mike said. He flipped his two-headed coin in the air. It clinked and crashed through the glasses as it lolled about the table on impact. It fell to the floor, no one bothered with it.
“I think that Maria and I have a lot in common.” He said. He leaned forward, and tried to smile at her. Her look was cold, so cold back to him.
“You see, my current girlfriend is pregnant. She is pregnant with my child. I don’t want anything to do with this thing. This kid. Its beyond me. So we had sex a lot. So I don’t like to wear condoms. So what it I pulled out a little too late one night? This doesn’t mean that I should have a kid, does it? I don’t need this in my life. I still need to get out there. I need to do things. A kid is going to slow me down. It was her responsibility. She could have taken a morning after pill. She could still get an abortion. There are things out there that she could do.” Mike said, exasperated. He exhaled hard and sat back in his table, and wouldn’t look up.
“You have a girlfriend?” Maria asked.
“Not anymore, I fucking dumped her tonight, when I heard the news.” Mike said, his eyes never left the table.
“So what the hell are we? Your rebound?” Maria asked.
“Hey, how about you find a fucking coin and flip it, and tell me something true.” Mike said.
Brad walked up with a platter. He started to load the empty drinks on the platter.
“Everything fine here?” He asked.
“Fan-fucking-tastic Brad.” Tony said.
“I told you so.” Brad said, sensing the mood at the table. He Looked at Jeanette. Jeanette mouthed ‘fuck you’ to him.
“Testy table, eh? And you guys are also allowed to smoke. Spoiled. That’s what you are.” Brad said.
“Brad, shut the fuck up and get one last round.” Tony said.
“One last round, and then I need you all to get the fuck out of here, this party is over.” Brad said, turning his heel.
“I’m up.” Maria said. She reached into her purse and pulled out a penny.
“Forget a quarter. You aren’t worth it.” She said to Mike. She flipped it. It twanged against something on the table. No one bothered to follow it with their eyes.
“Three kids by three different men? That was bullshit. I simply had a guy pledge all of his love to me and he cheated on me. Its that simple.” Maria said. She looked at Tony for solidarity. Tony didn’t look up.
“Yeah, it was some girl that he worked with. I never saw her. But there was all kinds of ‘evidence’. I eventually found his stash of notes. One day, I was at his apartment and he had left his email account open. I really was just looking to see if the letter that I had sent him earlier had been read yet, but there were all these emails from someone else. The titles of these emails were pornographic. I knew that he had a filter, so I was curious. I opened one, and that was all it took. He walked into the room. I asked him what was going on. He didn’t lie, I left, and that man broke my heart.” Maria said. She was crying now. She reached for her drink and knocked it back.
“My turn.” Tony said. He got down on his hands and knees.
“What are you doing?” Mike asked.
“I’m looking for a fucking quarter.” Tony said. Soon he was standing. He was holding a quarter up, like he had just won a prize. He flipped it where he stood. It made a padding sound as it hit the thin pub rug. Tony sat back down in his chair.
“Well, Maria, I wasn’t dumped, like I said earlier. The truth is that I broke up with my girlfriend and I went on a sex bender. I slept with anything that moved. It was a lot of alcohol and a lot of pussy. Well some of that pussy was rotten, because I caught chlamydia. I just learned that today. I am trying to decide when I am going to have it taken care of.” Tony said.

There was a coldness at the table. A quiet. All of the cards were out. It was that awkward moment where escape needed to be made, but social taboos couldn’t be completely forgotten.
“I have to call it a night.” Jeanette said.
“So do I.” Added Maria. They both stood.
“I guess we’ll see you later then.” Mike said.
“I hope not.” Maria answered.
“Yeah, me too.” Tony said.
“Fuck you.” Jeanette said, as she turned to walk out. Maria followed her.

“You know what?” Tony asked Mike.
“What?” Mike said.
“I don’t think I am ready for a relationship yet.” Tony said.
“Oh, how thoughtful of you.” Mike mocked.
Brad walked up. He was scowling. He loaded all of the spare drinks on the platter. He flipped Mike’s driver’s license and visa card on the table.
“I am disappointed in you two. I warned you. And now, I have to ask you to leave.” Brad said.
“Yeah, whatever.” Mike said.
“No, seriously, get the fuck out of here. Oh, but you need to sign this.” Brad handed over the credit card statement. Mike signed it without even looking at it. Then he and Tony both stood up. Brad clenched his fists. His anchor tattoos rolled slightly.
“Is there going to be a problem?” Brad asked.
“There is no problem. But Brad, what the fuck was up with those girls? How did you know?” Tony asked.
“I have been working here for a little bit now. I can spot trouble when I see it.” Brad said.
We’re outta here.” Mike said.
“Good riddance.” Brad said. The two stood and walked out the door. Brad looked down at the white receipt that Mike had signed.
“Dumbasses.” He said, smiling. And he went back to the bar.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Prolepsis

Here is another. I have tinkered and tinkered. I will tinker some more, but in the meantime, enjoy a story about a SERIOUS SLACKER.



I needed a job. Unemployment was finally over, and it was time to get on with my life. Corporate layoffs are a bitch, and there isn't much that can be done about them. I took my year of pay, and I added six months of unemployment on top of it all. That was a year and a half that I got to do nothing. I was caught up on my sleep. I had been working out regularly. I had been closing the local pub down a few nights a week, but not in the "wobble on home" fashion, I was just enjoying a late night pint. I was beginning to feel more and more like I didn't quite fit into this society though. I couldn't hold a job, and I couldn't get to the point of actually desiring one. Why? Any number of reasons. The big one being that I haven't really finished anything that I have ever put my mind to.

Once I had a girlfriend, but I just couldn't seem to commit to the relationship. I didn't feel the need to commit to it. In exasperation, she left me, which is just as well, because I really wasn't going anywhere.

I went to college, and I got three years towards a BA but then I got sidetracked and never really got back to it.

The space that I was in now was a dangerous one. I was out of work, and I was drinking regularly. There was a time when i first started at the pub that I wanted to be one of those guys who was a real beer connoisseur. That eventually settled though, and I settled on Guiness Dark ale. That was it. There was no need to figure out the rest of the beers in that place. The idea of learning wines and the differences between the grapes and the Merlot and thePinot Noir was something that I had considered too, but I eventually settled for a general lack of knowledge in that department too.

I was good at going to the pub on a regular basis though. This seemed like a thing that I could keep up with. I had never thought that I would become one of those people who called a pub "their pub". I never thought that I would be one of those guys from "Cheers". But there I was. I will also tune it up a bit, I was going there five nights a week. I needed to keep other nights open in case I was going to go to a movie or...I don't know, go to a different bar. But I knew that I would probably wind out at this pub on those nights too. Movies weren't really interesting me at the time. When I was in my first and second year of college, i had gone to see a lot of movies. I had met some friends and we would go to the movies several times a week. But eventually, all of that knowledge about directors and actors bored me and I stopped. Eventually, I stopped hanging out with those friends too.

But I liked my Pub. It was dark, and it smelled of spilled, musty beer. The tables were some dark wood and they were covered with a thick lacquer that I would chip off with my thumbnail as the night progressed. Sometimes large pieces would come off, and I would have to peel them away quickly; and they pulled and sometimes broke, like a scab.

It was just called "The English Pub" and it was on a corner several blocks from my house. Walking distance. Walking distance is good, because there were nights when I shouldn't drive; though there weren't many. Driving wasn't really a good idea anyway; seeing as I hadn't bothered to get my vehicle registered for several months. It was something that I didn't want to draw any attention to. A fix-it ticket from a cop is no fun.

The men who I would drink with I knew by their first names only. Steve, Harold and two or three guys named Mark and Steve. There was no real rhythm to these guys, it was just that sometimes I found them at a table or at the bar cradling a pint. These guys were good for conversation. They were like plaid shirted geishas in a way. If I bought them a drink, I was guaranteed company for the rest of the night with no strings attached. Not that I am interested in a homosexual tryst, but you need to understand that these people whore themselves out for beer like the classiest dressed up crypto-hookers of the east. It was also convenient in the fact that I really wasn't in a space to invest myself in anyone.

But there were others in the bar. Other regulars whom I didn't associate with. They were in tight with the owner. They came in and drank the finest ales and ate specially cooked meals. They didn't want to associate with me, and I didn't want to really associate with them. But hey, that is how it is in the pub. You know everyone, and you draw close to some of them. I would have to say that in my solid year of pulling my almost nightly gig in that place, that I grew truly close to no one.

There were darts to play, but no pool to shoot. There were other things in there, like the dirty daycare it was. There were cards to be borrowed and dice to rent. There were also strange games of skill and with that involved pegs and holes. All of these could be accessed by a mere request to the kid behind the bar.

Amongst all of these forty and fifty-somethings, was this kid who couldn't have been much more than 23 years old. But damn, could he pour a drink. He didn't seem to be in too tight with the boss. Actually, come to think of it, he wasn't in too tight with anyone. He could small talk though. So could I. It eventually got to a point where I would invest 20 or 30 minutes in this guy a night. I would ultimately spend the rest of my evening hanging out with someone else that I had purchased a pint for. This kid understood how I was. He knew that I wasn't into some sort of commitment where I would call him a friend. I liked him simply because of this fact.

It was in this whole thing that the kid turned me onto this guy from Prolepsis Industries. The kid (I can't remember his name) gave me a number to call for a job. It was getting to the point where I needed to get back to work. I knew that it was the proper thing to do. Unemployment is a wage, but it is a shit wage at best. Furthermore, they always want to know what I am up to. In Europe, they just go on the dole. Here, it is work to stay unemployed. I was having a hard time keeping up with the hoops that they were putting me through, Anyway, the kid told me to call this Prolepsis place. He had some friends who had gotten on and were talking like they were going to stay with the company forever now. He said that there was a training period and then after that point, you would be a new man. A company man. This is what his friends had become. He said that they worked at strange hours, but they all worked together as a team. They all liked each other. He also confided in me that after this upcoming Christmas season, he was going to make the call his damn self. He made mention of the fact that he never saw these guys anymore, but that they seemed to be happy. They also seemed to be taken care of in regards to a decent wage.

I couldn't get facts though. I wanted to know what this company was about, and all I got out of the kid was that I needed managerial experience. I didn't press him too hard, it was obvious that if I wanted the information, I was going to have to get it myself. Well, I'd been a manager. I'd managed. I hadn't managed for long though, because I couldn't keep up with the workload that was on my shoulders, but I could manage if I felt the need to, I was sure of it.

I had been out of work long enough and it was time to make a move. I sat on the number that the kid had etched into the back of a beer coaster for about a week. I would wake up in the morning when I felt like it and roll around in bed until I had to finally break the lethargic spell by getting up to take a piss. Then I would sit at the side of the bed and hold my head if I had a hangover, and just hold it if I didn't. Then I would assess the nothingness that I was going to partake in for the day. Going to the gym was my big deal and that was three times a week. If I didn't go to the gym, I am sure that I would have a gut like one of those geishas I support at night.

The gym was the only thing that I had been following through on. It was much more of an activity to assuage my guilt for not being a productive member of society. Sometimes, my going to the gym meant just that, going there, and then moving on in that general direction. What I was clear on was that I needed something. I needed something to hang my hat on. I needed a job or a hobby or something. I was in a space in life where I could see that all I had ever done was either half-assed or incomplete. The gym wasn't really that something that I wanted to hang my hat on. There had to be something, and I was getting antsy to find out what it was.

So one morning, I reached for the coaster and the phone at the same time. It was slightly after 9 when I awoke. I felt that calling at about ten in the morning would be a good time to call, offices tend to be up and running by that point. I was convincing myself that it was time to move on with my life. It would also be time for me to get a cup of coffee in front of me and work all of the crags out of my voice.I was rested, and I was ready to go back into the corporate game. Maybe not the corporate game, but at least get a job and start changing the way I was interacting with the world around me. A year and a half of bouncing around unemployed looks bad enough on an job application, but somehow, I was sure that two years of unemployment was about as damning as it could be.


After a lot of bathroom-mirror staredown time, I dialed the number. I got the voicemail. The message basically thanked me for my interest in Prolepsis and asked that I call back at 9 that evening.

Anticlimactic.

I went to the gym and walked the trreadmill for a half an hour. I tried to read the morning paper, but was distracted by a talk-show that was on the television above my head. I don't know what it was about the show that distracted me to be honest. I came back to the apartment and took a nap. I woke up in a few hours and watched some television. I have no idea what I watched, because I really wasn't paying attention. I was antsy. I had a call to make. I had to make a call at 9 that night. Just the fact that they threw me out of the loop by telling me to call back at 9 in the evening had my curiosity piqued. I wanted to know what these Prolepsis people were all about.

I even looked up the word "prolepsis" in the dictionary. The dictionary threw a bunch of definitions at me for the word, but basically stuck with the idea of anticipation.

My prolepsis with the company grew and swelled.

I was at the pub by seven. I had their calamari and fries. I washed it down with a Guiness. I ordered another Guiness and stewed it over after the meal was done. I watched the grease spots on my plate under the dim light. Something to read would have been nice, but I knew that a conversation was coming. I had prolepsis about that too.

By 8:30, I was working my way through my fourth pint. It was a situation where I was a little bit apprehensive about the phonecall that I was going to make that could actually lead to a job interview. I was self-chastising the fact that I was so far behind the eightball that I was at the company that carves the balls out of wood. So deep was my inner-process that I didn't even realize that the bartender kid was talking to me. Usually, I gave him the conversational gears as he poured my drink. He would engage or move on, but usually, like I said, it was about 20 to 30 minutes a night.

The kid was asking me if I had called yet. I told him what I was doing. I told him about my upcoming nine o'clock phonecall. His eyes widened a bit. Then and there I realized how pasty of skin he was. This was a kid who only came out at night. He poured drinks for us old-folk and he went to sleep after that. He probably got less sun than I did. This nocturnal living was taking a toll somehow, was what I mused, and then I shelved the idea.

His eyes widened and he wondered if I was going to be good on the phone, seeing as I was on my fourth pint. It was good that he was counting. That is what they paid him to do. Talking was an effort for me, but I felt that I was enunciating rather well, considering. He cocked an eyebrow at me like Mr. Spock and went on about his business. I think he was stocking maraschino cherries for those special sweet drinks that people sometimes order.

9 rolled around, and I made my way outside at about 9:15. I wanted these people to be good and sure that I wasn't too hungry for this. I also wanted to know that I was hungry enough to give them my services, but that they were doing me no favors. In this respect, the four pints really helped.

I haven't had a cell phone for years. I just got tired of keeping up with the bill. There was a payphone up the street, and I made my way there. Actually, it was two payphones back to back. I went to the first. The receiver had been yanked clean out of the metal telephone cord. Actually, it wasn't a clean yank, because frayed wires hung from the opening like tendons and gristle from an arm yanked from its socket. I walked around to the other side and pulled the phone off the hook. I cradled it on my left shoulder. I fumbled in my pocket for spare change. The receiver smelled of garlic and possibly bad wine. I let it drop away from me as I checked for my spare change with a renewed vigor.

It turned out that there actually was a Mr. Prolepsis behind it all. This was who I talked to, and he wanted top meet me that very night. I told him that 10 would be great. Then I went back into the pub. I went to a couple of the geishas and told them my predicament. I asked what the best thing to cover my breath would be. One suggested peanut butter. The other suggested cigarette smoke. I went to the kid; he gave me a pack of sugarless gum and told me to pop them right before I meet the guy and everything would be alright.

The directions that Mr. Prolepsis gave me took me a few blocks away from the pub, so I took the walk. I eventually walked up on a building that looked abandoned. It was the correct address. As I stood there and tried to look around the boarded up windows, a car pulled up. It was white, and completely nondescript. Damn these American car companies anyway; all of their sedans look the same. A Ford could be a Chevy could be a Dodge. Damn the American auto industry and its mediocre droppings of late. Why couldn’t they come up with something new and original? The window whirred down. The driver spoke out to me.
"You here for Prolepsis?" He asked.
"Yes." I answered as I walked toward him. I thought it odd the way he spoke his name to me and that was enough to get me headed in his direction. The thought of this perplexed me in such a way that I actually stopped my steps for a second and tried to focus on the driver of the car. Suddenly, my stomach was gripped with a sharp shot of acid that comes with unknown fear. The unknown fear that tells you that maybe that sound you heard in the living room at three in the morning could in fact be an intruder.
"Its ok. I'm here to do the interview. Come around to the passenger side; let’s do it in the car." He said. He had a hat on. Like a detective's hat. A fedora or whatever the hell it is called. I couldn't even see his eyes, or the color of his skin for that matter.

I began to step towards the vehicle again. I walked around the front of it. The lights were on me. I looked into the driver, but the light had me blinded. The thought hit me that he could gun his engine right then and there and crumple my legs. He could back up and then hit me again, and my skull would pop under one of those four wheels with the nondescript hubcaps. But then again, this was just a job interview. I was off because of the alcohol. I was thrown because this place where he'd met me was deserted. I was cagey because everything about this situation was wrong. But I went with it. Everything in my life was pretty much wrong too, so maybe it was time for it all to balance out. I smiled at this notion, paced around, wrapped my fingers under the door handle and lifted.

I could smell the cigarette smoke.

"I hope you don't mind, I do smoke." Prolepsis said.
"Not a problem." I responded. I popped a piece of gum in my mouth as I sat down next to him. My thought at that very moment was that he could tell me anything he wanted to tell me, I wanted the goddamn job. I needed to fit again. I was aware of this acutely. I needed to fit again and be able to tell people that I met at the pub or anywhere that I had a job, and what I did on the job. It seemed like the right sort of space to be in, and I wanted to get this space.

I looked over at him. The man was hulking. He was hulking in the sense that his shoulders were broad, and his pale white hands were thick and roped with veins as he gripped the steering wheel. A huge black leather overcoat engulfed him and wrapped around his upper torso, covering him down to his thighs. The leather crinkled as he shifted. The hat was still covering the bulk of his face. It was tan, like something someone would wear in the outback. It had no reason to be on his head in the city. The more I scrutinized it, the more I realized that this guy didn't match on a level that says that he didn't even fit. He didn’t fit in the same way I didn’t fit. He was obviously on the ouskirts of this very society that I was feeling thatg I needed to buy into. He was on the ouskirts and he was possibly going to bring me in with him. I realized that we were the same somehow, and this made me feel secure about the interview. I felt secure for a second, and then I began to examine him even closer. His skin was white. Not caucasian white, but white white. Comic book white. But I wanted to forgive it all; I wrote is off as a trick of the light. His skin looked almost ivory colored. His skin looked hard too, like ivory would look. It also looked incredibly smooth. So smooth that it looked sculpted...like ivory. He smiled in my direction. He didn't part his lips for his teeth, it was just a smile. I could feel his eyes from under the brow of the hat. I could sort of see them. His nose was thin, and had that same ivory look as well. He stuck out a hand. It was his left, and he swiveled in his seat to pull this move off.
"I am Mr. Prolepsis, of Prolepsis Industries." He said. More smile, yet no teeth.
"Hello, Mr. Prolepsis, my name is William Davis." I said. I gripped his hand and slid into the seat. His grip was fierce. It was meaty, because his hand was so big, but it was fierce too. It felt as if every muscle in his hand had a purpose and was exercised for that purpose daily. My light squeeze didn't even buy any purchase in his grip. This hand was the strongest hand I had ever encountered. I was musing about this and the fact that everyone called me Willie. If I got the job, I would reschool him, I thought. This Mr. Davis stuff wasn't going to work at all.

Then came the questions. How long had I worked for my last company? How much had I made? What was I expecting in regards to vacation time? Was I used to being in charge of several people? Could I hold an office down for long periods of time without any supervision? Would I be able to work without supervision at all?

I was able to give the right answers to all of his questions. Each time I answered, he would nod, or grunt positively. His voice was raspy, almost like a hard whisper. The whole situation was weird, and there was no other way of looking at it. I should have known at that point that and I should have run for my life. I don't know if that would have worked though. This guy wanted me on his team. I was going to learn how badly as the evening and the rest of my life progressed.

In his querying, I became more and more aware that Prolepsis was horribly disfigured somehow, but I couldn't determine exactly how. I also became more and more aware that his line of questioning had nothing to do with my answers. He was studying me. He was looking for something. I didn't know what it was, but it was making me uncomfortable. The shots of fear were ripping through my stomach again. They were tweaking up to the back of my head. Horripilation ripped across my flesh like a raging fire. I knew I was in too deep. I was in a situation that was going to go foul, and there was nothing that I could do about it. But then I calmed myself again. The fear was there though. It was creeping up the back of my throat, metallic and warm, waiting to explode.

I watched him smoke. He wasn't inhaling. He was pulling it into his mouth and letting it swirl out slowly. He blew the odd ring into the windshield. They were solid, milky smoke-rings that seemed to go through the windshield in the way that they dissipated. He took his time and languidly inhaled and exhaled. He blew it all out of his nostrils at certain intervals. Twin plumes of what looked like dry ice fumes blowing out of a nose that looked like it might as well be painted, polished glass.

The more I thought about his skin and its apparent texture, the more edgy I got. I still answered his questions, but the fear was there. It was building in waves, and there was nothing I could do about it. I was completely creeped out by my circumstances. I was convinced that this whole interview was a charade, and that my life was going to end at the powerful hands of a strange man who's face looked like a lacquered Halloween mask.
I was at the point where I thought I was going to jump out of the vehicle and run screaming for my life when he assuaged me.

"William, based on what we have here, I think I can offer you a job with Prolepsis Industries." He said.

"'Thankyou." I stammered. I honestly didn't feel too good. I just wanted to call it a night. I also had to piss.

"First things first, I need you to drink this." He said, around the cigarette wedged to the right of his mouth. He inhaled and blew smoke in my direction. Not in my face, but more at my chest. He pulled a stainless steel thermos out of the folds of his coat. He held it with his right hand, he unscrewed the lid with his left hand and put the lid on the dashboard of the nondescript car. Then I understood the cigarette smoke. He inhaled again, hard, and blew out those twin dragon-plumes again. The contents of this thermos were foul, wretched and definitely rotten. The bacterial gas release in the front of the vehicle was choking me.

I'd had enough. The situation was officially too weird and it was time to get out. Drink something? This was ridiculous. I had obviously been dealing with some sort of pervert for the past forty-five minutes. I was also stone-cold sober at this point. The adrenaline had balanced me somehow. I reached for the door handle. Prolepsis was quicker than me though, and hit the all-lock button with his left elbow. He simply leaned back and it was done. It was as if he had practiced this move a million times before. His left hand came forward, fast, holding a chrone .45. The gun moved at me so fast that when I realized what had actually happened, I pondered the precision of the motion. I should have been clocked with the muzzle of the gun, but it had stopped just short of the bridge of my nose. It was pointed to the center of my face. It was then that Prolepsis lifted his face so that the light could hit it. He smiled and I saw his golden teeth. They weren't yellow; they were gold, shining, like the metal. The teeth were also sharp. I couldn't tell if these fangs were part of the dentistry that he'd obviously had done, or if his mouth was naturally shaped to carry this sort of chopper. His skin was taut. Tightly adhering to his face. Uncannily so, thereby giving it the illusion of being a buffed porcelain or glass. His eyes were small, beady and wide-spaced; almost to a defect level.
"Mr. Davis, I am going to ask you again to drink this." He said, with a smirk. He drew on the cigarette again and gave the twin-plumes.
"No, ok? Hell no. This is ridiculous. Let me out of the car." I said. Panic had set in. I concluded that I needed a weapon. Something to hold that would make me think that I at least had a chance against this huge man with a gun. I had keys in my pocket and my wallet in my back pocket. I was in a seated position, and reaching for my keys would have been complicated. Furthermore, what was I going to do once I got them? This man could obviously overpower me every step of the way. I considered my surroundings. I hadn’t checked the glovebox, and maybe there was a tire-iron beneath my seat. As I was scheming, Prolepsis pulled his whole gun arm to the left slightly. Then he brought it back against my cheekbone, hard. It felt like a sting or a pinch, right under the eye. Then the dull pain kicked in with a throb. For the half foot that he had used to clear the distance, he sure packed a wallop. My head had recoiled. I don't know if I screamed or grunted, but I now was angry. I hadn't been this angry in a long time. Something was loose within me, and I wanted to kick this guy’s ass. I do go to the gym, and I knew that I was going to be able to give this guy some sort run for his money. I took a gamble that this guy wasn’t going to pull the trigger and blow my head off. I took the gamble that he really wanted me to drink this stuff and I was useless to him as a corpse. The thought that was plaguing me was how much damage he was willing to inflict upon me in the process. I swung my right fist around, in a perfect arc, clearing over the dashboard and a mere inch from the windshield. I planted it firmly in his left eye. Everything that I had went into that punch. He must have seen it coming, but he made no motion to stop it. My fist exploded in pain, and he didn't even flinch.
Still holding the gun in my face, he pulled it back a bit. Then he pointed the gun to the ceiling of the vehicle. He turned his hand so that I could see his fingers wrapped around the handle. I could see his palm balancing the handle. Then the whole thing shot forward and hit me square in the face, hitting the bridge of my nose; knocking me back. I heard shattering. My forehead took part of the metal as well, but the most perplexing pain was the back of my head, as I realized that the force had broken the window behind me.
I shook it off.
I brought my left leg up. I thought that I might be able to put a kick to his stomach or groin. His beady eyes were wide open now. He dragged on the cigarette hard, and put the muzzle of the gun to my left knee. I thought I detected a smirk on his face. The cigarette stayed in his mouth, and I saw the plumes again.
Then he pulled the trigger. There was a clang as the bullet blew out of the bottom of the vehicle. Then my nerves kicked in and I realized that he had just put a bullet through my knee. I lurched forward, an involuntary convulsion, and I received another crunch from the pistol that bounced me back. I needed to see my knee, which hurt like I had never felt before. I needed to see how torn it looked, but ever time I leaned forward, he bounced me back with a pistol crunch to the face.
My nose was broken. Twin rivers of blood funneled out of my nostrils. Prolepsis matched this with his twin plumes of smoke. He reached forward and put the gun to my right kneecap.
"Are you going to drink this or not?" He asked.
"Fuck you." I said. I honestly don't know where I got the strength to curse him, but there it was. The gun came up and rested against my left shoulder. He pulled the trigger and I twisted in the seat and the bullet blew through me and lodged in the car-door metal behind me. The pain was more as if someone had hit my shoulder with a sledgehammer. I couldn’t feel the precise area where the hole was. I was assessing my physical condition when he pounced. With one hand (his left) he held my face down. I am not quite sure how he was able to pry my mouth open with one hand and hold me down, but he did it. I felt two smoky fingers in my mouth, and I knew that my skin would rip if I didn't comply and open. The other hand came forward and spilled this greasy cold liquid over my mouth. It entered and filled my reluctant oral cavity. There was a salivary explosion on my part. I felt the glands on the insides of my cheeks squirt so hard that it hurt. The drink felt like it had tendrils. Feelers. They pulled at the back of my throat, these coagulated fingers. They also wrapped around my tongue and held it in place. Then, they felt like they were actually piercing my tongue, anchoring in. More saliva. I coughed, and with that opening in my throat, the fingers shot down into my throat, pulling the rest of its oleaginous self down after it. It tasted like rust. Like blood. Like snot. I felt the lumpy tendrils shoot deeper down my throat and pull its slick, unctuous self down further. Then it was done. It was in my stomach. All my muscles relaxed. I was paralyzed. Prolepsis let go of my face and relaxed. I could still smell the stuff on my lips. It smelled rotten. It smelled putrid. My nose curled as I realized that it smelled faintly pubic. I drooled, feeling my salivary glands jet and jet some more. My throat hurt from the forcing of the object. My mouth was open and slack, and I felt the ribbons of drool hit my chest. I felt no pain from my bullet wounds. My nose no longer felt broken. I felt warm. Content. I then fell asleep.

I woke up hungry. I was on a dirty couch. My head was half-balanced on the arm-rest. The smell that I took in was fecal. Like my head was resting on someone's used toilet paper. The smell of bowels was so sharp that I sat up, violently. I looked at my surroundings. I was in a prison cell. A prison cell with a dirty brown love-seat and a hole in the floor for whatever waste I chose to drop. There was a door to the right of me. The walls were brick. There was a florescent stick of light crossing the brick ceiling. I knew that the door was locked, but I lurched at it anyway. The motion made me sick. I vomited and missed the hole in the floor. What came out was my bile and a bunch of scorched flesh. Flakes of it. Only they weren't flakes, they were chunks and strips. I sat there on all fours, observing my vomit, and pondering what exactly it was that had caused this when the door behind me clanked and opened. Prolepsis stood there, with a knife. One of those overkill looking blades with snakes and eyeballs and serrated edges that you see in a head shop.

"You have had the traditional primer, and now you have to have the second course, which will put you in my house." He said. With that, he held out his right forearm and plunged the knife into it with his left. He never broke eye contact with me, and it was at that moment that I noticed that he wasn't wearing a hat, and he was bald and pale. I then noticed that he was wearing a very worn, black turtleneck sweater, black jeans and what looked like steel-toe boots. The man looked like a really pale neo-nazi.

The wound that he made wasn't entirely visible to me because I was underneath him, but I could see his blood bubbling up, in the form of some sort of strange balloon. With a quick slash, he severed something in the wound and then picked up the blood clot. It dangled like a water balloon.
He bent at the waist and put the clot that was the size of a racquetball next to me.
"Eat that." He said.
"No." I said.
"The thing about the elder's blood was that it needed to be put into your mouth in order for it to do its deed. My blood is a little different." He said with a smile. I looked down at the ball of red in front of me. It lolled about and then, I thought I could perceive eyes and short, stubby legs. It took the form of; I don't know...Pac-Man. The beady little eyes focused on me and it launched itself at my face. It impacted with a splat. I reached up to pull it off, but it was like running my fingers through water. Then I felt the tendrils again; this time going up my nose. I felt my sinus cavities probed. All I could see was red. Red snot before my eyes. I fell back. I could feel my right shoulder partially falling into the toilet hole in the floor. I struggled to get up, clawing at my face and ramming my neck in the toilet hole as I struggled to sit up, stand, anything. The peace hit me again. The fatigue and the relief. At that moment, I realized that I had no bullet holes. I had no wounds to speak of, just this live-liquid thing slurping its way up my nose. I felt it hit the back of my throat and roll down. I tried to cough on it, to send it out my mouth. But it stuck to the back of my throat, like a tar. It worked its way down into my stomach and there was nothing I could do about it. I sat back, against the love-seat. My eyes were clear. I turned to look at Prolepsis one more time, but he had already left. The thought hit me that he must have seen this sort of thing a hundred times before. Then I blacked out again.

"You were a total loser and I saw you for what you were." Prolepsis said. My eyes opened. He was sitting over me in a metal chair that he had straddled backward. I was back on the love seat.
"You had nothing better going on, so why not become like the rest of us?" He said. He held out a mirror for me to look in. I saw my reflection. I saw how taut my skin had become. I saw how my lips now curled back. I saw my teeth, which looked yellow and worn.
I coughed. The flavor of the mucous that I purchased was that of blood. I was really having a hard time grasping what had happened.
"And now you are a vampire." Prolepsis said. "At least, you will be when you finally make your first kill. Until you make that kill and drink that blood, you will simply be the undead. There is nothing really special about you yet."
"The mirror. I could see my reflection. This is all some stupid trick. Some horrible prank. Some joke." I yelled. "Some asshole is going to come out with a camera and tell me I am on...what the hell was that show? Scare Tactics or something." I yelled. The blow that I felt across my face sent me to the left of the couch with a force that should have torn my head loose. I shook it off. It didn’t hurt like a punch like that should. I considered all of the wounds that Prolepsis had inflicted and how they weren’t there anymore.
"Accept your fate. When you do, you can enter into the compound and meet the rest of us. We have all had our eyes on you for some time now. For the record, you can see your reflection in the mirror because you haven't taken a human down yet. Once you have some blood coursing through your system, things will be different." He said. I retched. More bile, more strips and hunks of burnt flesh mixed in.
"Those are your old innards coming to the surface.” He mused with disdain. “There will be more. Your system is rebuilding itself. You will soon digest differently. Hunger will feel different to you. The cravings for cooked foods, and the olfactory responses for such things will be gone. The sooner you get on with your first kill, the better." He stepped back toward the door. "I am leaving the door open. We will be out in the compound, waiting for you.” He said. It was night outside the door.

I had no desire to go out and meet these people, whoever they were. I laid back on the love-seat and pondered my situation. I pondered what was being required of me.
Here I was, now with what seemed to be immortality. All I had to do was finish the deal and get on with living. I needed to get my first kill down. I decided to sleep until daytime and then escape. I felt that if I wasn’t a vampire yet, that the sun wouldn’t harm me.

In the morning, I stumbled out of my cell. The sun was bright, and I was aware that I hadn’t been spending much time in the sun recently anyway. The ground was dusty and I worked my way toward what seemed to be gate of some sort. There were buildings all around, some the size of the brick outhouse that I had been in and some that were larger. Prolepsis was right though, the place was a compound. There were vehicles about that were covered with blue tarps. There was a chain-link fence around the entire area. Black plastic was attached to the fencing so that no one could look in and I couldn’t look out. I continued towards what seemed to be the main entrance. It was a fence gate and it was padlocked shut with a chain. Razor wire ran across the top of the fencing all the way around the property. The property itself was about the size of a football field. I had absolutely no idea where I was. I looked about and saw what appeared to be a tool shed. I made my way towards it. It was indeed a tool shed and I found a pair of bolt cutters in a five-gallon paint bucket in the corner. There were tools of various shapes and sized strewn throughout the shed. There seemed to be no true order for the place and the bulk of them were rusted and had been left alone for some time.

I took the bolt-cutters and made my way to the fence. I broke a link in the chain that was wrapped around one of the posts and worked my way out of the compound. As I stepped out, I recognized the strip of highway that I was on. I knew that if I hitched a ride, I could be back to my house in less than an hour. Turning, I looked back at the compound. There was a large metal sign attached to the outside of the fence which said PROLEPSIS INDUSTRIES. To this day, I have no idea what they really do in there.





I worked my way to the highway and stuck out my thumb. I knew what I had to do, and I had no real intention of doing it. As I walked with my thumb out on my way into the city I came to the conclusion that there was going to be no first victim. Food was no longer an issue for me. The idea of taking a person down and drinking their blood was consuming me, but I just couldn’t do it. I needed to fit into some sort of society, but the vampire one wasn’t the one for me. It was pretty obvious that the society that I had fallen out of wasn’t working for me either. Now that those two ideas were exhausted in my brain, I deciI went onto welfare.