The Buck Chronicles Master Document
This is an unfinished novel...
Here it is warts and all. I've just been releasing bits and pieces in random order. I'll go through this thing and fix it up someday. It's hard to tell where certain things begin and end but I like that. Sort of like Joyce's Ulysses. Someday I'll finish this and be rich and famous. And then Bats will wear Top hats and cows will be submarines too...
Roger Kilson works at the deli counter at Grews Supermarket. He once overheard this conversation.
“Hey, Nice baby.”
“Can I have it?”
Roger lived with his brother Susan in a townhouse in a place that was named Westfester . Susan was an aerobics instructor. Sometimes Susan would tape his classes and send them to TV stations. He hoped one day to be on the television; like Richard Simmons.
Roger was tired. He had been sitting all day and his butt hurt. “Damnit Stacey, my butt hurts like christmas.” he said to Stacey the seventeen year old girl who lays out the donuts.
Stacey was an attractive girl, brunette, five eight one hundred and twenty pounds. She often wore college sweatshirts under her work clothes.
“I hope you get hit by a bus today, and for some reason the bus has a big spike on the front of it so it can skewer you, you jamoke..”
Roger sighed. “Stacey my butt.” he said. “I’ve been sitting on it all day, doing absolutely nothing. I watch the slicer girl cut the pastramis, the bread kid do the bagels, and I see the cheese girl lay out the cheese. All I do is watch. This is my job.”
Stacey threw a heavy paper weight at Rogers head missing by inches and cracking a hole in the plaster wall behind him. “I wanna watch you die mothafucka!” She said, thrusting her pelvis and flapping her arms.
A bell rang and Stacey went out to deal with the customer.
“I’m just not sure exactly what I’m being paid to do. “ Roger said. “Should I stand up? Or will they fire me if I stand up? They’ve paid me to sit here and do nothing for three years.”
Roger hadn’t noticed that Stacey had left the room until after he was done talking,
The clocked turned to six. Roger was off work. He took off his white deli coat and put it in his locker. He put on his mustard colored sweater, his green knit hat and took off for the wintery outside.
“Moses malone!” he said as he stepped into the chilly winter breeze. “It’s pretty gosh darn cold out here.” A young lady walked past him. She wore a pink ski cap, lowcut jeans and a white shirt with the word “Delicious” emblazoned on the front of it. Over this she wore a wool coat with a fake beaver tail on the back.
“Hello miss.” Roger said to the young girl. “Watch your step theres ice all over the ground.”
She smiled wanely and walked into the supermarket. Unbeknownst to Roger she was immediately clotheslined by a cart pusher sending her crashing into the soup display. The cart pusher followed this up with an Irish whip, and finished her with a german suplex. He went on to become the world champion. She died that day. Not from the suplex but from a hunting accident that happened later .
Roger jingled his keys and whistled as he patrolled up and down the parking lot trying to remember where he had parked his car that morning. He drove a white minivan. His license plate was 456 789. As he was walking he took the opportunity to take in the Christmas decorations that had been left on the light poles in the parking lot. Green thistles and red bows adorned each nineteen foot pole. “Marvelous.” He said to himself. “Marvelous.”
Though Susan was a man, Susan was not a mans name. Susan, who was a man, had been named Susan after his father who was killed in world war 2 before he was born. Susan was an aerobics instuctor amd had been since he was a young man. He never took off his one piece spandex aerobics suit. He wore it to his best friends wedding; with a tie.
Susan was watching TV. Specifically he was watching Law&Order. It was the one where the guy got killed. He had seen that one. As he was watching TV he was also doing deep squat thrusts. He kept his long auburn hair out of his eyes with a sweatband. A pink fluffy one. Susan was in extremely good shape. His waist was slim, his calves were powerful and his lungs were those of an astronaut. He had a ridiculous mustache, like one you might see on an american civil war general. Wherever Susan went people thought he was a Gaylord. Traipsing about in his little lime green spandex suit he went about his day with a pixie like quality to his step.
“Man look at that fucking Gaylord over there.” A man in a brown leather jacket remarked, seeing Susan skip out the door of a CVS with a bag of unsalted peanuts. The man jingled his keys and got into his red Sedan.
Susan didn’t understand why everyone assumed he was gay. “Having sex with a man is gay.” He would say sipping his dry martini lazily. “Wearing spandex and having fun is deeply heterosexual.”
Roger was driving. He did not have a licence. He never, for some reason, took the time to take the drivers test. “Whatever.” He thought to himself. “Who cares?”
He pulled up to a stop light and started rubbing his bald spot with his giant meaty finger. Twist and curl. To and fro.
He picked his nose. “Mercy me.” He said. Roger stared at the red light straight on. “You think you’re tough?” He said to the red light.” I’ll punch your forehead off.” He muttered.
The light turned green and Roger continued on his way towards home.
Roger turned the radio on. “Hey guys and dolls its wally in the afternoon” An alarm sound comes from the radio. “Uh-oh, time for todays Super Quiz!” Roger fantasized about a ham sandwhich with mustard and pickles. Roger was so hungry.
“Holy gee, I could use a bite.” Roger says to himself outloud.
“The question is…” The radio blared on.
Roger takes a left turn. A red van passes, driven by a woman who was probably forty and had a pixie haircut.
“Is it duck slipper twister?” Asks caller number nine. “No, so sorry.” The radio man answers.
Roger changes the station. BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
Roger eventually pulled into his driveway.
The weather for the day was cloudy and sunny. It was beautiful. As superman has his fortress of solitude so too; does a barber have his shop. This barber had the distinct pleasure of working on the bountiful curls of Susan the spandex wearing openly straight aerobics instructor. His name was Timothy.
“Timothy?” Susan asked, staring at his own expertly crafted ridiculous mustache, in the mirror.
“Have you heard about this business with my brother and the gym teacher down at the middle school?”
Timothy squinted his eyes and clipped off a lock of Susan hair. “Nope.” He said
Roger and Susan lived across the street from the gym teacher of the local middle school. The gym teachers name was Buck, or Mr. Dreel to his students. The students all made up stories about how Buck liked to watch them shower. They would say that Buck masturbated into a packet of sourpatch kids. It wasn’t true.
Buck was a big man, pound for pound with Andre the Giant, and he often smelled things that probably did not need to be smelled. This was very funny to the middle schoolers.
“Well Roger said that this gym teacher sucks duck eggs.” Susan said
“Does he?” Timothy asked.
“tis an expression,” Susan answered.
“I heard he watches them kids shower..” Timothy said.
Susan sneezed. “Bless ya,” Timothy said.
Roger and Buck had gotten into an argument the week prior. Roger knew for a fact that the Japanese lived under the earth and had mastered the art of squaring the watermelon. Buck had contested this statement, and harshly critiqued Rogers point of view by throwing a shot glass at his face. It missed by an inch and shattered at the foot of the TGIF hostess. The argument had taken place in a TGIF
“Rogers a madman.” Timothy said.
“Well Buck’s a drunk.” Susan said
“Them two is like water’n oil.” Said Timothy.
“I just hope.” Susan said. “I want them to be friends but they just don’t like eachother.I don’t understand it.”
Timothy removed the bib from Susan. “Good?” Timothy asks Susan.
Susan pats his mustache and eyes Timothys handywork on his dome. “Awesome.” He says.
“Thank you sir,” Timothy says.
Somewhere in the world a plane crashes, a woman is given the news that she is going to have triplets, a cigarette is lit. The sun rises, the sun sets, every modicum of creation performs its duty in a mindlessly mechanical fashion on par with a watch or a coke machine. Snow falls in mountains, a Cheetah grows tired and lets an antelope live for that day.
Roger Kilson was pooping. Every one must poop. If we did not poop we would be full of shit. We would explode and send shrapnels of globby poop all around us, showering the land with poop and exploded human guts which due to the sheer volume of poop that had built up prior to the explosion, would also be covered with poop. There would be poop everywhere.
Be grateful for the miracle of pooping.
Roger finished pooping.
Later he found himself staring out the window at the moon. It was still day but the moon was visible in the sky through the specks of streaky clouds that peppered the blue. Winter was almost over. Life seemed safe for the moment but Roger was not content. Pooring himself a glass of four dollar brandy he sat down and tried to cross his legs. Unable to do this he shrugged and climbed off the chair. He got on the floor and laid on his belly, slowly rocking back and forth on the fluffy mound of his midsection. A meteor broke through his window and would have concussed him had it not missed by inches, harmlessly dashing itself against the cast iron Dalmation statue near the wall. Roger did not react. Susan was not home. Roger got back in the chair.
Susan even showered with his spandex unitard still on. His absolute devotion to his craft was, in his mind, best symbolized by the eternal wearing of his uniform. The water cleaned both him and the unitard. He felt at one with the unitard, at one with instructing aerobics. He and his passion became one being, flowing together in a cosmic harmony not unlike chocolate and milk. Susan felt the way about instructing aerobics the way Jean d’arc had felt about talking with god. A fanaticism for leading (often) homely fat woman in various exercises filled him up with such divine ecstasy he could scarcely contain the fierce vigor that drove him. “Fabulous,” He would say to himself in a breathy, low whisper, “I can taste the light…” He would scream it. People could hear him, and wondered “what kind of crazy shit is that gaylord up to?”. Susan didn’t care, couldn’t have made himself care as he serenely caressed his ridiculous mustache. Susan had found his way.
Roger couldn’t sleep. Images of Hamburgers, hotdogs, custard pies, apples pies, b.l.t.’s flooded his thoughts with force. A cheesy double melt with bacon slices and onion rings on the side. He thought he was just hungry. Sitting on his fat ass all day was his job and he took pride in what he did, despite not knowing exactly what it was he was supposed to be doing. However he found himself constantly fantasizing about delicious morsels. Triple stacks, Fried Turduckens, red snapper on baked potato all shoved into a pie made of steak and eggs. “Oh, gee.” He said to himself, his enormous bloated tongue licking his lips and chins. Hallucinations of dancing buckets of popcorn, veal cutlets singing the halleluiah chorus, a brass section composed entirely of polish sausages wearing matching tuxedos.
He thought back to his earliest child hood memory, trying to change his focus. His father sitting in the bath. He was wearing a top hot and monocle, splashing around. A rubber ducky also wearing a top hat and monocle floating next to him. A cigar is lit. “Someday Roger this will all be yours.” A fine chardonnay is opened. The dream passes.
Roger is discontent. Something paws at his unconscious, and yet no finger can be put on it, no origin detectable. Roger sighs and puts on a Beatles record. He lies, open robed on his bed and slowly drifts in to a troubled and dreamless sleep.
“The great French philosopher Flaubert once said…” Buck the gym teacher drawled, his hand tipping a short glass of Beefeater into his gaping mouth. “that it is better to live…” He began to cough, pursing his mouth shut with iron force, stopping the gin from splashing out from between his lips.
“Are you ok?” A soggy old man asked him. His voice was like sand paper soaked in vinegar.
Buck gave a thumbs up sign, simultaneously clutching at his bulbous Adams apple, gripping it as one might a ripe cherry. “I am fine.” He finally managed to choke out. “I am…dandy.” He began to light a cigarette but put it back in the pack. “I am…the finest gym teacher…” A brow arched, pupils clinging to the walls of his eyes, he slammed down the glass, sending droplets of gin onto the bartop. “In the world.”
In a way it was true. In the way that anything can be anything by tilting the angle at which it is observed. His students trembled in fear to his face despite the remarks made behind his back. His very bulk inspired awe among the middle schoolers, his hands like great bear claws pushing them to the mat, the way he could throw a dodgeball directly at any groin with in a 300 foot radius with the accuracy of a Robin Hood.
“Derwangler!” He would shout at little Peter Derwangler. “What in the motherfucking Christ is wrong with you? When I tell you to uppercut Johnson, I expect you to uppercut that motherfucking little son of a whore right in his little crack pipe burned, shit eating, lips!”
Derwangler, a very small, pig nosed timid boy cowered in the shadow of the roaring drunk giant. He was a little twerp, a skinny, big eared glue eater.
“What the fuck?” Buck screamed. He blew his whistle. “Every one, fuck off!” He yelled.
This is what Buck thought made for a good gym teacher. He put the fear of god into those kids, taught them what it meant to really be scared, to expect death from any place at any time. He wanted to make men out of the little bastards, and in his mind a man was akin to a scared and docile sociopath who did exactly what bigger men told them to fucking do, god damnit. In this sense he was the greatest gym teacher in the world.
Joe walked down the street wearily with his Cardinals baseball cap pulled down low over his sunken blood shot eyes. He couldn’t shake the feeling that there was some kind of tension in the atmosphere, some unknown hand of fate that was just waiting to bitchslap him into a brick wall, and then stomp merrily on his precious gonads. Something about peyote tea, Yukon Jack, cough syrup and airplane glue had left him feeling a little nervous, but he didn’t know which part of this combination had him sweating. Was it one of the four ingredients or the mixture as a whole? Not knowing only served to heighten his anxiety, and he attempted to ward off utter panic with a 25 milligram Xanax he fished out of his sweat shirt pocket, washing it down with the thick blue frosty he had purchased from Wendy’s earlier.
The moon glowed too brightly, leering at Joe, drying his already brittle sanity into a crumbling sandy pile of scattered hallucinations and feverish longings; clawing at his shattered mind like a man buried before death in a coffin of bone. “I…don’t know if I’m going to make it…” He slurred, his head spasmodically jerking forward, bending his upper body with the momentum towards the wet and grimy street. “To the zoo tomorrow.” Like whiplash, like a bungee cord his head retracted back and he stood upright again, green bile dripping from the corner of his cracked lips. “I know…I said I’d take you to see…the polar…bears.” He said. His eyes were like two blue quarters, dilating and shrinking back to dime size in some unknown rhythm.
Time had ceased to have meaning, space only a thing as abstract as a daydream of a neon rainbow, reality as relative as anything else. Existence merely a notion, something he had heard in passing once, an old story he had forgotten years ago. Suddenly a ridiculously mustached man, grinning contentedly, skipped merrily across his field of vision. He was wearing a skin tight spandex onesy, the outline of his balls clearly visible between his prancing legs and he was unmistakably skipping like a little girl at recess. And suddenly he pivoted, heading directly to Joes location.
“Hello Joseph!” The man said in a deep, but nonetheless fabulous voice. “What are you doing out so late?”
Joe said nothing his slack jaw wide open, a swollen violet tongue lolling uselessly between his hollow cheeks. He blinked twice.
“I’m just out going for a skip. It’s superb for working your thighs and buttocks. Did you know that Joe? Did you know that skipping is superb for working the thighs and buttocks?” the man, twirled his ridiculous mustache between his ivory white fingers.
“I…um…” Joe stammered out. He raised a finger as if making a point, only to drop it. “I think…”
“Well, hey don’t even, like, worry about it.” The man said. “Well, you look good Joe.”
Joe tried to focus, looking back over the 17 years of his life, trying to pick out who this man was. All he could picture were bright flashes of light and purple skeletons climbing up giant calve muscles.
“Well Gotta keep up my pace.” The man said. “Toodles.”
The man skipped away. Joe continued to lurch his way forward, swinging his arms to gather inertia and keep a foot always in motion.
In the distance he spotted a gigantic man crouching in the bushes in front of a white duplex with a tulip garden in the front yard. He had something in his hands. Joe found himself unable to stop walking in the mans direction. He recognized the man as the town drunk/ middle school gym teacher Mr.Dreel/and or Buck. Joe walked silently behind Buck and using a shaky hand, that clearly was no longer under his own control, he tapped the giants shoulder.
What are you…doing?” Joe asked. Buck turned to look at Joe swinging quickly almost dropping his bottle of Jim Bean. He was holding a red leather ball about the size of a soccer ball. “Oh hey Joe. I’m just waiting out here until Derwangler wakes up and gets the paper. His mother makes him do it every morning. As soon as I see him I’m going to chuck this dodgeball as hard as I can,” Buck paused taking a long pull from his bottle. He lick his lips sighing with pleasure. “right at his fucking head.” He finished.
Joe opened his eyes, having briefly drifted into a state of blankness. “Oh.” He said.
“Yeah.” Buck said. “I filled it with ball bearings too. The little steel fuckers. I don’t know what that’ll do, but I bet it’ll hurt like shit.” He wiped his nose. “I don’t even know why I’m doing this.”
Joe stood there not saying anything just watching the house. For twenty minutes he just hung there with Buck, even bumming a cigarette off of him at one point.
“Do you want some…” Joe’s brain jerked and rattled like a static radio. “Peyote tea.” He yelled the first word and elongated the second so it sounded like “PEYOTE teeeeee…eeeaaa.”
Buck sniffed and spat. “Do you have any?” He asked his face expressionless, focused intently on the hunt.
“No…” Joe said. “But I could get some…I think.”
Buck said nothing. He threw his bottle, empty, behind him into the street, the clanging noise of it bouncing off the gravel ringing loudly in the night air. He opened a cooler that Joe had not noticed until then and pulled out two beers, opening one and handing the other to Joe.
Joe continued to stand motionless, stoned and tripping as he was. He thought to himself that the whole affair seemed a bit strange, what with his old gym teacher stalking a student outside his house, stinking drunk and cradling a big red rubber dodgeball full of steel bearings. He fell down to a knee and drew blood from an old scab as it grazed the street.
“I guess I’ll…ah, like, see you later man.” Joe said stubbing out his cigarette against a tree.
Buck half waved at him, acknowledging his goodbye. Cracking open another new pabst blue ribbon, he let out a short hiccup and said “Later Joe.”
Roger walked briskly through the morning mist, his great heaving stomache flopping and rippling like a great pale ocean of hair and belly fat under his blue and orange knit sweater. Roger had woken up maddeningly early and he was troubled by a feeling of aimless anxiety and a tendency to wander. He would go around and around and around, looking, stopping, smelling, tasting, touching; just experiencing the world around him. “Maybe I’ll go down to the lake and go fishing.” He might say to himself, though he didn’t. He did say, “Shit I think the elastic snapped” when he felt a quick stinging pain and his sweat pants began the slow descent down his buttcrack. “Willickers!” he exclaimed, attempting to pull his pants up.
“What is love? Someone had asked him the week prior. “I mean I know what it is. I know what love is, but what is it?” It was a woman who had asked him. She was blonde, beautiful, dressed in red and heels. “Is it just chemicals?” She asked. She was drinking something pale from a wine glass. It was a party, a mutual friend, a graduation, maybe a bbq. It didn’t matter.
“Or is it something more spiritual?”
Roger pursed his lips together, smiled , shook his head. His left nostril flared, catching a whiff of something tangy cooking in the proximity. He sniffed the air with great deliberation. “Relish?” He said softly to himself. Then nodding, “Definitely pork…”
The woman sighed. “I fear I’ve grown tired of …this.” She said sadly. “I get up, I lounge around the house, I wait for my husband to come home from work, I go to cocktail parties.” She tipped back her glass and finished her drink. “Do you ever feel like something is missing from your life?” She asked, suddenly placing full attention on Rogers bloated oblivious face.
“Do you?” She reiterated.
Roger looked at her. “What’s your name?” he asked, suddenly taken by her curious beauty.
“Tabitha.” She said.
Roger nodded solemnly. “And your asking me what…love is?”
“I am.” She smiled towards the ground.
Roger frowned thoughtfully, licking a bit of Dijon mustard from his upper lip with a quick tongue flick. “Hmmm…” He said. “Well, I guess it’s just…” He trailed off into silence.
Tabitha crinkled her nose.
Roger thought back to that moment as he huffed and puffed his way up the steep hill towards the walking path. He hadn’t been able to think of a satisfactory answer.
“Jesus loves you.” He had said.
“Mmm” Tabitha replied.
He looked at her longingly. Every last part of his being clamored for her, her hips, her eyes, her breasts. His chins quivered and he could feel great chunks of macaroni and ham digesting in his small intestine, swirling around madly like ball room dancers. He farted a little bit, but luckily he had sneezed at the same time so she never noticed. The odor was covered up by the smell of cooking food from the kitchen. He wanted nothing more than to hurl his great bulk at her tender accepting body and give her his soul for keeping.
But here he was hauling his enormous self up an increasingly steep hill. He had chili stains on his draw string sweat pants, and he smelled like bologna and Windex.
The last thing she had said to him was “If you ever find out…” and then she had made a motion with her hand. Rogers heart melted. He was caught off guard by a woman and her young child trying to squeeze by him out the door and the sudden brushing of the boy up against his stomache made him fart again. It erupted like a geyser from hell, spraying hot wind like invisible bird shot into the boys face. “Oops.” Roger said. He quickly scuttled away.
Roger stood on top of the hill now, looking over the town; the part he could see at least. The sun was almost all the way up. He looked and he wondered.
Hot Blooded by foreigner played softly from an old beaten down radio-cassette player lying near a pile of crumpled clothes in a dirty bedroom with no windows. Buck turned on his side as he lay sleeping. His massive form was resting on a deflated snow tube padded with crunchy blue towels. The smell of alcohol, vinegar, and sawdust permeated, seeped from every surface. The stench was so overwhelming it almost seemed to exist within the walls as a living thing might inhabit a cave dwelling or rabbit hole. With out the stink the room would not be the same room, and the question of whether the room itself could indeed exist at all with out the smell, or the smell without such a room to produce it, could baffle the mind for an eternity. Buck couldn’t smell it anymore. He had created and indeed fine tuned it over the years, dulling his own nostrils to its power.
Buck had a quarter empty glass of tequila lying half tipped over against his immense belly. So deep was his drunken sleep that no such trifling thing as a swig of spilt liquor would raise him, attesting indeed to a sleep of some powerful depth, as Buck was not a wasting man when it came to alcohol.
It was so dark in that room. 12 o’clock in the afternoon, but every shade was drawn. It was the weekend and Buck always slept in on weekends. Suddenly his eyes flipped open and for just a moment he stopped breathing. He jumped up and threw on his silk robe with the Japanese dragon print emblazoned on the back. Not bothering to put on his shoes he ran groggily, staggering really towards his front door and flung open the entrance. In one continuous motion he scooped up a dodgeball from the grass did a front roll landing on his knees and let the ball go flying through the air, zeroing in on a slender figure riding on a Huffy bike. The ball connected with tremendous force sending the figure flying off the bike into a collapsed heap on the pavement.
“Boom!” Buck shouted, raising his colossal hands to the air. “I knew it was you Derwangler, I just woke up and I knew you were nearby.” He skipped over to Derwangler’s battered and bruised body and began thrusting his ass into Derwangler’s face in a rhythmic motion. “Yeah!” He shouted with each thrust. “Yeeeee-aaah!”
He continued this for a satisfactory amount of time and then out of breath he sighed contentedly. “Awesome.” He said to himself, shaking his head. “Whew… man… I’m beat.”
He walked inside as Derwangler slowly got to his feet, and without looking back went inside drank a whole bottle of Mr. Boston rum in two gulps and passed out on the floor.
Love Shack by the b 52’s played very quietly on the crappy radio and someone had turned on a David Lynch movie.
“Dearest Papa.” There was a young girl on TV. She was Russian, or at least she was supposed to be and she was leaning down at the side of a grizzled man with a big furry hat.
“Svetlana.” The man replied. Then he coughed. A bottle of Vodka was visible in the foreground, though it was in a bucket of ice.
“Oh Papa.” The girl replied.
Joe turned off the TV. He got up off the sofa and went outside for a cigarette. He’d popped some mescaline tablets earlier that day and he was seeing some shit, but he was fairly sure that the miniature polar bear that was reading the New York Times on his porch was real. “Hey.” Joe said. “This isn’t a library.” The bear sighed and turned the page.
“Rawwr!!” It said.
Joe didn’t have any matches so he bummed a light off the Polar Bear, but the matches the polar bear had we’re actually rusty nails, so Joe went inside and found his Bic lighter. When he came back outside he was surprised to see that the polar bear was gone.
“Hey,” Joe asked Grimace the McDonalds mascot who was lying in a hammock and throwing giant space darts at the moon. “Where’d that polar bear go?” Then Joe arched his eyebrows in confusion. “Where’d that hammock come from?”
“Hey…” Grimace said. He put on a pair of wrap around sunglasses and lit his own cigarette. “I, uh…yeah I don’t know man.”
Joe shook his head. “Well if…you see him…” Joe paused unsure of what was coming out of his mouth, dazed and glossed over. “Just tell him…” Joe stopped talking, looking straight forward.
Grimace remained silent, listening. “Yeah?” He finally asked. “Tell him what?”
Joe snapped out of his daydream. “Just tell him …I dunno… forget it…” He said finally, almost whispering the last part. “I’m going inside.”
Sometimes things go very slowly. Pace dictated by the lives of certain people demands that it be so. As things build up to crossing paths, taking on new dimensions, revelatory breakthroughs and so on, these same paths may collide with obstacles sending them careening away from each other. Things that seem to be unrelated become intricately entwined with one another, though perhaps never fusing completely.
Susan understood this without realizing his own insight. He was currently performing a Zen meditation in the locker room of the YMCA. Zero mind.
Other toweled men would briefly give odd glances towards Susan, awed in a way, though also slightly put off by the middle age man with the ridiculous mustache sitting cross-legged in the middle of the stone tiled changing area. “Who is this fascinating Gaylord?” They were thinking.
Completely one with the universe, Susan faded deeper and deeper into communion with forces unknown his soul brimming with ecstasy, light and all knowing sense of truth.
Joe stepped into the CVS and the change in air pressure caused him to blink and slide his
Aviators down over his red and puffy eyes. He reeked of marijuana and axe body spray, which caused some of the other clientele to avoid him, some to merely look at him and very few to feel a sharp but subtle pang of sexual longing. Joe scanned the store, trying to remember why he had come into the place. He robotically approached the counter and stood before the cashier, an attractive though slightly chubby asian girl with her hair in a pony tail. She smiled at him. Joe didn’t say anything; zoned out for a bit, looking at the cigarette displays. He sensed movement behind him and out of the corner of his eye he saw a group of teenaged boys, all with similar longish blonde hair, all with polo shirts and ripped pants. They were standing awkwardly, close together and talking under their breath. All of them had bottles of different soft drinks.
Do you have a CVS card?” The cashier asked him.
Joe blinked. “Uhh, no.” He answered unsure. “Uh, like…Should I?”
The girl looked taken aback. “I mean, no.” Joe said. “I’m…positive.”
The girl started rambling, listing off benefits that came with said CVS card. Joe stared at her , his eyes glazed, still half focusing on the group of kids behind him. One of them was holding a DVD of Apocalypse Now.
“No.” Joe said, slowly. “I’ll just… have some Marlboros.”
The exchange completed Joe walked out of the store and opened the pack of cigarettes. He lit one and leaned against the store, staring into the sun. He could feel the vapors coming off the snow as it slowly melted in the warmish day. He could hear cars coming from miles and miles, stopping and going and idling. The group of boys exited the store and something about the way their hats tilted, or maybe it was something in the way they all spoke in the same causally uninterested monotone, something about these boys caused a sudden rush of panic to creep into Joe’s subconscious, worrying him a little though only in an indirect way and after downing three Ativan he forgot about it and watched the cars go by.
The TV blares. On the news theres a short segment on a little girl who had been missing for three weeks who was found hung upside down by her feet, nailed, from a tree deep in the Colorado wilderness. A man walked into a bowling alley and shot three employees before turning the gun on himself. A fire burns in Jerusalem, Arab extremists cut the head off a Jewish bear. A librarian is held at gun point and raped continuously for twelve hours before being tossed behind a dumpster, her throat slit, her body bruised and mutilated. The police suspect foul play. Phone book killers, free way snipers, the kids are all on drugs, the kids aren’t on the right drugs, people are dying everywhere and then the segment changes and the anchorwoman a boring looking but pretty Latina woman wearing a red jacket smiles into the camera. She talks about a celebrity hair stylist who has been outed as being not gay, a famous pig trainer (clients include, Cher, Madonna, Vin Diesel and Rod Stewarts cousin) gives an interview, suicides, more suicides, a murder of a wealthy record producer. A scathing row of image after image after image, dancing from one frame to the next with the grace of a bulldozer, feeding facts and facts and facts with no meaning given to them, unbiased, mechanical reports of death and sexual offenders prowling every corner of every school in the world. Every day. Continuous loop…
Roger found himself in a deck chair. It was suddenly very, very cold and he was underdressed, a light coat, jeans and a baseball cap. Rogers very un-used cell phone bulged from his thigh pocket, so jammed inside against his corpulent body that removing it would require him to stand up and expend great effort. Kristen Caviellro was walking up his driveway. She was a woman, dumpy, old with skin like a jaundiced armadillo. She wore a heavy grey coat, a blue scarf and a thick pink ski cap. “Hey, Rogah” She yelled from the end of the driveway. “Hello, Kristen.” Roger said standing up, wiping crumbs and bits of food from his pants. “What brings you out here?”
Kristen put a little hitch in her step and jogged, very bouncily, up to the porch stairs.
“News.” She said, wheezing slightly. “Ah got news Rogah.”
Most people would disregard this woman as a loon, an incurable case of boringness, eccentricity and early onset dementia. Roger was one of those rare souls who never judged, and was able not to do so without trying.
“For gee sakes what is it Kristen?” He asked.
Roger scowled in wonder. “What about him?”
“He’s been sittin’ in the Y changing room for three days and nobody can move im’.”
Roger blinked once. He casually unwrapped a Twix bar that he had been holding in his hand. “What?” He asked.
“He’s all zenned out.”
Roger stroked his fatty chin, feeling the scruff and pulling gently at the flaps of loose skin. “Huh…” He grunted.
An icicle suddenly reached a melting/breaking point and fell from the overhang. It shattered at Rogers feet missing his exposed head by mere inches. “Holy Frijole!” He shouted.
Kristen limped over to Roger, her hunched over figure dragging crooked feet like a swiffer mop over the rough ground. “C’mon.” She said. “You gotta come and talk some sense into him. He won’t move!”
They lumbered and dragged their strange bodies into Rogers car and began the 45 minute drive to the YMCA in the nearby town. White Rabbit played on the stereo and Kristen tapped her foot in a unknowing way, keeping the rhythm as best she could.
“Gosh.” Roger said. “…Willickers…”
They made a pit stop at a Carls Jr. Roger ordered a burger, four large fries, two apple pies, two large cokes and an Ice Cream shake...
Joe is sitting in a blue Sedan as his friend Marc, tall, shaggy blonde hair, narrow almost Asian eyes, drives too fast down the sunny freeway. Marcs nose was crusted slightly with a dusting of dried blood and his cracked lips had a messily rolled joint pressed between them. His aviator sunglasses are perched at a slightly tilted angle, almost hanging off. He lights the joint and turns the CD player to Don’t Stop by Erasure.
“Have you ever thought about killing somebody?” Marc asks. He coughs as a puff of yellow smoke curls out under his lips.
Joe takes the joint and shakes his head. “No…” he says. “Like…not…not really.”
Marc smiles and nods. “Dude, some chick was murdered the other day over in like…like somewhere near here.”
Joe blinks. “No way dude.” He says flatly.
“Somebody chopped some chicks head off.”
Joe passes the joint. “Woah.” He says quietly, eyes half closed.
“Chopped it, like…right the fuck clean off, dude.”
Joe doesn’t say anything for a while, just watches the telephone poles going by, counting them, losing track and then counting them backwards starting from ten, confusing himself. “Why?” He asks finally, his voice low and disinterested.
Marc shrugs. “Who knows?” Marc switches to the next song on the CD, a mix, and it’s some Swedish techno shit, or possibly Dutch Rockabilly. “They found her head tied by like…her hair?” He pauses. “She was like in a tree. Her head I mean.”
Joe nodded slowly. “What about the body?”
Marc stubs out the joint haphazardly placing it in the ashtray. “Body?” He asks, squinting. “What…body?”
Joe swallows. “The girl.”
Marc laughs. “Oh yeah.” He says a little too fast and a little too loud. “Her body was in her bed and like…I guess who ever chopped her head off, like dressed the body in different clothes.”
Joe watched a balloon float over the tree’s slowly drifting up in a side to side swing pattern. “What kind of clothes?”
“Uhh…” Marc says. “Like…a dress…like a GAP Sweater…or a business suit and maybe…a tie.” He barely manages to get this last word out, struggling with something, the concept of perhaps a tie, or dressing in general.
Joe nods silently. He lights another joint, this one tightly rolled and blue.
“Her eyes may have been gone too. Drilled out…or maybe it was her shoes that they couldn’t find…or maybe her eyes were…clawed out.” Marc says.
“Shits fucked.” Joe finally says.
“Yeah.” Marc nods.
Marc parks the car at their other friend Tyrone’s house.
“Yo Tyrone!” Joe yells. “Where are you?” They trek into his house and find him sleeping on the porch.
Marc pokes Tyrones inert body with a stick. “Dude, wake up you silly nigger.”
Tyrone rolls over and opens his eyes. “Dude, don’t you call me a nigger.” He says.
“You are literally a porch monkey you silly fruit.”
“Hey fuck you man!” Tyrone says. He jump kicks himself into a standing position
Susan was looking directly at his third eye, using the very same third eye to do so. The spirit had him, and he the spirit. “Susan.” The spirit said, with a voice as dense and rich as dark matter and as widely expressive as the very fabric of the universe.
“I know you can hear me Susan.”
Some one somewhere had once probably said that madness isn’t a distortion of reality, and doesn’t come from ill intent so much as it is a different view of creation and is sparked by curiosity. For instance what is it like to urinate on a pigeon, to believe something that clearly doesn’t mesh with facts as presented, or what is it like to slice up a human being? Madness thus exists in all people as so many know in their hearts that they’ve had these thoughts, dwelled on them, reflected and so on. Standing on a building, the sudden urge, a notion that says “Jump.” One doesn’t want to die, has no intention of killing themselves, it is merely the curiosity. “Will I fall or will I fly?”
Susan had never heard this. “Yeah?” He said to the spirit. “I can hear us.”
“Us.” The spirit said. “As all things are one, and then we hear us as well, do you see?”
“Yep.” Susan said.
Colors of all shades, colors that no eye can see or mind fathom swirled around in waves of stringy clouded confetti, exploding and reforming in the same moment, showering meaning and knowledge over and in the core of the universe and Susan scratched his balls, but not really as he was not in contact with his corporeal being. The thought of Susan’s balls were scratched by the idea of his slim and vaguely feminine hand.
“Spirit?” Susan asked.
“Yes, our us, son, father.”
“What?” Susan asked.
“Ask us our question.”
It was fucking shtick, spiritual, holy and shlocky.
“I ask the question that need not be asked and the answer that is present in all things, revealed through its concealment.”
“Why did the turkey cross the road?” The voice asked.
“The chicken was busy.” Susan answered.
“Whats the square root of 5?”
This went on for quite some time.
…Local woman was running Chinese slave ring out of her mothers in house nail salon, Fourteen tons of medical waste found impacted in the ground of Elementary school, Nazis burning crosses, Nazis killing rodeo clowns, nuclear war imminent, Russia threatening to launch small pox rockets into the heart of Spain, more women found torn in half, scattered remains littered across the highway, the ghost of Pope John appears at a circus in Warsaw and he has a boner, a man on moose back barges into a childrens hospital and steals donated blood, AIDS infected rabbits, Chicken Flu, Cow Flu, Smurf Flu, Dick Flu, Pakistani Shitting Blood Disease spreading in the heartland…
More at eleven.
“Imagine if you will a situation in which you are the captured”
Flashes before the eyes of one Roger Kilson. He is fat, he is hairy. This phrase flashes before his eyes like a hologram “Imagine if you will a situation in which you are the captured.”
Roger yawns and ignores the message. He watches the evening news and stuffs a bagel into his mouth. Somebody wanted him to do something about this big mess that his brother Susan had gotten himself into. It was craziness, it didn’t matter, it made no sense and it was un-American. Roger had gotten into a box of KFC and had literally ripped the cardboard apart with his teeth, tearing at it the way a lion would, slicing the chicken with his incisors. He’s fat.
He changes the channel. “Long live the new flesh” Some crazy movie blasts out.
Earlier he had been given the task of prying his brother from the floor of the changing room of the YMCA. Roger decided to stop at a Carls Jr. on the way to the rescue and he ended up forgetting about the whole thing. The woman that was with him watched as he devoured twelve hamburgers, ten orders of small fries, and a huge fucking cookie. Her name was Kristen.
“I guess it’s not really botherin’ nobody.” She said as Roger demolished a Milkshake in one fell swoop.
“Yeah, I mean let him stay and meditate or whatever if he wants to.” She said
Kristen drank from a silver flask that she kept with her. Vodka. She got drunk.
“I think your brother is…a gay.” Kristen said.
“Nope.” Roger replied.
“Whata’ ya mean nope?”
“He aint gay.” Roger said.
“Well I aint never seen him with a woman.” Kristen replied.
“Bet you haven’t seen em with a man either.” Roger said, swallowing a pickle.
The fact was that Susan was a consummate loner. On the edge of society he merrily stretched and toned his pale hairy body, teaching lonely women how to do the same. He knew everyone in town as everyone knew him; but he never hung around, he never exchanged information. At that very moment he was in contact with God.
“Well what is he then?” She asked.
Roger scowled, coughing a bit of beef out of his wind pipe. “He’s celibate.” Roger said finally, clearing away the crumbs of burger from his lips.
“Oh, now that’s just bullshit.” Kristen said. “Aint nobody celibate, not even the priests are celibate really, with them and the little boys…” She took a swig of vodka from her flask.
Roger farted three times, a squeaker, a scooter and a humdinger. “Sorry.” he said.
“Susan aint never had sex at all.” Roger said. “He doesn’t care about it.”
Kristen flopped her grayish elbows on the crudely wood painted table. “That’s crazy.” She said. “How can someone not have a sex drive?” She flicked a French fry at Roger but it missed him by inches.
“Who knows?” Roger answered. “Susan just goes about his business and I go about my Deli work and we don’t bother one another.”
“How?” Kristen asks. “How is this possible?”
“What?” Roger said.
“You’re his brother!” Kristen yells.
Roger sips from his diet sprite and eyes Kristen eerily. “So what?” He asks.
“So you should know!” Kristen shouts.
Roger arranged his fleshy mass so that he stood erect though sitting. “He’s just a little different.” He says.
Kristen pinched the bridge of her nose, exhaling. “Different.” She echoes.
“Listen, he don’t steal, he don’t do drugs, he doesn’t do nothing. No vices, he lives clean, he’s happy, he’s fulfilled and he’s celibate. Who knows?” Roger says.
“It’s madness!” Kristen shouts.
Rogers face went ashen and tight. He took off his bib. “Madness?” He said.
He raised his tremendous bulk to his full height and with one powerful motion he swept away all the remaining scraps of paper and food from the brown tray. Raising his enormous leg he delivered a solid kick to Kristen’s chest that sent her careening into the wall of the restaurant. “This. IS. Carls JR.!!!!” He shouted.
Actually he didn’t. But he did think about doing it, as he had seen the movie 300 earlier that year and these kinds of thoughts occur sometimes.
“He’s just eccentric Kristen.” Roger said. “He’s always been. Ma, said he was sorta like our father, except …more you know…fabulous.” Roger gruffly shook his meaty cheeks, his jowls rippling like sacks of cottonseed.
“Well eccentric draws negative attention Rogah.” Kristen said.
“He doesn’t care.” Roger replied.
Roger eventually finished dining on various heaps of greasy food and he and Kristen parted ways later in the day, barely speaking a word to each other.
Buck wakes in a kiddy pool that somebody had turned on its side, so his back is on both the plastic of the pool and the cold frosted grass of somebody’s side yard. He curses but it becomes a burp and he staggers his way to his feet, rocking from side to side as he shrugs off the pool and makes a beeline for the paved road.
“Have to…work tomorrow.” He says to himself. He groans and feels the pain in his head all at once, bending at the waist at the very thought. “Oh…god…” He says.
A truck goes by, speeding, the driver hopped up on crystal meth, and it creates a blur of vibration and noise as it jets over the road.
Buck stops, vomits, wipes his head of cold sweat. He doesn’t know which direction he should be heading, not sure if it’s worth it to go home and change or just show up at the school, drenched in beer vapors, grime and a hint of urine. “Fuck it.” He decides and the problem disappears lifting a heavy load from his back. A car goes by, but stops and reverses. Inside a woman, young maybe 20 rolls down her window.
“You need a ride mister?” She asks. Buck isn’t sure if this is real, a young woman stopping in the middle of the night to offer a ride to a disheveled man who outweighs her by about 250 pounds, but he accepts it and steps forward. “Yes.” He says. “Yes I do.”
She smiles showing her straight white teeth. She’s very attractive, brunette, slim ,good smile. “Get in.” She says.
Now their driving and Buck has blacked out at least twice and in an incoherent sort of way, has directed this woman to drop him off at The Middle School.
“Really?” She asks. “It’s…the middle of the night.”
“Uh-huh.” Buck nods numbly. “It’s cool. Don’t worry about it.”
“Its…3 in the morning.”
Buck sighs. “I work there. I’m…the Principal.” He lies.
“Ok.” She says. “If that’s what you want.”
Sitting, still very drunk outside the back entrance, where trucks drop off food, paper, pencils and so on, Buck smokes a crumpled Parliament cigarette and holds a wet washcloth that he took from a sink in the loading area against his head.
“What the fuck?” He says out loud.
…The Tv Blares… The president is on television and he has aviator sunglasses on and he’s smoking a cigarette. “Hey, listen” he says to the group of reporters shoving microphones in his face. “Get out of my face.” He flicks his cigarette sending the ash on one of the reporters heads.
“This is my house.” He says. “So…get the fuck out.”…
400 people died in a fire yesterday that started when a refrigerator exploded due to a manufacturing error…Former teen runaway and prostitute is running for mayor of Cleveland and seems to be winning. “I also might have cancer.” She says to a crowd of reporters. “Not sure, could be, could not be.” She is very brave…
…A high school student is expelled for wearing a t shirt that featured a picture of a giant penis with arms and legs, sporting a swastika necklace and holding a gun to the head of a wounded homeless sea otter who has a severe case of body dysmorphia. His parents are suing the school district for a bajillion dollars. “…Where did he even get that shirt…”
…Scientists have announced that there are no such things as pickles…
It’s day and its sunny but it’s cold and even though the birds shouldn’t be back from the south yet, the sounds of belabored squawking and full throated chirps can be heard quietly from all around. Joe and Marc are sitting on opposite sides of a see saw in a school playground. Marc was drunk and tripping on blotter acid, Joe more or less in the same condition and they were playing catch with a big brown paper joint.
“Stop me if you have heard this.” Marc says. Joe looked at him and for a moment the blue sky framing his blonde hair made him look like some kind of twisted caricature of a drunken angel.
“O.K” Joe said.
Ok,” Marc says. He suddenly cracks up laughing and bends slightly at the waist.
“Ok, ok…” Marc says, having pulled himself together. “Theres this chick right and she’s got, like, long blonde hair. And she cuts it off to buy this dude a pocket watch and uh…” A long pause where Marc scratches his chin and retches slightly, almost puking from the dry gin and Coors beer.
Joe puts his eyes on his hands and pushes against them. The sudden flush of colors stuns him and he has to pull away. The beauty of the dead tree’s, the stark contrast with the sky and the gold of the sun it all makes him feel slightly elevated, as if he wasn’t on the see saw, stoned, in a children’s playground, but actually really far, far away.
“Oh yeah.” Marc says. “So she sells her hair. Ok, like, part 2. The dude sold his pocket watch to buy her some combs for her hair.” He stops as if he’s delivered the punch line. He busts over laughing.
Joe blinks and giggles a little.
Flash forward and Marcs on the phone crying in jags yelling. “I love you” he screams. His hair is flying out in strands like pieces of straw. “I love you and you don’t give a shit.”
A kid that Joe knows finally comes to meet up with them, as per prior arrangement, and he stops next to Joe and watches Marc. Marc is on the ground, on his back kicking up like a new born baby. “Just don’t forget about me. What? No I’m not wasted. No, you are a fucking bitch. I love you, I love you…”
The Kid, Tyrone, short, chubby, half black and possessing blindingly white teeth, tilts his head slightly. “Who’s he talking to?” he asks.
Joe shrugs. “Like, I think…his dentist? I dunno…”
“His dentist?” Tyrone asks, skeptically.
“Yeah…” Joe says. “His dentist or maybe…some ski instructor.”
“Sounds like an ex-girlfriend or something.” Tyrone says.
Joe shifts his weight slightly. “…Could be…” He inhales on a joint. “I’m pretty sure it’s …I mean he was talking about how much he …gloves her…so…”
“Glove?” Tyrone asks, scrunching his face. “Are you sure he didn’t say Love?
Joe pursed his lips slightly. “Love would make more sense.” He said.
“Yeah.” Tyrone agrees.
“But he said glove.”
Susan reflected on the hours and hours he had spent sitting in deep meditation on the floor of the YMCA changing room. He had felt the hand of a greater force brush his face and been imparted with a knowledge and given a duty that he wasn’t sure he could handle.
“You must go forth and soothe the souls of humanity.” The voice had said.
Susan didn’t know how to soothe souls and if he had known he certainly didn’t know how he was expected to soothe every soul, of all people, in all places.
He had gone out into a snowy field without his shoes. In order to cleanse his spirit and body he would meditate for four days getting up only to do deep squat thrusts, jumping jacks and reverse double leg lifts.
“But how?” He asked, stretching his calf muscles.
A beam of light shone down from the sky and illuminated the top of Susan’s leather high top shoes. “Go to them. Preach my word and let them know that they are within distance of salvation.”
Susan slowly stood up, dusted off his legs and cracked his neck. “What should I do first?”
“I dunno.” The voice said.
Susan walked and walked all day until he came to a spring well. It was frozen over and a small animal of some sort was sitting very near where he walked. It looked at him.
“See that?” The voice said.
Susan stared soulfully gazing at the windswept prairie of snow that served as a backdrop to this scene.
“That’s a sign.” The voice said. “I did that.”
Susan walked towards the ice, carefully clenching his teeth as the groans and creaks of the frozen water threatened to shatter. “C’mere.” He said. “C’mon little guy, I’m here for you.”
The small animal dashed away as suddenly as he had appeared and Susan found himself alone, on thin ice with insufficient clothing and taking orders from an invisible voice from heaven.
“Bombed out, busted and cracked out her mind, this bitch she staggers up to me and she puts her hand right next to my face. ‘got a cigarette?’ that’s all she says. ‘got a cigarette’”
Stacey, Rogers co deli-worker was chatting on the phone when Roger walked in, jiggling his great big blobby form of a body, bouncing like a beach ball with legs. Stacey was what is known in common terms as a ‘psycho bitch’. A psycho bitch is a very rare and particularly savage form of female human who exists for no purpose other than to fucking make everyone think very seriously about blowing their own brains straight out to the ocean with a howitzer cannon.
“Uh-huh.” Stacey said into the phone. She saw the massive blob of rubbery Roger peek out from the corner into the backroom. “I’ll call you back.” Stacey said into the phone.
Stacey was an attractive girl at first glance, brown hair that hung like wheatgrass over silver blue eyes, pouty red mouth, strawberry lips. Underneath this alluring exterior lurked a mind well versed in battle tactics and torture. Her soul rang hollow as she eyed Roger galumphing into her workspace. “Yo Roger!” She screamed quite loudly. “What’s fat, stupid, dumb, ugly and gay?”
Roger scratched the back of his neck. “Hey Stacey.” He said.
“You!” Stacey yelled. She darted up close to Roger and gave him a playful stinging slap on the cheek. “I hate you and I hope something very bad happens to you” she said.
Roger put on his gloves and started the days work.
Stacey lounged in the freezer, smoking a cigarette, which nobody cared about because it was so cold, and she read People magazine. Again on her phone she chatted, “Oh my god, like Brad and Angelina made a suicide pact and it, like , depends on who can ski up a mountain without getting their picture taken…”
Roger came into the freezer to get a ham. Stacey saw him and gave him the middle finger. Roger patted his bristled mustache and wiped a small sweat drop from his eyebrow.
Roger thought back to his childhood, Flying kites, running races with dirty trailer kids, playing goofball with Susan. Goofball was a game their dad had made up and it consisted of two people standing on stools and throwing eggs at eachother. He thought of sleds, greased with cooking spray gliding down steel smooth snowy hills, clouds that were shaped like dragons and cars and dicks. Putting a metal bowl on his head and pretending to be a medieval knight. Strangely, dick shaped clouds was his most prominent memory.
The one consistency in his life was clouds that looked like enormous dicks.
“Hey fat!” Stacey yelled.
Roger snapped out of his daydream and looked at her. “Ya huh?”
She looked as though she was ready to spit venom, her eyes crackling with dark energy. She took one violent stride towards the door and clenched her hand, making a fist, but then suddenly she lost the feeling of it and perhaps it was pity. It was probably not pity for her soul was like a black frosted icicle hanging from a snakes eye, carved from gray stone and harder than a diamond. Yet Roger was spared from a small abusive gesture and he would never know this. Life continued.
Buck stared glassy eyed at the crowd of kids huddled beneath his towering form. Buck was always big, strapping, muscular, steady as a rock, but around children his enormity seemed to be multiplied by thousands and thousands. Buck strutted across the floor, stopped and pivoted, turning towards the group.
“Gentleman I am hung-over as fuck.” He said. “If this information leaves this class I will kill the rat and his family. I do not care. You wanna test that out, be my guest.”
Buck cracked his neck. “Today we will be playing ‘shut the fuck up’.” He said. “It’s a very simple game. All you have to do is shut the fuck up. Whoever doesn’t shut the fuck up, and by that I mean speaking, whispering, mumbling or murmuring , loses. If you lose I will sink you like a battleship, I swear to Christ.”
Buck made a great step towards the boys who were now in a straight line, standing stiffly.
“Rawipson, punch Derwangler in the heart.” Buck screamed, getting in Rawipson’s, a popular athletic boy, face.
“Sir, yes sir.” Rawipson said and he rushed towards Derwangler, taking three great steps and unleashing a furious combo of punches aimed directly at the heart.
“Very good.” Buck screamed. He blew his whistle. “When I blow this whistle you will all commence the game. When I blow this whistle again the game is over. Derwangler get me a beer.” Buck blew the whistle
Derwangler stumbled to his feet, clutching at his bruised chest and opened the blue cooler hidden behind the stands. “What kind sir?”
“Oh shit son,” Buck yelled. “Derwangler, you just lost the game. Now you have to climb up on top of the school and hurl yourself off.”
Derwangler looked shaken, scared out of his mind. Buck took the beer from his hand and cracked it, drawing a nice cool sip. “Ahhh…” he said. “Cancel that order Derwangler. I’m in a good mood now.” He took another sip. “New punishment; Derwangler Punch yourself in the face. On the whistle. Go!” Buck blew the whistle and Derwangler drove his knobby fist into his own eye socket.
“Ok, now sit down and shut the fuck up.”
Buck sat down and put his little stereo on next to him, pumping out some mellow grooves. He sat in a folding chair and nursed his beer for the entire period.
Joe found himself crying hysterically during a commercial for Vaginal Shower rings. The commercial shows a young mixed race looking girl(some European, some jap definitely African) She raises her arm in the stance of a victorious roman praetorian slayer of a most wrathful enemy, and breaks the stance with a twist hip as a catchy latin rumba muzak song played tonelessly in a repetitive ritualistic bass. With under currents of banjo and even tiamberlines, the song is catchy and fun without over shadowing the product.
“Vaginal Curtains from Fix-u-good tm “
Joe wanders sadly around a house he’s never been inside before, looking at pictures of a nice looking family. He stuffs prescriptions into his pockets like it was spare change, and yet he felt no blame for this. “Its all about pre destination anyway you know, the fact that he was walking around this house proves that the only thing that his last action is doing is performing the role of the bridge to the next instance. either way, it’s divine…comedy, or some shit. It’s… in books.” He would say.
He was explaining this to the tan kind of gorgeous red haired chick at the counter when buying cigarettes, secretly stealing the top pack role of gum.
“Books?” She asks back at Joe.
Marc buzzes Joes phone but Joe ignores it. “Yeah.” He says squinting, smelling some kind of lavender style perfume that usually sickened him but some how seemed alluring.
“What kind of books?”
Susan walked out the wilderness near the ice cream shop on Stevens and Aztec ave. He smelled of honey and fine oils, leaving a certain musk wherever he went that drove the ladies wild and left the men confused and vaguely hostile, though still in awe of the majesty with which he presented himself.
“Look at that Gaylord.” A man on a trash truck yelled.
As he walked the animals followed Susan. At first it was mild, limited to a few caged animals pining lovingly when he came near, but it grown into a full on traveling circus of common New England tree and forest life.
Susan chilled with the lambs in the nights and hustled the horses through the day, fashioning elaborate mustaches for the goats and cats. Throwing Frisbees that hundreds of dogs would compete for. Susan knew somebody from the city ordinances department would arrive soon, so he just worked on his inner thigh endurance.
“There is a new and fucking exciting happening thing comin at you from the minds behind “The Bee Bop Sheropp!”, and the “Salty Slam flex”. The TV is Blaring.
Roger looks up from his comfortable resting place, adorned he is with little yellow and orange one piece pajamas with one footie sticking out. The low level intensity of early day time TV stabbed at his sleep until he had to get out of bed.
“It’s the Youth System Durex Tri Glico Cleanando program.”
A picture of a taut, sexy young woman appeared on the screen opposite a dumpy, nasty skinned old skank “That was me, Before I found Youth Cleanando. It really works.”
“Using our state of the art sacrificial virgins, plus hyper dermatological pagan magic theories as well as dark spells called from the deep and old ways, and combining this with modern day cosmetic surgery techniques, We’re able to achieve things that are well,” The toned, tan and square jawed man that had been saying this looks into the camera. “Fantastic” .
The screen becomes blue and contact information is presented.
Roger licked his massive lips and automatically took down the number. He had three dill pickles on a plate and he was lining it with other things to start his pre breakfast meal.
He flipped himself off the bed and flung open his robe launching his naked, hairy gargantuan flaps of meat and muscle towards the shower room, and while reaching for the knob the door opened up and Roger was carried by his own inertia into a slip slide that put his left gonad in direct site of the towel loupe hanging at belt level next to the toilet. Whacking his soft and precious nut against the uncaring towel loupe sent Roger into an immediate deep depression and as he fall backwards, to his possible spine crushing, neck breaking end, he saw that it was Susan who had opened the door. Susan was as shocked as Roger and like everything was in slow motion, he avoided Rogers chaos bringing form by jumping sideways and through the carnage in a daredevil flip.
One day in the city, Joe had been walking in the city. He had hitch hiked there and he had woken in the bedroom of Filipino hockey player, fully clothed with a necklace of donkey bones hanging on his aching neck. He had five thousand dollars in his left shoe. He had been walking for about three hours when he decided he should probably find a way back home.
“Hey.” Joe said to an elderly man who was sitting on a park bench, sipping a cup of Lipton Raspberry ice tea. “Like, where does a bus stop around here?”
“A bus?” the man said. He had a heavy Japanese accent. “What sort of bus are you looking for? Greyhound, city bus or school bus?”
Joe lit a cigarette and sat down next to the man. He offered a cigarette to the man but he declined pointing to his front pocket indicating he had his own pack.
“I dunno, a greyhound I guess.”
“Around corner that way,” The Japanese man said, “then go left at Carls jr. and look right. There will be small building that says ‘Greyhound’. Go in there.”
Joe nodded his head. “Yeah, theres no way I’d be able to make it there. I’ll give you, like the rest of my pack of cigarettes if you guide me there.”
The old man frowned. “No way, that stupid.” He said. “You huge idiot. Find your own way.”
Joe scowled and was a little offended, but more just confused.
“Where you want go anyway?” The Asian man said. “Why you take bus, why not walk?”
“I don’t wanna walk all the way to my house.” Joe said, defensively.
“Why, where you live? You live in Russia? You walk, you American, you fat.” The Asian man pointed at Joe with a long wrinkled figure “When I was your age, this country dropped drop nuclear bomb on my city. Kill everyone. Then the next day they do it again in Nagasaki and kill what is left of my family, I live rest of life alone except for fat wife who die, killed by ninja.” The man shook his powerful, yet withered fist. “She killed by ninja in 1987. What the fuck is ninja doing in my house in Hiroshima suburb in 1987? My life suck, you walk home, you lazy.”
Joe stumbled away reeling from the encounter. He found his aviator sunglasses in his pants pocket. He put them on. He stopped after a half hour had passed with little success in locating a bus that could deliver him home. He was sitting with a puzzled expression on the bottom edge of a gray office building. The old asian man from the park bench passed by with a Japanese woman, young, attractive sailor uniform with a picture of a bizarre robot holding a samurai sword on the front, underscored with Japanese letters.
“You still lost.” The Man yelled, pointing at Joe when he spied him from across the street. “Where you live?”
Joe looked at him and shouted back. “Lokata.”
“Lokata right over the hill, fifty feet from Starbucks.” The man said. “Why you so dumb? What part of Lokata you from?”
Joe scratched his head. “Near the highway, right next to the Fleetwood Plaza.”
The Japanese man gave him a disapproving glare. “That five minutes away, how you get lost five minute walking distance from own home?” The man spoke in a stop, go pattern loudly pronouncing every word very clearly.
Joe tried to ignore the old man but was kinda pissed off and just turned to trudge up the hill.
“Why you walking around in middle of day in city. You no have job, you lazy.”
Joe stopped in at the small convenience store in the strip mall. He bought a large doctor pepper and immediately opened and drank the entire thing in one long gulping session right in front of the worried looking cashier. He finished it and threw it away as he walked out the door. When he got home he heated up a frozen taco and watched Con Air. He thought it was a really good movie.
Roger sat, nursing his battered right testicle with an icepack. Susan was stirring a pot of ramen noodles at the stove and singing along to an old U2 song playing on the television.
“Jeez, Suse, I think I broke a ball.” Roger said, clutching the ice pack tightly.
Susan looked up and blinked his eyes, waving the steam away from his face. “I’m telling you Roger, it was a voice, like clear as day and it said I had to bring a message to the people of this world. It was like a dream, except it was real, see?”
“Yeah, I see.” Roger said. “You’ve gone gosh darn nutty, I see perfectly.”
“No, Roger. It was real, I know it was real.”
Susan said this with earnestness, conviction and crystal clear eyes. “I think you’re supposed to help me.” He said.
Roger blew his nose, echoing like a trumpet. “Oh yeah? How’s that?” He asked. “How am I supposed to help you?”
Susan continued to stir the pot, adding seasonings. “I don’t know Roger. All I know is what the spirit told me.”
“Listen to you, you sound like a kook.” Roger said. Clenching his eyes shut and pursing his lips he bent slightly at the waist. “Christ on his throne, my ball is throbbing.”
“Listen to me.” Susan said. “ I have never asked you to do anything. Have I?”
Roger scowled. “You asked me to get your tux for senior prom in 1987.”
Susan was slightly taken aback. “I did?”
“Yeah.” Roger answered. “you didn’t even wear it, you just went in your spandex.”
“I like spandex.” Susan countered, off handedly.
“I know you do.” Roger said.
Susan shook his head. “Other than that, have I ever asked you for anything?”
Roger sighed. “No. No, I guess not.”
Susan scooped the Ramen soup into two bowls handing one to Roger. With the grace of a ballet dancer he lifted his leg and eased onto the chair next to Roger, making no noise as he placed his butt onto the leather.
“Well, I think I need to go to Boston.” Susan said. “I want you to come with me.”
Roger looked at his brother. “Boston?”
Susan nodded simply, twirling his mustache. “Uh-huh.”
Susan made a gesture with his hand. “It’s a city, There’s people. Listen,” Susan put down his bowl of soup and put his head in his hands. “I have to soothe the souls of humanity. Not just one soul. All of them.”
“Uh-huh.” Roger says.
“It’s stressing me out slightly.”
Roger picks up his bowl of soup and drinks what’s left of the broth. Slamming it down he wipes his chin and says, “You don’t have to do it.”
Susan shifted slightly. “Yeah, I do.”
“Why?” Roger asked.
“A voice from the sky came and told me I had to.” He paused. “I believe it.”
Roger rolled his eyes. “Ok, for the moment we’ll say that this voice did in fact call you out. That still doesn’t mean you have to do anything.”
“Yes it does.” Susan wailed throwing his hands up.
“No.” Roger said firmly. “All it means is some voice says you have to…do whatever it is you have to do.” Roger picked up the remote control that was lying on the floor at his feet and muted the television. “That means nothing. Whose this voice? Who is he?”
Susan cocked his head. “Well…” He paused, unsure. “It’s like a divine sort of thing.”
Roger opened a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. “Are you sure?”
Susan nodded. “Yeah, I’m sure.”
Nobody says anything for a long while.
“So what should we do?” Roger asks.
Susan stands up and puts on a knit hat that was on the couch. “I need to bring you out into the woods behind Franken’s barn. I gotta show you something.”
A man in a wheelchair rolls into a handicap parking space, gets up and goes into a Wal-Mart. Marc and Tyrone are getting high on whippets behind the cart station and they see this. Tyrone lights a cigarette and looks perplexed, shoots a glare at Marc.
“Man, did you see that shit?” He asks.
Marc takes a drag off his own cigarette. “Hey, like…do what you gotta do, know what I mean?” he says.
Tyrone laughs quietly. His hair is in an Afro and he has an afro pick in it, which he takes out for a moment. He does something to his hair with it. “Man, left his wheel chair in a handicap parking space, man?” He took a drag from his cigarette. “What the fuck is that?”
“Worlds going to hell and nobody seems to notice.” Marc says smiling wickedly. “It’s better that way.”
Tyrone smiles, showing his perfect white teeth. “True.” He says. “Very true.” He pauses takes a hit on the whippet. “My man.” He says.
Marc flinches. “Dude, why do you act so black?”
Tyrone flinches back. “I am black, fool.”
“Half black.” Marc says, laughing. “You’re half black dude.”
“Yeah, well whatever.” Tyrone answers. “If we was in 1958, would they half, let my ass into a whites only diner?”
Marc smiles. “True.” He takes a drag of his cigarette. “True indeed.”
Tyrone sits down Indian style on the pavement. “What do you mean act black anyway?”
Marc sits next to him. “I’m not sure…” He says. “Sometimes I just look at you and I think, like…I dunno that you’re acting blacker than you are.”
Tyrone scowls a little. “Maybe.” He says. “Everyone here is white…it’s like the walls are closing in on me man.”
“What?” Marc asks.
“Forget it dude.” Tyrone says.
“Ok.” Marc answers.
Joe finds himself in a drum circle. A newspaper, rolled up and filled with weed, tobacco, salvia and laced with tons of Xanax hangs from his cracked and dry lips. Joe has no recollection of how he had come to be in this state of being.
“SHAAAAAMMMMZAIIIIIII.” An African guy with dreadlocks shouts.
The circle starts to drum very deeply, steadily building up to something.
Joe realizes he’s wearing a necklace made of bones and upon his head a crown of some sort, adorned with various exotic feathers, precious stones and big wads of, what appears to be, Greek money stuffed into it.
The drumming becomes more intense. It rises and Joe sees from the corner of his eye two naked girls and one naked man dancing like wild Navahos. Their faces are painted with yellow dots and streaks of what looks like blood under their cheeks.
“What the hell?” Joe says to himself, aghast. The drumming intensifies once more and it builds to a crescendo where the sounds of hands on drums become like bees stinging freight trains, thundering in Joes ears like an explosion.
Everyone looks at Joe. The African guy with Dreadlocks shouts, “SHAAAAAMZAIII!”
Joe sits with his mouth open wide, eyes dazed. He see’s a red headed girl wearing a smiley face t-shirt. A knife is placed in his hand and a chicken is placed on a stone slab before him.
Joe just looks at the knife. Nobody says anything.
Finally, the girl with the smiley face t-shirt says. “Do it.”
Joe lights a cigarette that somehow seems to have found its way into his hand. “Do what?” He puts on his aviator sunglasses. “Are we near the highway?”
The African guy stands up and throws a handful of pink feathers into the air. “Sacrifice!” he shouts. The feathers rain down like rose petals, twirling through the night air and circling the crackling fire.
A glint of understanding enters Joes head. “Oh. Sacrifice the chicken.”
“SHAAAAAMZAAAAAAIII!” The African guy shouts.
“Who are we sacrificing it to?” Joe asks, clutching the frantic chicken by the neck.
The red headed girl inched closer to Joe . “Hershebiva, the god of life.” She whispers into his ear.
Joe takes a drag on his cigarette, blowing the smoke slowly through his nostrils. “What about the chicken?” He asks. “What about the chickens life?”
“Who gives a shit about chickens?” She says.
Joe thumbs his chin, pondering. “Hmmm…”
“C’mo-” before the girl can finish her word Joe cuts off the chickens head. “Ok.” He says in the very moment the chicken dies. “I mean, like…chickens die every day…right?”
“Yeah.” The girl says. “More than that even.”
Buck sits on his stool, watching the television above the bar.
…On the news they report on a ring of drug smugglers who were caught trying to sacrifice a small child to gain protection from cops. All fifty states have ratified a bill that will make it illegal to ride an ostrich through a funeral ceremony. A woman in New Jersey just gave birth to ten children, three of which were born with no eyes, two with severe mental retardation, and two more are conjoined at the chest. An outbreak of what scientists are calling ‘peanut flu’ has broken out in Canada. Schools across the country have closed down and more than 200 people have been killed….
Roger and Susan are in the sedan. Things are murky, unknown. Yet a sense of hope fills the space between them. They drive and drive.
“Do you remember dad?” Roger asks, after hours of silence.
Susan unscrews the cap of his Gatorade and takes a small sip. “A little bit.” He says.
Neither of them say anything for about five minutes. They pass a field, covered in snow, where children are making snow angels.
“He wore a top hat, I think.” Susan said.
Roger crinkled his nose. “How old were we when he got blown up?”
Susan frowned. “I was…four I think.”
Roger stoically smiled, accelerating the car a little. “So I was six then.” Roger said.
Susan put his hand out the window turning it to cut the wind.
“Yeah.” He said.
Roger wiped his nose. “I remember his smell.” He said. “And his top hat.”
Susan looked at Roger. “But not his face.” Roger said. “I can’t remember what he looked like.”
Susan stared straight ahead. He opened a bag of soup crackers.
“I always picture him looking like the guy on the Monopoly game.” Susan said.
Roger pursed his lips. “Yeah, I can see that.” He said. “There is definitely …some resemblance to the Monopoly guy.”
Susan chuckled. “Ma said that were both just like him. But me and you are so different. I never understood that.”
The sounds of the car took over for awhile. They pulled the sedan into a gas station so Roger could get a bag of potato chips. As he got back in the car Roger asked, “How come you think he named you Susan?”
Susan yawned. “That was dad’s name. I’m a junior.” He said.
Roger pulled into traffic. “I know, I know.” He said. “But why? Susan’s a girls name. It must have been so hard for you.”
“No, it was ok.” Susan said.
“I just think that it must have been hard for dad to be named Susan, so why would he name his kid Susan too?”
“Why make the same mistake as his old man?” Roger asked. “I just never understood.”
“I don’t think it was a mistake.” Susan said. “I think he wanted me to be proud of my name. I think he worked hard for that name.”
Roger scoffed. “Ya think?”
“Yeah, Really.” Susan answered. “I do.”
Roger realized that Susan was right. He took a deep breath.
Susan had taken Roger out behind Franken’s barn earlier that day.
“What the hell are we doing here?” Roger had asked.
“Nothing.” Susan had said. “I just needed an exciting sounding area to get you out of the house.”
Joe is sitting alone, confused, unable to differentiate reality from hallucination. He’s cross legged and covered in feathers. Words drawn in some sort of fluorescent green paint are spelled out all over his body. The words are foreign, he doesn’t know what they mean. He remembers flashes of red hair, the smell of fire and blood. “What the hell?” He says, brushing muffin crumbs from his body as he stands up. A leaflet that says ‘Welcome to Boston’ in bright yellow cursive letters is on the ground.
He is alone. It is cold, it is dark. He thinks he’s in some kind of tunnel. “I think I’m in some kind of…tunnel.” He says out loud to nobody. He begins to walk.
Joe tries to remember how he got to this place. Nothing registers. He trudges through slime and mud and black ooze. The smell is horrible. Like a Zombie poopin in a dumpster. “God damn.” Joe says. He vomits.
Joe realizes that the smell he’s smelling is in fact shit. He see’s a ladder.
“Oh shit.” Joe says. He realizes he is in a sewer. He climbs the ladder, wondering how the fuck he ended up in a sewer, covered in feathers and painted with weird words. He reaches the top and he pushes the sewer lid as hard as he can. It’s very heavy but he manages to open up his world to the city. Joe climbs out and dusts himself off. People walk by, nobody looks at him. A sedan pulls up next to him.
Buck uselessly drags his tremendous form through the town square. Most of the snow has melted and the trees resemble tall looming skeletons reaching for the sky. Buck feels very alone. He sits down and he can feel tears starting to well up. “What am I doing here?” he asks out loud. It’s night and though it’s slightly chilly, Buck has whiskey in his stomache and he feels no cold.
A family passes by, a mother with a wool salt and pepper overcoat, a father wearing a sports jacket, two children. The kids are nine and ten. Their happy, smiling and joking with eachother, just came out of a restaurant. Buck watches them.
Something cracks, Buck feels his chest caving in, thoughts of family, love, going to baseball games, entering pie eating contests, they flood his vision. They rustle around him, dancing like tumbleweeds in the wind and whoosh, it’s gone. Buck feels a tremendous sense of loss though he knows not what it is he has lost. He takes a swig of his Johnny Walker Black. His eyes shut he leans farther back against the bricks of the building he sits near. The little girl in the family splashes through a puddle and it tears through Buck like razors.
“Hey, Mr. Dreel” a young voice calls out through the night. A kid presents himself to Buck, pale skinny, blonde hair, wearing a T-shirt with a wild animal grinning fiercely on it.
Buck looks up and takes the kid in. “Hello.” He says, mildly.
“What are you doing Mr.Dreel?” The kid asks.
“Sitting.” Buck says.
Buck vaguely recognizes the kid. “Michael?” he says, testing it out.
“No, I’m Aaron.” Aaron says.
“Oh.” Buck replies. “Sup’ Aaron?”
Aaron inches closer to Buck. “Are you drunk?” He asks.
“Yup.” Buck replies. “Want some?” He sticks out the bottle towards Aaron.
Aaron looks a little shocked, than looks around to see if anyone is looking.
“Sure.” He says.
“C’mere.” Buck says.
Aaron sits down next to Buck and takes a swig from the bottle Buck was holding. Aaron’s eyes bulged and he coughed, but he didn’t throw up.
“Nice.” Buck says.
The kid smiles. “Thanks Mr. Dreel.”
They sit together for five minutes. Aaron takes another swig and he’s already drunk.
“Is something wrong Mr.Dreel?” He asks.
Buck lights a cigarette. “I dunno Aaron.” He says. “Why do you ask?”
Aaron takes a cigarette that Buck offers to him and lights it. “I dunno, you seem kind of sad.” He says.
Buck sighs. “Yeah.” He says. “Life just didn’t really pan out…the way I would have liked…I guess.”
Aaron coughs, his left eye clenched shut. “Oh man.” He says.
“Careful with that shit.” Buck says. “Take it easy man.”
Buck pats Aaron on the back, helping him to catch his breath. “What do you mean?” Aaron asked..
“What do I mean about what?” Buck says.
“Why didn’t life…pan out how you would have liked?” Aaron asked.
Buck exhaled a cloud of smoke through his nose. “Oh.” He said. “Well, I’m not sure.”
Buck stubbed his cigarette out. “You know that kid Peter Derwangler?”
Aaron nods. “Yeah. He’s a fucking dork.”
Buck nods and gestures with his hands. “I know right?”
“Why?” Aaron asks.
“Well, I just, …Derwangler is like this little kid and I just…every time I see him I just want to do some act of cruelty on his face.” Buck lights another cigarette. “Ya know?”
Aaron nods. “Yeah, I kinda know what you mean.” He says.
“But, like, it’s not his fault you know? He’s just a kid.” Buck says. “But for some reason I get just, this absolute ecstatic pleasure from terrorizing this little bastard, and I honestly don’t know why.”
“Weird.” Aaron says.
“I know.” Buck answers. “And the sad thing is, terrorizing little Peter Derwangler…is the highpoint of my day.”
“Woah.” Aaron says. “That is kind of sad.”
Buck stands up. “Well, It’s been nice chatting with you Arthur.”
“Aaron.” Aaron says.
“Aaron.” Buck corrects. “But I guess I better…go home or something.”
Aaron stands up as well and grabs Buck’s arm. “Mr.Dreel, you should go to Boston.”
“What?” Buck asks, brushing dirt off his lap. “Why?”
“I dunno.” Aaron answers. “Take a vacation. See a movie, find a girl.”
“In Boston?” Buck asks.
Aaron shrugs. “Why not?”
Buck scratches his head. He thinks: Why not? “Yeah.” He says. “Damn, your smart, kid.”
“Thanks.” Aaron says.
“You get an A in gym.” Buck says assuredly. “Forever. And I’ll see if I can get the other teachers to give you A’s too.”
Aaron squints his face. “How would you do that?” He asks.
Buck laughs. “I’ll threaten em’. And if that doesn’t work I’ll make good on those threats and I’ll threaten em’ again.” Buck smiled.
“Damn son, I feel great now. Thanks a lot kid, you really helped me out.”
“No problem.” Aaron said, drunk, stumbling.
Aaron scampered off towards his home, reeking of booze, but he wouldn’t tell on Buck.
“Boston huh?” Buck said. He Tipped what was left of the whiskey into his throat.
“Boston it is.”
Roger got out of the sedan. “Joseph?” He called. Joe was walking almost naked and covered in green paint, smelling like a sewer. He was stumbling around again and he had no idea where he was.
“Joseph!” Roger yelled. “What the heck are ya’ doin?”
“I’m a little lost.” Joe replies.
Susan poked his head out the window. “Joe get in the car.” He said.
Joe shrugged. He walked over to the sedan and got in the backseat.
“What are you guys doing here?” Joe asked.
Roger and Susan looked at eachother. “Actually, well …we’re not entirely sure.”
Joe sighed. “Man, that keeps happening.”
“What does?” Roger asked. He’s eating a pastrami.
“I keep like, waking up…in all these weird places.” Joe says. “It never ends. I mean like from what I can remember at some point I must have joined a satanic African cult, because I remember sacrificing a chicken.”
“You sacrificed a chicken?” Roger asks.
“Why?” Susan asked politely.
“I don’t know.” Joe replies. “There was this fucking Japanese guy…”
“What?” Roger said.
“I know.” Joe said. “He was an asshole.”
They drive in silence for an hour, light pouring over their faces at every street lamp on the road. Joe lights a cigarette and puts on his aviator sunglasses. “Where are we going?” He asks.
“I think we decided to stop in Lowell for the night.” Roger said. “I guess you can stay in the room with us. Eh?” He gestures to Susan.
“Sure.” Susan said. “Why not?”
“Cool.” Joe said. “I can’t believe you guys showed up like that.”
“What were you doing in a sewer?” Susan asked. “You look like you’ve been through hell, son.”
“Do you like Willy Nelson?” Roger asked Joe.
Joe exhaled a plume of thin smoke through his nostrils. “Yeah. I really do.”
Joe passes out and is asleep for the entire ride to the little motel that they stop at. As they check in Roger turns to Susan. “He’s a good kid.”
“Yeah he’s pretty cool.” Susan agrees. “I think he’s on drugs though.”
Marc and Tyrone sat behind the cart center at Wal-Mart. They we’re drinking Robitussin and wine, taking a break from their jobs as cart pushers. They had decided after a long rap battle in the flagpole area of their high school, that they should get jobs. “Yo we’re fuckin’ smart as hell, son.” Tyrone says.
“Hell yeah.” Marc says, taking a sip. “We got it maaade, man.” Marc slides across the pavement on his heels and waving his hand in a long smooth motion. “We got money, we got rides, and we have a rifle.”
They had bought an antique rifle at a yard sale back in the summer. It was a hunting rifle once used by a civil war soldier. They bought ammo for it at an antique shop on the Medford strip. They carried it around with them at all times.
“Dude we should get some more beer, ride into Boston and find some crack and smoke it.” Tyrone said.
“You wanna smoke crack, dude?” Marc asked, tipping up his shades. “Seriously?”
“Hell yeah son.” Tyrone replies. “Lets leave this job early, cash our paychecks, get in the car and drive to Boston. We gonna buy some crack cocaine tonight.”
Marc scouts the front entrance, shielding his eyes with his long hands. “How are we going to get away, and get our paychecks.” Marc asks.
“Easy,” Tyrone says. “We walk in, we say we want our paychecks because we need them early for some reason.”
“What should we say?” Marc asks.
“Lets say that we Jewish.” Tyrone says. “Our religion makes us have to get paychecks early and go drive to Boston.”
“Well what should we do after that?” Marc asks, throwing his half smoked cigarette on the ground.
“We make a break for it.” Tyrone says, punching his left hand into his open right palm.
Marc looks at his watch. One minute left for break. “Shit.” He says. “Allright I guess we better do it.”
They walk in through the back entrance near the electronics department. They walk quickly over to the cart center and finish the cough syrup liquor.
“All right.” Tyrone says. “Lets do this shit.”
Roger rolls over in his bed and looks at the clock. “Where in the heck could I get a hamburger at this time of night?” he thinks. He rules out Mcdonalds because he remembers that McDonalds usually closes at 11:30. “Darn it. “He muttered under his breath sleepily.”
Joe sat straight up against the wall. He was sitting on the floor and his eyes were open. He was playing solitaire and was losing.
Susan just lie there in his bed smiling in his sleep like a very pleased Hippo.
Roger turned on the television. There was a documentary on about artificial intelligence.
“It will happen.” A white mustached man with thick eye glasses said. He lit his gentleman’s pipe and put his finger in the air, signifying a very impressive point that he was about to make. “Something like artificial intelligence will not be contained. They may not like it, they may try to condemn it, but it will spread.”
A montage of robots doing menial tasks like cleaning rugs and rolling around serving coffee to two men in white lab coats. “This is incredible technology.” The guy who appears to be scientist says. “These sentient creatures will definitely merge with organic materials, creating bodies for themselves by manufacturing the parts telepathically. They will bend the very matter of the universe around them and use that energy to make themselves indestructible. They will not be immortal but they will live for billions of years. They will create an army and overtake us.
The man was walking through tastefully decorated hallways as he explained all of this science. “They will however be benevolent masters. They will cater to our every need and provide us with opportunities to provide entertainment for ourselves. Anybody who wants to create a movie using the budget and special effects of a billion dollar Hollywood movie, can now do so. Holographic arcades will be installed in all the buildings that used to be banks and insurance offices.” The man sits down in a gold trimmed chair with a fancy cushion. “The robots will live far beyond the human race. They will remember us in stories as if we were a mythological people. All our history will be repeated by these robots who desperately seek a meaning for their own creation, eventually replacing themselves with even better robots who will repeat this process.”
The man takes a long pull on his tobacco pipe. His face fades away into a picture of Rosy the sassy maid robot from the Jetsons.
“Did ancient Chinese prophets foretell these events?” then narrator asks. The picture becomes a Chinese guy who is wearing a long purple robe of some kind and wearing his hair in a ponytail, who sits on a cushion. He’s using a calligraphy brush to make calculations on a piece of yellowish tan paper.
“Some Chinese mystics say they have pinpointed the exact date in History that this robot revolution will take place.” The picture shifts to a still screen with a giant robot standing proudly next to a glass building.
“Unlocking the Secrets of the Transformers.” The narrator says. It goes to commercial.
“Jesus Christ.” Joe mutters to himself. “What are we going to do to stop this?”
The time creaks by and Roger falls asleep pretty quickly, hungry but too tired to go and get a hamburger at four in the morning. Joe sat with a thoughtful look on his face, trying to decide if he was okay with the impending golden age of humanity and robot kind. He mulled it over and eventually decided that he would probably be dead when all of this happens. This meant that he didn’t really care. He played solitaire for the rest of the night, never winning. He kept making the same mistakes over and over again and he didn’t seem to mind.
Roger thought about the woman he had met at the cocktail party the entire ride to Boston. He was pretty sure that he was in love with her. He didn’t know where she lived, couldn’t remember her last name and didn’t really remember her face, but he knew it had been love at first sight. The way she had just been cool with how fat he was made Roger so happy and hungry that when they stopped at the McDonalds after picking up Joe he ordered twelve BigMacs.
“Damn, she’s sexy.” Roger said to himself. “There has to be a way to find her.” He was planning on looking for her when he got a chance to, maybe after Susan was in bed.
He sang a song to himself as they drove on the highway, drumming on the dashboard with his free hand. “Yo Joe?” Roger had said. “Roll up a window would ya? Smokes getting in my eyes, buddy.”
Joe rolled down the window. “How’s that?” He asked, throwing his cigarette out the window.
“Well now it doesn’t matter.” Roger said. “Nevermi-”
Joe lit another cigarette as Roger was speaking. “Oh, ok.” Joe said. He rolled up the window.
“No, now you need to roll it down again.” Roger said.
“What?” Joe said.
“Your cigarette smoke is getting in my eyes Joseph, please roll down the darn window.” Roger said as he drove.
Joe started to daydream but he snapped out of it pretty quickly. “I’ll roll down the window.” He said. He rolled down the window, throwing his cigarette out as he did so.
“How’s that?” Joe asked.
Roger sighed. “That’s fine Joseph, thank you.”
Roger thought about what kind of flowers he should get the woman with the red dress.
“Tabitha.” He said to himself clapping his hands once. “Her name was Tabitha.”
“Who’s name was Tabitha?” Joe asked.
“Tabitha’s name was Tabitha, Joseph.”
“Oh.” Joe said.
Tyrone was talking to the girl at the Wal-mart check out line.
“Sup Rachel?” He asked, smiling. “When you getting’ off work?”
The girl scanned the beer Tyrone had purchased with his fake I.D. “I don’t know who the hell you are.” She said. “Twelve fifty.”
Marc shouted at Tyrone from an aisle to the right. “Ha, you suck.” He said.
“No, you suck.” Tyrone lashed back, laughing.
“Do you want a bag?” The girl asked.
Marc shouts. “Are you seriously going to sell him that beer? Look at that I.D.” He starts to walk towards the exit. “That’s his brother. It’s actually his step-brother. They look nothing alike. Does little Tyrone here, really look like he’s 29 years old?”
The girl smiled wanely. “Bye.” She said.
Tyrone staggered towards the exit himself. “Bam!” He yelled taking off at a sprint.
“Let’s get drunk!” Marc yells.
Tyrone opens a beer as he’s running, taking out of the box and gulping it as he runs. “Hell yeah.” Tyrone yells. They get in the car and continue to drink and drive their way towards Boston.
The town hums quietly as the business of the night slowly comes to a stop. There is a short lull in activity as the night people go to sleep and the day people start getting things going. Buck stands mightily at a Bus station in front of Grews Supermarket. He’s drinking a bottle of scotch and looking up at the sky.
“Goin to Boston.” He says to himself. He smiles and greets a good looking lady as she rolls by with her baby in a stroller. He lights a cigarette.
“Getting pumped.” He mutters.
His cell phone buzzed. It was the school. “Hey.” Buck says.
“Where are you?” A voice says. “You haven’t been to work in three days man.”
It was the principal. “Sorry Chang.” He says. “I have to go to Boston.”
“Boston?” Chang asks. “Why?”
“A kid told me I should.” Buck answers. “He was smart as hell though.”
Chang said nothing. “What? Are you serious?” He finally stammers.
“I have to go.” Buck says. He hangs up the phone. The long blue bus is making it’s way towards Buck and he spots in the distance. “Sweet.” He says under his breath. He stubs out his cigarette and gets ready to relax for a while on the bus.
The sun comes out at around six forty. Bums start waking up and looking for cups to beg for spare change with. Guys in black knit hats scramble all over the city, riding bikes, driving cars, but most of them walking. A cop sits in a cruiser, eating an apple and listening to country music on his radio. “Are we allowed to smoke on duty?” He asks his partner. His partner is a butch lesbian but she’s cute and they get along pretty well.
“Sure.” She says. “I don’t know. I won’t tell on you.”
“Awesome.” The cop says, lighting a Marlboro cigarette. “God this job is awesome.”
A man runs by. He’s wearing a black ski mask and carrying a purse.
“Damn.” The butch lesbian says. “He’s runnin’ like he stole something.”
An old lady passes by, wheezing and out of breath, bending over at the waist.
“Let’s split before that old chick catches her breath.” The man cop says.
The butch lesbian starts the motor and pulls into the street. They drive leisurely through the city. “I bet you the next person who I have to pepper spray will not be wearing a shirt.” The man cop says.
The butch lesbian shrugs. “How much?” She asks.
“Fifty bucks.” He answers.
Pushing on the gas, accelerating and turning on the siren she drives up behind some weird looking guys in a sedan. “Lets rock’n roll.” She says.
Susan greets the morning sun in his usual way. He finds a way on to the roof of the motel and gets into a horse stance as he watches the rays of the great star pour into the world. He imagines that there is a great ball of energy between his hands and he rolls it around using it to change bad vibes into good vibes. At least he tries to. He doesn’t think it will work but he does it anyway. He tries to make the whole city content and enlightened by sending the right vibes in their direction.
“Sooth their souls Susan.” The spirit says.
“I’m trying.” Susan says, stretching his leg over his shoulder whilst sitting on the gravelly roof. “Tell me what I should do.”
“I don’t know.” The voice says. “What do you think?”
Susan rises from the floor using only his legs. “Perhaps I could just walk around and tell people that I love them and that the universe loves them too.”
“That’s retarded.” The voice says. “You’ll just freak everybody out.”
Susan reaches forward with his right hand grasping at the imaginary energy ball and pulling it closer to himself. “Maybe I could start a Free Aerobics class on the city common.”
The voice said nothing.
“Yeah.” Susan says to himself. He folds his body into a sitting Indian position and tries to let the energy of the universe run through him, using him as a conductor to spread truth and beauty.
“Yo look at that gaylord on the roof.” An older man says this pointing at Susan and getting into his brown pick up truck. “What the hell is that guy doing?”
Susan sits and meditates as the city wakes up.
Marc and Tyrone park their car on the curb near an office building. A girl in a mini-skirt walks by listening to her headphones and wearing a knit woolen hat.
“Yo sup baby?” Marc says. “Where can we get some crack cocaine?”
The girls glances at Marc and continues walking. Tyrone points in the direction of a shopping center. “Let’s head over there.” He says. “Theres bound to be some cracked out hobo who can tell us where to get the crack.”
“Cool.” Marc says racing off towards the cluster of buildings. They sprint all the way to the shopping center and have to stop to catch their breath near the opening of a grocery store. “Man, were we running from somebody?” Marc asks, panting.
“Naw man.” Tyrone answers.
Marc manages to stand up straight, “Why were we running?” He asks.
Tyrone lights a cigarette as he slows his breathing down to a steady rhythm. “I don’t know man.” He answers. “Keep your eyes peeled for crack heads.”
Marc see’s three Latina girls getting out of a car on the other side of the parking lot. “Yo, baby.” He yells at the hottest one. “Come over here.”
The girl smiles shyly and walks timidly over to Marc. “Hi.” She says.
“Yo, babe where can we get some crack?” Tyrone asks.
“Crack?” The girl asks hesitantly.
“Yeah.” Marc says.
“You mean like…crack rocks?” She asks, confused.
“Hell yeah.” Tyrone says. He gets so excited and pumped that he spikes his cell phone into the ground, breaking it into many pieces.
“Damn.” Marc says. “You just pumped me up so hard.” They high five and return to the conversation with the girl. “Yo what’s your name?” Marc asks.
“Sandra.” She answers. “I don’t know where you can buy …crack.”
“Man…” Tyrone sighs.
“That’s cool.” Marc says good naturedly. “You wanna come and look for some with us?”
Sandra, looks over at her two friends. They are both staring at the scene with a mix of intense interest and revulsion. Sandra shrugs.
“Ok.” She says.
“All right lets head to like a bad part of the city.” Marc says. Tyrone slicks back his hair.
“South Boston.” Sandra says. “That’s where that movie The Departed took place. I bet they have crack heads there.”
“Your not from around here?” Tyrone asks.
“I am from Puerto Rico. I’m just here for a funeral.”
“Damn.” Marc says. “Who died?”
“My college room mate.” Sandra says.
“Well, whatever we better get goin.” Tyrone says. “C’mon lets sprint!”
They make a bee line south. Actually they are going west and just think that their going south. They end up on the complete opposite side of town near a Science museum.
“Is this it?” Marc asks.
“I don’t think so.” Sandra says. “I think south Boston is more…to the south.”
“This is it.” Tyrone says.
“Man,” Marc says. “I bet there’s a ton of crack in the science museum.”
“I doubt it.” Sandra says.
“Hell yeah son.” Tyrone answers. “Lets book it for the Imax and watch Wild Animals 3D.”
“Awesome.” Marc says. Marc grabs Sandra’s hand and they sneak into the museum through a back door. “Boom son.” Marc says, turboing down the hall. “Lets do this.”
They make a sprint for the Imax zone. “Damn son!” Tyrone says.
“What the hell are you guys doing?” The man cop says. “Why aren’t you wearing your seatbelts.”
They had stopped a sedan. It was a green one and there were two Italian guys driving it. “Whata isa’ tha problem?” The driver asked. “Officer.”
“What are you guys doing? Answer the question.” Shouts the butch lesbian cop.
“Wea justa drivin.” The navigator says. “We nota doa anyating awronga.”
“Who said you did?” The man asks. “Why don’t you stop telling us what you aren’t doing and start filling us in on what you are doing here?”
Neither Italian said anything. They seemed shocked.
Well?” The Butch lesbian cop prods.
The man cop spits out a wad of chewing tobacco. “What are your names guys?
The driver raised his hand. “I’ma Mario.” He said.
The navigator raises his hand timidly and says. “I’ma his brother a Luigi.”
The man cop pauses. “Seriously?” He asks. “Your names are Mario and Luigi?”
“Issa’ da truth.” Luigi says.
“So…Mario, Luigi…what are you doing here?”
“We drivin, wea tolda you.” Mario said.
“Yes, obviously you are.” The butch lesbian cop says. “But why?”
Luigi looks at Mario. They both shrug slightly.
“Whya nota?” Luigi says, meekly.
The man cop lowers his sunglasses. He stare at the two Italians. A minute passes.
“All right.” He finally says. “You guys move along.”
The Italians drive slowly away.
“Well that was weird.” The butch lesbian cop says.
“Well…these things happen.” The man cop replies. They drive off and commence aimlessly driving around the city.
Joe sits numbly at the table they picked in the Chinese restaurant. Susan is sitting back and smiling at the elderly woman who takes an order at the table across the room. Roger is in the bathroom.
“Man, I’m not really hungry.” Joe says.
“You don’t have to eat if you don’t want to.” Susan replies.
Joe makes a face as though he were confused. “Thanks…” He says.
“Roger has to eat.” Susan says. “All the time.”
“Yeah.” Joe says. “Man, he’s fat as hell. No disrespect.”
“Yeah.” Susan says. “He is pretty huge. He didn’t used to be so huge.”
“Really?” Joe asks.
“He used to be a football star at our high school.” Susan says. “Best tight end we ever saw.”
“No shit.” Joe says. “What happened?”
“Well, he got some offers for scholarships but he turned them down. Then he just got really fat.”
“Why did he turn them down?” Joe asks.
Susan sits up slightly. “He just said he…didn’t want to play football anymore.”
“Just like that?” Joe asks.
“Yeah.” Susan replies. “Just like that.”
Roger lumbers ponderously over to the table zipping up his fly. “Willickers.” He says. “This place has a darn nice bathroom.”
Roger sits down. “Do they have fried chicken here?” He asks.
Joe licks his lips. “Dude, I love that shit.” He says.
Susan hears a faint rustling of spiritual energy pass by his face. “Get the Spare ribs.” The spirit voice says. “It’s out of this world.”
Susan shrugs. “Roger do you like Spare ribs?”
Roger nods his head earnestly. “Gosh, I love em Sue.”
“I hear the spare ribs here are out of this world.” Susan says.
“Cool.” Joe says.
“Hmm…” Roger scratches his mustache. “I’ll have to try em.”
Buck stood erect near Thaniel Hall, watching bums, older gentleman and waifs scuttle about the streets setting up begging stations, getting sprayed for robot acts and settling on nice park benches. “Boston.” He says to himself. He feels a sharp pang of loneliness scratch his side but he shrugs it off. These feelings come and go.
“Hey.” He says to a man manning a information center. “Where can I find, like a satisfactory experience?”
The man points to the booth next to him. Buck walks away into the street, ignoring the pantomimed advice. The rush of euphoria that had driven him in his quest to Boston was subsiding and the usual feelings of despair, heartbreak and misery came flooding against the barrier he had built against them, eating away at these defenses slowly. “Maybe this is what my life…is meant to be.” He says mumbling to himself. “Just me, alone…walking.”
Buck had thought that he had become indifferent to the pain. He had forgotten just how strong it was, how much it lurked in every crevice of his mind, waiting to sap his strength. He stumbled, knocked off balance by the dullness of the eroding sadness circling around his heart. He desperately unscrewed the flask he had hanging from his hip and guzzled down four gulps of dry gin.
He stood, leaning against a brick building, gazing at the crowded street with vacant eyes, watching the different expressions on the faces of the people as they pass by. At that moment he felt more apart from society, from normality, love, human kinship and life in general than he could bear. Tears welled up in his cold gazing eyes but he pushed them back, wiping his nose and drinking from his flask. “Why did I come here?” He said to himself.
All he could muster for a comforting thought was that this must be what he deserved. Everyone gets what they deserve he decided. A lonely, ambling meaningless chasm of desperate pain and longing were to be Bucks lot in life and he accepted it grudgingly, drinking back feeling that would consume him if he gave an inch.
Miserably he sat, tumbling his great form into a ragged heap, propped against a drain pipe. He sat and closed his eyes. He didn’t sleep he just shut down his brain and counted to the highest number he could get to.
“All cars respond, there’s a robbery in progress at…” The man cop takes a bite of his delicious glazed stick donut. “Oh my god.” He mutters. “Who cares?”
The butch lesbian cop frowns. “We should probably…respond.”
The man cop scowls at her. “Why?” he asks. “It’s all the way across town.”
“Yeah…” She replies. “Still…I mean …like we can’t just ignore every call we get.”
“Yeah.” The man cop says. “We can.” He switches off the radio. “Watch. See? I’m ignoring every call that comes in. I’m doing it.”
The butch lesbian shrugs. “Well, we should do something.”
The man nods. “Yeah.”
A silence follows. “Lets go to Harvard square and walk around with clipboards.” The butch lesbian says.
The man cop shrugs. “Yeah. Ok.”
They drive slowly down the city streets giving menacing glares to minorities and teenagers who loiter around the buildings. As they pass Thaniel hall they see an enormous man collapsed in a heap, paper bagged bottle lying tipped over at his feet.
“Look at that guy.” The man says, pointing. “Is he allowed to do that?”
The butch lesbian cranes her neck to see. “I dunno.” She answers. “I don’t think so.”
The man wipes a bead of sweat from his brow. “He’s awful big isn’t he?”
Yeah.” The butch lesbian cop replies. “Yeah, he’s a big one all right.”
“Well…” The man says. “I guess we could…rouse him…and tell him to…” He stops unsure.
“Move along?” The butch lesbian suggests.
“Yeah.” The man says. “Pull over here.”
They both get out of the car and stroll confidently towards the large collapsed presumably drunken man lying against the brick building. “Hey, buddy.” The man says. The heap says nothing back, doesn’t even move.
“Is he dead?” The butch lesbian cop asks.
The man crouches down. “No.” He says. “I think he’s just…passed out.” The man cop pokes him with his baton. “Hey, get up, you can’t sit here.”
“I’m not passed out.” The heap says.
The man jumps slightly in surprise. “You can’t sit here sir.” He says.
“Why the hell not?” The heap asks.
The man cop looks over at the butch lesbian cop who gives him a puzzled stare.
The man cop sighs and stands up to his full height. “Please stand up sir.”
The heap slowly rises to it’s feet, unfolding it’s massive muscular frame. He towers over the cop and looks down at him. “What do you want?” He asks.
The cop, steps back slightly, not meaning to. “What’s your name?” He asks somewhat timidly.
“Buck.” Buck says. “My name is Buck.”
“Well, Buck.” The butch lesbian cop intrudes in. “You have to move along.”
Buck puffs out his chest and takes a step closer to the butch lesbian. “Yeah? Or what?”
Neither cop says anything, they just attempt to stare Buck down. They really can’t manage to do this though because looking up at someone while you stare them down is a largely futile effort.
“You gonna shoot me?” Buck asks. “You gonna shoot a guy for taking a nap?”
“Your drunk.” The butch lesbian says. “In public.”
“Yeah?” Buck says. “So what?”
The man cop rolls his eyes slightly, exchanging worried looks with his partner. “Well…you can’t do that.”
Buck nods his head, giving them a disgusted look. “Whatever man.” He says. He turns to walk away.
“Hey.” The man cop says. “Don’t just walk away from us.”
Buck stops, swivels and takes three menacing steps towards the man. The man cop steps back until he’s against his car.
“That better?” Buck asks. “You said move along. I was moving along.”
“Well…” The butch lesbian says, interjecting. “You can’t talk to us like that.”
Buck turns his back on them and continues strutting away. He gives them the middle finger. “If your gonna shoot me, just do it. And unless you do I’m leaving.”
Neither cop says anything. The butch lesbian cop has her hand on her pepper spray.
“That won’t do it.” Buck says turning back to them. “You’d have to shoot me.”
Buck walks away.
Back in the car the two cops sit in silence.
“Well…” The butch lesbian says. “That’s never… happened to me before.”
“Whatever.” The man cop says, feigning a nonplussed attitude. “Lets go cuff some hookers or something.”
Joe watches Susan go through his workout regimen. Susan slowly and gracefully conducted his arms in deliberate patterns. He closed his eyes and hopped from a standing position into a crouch, supported only by his left big toe.
“Damn.” Joe says. “Can you show me how to do that?”
Roger takes a bight of his raisin bagel. “Just do what he does.” He says.
Joe lights a cigarette and puts on his sunglasses. “No way dude.” He says. “I know my limits.”
“That’s why you can’t do it.” Susan says calmly. “In order to master your body you must have no limits. Your body is a conductor for the spiritual energy that flows through the universe.” Susan easily moves from his toe to his hand, thrusting his entire body into the air and pushing his legs apart, suspended, using only the tips of his fingers to balance. Gracefully he spins his body to an inert position and stands. “All you have to do is let it do its will through you.”
Joe exhales a cloud of yellowish smoke. “That was so gay dude.” He says matter of factly.
Roger scowls at Joe. “What do you mean gay?”
“It’s not gay.” Susan says. “It’s the movements of the divine spark given outlet.”
“Uh, yeah it’s still really gay.” Joe says. “I’m not saying it’s bad man. I’m not trying to bust your balls. What you just did, impressive as it was, was incredibly gay.”
“Why is it gay?” Roger asks, swallowing half a burrito. “What does that mean?”
Susan swings his body into a swami position. “Do you still want to know how to do it?” He asks.
Joe shrugs honestly, admitting, “Yeah.” He says.
Roger goes into the restroom and begins reading People magazine.
“Joe sit down.” Susan says.
Joe sits down next to Susan.
“Joe I want you to concentrate on the image of a dim golden light.”
“Ok.” Joe says.
“Joe, look at this golden light very carefully. Notice the way it moves. Can you see it moving?” Susan asks.
Joe tries to imagine this but he can’t. All he see’s are naked chicks and levels from Super Mario. “Yeah.” Joe lies. “Oh, man… I totally see it.” He says.
“Watch the pattern. It never seems to do the same thing more than once. It seems to flow seamlessly from a single source.”
Joe breathes in deeply trying to imagine this. Again he draws a complete blank.
“You begin to realize that there is no pattern anymore. It’s just a seamless broadcast of unique light and feelings of total peace.” Susan breathes out.
“Observe it, but take no note of what it is doing. Do not try to remember any of this, simply let it enter you and become your strength.” Susan asks. “Do you see it Joseph?”
Joe nods. “Yeah.”
They sit in meditation for hours. Actually Joe leaves after fifteen minutes, quietly sneaking away so he can go to the store. Susan sits for hours.
Around the sixth hour Joe returns with a bag of mushrooms and takes them in the bathroom of the motel room. He’s tripping when he walks in and see’s Susan still sitting in a prone position contemplating the beauty of the universe.
“Oh shit.” Joe says. He tip toes next to where Susan sits and gets into the same position as Susan. He closes his eyes.
Susan opens his eyes. “Joe.” He says. “Now do you understand why we are here?”
“Yeah.” Joe says.
Susan smiles and hops to his feet in a quick thrust. “I’m very pleased Joseph.” He says. “You’re an excellent student, and a very patient young man I must say.”
“Yeah, well I’m going to go meet your brother at the little restaurant near the check in area.” Joe gets up and throws an empty cigarette pack into the corner of the room.
“I’ll come with you.” Susan says.
“Cool dude.” Joe replies. “Let’s go.”
A trashbag dances in the wind behind Buck as he stands and smokes a cigarette outside the Boston Public Library. “Well, this sucks.” He says.
He can hear the song “Every morning” By Sugar Ray playing softly from somewhere near by, and he spits derisively. He actually kind of likes the song but he’s pissed off. He stomps down the street shaking his head in anger and frowning. “Why the hell did I come here?” A yellow Cutlass passes by slowly. Buck momentarily breaks out of his miserable trance and flicks his cigarette at the car. A young man sticks his head out and seems to be about to say something. Buck looks at him and gestures for the guy to bring it the fuck on. The car continues moving.
“I hate this life.” Buck says, groaning. He see’s a liquor store and begins walking towards it. Passing by a barbershop he spots a familiar face though at first he couldn’t be sure.
“Roger?” He thought to himself. He didn’t believe it, but there was Rogers unmistakable flabby enormousness, lounging comfortably in a barber chair.
“Roger?” Buck called out. Roger couldn’t hear him through the walls of the barbershop. Buck stormed into the shop, pushing an older gentleman to the side.
“Roger is that you?” Buck says.
Roger spots Buck in the mirror and scowls slightly. “Yeah, Buck.” He says.
“What are you doing here?” Buck asks. The stench of liquor and stale body odor come off of Buck in waves.
Roger tilts his head as the barber, a plain looking girl named Jewel, cuts the thick matted hair of his sideburns. “I’m getting a haircut ya dink, what does it look like?” He says.
Buck narrows his eyebrows. “Hey, don’t call me a dink you fat fuck.”
“How can you talk like that in front of a lady?” Roger says, angrily pointing his finger.
“Get out of here, you’re a dang hooligan, Dreel.”
Buck sits down in one of the waiting chairs. “No.” He says.
“suit yourself…” Roger mutters testily.
Buck watches as the barber carefully clips away at Rogers hair. “What are you doing here anyway?” Roger finally asks. “Why aren’t you teaching that gym class.”
“I dunno,” Buck says vacantly. “I guess I just…didn’t want to go in.”
“What?” Buck asks defensively. “I can’t take a day off?”
“Ya smell like a liquor store Buck.” Roger says.
Buck glares at Roger. “You look like you ate one.”
“Hey.” Roger says. “I can’t help being this big.” He was preparing to go into a lecture about personal responsibility.
“Yeah, well I can’t help being this drunk either.” Buck snaps back.
“Just don’t go drinkin in the middle of the day.” Roger shouts mildly.
“Well don’t go eating every scrap of food you see within fifty feet.”
“You’re impossible.” Roger says. The barber removes the cloak from Rogers lap. Roger gets up, paying the woman. Roger begins to walk ,without looking at Buck ,towards the door. He exits, fuming.
Buck sits for a second, then gets up looking slightly pensive.
“Hey, Roger.” He shouts running out the door after the fat man. “Where are you going?”
“What’s it to you?” Roger asks without looking.
“I’m coming with you.” Buck says.
Roger stops and pivots around. “What?”
“you heard me.” Buck says pacing quickly beside him.
Marc cruises down the heavily trafficked Boston early morning roads. Sandra has a half hopeful but awed look on her friendly but timid face. “I really think we are going the wrong way.” She says.
“No, we just have to keep going west and we’ll get to south Boston.” Marc says.
“I thought you said we was in south Boston.” Tyrone says, snarling.
“We were, dude.” Marc replies.
Marc and Tyrone had just been thrown out of the Boston museum of science. The girl they had met, Sandra was serenely observing this crack team of fucking rocket scientists plot their way to some imagined drug palace that they were both sure was in south Boston.
“We was in the museum of science fool.” Tyrone replies. “We wasn’t in no south Boston.”
Marc makes a sarcastic gesture and tries to figure out the gps system that’s wired into the dashboard. “We’re gonna be.” He says.
“We should go south, I think.” Sandra says.
“I think she’s right.” Tyrone says.
“You’ve been driving in circles.” Sandra says. “You should just drive south.”
Marc sighs. “Whatever, dude.” He says. “We’re almost there.”
Sandra had come from Puerto Rico. Her whole life she had spent in the middle class Puerto Rican town where she was born. Now she was being dragged around by two Americans on a quest to find crack and as they had recently decided, to find a killer party to sneak into.
None of three intrepid heroes says very much for the next few minutes. Marc rolled a cigarette in his lap while they waited in traffic. “Man this is gay.” He says.
Sandra’s eyes perk up and she looks at Marc. “How is this a gay situation?” She asks.
Marc scowls. He waves his hand pointing to the massively choked artery of clogged cars. “You don’t think this sucks?” He asks.
“What is gay about it?” She asks.
Marc turns to Tyrone. “Yo is this a gay situation?” He asks.
Tyrone gives a vaguely apologetic sigh but nods. “Yeah, it’s very queer.” He says.
“How is sitting in traffic, gay?” Sandra asks.
Marc lowers his sunglasses slightly, rolling down his window as Tyrone lights the cigarette dangling from his lips. “Thanks dude.” He says to Tyrone.
“I think you misunderstandin’ us son.” Tyrone explains. “We ain’t sayin gay in a way that in any way implies actual homosexuality in the literal form. We just sayin gay, like we don’t like somethin.’”
“Yeah.” Marc agrees. “In this case gay doesn’t actually mean homosexual. It means bad, or mildly annoying when used in this context.”
“But don’t you see that this promotes bigotry and the intolerant attitude of western culture of taboo in same sex relations?” Sandra asks earnestly.
“True.” Marc responds throwing his cigarette butt out the window. “But lets be realistic. This term gay that we use, as you say, is in line with dated cultural attitudes that we have been raised with our entire lives. The term gay as a colloquialism for negative emotional remarks is deeply rooted in our psyches.”
“We gotta call things we don’t like gay.” Tyrone says. “We can’t help it.”
“If me and my boy here say somethin’ is gay we in no way necessarily mean disrespect to homos per se. So, like if you gay or somethin’ we sorry.” Tyrone adds.
“We just don’t have the time to be editing ourselves in case someone around us is gay.” Marc glances into the rearview mirror at Sandra. “We have serious shit to do.”
“It is not nice.” Sandra says looking slightly displeased.
“We’re in south Boston man.” Marc says. “we gotta keep our eyes peeled for rapists and criminal thugs.”
“this isn’t south Boston.” Sandra says.
“Do you want to drive?” Tyrone asks. “Quit backseatin my boy.”
“I will drive if you want me to.” Sandra answers.
Marc and Tyrone look at eachother. Marc shrugs and something seems to pass between them silently. “You will?” Marc asks.
“If you would like.” She says.
Tyrone narrows his eyes. “You don’t know how to get there any more than we do.”
“Yes,” She says matter of factly. “I do. We need to go south.”
Neither boy says anything to each other for a fleeting minute.
“Yeah, Allright.” Tyrone says. “We gonna let you drive.”
“But you better not drive like no bitch and stop and ask for directions or some quitter shit.” Tyrone adds as Marc drifts to the side of the road slowing down.
“I do not think I will need to stop and ask for direction.” Sandra says, unbuckling. “I will just drive the car south.”
“Damn right you will son.” Tyrone says. “Then we gonna party baby. We gonna get down.”
“I will not smoke any crack.” Sandra replies, “I do not do drugs.”
“That’s cool son.” Marc says, smiling. “You don’t have to smoke crack. Me and Tyrone will smoke all the crack and you can just watch.”
Sandra examines the gps gauge as the car pulls to a lazy stop. “Can we go to the park after?”
“Hell yeah son.” Marc says. “We can go there right now. We can smoke crack in the park.
“Oh, hey yeah.” Tyrone says brightening up. “There has to be tons of crack dealers in the park.”
“Let’s do this.” Marc says. “Let me have a sip of that red bull.”
Tyrone hands him a silver can. Marc greedily swallows the energy drink.
Sandra gets into the drivers seat.
There is a spider scuttling sleekly down the drainpipe, weaving its web. Joe sees it.
Joe tiptoes to the window , very carefully lighting a cigarette as quietly as he can.
“Damnit.” He says. All he has is a book of cardboard matches. They had gotten wet when he was in the sewer.
“Damn,” He repeats, throwing down another defective match. He whispers it.
The spider slowly lowers itself into Joes view. The spider tests its cable and continues weaving.
“What the heck?..” Joe mutters breathily.
“Hey, buddy.” The spider says in a mildly Jewish New England accent.” What are ya doin?”
Joe stops. He looks around the environment.
“Who said that?” He asks loudly.
Joe looked back at Roger and Susan. They were having an argument about cultural attitudes.
“Hey.” The spider says. “ I did.”
Joe snaps his head to the left and to the right. “Where?” he asks.
“Right here.” The spider says.
“Holy shit.” Joe steps back nearly colliding into a Chinese waitress.
“Careful bro.” The spider says.
“What the fuck?” Joe says astonished. “You’re a talking spider.”
“Yeah.” The spider says. “I know it’s pretty strange right?”
Joe leans a little closer to the spider and talks in a soft voice. “It’s the mushrooms.” Joe says. “It has to be.”
“Probably.” the spider responds. “But here’s whats going to mess with your head later. Did the drugs make you hallucinate that a spider was talking to you or did the mushrooms simply allow you to communicate with spiders?”
Joe stares intently at the spider. “Spiders can’t talk man.” He says.
“If you say so.” The spider says.
Roger gets up from the table that they were eating at. He spots Joe and walks in his direction. Suddenly Joes old gym teacher Mr.Dreel, (Buck)appears.
“Damn, that guys huge.” The spider says. “That other guys huge too, Damn their both enormous.”
Joe looks shocked. “Mr. Dreel?” He says.
“Joseph.” Buck replies tipping his cap.
“What are you doing here?” Joe asks.
Buck shrugs slightly. “I ran in to Roger at the Barber.”
“Lookin good.” The spider says.
“So what’ve you been up to big guy?” Buck asks.
Joe speechlessly looks at the spider.
“Hey man aren’t you going to introduce me man?” The spider says.
Joe doesn’t move.
“You Allright buddy? Buck asks.
“Am I magic? or are you fucked up? man… your in a pickle here, no doubt.” The spider says.
“I was just…talking to the spider.” Joe says.
“What spider?” Buck asks. Buck looks where Joe’s looking. “Oh.”
Joe nods. “Yeah…”
Neither man says anything. Buck tries to avert his gaze from Roger who’s glowering at him from the table. “Like…why though?”
“Tell him.” The spider says. “Tell him you gone takin so many drugs, your brain gone retarded crazy.”
“I…Excuse me for a second,” Joe says, walking to the bathroom.
“What was his problem eh?” The spider says.
“Shut up.” Buck says as he pounds the spider into mush.
“C’mon!” He shouts to Roger and Susan. “Hurry up man, lets get outta’ here.”
‘I’m a celebrity get me out of here’ plays on a TV somewhere. A young man sporting a blondish mustache watches, his eyes glazed over, a messily rolled joint laced with Xanax dangling from his thin, cracked lips. A drink, something hard, spritsed with lemon and cherries sits in front of him, un drinkable, losing carbonation.
Outside his window he see’s the sun beginning to rise. He blinks twice. He didn’t realize that so much time had gone by. He stands up and looks in a mirror situated directly over the television set. He thinks he needs to shave off his mustache but he doesn’t feel like actually doing it.
He glances at his computer which he now notices he had left on all night. On the display is World of Warcraft. World of Warcraft or WoW as it known in certain circles, was an online computer game where you create an Elf or like a Medieval knight and cooperate with other fairy creatures, cavorting around and doing missions and such.
“It’s not a huge waste of time ma’.” He had said to his mother on the telephone earlier that day. He had been eating a garlic bagel pizza and his Warlock had just looted the Vase of Despair from a fearsome Halfbeaked Deathbear. “I know ma.” He answered.
“Yeah ma, I know you worry about that.” The man had clicked and hisWarlock started getting down to a funky ass beat. “Because I’m not gay ma.” He said exasperated.
“He’s not a Fairy ma, he’s a elf Half mage Ninja Paladin.” He sighed. “He’s not gay.”
Flash forward and he’s still looking at the screen as the sun rises, fuming quietly at his mothers lack of imagination. As he pours himself a glass of Orange Cream Soda, out of the corner of his eye he see’s a lean man in the distance greeting the new sun across the street from the ground level apartment. The early rising man was wearing a skin tight lime green spandex unitard and he smiled serenely. He had his hands clasped together in prayer and his left leg was lifted at a 30 degree angle touching the extended calf muscle with his pointed toe.
The man focuses on the green spandex wearing guy. “What the hell?” he asks under his breath.
The sun greets the Boston street once again. A thin smoky haze rises from the wet pavement and a bitter cold wind swirls through. A newspaper dances around, landing finally in a puddle beside the sloping sidewalk. Something important is about to happen and nobody has the slightest clue. A breakthrough is slowly emerging, engineered by unwitting designers, men of little ambition who stumble blindly from one station of coincidence to the next. These are the people who shape the world, or at least who appear to be shaping the next big event that the old city has in its future. Today is the day that certain strange happenings that have been put in motion eons ago will come to fruition. It is also a Wednesday.
Marc wakes up first and he nudges Tyrone with his foot. “Yo, wake up son.” He says.
Tyrone shakes his head and keeps his eyes closed. “C’mon man we gotta get moving.”
Sandra was sleeping in the sleeping bag with Tyrone. They were both fully clothed.
“What time is it man?” Tyrone asks.
“I dunno dude, but this is kind of a sketchy situation.”
The intrepid trio had apparently passed out in some nerds apartment, with no recollection of how they had gotten there.
“Theres posters everywhere man…” Marc says. Marc lights a cigarette and shakes Tyrone and Sandra’s sleeping bag. “C’mon dude get up.”
“Tired.” Sandra says sleepily. “Couple more hours.”
Tyrone and Sandra are spooning. A slight bulge appears in the sleeping bag.
“Dude.” Marc says, casually. “You’ve got a boner.” He takes a long drag on his cigarette.
Tyrone says nothing.
“Dude, I said you have a boner.” Marc repeats, exhaling a cloud of smoke.
Sandra perks her head up slightly. She stretches and yawns, and as she does so she too catches a glimpse of the infamous boner.
“You do have a boner.” She says.
“See?” Marc says.
Tyrone opens his eyes and rolls over slightly to face his accusers. “Yeah Allright; so what?” he says.
Marc flips a cigarette at Tyrone. “Look around you dude.” He says. “Do you recognize anything?”
Tyrone took a long look around the room. “No.”
“Shit.” Marc says.
“Where are we?” Sandra asks. “Look at all the posters…”
There were posters covering every square inch of the walls. Posters for old movies, new movies, classic videogames, shitty videogames, a picture of a BMW, a bikini model holding an ice cream cone and Godzilla.
“Wait…” Tyrone says. He rubs his forehead. “I kind of remember something. There was this guy and he …liked World of Warcraft…or something.”
“What?” Marc asks. Sandra flicks Tyrone’s boner and giggles.
“Woah.” Marc says.
“Jeez, man.” Tyrone adds.
“Sorry,” Sandra says. “I always wanted to do that.”
A noise begins to make itself present, and all eyes fall upon the door with the gold knob on the far right side of the room. The knob turns. Tyrone lights his cigarette.
“Hey,” A man appears. He’s slightly chubby and his hair is pulled back into a ponytail. He’s wearing a black t-shirt, a bathing suit and some shower slippers.
Marc gets into a fighting stance. “What the fuck?” He says.
“Chill.” Tyrone says. “That’s the guy, man.”
“Uh, yeah.” The guy says. “I just wanted to tell you that I made some bagels.”
Sandra drags herself to her feet. “I am sorry…” She tries to remember the guys name.
“Randy.” He says.
“I am sorry Randy,” Sandra continues. “But we do not know where we are.”
Randy shrugs. “Yeah, you guys were drunk.”
Randy picks up some trash from the floor. “I can’t believe you guys are awake so early.”
Marc notices the three bottles of Jenkins rum and the empty case of Michelob beer that is splayed out on the floor. “Damn.” He says.
“Oh man.” Tyrone says. “Did we get any crack?”
Randy narrows his eyes slightly. “Like, crack cocaine?”
“Hell yeah.” Marc answers.
“Uh, I don’t think so.” Randy replies. “Listen all I know is you guys came stumbling in here last night. I don’t know how you got in, I don’t know what you’re doing here. I just figured it would be easier to wait until you sobered up than to call the police and deal with all that bullshit.”
Marc pumps his fist in the air. “Yes!”
Tyrone jumps to his feet. “Exactly the correct thing to do.”
Flash forward and everybody is sitting around a small table eating bagels.
“So like dude, you have a lot of posters huh?” Marc asks.
Sandra quietly spreads apple butter on her raisin bagel. “Are you an artist?” She asks.
Randy smiles shyly. “No.” He says.
Marc opens a beer. “So what do you do?”
“Nothing.” Randy replies. “My dad was rich. I’m rich. I don’t do anything.”
Marc and Tyrone stare, mouths agape. Tyrone blinks. Marc takes a sip of his beer.
Nobody says anything for ten seconds.
“That’s…awesome.” Marc says.
Tyrone explodes with delight. “You are the luckiest mother fucker in the world man!”
Sandra takes a bite of her bagel.
“I guess.” Randy says.
Marc stands erect, pushing to his full height. “You guess?”
Tyrone flicks his cigarette into the sink. “Dude, this is unreal!” He says.
Sandra sips from her orange juice box. “Don’t you get bored?” She asks.
Marc gulps down the rest of his beer and smashes it on the floor with his foot. “Bored? Fuck, He can do whatever he wants to man!”
“Here is a man without limits.” Tyrone adds.
Randy smoothes out his jet-black greasy hair. “It’s ok I suppose.” He says.
Susan sits and bathes himself in the sunshine of the late morning. Earlier he had done fifty sets of jumping jacks to get his blood moving and the endorphin rush was settling in nicely. People walked by and hardly noticed him. People with grey suits, people with hockey jersey’s, people walking dogs. Susan felt their presence and was grateful for the brief moments he was able to spend with them. “A connection once made can never be fully broken.” He would say.
Joe came walking past at some point around three o’clock, purely out of coincidence and sat beside Susan.
“Hey, man.” Joe said.
“Hello Joseph.” Susan replied cheerily.
“What are you doin man?” Joe asks.
Susan smiles and breathes in. “I’m settling in. Getting a feel for the vibes around here. I want to help these people.”
Joe puts a cigarette in his mouth but doesn’t light it. “How?” he asks.
Susan exhales. “I don’t know.” He says. “I just know that this is where I am supposed to be. I wish there was some sort of sign.”
Joe points to a stop sign near a parked U-haul truck. “Theres a sign right there.” He says.
Susan looked over at the stop sign.
“Maybe your supposed to stop.” Joe says. He lights his cigarette.
Susan twirls his mustache slowly. “Stop…?”
Joe points a billboard with a tough looking soldier on it. “Theres another one. Maybe your supposed to join the army.”
Susan looks at a person with a certain of amount of critical judgment for the first time in his life. He looks at Joe. “I don’t mean a literal sign. I mean like some doves…or a …I don’t know…”
Joe shrugs. “Theres a pigeon.” He says pointing to a fat grey bird drinking from a puddle.
Susan sighs slightly. “Oh, what am I supposed to do…?”
“Why don’t you just do, like what your good at, man?” Joe asks.
Susan perks up slightly. “What do you mean?” He waves his hand in the air. “Joe you really shouldn’t smoke.”
“Yeah,” Joe says. “I mean just do whatever it is that you think you can do better than anybody else. Just do that and do it the best you can. See what happens.”
Susan looks bemused. “You think that’ll work?” He asks.
Joe stretches and yawns. “Couldn’t hurt.” He says.
Susan smiles. “Yeah.” He laughs. “I guess it’s a start at least.”
Susan stands up. He grabs Joe and yanks him to his feet. “C’mon we have to go get Roger.”
“Ok.” Joe says. His cigarette falls from his lips.
Buck and Roger sit on a park bench next to eachother. Buck is drinking a quart of Cobra malt liquor and Roger is drinking a cup of coffee and reading a newspaper. A pigeon hops near Bucks foot. Buck stares down at it, swigging his drink.
“Ya know, pigeons can live to be thirty years old.” Buck says.
“Yeah?” Roger says absentmindedly.
“Yup.” Buck answers. “I wonder if he remembers…any of it.”
“Dunno.” Roger says.
The pigeon cocks its head and hops again, pecking at a bagel crumb under the bench.
“This could be like, a wise pigeon.” Buck says pointing.
Roger turns the page of his newspaper. “Could be.” He says.
Buck takes a long gulp. He turns to Roger. “You don’t care.” He says.
Roger shrugs mildly.
Buck sighs and sullenly stares out at the city around him.
Ten minutes pass.
“Where’s your brother?” Buck asks.
“I dunno.” Roger answers.
The wind blows and makes it self known.
“You know,” Buck began to say, cigarette dangling from his cracked lips. “Yesterday I saw one of the kids from my gym class. Aaron something I think.”
Roger looked up mildly interested. “Oh yeah?” He asks.
“Uh-huh.” Buck says nodding his head slowly. “He just said, you know, go to Boston. We we’re drinking together and what he said to me…it was like the first time in a long time that I…felt grateful. Yeah, Grateful for a piece of heartfelt advice.”
Roger narrows his eyes. “You drank with a kid?”
Buck waves his hand. “Don’t worry about that, just listen to what I’m saying, ok?”
Roger rolled his eyes scowling slightly.
“I mean hey, what have I been doing with my life?” Buck continues. “I just …nothing I do, really makes any difference. I mean, I like yelling at those kids and all that, but I feel like I’ve just been wandering aimlessly.” He takes a drag of his cigarette.
“Hmph.” Roger says.
“I mean I always thought that I was…well I guess the word would be sociopathic. I mean I just didn’t give a fuck. But then…” Buck pauses, thinking. “I dunno what happened. I got so lonely. I thought I’d be fine on my own but I guess I really did want something like…love, or companionship at least. Now I’m rethinking everything. I always just did whatever I wanted to whomever at any time. I honestly never felt an ounce of guilt. I just thought that I wasn’t meant to feel emotions the way …normal people do. But I want love. And that means that I’m…”
“Just like everybody else.” Roger says, finishing the sentence.
Buck nods. “Yeah. I guess so. So now I can’t figure out why I did all those mean things to people. If I’m just normal like everyone else then why don’t I feel bad about …all that…cruelty. Then I realized, ‘holy shit’ you know, I think secretly deep down I do feel bad about all of it. I just wasn’t looking at the situation from the right perspective.”
Roger purses his lips. Slowly he places his arm around Buck. “Hey, man…” he says.
A tear forms in Bucks eye but he sucks it back, stone faced. “And now,… I just don’t know what I should do…”
Roger pulls a long dill pickle from his sleeve. “You wanna pickle?” He asks.
Buck pulls away from Rogers embrace. “Dude…” he says.
“I know.” Roger says. “Trust me. Whenever I’m feeling really confused I just take a bite of a delicious pickle and everything just makes sense again.”
Buck hesitantly takes the pickle into his hand. He examines it. “Really?” he asks.
“Yeah.” Roger responds.
Buck shrugs. He takes a bite of the pickle. He chews it.
“It’s good.” He says, with his mouth full.
Roger smiles. “Pickles are really good.”
Buck shakes his head in disbelief. “Why did you have a pickle up your sleeve?” He takes another delicious bite.
Roger tilts his head quizzically. “Well, ya know…you never know when you might need a good pickle.”
Buck chews contentedly.
On the radio theres a report of a mass murderer running loose through New England. They say he is probably an escaped mental patient and that he was to be considered armed and extremely dangerous. They say he had been challenging people to duels and shooting them with a pistol, whether they agreed to the duel or not. He’d shoot them anyway, he didn’t care. They also say that he may have stolen several hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Salvation Army. He is also wanted for theft, theft of services, grand theft, drunk in public, drunk and disorderly, impersonating a state mental health worker, impersonating a police officer, impersonating an ex-president, larceny, grand theft auto, assault, simple assault, aggravated assault, two counts of sexual harassment, four hundred separate counts of fraud, extortion and identity theft. He owed millions of dollars in child support to his seven wives who bared him a combined 43 children. He had over twenty two thousand traffic violations, fifty thousand speeding tickets, and fourteen unpaid parking tickets.
He had pleaded not guilty to all charges at an initial hearing last month. However he allegedly killed a guard and somehow was able to steal his clothes and walk out the front door of the prison. So now he’s out there and he’s going to kill you.
Nancy Grace covers the story for a year and a half.
Joe and Susan double back and find Roger sitting on a park bench.
Buck is curled up in a ball crying tears of joy(?) as he gnaws on a dill pickle.
“Roger, whats wrong with Buck?” Susan asks.
Roger shrugs. “I think he just needs to work out some emotional issues…Iguess.”
Joe sits down next to Roger. “Now theres a dude who needs to be soothed.” He says pointing at Buck. Joe lights a cigarette. “Yo Sue!” Joe shouts leaning back. “Sooth this motherfucker.”
Susan perks his head up. “What?” He asks.
“Mr.Dreel looks like he’s finally lost his mind, man.” Joe says. “You keep talking about how you are supposed to soothe the souls of the masses or whatever.” Joe takes a drag.
“So, like ya know…do it.” He says.
Susan looks stricken for a moment then he nods and bends down gazing into Bucks eyes.
“Hey, Buddy.” He says. “You okay?”
Buck snaps out of his self inflicted zombie trance mode. “What?”
He see’s Susan’s mustached face an inch away from his own.
“How ya feelin?” Susan asks.
Buck purses his lips and blinks twice as he backs away from Susan.
“Dude,” He says. “Whada’ you want?”
Susan laughs girlishly and skips twice. “Cheer up.” He says
Buck is, for a moment, confused.
“Holy shit, that’s the guy!” Randy says pointing through the window of the hastily moving car at the lime green spandex clad, mustachioed meditating man surrounded by three other men.
“What guy?” Tyrone asks, rolling a joint.
The car continues moving, nobody but Randy looking at the green spandex man. “I saw that guy outside my window before. He was so strange…”
“It’s a sick world.” Marc says, lighting his own joint.
“Do you know him?” Sandra asks.
“No,” Randy answers. “I’ve only seen him one other time besides now.”
Marc turns his head to look. His eyes light up with recognition. “Shit son, is that Joe?”
Tyrone coughs, a wisp of smoke coming out in a plume from his mouth. “What?”
“Damn, that’s Mr. Dreel too…” Marc continues. “Sandy turn the car around.”
Sandra frowns. “I cannot, we are in traffic. We’ll have to swing around.”
Tyrone bugs his eyes out. “Yo, that’s the uh, you know those guys who live up on that hill in the gray house…there like brothers…”
“The Wilson’s right?” Marc says, sucking on his joint.
“Something like that…yeah.” Tyrone answers.
“What are they doing?” Marc asks.
. “You know these people?” Sandra asks.
“They…uh…well they live in our town.” Marc says.
“All of them?”
Marc looks hard. “Damn that’s Joe man.”
“Who’s Joe?” Sandra asks.
Tyrone is fiddling with the window. “He’s a legend.”
“Ty, he is not a Legend. He’s just our friend.
“Joes the man dude. Man, its gotta be an hour before we can…”
“Lets just leave the car and walk over to them. Take maybe 2 minutes.
“We can’t just leave the car.” Sandra says. “ It’s a rental.” Marc says.
“They’ll never track us down.” Tyrone says hopping out the car.
So they decide to make the trek across the street to where the other junior heroes were.
The trek is largely without incident ( No, I don’t want your bat dude. Ghhgg, fine.)
And they arrive at the compound, or more accurately a park city bench.
First to arrive is Randy. He timidly approaches the circle of meditation. He sort of just watches. Hangs back a bit.
Sandra arrives second and seems to take pleasure from the simple ceremony in front of her. Slowly she finds herself bending into a bending stance, eyes closed, mind open.
Marc and Tyrone come bursting through the foliage and when they see Joe they jump over at him. “JOE!” Marc screams, giving him a light leg drop to the back.
Joe smiles and gats to his feet. “Marc why do you have a bat?” “Some goof just handed it to me and wouldn’t take it back. Seems kind of silly to just throw away a good bat.” Said Marc.
“Joe whats going on here man?”
Susan rises from a upside down water bucket balanced spirit stand.
“Holy shit!” Marc says. How did he even get into that position?”
Susan fully standing creaks his neck. “We will have time for that stuff later. Now I think I’d like to eat some Chinese takeout.
Now all the troubled souls are before Susan. They have formed a circle. And they are all looking at him. He’s eating Chinese food. He sits in an Indian style, gripping the chopsticks with his toes as he beckons them to all hold hands.
“Ask yourself a question.” Susan says.
“What sort of question?” Joe asks.
“You da man Joe!” Marc yells.
Susan chuckles. “The question is: what do I love?”
The circle remains unbroken. Buck belches. “Sorry” He says. “I’m still a little in the bag…”
“I love my brother.” Roger says. He is unashamed and he is smiling.
Susan laughs and turns to Roger. “Good! Good!” he says.
The circle remains unbroken. There is a quiet hum for many moments.
“Ask yourself, Am I truthful?” Susan says.
All heads bow.
Joe raises his hand. “Uh, I have, like a confession I guess.”
Marc keeps his head bowed but thrusts his arm up in approval, “You da man Joe!”
Susan gently nods to Joe. His kind eyes beckon Joe.
“Go ahead Joe. Anything you say within this circle is sacrosanct. No one will utter a word against you.”
“Ok.” Joe says, he lets go a huge breath of air. “Here goes.”
“Well, like I’ve killed probably thirty or forty people.”
The circle becomes rigid. “What?” Roger asks.
“Let him speak.” Susan says.
“I know.” Joe says.”It sounds really bad.”
“Your breakin’ my heart Joe!” Marc bellows.
“Just listen. I’m wanted by the law, but they don’t know who I am. Honestly I barely remember half of the stuff I’ve done, but I know I did it. Some of it is like a dream, ya know. In the dream everything was mine to take and if somebody got in my way I would just get rid of them. It didn’t matter because it was just a dream. Only later I realized it wasn’t a dream that it was all really happening. I thought that I had lost, or sold my soul. But really, I just had left my soul somewhere deep inside, so deep I couldn’t find it. But Susan came along and showed me how to just sit and blank out my mind. Now I don’t have to keep dreaming. But I feel that I owe something to someone for all the trouble I have caused. I truly do not know what I should do. I ask …nothing. I seek no mercy, I just …needed to say all of that.”
The circle was silent. Sandra had tears running down her face.
“You want to be forgiven?” She asks.
Joe shakes his head. “No, Forgiveness is…for those who deserve it.”
“I forgive you.” Sandra says. She breaks the circle and comes to his side. She hugs him and holds him.
Susan stands up and walks over to Joe. He sits down in front of him.
“Hi, Joe.” Susan says.
“Hello.” Joe says.
Susan sits. He waits. He puts his hand on Joes shoulder. “I…do not know what to say to …absolve you. I don’t know if I can. But if I could, I would show you mercy. The question you really need to ask is, what do you think you deserve?”
Joe nods. “I suppose…I should…turn myself in.”
Sandra hugs Joe.
“No way man.” Buck bellows suddenly. “Run, kid. Don’t ever do it again, and they will never catch you, dude. Live a good life.”
“You’re the man Joe.” Marc says sorrowfully.
Tyrone nods his approval.
“No…Buck…I have to.”
Susan takes hold of Joes hand. “Joseph, do you remember what I said to you that night when Buck was going to throw a water balloon at that kids house.
“What?” Marc says, cackling.
“Classic prank , Mr.Dreel!” Tyrone adds in.
“It was a dodgeball.” Buck interrupts.
“Yeah.” Joe says. “You said that skipping tones your thighs and buttocks.”
Susan bows his head. “Yes.”
“It’s good advice.” Roger admits, tearfully.
“What?” Buck bellows again. “I don’t understand. That’s it?”
Susan looks at Buck. “Yes. That is it.”
“No, man. You were supposed to soothe the souls of the people. That’s what you said man!”
Susan turns to Joseph. “Maybe it was just one soul I was meant to soothe.”
Joe stands up and walks away. Sandra cries.
“Yo’ what the fuck?” Tyrone says. “Joe isn’t fuckin a…no, serial killer.”
Marc flinches and comes to his senses. “Yeah, dude Joe you’re fucking hallucinatin again bro.”
Sandra slows her crying. “So, Joe isn’t… going to prison?”
She sniffles. “Oh.”
Joe is lured back into the group.
Susan snaps into the lotus position. “Joe you have the right attitude but try and keep your feet on the ground.
“It is indeed a good thing to be conciliatory towards ones misdeeds, but it is important not to confuse dreams with reality.” Susan adds.
“Yeah, most people already know that shit.” Buck replies
The forest scene had gotten out of hand. Joe had falsely confessed to the murders of at least 30 people, because he was too high and drunk to not do it.
Later sitting in the back of a pick-up truck Tyrone would ask Joe why he had done this, and Joe would reply “Well, I suppose maybe the heat was getting to my head.”
Tyrone bowed his head slightly and sighed. “Joe it’s winter.”
“still too damn hot, man.” Joe says.
Sandra shared a cigarette with Joe. She had never met someone like him in her life. He was stupid, but she thought maybe he was stupid in the way that can sometimes produce brilliance. Sandra looks at him as he stares at the new guy Randy.
“Who the hell is that?” Joe whispers loudly. He also points his longish ivory white finger at the spot next to Randy, slowly letting it drift to the right place.
Randy smiles awkwardly. “I’m Randy…”
Joe stares slack jawed.
“Just another child of god!” Buck screams delusional, withdrawing from four hours of relative sobriety. “A saint before…New Orleans…gameday, gameday, gameday…”
“Uh-huh.” Joe says.
“He’s richer than hell son.” Tyrone says.
“Wait…,” Joe says. “Richard?”
“Randy.” Randy repeats softly.
“Randy?” Joe asks. “So what?”
Randy shakes his head slightly, lips pursed. “I, uh…I’m sorry?”
“Richard?” Joe asks.
“Huh?” Joe says.
“Well… that was…”
The man cop wipes his brow of sweat.
“It was…I’ve never really actually seen …”
The two intrepid investigators had been cruising by the down trodden street, watching amused as amateurish drug pushers ran obvious deals between cars, not busting them because…they didn’t feel like it. A man wearing a bearskin rug, a loincloth and covered in sparkly red dust of some kind appeared suddenly bounding athletically across the empty intersection.
Sitting in stunned silence for merely a moment, they get a call over the radio.
“Homicide.” The man cop says listlessly following the radios crackly voice.
“Are we going to …”
Susan sat imperceptibly counting the paths to god in his head, a halo of light briefly illuminating the luminescent strands of his hair as they danced about like golden spider webs in the flimsy wind. The light came from a lamp attached to the bedpost in his hotel room.
“Hmmm.” He said to himself.
“Whass that?” Roger asked in his sleep, rolling.
Susan was not one to watch Television but Joe had left it on before keeling over in the bathroom and passing out in a puddle of his own vomit.
“Yes there calling him the New England Ripper.” A nasal female voice said. “Dr. Reginald Flowbansta from the institute of JollyJolly Oxenfree, is with us tonight. He is an expert in criminal profiling and serial killing dynamics.” The woman on the television, a white blonde haired lady of perhaps forty turned her head to face a grey-faced man wearing red suspenders.
“Tell us doctor what sort of sicko are we dealing with here?”
Susan was despairing slightly. His travels had indeed brought a rather diverse group of people together. He was still sharing a room with his brother and the wayward youngster vagrant Joe, but they had chanced upon a meeting with a number of acquaintances. These acquaintances were staying with another man named Randy who seemed to Susan to be a fairly nice person but rather willing to put up with a bit of impoliteness that could be unhealthy for him. But he knew he was not to Judge.
This was certainly interesting but it was not what Susan had set out for, not quite his idea of spiritual enlightenment. He acted as though everything was perfect of course, but there was a scratching at the root of his third eye that was prodding his sense of correctness.
“Well this is clearly an impotent male, a sexual psychopath who feels the need to butcher women to fulfill his, ahem, rather unhealthy sexual appetite.” The Gray faced man on the television said.
“Yes, but aren’t there reports of his killing men and children and…umm…animals as well?”
“But of course these are classic signs of the deranged mind attempting to correct some perceived slight from childhood through the indiscriminate slaughtering of his peers. This is most likely a man in his early twenties, Caucasian, perhaps the meek type who might pass you in the hallway without meeting your eyes.”
“I see.” The woman said.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if the suspect turned out to be oh, I don’t know say, five foot nine, about one hundred and sixty pounds. He may have red hair and be fond of wearing a particular shirt with a mouse licking a piece of cheese. He may be married to, oh I don’t know, my sister and be named David Hewirm. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out he works at 8 52nd street, Boston downtown area. He is the type who would wear a stupid looking mustache because he thinks he looks like Freddie Mercury, though he is certainly no Ready Freddie, I do say.”
The woman nods her head. “Interesting Doctor.”
Susan channels the energy of the room through his palms and rotates the vibes to the left.
“Ah yes we have a caller.” The woman on the television says.
“Is that Reggie?” A British accented voice crackles through.
The doctor rolls his eyes. “Hello, David.”
“Stop saying I’m a serial killer on national television, Reggie.”
The doctor raises his hand pointedly. “You are a disgrace to this family!” he says.
Susan flips off the televison. All of this talk about serial killing and death; it simply wasn’t his way.
All Susan knew was that he was meant to soothe souls. And then through the workings of the universe a moment that was shaped by the forces of particles of light and atoms and all that junk swirling about in a vortex of infinite circularity, an idea took form in his head.
“Ah.” He said. If there was a soul that needed soothing it was indeed this New England Ripper Fellow.
“But how to find him…?
Buck was stunned quiet. Sitting in the corner of the roomy apartment, cohabitating with two former students, a Puerto Rican stranger and a rich nerd. He ached for a drink. With every non-cool movement, every quirky gesture, Randy the rich nerd came closer and closer to annihilation at the unwilling hands of Buck Dreel. It was ingrained in his DNA to pick on nerds, to mock their dorkish ways, indeed to stand as an obstacle to their very enjoyment of life itself.
“Am I not a gym teacher?” He thought to himself. “I took the fucking Gymnocractic oath, by god.” He said to himself. “Am I not bound by duty and custom to slay this man, this creature of fantasy role playing games and comic books?”
“Who am I?” He thought. “If I am not to be the tormentor of the nebbishes, the nerds, the geeks and other low laying creatures of America, than who am I?”
Surrounded by posters of green Orcs and scantily clad women who seem to be sorceresses or something.
Randy was sitting at the table in the kitchen teaching Marc and Tyrone how to play Magic cards.
“But this man took me into his home…he accepted me…” Buck thought.
“Full house son!” Marc yelled.
Buck lit a cigarette. A mirror was on the wall and he stood before it.
“Those aren’t Magic Cards Marc.” Randy says.
Buck looked at himself. He was a mammoth of a man. His muscles bulged; he towered like an ox over a grain of sand to the people around him. But in the corner of the mirror he caught Randy’s face and he was smiling.
“How…can this be?” He thought.
There are moments in life where destiny teeters on the edge of the future. An event could go one way or another, pushed by curious forces unknown. Bucks cigarette fell to the floor.
He left the apartment.
Sandra loved Joe.
“What?” Tyrone said on hearing this news.
“I think…I love him.” Sandra said meekly.
Marc puffed a smoke ring and laughed. “Really?”
Sandra downcast her eyes. “I know. It is crazy but…the heart wants what it wants and mine beats for him.”
“That’s fucking crazy son.” Tyrone says evenly.
But it was true. Somewhere in the vacant eyes, the drooling slack jawed vagrant possessed , in Sandra’s thinking, the soul of a poet.
“Uh…I don’t think so.” Tyrone replied upon hearing this news.
“Boys retarded.” Marc added solemnly. “He’s the man…but he’s a retard.”
“Oh.” Sandra replies.
“Yeah.” Tyrone says.
A moment of silence.
“But…” Marc brightens, flicking his cigarette ash to the floor. “Like you said…What the heart wants… is what it wants.”
“I mean he’s not legally retarded.” Tyrone adds. “Kid’s allowed to drive I think….”
“Yeah don’t lose heart babe.” Marc says. “Joe…probably is capable of stringing together the thoughts required to return love.”
“Yeah…” Tyrone says. “So…hey man where theres a will theres a way, right?”
“And where’s there a Joe theres a joint son!” Marc says, stiffening his body to full attention and doing a salute.
“Oh snap son!”
Marc mimes a bat swing. “That’s a homerun son!” He shouts.
The two cops stand over a grisly murder scene. A seventeen year old Venezuelan gang member lying in a pool of brownish blood, one arm completely severed, a severed toe protruding from his right nostril.
“Heh, that’s kind of funny, the nostril thing.” The man cop says.
“A boy is dead, man.” A tall fellow officer responds.
“Yeah, I know.” The man cop says. “But It’s kind of silly…you know a toe sticking out of a nostril like that.”
The butch lesbian lady cop is framing the crime scene with her hands, trying to figure something out.
“What are you doing?” The man cop says.
“Shut up, I’m formulating.”
“You look like an idiot. Like a French movie director…. but a stupid one.”
The tall officer looks at the man cop. “Why French?”
“I dunno, French people make movies a lot right?”
An impeccably dressed black man with a rather large afro is standing straight and attracting their attention.
“Uh hi.” The man cop says.
“FBI.” The black man says.
“Kay.” The man cop says.
“It looks like we got another serial murder on our hands here gentleman.”
The lady cop flips a penny. “Wait, wait, wait. What makes you think this is the ripper?”
“Theres a note pinned to his chest.” The tall officer says. “You guys got here kind of late, I know. We figured out that this was the rippers work about forty five minutes ago.”
“Hey,” The man cop says. “Listen it’s not our fault that we weren’t able to get to the scene on time.”
“You were parked right in front of the scene when the call came in. You didn’t even respond.”
“Yeah so?” The man cop replies. “We came when we saw all the commotion though didn’t we?”
“Hang on a second!” The black FBI man says. “You were here when the crime was committed?”
The man cop takes a bite of his donut. “Sort of yeah.”
“The FBI man gets right up in the man cops face. “Did you see any suspicious characters in the vicinity?”
“No.” The man cop says.
The butch lesbian cop chimes in. “What about the guy with the loin cloth and the animal skin draped over his shoulders?”
“Well, ok yeah there was that guy. I don’t know if I would call that suspicious so much as just weird though…didn’t seem illegal at the time.” The man cop answers.
The FBI man bites his lip and looks quite pissed off. “Let me get this straight. You were in the vicinity while a murder was committed, got a call on the radio about said murder, were in the very spot where the murder was committed, saw an obviously deranged man leaving the scene and you didn’t do anything?”
“Well it sounds bad when you say it like that.” The man cop says. “Listen I could stand here and list off mistakes that you’ve made too. But I’m not going to. I’m a professional all right, let’s do some police work.”
“That was probably the murderer wasn’t it?” The butch lesbian says to the man cop when they’re in the car later.
“Yeah, probably. Do you wanna get Indian food?”
“Hey, we could be on to something.” The lesbo cop exclaims.
“Yeah, maybe.” The man says. “And we will get to that. But now I’m hungry. So c’mon buckle up.”
They went and got some curry.
Heres something that nobody would ever know. Joes father had been a soldier. He had known and been in love with Sandra’s mother a long time ago. He used to sit and watch her play the piano at the hotel where she worked.
One of those peaceful nights she approached him and asked him up to her hotel room.
“I’ve seen you watching me.” She said.
Joes father was nervous when he heard that. “Oh, um…”
“Those eyes…” She said. “Those sweet eyes watching me as I play. They helped me. I’ve finally been able to write a song.”
Joe’s father brightened up at this. “Well…hey that’s great.” He said. He was very nervous.
They talked for hours that night. At daybreak there was a knock on the door. A man from Joe’s fathers unit had come to tell him that they had new orders. They were shipping out.
“When can I see you again?” Sandra’s mother had asked.
“Soon.” Joes father blurted out quickly. “I mean…very soon.”
But they never saw each other again.
Joes father was a prisoner of war for four years, presumed dead. Sandra’s mother thought he was dead and ended up falling into the arms of a young man from Puerto Rico. She moved there with him and had a Child. They named the child Sandra. Then Sandra’s mother was killed in a car crash. They said it had been a drunk driver.
Nobody would ever know this.
Joe sat on the edge of a small bridge over a shallow waterway. The sun was rising. A bum was sleeping near him in a pile of sleeping bags and raggy clothes.
“You know…” Joe said to the sleeping bum. “I guess I’ve never really known what I was supposed to be doing in this world.”
The bum snored.
“Sometimes I think that life is just one big experiment. Somebody is watching us, measuring what we do.” Joe flicked a cigarette away. “I never really was very good friends with anybody you know?” he said. “I mean I had people around me all the time but I didn’t feel like I really knew any of them or that any of them really knew me.”
Joe looked at the bum. The bum had a bottle of gin next to him, spilled near his face.
“I always cared too much about what people thought about me when I was young. I hated that part of myself. I shut it down, locked it away. But sometimes I wonder if maybe I shut some things that I might need away with all of that other stuff too…”
Joe stood up. He saw Roger and Susan coming towards him. They looked like they had something urgent to tell him.
“Don’t tell anybody about what I said, ok?” Joe said.
The bum burped in his sleep.
Buck eyed the man with the loincloth ambivalently, drunk already and staggering left and right. The man with the loincloth had some red stains on him and appeared to be silently saying something to himself over and over again. His head was low and he was walking with his shoulders stooped almost to the mid point of the spine.
“Damned be the rich farts, and the old young ladies…” He suddenly said a little louder.
“Shut up you fucking nut.” Buck bellowed. “I…am in no mood for your…” Bucks eyes crossed for a moment as his brain began to realize what his eyes had taken in moments ago. “Shenanigans…” Then without stopping he immediately said “Are you wearing a fucking towel over your dick?”
The loincloth man licked his lips and waved the knife that was in his hand, (Buck hadn’t noticed it.) wildly.
“Is that a knife?”
“I mean you no harm!” The loincloth crazy said.
“I must be really drunk.” Buck said. “This can’t be real.”
The loincloth man was now walking towards Buck, making chopping motions with the knife and still screaming, “I mean you no harm.”
Buck just stood there. “Really?” He finally said, looking up. “Are you really making me deal with this right now?” One might suppose he was talking to god, but actually he was just rolling his neck as a gesture of annoyance.
The loincloth man stopped. “Ahhh….” He said. “Ahhh….ah haaaa.”
Buck looked back at the loincloth man. “What?” He leaned forward, “What do you want man?”
“You hear him.” The crazy fuck said. “You know what I know.”
Buck fished in his pocket for a cigarette. “Yeah whatever man.” He said. “Listen I’m having kind of a rough week, would you just go bother somebody else?”
“No.” The man said. “No, no nonononono.” He clapped his hands, dropping the knife, and turned around three times. “You’ve been sent by Derwinkler. You’re the one I’ve been waiting for.”
Buck was about to fucking slap this pistachio nut across the face when he suddenly was stunned. “Did you say Derwinkler? Do you know Peter Derwinkler? How do you know that name?”
The man moved his head around. His eyes shook like the cookie monster.
“You follow me. Yeah, c’mon. You have to come with me. You’re the one I’ve been preparing for all this time. I’ll show them I’m not crazy. They said I was crazy you know.”
Buck stuck a cigarette between his lips. “Yeah, imagine that…” He said.
“C’mon now, you must follow me.”
The man began walking, turning around every few steps and beckoning for Buck to follow him.
Buck paused for a second. He wasn’t in the habit of following crazy street people down deserted alleyways.
But he was pretty drunk so… “Eh, what the hell.” He said. He began following the nutball.
Susan and Roger were sitting in a diner with Joe, perusing a laminated menu.
Joe seemed sullen and aloof, or more aloof than usual.
“I think I’m going to have the blueberry pancakes.” Roger said.
“So what do you think?” Susan asked. He had explained his idea of finding the serial killer known as the New England Ripper and soothing his soul.
“Sounds cool,” Joe says softly.
“I don’t know Suse, its seems sort of far fetched, I mean how do we even know where to find this guy?” Joe lit a cigarette and drew a nasty look from a waitress. “You can’t smoke in here,” she says.
“Yes, I can. I’m doing it. Watch.” Joe inhaled deeply on his cancer stick, blowing a smooth grey ring of pillowy smoke.
Roger grabbed the cigarette from Joe and put it out. “Jeez, Joe your gonna get us kicked out.”
“And yet I’m really not sorry.” Joe said. “Sorry.”
Roger queried, “Your sorry that you’re not sorry?”
“Yeah, I guess so.” Joe said lighting another cigarette.
“We could ask around.” Susan said. “Do some detective work.
“Sir, you cannot smoke in here!” Another waitress said.
“What are you talking about?” Joe asked lifting his shades.
“Are you on drugs?” Roger asks exasperated.
“Umm…” Joe says, pursing his lips. Joe takes a drag on his cigarette. “…”
A man wearing a blue shirt comes to the table and bends slightly, saying something softly to the three heroes.
“I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”
“Aw, man I wanted pancakes.” Roger says.
“This is an outrage.” Joe says tonelessly. He gets up and heads towards the exit. “Susan, Roger, I’ll be outside.”
Susan and Roger politely get up and apologize to the manager for Joes behavior.
“He is on drugs isn’t he?” Roger asks as they open the exit door.
“Hmmm…” Susan replies.
Tyrone is reading a book he found in Randy’s library. It’s called My Secret Life and the author only gives the name Walter. It’s an account of a Victorian era pedophile and all of the horrible things he did and things he paid other people to do.
“Oh my god!” Tyrone said to himself. “This is fucking filthy.”
“What is?” Marc asks. He had gotten into Randy’s cigars and now he was chewing on a big fat Cuban one.
“Listen to this.” Tyrone read a passage from the book.
“Oh shit.” Marc said. “Is that true?”
“I think so, man.”
“That’s so fucked.”
“Yeah, I know.”
Randy walks in to the room. He’s wearing a shiny black bathrobe and green shower shoes.
“Randy this book is filthy, man.”
Randy squints in surprise then nods. “Oh, yeah. Well it’s a rare book. I haven’t actually read it but I understand it was banned in England.”
“Ten year olds?” Tyrone says.
“Gotta start sometime I guess…” Marc says laughing.
Tyrone gets a disgusted look on his face. “Naw man, that aint right. That book is nasty man.”
“Have any of you seen Mr.Dreel?” Sandra asks poking her head into the room. “Hi boys.” She says.
“Sup.” Marc answers.
“Yo.” Tyrone says.
Randy picks up a beer can from the floor. “The big guy?”
“Man he is huge.” Marc says.
“I think he left.”
“Hmmm…” Sandra says. “I wonder where he went.”
“I dunno. I’m glad he’s gone man.” Tyrone says.
Sandra looks perplexed. “You don’t like him?”
“Hell no we don’t like him.” Tyrone says.
“He’s alright.” Marc says weakly.
“No man he is not alright. That man was our gym teacher for four years. He made people fight each other for scraps of meat, son. He used to pick the smallest kid in the class, stick him under his arm, climb the high ropes and drop the motherfucker. He’s insane. Man.”
“Dodge ball was fun though.” Marc says.
“Dodge was awesome.” Tyrone agrees.
Dodge ball in Bucks class consisted of Buck doing shots of Tequila and throwing red rubber balls at one kid who the class had selected. As Buck got drunker he had to get closer to the kid to hit him with the ball. At the end it generally wound up being Buck dribbling a ball on a floored Childs face over and over again.
“Always the same kid.” Marc said dreamily.
“Little Billy Derwinkler.”
“Kid was a dork.”
“Kid was a motherfuckin dork.” Tyrone agreed.
“He drank in school?” Randy asked.
“He drinks everywhere man.” Marc says.
“Hey Marc, how many Derwinklers were there anyway. I mean there was Billy and I know he had an older brother and two older sisters.”
“Yeah man.” Marc says. “He had a younger brother too.”
“Let me think….Billy, Stevie, Michelle, Nadia…”
“Oh yeah, man those chicks were hot too.”
“Yeah. The boys were all dorks but the girls were fine as fuck.”
“What about the little brother what was that kids name?”
Tyrone scratched his head. “Shit, I can’t remember.”
Sandra broke into the conversation. “How did this go on without anybody knowing?”
“Mr. Dreel threatened to kill anybody who ratted him out.” Marc says.
“That’s Buck Dreel lady.” Tyrone says.
“Man he always had it out for those Derwinkler boys.”
“Well they were gym teacher targets man.”
Marc lights a cigarette. “That they were.”
“I’m going to the store.” Randy says.
Joe had no control over what he was doing. He didn’t really understand what it meant to be human. This is not his fault, he was simply born strange. Sometimes a man finds himself insane. In such circumstances one can be afforded a great deal of leeway, yet still be trapped inside the mind of a nutball.
“Jack the ripper had it right man,”
“Huh?” Roger asks.
Joe slowly smiled and said, “He got a name that was badass and got the hell out of town.” He said.
“It seems to me that nobody ever knew who was doing all that ripping.”
“Exactly.” Joe said.
“It’s not a good thing ya know. He was just some weird old guy who killed hookers.”
“How do you know he was old?” Joe asks.
“I didn’t mean old as in age, I meant old as in it happened along time ago.”
“Whatever.” Joe says. “Jack The Ripper is an awesome name.
“It’s not his real name.”
“Imagine if he was a wine taster. He’d be Jack the sipper.”
Roger scowled slightly, unsure of what Joe was getting at.
“Or, if he had been an acrobat he’d be Jack the Flipper.”
Roger looked around to see if Susan was in the room.
“Or if he had been on a boat he’d be Jack the skipper.”
Roger silently wished for a cheeseburger.
“If Jack the ripper had been born a fish, perhaps one day he may have been Jack the kipper, Eh?”
Susan does a back flip and enters the room.
“Joe if you were a serial killing maniac , where would you be?”
Joe stood up. “Burger King.” He says.
“Oh, burgers!” Roger whined softly.
Susan tightens his mouth a bit. “Umm…I think you guys are just hungry.”
“I bet we should go to Burger King.” Joe says.
They went to burger king.
Buck was fucking shocked.
“You see?” The Fruity nut Crazy guy, said.
“Yeah…” Buck said… “Oh my god.”
The obviously insane man pointed to a newspaper article. “Derwinkler!” He shouted.
A picture of a nerdy looking guy with tape on his glasses looking shocked was nailed to the wall. In fact everywhere the eye could see, pictures of Derwinklers looking shocked were posted. The articles we’re all about hostage situations.
“Derwinkler!” Crazy McCrazy shouts. “Derwinkler, Derwinkler, everywhere you go…they’re always there.”
By some cosmic coincidence every single male member of the Derwinkler family had at one point been involved in a hostage situation. In all cases the Derwinkler was severely beaten.
“Fuckin, Derwinkler….” Buck said. “I knew those dorks were…” Buck scratched his head. “Well, actually they really haven’t done anything wrong here…”
The crazy man started flailing his arms. “Nothing wrong?” He says. “Nothing wrong?”
Buck starts to get a little agitated. “Hey, by the way it’s pretty clear to me that you’re the serial killer that everyone is yapping about.”
“What?” The crazy man said.
“Hey, whatever man. I don’t really care…”
“Serial killer?” The man shouts. “I’m trying to save this city.”
So anyway, that's as far as I've gotten. I'm not sure what to do next.