Wednesday, February 10, 2010


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

The Horror Show

-Here is another I have been sitting on for quite some time. I was in an ugly space in my life, and that ugliness is all over this. I graphed out its finish, but thank God, I had my catharsis and never fleshed out the grand finale. You should be thankful too, because it wasn't pretty. This one is kinda rough.

Paul just wanted a drink. He stepped into the liquor store on the corner for some beer. His mind wasn’t on what kind of beer; he just wanted a drink. His heart was low, and he was trying to figure it out. He reached for a six-pack of Budweiser. Normally, he never drank domestic beer, but with his low heart, the taste wasn’t going to matter anyway. He waited in line. In front of him was a woman pushing a stroller with what looked like a two-year old boy, rambunctious as hell, fidgeting in it. She pushed the stroller forward, because she was next in line. She purchased a pack of gum. Juicy Fruit, the kind that makes breath really stink after about an hour. Paul looked down at the kid. The way that the mother had pushed the stroller, the kid was engulfed in magazines. The kid was quiet.

Paul’s walk back to his apartment was a slow one. Paul was a sturdy young man. His shoulders were broad, and he had the build of one who may or may not work out at the gym regularly. This was a result of his heavy lifting that he had to do on the job. Paul loaded and unloaded lumber with a forklift. The work sounds relatively easy, but there were many times that Paul would have to use muscle to straighten things out. There was a lot of stacking and a lot of piling to be done besides regular forklift work. Paul had shaved his head back to a fade all over his head. He’d had long hair, but the heat from the job had given his scalp fever blisters. The sun was something that Paul really didn’t like. With his fair skin, he wound out looking ruddy all the time. Paul was in a perpetual blush during the week. On the weekends, he turned back to his normal complexion, but during the week, Paul was always on the lookout for the big sunburn.
He’d had a horrible day. It had been cliché it was so horrible. His forklift had broken at the yard, and it was noon before it could be serviced. He’d had trucks backed up out of the lumberyard and up the street. The only thing that had been keeping him sane was the fact that he was going to meet Linda that evening. Linda had called him just before his shift had ended. She had told him that she had to go and do something with her mother. Paul had accepted it at the time. Plans change. The problem was that as he drove home, he had to drive by her house, and he saw Chuck’s car nearby. Paul knew exactly who Chuck was. Chuck was Linda’s ex. Chuck was a skinny, pasty white guy with bad acne scars. Paul always wondered what the physical attraction had been between them. Paul was no judge of men, but he knew ugly when he saw it. Paul had never surrendered to the fact that Chuck and Linda could just be friends. He knew that Linda had been intimate with Chuck, and it was a slight to him every time Chuck was around. Chuck was humble enough about it, but still, his very presence stated that ‘I did things with your girlfriend long before you did.’

It had always been painful to him. Paul referred to it as ‘the old wound.’ Paul was a romantic. He wanted to be able to put his past behind him and move on. He had always felt that a new relationship with a female meant that the previous relationships were dead in the water. They had to be. Paul knew who he was. He knew that he couldn’t be trusted. He knew that as soon as something bad happened between his current girlfriend and him, that if the previous were around, he could run to them. He had always expected Linda to play the same game. She did not. Linda liked to keep them around, like so many dicks in jars, Paul thought. Keeping them there just in case something bad happened with her current lover, she could fall back on the previous.
This logic had always been obvious to Paul. He had hated it. Linda’s defense was that she valued friendship, and that friendship should transcend the sexual acts of the past. How ridiculous.

So the old wound had pulsed again as he drove by Linda’s house. He knew that Chuck was in there. He knew that they were probably just talking. But it still killed him. He was jealous, but then again, if he were challenged on the jealousy, he wouldn’t really have much evidence to go on.

The day had progressed though. Linda had called again and said that her Mother didn’t need her help, but she was going to call it an early night anyway. Paul had asked if he could come over, and she had told him no. This had shaken Paul. He decided to go over anyway.

After driving up to the house, and seeing that Chuck was still there he made his decision. Paul knocked on the door and Chuck answered. Chuck looked flustered and Linda ran up behind him looking flustered too. Paul had intruded. They still had their clothes on, but it was the lie. Linda was looking good with her hair cascading down her back. She was looking good in her Levi’s. She was looking good in her Aerosmith t-shirt. Paul absorbed how attractive she was, but this attraction was being obscured by anger and a flurry of other emotions that he couldn’t control. Linda’s glasses perched on her perfect nose in that was that Paul liked. Her smile seemed sincere. The problem was that there was something foul in the air. Paul realized that Linda had this separate life with Chuck that he wasn’t a part of. But wasn’t Paul Linda’s boyfriend? Even if the relationship that Linda had with Chuck was purely innocent, why? Why would she lie to him about this? Paul didn’t understand, and Linda had no real good explanations. There was anger, and there were words. Paul left her house heartbroken, even though he hadn’t set foot inside. Even though he hadn’t caught them in a sexual act, it was the lies, the lies that Linda told. How many more were there? Did Paul want to know? Paul wanted a drink.

It was a four-year relationship that was tearing him apart. Paul had put in four years. He had trusted for four years. He just wanted to understand the lies. Linda had told him when he had caught her lying to him before that she didn’t want to tell him, because she didn’t want to deal with his jealousy. Paul didn’t understand. He couldn’t. He had cleared his life out for her, but she wouldn’t do the same for him. When his relationship was good with Linda, it was heavenly, but when it was bad, it was hell on earth. It was beer time.

Back at the apartment, Paul pulled a beer and cracked it. He turned on the television and drank. Television was useless. There was a plate on top of the television. A dirty fork was to the side of it. The remains of last night’s chicken still sat on the plate. Paul had been in such a rush to get to work that morning that he hadn’t even bothered to clean up. He surveyed the room. He had been in a good mood in the past few days, but the rooms were messy. His clothes were everywhere. There was the pile of newspapers by the door. That pile had been building for the past month, Paul had just been too busy to recycle or throw them away or whatever the hell you do with old papers.

Paul looked down at the ground and saw that the grit and the pieces and ends of entropy were thick. He hadn’t vacuumed in weeks. Paul accepted the fact that he was a total slob. Was this why Linda still ran back to Chuck? Paul knew that the sloppiness that he was surrounded with was about to get significantly worse. When a man has to heal on the emotional level, things have to take a back seat, or maybe even get thrown out of the back window. House hygiene was one of those things.

Paul couldn’t get the betrayal out of his head. He slugged the beer back, and finished the can. He focused his teary eyes on the television screen to see that he was supposed to be watching an infomercial on quick cash made by uneducated people.

Paul got up for another beer. On the crumb-covered kitchen table, was a pile of papers, receipts. These were the purchases of his life of late. A coffee here, a burrito there. The receipts gave the time and place and price of all of the mediocre purchases. The receipts told him the titles of the CDs, the types of burritos and the titles of the magazines purchased. They spoke of his life on an intimate level that a stranger would really be able to appreciate. As he fumbled his second beer from the plastic ring that kills seagulls at beaches, the phone rang. Paul stumbled towards it. He loped like a man that had been shot in the center of his back. Then he stopped. It was time for Linda to go. He knew that he couldn’t take her anymore. He knew that she would run back to Chuck or whoever she wanted if he was gone. Paul had weighed the pain, and he knew that it would hurt more to keep her around then to let her go. It was time for her to go. His hand hesitated over the receiver. He picked it up.

“Hello.” He said. He kept his voice serious. He didn’t want to reveal to her that he might actually like hearing her voice.

Paul! Paul! What’s up! It’s William!” The voice yelled. Paul had to figure himself out.

“Ohhhhh, I thought that this was going to be someone else. Hey William, what’s up?” Paul asked. He wanted to sound as excited as William sounded, but he really was not.

“Yeah, we have a bachelor party going down here, and we need you to be a part of it!” William said.

“Look , Billy, I really ain’t up to celebrating the idea of marriage. I think that Linda and I just broke up.” Paul said.

“Just all the more reason for this! Look! It’ll be just a few guys. Richard is getting married; we thought that a night of drinks and porn could be fun! Come on! Richard just asked Maria to marry him last week. We have to get this thing going now. Like tomorrow night! Come on! If you don’t have Linda, what else are you going to do with your Friday night?” William had a good point.

Paul began to consider this friend William. William was the exact kind of guy that would plan a bachelor party with beer and porn. The thing was that Paul wasn’t really interested in a bunch of porn right now. With Linda gone, it would simply remind him of what she and Chuck were probably doing right at that very moment. Paul had always been indifferent to porn. He could take or leave it. It was fun to look at it from time to time, but Paul was much more interested in the real thing.

“Porno and beers? Is there anything else going on?” Paul asked.

“Hey, this is some real special footage that I picked up from my brother. I guarantee you that you have never seen this stuff before. I really want you guys to see this stuff. It is going to freak you out!” William said.

“What, you have bestiality or something?” Paul asked. He wasn’t curious yet, but it was coming.

“It’s the new level of porn. That’s all I want to say. It takes it to the next level. I think the stuff is killer!” William was extremely excited.
“Killer, huh? Let me drink this beer that I have here, and call you back.” Paul said.

“Call me tomorrow if you want. I’ll give you the directions to the motel. Oh, and bring twenty bucks.” William said.

“Got it, later.” Paul said. He was done. He hung up the phone. Porn and beers on a Friday night? Maybe back when he was fifteen, but now? At twenty-seven? There had to be more for a recently made single man to do.

“I fucked up.” Paul said to himself in the mirror. He was looking himself dead in the eyes. His hair was wet. It hung down his face like seaweed. The steam from the shower he’s just had hung about him like cigarette smoke.

“I should have never trusted her. I should have never trusted her. I should have never trusted her.” He repeated again and again and again. The problem was that he still wanted to trust her. He wanted this rift to all go away. He wanted it all to be as it had been not so long ago. The problem was that she had lied. If she was lying about this, what else was she lying about? Why had she chosen to lie about this? Why couldn’t she have just told him the truth? What was so important about this Chuck motherfucker that made Linda want to lie to him? She was breaking his heart. The problem was that Paul was a man, and a man as far as Paul knew, could not admit to emotional struggles.

Re-calibrating the heart is a hard thing to do. Paul’s method was one of the hardest. Anger from betrayal was the start, but then it would have to descend into all out hatred. Paul was one of those people who could never deal with the same lover again on a friendship level. He didn’t want to keep Linda around. This relationship was going to have to die. Paul now knew that Linda was going to want to keep him around like she kept Chuck around. Paul wasn’t ready for that. Paul knew that he was going to have to hurt her. He was going to have to hurt her is such a way that she would never want to come back to him. If she was going to break his heart, then he was going to have to break her’s back, and hard.

The intimacies that Paul had shared with Linda were not to be trivialized. Paul had actually loved her. If she wanted to keep him around as a friend, she was sorely mistaken. Paul wasn’t geared that way. He couldn’t be. Suppose Paul was to get involved with someone else. Would he always want to have Linda in the background? No. Would he subject his new lover to what he had just been subjected to with Chuck? Paul didn’t will the pain that he felt on anyone. It really frosted him that Linda couldn’t see his angle. Paul was furious with her. If there was one person who needed to feel the pain that Paul felt, Linda was the one. Paul was angry, he needed to stick with his resolve. The resolve was to kick Linda out and never deal with her on an intimate level again. Sure, there was business that had to transpire. Sure, he was going to have to ransack her car and house to get back his things, but this was going to have to be over. He had to bolster up. He had to toughen himself. Paul had to make himself strong, or he was going to get hurt by this woman, and Chuck, again. More beer.

As Paul held his dialogue with himself in the mirror, the phone rang in the other room. Paul, already toweled around the waist, went and answered it.

“Hello?” He asked.

“Paul, this is Linda.” She said. Paul had been bracing himself for this one.

“Yeah?” Paul asked. He was hurt. Why would she call now? What could she want? She had to know how bad he’d been hurt. She had to. He didn’t want to let the guard down. He had to keep the front on. He had to let her know that the distance that was coming across the phone lines were her doing. A plan was hatching in the back of Paul’s head. It was like the opening of an ugly blossom. The potential for pain was about to be realized.

“Paul, it’s not what you think. Why are you so suspicious? Why don’t you just accept the fact that I can have a relationship with this guy? It doesn’t change who you are to me. It doesn’t change it in the least. You are still my boyfriend. Chuck? He’s just a friend. He doesn’t matter on that level. It’s you I want, not him. Can’t you understand this?” Linda was using a soft voice, attempting to disarm him.

“Then why lie to me, Linda? Why the deception? Why would you play me like that? I don’t understand. If you and Chuck are so…innocent, why give me the bullshit line?” Paul spoke. His voice was strong, almost harsh.

“I didn’t want you worrying about it. I didn’t want you thinking other things. Chuck needed to talk to me about relationship problems that he is having with his current girlfriend. He needed me to talk to him. I know how you feel about his and my relationship. I recognized him as a friend and tried to make it work. It backfired. I’m sorry.” Linda said.

“You lied to me. You lied to me about a previous lover of yours. How am I supposed to feel? I don’t keep my previous girlfriends around for you to wonder about. Do you know that I wonder about you two, because I see him around? I wonder how you two were as lovers. I think of his hands on you. I think of him inside of you. I think of you looking at him like he is your one and only. That shit doesn’t just change. There is still some sort of bond there that you two have. I can’t be a part of it. I was never a part of it. And then you are going to go and lie to me so that you can spend time with him, while he talks about his new lover? Linda, I need some time. I need some time to think about whether I trust you or not. I have to go.” Paul slammed the receiver down.

He had thrown it in her face, where it belonged. This selfish woman was only thinking of herself on this one. Was she running a double standard? Paul wasn’t sure. Paul felt the desire to call an ex-girlfriend and talk to her, just to spite Linda. The situation was ugly. Paul knew that it was ugly, and he wanted to make it better. At that time though, Paul had to just contain his anger. He felt the swelling of hatred, not for Linda, but for Chuck. The lingering though of beer tingled in the back of his head again.

Chuck was disrespecting Paul’s space. Paul knew that Chuck knew this. Men know about special relationship issues. A man who is in the space of another man’s female understands the respect that is necessary. Chuck wasn’t playing by the rules. Paul ran the image of Chuck over in his head again and again. He knew that if Chuck was in the room right at that time, that he was capable of murder. Not just any murder, but the kind of murder that is slow and brings lots of pain. Paul thought of bleeding Chuck with paper cuts. Hanging Chuck upside down, and bleeding him drop by drop into a metal bedpan. What would Paul do with the blood? Whip it into a milkshake or something. Paul would have to violate Chuck’s blood in a way that would make Chuck think that if he lived through this horror, that he would never want to see Linda or Paul again. Paul thought of rubbing alcohol on open wounds. He thought of genitals in a vice grip. Paul thought of a sledgehammer to Chuck’s face. Knocking teeth into a skid across the floor. Seeing Chuck’s skull collapse in an unnatural fashion. Having to pull the mallet out of the crater that it had created in his once existent face. It would come with a sucking, gushing sound. Paul was capable of these and other acts of violence at the moment. Paul was furious with this man that he didn’t even really know. He realized that his anger was almost solely for Chuck, and not for Linda. Paul needed to think Linda through again.

And as he thought, he realized how selfish she was. She knew that her relationship with Chuck irked him, yet she continued, oblivious to his feelings. If the whole situation were inverted, how would she feel? He picked up the phone and dialed her back. Speed-dial button. Things were going to have to change around his house.

“Paul!” She said. Her voice was excited. Caller ID. Some things were really going to have to change.

“Linda, listen. Let’s invert this whole situation. Suppose I had an ex around and you were struggling with it. Suppose I lied to you in order to spend more time with the ex? How would you feel?” Paul was trying hard to keep his voice level.

“It wasn’t a lie. I really had to deal with my mother, then I didn’t. I was really off for the evening, and then Chuck came by. I just didn’t tell you.” She said.

“So, you were willing to put the time in with him that was rightfully mine?” Paul asked.

“Chuck is my friend, he needed to talk.” She responded.

“You are evading the question, Linda. How would you feel?” Paul asked. He had to remain stolid in his query. Linda was good at changing subjects. She was good at throwing it back at him.

“I don’t know how I would feel.” She said, calmly. This was the lie. She knew exactly how she would feel. To say that she didn’t know meant that she didn’t want to face the truth. Paul knew this.

“You don’t know? I am hanging out with a woman that I fucked before and we spend all kinds of time together behind your back and you don’t know how you would feel? Linda, tell me the truth. Tell me the truth and we can move on from this.” Paul said.

I can’t have this conversation right now.” Linda said. Then she hung up the phone.
This was when Paul realized that it was over. He realized that she wasn’t going to buckle for him. He now knew that on some deep levels, Chuck meant more to her than he did. Paul now had to decide how ugly his breakup with Linda was going to be. Was he going to explode? Was he going to lash out with all of his venom? Or was he going to leave quietly? Emotional man that Paul was, he was going to have to wait and see what he would do, he had no idea. He now made a beeline to the rest of the sixpack.

Friday came. Paul had almost forgotten to call for directions, because his brain had been so screwed up with Linda. Paul really wasn’t looking forward to the bachelor party. Paul really wasn’t feeling sexual at all. He felt little or no desire to see a naked woman, let alone, two porn stars in the throes of pseudo-sexual satisfaction.

William was too excited for Paul. The phone conversation was almost completely William yelling to be there at seven o’clock sharp. There wasn’t even a worry about how much beer or money to bring. William wanted to make sure that everyone saw this new level of porn that he had.
Paul wondered to himself for the rest of the afternoon what it could be. As far as he knew, the serious taboos had already been explored. His friend Keith had sent him an email several years before with a picture of a woman having sex with a german shepherd. Paul had read about the countless kiddie porn busts that had been happening across the nation. There were only so many directions that porn could go in. There were only so many different ways a human could wield his or her sexuality. There were only so many different ways a human body could be violated. Paul knew that whatever William had, it was going to ruin him on a level. There was no real excitement in it for Paul either. A good horror film was what Paul needed, that was the kind of escape that would have worked for him. Paul knew this. He needed his escape. He needed to put his brain on a hook somewhere and zone out. Watching some neo-porn was not going to help him zone out at all.

There was something about porn that made Paul uneasy. In a soft-core sex scene in a standard Hollywood film, it is a given that there is no real penetration involved. This makes the scene ‘safe’. This is actually acting on one level or another. In a hard-core sex scene, it is two actors actually engaging in the sexual act. It is too honest. It is too raw. The voyeurism is too intense. Paul didn’t like porn, because he felt guilty about it. He didn’t like watching the sexual practices of others. He had never reconciled himself to this fact. He would never have wanted anyone to have seen the way he had taken Linda on the bed, or on the floor, or anywhere, so why would he want to view other people engaged in the same thing? He was also afraid that deep down inside of himself, it would corrupt his own performance when it came time for his next sex act. Paul didn’t want to deal with other people’s business, his own was bad enough. The idea of looking at real people involved in real sex scared him. The prospect of real people involved in something that William was saying was new was even further beyond Paul.

Paul wondered what it could possibly be. He wondered if it was rape on film. This had been done. He had read about it. How some of the more recent porn that was coming out was more and more brutal, and that rape was the underlying theme behind it. Paul wondered what kind of man would get off watching a rape scene on film. What did it mean? What had happened to the man that enjoyed watching rape scenes to the point that he would actually feel sexually aroused watching such filth?

The next question was simply that of masturbation. Porn, Paul knew, was merely a masturbation tool. Men play with themselves when they view porn. This is what men are supposed to do. This is what has been accepted. Porn has never had the monicker of ‘stuff to help you whack off’ but just the same, that’s what it is. The idea of sitting in a room, drinking beer, watching porn, crowded in with a bunch of horny, sexually repressed men, scared Paul. It was something that didn’t appeal to him terribly. Paul also began to wonder about the idea of porn being a masturbatory tool. If porn was accepted. If porn was mainstream. If porn was a big part of the juggarnaught known as pop culture, then why weren’t people masturbating in public? Paul began to work this argument through. Pee Wee Herman was busted in a porn theatre for masturbating. The property must have been private where Pee Wee had been located. But Pee Wee was still busted for indecent exposure. If masturbation was ok, then why, would someone be busted for masturbating in a porn theatre of all places?

The final road that Paul’s mind went down before he decided that he would have to wait and see William’s new find was that of the unexplored. Paul as a youngster had watched the Faces of Death movies. After he had sat through three of them with his friends on a Saturday afternoon, Paul had felt violated in some way. The movies showed autopsies and damaged corpses. They showed murder caught on film. They showed suffering and brutality. Men, women and animals were mangled before Paul’s young eyes. Paul was also keenly aware that a lot of this footage, if not all of it was quite real. Paul was aware that these were things that had actually happened to other human beings, and that these were things that he should not have watched. Paul was thinking about how far the sexual act could be pushed. The only things that he could think of was necrophilia. Paul was sure that whatever William had to show them that evening had nothing to do with sex with the dead. Paul was sure of it. But why was William so gleeful? Why was William so giddy about all of this? Paul was going to have to wait. The feeling that Paul had was that of morbid curiosity. He knew that what he was going to observe that evening was going to stay in his brain for the rest of his life. He knew that no matter how drunk, or how stoned he got, he was going to have to contend with whatever images darted off of the television screen in just a few hours. He was aware of this, but he also wasn’t a coward. William had been selling the idea that this was a new dimension in porn for a while now. The other people who were invited to the party had been talking about it. They had been speculating as to what it could possibly be. There was a buzz in the air, courtesy of William. Paul knew that it was something, but he didn’t know what. It was intangible, and Paul felt like a lamb headed for the slaughter.

“Paul? Is that you?” Linda asked through the phone.

“Yeah, Linda, it’s me.” Paul said. His voice was resigned. Pissed, but resigned.

“Paul. Look, I’m sorry about lying to you. I know that it must have hurt you when you realized that it was all about Chuck. I’m sorry. I really am. You have to understand that I don’t feel for him the way that I feel for you.” Linda’s voice was humble. It was smooth. But she wasn’t backing down.

“Linda, I can’t hate you. I can’t stay angry with you forever. I am going to try to understand this whole thing. I am going to try and work with this thing. Yes, I think Chuck is a total prick, but that is my opinion, and he is your friend. I need to respect the fact that you have friends. Listen, don’t lie to me. I hate it when you lie. It kills us.” Paul said. He wasn’t going to make it. He knew that what Linda wanted to do was all about her selfishness within the relationship. He knew that the only way that he could have her back in his life was to allow this Chuck guy in too. Paul wasn’t going to do it, unless there was a way to pay them both back for the damage that they were inflicting upon his psyche.

“Paul, we all lie. We all lie to protect ourselves and to protect those around us. I will try not to lie to you, so long as you promise not to flip your lid next time you see Chuck and I together.”

“It’s a deal. I wish that we could hang out tonight, but I have this bachelor party that I am supposed to go to.” Paul said.

“That’s okay, I need some time to myself. Can we have a date tomorrow night?” Linda asked.

“I would really like that. I mean really. I will also need to decompress after I deal with whatever is going down tonight.”

“Do you guys have a stripper or something?” Linda asked. He voice wasn’t accusatory; it just accepted the fact that this is what men did at bachelor parties.

“No, no stripper, but this guy William keeps on saying that he has this new dimension in porn that he wants to show us.” Paul said.

“Ooooh, new porn? Maybe I should come!” Linda said.

“Yeah, at this point, you could take my place, I am apprehensive about this. The guy is pushing it almost to maniacal proportions. He is so hell-bent on all of us seeing this stuff. It is actually beginning to make me wonder what the hell he really does have.” Paul said.

“Well, tomorrow we can meet and we can swap notes. Have fun, honey!” Linda said.

“Yeah, I’ll try.” Paul said.

“I love you.” Linda proffered.

“I have to go, I’ll call you tomorrow.” Paul said. He wasn’t going to step in the love direction. He was still sore. On paper they were still together. But in his heart, that bitch had walking papers.

“Bye-bye.” Linda responded. The conversation ended.

Paul wanted to feel that it was all over. He wanted the peace that said that this grudge match between Linda and himself was done. Inside he knew it was not. Inside he knew that she had sabotaged his trust. Inside he knew that it was going to be awhile before she could earn that trust back. Paul wanted to trust, he really did, but he couldn’t put his whole heart into it at this point. The relationship was going to die...but at this time, is could limp of life-support. Perhaps the distraction of a wicked porn film was what he needed.

There were four teenagers, bound and gagged, being led into a warehouse at gunpoint. Their eyes were wide, like that zebra having his entrails eaten by tigers on the Discovery channel. They were all boys. They were all men. As one stepped closer to camera range, the scene changed. It was a flashback to previous footage. It was the same kid. He was wearing the same clothes, he just wasn’t bound, gagged and scared looking.

“Yeah, I want to show you all how I can fuck.” He said to the camera. He smiled, then broke out with a maniacal laugh.

“I am going to be the star of your new porno!” He yelled. It was obvious that the footage had been filmed in a greasy spoon somewhere. The contrast of this kid’s boyish like features and his zest for life against the original shot of a bound and gagged prisoner was revolting.

The scene cut again. The next young man was paraded before the camera. His long hair obscured his face. The duct tape over his mouth had his hair caught in it. The obvious thing was that his hair was going to rip when the tape was pulled. There was another cut. This time, the young man’s hair was pulled back into a pony-tail. This time, the kid had French fries that he was eating as he talked to the camera. It was the same sort of machismo posturing. How good he was going to be in bed. This happened two more times. First, there were shots of the prisoners, then shots of them at a previous time.

Paul was beginning to feel sick. He knew where this seemed to be going. He looked around the darkened hotel room. His friends were sprawled on the bed, the chairs and the floor. They all seemed totally enraptured with what was on the screen. Paul was disturbed. He knew that this wasn’t going to end in a nice way. He looked over at William, whose curly hair looked like an afro in the dim light. William was smiling. A big satisfied smile. The kind of smile that comes after a hard day’s work.

William!” Paul said.

“Shut up! This is my debut!” William said. Then there was shifting in the room. No one had known that William was actually going to be in this film.

“I don’t want to see you naked!” Jonathan yelled from the floor. His baseball cap was on backward; he was lying on his stomach.

“Yeah! Who wants to see you naked? And what’s up with these guys? I thought that we were watching a porno! This is some gay shit!” John yelled from the bed. John was John so that Jonathan on the floor could keep his name as Jonathan. Neither of them wanted to be called ‘Johnny’.

Suddenly, Jonathan jumped up and shut the television screen off. He hopped over to the door and flicked the light on.

“This is beginning to look like some sort of homo-snuff film, Billy. I think that you have some explaining to do!” Jonathan said. His shirt was off. The baseball cap on his head looked out of place, his swollen pink, hairy belly hung over his pants.

“Look guys. I’m in this. This movie I guess is technically not porno. This is a thing that me and my brother came up with.”

“Ah shit! Now you are going to show us some incest?” John yelled from the bed. There was laughter in the room.

“William, this is my bachelor party, and this is beginning to look really fucked up.” Richard said from the chair. Richard really looked disturbed. His eyes were wide and he was pulling at his moustache with his fingers.

Paul looked around and examined the rest of the people in the room. Mike was on the floor. He was a square-jawed follower. He would do anything that Jonathan told him to do. Jonathan and Mike were inseparable. There were two empty beer bottles next to where Jonathan had been lying, and there were two empty bottles next to Mike. He wore his hair in the surfer, feathery look of the eighties. He was blond, and dumb as a post. Then there was Ian who was standing in the corner, sort of half leaning on the nightstand. Ian was by and large, the sharpest guy of the bunch. He was educated. He had a degree in marketing or something, but he still drove forklifts with the rest of them. The quietest of the bunch was Mitchell, who was sitting at the edge of the bed. He was a large man, with an extremely muscular back. His blue and white plaid shirt was pulled tight across his back, giving him the look of Lou Ferrigno just before the shirt ripped on ‘The Incredible Hulk’. Mitchell had nothing to say, he was simply listening.

You guys, I don’t like this, I’m outta here.” Ian said.

“Awww, come on! You have to see my debut!” William said. William was beginning to look worried.

“William, you know how I feel about porn, and whatever the fuck is going to happen on that screen is nothing that I want anything to do with.” Ian said.

“Don’t be such a party pooper! Stick around for Richard! It’s his bachelor party!” William said.

“Richard, I’ll be at your wedding, but seriously, I don’t think that I need this.” Ian said.

“Yeah William, I mean, what the fuck is this stuff?” Paul asked.

Ian made his way out of the corner that he was in. He didn’t even bother saying goodbye to the people in the room, he just left.

“Guys look, let’s just roll it for ten more minutes and then if you still don’t like it, we can turn it off.” William said.

Monkeys as pets...more

I continued with the monkey story...for 8 bloody chapters. Each chapter was an exercise in pain for the protagonist. It eventually became more of a comedy show and less of what I wanted to really do with it. It is still badass though.

Of course I told Officer Leary no. What was I supposed to say? Jeff was probably dead anyway. I needed to think. He left me, and I was free to stare at the freakish soaking humanoid in the jar next to the bed. I closed my eyes. I made sure I was completely relaxed and I worked towards sleep. As I worked and tried to dry my mind of any waking thoughts, I thought of Brak in the jar. His black fur had soaked into a sort of dull black color now. His expression was that of a grimace. His eyebrows were even furrowed. I opened my eyes and looked at him. His brows were furrowed alright, and he was looking right at me. I worked myself over to my side and reached out for the jar. It was a big jar, and I started to turn it. I wanted that monkey looking elsewhere. His dead body knocked dully against the side of the jar. His positioning turned and soon he was looking out the window. I was completely winded. I lay back and closed my eyes again. I had seen the pictures of the old carnival jars with two headed babies and six-legged cats. This was one of those jars. Straight out of a drive-in movie. I went to sleep, I am sure of it.
Then I heard it. A scampering. A scrabbling. Something was working around on the polished linoleum floor. I listened to it for a bit before I actually opened my eyes. It was there alright…the jar that Brak was in was still where I had left it. But something was violently working its way under my bed. I couldn’t exactly tell where it was going, but I had a hunch that it wanted something to do with me.
I felt the twang of something grabbing one of the metal bars of the bed. Then I felt the vibrations through the mattress. I pulled my covers down and looked at my chest. I wanted to see my wound before I tore it trying to get the hell out of there. I had stitches like Frankenstein’s monster up and down my stomach and chest cavity. They were dried and scabby looking. I attempted to sit up, and I felt them pulling. I had no stomach muscles any more. Apparently, the stomach is one big muscle, and they must have ripped right through it and peeled it back in order to retrieve the jarred primate. I had to sit up. I had to get out. The sound underneath me was muffled…because whatever it was now was working on the cloth of the mattress. I rolled myself up to the guard rail keeping me in. I was on my belly. I looked up to the headboard and saw one of those clown pictures where he is holding balloons behind his back and giving one to an innocent looking child. Just as I had concluded that Norman Rockwell was a total sellout artist, I crashed to the floor. My stitches ripped. I felt the wounds weeping. I had landed on my side. The guard rail must have slipped, because I had barely pushed against it. I was facing the bed, so I began to look, and scrutinize, to see what it was that was making the noise under the bed. At the same time, I was fumbling, trying to remember if I was wearing slippers, or something that could be used as a makeshift weapon.
Then I saw it. It was another monkey. This one looked furious though. His brow was furrowed, and the teeth were clenched behind a crashing wave shaped upper lip. He was inside the mechanism under the bed. I was beginning to wonder if he really knew what he was doing. He dropped to the floor. He crouched, and then pounced, straight for my face.
I was in no position to wrestle with this thing. He buried his fangs into my left forearm. The pain was deep. I felt his teeth scrape my bone. He wrapped his whole body around my arm like a dirty tourniquet and started to dig. He was shredding this arm, as if he was looking for something. The pain of my weeping chest and stomach wounds was immediately rendered dull with this fresh, new attack. He was directly past my elbow. Right past the crook in my arm. He was treating it like a chicken drumstick. I pounded my arm, monkey side down against the cold, cold floor to no avail. My blood was drenched in his fur, and it looked like I was brush painting on the floor. I needed a weapon, fast, and my slipper theory was shot. I wanted to reach the night table and get the Brak jar. The thought was to have the jar drop on this monkey. Maybe I could break it and use a sharp of glass. The thoughts were fast, but the pain was faster. My stitches were popping, and I felt my flesh relaxing on the wounds and my insides attempting to loll out. I needed to keep my belly either up, or down. I chose down. I used my arm with the attached primate to crawl on, and lean on. I threw it out and leaned on it as hard as I could. I felt parts of his bones giving and popping. His tail shot out, straight. He unburied his bloodied face from my arm, there was a different level of pain with this, and with my tendons dripping from his teeth, he hissed in my face. Blood was pouring out of me like an overturned tumbler. It was time to die.
Suddenly, the hissing, bloody mouthed monkey recoiled. He hunkered down. Pulled his head down as low as his shoulders. I felt him pull away from my arm. Then I felt him pull in for purchase and grip harder. I was woozy, and my head collapsed to the right. It was too hard to keep it up anymore.
“Yeah, that’s right…!” I heard a voice over me say. Then I felt the monkey take another hit. He squawked. He hissed and was looking at whomever it was that was standing over me. I felt something whiz by my ear, ripping into it a little. I looked up after it had passed. An orderly was knocking the monkey in the face with a broom. I opened my left eye to a squint to see what was happening. I saw the monkey taking bristle shots to the face. The orderly was spearing him with the business end of the broom. It was a classic kitchen broom and not a pushbroom looking sweeper. Now the monkey’s own blood was mixing with mine on his wet, furry face. My blood was underneath me. I could feel it soaking into my chest. I could smell it, mixed with that dried Pine-Sol floor smell. I coughed into it, and blew it aside where it formed small bubbles. I felt the monkey let go. I grabbed my left forearm, where he had been tearing. My hand countersunk into my wound. I was a total mess. I curled up on my side, feeling the blood soak into my hospital gown. I heard the bashing of the remains of the monkey, and the orderly cursing. He must have bashed that thing twenty or thirty times. Each time he bashed it, the monkey would squeak. But these were squeaks of attrition. Life was leaving the monkey, and I was going to sleep.


That's what they do. The eyes. They begin to roll back. Soon all that can be seen is the whites. The pulsing, it has happened, behind the brain. Soon the pulsing is in the brain, and if something doesn't happen soon, the pulsing becomes the brain. My eyes have begun to roll. I am driving right now, but I think I can negotiate my way to the shoulder and find my way. I will find my way. If I don't, my motor skills will collapse and I will be non-communicatve. Non-communicative in such a way that I won't get what I need.

The Presentation

Yeah, there is a lot more to this...but here is a taste...

"Fine, I'll present it first!" He said directly before slamming the reciever into the beige cradle. He probably wouldn't have used such force on his personal phone, but the business he was in required travel, and the flop-house he was in was so foul that a crack in the phone plastic wouldn't be noticed, ever. What an evening. In the time that he had suffered on the phone, the Los Angeles sky had turned dark with its sour evening.

A knock at the door.

Barry was still pissed. Gabriel had stuck him with the first presentation the next morning and now there was disorganization in the air. The presentation to the customer had been mapped out weeks in advance. Gabriel suddenly had this brainstorm and wouldn't back off of it. Barry had said no, but Gabriel insisted. Gabriel had also pushed the kind of whinge that suggested trouble with the higher ups when they got back to Kansas.

There was another knock.

"Yeah." Was all Barry could muster.
"Room Service." Said a male on the other side of the door. A big male. The kind of male with a throaty, yet raspy voice. Calamari and fries? Barry was trying to remember what the hell he had ordered.
"Leave it." Barry said. He glanced out the window at the full moon, glaring yellow at him through it's guaze of pollution.
"Must have shigatooor." The voice on the other side of the door said. There was a groan on the other side of the door. The groan a tired man makes on his way to bed. Barry made a note in his head that even the bellhops in this horrid dive were drunk. He was going to cite this all and grab his boss by the back of his head and force the paper in that scrawny man's face. He could do that in the morning after he covered for Gabriel's so-called brainstorm. The company was cutting too many corners these days. They had lost too many accounts and they were hiring whiney bitches like Gabriel to do what Barry used to be proud to do.

"Shigataaaaaar." The voice on the other side of the door said. Barry thought he heard dishes drop and break outside the door. The bastard couldn't even carry food properly, Barry thought. There was a thrashing. Something violent was happening in the hall. This something was a nuisance.

In anger and disgust, Barry unlocked the door. He swung it open with a swish. His eyes needed a second to focus on the urine stained hallway. His eyes weren't meant to have that second though. Something wet and hairy hit him directly in the face. His nose screamed. He couldn't smell the hairy thing that hit him because the blood flowed instantly. The scent under the blood reminded him of the scent of saliva. Saliva on skin.

The saliva thought was pinched off with a piston-shot across his left cheek. Barry didn't have time to think of retaliation as his head recoiled with a snap to the right. His cheek had torn and it flapped against his teeth. The wound would bleed, but not before the next assault. The mate to the left rip was another piston-shot, this one to his right cheek, which caused Barry to stumble back with a twist to the left. Barry's left hand landed on the greasy, wooden footboard of the full-size bed he was going to use later. He buckled and dropped to his left knee. Then the figure that had so skillfully rearranged his face appeared out of the shadowy doorway. He was an average sized man, in the blue polyester hotel service garb. His arms were huge however; misshapen, overdeveloped and hairy. These muscular trunks thinned to what looked to Barry like claws, or maybe paws. The man smiled and his teeth were jagged, possibly fanged and yellow.

He stepped forward and stood directly over Barry.
"You need to know that you are no one special, but I have to pass this on." His voice was deep. Raw. It was the voice of a bigger man. Barry looked up at the man. He focused just in time to see that the man was waiting for Barry to look so that he could deliver another center-face crunch with that hairy fist of his.

The blood was flowing freely. Barry felt it gushing out of the fleshy fronds that were the remaints of his left cheek. As he fell to his back, he realized with revulsion that the hits that had knocked him right, then left had actually been open-palmed claw swipes. Barry raised his hands defensively to block his face from another attack. He felt the blood filling his left ear as it flowed hungrily to the floor. He felt inside his left cheek with his tongue. The blood was galloping out of what seemed to be a wound that probably looked like a popped firecracker.

"You get the curse. You get it all. It is powerful at first, and then it will wane." The man growled. He reached down and grabbed Barry by his shirt-collar; his tie was in the mess too, Barry felt it pulling on the back of his neck. The man hardly bent at the waist to do this, because his arms were so long.

Barry was pulled face to face with the man. Barry didn't look him in the eyes.

"Stand up." The man commanded. He stood Barry on his feet. The slick, syrupy blood covered the upper half of Barry's shirt and mixed into the hairy hands pulling him about, causing the two individuals to merge metaphorically. Barry's knees buckled and he dropped. As he fell, the man's right knee caught Barry in the chin, clacking his teeth shut. The propulsion of the raised knee sent Barry backwards, in an arc lightly accentuated by oddly shaped and weighted drops of blood.

"The disease works in your favor. It is personal. Your enemies will be destroyed. You regenerate perpetually." The man said. He stepped forward and stood over Barry again.

Barry shook it off. He had taken shots to the head in fights before. He had been cold-cocked before. Barry lifted his right foot with the swiftest soccer kick he could muster. He planted the tip of his wing-tip square and deep into the man's balls.

The man dropped slightly, with his knees bending in. Barry dropped his right foot out of his opponent's crotch and filled the space with his rapidly incoming left shoe.

The man howled. The howl was gutteral and raw. It sounded as if the vocal chords had been stretched and torn. They sounded altered and inhuman. The man fell forward. Directly onto Barry. Barry flailed, attempting to dodge this incoming body. The man brought his hand forward and clasped it around Barry's throat. Barry felt the weight of his fallen opponent completely upon him. Face to face now, and Barry looked him in the eyes. The eyes were nothing special. They seemed dead. Flicker-free.

"A couple of other things you need to know." The man wheezed.
"Silver bullets don't do shit. You regenerate too quickly. You regenerate perpetually. You can't die when you are in the form." He whispered. Barry coughed.
"Don't try to chain yourself up at the full moon. Don't try to stop it. You'll get the sickness." The man was speaking in measured, soft tones.
"Prepare to shine. When it first happens, you will be something too powerful. As time wears on, you will fade, more or less into something like me." He said, with a weak smile.
"What are you?" Barry hacked out. Blood pulsed anew inside his mouth and around his head. He was feeling weak.
"I am a man who is no longer the werewolf I used to be."

Barry rocked to his right, forcing the wolf-man to roll off. The grip on Barry's neck tightened. Barry looked at the arm that was holding him. He wrapped his fingers from both hands around it. he felt the muscle underneath, it was hard. It was hard like stone. It had no give whatsoever.

"Why me? Why me?" Barry choked out.

"Sometimes, the moon hits and we have to act fast." The man said. Then he pulled Barry forward and sank his teeth in Barry's neck. Barry felt the blood explode out of his artery like a geyser. He felt the man chew deeper. The he felt the push and the rip and the man finished tearing a hunk out of Barry's throat with his teeth.

Involuntarily, Barry began to twitch. He brought his hands up to cover his gaping throat wound. The man stood up next to him. Then ran full tilt at the window on the other end of the room, which was the ceiling for Barry in his prostrate state.

Barry heard the crash, and remembered that he was on the eighth floor as he heard the man with the long arms launch with a million glass shards, to his death.

The pool of blood around Barry's head was now making streams to different corners of the dusty hardwood floor. The only classy part about the hotel was the hardwood floor. This was Barry's last thought before he himself launched into oblivion.

The phone rang at 5:30 AM. Barry was on the floor, completely sore. He let it ring and ring. He finally managed through a series of complicated crawls and leans to grab the receiver. Hearing the recorded wake-up call from the front desk, he slammed it down again.

Standing, naked, he made his way across the hardwood to the bathroom. As he padded his feel along, the coolness was disturbed by warm sections of loose carpet. Looking down, Barry saw heavy patches of hair; specifically where he had found himself only a minute previous. There was blood dried blood on the floor. A fudgy pool of it. There were spatters on the walls. The window looked like someone had driven a car through it, or out of it. Head hurting, he reached up to scratch his neck, then felt his face. No rips, no serrated flesh. Barry turned and made his way to the bathroom. Then he saw that his front door was open and that there was a strip of the plastic yellow crime tape across the entrance of his door, from the outside. As Barry padded forward, he saw that the door wasn't open, it simply wasn't there.

Ducking into the bathroom, he grabbed a towel and wrapped it around himself. He stepped out into the hall. The whole floor was a crime scene. Two detectives were standing at the left end of the hall. Blood and debris scattered the floor and walls in both directions for the length of the hall.

Barry surveyed the doorframe. The door had been torn out by the hinges. It was nowhere to be seen in the hall.

Barry went back to the telephone by the bed. He racked his brain for a minute and then dialed Gabriel's room. There was no answer. He then re-racked and drummed up his boss's room number. He dialed.

"Room 223." A voice answered.
"I was calling to talk to Chuck." Barry mumbled.
"Who is this?" The voice queried.
"This is Barry, I am here with Chuck for a presentation." Barry's head was swimming. It was definitely hangover status. Possibly with an added post-Thanksgiving belly status, because he wasn't hungry in the slightest. He felt full. Gorged.
"Sir? Charles Henry was murdered this last evening." The voice said.
As Barry slowly put the receiver down he heard the voice stating: "Sir? sir?"

The Cold Smile

-Yeah, I don't know when I originally got fixated with pinnacles in hell, but it did happen to me back when I was a kid.

And there he was. Standing on some sort of rock. This rock was part of a pedestal, and this pedestal went down to what looked like forever.

He couldn't see how far down the pedestal went mainly because of the flames. But the flames were not hot. They were cold, and the flames were bluish. The air was cold. It snapped at him with mild breezes that were colder than the general atmosphere. He remembered hearing that hell was actually a cold place, and this must have been it. Satan must be halfway frozen in ice somewhere near. Dante...what a prick. Looking around he saw other people in the far distance, standing on similar pedestals. They were alone. He could have yelled at that volume that states that the voice gets no louder and they wouldn't have heard him. There was something in the air, a feeling of static, and a low rushing of some sort of flutter. The flutter might have been the flames, he couldn't tell. Whatever it was, it brought the cold. And he stood there, aware that he might have to stand there until the end of time, shivering.

But the ground under him shifted somehow. The rock was cracking. The sound was made more punctual by the cold. The pedestal couldn't have been more that five feet across, but something was happening in the center of it. The surface of the rock was powderizing. He looked down, and soon squatted. He reached down and began to wipe away the dust. It rose and made puffs of smoke as he brushed it away. The center of the platform was soft and getting softer still. The level of powder was going deeper. The rock was turning into dirt, from the center. With both hands, he pulled the excess dirt and gravel, throwing it feverishly over the side. The center of the rock platform became more and more like a funnel and he pulled more dirt out. He was feverish with his task. It was as if he was clearing out the center of a flower, working into the stem. And then he heard something. A snap. Suddenly all of the excess dust and gravel began sliding into the hole that he was clearing. He stood up and backed to the edge of the platform. The sliding continued. The funnel in the center was guzzling the dirt, dust and gravel as if a lid two feet across had slid open somewhere beneath it all. The hole was becoming larger, and the platform was falling into the hole. Then he realized that the area that he had been digging out barely left him with any room to stand on the edge. The way the gravel was pouring down the center, it seemed that the edge would be consumed soon. His footing slipped. His right leg shot towards the center of the hole, slipping on the dirt, which had now turned red as clay. The rumbling of the sliding dirt was all he could hear. The sound of sand being poured onto paper. The steady plash of a billion small things rubbing against each other. And the cold air tormented the edges of his ears, gnawing at them until they felt hot.

He scrambled backwards, towards the edge, but the funnel of moving gravel pulled him in. He heard the snap again. Everything stopped. Silent.He was able to pull his leg back and squat, looking down the funnel into its center. What he saw was white. Pearly white like piano keys. Leaning forward he saw that they were teeth. Fangs that interlocked. With dirt and dust around the pointed, jagged edges, and around what appeared to be the gums. There was a top and a bottom. They were curved and streaked. He could see the angles of their curvature, as if they had been sharpened by some sort of file. He couldn't see where the gumline ended. This whole thing made no sense. The mouth that was grinning at him seemed to be bigger in circumference than the actual stem of the platform he was lodged on. If he could climb out of this funnel and look down the outside, he knew that he would see no jaw muscles and nothing that would support the apparatus that he saw beneath his feet. As he attempted to comprehend what was beneath him, he slipped. The slipping continued until he was resting directly outside of the teeth. The opening was the size of a manhole, except there were teeth there, and a grimace. The fangs weren't a flush floor either, they actually were rounded and looked like horns. Shaped well. He was positive that they had been filed into their menacing shapes. No two fangs were the same size, but they all interlocked perfectly; keeping him out. They looked like porcelain horns, fitting into each other like some sort of sadistic puzzle. The cold worked its way up his arms and around his chest, finding routes through his clothing that he didn't know existed. It billowed against his flesh in what seemed to be hundreds of individual zephyrs, all bent on making him realize the lack of warmth.

And then the mouth opened. Only slightly, but it opened. As if it was considering saying something. That pause before the flow of a recently born sentence in the brain riding electricity to the tongue. The opening was perhaps just a half of a foot. Six mere inches. The size of the maw made six inches seem minuscule. He was very aware that he would never open his mouth this wide. It was wide enough for him to dip his toe into. He could probably fit his whole foot in there. If he'd had a crowbar, he could probably jimmy it in there and shoehorn the thing open. But what was beyond? Was this a living mouth? If he broke a tooth and exposed nerves, what would the repercussions be? The gravel poured into the cracks. The mouth wasn't completely open, just enough to show that it existed and it was aware that someone was right above it.
And he slipped again, violently. It was a tumble, and his hands went forward. Towards the choppers. His left hand landed against one of the fangs to steady his fall. Is was wet and hard, like a painted cement wall. It was cool. A soothing coolness that was pleasant compared to the general temperature around him. His hand was able to wrap around what seemed to be the edge of the fang. His fingers were precariously inside the mouth of this thing. The edge was sharp. Sharp like a well-used kitchen knife. Not enough to cut on the touch, but with force behind it, the edge was very capable of chopping. He pushed against it, in order to steady his positioning outside of this lipless smile. As he shifted, his right hand slipped forward, to the top of another fang. His fingers wrapped around the point, and he felt the subtle serrated edge. He felt again with his left and determined that one edge was smooth while the other was not. He filed this horrible notation far back, because his main purpose was to get his hands away from these teeth before something awful happened. Shuffling hard now, kicking dirt down the mystery throat, he attempted to stand. he had to get out of the position he was in. He had to get his hands out of the mouth of this thing. He felt the air around his hands as he gripped the potential blades. The backs of his hands felt stretched and dry. This air was sucking the moisture out of him. His eyes were making it obvious every time he blinked. His face felt stiff, and he settled into a carapace, unable to truly express emotion, because of the cold.

Then something awful did indeed happen.As his whole body yanked and slid into the center of the pit the mouth snapped shut, severing the fingers on both of his hands. It was a final severing. The fingers were gone. The force of the slamming teeth had shunted his digits completely off. With nothing to hold onto, he fell backwards onto his ass, and his feet shot forward. The teeth opened again. Holding his bloodied stumps at his chest, he kicked and scrambled, trying to keep his feet clear of this trap. His right heel dug into the gap, and his boot-heel was braced against the edge of a tooth. He felt the corresponding tooth on the other side of the jaw against his Achilles tendon. Thrashing with his left foot, he tried to find purchase in the gravel and dirt. He needed to get his foot out of there. For balance, he shoved his fingerless, weeping hands into the dirt behind him. The dirt, dust and gravel dug and tore into his open flesh, beckoning a level of infection that we just cannot comprehend in this day of age.
The jaw shut, slowly. He felt his ankle tested and buckling. He felt his tendon snap, and suddenly, his foot felt like a loose shoe as his entire heel now dangled freely underneath the compressing pressure of the teeth. Then, the test-biting was over, and the teeth clacked shut. His heel was gone, and because of his boots, he couldn't tell how much of his foot was still attached.

The liquid began to pour from the wound, streaming over the teeth. Causing them to be flushed with red. His blood mixed with the grime and pooled up between the teeth. Looking over his flailing legs, he felt like an insect in the mouth of someone how had just been punched there.
The blood caused him to slip, and his hands could find nothing to hang on to. He still had his thumbs and he dug with them, but the pain had hit levels that made his actions exaggerated and wrong for the time being.

His feet were now safe at what appeared to be the gumline and his hands were behind him at the other gumline. The only thing in danger was his ass, and he was holding it up, crab-soccer style to keep it from resting on the center of the grimace.
The mouth opened suddenly, and he pushed his sheared foot and his good one firmly into what seemed to be the gums, he pushed his cold, frothing hand stubs behind him and lifted. The mouth slammed shut.

Then there was an explosion of physics and dirt. The tube that he had worked his way into could no longer support itself and it shattered around him, like a balloon filled with dry dirt. Like a pinata with no purpose. Now, the teeth were the platform. Dirt, grime and filth rained down upon him as the new properties of the platform were revealed. Down his shirt, into his ears, clouding his squinting eyes. He made a similar grimace with his own teeth in an attempt to breathe through his mouth. the cold worked in his favor now, and the numbing helped dull the pain. But even though the nerve endings were slowed down, the blood still flowed. It was warm, and it misted lightly as it worked its way through the grime.

And now the whole organism was apparent. The teeth and mouth were the face of this thing. The throat went down and he was perched right on the most dangerous part of the creature. The blue flames licked about and the mouth opened. It opened wider and wider. The flexibility of the mouth was something that he hadn't initially considered. He was being drawn into it by default. It was going to keep on expanding until he dropped into it. His bloody foot kicked out and streams of coagulated chunks of his own mud spattered about. His hands, numb with pain slipped and gurgled in their own much and dirt. The widening continued, and soon his center wight dropped into the mouth. He attempted to roll to the side, but with no fingers to work with, his hands slicked across the teeth and he hung, like a hammock, across the teeth that were surely going to snap shut.

He realized the option of falling over the side and escaping this digestion, but it was too late.
The mouth stopped expanding, and once again all was quiet. The air was cold and his breath hung in the air like in a meat locker. He was sweating the panic sweat of stress. And there he hung, wounded, dripping in pain looking for that last bit of strength to hold him up before the inevitable. he wished it would close on him, and violently fold, sever and kill him, but this thing was obviously patient. This thing obviously had the rest of time.

Emotion at the TRU

One of the nice things about where I live is that it is in walking distance of the local Toys R Us. I like going to the TRU because it gives me an understanding about what pop culture is bringing to us and what it is slowly fazing out.

For example, Iron Man action figures are there already. Robert Downey Junior plastic heads with Stark Industry level helmets to slap on them. That movie isn't going to drop until May...but there they are at the TRU.

I have another reason why I like to go there. I love the toy cars. I always have. There are pictures of me as a kid with fistfuls of Hot Wheels. Well, for 99 pennies, you can still grab a Hot Wheel. Last year they did this Motown Metal collection with a grip of muscle cars from the 60s and 70s. I was on it. I have 2 of them on my computer tower at work. There are bigger toys too. There are the Jada Bigtime Muscle cars. These things are beautiful. They are at a level of craftsmanship that would have made me go blind as a kid.

So I am at the TRU. Ivan was with me. He likes to hang out in the Transformers/Star Wars figures area. I can be found near the Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars. We have this ritual. he will go to the area that interests him and hang out there until he finds something he likes or he gets bored. Either way, he comes to find me...usually with a toy of interest in his mitts.

So I was squatting near the Jada cars, checking out a Chevelle with some really fat meats on it when I saw this woman pacing slowly up to me. She looked tired. Sometimes, you look into someone's face and you can tell what emotion it is. In her case, it was sadness. it was a sadness coupled with an extreme fatigue. She looked like she had been chain-smoking for the past week. She had cycles under her eyes. her t-shirt was wrinkled, and she was wearing those gray sweats that people who are letting themselves go wear.

She was on the phone, so her pacing was towards me, but not to me. Then I heard what she had to say to whomever it was on the other end of the line.

"...every bone in his face. They broke them all. He is in critical condition. They lifted him to Stanford by helicopter..."

Then I felt like I was in an alleyway watching some woman get naked and step into a shower. I felt that voyeuristic. There was nothing for me to say. I wanted to console her. I wanted to let her know that I too understand what it is like to have someone you love in a physically beaten state. I wanted to look her in the eyes and absorb her pain. I wanted to hold her and have her collapse into my arms and have her let go of the sobs that she was holding.

And here we were in Toys R Us. Toys R Us is like church for kids. Conversations about shattered faces should be kept outside. What was she doing with this noise pollution in this sacred hall of immaculate plastic? Her personal tragedy was big enough to transgress these halls.

I hoped no little kid with a penchant for something Kenner or Mattel or Hasbro heard what she was talking about.

But the conversation wasn't for me. I was very aware of the fact that if she saw that I was listening, she would probably be offended. She wouldn't know what I was about. She would think that I was just some dirty guy in an alley watching her run hot water and strip.

I grabbed the Chevelle and made my way over to the Transformers to see what Ivan was up to.

The Rage and the Texting

At Circuit City last week DVDs were on sale. I picked up Marvel's Avengers 1 and 2. These are cartoon movies that were made relativly recently. Watching the first one over this last weekend was enjoyable. It starts off blah blah Steve Rogers blah blah World War 2 hero. He looks like a broken down Captain America. Well that is because he is Cap, just lame and old school. He does a number on the Nazis and then realizes that the Nazis are run by aliens. Then he gets frozen and brought back to life now. Today. The war is over but he is still the super soldier. Bruce Banner is working with SHIELD and Nick Fury is now black. Bruce is checking Steve Rogers' blood and trying to figure out how to control the raging beast within him using the same super soldier serum that made Steve Rogers into Captain America. The story twists and turns and we meet Giant Man who is a true asshole, Iron Man who is another asshole and Thor who is an asshole with a hammer. They all combine forces and go on a mission. Whatever to the mission because Bruce Banner goes off his meds and hulks out with a level of rage that I am only now beginning to comprehend.

So the other day I got this text message on my Blackberry. A text message straight up, attached to a phone number. It said, "I have a crush on you."
Right out of the gate I figured it was one of my daughter's many admirers who had gotten their wires crossed on numbers. It seemed like a logical deduction because my number could get mixed with hers in the shuffle of parental contacts, etc.

Anyway, I fired a text back that said "Ahahaha, you texted the wrong person!"
I figured that was the most benign response that I could come up with. Now in retrospect I have all of these more vicious responses floating through my head. You know, ones like: "Too bad, because I hate every fiber of your being."

But the other part of this is the whole cellie business in the first place. If I'd had a crush on someone when I was younger, there is no way I woulda put that into a text message and sent it out. NO WAY.

I think I let the kid off lightly.

But what if this was an adult? This assumption of mine could be totally off. That could have been an adult texting me. Talking about a crush and whatnot. What kind of adult does that? I have steered from the fact that this text probably came from a female, but I am steering into it now. I don't think guys say that they have a crush on someone. I think guys are a little cruder.

But what if this was a total pedophile who is a 40 something, unshaven, overweight asshole with yellow stains in his t-shirt armpits trolling for young girls to terrorize? The implication here is that it was my daughter he wanted to terrorize, and now as I sit here, I am swelling up like Bruch Banner off his meds.

Or what if it was a sting operation to catch pedophiles? Why would they have my number? And what if they were somehow screwed up and wanted to get ahold of my daughter? What if this was some supremely botched deal here? Undercover work gone stupid? I think my skin is turning green.

What if this was a joke played on me by someone I know in order to see my reaction? This one calms me down ever so slightly, because it is much more peaceful than what I have been thinking.

What if this was a sincere overture from some sort of person who really did have a crush on me? I am almost back to normal, thinking about this aspect. The anger has just about left me.

What if this was coming from some 40 something, unshaven, overweight asshole with yellow stains in his t-shirt armpits who actually WAS interested in me? Look into my eyes, gentle reader. My eyes look like I am wearing white colored contacts. I am losing control here.

What if Mariska Hargitay had somehow realized that there is only one diehard fan of hers out there and she wished to reciprocate? That is something that could normally calm the beast, but I think it is inaccurate and the back of my shirt just ripped...up the spine.

What if Mariska Hargitay's agent was baiting me in order to get a restraining order? Done. My skin is now green.

The possibilities are endless.

I guess I will never know unless I put that number to use that they texted me with in the first place.

I am pretty sure it wasn't Mariska though.

Perhaps I should watch more television and stop with these ridiculous rantings about text messages. Plus, it is quite obvious to me that I am fronting like Bill Bixby in the original Hulk television show.

Press The Flesh

He smiled, but it was a carapice. It wasn't real. It was the mechanical. It was what you do when you have to do it. Now he had to do it. He was surrounded by people who needed his approval, needed his smile.They saw the choppers. They saw the constant smirking. They heard the laughter from deep within him. He gave it. But in that molecule of space between the mask of ebullient eyes and flashing teeth, of dimples and laugh lines, that was where the reality was.

And the mood was humid, and heavy. It was like a hundred rainstorms ruining a thousand plans in the sun, a sickness ruining a long journey, a best friend using dark secrets to hurt. All of the darkness, the melancholy and pain were his now.

Yet he shook more hands, and looked people into their eyes. He made the connections. He did the entertainer's dance. He let every last person he contacted feel like they were interesting and the only person on the planet. It felt good to give to them.

But the heaviness. The grief. The sorrow. It pulled at his chest and weighted his shoulders as unbearable things do. He had no option in this one. He had to take the pain, and the pain was beyond paramount. It was as if the gravity of the planet had all gathered at his feet, to pull him in. It was like the best meal one could ever cook, going to ruin because of a fight with an intimate. It was the realization that the chequing account had bounced. It was the realization that he'd been taken advantage of. It was betrayal and misery and gloom. The darkness swirled about his head, pricking him with pain. The feelings were unbearable. The lid that he'd kept on them was cracked and rusting. It was going to blow open, and all of the thick, oozing melancholia would blacken him and his surroundings. It was loss and it was hopelessness. It was the realization that the failure was final and unforgiveable.

And the kids looked up into his eyes. He smiled and joked. He squatted to interact with them, and shot knowing glances at the parents. He remembered the names of those he was introduced to. He used the names in the flippant sentences he constructed. He gave of himself. He let them have him. He let them see him. But it was only as deep as the mask that held his sorrow in place. The mask at this point was his best friend. Without it, he would be exposed as a weakened, miserable creature. He had to lie to them. He had to hold his happy poise in place. He had to reveal only the positive. He had to decieve and manipulate those around him.

Inside it brewed and churned in his stomach. It was a cold burning. An ice cube held to a window on a hot day. The morose feelings that held his brain in place were like foul, blood-soaked cotton balls. Like a bandage that should have been pulled a week previous, a grain of sand in the corner of his eye. The sadness was as tangible as the strained muscles under his eyes from all of that smiling he was doing. There was no purpose. There was no reason. It was all lost. It was nothingness and it didn't matter.

And then there was a moment of respite. The crowd slackened. He was allowed to be with himself for a moment. And he allowed himself one indulgence. The tear that swelled under his right eye sucked and pulled all of its worth out of his tear duct. The release of saline stung him, as he hadn't cried in years. His eye squinted and reddened. The tear hit its maximum density and then rolled.

To the left and the right he looked. Then he dashed his face with an open palm and caught the detractor from his charade.

And he continued, pressing the flesh, with that warm sweet smile of his.


When I bike to work, I have time to rest my eyes on objects and people longer than I do when I drive.

As I biked in today, I saw a man parked in his Toyota 4 Runner. I rolled around him and his hair was short-cropped and white. As I rolled further around, I saw that he had a white beard. He was looking at me through glasses with piercing eyes. He brought a cup of to-go coffee to his lips. For all intents and purposes, he looked like my father. He reminded me on a gut level that gave me a shot of adrenaline.

After coasting through a red light I realized my face was stuck in a grimace. I was too lost in thought to negotiate the roads correctly.

I miss him.

I am gifted, and it is a BURDEN, yo.

I have beatin' vision. I am gifted with a view of people that not everyone can comprehend. I am well aware of various people's needs for a solid beatin'. I can see it. I can smell it. But I need your help with this heavy gift that I have.

Sometimes I read about someone or hear about someone and say that the person needs a beatin'. There are people that need beatin's and a lot of them I refer to as "the one that got away." This means that they didn't take that high school beatdown that sets so many of us on the proper track. Lots of famous people have gotten away for too long with that great physical life-lesson. Gene Simmons comes to mind. You know he really needs someone to go all out on him with an aluminum bat and a tire-iron. Don't front. Gene Simmons is a total asshole. A beating of such a nature would cleanse him of multiple bad traits. A baptism of broken bones and pain would do that man a world of good.

The reason why I can say such things is that I took a good beatin' when in high school and it brought about an epiphany. I learned to be much more tolerant. I learned to get out of the way if a stranger is coming at you with all of their personal trash. I learned a level of social maturity that I couldn't have learned any other way. I also became gifted with beatin' vision.
Unfortunately, a lot of what I learned is purposefully obscured in my writing. I write in an aggressive, vicious style. This is different from how I actually handle myself in day to day exchanges with my fellow man. Using this, one could argue that Gene Simmons is an act, and that he doesn't really need a beatin'. Perter, your writing is a stance, and at times an act, based on what I know of you, you need a beatin'. I would have to respond with the fact that this very blog here absolves me of any "would-be" beatin' because I am telling you from the heart that I took that beatin' and I have been cured of the ills that plague someone like say, Gene Simmons. Perhaps I am wrong, but I rather doubt it.

So I refer to people as in need of a beatin'. What I mean is that they are in need of that same revelation I had when my lights got dimmed. The beatin' that I took was groundbreaking in my life. It inspired me be more tolerant. It inspired me to consider the needs and struggles of others around me. It also inspired me to go push iron and become someone who could defend himself. A person really only needs one serious beatin' in their life. Ultimately, it inspired me to become a better person.

I know that the beatin' that I took was good because after I had hulked up for a few years, I ran into the very guy who administered the beatin' to me in the first place. I had grown about four inches and my pecs were bolted to my chest because I was working out 7 days a week. I looked down at him and he looked up at me, and I let him go. I shot him a weak smile. That was a lesson in forgiveness. I think that was a beatin' paying itself some sort of perverse way.

So when I say someone needs a beatin', I mean it with the greatest comprehension of brotherly love I can muster.

Well, this past Sunday, I was legally in the position to administer a beatin' to a guy and his ladyfriend in order to show them the light. It has to be public that I failed.

I should have stepped right up and pummelled this guy something unmerciful. I should have grabbed his woman by the hair and delivered a couple of sharp ones to the kisser. I had every right to do this and I didn't. I had Every Goddamn right on the planet to beat these fools into the beginnings of that afterlife white tunnel we hear so much about. But I didn't. Why? Read on, gentle reader.

It was hot last weekend. Uncomfortable concrete on bare foot hot, but not LA summer hot. It was bad enough. So we went down to the beach. We went down to catch some of that cool Pacific breeze. Yzzy now has a camera and she was shooting some pictures with some film she had just gotten. Santa Cruz is a beautiful spot. We were walking along the shore. Kids were out playing in the sand. It was idyllic. Families were out. Men and women both obese and fit were doing beach things. It was a perfect afternoon. The waves were almost nil, and the calm was soothing. The Boardwalk was in the distance and the beach was speckled with people as far as there was beach to see. The distance hazed from the heat, and there were advection clouds on the water towards Monterey. The Moss Landing power stacks were barely visible. It was paintable.

Up in front of us, as we walked on the sand that had just been licked by the ocean, some people were coming out of the water. A pasty guy in his 20s and I would guess his 20 something girlfriend. But upon examination and a few doubletakes, it was apparent that these two were naked. The guy's chilled dork swung in the free air and as she walked, you could see her flanks pump. He got right to the shore and pulled on some shorts. She walked about a hundred yards up to where their towel was and took her sweet time toweling off and continuing with the show. Eyes were on her, and she knew it. Eyes were on him and he knew it. And here I am with my daughter.

I was flummoxed. I was shell-shocked. Sure I have seen naked bodies before. But my thing was that this was all out of context. My brain immediately went into the zone of, "What are these people thinking?" What would drive them to do this public nudity maneuver? Was it that they had forgotten their suits? Were they looking for a reaction? Were they playing truth or dare? Was this completely nonsexual or had they tired to do something freezing and abominable in the water? My brain kicked out Rolodex card after Rolodex card as it attempted to master the situation.

In all honesty, I don't know how much of this Yzzy actually saw as I went introspective. As I babbled incoherently.

It wasn't until hours later that I realized that there were two serious beatin's I should have delivered. I would have had to immobilize the guy first with many precise crunches to the face and nutsack. Then, albeit I don't find myself to by a misogynist, I would have had to knock the bitch out too. Probably just a few face shots. Fair is fair.

And they would have learned. They would have had their great lesson. Their epiphany. They would probably blog about it decades later, how they'd had their genitalia ransacked on the beach by a crazed man with his daughter (because if I had started up on these fools, I know Yz would have backed me up) and they learned that here in America, we aren't ready for public nudity. After waking up in a hospital, him pissing through a tube, her eating through one, they would both realize that if they ever walked a beach again they would keep their clothes on.
I think my conclusion is that yes, they were in need of a beatin', but I don't know that I am the one to give it to them. I have the vision. I am the man who knows when someone is in need of a beating. But alas, I don't have it in me to deliver this thing that their basest human desires cry out for. I think that the idea of my pummelling these people is actually beyond me. I don't think I could do it unless they had both turned to me and shambled at me like zombies.

I think that the beatin' I took years ago cured me from being a potential beatin' deliverer. I think that physically, such a confrontation is something that I am just about incapable of.
But I definitely have beatin' vision. What I need is to have a number to call to get a beatin' deliverer on the scene.

Perhaps the beatin' deliverer is you. Feel free to contact me with your ideas on how to get these beatin's out.

Helios' Bastard Children Where Are You?

You know, I started writing this blog on Notepad. I stepped away from the computer to make a phonecall. When I came back, the computer had restarted and lost all of that which I had written. So this is the second draft. It was already an angry post, and now it is going to be angrier.

I need to start this off by explaining to you that the other day, we had to go out and get a part of a lamp that had shattered during a tumble. As I realized that the place that we had to go to was called RIVERSIDE LIGHTING, the blood began to shoot through some well lubricated synapse trails in my head. In order for you to understand, gentle reader, how I flew off the handle, I have to backtrack ever so slightly.

When I drive or bike around this town, I am constantly watching the cars. Sometimes in order to preserve my life, and other times simply because I like them. However, there is something seriously wrong on the road that I have noticed for years. What I have noticed is that there are high ranking zombie executives at all major auto corporations. This is a crisis and it needs to be stopped. Zombies, you say? How can it be? Please tell me more. Well here is my evidence in no particular order: Suburban, Avalanche, Safari, Dakota, Aerostar, Yukon, Matrix, Navigator, Solstice, Vibe, Equinox, Matrix, Achieva, Highlander and more. My conclusion is that only a zombie is a suit would let any of these mediocre names catch a sign-off. The are cars for God's sake. They represent something! They are the second most important purchases people make. Their first is their house. If I was in the market, it would be the first most important purchase, because I can't afford a house. You know what? It is great that they don't name houses. Read on. Sometimes I am at a
light behind a vehicle with the blandest most milquetoast name on it and it is all
I can do from unstrapping my seatbelt and walking up to the consumer's window and asking them if they know their vehicle sucks up the styles and coloring of other vehicles like so much automotive tofu. But hey, we need our cars, and we are willing to compromise with the names of our vehicles to get what we need.

Still, when talking about the Neon, the chairman of Chrysler Corporation Robert Lutz said, "There's an old saying in Detroit: 'Good, fast, or cheap. Pick any two.' We refuse to accept that." He had embedded in that statement a double buckshot load of mediocrity. The Neon sold millions and was discoed after about 10 years and its replacement was the Caliber. I am convinced that Robert Lutz who is now at GM, is eating the brains of the dead as he now takes credit for such cars as the Sky and the Solstice.

I think about the Whirlpool dishwasher in my kitchen. Why Whirlpool? That is bland-o. Why not FILTH VORTEX? Well I'll tell you why. These zombie suits have figured in their decomposing minds that they should name things that we need with the blandest of names so that we don't get scared. In some board meeting, they decided to call the Whirlpool just that because they didn't want to frighten or disturb a suburban housewife with a name with teeth. A name like FILTH VORTEX that basically states to put your dishes in and pray that they don't get sucked down the same hole that the grease and funk from the previous meal is going.

Let me also interject here that I took a call last week for some new auto insurance. 5-0 clocked me snapping the sound barrier last year and I'll be damned if I am taking their little "back to drivers ed" test for a better rate, so my rates are going up. I am in the market for some new insurance. I took a call from an agent who talked a pretty good deal. She is going to save me all sorts of cash it sounds like. I hung up the horn ready to seal the deal. But in retrospect, I have reservations. What the hell is a STATE FARM? It sounds like some sort of institution for people with Olympic levels of insanity. It sounds like a place where you wear a straight-jacket. If you can't wrap your brain around my insanity plea, wrap it around a lot of chickens. Wrap it around feathers in the air and a lot of clucking, because that is the default definition. Whatever the case is, it isn't half as interesting sounding as AAA. I have no idea what AAA is an acronym for. I do know that they do everything that the State Mental Farm does for a little bit more, but their name at least has teeth. AAA can be said A-A-A. It can also be said as, "triple A." And of course, when they raise your insurance rates on you for putting the wind gods in check, you can call them ass, ass, ass. Whatever the case is, State Farm lost on name alone.

Call me a fuddy-duddy, but I am not buying into this mediocrity. I have lived enough of it.

And so I was losing it. I was sitting there, having the hot blood of rage blast through these well lubricated channels in my brain as I processed RIVERSIDE LIGHTING. As I pulled it together, the logic was presented to me that RIVERSIDE LIGHTING made a lot of sense. It was on the side of the river, and these people peddle lighting. But in my mind (and apparently rather loudly out my mouth) I made it clear that there was no heart in a name like RIVERSIDE LIGHTING. I suggested HELIOS' BASTARD CHILDREN. Now that is the name of a store. If all of the lightbulbs in my house were fresh and I had no reason whatsoever to think of anything Edisonian, I would still make a beeline to HELIOS' BASTARD CHILDREN just to see what was going on. And I would probably buy something there, just to have a receipt that said HELIOS' BASTARD CHILDREN on it.

The long and short of it is that RIVERSIDE LIGHTING didn't have the part needed for the aforementioned lamp. Furthermore, if the place had been called HELIOS' BASTARD CHILDREN I'd bet the sleepy kid who helped us would have tried something, anything to make it work.

Sometime the notion that I am positing right now doesn't apply. In downtown Santa Cruz there is a little coffee shop called BADASS COFFEE. Well, I think that is a creative name. I throw the word "badass" around all the time. But unfortunately, their coffee sucks. It tastes like ass if you must know the truth. Hey...waitasec.

And so I have been considering all of this. It seems to me that if it is a product that we as Americans need, it is going to have a boring name. But if it happens to be something we don't need? Then the creativity kicks in. Energy drinks, movie titles, fast food, certain types of clothing and more, they all get the fun treatment. Until it is in a complacent position and it is going to get purchased anyway. An example of this head-bowing and being be-knighted with the mediocrity wand is Starbucks. Now they have Pike's Place served all day from all locations. What happened to the other flavors? In order to keep the masses from totally rioting as a result of this downshift, they still brew their more creatively titled coffees first thing in the AM. Whatever, I am done with
Starbucks. I go to Peets now or I brew my own. Peets still mixes it up and when I am at home, I can call the coffee I brew whatever I want to.

As I have been thinking this through, I have come to my conclusion that seals the deal. I took a walk and didn't speak to a soul for hours as I pondered what the most useless thing is that people buy. I thought about it long and I thought about it longer. Then it struck me. People invest billions of dollars into porn. Is there really a use for that stuff? I mean seriously? In all honesty, it is for a
few functions, all of them could be handled differently. One would be masturbation. The second would be to "get her in the mood," and the third? I don't know. Perhaps shock value. I read once about a guy who liked to watch porn because he liked to see the looks on people's faces at these intense moments of honesty, but I think he was lying and I digress. The point being that if you do a cursory search of porn titles, you will find some creative stuff. Crude, yes. Vulgar? Definitely. Offensive? Oh indeed. But the stuff is creative. In fairness, I didn't name energy drinks, fast food places or movie titles, and that way, I dodge the bullet for having to name porn movie titles as well.

The thought that the zombies would like us to buy is that they know their market. If I am not buying a Sky, it is because I am not the market. There is a market out there for the Sky. There is a person who is going to lose sleep tonight, because they want to buy a Sky. I am not that person. I would counter that person likes a Sky by default. I would also counter that if the Sky were named something along the lines of THE BLACKENING that I might lose sleep too.

And before I go any further with this, I really need to change the title of this Blog. It is rather bland, I must be getting complacent. Que no?