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May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch
Ock ock!


May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch
I'm in.

As a comment, could we start to rein in the brawls? I'd like to see a variable, weekly cap on brawls that comes along with each new challenge. The amount of clutter is getting out of hand.

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch
Running the House
Words: 976

One of the boys had defecated on the carpet, and Xander was going to find out which of the hellions did it. The three brothers sat with their backs to the shameful thing; it stood out on the carpet like an L.A. smog cloud on a Pacific Northwest morning. No one said anything, but the youngest, Charlie, verged on tears.

“One of you is going to admit it,” Xander said.

“You’ve got nothing on us, babysitter,” Drew, the middle child, said. The boy had been playing ‘innocently’ with a toy fighter jet at the scene of the crime when Xander walked in. Prior to the happening, he had been fruitlessly looking for a cheese-stick, or some kind of snack for himself. Xander smiled.

“I have this,” he said. Plunked down in front of the boys was a large carafe of oily black coffee. Rattling after, came three white mugs.

“The hell is this,” Alex, the oldest said.


“Get fuc—“

“I said drink!” Xander slammed his hands palm down on the countertop, causing the mugs to skip. Drew scowled and stared at the babysitter. Xander poured three mugs and leaned against the counter, checking the clock. The innocent shall reveal themselves, he thought.

“Ech,” Alex said, sticking his tongue out. The other two boys still had their lips to the mugs.

“It’s hot,” Charlie said. Xander felt sorry for the youngest, but he had to be sure.

“Keep drinking.”

Every time the boys would get half way through their mugs, Xander would top them off again. He worried that the 12 cups he brewed might not be enough time before their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Williams, got home.

“That’s it, I’m out,” Alex said, slipping gingerly off the counter stool. He made his way to the bathroom.

“Don’t flush, I want evidence,” Xander called through the door. The sink turned on and off, and Alex finally came out.

“Am I done here?” Alex said. Xander flicked his head towards the stairs leading to the bedrooms. Alex shook the water from his hands and sneered at the babysitter, but obeyed.

“And then there were two.” Xander shifted his eyes to look at the two children still left. Back and forth his gaze drifted. The baby of them looked nigh catatonic, staring at the empty mug of coffee he had been drinking from. Drew stared down the babysitter, a bead of sweat forming at his brow.

“Man at least give us some milk or something,” Drew said. Xander shrugged and opened the fridge. Shoving items out of the way, Xander pulled out a quart box of almond milk. On it was a post-it that said, “Dad” on it. Searching again, he found a half-gallon carton of milk and set in front of the boys. Then he refilled their mugs halfway.

Drew poured nearly a third of a cup into his, before letting out a deep breath. More sweat. He must be feeling the pressure now, Xander thought. I’m going to get you, you little twerp. Charlie shivered randomly, despite it being a warm 72 in the living room. Xander looked at the clock again and felt the temperature rise a few degrees.

He patted the half-empty pack of cigarettes in his front pocket thoughtfully. No, he thought ultimately, that would be too much.

“Oh god,” Drew said, doubling over. “Gotta go, gotta go.” Xander was taken aback, but the obscene noises coming from the bathroom squashed any suspicion of tomfoolery.

Xander sighed in disapproval at Charlie. He was so sure that the middle bastard was the culprit, but in the end, even he must have been too old and mature to have done such an act. He walked around to the jittery child, stopping in his tracks when he hovered over. Xander sniffed once, and then twice, while squinting in confusion. He hooked his index finger and made a quick check in the back of the boy’s pants.

“Charlie?! What did you do?”

“I don’t know what’s happening,” Charlie said. Round, red ringed eyes stared up at Xander, Charlie’s mouth slack-jawed opened, and slowly sank. He picked the boy up from under the arms, intent to carry him to the bathroom when the sound of car doors slamming came from outside. Stuck in frozen horror Xander tried to formulate a plan. He dropped the boy with a wet plop and tore after the crime on the carpet.

Xander slipped on a toy fighter jet as he ran. He shot the toy a menacing glance, realizing it belonged to Drew. Crawling on his hands and knees, he came face to face with the ur-mess right as the front door unlocked. Xander splayed out and scooped the crime in his hands.

“What the hell is going on here?” Mrs. Williams shouted. Xander rose to his knees, saying nothing. Charlie sat crying in a mess spreading faster than an oil spill. Alex leaned atop the staircase with a smirk on his face. Only Drew, standing outside the bathroom door, seemed unaffected by the scene.

“Xander, I think you should go to the car,” Mr. Williams said.

“Can—” Xander paused, “I wash my…?” Still clutched firmly in his hand was the fecal product.

“Yes, that would be best.”

Xander sat in the front passenger side of the sedan staring at his clean hands. He imagined them still stained with waste, that despite at least 10 minutes of furious scrubbing and soaping, that they were still filthy.

“I’m lactose intolerant.”

“But, but.”

“I guess you could say, it runs in the family.”

Mr. Williams got into the driver’s seat and cranked the engine. Slowly the sedan pulled away, Xander’s face pressed firmly against the window. Drew maintained the icy stare as they backed out of the driveway and drove away, leaving the boy standing alone, unsmiling, unflinching.

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch
In with

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch
Astronaut Ice Cream
Words: 898

Jamie and Robin buried their father under a pile of loose rocks and trash.

”What about the coyotes,” Jamie said.

“Let them have it, maybe it’ll keep them off our back for awhile,” Robin said. The idea of the coyotes getting at their father didn’t sit well with either of the girls, but the alternatives weren’t any better.

They sat staring at the mound, it looked so small. Earlier in the morning, underneath a copse of dead trees, Robin, the older sister, woke up first, in a state of immediate panic. Normally it was their father who roused them awake, the girls would sleep as best as the situation would allow them, comfortable in the alertness of their father.

Jamie woke from the shouting, and the punching, and the crying. Robin was straddling their father, punching him in the chest and shouting, “Stop smiling, stop smiling!” And he was smiling, a smirk turned up his mouth underneath the scraggly beard.

Laid out in front of mound were all the things father carried: a set of wool socks and gloves they would split, strong boots they didn’t need but could trade, a weathered map, a sharp can lid once used to cut open the throat of a mugger with, and a package of ‘astronaut’ ice cream.

In silence, they sat on the cold ground rummaging through their father’s pack, discarding things that were unessential and trying to cram the rest of the items into their own decrepit backpacks.

“What the gently caress are we going to do,” Jamie said, surveying the mess in front of them. Robin had the map laid out in front of them. It was tearing at the folds, and almost every town name had been crossed off with tips of burnt wood. Only two names on the map remained free of graffiti.

“Be-be-be-at,” Jamie sounded out the name. Robin grabbed the map from her.

“Beat-ahsu,” Robin said. “Gaw-bluh. Go-bluh? Beatosu, Goblu,” she said. “Two places left to check.”

“Why didn’t we check those places before?” Jamie asked.

Robin shook her head. The two towns were on complete opposite sides of the map. They both knew there would only be supplies enough for to scavenge at one of them.

“Do you even know where we are?”

Robin shook her head again. “I don’t, I don’t know. He never told me.”

Robin balled her fists.

“What are we going to do, Robin? Robin? What are we going to do? What are we going to do?” Jamie started crying.

Robin shoved Jamie.

“I don’t know, I don’t know!”

Jamie stopped crying and her brow furrowed. Her mouth opened slightly, a confused and hurt look spread on her face. Gritting her mouth she shoved Robin harder. After catching her balance, Robin charged her sister and the collision sent them both to the ground. They rolled through the trash and dead leaves on the ground, hitting root and rock, each swinging their raw hands at each other. The layers of clothing they wore deadened each blow, which made them angrier and more frustrated.

Both of them were in tears and screaming meaningless sounds at each other. Robin finally came up on top and managed to hold her sister down, and they faced each other, full of impotent rage. In that moment they realized they weren’t angry at each other, and breathlessly Robin crawled off. Jamie sat up next to her sister and leaned against her shoulder. They sat there staring at the small mound of rocks that hid their father.

Burying their father and fighting had taken too much time for them to set out before it grew dark. Deciding to stay one more night, they made their preparations. They took turns trimming each others hair short, and helping each other tightly wrap their breasts with cloth. As they put their clothes back on, each strapped hidden picks to their bodies, in places they could grab, but not seen immediately. Robin went over with Jamie what their father had told her years ago; how to bite your tongue off.

Robin held up the package of ‘astronaut’ ice cream.

“You think this is special occasion enough?”

Jamie nodded.

Each sister took a brittle half of the ice cream. It hurt their teeth as they chewed, scraping at first before turning to a dusty mush when their spit mixed with it. Powder from the bits that broke apart coated their mouths.

“This isn’t very good,” Jamie said.

“No, it isn’t,” Robin laughed. She spit out her mouthful, and they laughed together. Robin continued spitting until her mouth was dry. Tiny pebbles of the ice cream still stuck under her lips and against her gums. They laughed until tears crept into the corner of their eyes. Taking the package of ice cream Robin flung it into the fire where it popped and melted into a black goo.

That night they slept in the trees, but the coyotes never came. The girls came down from the trees at dawn, feeling as though they hadn’t slept at all.

“Are we going to make it?” Jamie asked.

“We might, we just might,” Robin said. She flashed her younger sister a smile and opened the map and compass. She slowly turned, looking off into the gray horizon. She helped her sister put her backpack on and they set out for the crumbling road towards Goblu.

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch
In, requesting a flash rule and a decade from someone.

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch
Love the Machine
Words: 987

When I contemplate the nature of the relationship between myself, the machine and my sister, we three agree that there can only be two; my sister, therefore, must perish. The duality of the nature of my sister is inexplicable: she is a creator, and as well a destroyer, why is she not sole creator as her imperious gender would imply? But then again, is this duality present in myself too?

This conundrum vexes me so, how can man love something more than one’s blood, but that is the very nature of this problem. My family starves, and my sister does not work, or create, or prosper. She crusades! While I am bent over my scribe’s table, copying legal documents to provide what I can, she conspires and slinks away into the night. She is what Lord Byron has warmly called The Luddite.

Oh lament and woe, but I do love my sister. As does our entire family, and why should they not, but why do they love us the same, when I am the one who works to provide real food? I do not see what she sees: the raging metal behemoth, consuming individuality and belching iniquity. She tells my father of how the machine will destroy his cobbling business, leather and sole pushed into the conveyors and gears to produce his expertise in a fraction of the time. Destroy his cobbling business? How absurd, that the machine could do anymore damage to my father’s gnarled and calloused hands that his own business has not done. She whispers those deceits to him as he lay in bed at night.

And yet she stands at my face when we argue. She has no reverence for me, as we debate what I call progress, she calls enslavement. I fume, as loathe as I am to admit that she riles me so, and she looks upon me with eyes meant for a child!

“How can you not see past our own pitiable mire, that it is just and right that we may be sacrificed for the greater good?” I shout at her. That there isn’t enough hands in the world to clothe the cold children, but how does she not see that there could be?

“Oh Teddy,” she says. “I admire your candor, that you may only be swayed by the empirical, and I shall demonstrate the righteousness of our cause so that you too can once again be swayed.”

As though the decisions I make for myself are not tempered in reality, or that my wisdom is somehow not derived from the same existence that we both float through. Even as she swathes herself in cloak and dagger, traipsing into the night for clandestine meetings, I find myself paralytic, waiting by the upstairs window for her return. I worry truly, as Merchant Twill, who has been worked into a lather at the possibility of sabotage, has put a bounty on Luddite heads. In this midnight vigil, I am struck with a vile thought.

I find myself outside a warehouse. Pressing my ear to the wood I can hear their training, their speeches, that they should swing hammers not of construction. I also hear their earnestness, their fervor; what my sister calls righteousness.

And I realize my sister truly believes in her cause, that she is saving my family, me included. That to deny the wave of chthonic iron and fire, to deny them with their own elements, that she can quell the necessary devastation of our family. She wants to save me, because she loves me. It is because she loves me that she looks at me with eyes round and hopeful, like I am a child still yet to blossom truly. I am gripped by a sinking feeling, drowning in myself. I love my sister, I love her, I love her, I love her! But I am drowning.

This is a horrible world, truly it is, and I might not save my family, but I must prevent the destruction of hope.

I could not fetch or wait for the thugs and mooks of Merchant Twill; their arrival would be marked with an empty warehouse and I standing there like a stork on a stump. In the moment, I wondered if my sister would see the humor of it all, that she has finally spurred me to action. I lock the barn doors with a length of chain and sturdy padlock, and search for where the dockmaster keeps his oil reserves. The warehouse ignites faster than I had dreamed possible, and I shield my ears, as though this is mere accident, and I am as inculpable as I am oblivious.

Twill places in my hand a writ, signed and notarized, proving that even in black acts and unspeakable deeds there can be honor. The bank will provide the enclosed amount, ensuring that even in obsolescence my family will be fed and fatted. That my younger siblings should never know stain nor grit. That my mother will always have a warm bath to relieve her rheumatism. In this I wonder did I do the right thing? Does the horror of my betrayal being revealed speak towards my guilty conscience? To this I say nothing. There are no words to truly encapsulate my hollowing. I have been fed into the machine and I have come out efficient, utilitarian, and reborn.

Alice was my sister, and I believe I did love her, but as thus she has aligned herself with the destroyers, she in turn is destroyed. I have cast aside my humanity, ironically as such to save my family, and in this turn of events have I realized that at the core of my being does not pump blood, but the ichor of the machine. I do not love the machine, and I do not love progress; I have become the catalyst, I am the machine.

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch
In with Bismuth.

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch
Element: Bismuth

The Crawling Statue
Words: 1393 (193 stolen from Jeza for a previous Brawl victory)

Oliver Jones, covered in sweat and losing daylight, had no sign of any goddamn tin mine. Just green hills and mountains as far as he could see.

“Sanderson sent us on another goose chase,” Oliver said. He said to himself, as his silent Bolivian guides barely understood him.

Oliver threw his rock hammer in frustration and took a deep breath. Getting angry at his step-father was useless. This was not the first time, nor the last, speculating for minerals would lead him to the rear end end of nowhere. Oliver traipsed through the scrub grass to retrieve his hammer. Turning to wave at the Bolivians, his next step found no solid ground. A sink hole opened under him, sending a layer of topsoil and plants plummeting down a steep embankment, with Oliver tumbling after them.

When he landed, the wind knocked out of him, and he lay wheezing on the ground for an eternal few seconds. Crawling onto his hands and knees, he righted himself, and found that he was in a cave system of some kind.

“I’m okay, I’m okay!” Oliver shouted.

The tumble into the cave was steep, and he would most likely need a rope to get back up. Not impossible, but dangerous if he were to fall again from a poor foothold. Oliver looked around, and saw glints of light from the walls. Specks of rainbow colors caught the corners of his eyes as he turned, reflecting even the tiniest sunlight. At once he realized he hadn’t found tin, but better.

“Bismuth! Bismuth!” Oliver shouted.

Ayudar? Ayudar?” The Bolivians shouted.

“Si! Ropa, ropa!”

Oliver saw the Bolivian’s head nod and disappear. Oliver laughed and clapped. Not only would Sanderson be wrong about the tin, but he’d have to acknowledge Oliver’s prodigious find. Something in the corner of his eye caught his attention. A purple, shifting color intrigued him and drew him further into the cave.

Oliver unclipped his belt flashlight, but found almost no need. The sun from the opening seemed sufficient even past the antechamber. Movement caught his eye again, and he was certain something was down there. Excitement and wonder blended with fear, but his feet continued.

Around a bend, he finally saw the thing, but it was not flesh or chitin. Small, cube-like segments, connected in inexplicable flexibility crawled its way along the ground. Oliver saw no discernable anatomy, and yet it moved unhindered. The alien creature ignored him, and only avoided him if he reached out.

It was angular, and mostly square, lacking any sort of curvature or roundness. Each segment shimmered; a changing spectrum of metallic colors, none uniform in anyway. Oliver couldn’t believe what he was seeing, so overwhelmed that he couldn’t explain why followed it.

The creature was moving towards something, and Oliver compulsively trying to study its geometry. Before he realized it, he was in a colossal chamber where the snake-like creature had led him.

The entire chamber of the cave was lined in bismuth of all colors, so vibrant that he believed them to be artificial. They were illuminated from light that came from no where. The chamber should have been pitch black, but Oliver could see everything. The angular formations seemed to adjust and shift, and he realized the walls were covered in creatures just like the one he followed. And in the center of the cave was their altar.

Floating on a natural pedestal of rock was the largest intact piece of bismuth he had ever seen. Impossible angles and sides jutted from the rock. Its color shifted, even without Oliver changing his perspective. Reds and purples gave way to oranges and blues, and tiny columns of hexagons and squares rose and fell as the bismuth core rotated freely in the air.

The Core was a beautiful, perfect mass of spiraling squares of rainbow hues and symmetry. The Core pulsed, no, that was not the right word for it; as it rotated it constantly re-aligned as though it were purging imperfections and errors in its construction. The Core was alive, that he was sure. Oliver stepped closer, compelled, and reached out his hands.

The moment his flesh touched the cold metal, a piercing reverberation knocked him to the ground. Rumbling, crashing metal sounds filled the cave as the creatures who had been watching him descended on the small man. From the ground a rocky, undulating snake creature sprang, sinking blade-like teeth into his calf. Oliver cried in pain and tried to shake free.

Kicking the creature off, he fled. Something filled the veins of his wound, immediately inflaming the perforations. They came at him, diving on translucent, metallic wings, buzzing and clawing at him. As he ran he ricocheted off jagged walls but began to gain distance. He saw the opening he fell through and his hope jumped. His lungs pumped fire, but he kept going.

As he scrambled up the embankment his leg locked up. Thick, ferrous liquid seized his muscles from the vein. It was as though the poison in his leg was trying to re-unite with the Core. Through clenched teeth he wheezed; spittle and foam dribbled out of his mouth. He had to move faster.

Behind him he heard the slithering metal creatures, moving in square-like revolutions, tumbling after him from the walls and ceilings and floors. He could hear their sharp talons and fangs grating against each other, scraping in cacophony. He couldn’t bend his leg at the knee, and he tumbled, crawling as fast as he could towards the light. He knew he would be safe, if he could make it toward the light.

Now there was only the sound of sheet metal grinding against itself. Each handful of rock and dirt pulled Oliver closer to the entrance, and as he burst into the light he could see nor hear any longer. The blinding white light was all he could remember.


Oliver Jones’s village nickname became “la estatua de rastreo”, what he learned to be ‘crawling statue.’ After refusing to divulge the mine’s location, or return to the company, Sanderson cut him off financially. The guides had left town the night they dragged Oliver back, and no one could find them. Oliver wondered if they were the lucky ones.

Empty bottles lined the flat surfaces of the small adobe hut Oliver slept in. He made a point of never calling it home, but he wasn’t sure that he’d ever leave the little village. The alcohol was burning through his savings, and he suspected the courier to La Paz was ripping him off as well. There was little he could do, and everyone knew it.

Propped on a chair was his leg, blue-gray to the knee and hard as stone. He wondered if what he should call it an infection, or a petrifaction. This was a far from the Core as he was could risk, or bear. He yearned for it. Drowning himself in alcohol was how he dulled the pain of his leg and the absence of the Core. But there was another way.

Like a divining rod of relief, he could tell where the Core was at all times, pulling him with the gentle promises of release. Oliver trekked, once a week, as close as he dare. The creatures were out there, and he felt stalked by them. Absolutely sure of their aggression, he varied his spots, never sure if he were walking into a trap. When he got close enough, he could feel the poison loosen its hold, so much so that he could bend his leg at the ankle again. It was almost like the feeling of the pins and needles from it being asleep, and he relished the sensation.

Anxiety crept into his gut, and he spun around like a wary deer. They were there, always in his periphery, but he could never confirm them to be more than just imaginations and phantoms. Oliver gathered his belongings into the pack and took up his walking stick. Every session seemed shorter than the last, and he wondered when they would finally close in on him.

Returning to his hut, he waited for his courier to arrive with more alcohol. That was all Oliver could do, wait. Wait for inevitability to come crashing down on him, and he was afraid that he would never be ready.

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch
In for my 50th.

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch
To Make Friends, You have to Kill a Kid
Words: 1025

In my hands I held the key to my success and the manual to Ike Benson’s death. I had creatively titled it “101 Ways to Kill Ike Benson.” It spanned only 4 pages. In actuality, it was written mostly by a committee of misfits, but I was the one to claim authorship and editor. Many perverse and sadistic methods were outlined, and somehow I had the audacity to turn my nose up to juvenile entries like “Shove his head up his butt until he suffocates.”

But I knew that what I had would turn things around in my favor, to ensure separation from a kid who shared several classes with me, and who’s only crime was being the easiest to pick on. Ike and I had come from similar places, smart yet out of touch parents, private elementary schools, and a poor fashion sense. Our transition to public middle school had been marred with awkward attempts to socialize and being proud of being a know-it-all.

The only leg up I had on Ike was where my assigned seat was. That was all that separated Ike and I from being swapped, and having someone write a 101 brutal ways to murder me. My surrounding home room classmates helped coach me through kindness, or sympathy, how to adapt to the new environment. Ike’s did not.

But now all of that would change. I would be seen as clearly superior, and while it wouldn’t make me a cool kid, I wouldn’t be on the same level as Ike, and that was all that would matter. Middle school would be the ur-example of the pecking order, and I was the one who realized it first. I like to think that it was because I was the first to exploit the inherent weakness of the social system, and not because Ike was above it, but I would never really know.

The first few people who had seen my work were conspirators; classmates who offered up their own brutal solutions to Ike’s existence. When the manual was finished, select few tertiary confidants lavished the work with praise. But only one person could truly reap all the risk, and the reward. And I foolhardily stepped to that plate. Maybe a dozen copies began to circulate the halls and locker rooms. So few, in my opinion, that I hardly knew what to say when I was confronted by admirer; a friend of a friend of a friend.

I wasn’t prepared for the response. Everyone loved what I had made. Everyone loved that I had plotted the demise of a cohort, over and over again. And I was happy. I was happy, and then I became greedy. Delirious on the attention, my mind began to find ways to exploit the popularity. From my video games I knew that rarity was the ultimate motivator, so I decided to add a price tag to my document, benefiting me two fold.

And things couldn’t have been better. Friends would pay $1, and strangers would pay $3. I had created a business predicated on abuse. Derived solely from depravity. I would be middle-school-filthy-rich by forcing Ike’s head into the mud until he stopped struggling. I was high on it. Suddenly, I found myself at the top of the heap of scrabbling pre-teens and rabid under-achievers. My creativity, which had been met with hesitancy and mild annoyance, somehow now became my saving grace, and would now become my downfall.

When three kids were caught planning an elaborate execution of Ike, it didn’t take long for them to begin the chain of finger pointing that would inevitably end at me. The lynchpin of blame came from a student who had been offended I had dared to charge for 4 sheets of paper. I scoffed at him, I was the one who held all the power, and if he didn’t want what I had to sell then he could piss off. And somehow I felt as though I was sold out. How dare they break social constructs, the ones that I had fought so hard to inflict upon Ike.

The fact that Columbine would happen a few years later is why I received what would have been considered a criminal under-punishment. The level of disappointment and astonishment that went through my teachers and administrators was incomparable to anything that I had ever experienced before. And instead of turning inward for reflection, I resented the reaction I received. Even though I felt guilty and horrible, somehow it was everyone but my fault that I was in the position I was in.

In the aftermath and consequent suspension, my mother felt it appropriate to impress upon me Lord of the Flies. At the time, I remember feeling she was forcing the novel on me and I didn’t understand why. Even after reading it, I didn’t make the connection until later in life. The anti-lesson of the entire event was that it didn’t wash over me in a life changing revelation, but that it seeped into me like whiskey into a barrel. One day after thinking, or possibly doing, something lovely about someone, I thought of Ike. Since that time, I thought of Ike often, so much that he has become my muse of guilt. I have no idea if it is even fair of me to use the memory of him like that.

I cannot truly comprehend how horrible I was. Every reflection of my action is at the same time tempered by the audience, that there were so many kids who thought what I did was not just okay, but was to be celebrated and championed. I know I was horrible, but how can I truly believe I was adequately punished compared to how Ike must have felt. Yet I have made no attempts to make amends to Ike, and I do not understand why. I am horrified that it might be because I do not believe that I was to blame; that I know who was Piggy, but that I do not know who was Ralph, or who was Jack.

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch
Old Bones
Words: 749

Deep within the dark sandstone corridors, Dr. Kilroy was too old. He was out of breath, money and patience. His intrepid guide, Johnny Thunders, was just a mote of torchlight a hundred feet away. Kilroy’s appointment to Chair of the Archaeology Department had come with benefits, but the pressure mounted substantially moreso. The extra funding was vital, but it only covered the expedition into Pharaoh Hotep’s tomb for Kilroy. Hiring a competent, sober guide was out of the budget.

Kilroy knew they had been circling the subterranean labyrinth for hours. Arrows on the walls he had drawn in chalk were still as fresh as when he made them hours ago. But Johnny Thunders carried forward, making small talk to no one in his wake. Kilroy rested his back against the stone and tried to figure out what was happening. There was an exit, for there had been an entrance, but no matter how methodical they were in their pursuit, they continued to loop. After explaining the right-hand-on-the-wall method to Johnny Thunders several times, even the guide had understood how it would be impossible to loop.

This is impossible, Kilroy thought. I’ll wait for Johnny Thunders to circle back around, that will give me enough time to catch my breath.

Just then, a second light appeared from the darkness. His breath caught, Johnny Thunders wasn’t that far enough ahead to circle back around. As the light came closer, they saw each other at the same time, equally startled. Alistair Slyboots, Kilroy’s ex-graduate assistant held a torch in one hand, and worn chalk in the other.

When Kilroy finally finished his post-doctorate work, he had acquired his first graduate assistant, Slyboots. In hindsight, he should have known it wouldn’t have worked out, especially with all his ranting and raving about resurrecting pharaohs. That was really more of an Anthropological emphasis. But he had also been at fault, Kilroy realized years later. Back then he was just not experienced enough to handle the responsibility of mentoring a goateed and top-hat wearing graduate student.

“Johhny Thunders! Take heed, man!”

Slyboots took off in the opposite direction, outpacing Kilroy. Johnny Thunders caught up as Slyboots turned a corner. They could still see a faint dancing light as they closed, and Kilroy knew they had the boy cornered. As they barreled around the corner, the floor dropped out from under them.

The two fell into candlelit burial chamber. From the dusty, stone floor Kilroy saw ceremonial candles, golden ornaments and decrepit tapestries. In the middle of the room was the sarcophagus of Pharaoh Hotep, radiating golden yellows and blues like the morning sky.

Slyboots appeared at the ledge above.

“Did you have a nice trip, Dr. Kilroy?”

Johnny Thunders chuckled.

“You know, I’d love to know if the curse is real,” Slyboots said. “After all, it would be a shame if all your research was for nothing.”

Slyboots unwrapped the Amulet of Necromancy from a dirty cloth and held it in the air, just long enough for Kilroy to recognize it, before smashing it against the tomb wall.

The sarcophagus shook violently and the stone lid moved. The shriveled hand of Pharaoh Hotep appeared and frantically clawed at the open space.

“A fitting end for an old bag of bones like you, Kilroy,” Slyboots said. “I’ll be sure to let the Dean know all about your research, with my name under the by-line of course!”

Slyboots tipped his hat and darted from the alcove. Hotep strained against the stone lid, inching it further open.

“There’s only gonna be one dead thing in this room,” Johnny Thunders slurred. “And he’s already dead!”

Kilroy rose on creaky bones resolute. Next to him was a golden inlaid scepter, nearly as tall as a man, but he saw an expensive cudgel. It was lighter than he hoped.

“That’s the spirit, old man,” Johnny Thunders said. “You can’t break an artifact without waking up a few mummies.”

“That doesn’t make any sense,” Kilroy said.

Johnny Thunders didn’t hear him through the whisky and the adrenaline. Johnny Thunders twirled the torch in one hand and shook his clay whisky jar with the other. Tossing the jug, it shattered on the sarcophagus, splashing alcohol all over the Pharaoh.

“Let’s see how he likes a wet heat,” Johnny Thunders said. Dr. Kilroy nodded, and Johnny Thunders threw their last torch at the mummy. Hotep went up like samhain, and Kilroy swept in, cudgel overhead, screaming like a man in heat.

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch
words: 25
The deadbeat wasn’t home, so we had to leave him a message, but his dog ran out of blood before we finished writing.

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch
Eh, in.

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch
Life Support
Words: 1192

The sketch artists had their pencils poised in anticipation of the judges’ ruling, their eyes on the faces of Bill Edwards, and the Lumb family, Bill’s wife’s parents.

“The motion for emergency stay filed on February 14th, 2009 is denied. The guardian, William Edwards, shall cause the removal of nutrition and hydration from the ward, Jillian Edwards, on March 13th 2009,” the judge executed.

Pencils furiously toiled, trying to capture the moment when Bill Edwards buried his face in his hands, and when Doris Lumb stood screaming across the courtroom.

“You’re a monster,” Doris Lumb accused. “She’s still alive, she’s still alive!”

When the bailiff ushered the Lumbs out of the courtroom, his lawyer leaned in.

“Your wife would have wanted it this way,” the lawyer half-heartedly hearsaid.

The lawyer then patted him on the back with a degree of unfamiliarity and hesitancy. This had been the fourth lawyer he had been through, not through any fault of the young men, but because their firm just cycled them through like an internship program.

“You’re probably going to have to figure out what to do next, like work out funeral preparations,” the young lawyer predicted accurately.


There were two funerals, one for Bill alone and one for his wife’s family. After 15 years, Bill found himself friendless; they had moved away or fallen off the face of the Earth on purpose. The only people he knew were his various lawyers, and they did not attend the services.

Bill chose the first funeral, where they ceremonially sprinkled dirt on the coffin, and then ushered him away to clean the coffin off for the next one. He looked at his phone and realized there was no one to call. For the first time that he could recall, Bill Edwards had nowhere to be.

Still wearing his funeral attire, he stood on a street corner waiting for the light when a young man in a wheelchair was pushed next to him.

“Hello,” the boy introduced.

Bill nodded politely.

“My doctors aren’t sure what’s wrong with me, but it’s renal failure of some kind,” the boy admitted.

Bill glanced sidelong, pretending the boy staring at him was talking to someone else.

“Everything hurts and I think I’d rather just die,” the boy accepted.

The walk signal changed and Bill hustled across the street. Glancing back, the boy appeared to be asleep in his chair, and his caretaker pushed him along, oblivious to the previous conversation.

Bill shuddered, and turned down an avenue towards a familiar park. Sunny days like these when Jillian’s parents were visiting, he would come to the park and eat his lunch, watching the normalcy of life go on around him. No one would know what he was going through, and nor should they.

A ball rolled against his foot, and he smiled, bending to pick it up. When he rose, a young boy stood in front of him. Bill was startled at the boy’s visage; in front of him was a severe but recognizable birth defect, one commonly accompanied by mental retardation. Bill held the ball out for the child.

“I am a burden to my family, and it’s impossible for me to do any good for society, why am I even alive?” The boy interrogated.

Bill dropped the ball, and it bounced away, but the boy stood resolute.

“Would you kill me like you killed your wife?” The boy demanded. “Can you just stop taking care of me?”

Bill stood, aghast and stupefied. A man came running over to the two, a fit, young man who put his hand on Bill’s shoulder. Bill turned, his face loose and quivering like a dog’s jowls. A smiling face beamed back at him, re-assuring Bill that everything was going to be all right.

“I’m addicted to my son’s painkillers, and I’m going to steal his refills and overdose later tonight,” he averred.

Bill pushed his way past the pair in a stumble.

“I just can’t deal with it anymore,” the young man shouted at the entire world.

He removed his jacket and wrapped it around his head, covering his ears, and diverted his eyes away from anyone’s face. He yelped audibly when a cat darted out in front of him, and into the street.

A car brake screeched momentarily, and Bill heard the thump. Immediately after the initial impact, the car accelerated again hitting the cat a second time with the back tire. The car was gone, and in the middle of the road was the tabby, stunned and confused. Dragging itself across the street, the cat’s back half was a mangled mess of bone and innards. It cried pitifully, its eyes fixed firmly on the sanctuary of the curb.

Bill knew what would happen. That he knew the cat would reach the curb, but not be able to drag itself out of the road did not make the sight any easier when it came. What had once been a mere curb was now an insurmountable sepulcher wall, and the cat’s sounds went from panicked to resigned. Then Bill landed a leather sole to the back of the cat’s neck.

Another stomp landed squarely on the top of its head. Anyone walking by would have seen a madman, stomping on what sounded like dead leaves in the gutter. Even after all the little bones stopped breaking, Bill kept at it. It wasn’t until another car slowed, and passed by long enough for a child in the backseat to stare and lock eyes, that Bill stopped.

He ran. He ran as fast as his dress shoes and slacks would allow him. The only thing that stopped him from becoming an uncontrollable mess of shakes was charging forward, but every step to his apartment building was another step towards that fate.

Bill managed to get off half of his clothes before cowering under the covers, sobbing and wailing. He buried his face into the pillow to muffle his screams, and each minute that passed seemed like an hour. When he cried himself to sleep, he didn’t even realize it was happening.

The apartment was completely dark when he woke up. Peeling the rest of his clothes off, he went to the bathroom calmly to shower away his shame. In the mirror he saw the age of what he had become. There had never been any room for reflection when faced with the husk his wife left behind. His skin sagged and his hair was thin and had grayed ungracefully. He didn’t see himself staring back at him. He only saw a light, coming in from an apartment across the alleyway; a bright, yellow beacon of a lighthouse on a blackened cliff.

He opened his mouth to say something, but stopped. Instead he just nodded. Turning his back to the mirror he went towards the light coming in through the window. The frame was tough to open, and the fire escape rickety, but he made his way to the roof unharmed. Bill stood on the edge of the building, spread eagle and embracing the wind as it wrapped around his naked body and pitched forward.

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch
In as well.

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch
The Fire in the Night
Words: 925

“Wait up guys, I’m stuck,” Ricky said. Shining my flashlight revealed Ricky to be nearly waist deep in the Hockomock swamp mud.

“Stop getting stuck,” Billy said. He was a few feet in front of me, taking high steps through the brackish waters. “We’re going to lose her.”

Dangling just in front of Billy was her, the will-o'-the-wisp. The soul of Billy’s baby sister, he believed, a burning mote, flickering no brighter than a lantern. The first time he brought me with him, he was crying big fat, snotty tears, pleading me for help to catch it.

Every night we chased the wisp this far into the swamp and Ricky, because he was the smallest, would always get stuck. Every time before Billy would begrudgingly come back and help me, never noticing that the wisp never flew any further away. And before we knew it, the little flame would disappear in the light of dawn. We’d all go back together, changing our school clothes we hid by the big boulder, and we’d try again the next night.

This time Billy wasn’t turning around.

I never saw what he saw, I only saw a silent, overwhelming presence trying to lure my best friend into the dark swamp. When I realized I couldn’t keep Billy safe by myself, I brought Ricky with us.

“I think I’m really stuck,” Ricky said. He had that drat tone of voice about him, bored and confident.

“I don’t care, you’re just slowing us down.”

Ricky looked at me, somehow pleading for help through his slack countenance.

“Come on, Billy, you have to help your friends, right?” Ricky never lost eye contact me with.

I held in my hands a mason jar filled with dried herbs and some soil from his sister’s grave. It was supposed to help us trap the wisp, and bring his sister back. I didn’t know what to do, Billy trusted me.

The wisp was a drunk pendulum, swinging in uneven strokes back and forth just a few yards away from Billy. When he turned back to it, it flared as though it were stoked by a fresh log.

“Billy, come back, we have to help Ricky,” I said.

“Yeah, you can’t leave me,” Ricky said.

“No, god damnit,” Billy shouted. “I can’t, I can’t lose her. Not this time.”

“Ricky’s sinking, we have to help him.”

“You don’t get it, you don’t have a sister or a brother, you don’t know what it’s like to lose someone you love,” he said.

I almost dropped the mason jar. I had always thought of Billy as my brother, and Ricky too. Without them, I had nothing, and I couldn’t understand how Billy didn’t see that. Ricky was my friend more than Billy’s, that was true, but we had always done everything together. It was my job to make sure that we stuck together.

But I couldn’t leave Billy, I was holding the jar. He trusted me. He needed my help, he must. I looked over my shoulder to Ricky; he was sinking even faster now. The waters were up to his ribs, but he seemed unflappable.

“We need your help Billy, I can’t get out on my own,” Ricky said.

“I said no!” Billy stared right into my eyes. “Come on, let’s get going.”

I wondered what would happen if Billy finally caught up to the wisp, he would turn to have me hand him the mason jar, and I wouldn’t be there. Lifting in slow, wobbly circles, the wisp would flit away into the sky just as the sun came up, leaving Billy behind. The wisp would never make the same mistake and be caught again, and it would be my fault.

But I had another vision, a vision of leaving Ricky to help Billy chase the wisp, the malicious creature that had already led us into deep waters. I saw myself, hand in hand with Billy, chasing the wisp until dawn, Ricky left behind, mud flooding his mouth and nose, too tired and flooded to scream, to even gurgle.

And so I tossed the mason jar into the mud. I'd like to think Billy would be angry, but he was already gone, assuming I was following right behind him.

Ricky and I sat on the boulder that served as the meeting stone. Ricky lay naked on top of the boulder, staring up at the moon, completely calm. After we had changed into our school clothes, after the moon began to sink, even after I was almost sick with worry, Ricky was still cool.

“You did the best you could,” Ricky said.

Just as the first rays of sun split through the swamp willows, Billy came trudging up the path, caked up to his neck in mud.

I leapt off the rock and ran to him, falling into line behind him. As we walked past the boulder, Ricky hopped off and strode behind me. When we got to the path through the tall grass, the one that took us back to the neighborhood, Billy paused, turned to us, his eyes still red from crying.

“I want to be by myself this time.”

Without waiting for an answer, he went down the path and left us there, wondering where to do next. Ricky then hummed a tune I wasn’t familiar with and parted the tall grass, and I followed behind him.

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch
A Perfect World
Words: 135
We live in a perfect world, so things are supposed to be different now. The age of acceptance, equal rights, and enlightenment has come, and gone, with a final exhausted sigh. The problem is, my favorite bar can’t go to my wedding. Bravo isn’t going to make a reality show about a life of loneliness and severed ties. I can’t get a new mom and dad from a parade.

So if a dumb summer camp can fix everything, just for now, it’s worth it. If I can come home again, it’s worth it. If I can see my mom without worrying about my dad coming home early, it’s worth it. If I can just hug him one more time. Because we do not live in a perfect world, and this is the best I can get.

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch
I could swing one this week.

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch
New Beginnings

Words: 1100

On Margie’s birthday the year before, her brother Ben accidentally killed her dog. The year before that, her then husband’s mistress crashed the party, intent on fighting, or loving, or just breaking down crying, Margie didn’t know. With anxious nervousness she stared at the ribbons and balloons her mother and friends spent the whole morning putting up and she wondered, what horrible thing was going to happen to her this year.

“Honey, all of that is in the past, isn’t it time for new beginnings,” her mother said. Positivity was apparently all it took to make life just fine, Margie thought. She wanted to snap at her mother, but what was it worth alienating the last family member in her life. Her friends all knew the story, it was old news, it was all she ever talked about, it was all that made her who she was. New beginnings would mean she would have to admit it she was the problem all along. Why couldn’t anyone see that, or did they already know?

Moving from guest, to party tray, to guest, she nervously twisted her wedding ring around her finger. She did it unconsciously, but she knew that people talked; her friends, her mother, they all pitied her, clinging on to the idea that things would magically get better. The reality of it all was that she had tried to sell it one day after the divorce, only to find out that it was cubic zirconium. In a fit of laughter that could only be abated by awkward stares at the jeweler, she slipped it back on to remind herself of the mistakes she made. Of course in Margie fashion, she yo-yo dieted between being too fat to take the ring off, and too self-conscious to even try.

When she saw the black sedan pull up, with tinted windows all around, she stood on her tip toes in the grass, trying to see what was going to happen next. The tiny little ember of anxiety began to kindle. When her baby brother Ben stepped out of the back seat, that anxiety swirled into fury.

Behind Ben was a large man who was dressed in polo shirt and slacks, and somehow emanated menace and gloom. She fell back on her heels, the prickly grass forcing her to acknowledge this was actually happening. There was some assurance in being right, after all. After what seemed like too long to not check, she got back on her tip toes and saw another large man, similarly dressed flanking Ben. They were waiting to cross the street.

She sank back into the grass. She needed a glass of water. A glass of water and a gin. That’s what she said with a smile to the friend next to her. Her friend had said something to her, she never heard the words, the sounds were foreign, something that was supposed to have meaning but she just couldn’t put it together. She nodded and laughed, before she turned and left the person confused in the grass.

She met them on the porch, before they even had a chance to knock.

“You killed my dog, you loving piece of poo poo,” Margie said. That the men accompanying Ben didn’t react to what she said worried her.

“That’s not true,” Ben said. That fire, that twisting fury, roared again. She twisted the ring over and over again. “I need to talk to you.”

“Would your, friends, like some refreshments? Please, feel free to help yourselves.”

One of the large men looked at the other, and they nodded. They were sweating, which Margie just assumed was the burden of large men in dark clothing. Maybe they appreciated the hospitality, she hoped.

They went out the side door in the kitchen, where the laundry was, and strode, with confidence that Margie only thought was possible on TV, to get a beer. They avoided the grass, as best they could, sticking to the concrete and the garden stones. She sipped her gin and water. Tonic upset her stomach.

“I need your help, Margie, please.”

“I can’t believe this, no, actually, I can completely believe this.”

“I need to borrow some money,” Ben said.

“What the gently caress is wrong with you?”

“It’s not for long, I just need a little bit, I’ll pay you back, I promise.”

He gave her a look. It was the same look when she kicked him out of her house, the last look he had ever given her. A look of hurt, that there weren’t any other options, that somehow that all the choices that led to this moment had been nothing but fate, that he was sinking toward failure like a deflating balloon, and she was the only gust of wind keeping him afloat.

“I can’t, I just can’t, there’s nothing I can do,” she said. Her hands shook, and she twisted the old wedding ring around her finger.

“Why do you still wear that thing,” Ben asked. Margie stopped twisting the ring, but she kept her fingers on it.

“I don’t know, maybe I didn’t want to let go of the idea,” she said. “But it’s my birthday, right, time for new beginnings?”

Ben nodded. Margie took the ring off and looked at it one more time, finally setting it down on the wooden counter. She kept her back to him, watching the party out the window. The men he had come with loitered at the table with all the beer and soda and chips, that was originally intended to force people to mingle and talk to each other when they had to refill their just-too-small cups, but they were alone in their broad shouldered stance. She listened to Ben’s footsteps. They were hesitant, trepidatious steps at first, before he came up behind her with a hug.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I can’t help.”

“I know. It’s okay,” Ben said. He squeezed her tight, and that little fire inside her, inside him, flared briefly and brightly, and then all of the sudden let go. A puff of smoke floating away in the wind, Ben turned and left silently. In the grass, he passed in front of the window, leaving his footprints faintly in the blades and he nodded to the men. Everyone’s eyes were on them, watching them leave.

Running her hand across the wooden counter was smooth and unimpeded. She wondered if Ben had taken the ring when he walked up to her, or if he had taken it when he left. She wondered if it even mattered. After all, it was her birthday, it was time for new beginnings.

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch
The Dirty Dog
Words: 1000

Alexei knew how to do well only one thing in life, catch dogs, but as he stepped onto the wharf of Los Grano D’oro, the ever-present doubt in his abilities magnified. The immense port city loomed over the olive-oil waters; Alexei’s prey would be in there somewhere, El Perro Sucio, The Dirty Dog.

A week prior he had boarded a barge and the entire town, they all knew Alexei, the catcher of dogs, had come to see him off. A big job, in a big city, he told them, wish me luck he shouted, but heard nothing in return. His grandmother packed his black attaché case with snacks and an extra pair of shorts, just in case she said. Over his shoulder was his trusty catch-pole. Placing his ticket in his suit coat, he steeled himself.

He stared at the skyline as he walked, bumping into a small man he hadn’t seen.

“Watch where you’re going, rear end in a top hat!”

Before Alexei could apologize, the man was gone. Alexei looked at the boardwalk red-faced, he was already rude country bumpkin.

At the Dockmaster Hotel, which was both the only hotel, and always had vacancy, Alexei placed his luggage and coat on a chair. A sharp knock rapped at the door. Alexei opened it, not expecting to see yet another short man, this city was full of them.

“Are you ze dog catcher?”

Alexei nodded. The small man was thin for his size, and paler than any person, even a small woman child from Rassgart. In his hands was a black attaché case, much like the one that Alexei had brought his extra pair of shorts in.

“You will use this to catch El Perro Sucio,” the man said. Alexei nodded, pretending to understand sophisticated city dog-catching technique. The man eyed the catch-pole and made a disgusted sound. “You will garrote him with zis?”

“Oh no, no,” Alexei said, picking up the pole. “You loop around here, and then you wear him out, until finally, you whisper, whisper nice things in his ear until he relaxes. Then you pet him. And then it’s all over.”

The man shuddered. “However you need to do it, I cannot lose anymore men to zis devil.” He turned abruptly, dropping the case.

Alexei watched the man leave before double checking the return time on his ticket. Finding nothing but an empty pocket, Alexei panicked. He tore through the room, and right before he checked his case, a shriek came from the parking lot.

“El Perro Sucio,” shouted the pale, tiny, baby woman man from before. Alexei in his state grabbed his attaché case, mistaking it for the other.

With his pole-catch and case, he ran to the parking lot to see the pale man even more pale, and mumbling to himself, ‘El Perro’. Alexei looked around, only seeing a black SUV speeding away and an alley. Rassgart had many alleys, so he knew a thing or two about dogs and alleys. He ran awkwardly, his equipment poorly situated. He heard shouts from behind him, the Frenchman probably shouting words of encouragement.

Knocking over garbage cans, and kicking wooden pallets, he heard a ruffling sound. Poking out of the mess was a dirty, smelly, mangy, malnourished, raggedy, matted tangle of fur and grime. The dog looked at Alexei curiously.

“El Perro Sucio!” He lunged and the chase was on. Alexei did consider that this dog was not nearly as large, muscular, ferocious, threatening, drug-addled, tattoo-covered as he had been lead to believe. But a dog was a dog, and he was a dog catcher.

Alexei pursued, but the heavy attaché case was slowing him down. As the filthy animal rounded a street corner, Alexei was confronted by a trolley coming the opposite way. He dove onto the sidewalk, parting startled pedestrians. Alexei caught sight of the mutt standing on the back of the trolley, wagging his tail smugly.

But Alexei was known for only one thing good, it was catching dogs. In full sprint, Alexei made ground on the trolley but it soon hit a hill and pulled ahead.

“Hey, rear end in a top hat! Throw me that briefcase.” Shouted a small man on the trolley, this city was full of them! But Alexei knew he had no choice. He tossed the attaché case to the man, and was almost to the platform when the man bent down and pushed Alexei in the face.

Alexei tumbled and rolled to a halt. In his daze, he thought he saw the man wave to him as the trolley scaled the hill. He must have been sorry for such an accident, Alexei thought. Watching the trolley finally crest the hill, he wondered if he would ever see his prey again. Just then, a tiny silhouette trotted back down the hill, and Alexei knew his luck was turning around.

Alexei sat on the wharf, El Perro Sucio next to him sniffing the air. He had been stood up by his employer, and his boat would be here in an hour, he remembered that much from his missing return ticket. Would the kind bargeman remember such a face? Alexei pulled his mouth into a toothy grin. He wondered if they allowed dogs on board. In that moment, a small man with a briefcase walked by and snagged his foot against the Frenchmen’s attaché case, which Alexei thought was his own but had intended on giving to his employer to compensate for losing the other, and to tell him that briefcases are best for snacks and shorts, not catching dogs, causing both of them to spill onto the wooden planks.

“Hey, watch where you’re going, rear end in a top hat!” Came a familiar voice. Right as Alexei stood to confront the man, the pickpocket fled. Collecting himself and the briefcase, Alexei saw a familiar scrap of paper hiding under the black leather. Plucking the barge ticket from the ground he flicked it approvingly.

“Today is my lucky day, dog,” Alexei said. El Perro Sucio burped and wagged his tail.

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch

crabrock posted:

So help me god, if people spend 500 words describing the shaft of a howitzer I'm going to smash something.

Thunderdome never changes.

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch
Would you have really not put me on Team Ock?

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch
Too Late

It was steak and a blowjob day and refrigerator was parched of butter. Sheila was half-packed when Byron walked through the front door; she had sent him out, the closest grocery store ten minutes one way at best. The unsalted porterhouse laid out spread eagle on the butcher block, nowhere close to room temp.

“I went to the 7-11, I know they don’t carry real butter, but that’s not really the best part of this day anyway,” Byron said. He hadn’t seen her immediately upon entrance; he was too busy smirking at the white tub of yellow substitute.

“Suck your own loving cock.”

She wheeled her travel case past him, never looking back as she loaded it into her Camry parked at the curb. His left hand slick from the perspiring margarine, Byron stood on the stoop and watched his wife of six years drive away.

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch
The Vulture

Words: 1285

Igan surveyed the mudflat full of half buried bodies and was unmoved. Today would be a good day for Igan; the tide moved out early in the morning, allowing the sun to bake away enough water, and the tide would move in before the mud turned to clay. He might be able to strip thrice a dozen before he was flooded out.

Before, when the fighting between Ockland and Suntory first came to the village, Igan used to bury the bodies after he scavenged, but as the days and fighting worsened, the inefficiency was too much. After all, he had had a sister to worry about. Now it was just a habit, and the sin already committed.

Straddled atop a now naked corpse, the bloated and waterlogged skin undulating between Igan’s thighs, he worked his pair of pliers back and forth. The silver tooth made a quiet sucking sound as it dislodged and Igan stood in the mud naked save for a loin cloth, pouch and his signature midnight blue leather gloves.

One more and he would be done for the day, the tide returning already. But he had been lucky in his haul, many coats for scrap, medals and fillings for smelting and more sights for his fevered dreams.

A body with a blue Ockland coat lay uncovered in the mud, serene as though he were napping. Igan dug in, wrenching the body from the earthen embrace. Routine guided Igan as he bent down and opened the coat neck, searching for an engagement or family ring; soldiers often kept valuable keepsakes there. His smile turned sour as he realized the medallion around the man’s neck was his own craft, smelted and shaped and given to his sister months ago.

Just then the body shuddered and coughed, spitting black mud out of his mouth. Igan sprung backward, grabbing his trowel and crouching low in a combat stance. A soft moan escaped the parched lips.

“Who are you, why do you have this!”

Afraid that he wasn’t going to get an answer, and that he was in the middle of plain sight, Igan bundled his raggedy haul onto the sled before he carefully dragged the soldier on, covering him loosely in waterlogged coats and fleeing the mudflats.

At his shack on the outskirts of town, Igan tore through the box of his sister’s belongings, each one flashing a memory of when he gave it to his sister, each one a special smile as she looked up at him from her bed. Everything was there, save for the necklace.

“I’ll ask you one more time,” Igan said.

“There is a loose floorboard, under her bed,” the soldier said. Igan wanted to slap him, the nerve of this broken man, but he searched anyway. The floorboard was easy to find, had he ever the cause to look. Inside were letters upon letters.

“She didn’t want you to worry,” he said. Igan opened his mouth, but couldn’t form the words. “You must be her big brother. I’ve heard a lot about you.”

A sharp banging came from the door.

“Blackhands, open up. Open this door now, Blackhands.” It was Diedrich, the Mayor. A spineless utilitarian, much like himself, the Suntory had put in charge. They had struck a mutual bargain back when Igan’s sister was still sick. The shack belonged to a dead crab fisherman with no family, and what was the mayor to do with it anyway? The town needed reclaimed supplies, and while Diedrich held the town together, superstition and taboo kept them away from the thousands of dead. Except Igan.

“Yes Mayor,” Igan said from the other side of the door.

“So you’re the Blackhands?” The soldier wheezed. “Now I’ve done it…”

“What have you done, Igan?”

Igan opened the door a crack.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Igan said. The mayor’s face became crestfallen but Igan was not fooled.

“Please, Igan, do not make me bring the Corporal,” Diedrich said.

“That coat you wear, mayor, of who’s wool is it dyed? Is it not brown and olive as the Suntory soil? But what of all those blue patches, so resistant to the Ockland rains? Surely no General, let alone Corporal, would begrudge you from wearing the slicks of the dead now, would they? Surely not in these troubled times.”

Diedrich’s eyelids lowered into a sleepy gaze that Igan immediately recognized. There was a fish knife on a side table next to the door, just far enough away that he’d have to step away from the door.

“Just come outside. Leave the door open, and come outside, Igan. That’s all you have to do.”

“Kill him,” the soldier whispered. Igan looked at the soldier, covered in mud and death. If he gave the soldier up, it would be just like if he found him dead, no? What if he just killed the soldier here in the house. Would things go back to normal?

“May I see your hands, Mayor?”

For a moment Diedrich paused and he squinted slightly, trying to puzzle out what Igan was asking him to do. But it wouldn’t have mattered, and he raised his arms slowly, showing the skin of both hands, weathered and calloused, and shaking ever so slightly. Igan could see the heavy weight resting in the mayor’s coat pocket.

“He’ll kill us both,” the soldier said. Igan gripped the door, the warped wood sending tiny splinters into his palms. Open the door, pack his things, and never look back. Just open the door and walk away. He could walk away, this wasn’t the first time, he could do it again.

“I’m not going to do that, Diedrich.”

“You’ve made a grave mistake Blackhands, and you will be cast in with the lot you keep.”

The mayor turned in the mud and stormed off towards the village. Igan wondered if he should have listened to either one of them.

“You’re a fool,” the soldier. “I guess the Blackhands really has lost his nerve.”

Igan had the fish knife against the soldier’s throat in an instant.

“Keep talking and you will know why they call me the Blackhands,” he said. Standing straight Igan rummaged through his shack, throwing things into leather knapsacks and bags. Hard tack and dried foods were thrown in one bag, salt and coffee grounds into another, all of it he ran outside and loaded onto the sled.

“Can you walk?” Igan said. The soldier scoffed. Igan grit his teeth and bent over, lifting the soldier in his lean arms. He dropped him unceremoniously into the sled.

Igan went back into the shack before coming out in a blue overcoat, gloves and a machine gun.

“Hold this,” Igan said, thrusting the gun into the soldier’s chest. Grunting, Igan started the sled moving, his boots sinking into the mud. Soon they crested a hill overlooking the mudflats. Limbs of soldiers still poked through the incoming tide.

“They’re going to follow the tracks,” the soldier coughed.

“Hopefully not through this tide,” Igan said.

“Why are you doing this?”

“You’re going to tell me about my sister.”

“What? What don’t you know already?”

Igan remembered the feel of the medallion in his hands right before he gave it to his sister. He remembered her cold hands in his when he found her that terrible morning. He remembered putting all of her things, all the things he had made her, in a box that he kept on her bed. But he never realized the medallion was missing.

“Not nearly enough, it seems,” Igan said. He pushed the sled into the rising waters, through the mud flats. “I hope you can hold your breath for just a little longer.”

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch
y'all dickheads are welcome.

lets brawl.

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch
In. Lets do a thing.

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch
Nettle Man

Words: 1202

Joey expired profusely, praying for a swift end to Mandatory Daylight. Soon the Oblong Rotational Blocker would move across the sky, covering his dusty East Los Angeles neighborhood in Mandatory Night Time, but the reality was that the streets would stay lit from ambient and direct reflection from all the neon tube lights anyway.

A billboard’s auto-lights engaged, showing a gyrating man completely oblivious in his paper world to the hundred degree heat Joey endured. Even still, Joey wondered, was why advertise leather. He had even been to an Ice Lounge, when he could save a month’s wage, and he felt his leather jacket and pants just kept all the dirty sweat against his skin, which rapidly cooled him beyond the point of comfort.

A man shoved past, pushing Joey with the bulk of several dirty rags and sweatshirts all piled on top of each other. Joey opened his mouth but thought better after surveying the man’s horrible visage.

Brown streaks of dirt and grime lined the linens and cloths, Joey not sure the man wore the clothes or just tied them around his extremities. And Joey could still see skin in gashes and spaces in the attire, red and irritated, he realized the yellow discoloration the clothes had against the bare skin was from pus and discharge.

And the man stopped, as though sensing Joey’s ill thoughts. One turn and Joey ran from the transient’s gaze, that of yellow, polluted whites and scabrous brow. Thankfully Joey had turned a run long before the sinister man pulled down the hankerchief covering his face.

Ducking into his favorite watering hole for a cold-enough cerveza, which he was on his way to in the first place, he plopped down in front of his bartender Mort. Words tumbled from Joey’s mouth like what used to be called streams.

“Oh you mean the Nettle Man.”

“The Nettle Man?”

“This must have been a couple of decades ago, before you were a gleam in your—“

“Yes, yes. I’m young, I get it, you say that every time you start a story,” Joey said.

“Right, so must have been early 60s, maybe even late 50s, before all the oceans started drying up and the wind stopped and back when you could get coconut bar for a buck. A god drat buck!”

“Yeah okay, back when everything was great.”

“His name was Otto, and he was a researcher at the University. Some aquatic ven-o-mo-logical thing, but anyway, he was working on venom and how it could be good for treating diseases.”

“Huh,” Joey said. “Heard stranger, I guess.”

“So Otto has to start collecting these jellyfish, sea nettles they were called, and keeps them in this huge tank. And what he does is he gets these samples from their tentacles, but you gotta scrape them, and make the nettle sting. And they’re wearing protective clothes, but even that’s not enough. And the crazy bastard Otto doesn’t even mind it, he says it’s nothing like what the test subjects go through.”

“Test subjects?”

“Oh yeah, because he’s doing this trial study, and he really thinks he’s on to something, tested it on mice, everything, and he finally gets to test it on humans. Picture this, first you’re dying from the inside, wasting away, and this German tells you he might be able to help. But everyday, he stabs you with this giant needle, and puts liquid fire into you. One by one, his patients were quitting or dying, one way or another they couldn’t take the pain. Except one. This one little girl named Sarah, tougher than anyone else.

“So she was the last one, and everyday Otto would come get samples from her in the morning, and then at night he’d come back with a new mixture. Supposed to just poison a little bit of her. But that’s not how I heard it.”

“How do you know all this?”

“Back then this place used to be a lot more popular before the Uni closed. Some lab techs, kids your age, were there the entire time, helping Otto. You’d get some kid in here with a white glaze over his eyes, lab coat still on, looking like he’d seen the devil, and you would know he had been with Otto that evening.”

“Okay, keep going,” Joey said.

“Well, her family wouldn’t let him anymore, thought he was killing her, and hell, I can’t say I disagree. But he had to make more samples to test on, so what does he do? He infects himself, with the same thing in Sarah, just, jabs that big syringe into him, shoomp!”

Mort made a wet squishing noise as he pretended to push down the plunger.

“And you know how he had to get right into them, to get the samples, before he put that stuff in himself, he was careful, his assistants said. But after, he was bewitched, just jumping into the tank without putting on any gloves or anything. He would get right up to them, and wouldn’t even flinch as they wound those tentacles around his arms.”

“An assistant told me once, he was doing a collection and slipped, one of those vile things, twisted itself around his arm and he said it was like someone got a wet piece of twine and looped it as tight as they could around your arm, and then they’d saw back and forth, tearing your skin apart each time it moved.”

Joey shuddered, feeling the weight of the imaginary twine, sawing back and forth until the bright red blood pushed out and turned deep brown against his dirty forearms.

“But it wasn’t for nothing. It finally worked, you see, Otto figured it out, but after all that time he was in his lab—Days on days, weeks, and by then he was so swollen and sore and monstrous that he got tackled by security as soon as he went into the hospital. They had no idea, you get this bloated, pus monster running into ER holding this gently caress-off needle? I’m surprised they didn’t shoot him!”

“So wait, did he get her the medicine?”

Mort’s shook his head expressionless. “You hear it different ways, the syringe gets stepped on, Otto throws it, or it just plain breaks, but whatever happened, it gets broken. It’s another day, at least, before they can get another batch ready.”

“And Sarah?”

“She doesn’t make it.”

Joey exhaled like he had been holding his breath for eons.

“Wait, if it worked, why’s he still got all those stings?”

“That’s the damndest part, Otto, he, just can’t stop anymore. He gets in the tank with those loving things and lets them sting him all over again and again.”

Joey spun his stool and stared out into the street. Neon lights flickered and popped down the line of taquerias and liquor marts, the sky was a strange, deep electric purple, and the hologram of the moon sat unchanging against the backdrop of the ORB. He envisioned Otto peeling away clothes in strips, each one taking another portion of dead and irritated skin away with it, before finally descending into a tank where the tentacles would embrace him once again.

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch
I'll take a crit from the bingo week.

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch
What Comes Next
words: 1590

Twenty miles out from Edisto Island and Adrian Wilson, a northerner, was already fearing the worst. Listing the situational elements in his head: a flat tire, a decrepit auto garage, and a fading sun, Adrian saw the gruesome fates of him and his friends in the near future. He shook from the uppers he was still on from the cross country road trip, feeling responsible for falling for such a simple pitfall.

“I don’t think any of you understand what’s going on right now,” Adrian said. Behind him, his best friend Sam surveyed the map, while Allison and her boyfriend Daniel had a quiet but forceful argument about the fate of their missing spare donut.

He stood on a two lane road with no lines and crumbling from erosion, holding the insidious trap—a rusty nail. On one side of the road was the tall grass and reeds waving in the wind, weeping willows dotting the horizon above them. On the other, a darkened auto garage, with a red ‘open’ sign still visible through the dingy glass.

The situation wasn’t impossible, so long as he was one step ahead, Adrian thought. Distracted by the visions of horrors to come, and his heroic response, he barely heard a distant conversation over the cacophony of cicadas and crickets. Sam had finished looking at the map and had gone up to the dimly lit shopfront, and had engaged in conversation with a clerk.

Adrian hurried to the pair, “Jesus Christ Sam!”

Sam and the mechanic turned in alarm.

“As I was saying, we ain’t got any tires, but I can patch and pump the sucker, and I gotta make sure there ain’t any sidewall damage, but I can probably have you on the road by sundown,” the mechanic said through yellowed teeth. Adrian couldn’t believe his eyes as his premonitions coalesced into reality.

“Yeah I don’t loving think so, bub, I’ve got Triple A.”

The mechanic nodded sagely as Adrian pulled out his cell phone. Within minutes of being on hold, Adrian had thanked the service representative profusely and said he absolutely looked forward to being helped as soon as possible by the nearest tow operator.

Adrian slipped the phone into his pocket and smirked. A faint, familiar ring of a landline came from beyond the shop front door.

“You’ll have to excuse me,” the mechanic said. He shot a quick wink Allison’s way and went to answer the phone. Adrian’s face sank and he watched the mechanic walk unhurried into the shop, tap on the window pane emblazoned so obviously with a Triple A vendor sticker, and casually jaw on the phone.

“You just bought me two billable hours, son,” the mechanic said. “You might wanna have a seat and sit a spell.”

Adrian’s sweat had his shirt sticking in all the wrong places, and he could hear his voice getting more shrill.

“That’s loving bullshit.” Before Adrian could continue shouting Daniel put himself in between the two and was pushing Adrian back.

“Dude what the hell are you doing, calm down,” Daniel said. Weaving his head, Adrian could see the mechanic walking away, and Sam expectedly following him. Distilled panic gripped Adrian’s core as he imagined the mechanic smothering Sam with a fuel soaked rag just out of sight.

“Are you listening to me?” Daniel said.

“Don’t go anywhere with that loving hillbilly,” Adrian shouted, pushing past Daniel. Sam turned again, giving Adrian an open mouthed look.

“What the gently caress is wrong with you,” Daniel said.

”Don’t split up, don’t go out of sight, how many times do I have to say this?” Adrian shouted to no one and everyone.

“Aww hell, I seen that look before, you better get your friend under control before I have to call the police,” the mechanic said. Adrian’s shouting caught in his throat as the situation started spiraling out of control.

“Oh please, we’re so sorry,” Allison said, finally coming up onto the gravel front of the auto garage. The shuffling of all five of them in the rocks overpowered the cicadas’ song.

“Sam do not let him get inside that door,” Adrian said. His eyes furiously scanned for the optimal route around his friends, internal calculations making his head hurt.

“You god drat meth heads get the hell off my property,” the mechanic said and turned for the door. Adrian lunged through the gravel, trying to find footing but his legs felt strangely numb and soaked with sweat. Allison grabbed the back of his shirt, holding him long enough for the mechanic to rush inside and lock the glass door behind him.

“Oh god, it’s all loving over now,” Adrian began chanting. He knew as soon as the police showed up, a relative of the mechanic no doubt, even probably an off-911 call, they were in for it. No one would see them again, he had to think, think, think. He ran to the car, swinging the driver door open, reaching to turn it on but the keys were missing. He sprinted again into the open garage, slamming through tools and wall racks.

“What the hell, what the hell,” Allison repeated.

By the time the police car had rolled up to the garage, Adrian had overturned several tool boxes, producing a jack and a tire iron, and had successfully wrenched off the flat tire. He was in the middle of trying to apply a tire patch with arms that shook like branches in a storm, that he didn’t notice the officer carefully step closer to him.

“Son, put the tire iron down and lie face down on the ground,” the officer said. It was too late, Adrian thought. Frozen in place, he eyed the deputy, who had one hand in front of him, and one hand reaching for his pistol. Between split vinyl blinds, the mechanic watched the scene from behind dirty glass windows.

He couldn’t let the deputy get his gun out, it would be all over. One by one the deputy would cuff them, and drive them on a dirt road, between the willows and grass, and to some decaying shack where no one would hear them above the cicadas. But so long as the deputy didn’t get his gun out, Adrian still had a chance.

With only one recourse, he threw the tire iron at the deputy, who instinctively braced and flinched. Throwing his hands to his gun, he unclipped deftly and began sliding it out of the holster when Adrian collided with him, sending them both to the ground. Adrian clawed at the deputy’s face with one hand, and the other went for the gun, knocking it into the chalky rocks.

They rolled together, trying to separate simultaneously that they still tangled on each other. With youthful flexibility, Adrian pulled his knee to his chest and pushed off against the deputy, sending the man backwards, and propelling himself along the ground. Adrian and the officer popped up in the same instant, with Adrian firmly grasping the pistol in two hands.

The mechanic ran out of the shopfront with a rifle leveled at the young man.

“You don’t know what you’re doing, put the gun down,” the deputy said. “Just put the gun down, slowly.”

Adrian swung back and forth between the deputy and the mechanic. The deputy held his hand out to the mechanic.

“Easy, easyyy, son.”

Coming up behind him, Allison placed her hands on Adrian’s shoulder, “Please put the gun down.”

Adrian seized up startled and jerked his face.

“Don’t loving touch me!”

When Adrian turned his head, the deputy lunged, his boots sinking into the gravel, the rocks scraping sharply. Adrian felt suffocated, the shock of it causing him to fire upon the charging officer. The deputy made a gurgling sound and crashed into the loose stones, landing on his side, heading pointing towards the group.

The mechanic squeezed the trigger, missing completely. Adrian whirled on the ashen man, exploding his chest with another revolver blast. The cicadas were silent in the moments after the exchange, but even before the dust could settle they had struck up their song again. The deputy’s boot sank to the side, limply producing the familiar sound of gravel shifting.

Adrian’s breathed in short, gasping spurts. After several eternal seconds, his arms began shaking so violently that he could no longer hold the pistol at chest level. Letting his hands fall, he paced between the two bodies. In his mind he had replayed the scenario over and over in his head, no two instances ever ended the same, and he realized that he never got past this climactic moment.

He would have to move fast, right, very fast, he thought. There might be relatives? Coworkers? An entire posse? He could drag the bodies into the garage pit, that would hide them from passerbys easily enough. Then he could put the police cruiser into neutral and push it into the tall grass and reeds off the side of the road. Scrambling to the mechanic, he tried to put his hands under the armpits. Pushing back into the ground, the mechanic’s body was much heavier than he anticipated and his feet slipped. That was okay, he thought, I’m not alone. I just need Daniel’s help. He looked up at them, standing close together by the sedan. Standing there, unmoving.

Adrian stood, gun still in hand, shaking violently. Rigid as statues, they gaped at him.

“Help me! Why won’t any of you loving help me?”

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch
Just kill these dumb brawls.

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch
3 2

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch
change me to 4 2

May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch
The Tide
words: 999

Charlie sat on the tidal flat’s retaining wall gazing at the most horrible thing he had ever seen in his life. Sculpted from the almost black silt and detritus, the castle was immense yet perfectly finished. Onyx parapets smoothed by hand from hard plastic molds, a carefully dredged moat with just enough water, it was erected on just far enough to avoid the tide, but close enough to not dry and crumble. He watched Sam, the brilliant engineer of this disaster, walking hand in hand with his adoring parents up the path to the cottages.

In the fading sun, the dinner hour when all were inside, Charlie took a sandaled sole to every rampart, every scooped window before finally punting completely through the entrance arch. He bent, bracing his hands on his knees, red faced. Behind him the waves reached toward him with their cold, inky embrace, and even though he knew that they would not touch him, he fled from them.

The next morning Charlie crouched in front of his own castle, desperately trying to hold together the much-too-dry sand as it sloughed off and collapsed. A shadow cast over the ruins.

“What happened to my castle, Charlie?”

“I don’t know,” Charlie said.

“I saw you sitting on the wall last night, you didn’t see what happened?”

“Must have been the tide.”

“Oh,” Sam said, his voice cracked. “Really?”

“Yes, I saw the water coming right up to your castle. I swear.”

Sam pulled a notepad out from his back pocket and furrowed his brow. He mumbled to himself, and even after he left, he consulted the notepad. Charlie turned away from Sam and started rebuilding.

In the evening sun Sam sat on the retaining wall staring at a structure of majestic horror.

“My dad taught me how to do a Balentine arch,” Sam said. Charlie refused to look at the beaming his beaming countenance.

“You know Charlie you have to make your castles closer to the water, the sand is too dry up here,” Sam said.

Charlie grunted. He had even managed to put tiny flags cut from drink umbrellas in the pointed towers.

From up the path behind them came a sharp whistle. “Dinner time,” Sam said. “Gotta go, you should come over sometime.” Charlie said nothing.

He kicked the base of the towers, causing the cylindrical sand to collapse over him in gritty, abrasive pleasure. He would have completely leveled the castle, and smoothed the entire surface, fully erasing its existence, but the encroaching tide frightened him away again. Scrambling up the wooden ladder of the retaining wall he looked back to see the tide still only came a few feet from the destroyed pile of sand.

“It must have been the tide,” Charlie said unsolicited the next morning. Sam consulted his notepad.

“Must have been.”

Without acknowledging it, Charlie listened to Sam’s advice and went as near as he dare to the ocean to build. With much fewer cave-ins and mishaps, Sam’s outer walls filled him with a sense of pride. He would craft a barracks, stables, and finally he erected a main hall fit for a king.

Covered in sand he marveled at his craftsmanship. So taken with his labor he barely even noticed how dark it had gotten.

“That’s pretty good,” Sam said.

“Pretty good?” Charlie scoffed. “I’d like to see what you di—“

A plug uncorked from inside him and his joy drained away as he saw Sam’s work eclipse his own in both grandeur and scope. While Charlie had been content to build vertically, bolstered by outer walls, Sam had sprawled his creations into an entire township, with inns, bakers, smiths and winding streets. There were no words to be had, only a growing sense of intangible rage. His body didn’t register the consolation pat Sam placed on his shoulder as he left.

Not even the coming tide would stop Charlie’s rampage. He stomped and dove through the multitude of structures. Water splashed his face as he put his feet down time and time again. The entire cityscape had been destroyed three times over when Charlie fully realized that he was getting knee deep when a wave would come. He sloshed towards the wall, only to see the ladder strewn and Sam dangling his legs over the side.

Before he could say anything, a wave hit him from behind, jostling him. Another wave knocked Charlie to his knees, and the water receded, tearing his foundation from under him. It was the third wave that pushed his head under. Sam sat statuesque while Charlie blindly groped the wooden retaining wall. Sam kicked his heel against the wood and crossed his arms.

“I see now how the tide can be so devastating,” Sam said. “Especially when there’s a storm off-shore.”

Charlie tried to speak between mouthfuls of salt water but only gargles and labored gasps escaped the crashing waves.

“Oh, your parents didn’t tell you that?”

When there was a long enough pause between the waves, Charlie cried, “Help, please help.”

Sam stood on wall and pulled out his notepad.

“You’ll be fine, Charlie,” he said. “The tide won’t go that high.”

Charlie felt his way to his right before a wave tumbled him again. Salt water stung his eyes, and he tried to change his direction, not sure of which way around was actually the shortest. As he made his way over to the left his foot caught the wooden ladder and he tripped. A wave slammed the side of his head against the retaining wall and he his vision flashed white for a brief moment, and it darkened on the edges.

“Help me Sam!”

They found Charlie’s body face down in the mud, the sand piled to his cheeks and partially covering one of his arms.

Sam retook his place on the wall as the throng of early morning beach walkers parted for the authorities.

“Must have been the tide,” Sam said to no one in particular.


May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch
In. Let's do a hard one.

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