In. Someone officialish give me a number.
|# ¿ Feb 9, 2016 17:00|
|# ¿ Jan 17, 2022 16:01|
Martin could bust a street lamp in two shots. One smooth rock for the plastic guard, and another to blast the white-blue LED into smithereens.
“drat, that’s crazy,” said Osmar, his cousin.
When it would rain, and there would still be water in the Los Angeles River, Martin and Osmar would skip rocks and try to ramp across the river on their bicycles. Martin had always been the better aim.
Martin tossed a rock in the air and grinned. “I can bust a whole street if I wanted to.”
And he did want to. He wanted to break them all. But he dared only to venture through the industrial park and warehouse districts of downtown, railroad tracks and the edges of factory lots. Someplace that allowed for a quick getaway if a rent-a-cop was around looking for vandals.
“Watch me smash this one,” Osmar called.
Martin turned to look where Osmar was aiming and his heart stopped. Osmar was in the middle of the street, aiming at an orange high-sodium pressure lamp on the other side of the street. Right as Osmar reeled back to sling a rock, Martin slapped his hand and the rock went clattering into a steel warehouse wall.
“Stop you dummy, we’ve been here too long, someone might see,” Martin hissed. Osmar looked hurt as he rubbed his hand in feigned vigor. They dashed across empty railroad tracks and past scrap yards and tow yards before they came to Martin’s house. It was an old work-live space from long ago, when you could have a one bedroom house and convert the other half of the yard into a metal shop. Martin’s father, Galdamez, was grandfathered in from his own father, back in the 50s. Galdamez had grown up in this one bedroom house with his parents, and now Martin.
“Mañana,” Osmar said. Martin nodded and ran through the screen door into the house, hoping to get to the workshop without being noticed.
He could tell from the sound of his father’s voice that he had been drinking already.
“Your school called again today,” Galdamez said. “Where have you been?”
“What does it matter?” Martin said. He did not stop on his way to the workshop out back. He stepped through the corrugated metal siding to the large wooden workbench. Stacked in boxes were glass globes, custom designed decades ago by the city of Los Angeles. In another corner he had the pressured gas canisters, next to the arc ray tube stock. The welding equipment sat right next to the work table.
Martin threw his backpack into the dust and sat the stool at the work table.
“What are you doing, I am talking to you,” Galdamez shouted. Martin knew if his father had been able to hear the school telephone him, then he hadn’t done any work in the shop today.
“If Mr. Gryer at the city calls and he says that everyone in the city hates these new lights and they have to replace all the broken ones, and what if you say you don’t have any lights ready?!” The words spilled out of his mouth like an unclogged sewer.
Galdamez was dumbfounded. “What are you talking about? Your mother’s soul, what have you been doing?”
Martin jumped off the stool, sending it clattering to the ground. He darted to the side of workshop, his father making a move to stop him. Martin was gone, slipping out a driveway where the trucks used to deliver supplies.
Martin wandered the mostly-empty streets. They were streets that he would walk with his father as a young boy. His father would point to a light and say “you see that light? I made that light. And I made that one, and that one, and that one.” He would keep on and on until Martin and his mother would plead him to stop, tears of laughter in their eyes.
The gold, yellow hues bathed everything in their light. Either it was gold, or it was black as shadow. Martin felt like he could blend into the concrete if he stood still, and he loved the sound the lamps made, the industrial cricket that lulled him to sleep. He must have walked the 6th Street Bridge a thousand times just to savor the light. A golden road entreating the city to shine.
Now, every street was rapidly filling up with the blue LED lights. Some days when he would skip school he would follow city trucks around, watching as the three-man crews would replace lamp after lamp. They were slow, and took many breaks, which angered Martin. The nonchalance of their work ethic, they had not the decency to put his father out of business professionally. They would let him suffer the slow death.
He came to a part of the warehouse district he had been before, but not for a long time. This was farther than he usually went, and after Martin’s mother’s barbershop closed, he got his hair cut at Osmar’s apartment.
In the place of the barbershop was a pie shop, with their food on chalkboard for outrageous prices. Their hours were open for only a few hours in the morning to afternoon, and they didn’t even open on Monday’s. Martin felt sweaty and itchy thinking of spending many late nights doing homework while he and Osmar waited for Martin’s mom to close up.
He scratched his head furiously, the itch not going away. He could see himself in the reflection the storefront window, he was filthy and angry and blue. He turned on his heel and whipped a stone from his pocket at the street lamp. A direct hit, and the plastic case swung open, revealing its fragile innards. The second rock struck true as well, and the familiar sound of shattering glass made Martin smile. He closed his eyes and let the darkness of the street engulf him.
Suddenly a blue light pierced through the skin of his eyelids. Blue and red. A siren startled him, and he jumped slightly, causing the officers to begin shouting.
They brought Martin into a shabby blue carpeted room. The popcorn ceilings were only a few feet from the head of the judge where he sat.
“How do you plead?”
“No contest, your honor,” Martin’s public defender said.
“Did you know that studies have shown crime is reduced by 20% in areas that have these new lights? The money this city saves can be spent on its citizens instead? Do you have no love for your own city?”
The judge’s questions were met with only nods and sullenness. Martin wanted to cry, but he felt completely empty. His stomach kept sinking with no end to the feeling.
“One year probation, and fines of $5,000,” the judge said.
Martin heard his father inhale sharply, and his forehead dropped to the wooden desk. He heard nothing else in the courtroom, and only moved from the ushering of the bailiff.
Outside the court house, Martin sank to ground and slumped against the stonework. His father sat next to him, still holding his hat in his hands, rotating it like he was stretching out misshapen dough.
“This is no end,” Galdamez said. He put his arm around his son and they sat there.
They drove east across the city. Martin hung his arm through the window and rested his head on his shoulder. In the side mirror he looked past his reflection at the sun not-quite-set and the golden rays it bathed the city in. He squinted from the cool wind and the light, and, finally, he closed his eyes. His father turned on the radio, and he heard an accordion over the wind, but that was all.
Prompt: Yearning for the yellow cities.
|# ¿ Feb 15, 2016 05:13|
|# ¿ Feb 23, 2016 05:35|
*scraps prompt-faithful story about a man who caught his dick in his zipper 50 times in a row and orgasmed.*
|# ¿ Feb 24, 2016 01:03|
Bernard withdrew his penis out and touched the tip. Put it in, take it out, touch the tip. In the darkness of his bedroom, he knew it to be the only way to be sure. And when he was sure, he went back to thinking about baseball facts, an idea from his therapist.
“What are you doing?” she said.
“I’m checking the condom for breaks,” Bernard said. She was confused.
“It’s the only way to be sure,” he said.
“That’s weird,” she said.
“Do you not like it?”
“I don’t know yet.” Bernard continued to check the tip of the condom.
“Okay, yeah, I don’t like it,” she said.
This wasn’t the first woman who put her clothes on and left while Bernard was still touching the tip of his dick, but thankfully she didn’t ask why he kept doing it even as she cleaned up. Multiples of 100 he would have told her, mostly under his breath and certainly not louder than the sound of his front door closing. Sitting on the edge of his bed, Bernard touched the tip of his flaccid penis for the 200th time and finally took the condom off.
The next day he found himself sitting on the edge of his therapists chair the same way he would sit on the edge of his bed. He counted hundreds in his head and kept his hand in his pocket, but did not touch his penis.
“Do you want to touch your penis right now?” his therapist asked.
“I mean, who doesn’t, ha ha ha,” Bernard said. He was losing the crowd. “No, I’m fine. I don’t think it’s the penis, I think it’s the condom. Well, the pregnancy.”
“How have the baseball facts been working?”
“How do you feel about vasectomies? They are reversible.”
The comment offended him. Why should he have to change to spite his own self? He imagined his therapist as pampered in his youth, ignorant of the difficulties of parenthood. Bernard knew how difficulty parenthood was, he had watched his own mother fail miserably.
“I’d really prefer to go back to my mantra.”
“Bernard, we’ve talked about this before, you even admitted that your mantra came from a negative place.”
Bernard was skeptical of the conclusion he felt the therapist had pressured him into. In the darkness and safety of his childhood broom closet, Bernard developed a positive reinforcement mantra to counter the vile and drunken rants his mother would shout at him from the other side. He would say it to himself a hundred times.
He was also proud of the fact that he knew that if he was ever burdened with child he would be an amazing father, but moreover he prided himself on his realism. He was not ready to raise a child properly. Again he reflected on the flippant comment from his therapist. Abominable!
The odds of a fan being hit by a baseball are 300,000 to 1, Bernard thought. He touched the tip of his penis, it was the only way to be sure. Baseballs have 108 stitches, an uncomfortable number.
“What are you doing,” the woman asked. Bernard explained his safety precaution. This time, she didn’t consider the revelation. She dressed and left Bernard on the corner of his bed.
“100,” he said.
The following week he sat on the therapist’s cushion-y sofa. Both of his hands were in his pockets, his hands were sweating.
“Reversible?” Bernard asked.
“Well, there are always risks,” his therapist said, pulling out a notepad.
In front of the converted brick townhouse, Bernard crumpled the note with the address on it. The referral had been purely personal. His therapist had a good friend who practiced locally, and was flexible on payment policies.
The receptionist handed him a prepared clipboard, complete with health and future questionnaire. The first page was perfunctory questions, but when Bernard turned to the second page he gave pause. The first question on the second page asked in plain words if he ever planned on being a father.
He was still young, well young-ish, he thought. A child he would raise would be an amazing addition to the world. But, this was a common and reversible procedure. There was still plenty of time to realize his future family.
The second question asked bluntly, “Do you understand the risks of this procedure?” He thought about what his late mother would say about him when he raised a child lovingly and adeptly. He could think of no better vindication.
The clipboard in his hands shook furiously. He couldn’t place the pen to the questionnaire without scrawling illegible symbols everywhere. The paper seemed to sink away from him, the text blurring and words jumbled together. Nausea gripped him and forced him to close his eyes. Imagining himself back in the broom closet he repeated his mantra about what made him so great. A great relief washed over him, it felt as though the sweat drops had been evaporated by a cool breeze.
He slowly placed the clipboard down and let the receptionist that he must have forgotten insurance policy in his car and would be right back. Once outside the office he stepped double-time until he was outside where he broke into a sprint.
Bernard found solace in the darkness of his bedroom. He could focus on what was important to him, and felt comfortably confined.
“Are you doing that thing again?”
“The baseball stuff? Yeah.”
“No, I know what you’re doing.”
Bernard had indeed checked the integrity of the condom. He had counted 37 times.
“I just can’t do this,” she said.
“Well how do you feel about butt stuff?” Bernard asked.
The woman slapped him and gathered her clothes. Bernard sat on the corner of his bed, thinking of baseball facts and touching the tip of his dick for another 63 times.
CHEMISTRY: Donatella Marazziti, Alessandra Rossi, and Giovanni B. Cassano of the University of Pisa, and Hagop S. Akiskal of the University of California (San Diego), for their discovery that, biochemically, romantic love may be indistinguishable from having severe obsessive-compulsive disorder.
|# ¿ Feb 29, 2016 04:11|
In. Flash me.
|# ¿ Mar 2, 2016 05:16|
|# ¿ Mar 7, 2016 02:12|
ps. i finished my grad program last week. woop.
|# ¿ Jun 2, 2016 15:15|
words: 1018 (+25 non poo poo posting reward)
Arvin knew immediately that his testicles were missing. In the morning hours he lay in bed, so alarmed, he hadn’t dared to move, let alone run his hands along the underside of his groin. But there was something else haunting the back of his mind. He knew that his testicles were not attached to his body, and he didn’t know where they were, but he knew they still existed. He could still feel them.
The non-hypochondriac parts of his brain began to rationalize this feeling.
“That devil Grant.”
The root of all anxieties stemmed from his rapscallion rival. Grant would stop at nothing to win the annual harvest competition. He had even gone so far to foul the Arvin’s garden with some kind of rot that destroyed his entire crop of potatoes. Arvin could still remember his prized russets, the fuzzy, fragile decomposition crumbling between his fingers. It reminded him of the ash of his favorite novel his father had thrown into the hearth.
And now, Grant’s machinations had caused this existential manifestation to arise in his brain. Of course his testicles were there. But, Arvin had not physically confirmed the presence of them in over the hour since he had woken. He laid there in bed, as he had every morning since the discovery of his rotten potatoes, staring at his wall of ribbons from previous years. He imagined himself running a weathered hand along the textured drywall, the bare space that 2016 would occupy, wondering what could have been.
He closed his eyes and let his hands wander. Hesitantly at first, he picked up speed as the familiar nooks and mounds of his flesh spoke to his calloused fingers words of softness and warmth. Each hair its own story, a sensitivity that would last an eternity in his mind. But he had been right all along. He had no balls.
The concave undercarriage of his genitals was awkward at first. There was a sagging in his underwear and the extra cloth folded in on itself, chaffing him as he worked in the garden. He dragged the hoe through the dirt absent-mindedly. He physically acknowledged his testicles were missing, but he could still feel them. They did not hurt, exactly, but they were in an uncomfortable place. It reminded him of the feeling right after accidentally sitting on them while riding a bicycle. The pain was gone but the hollow, pulsating feeling of emptiness remained. He shook the notion from his mind, he had to reclaim his earth.
Row by row he dug for his tubers, hoping to find something that escaped the rot. The contagion had spread deep, and he wondered if it would stay fallow forever. He dropped to his knees in despair, the knobby protrusions sinking into cool earth and he winced in discomfort. He fell backwards in surprise, and the discomfort receded from his nethers.
Arvin ripped his gloves off, his sweaty hands cooling instantly as they were exposed to the fresh air. He shoved them deep into the fresh dirt. Soft curds of mushroom compost clung to his wet hands as he pawed at the ground like a dog. With each scoop he could feel the pressure of surrounding his testicles subside. They cried out for salvation. Finally, he unearthed them. Two, small pink potatoes rested in the dirt and Arvin knew them to be his.
On the day of the festival, the contestants lined their platters up in front of the judging table. Arvin was last to place his sterling silver tray on the table. His palms gripped the filigree and felt the wrought ivy make designs on his skin. The heirloom was his grandmother’s, passed along to him, bypassing his slighted father.
In comparison, Arvin’s platter was lacking in volume and variety, but he could feel his repeat-success just a breath away. He watched as other contestants stole glances at his potatoes. In truth, they were almost alien in terms of potatoes. They were small, bigger than cherry tomatoes but smaller than fingerlings. They were a pale pink, unlike the vibrancy of purples or the earthiness of reds. They were exquisite.
He stood back and waited.
The judge’s knife sank through the testicle like floss through too-close together teeth. Back and forth, the dull pain resonated through his abdomen and he felt sick. Sick but triumphant. He closed his eyes, and through the routine of competition and the splitting and prodding sensation in his testicles, he knew they were inspecting the innards for color and opacity. A soft finger traced an inner circle and it tickled, that was judge number 3, with her delicate hands. Arvin sucked in a gasp of air when a rough, calloused poke hit dead center, Farmer Abe and his rough digits checked for firmness.
He turned to Grant and smiled. Small tears watered Arvin’s eyes, but still he smiled. He had won again, despite the rot and fouled soil, he would be triumphant. A sharp, overwhelming emptiness staggered Arvin. Without looking he knew the judges were on their final test, taste. And when he turned and saw them each chewing, he felt the fate of all those sailors lost to the Symplegades. He was overcome, and fainted.
And for the second time in in as many months, Arvin awoke and knew his testicles were gone. In their stead, the prickly, sweaty, and hot feeling of shame. Arvin had been awarded 5th place. He hadn’t even placed. He clutched the drab brown ribbon to his chest and recognized the inner canvas of the medical tent. Aged fake leather stuck to his skin and he could feel the jagged cracks of wear on the clinic bed.
“Better luck next year, Arvin, that is if you have the balls to show your face again,” Grant sneered, peering in from outside the medical tent. When Arvin did not respond, Grant huffed and disappeared behind the canvas flap. He fingered the cheap, rough cloth of 5th place and realized that it was the same material of 1st from all the years prior, and he thought of his late father.
prompts: Senses, touch, proprioception.
|# ¿ Jun 6, 2016 05:47|
Give me a domer w/you fucks.
|# ¿ Jun 30, 2016 15:26|
I Lived There Once
The greygreen clouds of detritus, pollution and ash surrounding Earth made Armand want to smoke a joint more than ever. Why there was a viewing window at all baffled him. The window was built for someone else, for him, maybe, but him in 100 years, when the Earth would be okay again. He felt taunted, and agitated, but he stared out nonetheless. A smirk crept across his face, Earth was probably really high right now.
“Oh Armand, there you are, I’d like to introduce you to your trainee, Jim,” Armand’s manager said. Armand turned, having forgotten why he was even here to begin with. The kid didn’t look much younger than his own son, probably wasn’t even born on Earth. He had that gaunt look about him, but it would have been rude to ask. In another 5 years, it would have been assured, but Armand didn’t want to make any presumptions.
“Jim’s on the rotational program, and will be spending the next couple of days here. I’ve already given him stuff to work on, how about you show him around.”
“Yeah, sure,” Armand nodded and shook Jim’s outstretched hand. Jim’s handshake was firm, almost robotic, but lacked the muscle of Armand or his manager. He was a space baby.
Armand led them down several sterile, template hallways, into an office layout with far too many desks for how many staff were actually there. Armand had pushed 4 desks together into one large block of workspace that had papers, appliances and reformable plastic office supplies scattered about.
“Is that a CD player? I’ve only seen photos,” Jim asked.
“Oh yeah, one of the things I got to bring up, still good as new,” Armand said. He clicked it on and a cacophony of music came blaring out of portable speakers. Jim winced in shock, but the staffers down the hall paid no attention to the din.
“Well you know, a lot of hardcore punk composed after 1990 contains a series of problems concerning transitions understood in the subconscious and their necessary involvement in the mechanics of modulation. Now, this applies to many dimensions of the music scene for example there is the inclusion of ‘Noise’ as opposed to other forms of sound. But the participation of the 1990s was indeed more brutal to the sights and sounds of current musicality, and it was refined into what critics had dubbed Smashism, but at the same time Smashism was also heavily predicated on unusual audience reactions to what people would call noise, but now call Noise,” Armand said over the din.
“Exactly,” Armand said. Jim had the same reaction to the music that his own son had several years prior. Even had the same response after Armand had explained the entire why of its being.
“Anyway, whatever, hey, you like to get high?” Armand asked.
So they cruised. Armand was already a little high and now was as good as any to stay that way. Door by door they cruised and for the longest time Armand had wondered why they had made the door latches so short, short enough that he’d stoop slightly to reach them. When he had come to grips with the fact that his son would never crack 5’4” at best, he realized this was how it was going to be.
The hallways were barren and sparse, but he imagined they’d be crowded within the next several years. Jim wasn’t the first Prime Crop he’d met, but one of them. He wondered if Jim’s kids, his own son’s kids maybe, would be the first to leave this place. Would they be the first people to meet the first person born again on Earth.
“Let me show you something,” Armand said, stopping at the copier room.
“Are you going to show me your penis?”
“No, HR said I can’t do that anymore.”
Armand opened up the copier room door, took one unnecessary glance in the empty hall, and led them in.
“I call it the ‘Event Horizon.’”
“Here, hit this,” Armand said, producing the vaporizer from his pocket. Jim hesitated but still took it.
They sat there on the hard copier room floor passing the vaporizer back and forth in silence. The warmth of the blue-green apparatus, no larger than a tube of lipstick, was a ruse. He knew there was no need for the added heat. The oven fed on synthetic oil cubes that sublimated much lower than a real combustion oven. A salt lick for ungulate bourgeoisie. He pictured them, they had made reservations to the copy room on their phone apps. They had reservations but they were still okay to wait, it was their favorite copy room after all, and they always had good service and they would be seen by all those who needed to be seeing. They had great drinks, sure, but fifteen loving dollars for one cocktail?
“Is this it?” Jim asked.
Armand shook his head. “No, sorry. Stay right there.”
He scooted out a step stool from behind the copier and placed in the middle of the room. He grabbed a heavy heat-stapler from the desk and ascended toward the fluorescent fixtures on the ceiling. In a single, steady motion he undid the latch of the fixture and smashed the light into tiny pieces of Valhalla.
“Jesus,” Jim said, but he didn’t move. The poo poo was good poo poo.
“Wait,” Armand said. He climbed down unseen with routine grace. He opened the lid of the copy machine and left it agape. His fingers moved over the keypad, each mandated braille bump familiar. He punched in 4,000 and mashed ‘Copy’.
In the sliding light of the machine he made his way back to where Jim was sitting, his slippers crunching the plastic shattered lights. Light. The sound as plastic gears slid the scanner across 11 inches of glass. The familiar and artificial squirt of a piece of paper coming out hot. They sat there in the darkness, taking hits off the vaporizer and watching in the blackness for that moment of crawling, awful light before darkness took them again.
Armand wasn’t sure if he had fallen asleep or just wasn’t paying attention when the copier finally ran out of paper. He wasn’t sure how long the machine had withheld the light from them, or if it had just this moment stopped.
“Whoa,” Jim said.
“We’re not done yet.”
After opening the copy room door for light, Armand grabbed the massive stack of paper, it extended from his crotch to his chin, and he waddled ungainly down the hallways to the elevator.
“Punch in code 324,” Armand said.
They found themselves in a sterile loading bay of sorts.
“I found this a couple of years back, I think it’s for when they can start sending supply crews back down to the surface. Anyway, there’s this thing.”
In front of them was a clear, hutched chamber with a hood vent, something out of a chemist’s short-order kitchen. Armand placed the stack of papers in the chamber and slid the hutch closed. Without needing to look, Armand reached low with his right arm and pulled the plane throttle-like handle slightly.
There was no sound, but Armand could see when the vacuum began to form as the first white sheet started to rustle. In an instant the paper was sucked out through the vent, the blank white sheets first. The speed increased and the stack of papers started to grow darker and darker as the pages with the dregs of the toner surfaced. Finally, the darkest pages began to zip out of the airlock, a flipbook of blackness rocketing away, and then just as quickly they were all gone. Everything was gone.
After a moment, Jim spoke.
“Trippy. Where does it go? To the recycling center?”
“Hmm? No, it just gets shot out the airlock. I think it’s venting gas and filtering it or something.”
“It just gets shot into space?”
“Yeah. Pretty sure. This probably won’t be up and running for another 30 or 40 years.”
“You’re messing with me right?”
“No. It gets shot into space, why do you think I named it the ‘Event Horizon’?”
“You’re wasting it.”
“That’s really hosed up, I gotta go back to work. I have poo poo to do.”
Armand didn’t watch him leave. He agreed, it was hosed up. It was all hosed up.
|# ¿ Jul 4, 2016 03:11|
|# ¿ Jul 4, 2016 20:39|
Pre-dawn in the backyard saw the hastily drawn tarp in light that looked of spilt oil or blood. Jeremiah discovered the amorphous mass in the middle of the night while taking out the garbage. He only managed a glimpse of it, but it frightened him enough to cover it, an action he later felt embarrassed and shamefully childish by. But still he lingered on the porch steps, having not slept nor made his coffee.
Finally, he kicked away the broken pieces of cinderblock he used as anchors and ripped the tarp aside. Now that he could see it without the midnight shadows casting treacherously about, he flushed red. The non-threatening appearance of it spoke more to the overactivity of his imagination and less to any inherent maliciousness.
In front of him was the shape and color of dried spilled milk, but it was bristled and fibrous, with depth but no depth. It reminded him of the head of cauliflower but smashed into a disc of two dimensions instead of three. He knelt beside the flat, hoary creep and noticed a peculiarity with the soil around it. The spread appeared to have pushed up the ground at its periphery. Jeremiah had a lingering sense of unease but familiarity. He had seen something similar before, but in his sleep-addled state he could not remember. His phone buzzed, he was going to be late for his doctor’s appointment.
“You look exhausted, Mr. Warren. Not much sleep last night?”
Jeremiah sat on the edge of the doctor’s bed. His jeans caused the wax paper to crinkle and rip with every adjustment, they hadn’t made him take his clothes off this time.
“I was up all night.”
“That’s completely understandable, I know this process can be unnerving, if you look here, you can see shadow on the imaging system. That amorphous little thing is why I want to run more tests.”
His doctor held up x-ray images of his foot, and he pointed to the shadowy mass. Jeremiah nodded but in truth he didn’t know what he was looking for.
“But looking at your foot, have you ever had surgery before?”
“When I was a kid, I had some plantar warts removed from my foot, right in that area, do you think that has anything to do with it?”
“Well, to be honest, it doesn’t look good, but we won’t know for sure without a biopsy,” he said. “Take some days off work and rest, we will want to get this examined as soon as we can.”
The rest of the afternoon was spent in a daze. He had sat out on his porch staring at the flattened cauliflower nodules that had emerged from the earth, not cognizant of where the time had fled to. He set his beer down and limped over to the patch with the intent to stomp out his frustration with his non-tender foot, but as soon as he lifted his foot, the nodules shuddered and shook with no breeze in the air for excuse. Jeremiah turned and ran, knocking his beer over and slammed the door shut.
In the morning he found himself at the home improvement store stocking up on shovels, trowels and other manner of excavation equipment. By early afternoon he had cleared several feet of soil in a yard radius around the mass. Jeremiah sat on the edge of the hole he had dug around the thing, marveling at how different it was from how he imagined it.
The flatness on top was closer to the concept of cauliflower than he thought possible. As he dug around it revealed itself to be the top of a stalk that was wider than both his hands could grasp, and it went straight down into the earth. The peculiar aspect of this discovery was that the stalk grew no wider or thinner the deeper he went. It stayed uniform in color and shape, save for the grooves and weathering that reminded him of pruned fingers.
In the late afternoon he had gotten so deep that the head of the stalk created a makeshift umbrella, that had made him feel uneasy, but not enough to widen his pit. Still, the stalk had not changed, frustrating Jeremiah, and incensing him to find the true depth of this thing. His phone rang, interrupting his labors. It was his doctor, and Jeremiah froze. His voice caught in his throat, and he didn’t want to answer, but he knew better than to listen to his fate being sealed through voice mail.
“Hello,” he squeaked.
“Completely benign, Jeremiah, you’re going to be just fine. You were right all along, its scar tissue. You can even leave it there, or we can remove it via surgery. This is great news, and I’ll be honest, I’m very relieved myself,” his doctor said.
Jeremiah’s cry of joy verged on primal. “Thank you so much, oh my god, thank you, thank you thank you, I don’t know what to say. I have to celebrate! Right? That’s what people do?”
“You do whatever you want to do, Jeremiah, have a good night.”
Jeremiah surveyed his situation. He was filthy, sweaty and at the bottom of a hole in his backyard. He laughed until he doubled over and his eyes stung from sweat and tears. When he righted himself he hefted his shovel over his shoulder with two hands and took a long look at the stalk still protruding from the earth. All of the sudden he didn’t care at all about this monstrosity, but just as quickly his humor turned sour. He was ready to be rid of this grotesquery.
With a heavy swing he chopped at the stalk low. The spade head bit in, but not as deep as he would have thought, and the reverberation of the wooden handle hurt his arms. A tremor shook Jeremiah where he stood and he could see the amorphous nodes at the top begin to shake and quiver.
Bursting into a fine mist, the top of the stalk deflated with a series of piffs and puffs, and it crumpled like overcooked asparagus. Jeremiah’s slack jawed face was the first part of his skin exposed to the mist as it sunk heavy in the air. At first, the irritation could have been mistaken as a splinter, or insulation from an attic, but it quickly turned to searing pain. His eyes watered, and his nose began to run profusely. Saliva pooled in his mouth, dripping as he gagged and fell to his knees. He looked as his hands, and finally realized why this abomination had looked familiar to him before. Plantar warts sprang from his fingertips, knuckle creases and webbing. They sprang from his forearms and biceps, and he could feel them clogging the back of his throat.
As he fell onto his back, clutching at his throat, he could feel a deep pulsation, and it felt as though the stalk was sending signals into the loam and crust. His final thoughts before his vision were occluded by warts tearing through his membranes was that it felt like a heartbeat.
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