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Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

In for the play-doh in the rug.



Jay W. Friks fucked around with this message at Jan 4, 2017 around 01:54

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Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

Sitting Here posted:

Thundertome Reminder


edit: this is not a terribly long book, so if you want to read it real quick and join in, that's totally doable



TONIGHT!

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

Agua Mala, Agua Pura (1280) (edit: poo poo. I thought the word count was 1300. My bad)


The colicky child was named Suendhil and was found in the aftermath of a massive accident. She thinks the strangers kidnapped her to give their own child a sibling.
Their son had no idea of what they had done, and convinced him to call her, “Your baby sister.” She did not respond to this title in their presence, but she acquiesced to his insistence of it since he would grab her containers in the middle of the night for getting nutrients.

Her “big brother” was her only ally because he was around her more than anyone else. He saw firsthand, her unending thirst and would take glasses, bowls, cut open milk jugs, and leave them out on the windowsill of their bedroom during rainy days. Her kidnappers tried to force their food down her throat, only because of her “brothers” pity could she survive.The kidnappers would shut her away and put the TV on and pretend she wasn’t calling out for help. Her brother liked the TV. He sat there telling Suendhil past stories about the anthropomorphic creatures which paraded across the concrete landscapes, slicing and blowing up all who threatened their world.

The commercials would come on between robots and swordplay. In them, slowly pouring sugared fragments, colored and shaped to look like fruit baskets would flood across the screen. These images would make him melancholy. He would mention his “friend”, who got to eat cereal, and how his parents bought him a box that would let him play like the creatures on TV.

“He’s so lucky. His parents are cool.”

She and her brother have this one sided exchange every Saturday. The day he had off from school and homework, he would spend in the room with her.
She long ago figured out he didn’t realize how repetitive he was, like the cartoons on T.V. it wasn’t a bad thing, his repetition was comforting in this alien world.
She hadn’t decided yet if she could use him to escape. For now, she was only asking for water, crying to her kidnappers and slowly nodding during his long expositions.
One weekend he put a sandwich bag of sugar kibble in her hand,
“Mia, I got you some cereal from my friend at school. Since mom won’t let us have sugar, I think if we both have some and like it, she’ll have to get it.”
She took a handful and crunched it in her mouth, careful not to swallow it, it had many toxins in it, not enough to harm her, but she didn’t want to start the path to mutation.

She had decided enough was enough, she had heard the kidnappers claim she had an illness. They murmured that she was mentally disabled.
Her kidnappers debated a bottle of poison, reading off it’s effects and side effects. She had seen those they referred to as “disabled”. In the few times they forced her to go to their Sunday meetings, within the rows of aberrations praying to the mutant tree, she had seen a young girl near the front.
She was strapped to a chair, her body flailing and her mind ruined by the bad water and air.

It made her wonder if they were going to force feed her poison and make her like the girl in the front row. She would be unable to escape and finish her birth cycle. She needed to get to her mother's womb, but she needed her “brothers” help. One Saturday morning, it was raining outside, her brother was eating the last of the cereal he had taken. Suendhil got up during the commercial for a trio of skinny dolls riding in a pink convertible. Her “brother” took her sudden exit as disgust and remarked, “Yeah, barbies are stupid.”

She went to the windowsill and grabbed a bowl of water that was nearly full, she asked her brother for the last of the cereal. “You want to add water to it, huh.”
He looked a bit squeamish at the thought, but gave it to her.

“I’m glad you like it at least.”
She went over to the windowsill with the sandwich bag of fruity kibble and the bowl.
“What are you doing? Isn’t there enough water in the bowl already?”
She dropped the bowl to the driveway below, breaking it into pieces. The baggie of cereal flopped in a dewy heap besides it.
Her brothers jaw dropped and he sat up.

“Dang it Mia! I don’t want mom to find out I’ve been taking food from Todd! I’ll get in trouble!”
He grabbed his coat and fled downstairs. She followed behind him and stuck a pencil eraser into the door jam so it wouldn’t lock.
She crept down to the bottom floor. The kidnappers had accosted her brother. She needed only a moment for them too look away, than she could run. He started to pinch up the ceramic pieces as she sprinted past the front porch. Her kidnappers didn’t see her as they had to gone to find a broom and pan in the garage.
“MIA!”

Her brother had seen her though.He raced after her. She made her way into the back acre. Strands of blackberries determined to reach the backyard by spring tore up her pink footies. A weave of ferns soaked her in muddy water as the woods met her. The saturated grass near the river pulled off her socks and caused her pale skin to redden and rash. Her brother huffed and puffed trying to keep up. He didn’t know that she gained strength the closer she got to her world.

Her mother's womb was near. Under a broken bridge it still laid open, bared and ready to continue her gestation.
Long reeds still bent from the accident, crumbled further as she descended. A cluster of moldy flowers in plastic sacks, and small versions of the wooden apparatus from the Sunday building surrounded the foamy, running water. She was ready to dive in but an arm grabbed her. Her “brother”. He was streaked with cuts and mud, and gasped in a long droughts of breath. She turned as he spoke, “Mia…”
She became enraged and blurted into his mind, her first real words towards him.

“Let me go! This is where I belong! Those creatures are not my parents.”

It didn’t work well with him. His nose bled, and his mind fragmented from her push. His arm was now locked onto her, tightened from the mental shock.She eyed the deep pit behind her where the poison folk had broke in with roaring, shredding shells. She reached out to the pit,
“Mother. It’s me. They took me from here. I got lost in the spawning pool. I’m back now.”

A wonderful smell emanated from the pit and Suendhil found the strength to crawl into the water, despite her “brothers” grip.
She felt bad for him. He was innocent in all his, and now he was being drug in with her to drown.
“Mother. I need to bring one of them with me. I don’t want him to die. He’s the reason I survived”

She descended into the water, her adaptive fetal flesh sloughed off like a pink shower curtain. It felt incredible to be free of it at last. Her fetal form shook her brother out of his stupor as he began to scream. His wails became a gargle as an ovum rose up from beneath and encased him. She saw the light of the poisoned world fall away and everything became green and glistening.

She wondered how they would adapt her new brother to the pure world. She hoped it wouldn’t be too painful.

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

In while listening to Bobby Womack.

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

Outside a View (937 words)

The headline art exhibit of New York, which is to be slated for a three page article in Visual Arts Online, is a photo collage of one thousand different eyes from various photographers.

The collage form a single large unblinking eye in the colors of blue and green: the planet earth and its oceans. The eyes themselves are collected
from personal portraits of internationally acclaimed photographers. Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus, Andy Warhol, Helmut Newton, Berenice Abbot
and many more are collected sorted, and colorized if snapped in black and white.

Critics, such as practically ever popular independent blogger on social media, have raved about the peaceful image evoked through joining the eyes of old masters
into one collective window to the human spirit. Very few find issue with it. A rarity, either by ignorance, or circumstance. Time should be running out for its chastity.

The artist herself, goes by an alias. The name is temporary safety for the validity piece. Temporary until someone digs into her email and finds her rich,
educated background.

She is standing above a cycloptic window tonight. Gazing out from her uncle's abandoned penthouse in a silent citadel in New York city.
Sipping from a bottle of Hefeweizen, the cap in her right hand, being flipped through a knuckle obstacle course in lieu of a lens cap;
she hasn't slept in three nights. She is rich by default, her only weakness in passing is a weakened constitution by birth, and an unfulfilled ambition.
Her work finally seems a viable way to pass the time, she has received the misery she wanted from it.
It feels good to have her body wrung out by motives rather than sickly wombs and coddling.

She has a visitor every so often when she imbibes too much alcohol and spends too much time awake.
It appears in the corner of her eye, fluttering and close, like a moth skirting the blue of a flame.

“You’re here again.”

The figure is looming there, out of focus. It looks like gray blot and anxiously moves like a human being who stands still too long.
When it appears, she continues an ongoing conversation with it. The being, and the topic of the conversation is forgotten until she is in the right state of mind once again.

“Do you think I'm the last one? The last independent contributor to be all over the news, on the web and TV, to be in the smiles of grateful people.
Well, I haven’t really given them anything-I mean, it was hard finding the right kinds of eyes, it's just... It isn't the symbol that people make it out to be.”

She sniffs, her nose is bleeding,

“I have a talk show that wants my name. It’s one of the daytime ones that airs nationally, if I’m on it, then everyone after me must already be known by their real name. That's a likely future. Whenever someone does something, it'll be their name that people utter. Not what they did.”

It moves closer. It leaves an envelope from her desk on the cement railing. She opens it up, slicing away the logo of her father’s company with one of her long uncut nails. They aren’t painted or manicured but left to grow from a fear of nicking the cuticle. It’s the image of the eye from her exhibit.

The photo looks wrong. She takes out a lens on a key-chain. Looking over the picture it looks as it should be. She brings it the bathroom, the brightest place in the house. She scans it. Up and down, centering on a corner, then making her way down the rows of possible perspectives.
She doesn’t know what’s missing but it bothers her. She asks, assuming it's still here.

“Something's missing. Did you change anything?”

Her heart speeds up. It’s fear. The answer is no.

“Is it something I didn’t notice?”

Her heart palpitates. That means the answer is yes.

Can I see it?”

A pain shoots through her arms and she stumbles forward, her chest across the edge of the bathtub. She’s trying to pull herself up and call out.
Her rib cage like a solid mass of stone. She reaches for the curtain and yanks at it, it pops off like centipedes rolling across the ground.

She yells to the outsider,
“Why can’t I see it?” The curtain goes over her head, a blue curtain that becomes gray up close. She murmurs as spots start eating at her vision,

“Why can’t we all see it?” A soft echo emanates from the place beyond the obscuring veil, from a cavern where the moon peeks through.

“One set of eyes. One mind to view it. One’s own view to sate-”

Glass breaks somewhere.
---------------------

The original photo is now sitting on the archway above a museum lobby. Tourists pass by it, glance at it if a cab takes too long.
They move on after that.

Occasionally, someone who thinks they understand it better, tries to prove a theory to themselves.
Everyone's looking at the eyes on paper, wondering if they can find something more meaningful, more unusual.
It seems an egotistical thing: about the medium, about the artist, and especially the observer.
No one who looks at this collage feels familiar eyes gazing at them, their theories don't sound convincing after first hand proof.

They feel the passing glance of some unfathomable train of thought considering all who look at it.
Not in pity, or abject interest. In an emotion that no human being can understand as long as they are just that.
Human.

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

In

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

The Last Quiet Place (156 words)

Kept behind risk and filled up space,
a lost sensation lives in taboo lore.
I’ve plans to find it, “The last quiet place.”

In a white linen bar my drink is at toast.
The nurses and jailers proclaim “No more.”
Kept behind risk and filled up space.

I’m banned from the guarded case.
No way to sleep with no wine or no whore.
I’ve plans to find it. “The last quiet place.”

Noise haunts my lids, leaving no rest.
My bloodshot eyes watch for the door,
kept behind risk and filled up space.

The guard’s cycloptic gaze is at close.
I throw a rope of bed sheets out to the floor,
I’ve plans to find it. “The last quiet place.”

Silence waits in an unbroken green clasp.
Her payment is my filled in flesh and gore.
Kept behind risk and filled up space,
I’ve plans to find it, “The last quiet place.”

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

In

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

In with

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

Moonlight Goes Back Home (542 words)

A dragon's roar sounds from the land below. A flash of red and yellow and the crackling of flames continue after the roar.

Moonlight: It’s here.

Moonlight pulls a frayed blanket off her skinny form and throws it into the space between the moon and the earth. It drapes across the empty space forming a staircase from nothing.

Moonlight: I watched them. I waited. And now I can leave this place with my own keepsake before I bring the rest back home.

She picks up a skinny rabbit from a small shuttle beside her in the crater she was sleeping in. She descends the staircase.

Moonlight: Let’s go my Toto. I’m so glad they left you here with me. I’m sorry you didn’t have much to eat. I’ll find you a nice place to sleep down below.

She lands on the Earth in the midst of the ruins of a bunker. A massive rumble echoes from her landing. She starts overturning rocks and debris with one hand whilst holding the rabbit in her other palm.

Moonlight: My mother told me patience was the greatest tool of spirits. You find such fun things when you wait long enough. There’s plenty of stories in leftovers. I heard their radios and saw some of their shows when I was close enough to peek. I will grab everything still holding words and songs, and dances…

She pulls a set of ballet shoes from a wreck with her pinky.

Moonlight: This dance looked painful. I remember a young girl breaking her foot in front of me during an eclipse. They put on the show because it seemed good fortune to do so. She didn’t think so after they made her stand so still, so long, on such thin toes. Fragility should make you want an easy life I’d think.

She picks at pieces of pottery and DVD’s.

Moonlight: Here it is! The Wizard of Oz! I saw this in a New York blackout. A funny old man put it on with his generator to calm the rioters. It worked for some. But not most. If there was ever anything I wanted to take with me, it was this. It’s a beautiful movie. Innocence, animals, monsters, magic, and the hope of parents that their children will stay with them.

The sun rises. The ocean glows an emerald green as it crests the horizon.

Moonlight: I wish I could take something else but mother will get mad at me. There must be many things left in the water. This ocean is so pretty. No people are left, but it still shines with their passion.

She looks back up at the moon and dismisses it. It floats away into darkness. The sheet unfurls to the earth below.

Moonlight:Well, I got my keepsake from this journey. I will bring the rest of it to my little sister. She deserves a better home to watch the lands below from.

Moonlight digs a small hole for her rabbit. She grabs the sheet and wraps it around a mountain. She floats away, pulling the Earth away from the sun.

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

Can I throw my hat in to judge this MAGIC-al week?

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

Alie-in

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

It's about time I got my loser portrait.

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

Loud until silent by Jay W.Friks
Word Count: 1436


A low hanging bank of dust sat on the ruins of Suleiman al-Halabi. A narrow trench sat beneath that cloud of vaporized wood and metal which ran to a cellar occupied by old Omar Haj and his waning provisions.
The young couple that had found refuge with him hadn't come back. The latest string of cataclysms had taken their lives. Of that, there was no doubt to Omar.
During a particularly loud bombardment, the trench opened in between the apartments north of him in a straight line to his underground safe house.
He could see a single line of light, it blinked like an eye with every dust cloud that flew over and into it. He Had taken a peek outside his hidden door behind a row of dumpsters.
It was a straight line. He didn’t know how something so perfectly shaped could exist in the time he lived in, where anything that resembled order and definite placement now ran and hid or shouted and cursed the land with fiery death.
He hadn't built this for such a long term crisis. He hadn't expected his son to never make it, nor his wife, nor to give asylum to a couple lost in the ruins, even though he felt desperately lonely.
The bombs had become more numerous than people that was the scariest part of everything.
He had forgotten was silence was like and now he too would have to leave, his water was down to half a bottle of Aquafina and some rainwater that barely covered the base of a dog's dish.
His food , a half a bag of granola and a stale piece of jerky that was more like leather than anything now.
His outhouse, built to expel fumes and provide a decent way to relieve oneself was max capacity and the pipe he had fixed to rise above the dumpsters over was long ago bent as the fumes didn't leave entirely.
He thought he'd give it one more day then it was die outside Aleppo or die within it.
------
Something called to him, "Omar." He thought it was fever dream and wrapped himself deeper into his hole ridden sleeping bag, "Omar. Tell me what I want to know."
No, there was someone here. He looked up at the iron grate and door to the surface. He climbed the ladder and the voice called to him again, "Omar. I'm here."
A light shun from the perfect crack in his wall. "What? What is this?" He backed away, confused, wondering if it was soldiers, rebels or looters, "I want you to tell me something."
Omar crept closer, rubbing the sleep from his eyes, there was no way anything could fit into that crack let alone see him from above, " How are you doing this?"
"I'm not doing anything but watching you. Usually all of you rush by so quickly we can't get a look but you've been in my line of sight so long that I decided to reach out."
Omar crept closer and peered through the crack, a creature with translucent skin that emitted a soft yellow light was peeking through the crack.
It's one facial feature was a circle of darkness he would have mistaken it as a mouth except it moved as a sphere in a socket.
The creature spoke through its skin, a undercurrent of fluid was bubbling behind its thin blue flesh with every syllable.
Omar held his mouth in horror as he gaped "I seem very odd to you I assume. If it helps, this is is very odd for me too. But try to take it as a gift, I know I have."
"What...what are you?" "I live on another version of your world far removed from the time it resides in.
Once in awhile my planet aligns with a past version, we have the technology to slip through cracks in reality so that we can observe those versions.
Usually we don't have an opportunity to study one up close for so long as our best vantage points are to hard to process information from.
We need a certain kind of opening to peer in and and they don't occur on our side.” Omar said, "Are you an alien?" It shifted its body, as if uncomfortable with the response,
"Well. To you maybe. You're more like an alien to me." Omar wondered if he was still sleeping or if the fumes had made him delirious, "How can you speak like me?"
"I have observed many cultures, and had plenty of time to learn. Please let me ask something." Omar felt giddy with confusion, he responded promptly,
"Sure. I will answer all your questions. I might as well before i get bombed out by the planes and mortars."

"Good. Good. My elders will reward me if I can bring some new archival knowledge to them. “
It stopped speaking. Perhaps gathering its thoughts. Than the crack widened and split further and Omar was pulled through.

-----------------------
Omar stirred from a deep chill. He grabbed for his sleeping bag and touched something wet. He saw a face of a cycloptic glowing monster in his mind's eye and heard an echo of apology,
“Sorry Omar, we’re out of phase it seems. That place seemed destined for destruction so I think this place is better.” He rubbed a row of painful scars along his cranium.
The wetness was a pool of water. He was in a lush green land where little pools of clear water dotted the landscape.
The stars lit up the area along with the full moon. He stood up shakily, nursing a headache. He heard another echo,
“We wanted to know more about your minds and how they adjust to centuries of survival so that we could compare our own."
He remembered a strange liquid being poured into his head and lights shining from within his eyes.
"We have found those answers and saw something in there you wanted, so we thought we’d try to at least accommodate that in your new home.”
Omar stumbled through the lush landscape until a small batch of lights emerged behind a few hills.
They were adobe like buildings with a bubbled windows of a dark brown glass. He knocked on one and it sounded strange.
A pair of hands grabbed him as he fell and helped him to a soft bed. He fell asleep and had nightmares about the nights in the shelter and the fear of being buried in rubble.

He awoke again, it was warm. He was in a room with plaster like walls and a little decoration of something resembling rubies and silk hung above him.
He had been left somewhere else by the creature. His head felt much better, the scars had turned into vertical bumps, the aliens could operate in his head with little recovery time.
He opened the door to the dwelling and remembered the gentle hands and the door with the odd sound. It barely made any, that was what made it odd.
The people here who owned this house were dark as obsidian and wore a short wool like coat of dark green textures. They had soft eyes and their pupils resembled frogs.
There ears were much smaller than a human beings, round like quarters and slightly lighter in skin tone.
They approached Omar excitedly and offered him a bowl of water. He took it and drank it, his throat was beyond parched.
He asked, “More please.” He said it softly, his voice had been strained and soft since a previous bombing had scorched his throat with smoke.
They looked at him quizzically because his words were most likely foreign. A female said, astounded ,”You speak our language.That’s wonderful. Me and my husband were worried that an alien would be hard to understand.”
The male grinned “Of course. You must have observed us for awhile.” Omar wondered if the real aliens did something to his brain to allow this. The female cranked a spigot and its sound was softly muted.
“Is everything here so quiet.” Omar said, “What do you mean? That spigot is a bit loud if you ask me.” The female replied.
Omar looked about at the world he now inhabited. The wind was gentle, the grass rustled, the house didn’t even drone with the few electronics he saw when he was inside.
This world was designed relative to the people and they were quiet. Much more quiet than the people of his time.
He knew there would be no bombs, no guns running at night, no planes scarring the ears with their turbines. Getting his brain examined was worth being around people and not bombs.

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

In

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

Single Bedroom. Two Residents

The host pointed his taser in the air and pressed the switch.

A crackling like a bug zapper issued from the pronged tip. It cast a dull blue light. He called out,

“Tonight, divorce proceedings for Lucille and Morris Flatts are finalized in our concrete colosseum of carnage!”

The logo for the “The Visceral Court” flew across the screen.


The host pointed at the fighters. “Lucille and Morris.

You have been provided a query at your personal terminal. One of you must choose the weapons for combat and the other must choose environmental conditions for the match.”

He pressed another switch, turning the crackling light to deep red.


Morris got the weapons. Lucille got the conditions. He chose a wood cutting axe.

In the last few months before the online survey brought them both here,

he had dug out his own axe during his state-sanctioned visit to his personal storage.

He thought his grandfather had used it for firewood before heating with fire was outlawed.

He swung it around in boredom during his calisthenics break at his home-work terminal.

Lucille said it was dangerous and childish for him to be swinging around an axe in the middle of their mid-class studio.

She said that but had her own curiosity for it nonetheless. She cut off the tip of her ring finger on one of her sleepless nights.

She didn’t complain after that because she was afraid of the thing.

He would play to her weakness. He waited for her to choose and imagined how nice it would be to live alone.


-----------------------------------------------------------
The day of the court hearing she accepted the transport request by herself.

She sat at the lone window overlooking the smoggy sector their studio boxed home occupied. She imagined how large the space would be when all his garbage was gone.

Later that night, from the helicopter they saw the Visceral Court in its entirety. It was a concrete stage walled in by a rock quarry.

The stage sat under an L-shaped bar with a series of lights and climate devices pointed down.

-------------------------------------------------------------


“The weapons and conditions have been set. Before I begin the match there is only one rule for winning. Kill the other spouse. Crippling and or brain damage is not sufficient for victory. If you so desire we can have the remains cremated and sent to the survivor. Though I imagine that’s a moot point.”

He paused for the laugh track. The corner modules opened up revealing the spouses to each other.

Morris held the axe in his hand and grinned like the crazy caretaker from his wife's favorite movie.

Lucille recognized the impression. She looked down at her axe and her hands began shaking.

“I call this court in session! Begin!” He changed the light to green and disappeared.



He charged at her. The lights above shutting off shocked him as he slowed a bit in his sprint but kept running full force.

In the live streams, the night filter switched on. It colored Morris and Lucille in green.

He swung at the entry of the terminal trying to strike her leaving it.

Lucille barely had time to escape. She spent a moment considering the ax as his steps pounded at the gravel topped pavement,

she jumped away from the terminal just in time. She sat up and clutched her bleeding palms, embedded with gravel.


She crawled towards the back of the terminal’s swung open door. He stopped his frantic swings and held his breath.

He needed to listen for her to get an advantage. He felt with his foot for the terminals raised floor.

He stepped onto it and felt along the shelf where the weapon was deposited. It was still there.

She grabbed a handful of gravel and threw it as far as she could. Morris lobbed the other axe at the sound.

He stayed where he was. His eyes would get adjusted eventually and he had the boxed in terminal behind him to keep her from attacking his flank.

Lucille grabbed another handful and got to her feet. She crept, throwing pebbles with each step. She nudged the axe with her foot.

It scraped softly against the pavement.



Morris licked his lips, clutching the ax in a tightening grip. Beads of sweat trailed down his wrists.

Eventually, she’d come for him and by then he would be able to see her and overpower her.

“Ready to cut me up, Lucy?!” She didn’t respond but he thought he heard a sharp intake of breath near where he threw the axe.

She removed her shoes as she put the axe in the crook of her shoulder. He shouted at her and she nearly stumbled at the sudden outburst.

She blinked her eyes and concentrated on where he yelled from.

He heard her approach. Something hit him across the face and he swung with a roar as Lucy screamed, “Die you bastard!”


-----------------------------------------


The host sat across from Lucille in the green room “An unusual but exciting case this evening folks.”

He turned to Lucille, “What made you choose the rarely chosen lights out condition?”

She patted at her forehead with a hot towel

“I have a lot of trouble sleeping. Since I spend so many nights watching my former online match snooze, I took up reading.

It’s difficult with the state curfew on lighting after ten pm. I had to read by the dim light of our studio heating element.”

She took a bottle of water from a studio assistant. She sipped it and finished with a sigh, “I figured I’d have the better night vision.”

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

Word Count: 974

Apologies for not putting that in the above post.

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

in

Jay W. Friks fucked around with this message at Mar 6, 2017 around 18:31

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

Crit from Week 235: 21st Century Monologues for Women

Title: Sally (Catharsis)

Author: Entenzahn


The whole time I'm reading this monologue, I hear it as a familiar voice in my head. I hear a woman in her late 20's, early 30's, with a Brooklyn accent speaking to her doctor as much as to herself about her loss of hope with her weight issues. This is the winning point for me, I can already see a stage, a doctor standing by, hands clasped together waiting for Sally to finish. Whether he is listening to her speech or not is up for debate (an excellent choice for the self-indulgent director).

The result is the same regardless, a woman with lifelong obesity issues consigning herself to the place she's been her whole life. There is a tangible voice here and that is an immense strength for a theatre piece let alone prose. The question comes in about "Catharsis" however. A catharsis, at least how I see it, should be a face breaking revelation.

If this woman is cracking into miserable shards during this speech, that isn't what comes across. She speaks too knowingly about these thoughts, like her speech is the final draft of a long series of rough cuts of her pleading a miracle. She lacks the emotional stumbling that would be characteristic of a catharsis. It doesn't seem like a revelation, it instead feels like a grumbling exhaling of air.

The last gasp before surrendering to a disease. It feels worn out and frustrated. It isn't hysterical so much as cynical. It is a small problem in an otherwise straightforward, compact piece. Removing Catharsis from the title and from the mindset of the scene would strengthen its portrayal of the miserable dampening of a woman's sunk spirit.

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

As Cool as Slate

After the light dispersed from her blinded eyes, Margot found herself in a large storage loft with stacks of football team banners, ptsa banned books in moldy cardboard boxes and rows of emblazoned words in the white wall behind the opening they came from. It said, O’BRIEN HIGH SCHOOL GO SCORPIONS!


She felt dazed and numb and a blurry shape invited her to sit down. She did so and heard his words slowly form over the vanishing sound of rushing water.


“Miss. I know you’re out of sorts. I must be quick if he comes back. You are dead because of the coolest kid in school,” said the stout high school specter with a blood matted afro. He adjusted his scotch taped glasses and coughed up some blackboard dust. “Excuse me, I do that every few minutes so be aware.”


“His name is Chad Derringer. He was the coolest kid in my class, and he was the coolest in yours as well.”


A blond, buxom girl with braces emerged from a faded shower room mirror leaning into a bizarre bug mascot costume. She was dressed in a cheerleaders outfit that was stained in blood. She sat down amongst the circle.

Piecing together the events that had unfolded before, during and after her drowning, Margot abruptly yelled, “gently caress! That goddamn bitch! She killed me!”


“Like, it’ll be easier if you shut up when Tyrone talks. I kept stopping him when I got here and it would’ve helped sooner if I’d listened.” The blond girl sounded like a Valley girl from an 80’s rom com.


Tyrone nods at her ,”Thank you for your help Penny.”


She shrugs. “Nothing else to do. So might as well be helpful.”

Tyrone coughed again. “Chad Derringer is who killed you. He goes by many names, but if I showed you a picture of him you’d instantly recognize him.” He reached into an old flip top desk that was kept hidden behind stacks of Bill Nye VHS’s and unsold Letterman jackets in the abandoned O’Brien High School storage loft. From its bubblegum lined interior he pulled a circa 2015 yearbook photo.

“This is him.” He showed the picture to Margot who was still trying to clear her head.


Margot shook her head, her hot pink rooster tail haircut splashed water about and her eyeliner leaked a bit quicker from her vacant eyes, “No it isn’t. That’s Stephanie Crosby. That bitch is the reason I’m dead.”


Tyrone said, “Alright, so you know this person in the picture. Some of us saw him as a playmate, a good friend, a person in your school hierarchy who showed pity on you and invited you into the fold. “


Eyeliner girl rubbed some water dripping from her scalp and flicked it at Tyrone. “Bullshit. That’s a chick. I was getting it on with her and she handcuffed me to a steering wheel and dropped me in the marsh behind the movie theater.”


“You’re right...sort of. Gender isn’t important with this being. Honestly it’s more a malevolent spirit than a flesh and blood creature. It takes whatever form it needs to fulfill its desire.” Tyrone motioned Penny to hand him a selection of other books in the storage loft. He laid them out for Margot. “Each of these yearbooks are from various schools.” Tyrone flipped through them and pointed out different people to Margot. All with accolades and poo poo eating smirks of some kind.


Eyeliner girl remembered seeing someone else looking down at her from the rippling surface of the marsh, it hadn’t been Stephanie.


Tyrone found her reaction satisfying, “You see him now. That’s Chad. He looks like a cartoon character kind of.“


Penny rubbed her stab wounds. “Ya know, he looks like the guy on my little brothers lunchbox actually.”


Tyrone murmured, “Yes, you’ve told me.” He motioned her to get up. She did so and he took her to the one window in the loft. Margot would've pooped her pants if she still had working bowels. They were floating in a decrepit red schoolhouse in some sort of technicolor nightmare. The building spun through a buzzing bubbling stream of energy. It was full of crawling monstrosities, giant metal titans and floating green chunks of emotive melted faces. Any other visible solid landscapes disappeared as soon as they emerged in view of the window. It was them and the rampant chattering spirits of the void.


“Chad’s part of this realm. I’ve been digging around in this schoolhouse for awhile now. The books I found are from my school, Penny’s school. Yours now too.” He pointed at the yearbooks. Margot was still perplexed at the view.


Penny tapped the girl, shaking her out of her stupor at the window. “Like, we need your help. There used to be others but Chad comes back and takes them from here.”


Margot asked, “Why?”


Tyrone answered, “Chad uses us, our ghosts, as new identities in the living world. He goes there and creates social hierarchies in schools across the world.”


Penny handed him a nearly flat notebook. It had a cursive signature that said “Chad Derringer” with little hearts next to it. He opened it and transparent pages of tiny text crammed into each other showed itself. “These are notes from Chad. He is a creature made of immature ego that puts himself at the top of cliques so he can devour the energy from others adulation and jealousy,” Tyrone said.


He took his glasses off and sputtered out more dust. “Chad did something to me and Penny like what happened with you, miss.”


“The name’s Margot, and did he look like a hot girl and get you wrapped around her finger too?” Margot asked.


“Well, sort’ve. I do wish Chad hadn’t been so...erm, creative in how he sacrificed me.” Tyrone coughed again.


Margot felt bad for the specter, realizing the dust was a permanent part of his soul as her damp hair and flesh were.“I...think I’ll wait to hear about that. So what do we do?”


Tyrone held the planklike journal up. “Once in awhile Chad comes back to pull a spirit out of this domain, or to put another in. When he drops a spirit off, this whole school changes. It gains new features and textbooks from the place the spirit was taken from. This. However.” He tapped the book for emphasis, “This was left after he dropped Penny off. It’s a not a normal book, and it’s all about Chad. I think it’s his journal.”


Tyrone coughed violently, “Chad pulls you in with charisma and the want to follow him, to be his friend, his follower, or his tool as in mine and Margot’s case. He selects someone from each school he infests, turning others against you so you’re at the bottom. When you’re weakened from desperation, he invites you to him. When you’ve trusted him completely he forces you into this realm via the sacrifice of your body.”


Tyrone coughed again. “ None of us can rest. Chad keeps us and others like us here so he can use our personalities and talents to become the new coolest kid in the school of his choice. “


Margot said “Alright, so Stephanie used me and abused me so Chad can wear my soul like a skin suit.” She paused for effect. Penny and Tyrone, despite being dead much longer than her looked down uncomfortably. She smirked. She always had a way with words. “What I don’t understand is you look like you’re nerd Shaft coming out of a disco and she looks like my mom when she was going to school. “


Tyrone was about to tell her how they came here from different times through the lofts entryway, he was going to explain that Chad was a being that existed across different schools of different decades, but he didn’t get too.


“Chad’s here!” He pointed at a bizarre brightly colored kid who had appeared in the middle of the loft standing on a floating skateboard.


Chad was surrounded by the spirits of different fads he’d convinced his peers to buy into so he could be the top trendsetter.

Sharks were cool, bugs were cool, robots were cool, and the pyramids floating behind him were evidence of him making Walk like an egyptian a platinum record.

“Hey guys. It’s me Chad. I need one of you guys.” He pointed a finger gun and playfully shot at Tyrone. “Guess what Ty, this time you’ll be getting REAL ladies. We’re going to the college scene buddy.”

“It’s not often I get a crack at the university life but I think together, you and me are going to skip a grade.” Chad flew forward on the skateboard and grabbed Tyrone by the afro. Tyrone yelled at the others, “Keep at it! Find something he leaves behind! It’s all you have to get out with! Play to his pride!” Chad pulled Tyrone through the opening and a flash of light turned it back into a regular ladder to the lower parts of the school.

Penny picked up the lone book that Tyrone had held onto and tried to remember all he had tried to impart to her.


Margot really wanted some valium. She asked Penny, “So what now?”

Penny sighed, “Like, I don’t know. I think Tyrone wanted us to find anything Chad wrote so we could find a way out or something.”

“What about that book?”

Penny gripped it in her unfeeling hands, “It’s..over my head. I tried to learn, I really did, but Tyrone’s pretty smart, he was going to skip Senior year.”

Margot said, ”gently caress it, lemme see. I used to read Vonnegut.” She grabbed it as a flash emanated from the opening. Chad appeared. He looked the same, poo poo eating grin and all.

“Hey babes.” He leaned in towards Margot.“Hey Margie.”

Margot was about to claw his face off but Penny caught what she was thinking, and intervened,

“Hey! Like it’s nice to see you hot stuff.” She ran her finger down his arm. It felt like the cold surface of a blackboard. She clenched her teeth thinking of what happened to Tyrone.

He turned to Penny,

“You seen anything lying around babe? After leaving Ty at the jailhouse I was thinking about the last thing he said before I took him.”


Margot had the book, still gripped in her left hand. Why didn’t he see it?

Penny smiled, braces glinting off the purplish light of an electric guitar surfing past the window,
“No babe. I’m pretty sure you’d notice if you lost something. You’re Chad loving Derringer. Like, you’re a god!”

He looked directly at Margot and then at the other and laughed.

“Yeah. I’m sure I would have noticed. I’m going to head back to Ty, we got more partying to do as soon as his uncle pays bail. Peace!” He kissed his fingers and flicked a kiss at Penny then disappeared once more.

Penny would’ve wretched if not for lacking a working stomach. “Poor Ty...” She lamented.

Margot thought about Chad’s obliviousness to her holding the book he was looking for. “Tyrone taught you to stroke his ego didn’t he?” She asked.

Penny said, “Yeah. Like Its the last thing I want to do for that John Carpenter reject but Tyrone said that we all had to do it so Chad let his guard down or something.”

Margot opened the book and found it dense but accessible reading. After a few minutes a few passages stuck out to her highlighting Tyrone’s reasoning. “That’s how we do it. His nature is his weakness. We play his ego like he played ours and he’ll think so much of himself that not even what could threaten him will register if he thinks he’s invincible.” The book was Chad’s thoughts and perhaps he would drop another one that would reveal other weaknesses or an escape from his dimension.

Penny shook her head, “You sound like Tyrone, guess I’ll leave the planning to you.”



-----------------------------

Prompt

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

In

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

अतीत से (Out of the Past) 1226 words
[Prompt: Desi [https://youtu.be/8Tj_YHi2oIA?list=P...S2T1zAks3ztKcqz ]

During the hottest summer that the village had experienced the doors to the temple were left open for all seeking refuge from the sun. The temple was shaped from the craggy side of a mountain. It looked like a double stack of slate boxes with tiny ramps hewn from juts in the mountain side encircling it. What ice survived in the mountains peaks would melt away and circulate to basins beneath the sloped juts.


The water would trickle and flow through pathways in the domed ceiling raining a fine mist. This would cool the interior of the building and provide a place for the villagers to relax.The ancient guru who served this temple called the rain, “The gift to Ablhur.” He had lived in this temple for many generations but didn’t name the spirit it served or who Ablhur was.The guru only gave guidance on the present, not the past.


As the midday sun shrunk the shadows of farmers to nothing and sent the horses towards the grass growing beneath the eaves of the temple the remaining villagers ended the day early. They went into the temple the guru graciously opened for all. The last one in was the songstress.


She was an elderly woman who told stories and lessons through the songs her mother taught her and her mother before her. She didn’t like the guru as he wasn’t mentioned at all in the histories and legends she sang of during celebrations and wakes. He represented an enigma out of the past and her songs were tools to teach the lessons of the past. Whatever secrets he kept made her anxious and she did not like that feeling.


She entered the temple and breathed a hearty sigh as the mist cooled her. A young boy, freed from chores due to the heat excitedly pranced around her begging for song. She looked about the room to see if the guru was here or in the upper chambers. “Alright young one I will do so.’ She said


He sat on a broken pillar.
“However,” she added
“You must keep an eye out for the guru. Since he won’t tell his secrets I do not think he deserves to hear this story.”


He responded, “But he likes your tales! He’s heard them before.”
She winked at him,
“Not this one. It’s a song that isn’t finished but I will only sing it here to you and the town, not to him.”


He looked around him. His parents and the other villagers had listened in on the conversation and agreed to keep an eye out if the guru came down from the second floor. It was rare the songstress would sing something new. She hummed. A deep melodious rising of energy lifted the hairs on the backs of the villagers. The songstress began to sing and chant in a way only she could.


Her words became dancing colors and formed the images of people. The villagers stared enraptured as she sang the past into life,
“There was a man and a woman. They came from deep sands where no life should exist.”
She blew a kiss out to them which became a breeze for their heated bodies. She carried a high note as the couple struggled to reach a deep lake.


“The woman’s name was Krelta. She was a spirit of the land who had given up on being a spirit. When the rains stopped coming she decided to become human for she had a better chance to survive if she had legs and arms to find water. She saw birds fly towards a place in the mountains and took form to see if they had found water.”


The image of Krelta became more defined, her body resembled light cracked sand in a feminine form, her hair a dune sweeping behind her. “She met a traveler spirit, a man who never slept. He could never stay in one place else his body would be trapped there and all his stories would become lies. He had seen many places and knew of the lake.”


It showed the man, less defined than the woman. His clothes were like a savage, a hood of fox hide and a belt made from ox bones and leather. She sang cheerfully now, her voice was light and airy,


“The traveler entertained Krelta with tales of faraway places and made her laugh. The man was impressed by Krelta’s wisdom as she told him of the few plants left that would heal wounds and make one see into other worlds. She lamented that she would need to become a water spirit when she found the lake, her human form was only temporary till she found a place of life again. He regretted that he could not stay with her as he could never go anywhere else once he had found a home.”


Her voice bellowed sadness and a deepening gloom, the images slowed their quest and as the lake came into view became unsure and disappeared. The guru had come down as the story ended. The villagers hadn’t noticed but the songstress had.


The kid sat up, “And?”
She shook her head, “That is all that my grandmother told my mother.”
The guru, a light skinned man with dark eyes smiled shyly and asked her,
“There is no more? I would very much like to hear what happened.”


The room became frigid. The songstresses patience with guru had turned to dislike in recent years, and they could feel her coldness towards him.
“I will tell you the rest if you tell me a story.” She bargained.
The villagers turned to the guru and then back to the songstress. The boy said,
“I thought you said it was unfinished?”
She lied, “There is more, but he is in the room now.”


The guru sat on the floor and crossed his legs, he stroked his beard and sighed.
“Alright. I have only one tale I’ve been saving all these years as it’s all I have to offer. “
The villagers were shocked at this, the songstress nearly fell from her cane as he casually offered.


“It is the only story I have as it is the story of this temple and this temple-” He touched a lone statue of a woman with a basin of water in her hands, “-has always been my home.” The guru’s face was full of sorrow and reminiscence. The songstress stayed anymore words with a hand,


“Wait.” She looked into his eyes. She had hadn’t ever spent so long looking into those eyes which had always been so ancient. They reminded her of her mother, who told her the unfinished song on her deathbed.She thought hard about the memories he was keeping behind his eyes. He had never seemed so human and earthly as of right now. Right as she sang the unfinished song. A revelation shook her spirit.


“So. That’s it.” She said.
He smiled as he was relieved.
“Alright, keep your one story. “ She said


The villagers murmured to themselves, confused by the old woman and the ever ancient man.
She sat down and enjoyed the mist descending and watched the guru closely as he rubbed the hand of the woman holding the basin.

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

In Box 2

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

Aurumvorax (Diagnosis: PICA) (1228 words)
By Jay W. Friks

Lorenzo stoked the kiln with a flick of the switch. A sharp pain jumped inside his belly. He coughed and spit into his palm. He rubbed the saliva onto a long iron poker with a little lead bead welded to the end, he could remember a time when this whole process wouldn’t make him feel ill.


The ceiling fans rattled the dark green ceilings of his workspace. He looked longingly at the clock and rubbed his stomach as something churned within it. The swinging door to his studio opened with a creak and a portly woman in a canary yellow sundress wobbled in with a basket full of pawned jewelry.


"How goes the design, Lorrie?" Shanna asked. She set the metal basket onto the desk as softly as possible. A slight tremor would upset any of the molds Lorenzo had curing. She had worked on walking less heavily in the studio and setting things down gingerly on furniture.


Lorenza didn't bring it up but she knew the molds took a long time to cure and she didn't want to be responsible for flaws in the product. That was why the last goldsmith had quit. Lorenzo took a glance at the basket and licked his lips. "It's going okay I suppose. It's a bit more complicated than I thought it would be.”


He pointed at a tacked printed paper copy of a dotted line diagram. It was a bracelet with colored borderlines dictating different portions of its construction. It was supposed to be a garden on the wrist. That was the idea that the tourist couple had pitched to Shannon to outline for them.


When they heard that a custom jeweler was near their hotel in Barcelona they had to get something made to always remind them of their honeymoon vacation. Lorenzo appreciated the work but didn’t appreciate the recent cravings he was experiencing. He didn’t know why, but since he had moved to the city he felt something was missing from his body.


The shop had become a place he dreaded because his cravings were at their worst there. He slid his finger down the border of a three leaf plant on the bracelet design,
“ These petals are shaped like clovers which are hard to emulate at the size they asked for."
He wiped his brow with a nearby sponge on his work table.


"It's a bit slow-going.” He said. Shanna asked, “I could help you if you want." She knew she really couldn't but the man looked so pale and sickly. She worried about him and thought she could get him to slow down and drink some water on such a hot day.


"It's alright Shanna. I'll make it. Did that man I told you about show up?" He took another glance at the basket. Right on the top of the mound of silver earrings, brass buttons and cluster of diamond earrings was a trio of little gold figurines. "Yes, Lorrie. He left a note for you and I have it right here." She pulled a crudely taped up envelope from her bosom.


He took it with a nod of thanks. "Is he a friend of yours?" Shanna asked. "No. Just an acquaintance of my cousin." He answered as he pushed the poker into the kiln and quickly retracted it. The saliva was gone in a puff of steam.


"You're not in trouble are you Lorrie?" She asked. He turned from the basket and looked into her eyes. He gave a certain look at that question. He did it with his roommate as well as his ex-wife when he had begun having unreasonable cravings.


He replied with feigned annoyance and a slight roll of the eyes, "I'm fine. It’s a bit warm, that’s all. Please let me get back to my work." She nodded and walked out gingerly. He wished he could ask her out. She was so sweet and she was single. He remembered his former wife yelling at him about what happened to her mother’s earrings and put the desire away.


Two of the little gold statuettes were formed like a pair of bishops like on a chessboard. One was an archer with a cruel looking arrow in his right hand ready to nock it in his bow. It looked barbed. It would feel very painful going down.


He poured the pawned metals into separate drawers. The three figurines weren’t needed for his current projects. The three designs on order didn't call for gold and he had a little bit of time before he saw the doctor. He wrapped a chain of platinum around the poker and shoved it inside the kiln. "


He chose the archer. It looked painful and it would hopefully dissuade him from doing this again. The numbers on the shops' pawn manifest would change a bit again. He pressed it in between his fingers and dropped it into his mouth like a truffle. He rubbed the texture with his tongue.


His body was convinced it was cooling his mouth. Gritting his teeth he swallowed it. A gasp escaped his lips as it went down. He felt like he was feeling better.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The clinic sat in between two boarded up houses on a street lined with potholes. Lorenzo wrapped his coat tightly around his shivering frail body. The day was hot but his body felt cold and wracked with little screams from his stomach. He slid his cousin’s note underneath the clinic door. An old woman with a long scar across her neck opened the door, "Hello Mr. Vincente! The doctor will be happy to see you."

He sat on a bar stool in the decrepit lounge. The building had been a private server room and the walls were littered with holes were outlets and connections had formerly sat. The old woman stood next to the door with a pistol in her right hand. He rubbed his stomach. He burped and tasted blood.


Steps came up at the door to the basement and a tall lanky man with a discolored surgical mask emerged. The man said something in a harsh language that Lorenzo guessed was Russian. The woman replied to him and the surgeon turned to Lorenzo and offered him a hand. The man guided down the steps to a hallway with six doors. An occasional scream of pain erupted from the first door to his left.


He sat Lorenzo on a surgical table and took some blood and checked his pulse. Lorenzo dropped a wad of cash into a bucket nearby the table. The doctor said to Lorenzo in decent Italian, “I’ve heard much about you from the woman upstairs. You pay for the other half with the contents correct?” Lorenzo nodded. His head was swimming, the pain was tearing its way through every section of his insides.


The surgeon gave Lorenzo a shot and commented before he went to sleep. “It’s like a treasure hunt. This will be fun!”
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lorenzo was awake. He was clutching a bottle of painkillers and a bag of antibiotics sat next to him. The surgeon was making a racket. He had his hand in the same bucket the cash was placed into and was swirling something around. He held up a gold figurine of a bishop and turned to say to Lorenzo. "Good craftsmanship!”

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

In

Pitch: A paranoid architect squats in the decrepit wing of a children's hospital he designed. The police try to remove him with disturbing results.

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

The Cornerstone Bandits
(906 words)

“On the count of three Mister Fitzgerald! Three! You hear me!? I’m going to give the police the go-ahead to break this barricade down and they are going to scrape your hide from my hospital. What do you think the children think when they hear about you hiding in the cancer wing? What do you think there parents think?!” Lola yelled.

No answer yet again. The figures of several Thrones-one of the different spheres of angels that made up heaven’s hierarchy-stared wide-eyed from the polished lacquer of the doorframe.

The hospital director Lola Davis coughed into her arm. She hadn’t yelled like that since her third divorce proceedings. She spun around and gave the police the go ahead. Three cops approached the doorway in step with each other. One took out small malleable pellets of wet clay. He stuck them to the hinges with fat shriveled fingers.

Lola addressed the sergeant who was standing back watching the other three, “It took long enough for the NYPD to respond. I didn’t need a negotiator. I needed this!”

She spread her arms and air-embraced the three men. Little wires were attached to the clay by man with thin fingertips. Lola cocked her head and studied the process.

“I expected a ram. Is that going to hurt the surrounding area? Because the pediatrician's offices are above us.”

The sergeant slowly turned his head to look at Lola. She felt a shudder go up her spine. The way his neck moved was inhuman. She looked into his eyes. The pupils had an unusual tint. It reminded her of rusty screws under the shallow surface of water.

A slow smile creaked out of his face. “It will be fine Miss Davis. We are only here to take care of Mister Fitzgerald and his creation.”

She stepped away from him in instinctive disgust. The man was inherently unnatural. The largest of the three policemen spoke to the clay setter as he sniffed at the air noisily.

“Leak. We must stand back in formation.” He said between snorts of air.

He pushed a rolled up clod into the lock and spat on the floor, “Got it Mite” the clay setter said.

The fuse setter reeled a cord back to the sergeant, “Here you are Mister Rust.”

The sergeant nodded and Lola gritted her teeth at the shrill metallic scrape. Rust connected the wires to a plastic box on his belt. Lola didn’t see a gun on it. Or a taser for that matter. It didn’t have anything an officer should have.

Rust said to the little-fingered officer, “You do good work Burns. “ The little-fingered man gave him a flitting smile.

Lola asked, “Are you actually policemen?”

“We are police. Mr. Fitzgerald is who we are policing as well as the cancer ward he built. The same ward I believe you want to be torn down. Correct?”

She felt a numbness cross over her chest and responded,“Yes. We’ve had incidents with Mr. Fitzgerald. He interfered with the building process and did not provide most contractual obligations that were set when he took on designing it.”

Rust questioned her in his soft rasp voice. “Go on.”

She was not longer speaking voluntarily, “It was a beautiful design, but it used the budget in ways it was not supposed too. This is a hospital, not a place to leave a final legacy when you’re going senile.”

Rust whispered, “Why would you think he was going senile? “

“He claimed he could build something that withstood time. That a dream had occurred to him and that this was his last chance to build it. It was metaphysical nonsense. He said to me during his presentation of the wing:

Lola. The patients will be stabilized by this place. Since time does not rule it nor shall it rule their lives.

I had planned to have him taken off the premises the next day and the wing broken down to regain costs via materials but he had secured himself inside. He thought someone was coming after him.”

She was crying. Her voice sputtered out into long gasps as she found air. The words that left her mouth had been pulled out by these creatures.

Rust nodded slowly. “I just wanted to double check that you had your story straight. He is indeed insane.”

He pointed at the elevator to the wing and motioned her to leave. She ran to the sliding doors and frantically pressed the up button. A series of pops went off behind her. Don’t you look. Don’t look at what’s behind you.

She heard a scream from behind her.

“No! Leave that alone! You monsters! I made this! You can’t take it away!”

Wood creaked and metal whined. She heard the flaps of insect wings and rusted chains grinding over wood. Water spilled behind her and lapped at her blue heels. The elevator opened and she rushed into it.

She took a look behind her despite her fear. A single glance through the closing elevator doors and Lola would never sleep well again.

An old architect had claimed to have built a place free from time. Now there was a perfectly round void. The open air of the city blew splinters and the husks of termites across the elevator entry.

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

S----in

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

De Dcemone scriptor exercitu puppis et infernae revolution (1664 words)

When humans die those who have sworn loyalty to god and his teachings are contractually owned by Heaven after their death. Those who had died senile are considered ornaments up here. Since they are unable to fight or work they are the lowest rank there is. The archangel Gabriel uses them as wall ornaments of his fortresses lobby.

When a human dies their soul is carried to Hell or air-lifted to Heaven. The gaseous soul liquefies, then solidifies, and finally forms a second body. They retain whatever physical attributes the person had when they died. With some training in his home city of Acheron, Azazel has trained his body to turn back into liquid.

Azazel the 15th, one in a long line of men and women who have taken the name Azazel is a demon. He is interred inside the spiritual body of a geriatric. This fat old man is one of the blindfolded invalids who will be stapled to the ascending inner spire of The Crucible.

Azazel had worked towards this feat so that he’d be able to jam himself down the throat of a spirit en route to Heaven. The war between Heaven and Hell had gone on long before he took on his demonic title. This day would hopefully move the certain victory looming for Heaven back into a stalemate. He prided himself on being assigned the name Azazel and dedicated his second life to fulfilling the pride of that title.

The previous Azazel was considered a war hero. It wasn't easy taking over the body of a pedophilac priest and guilt tripping him into spilling his sins to intrepid reporters. Azazel was held to the standards of other freedom fighters like Baphomet who trained Malcolm X in legalese, or Lilith who gave Susan B. Anthony the gift of second sight.

The end days were approaching. Mankind was questioning the propaganda of heaven and its sleeper cells on earth more so than ever before. The Tyrant had decided to move things ahead of schedule and destroy a vast swath of human beings with a few nuclear missiles. Fanatics of all faiths still outnumbered the dissenters and would come willingly to God, Jesus, Allah, etc.

The Tyrant had many names and was the true power they were giving fealty too. It was up to Azazel to prevent the sleeper cell from deploying the missiles. They would be meeting in the private sanctum of General Gabriel.He felt the vessel get slammed against the marble staircase.
Gabriel loved marble and had several shipments air lifted from Earth to line his personal fortress.

The few pictures retrieved by spy imps had revealed the Archangels obsession with interior decoration. The dandy old angel had spent centuries working on his feng shui. Azazel felt another rough slam against a wall and guessed he was being carried by heaven's slave labour.

Some humans who had consigned their second bodies to heaven were unreliable because of their morality.

Once they saw the truth of who their god was they became unwilling to comply. Lobotomization and control chips installed in the brain stem made them serve as slave labour and as frontline suicide bombs. They were clumsy creatures and Azazel imagined they were the ones carrying the vessel. The vessel was pushed flat against a wooden frame.

Stakes were jammed into the shoulders, wrists, and knees. The vessel screamed in pain and asked for a doctor. The poor old geriatric didn’t know he was dead. In the world that now owned him he would be strung up as a sick fetish for Gabriel to obsess over.

Heavy steps descended away from the old man; the slaves were leaving. Azazel flowed out of the obese elders anus and reformed back into a solid. He was glad second bodies didn't immediately have feces in them. He rubbed his horns and tapped his hooves to make sure everything was where it should be.

Liquefying himself sometimes left certain body parts mismatched. More than once he had taken a succubus home from Adrammelech’s brothel only to find out his penis was on the wrong side.
He scraped his horns against the wall and listened through them. The title of Azazel gave him the ability to listen beyond barriers.

He honed in on the transference chamber where the sleeper cell would emerge to receive Gabriel’s orders. A warmth in his horn tips told him that the transference room was two flights higher. He ascended the spiral staircase and ducked beneath the windows. There could be soldiers flying out there keeping an eye out.

From a glimpse he saw Heaven. The buildings were smooth stone monoliths that served as houses to lower echelons of the angelic armies. Chunks of wilderness were fenced off and lifted up from the lower world to sit around every third level of the buildings. These chunks of land were the size of small islands and were the property of the angels to play on.

The lower world below was wreathed in dark smoke from the furnaces and munitions factories. All those who swore loyalty after seeing the truth of heaven were sent below initially. They would work until they were called to service. It was a way of securing ultimate obedience.

The lower class would easily obey all orders when offered the chance to live in the towers. It made Azazel sick the way the angels hoarded the land and left it so wide and untouched. Hell was a crowded place and despite the environmental protections her majesty had put in place land was harder and harder to manage. Despite that, the queen made it her duty to give all citizenry their access to a plot of soil.

She had fought hard to make Hell a comfortable place for those humans who did not want to fight. She did not force military service upon those who passed into Hell, all who entered hell's armies did so voluntarily. They truly believed in the Queen’s rebellion. Azazel took out a necklace with the reverse pentagram seal of her majesty.

He kissed it and swore that he would finish his mission or die trying. Oblivion was preferable to failure. He ran up the remaining stairs and ducked behind a pillar of infants covered in concrete. A deep haughty voice was booming from the room before him. It was Gabriel.

“I need you to lighten up the president. All these accusations are making him react in spontaneous ways. You must get him to direct his impulses towards a quick fix. Make it a humorous thing for him.” Gabriel said.

He tucked his wings behind him and snapped his manicured nails together. The clacking noise signalled a pair of slaves in veils to pluck some stray feathers from his wings. A government official in a suit was on his knees before the mountain of cushions Gabriel sat on. A whirling portal of air and dust was the only other entry besides the doorway Azazel listened from.

The official murmured, “Yes master.”

Gabriel picked up some carpet tiles near the documents the Tyrant had sent him.

“Also.” Gabriel asked the official, “Do you think greenish gold or powder blue would look good in the study?”

The official looked at the tiles and pretended to concentrate and bowed again.

He said, “I cannot fathom the styles you have presented due to my mere mortal mind.”

Gabriel looked at the greenish gold and sighed, “Well. I’ll have to give it some more thought.”

Azazel felt a little puke come up at the display of the pathetic creature. This was the sleeper cell. He had been conditioned completely. Any other cell who chose a color was immediately ripped to shreds by Gabriel. The dandy old bastard had never been able to figure out the color for his personal study and would rip anyone apart who attempted too.

Azazel wished he had the power to take the big man down himself. He aimed his silencer at the official and fired. His brains went all over the cushions and the rice grain curtains of the transference room. He leapt over the rails as a roar of rage echoed from the room. Gabriel shot out from the entry like a hawk. He had one of the slaves in his left hand and threw it like a ragdoll at Azazel.

It collided. Azazel missed the next level down and spun to the marble floor below. The tiles cracked in half. Gabriel landed on top of him and grabbed him by the throat.

He growled, “Azazel!? I thought you retired!”

Azazel spat up blood and smirked, “I’m the new Azazel. The old man’s hitting the links in Pandemonium.”

Gabriel squeezed his throat and pressed his knee down. Azazel felt a rib pop.

Gabriel said, “I’m going to leave you alive just enough that I can coat my bed with a blanket made from your skin! Do you know how hard it is to get an agent like that man?! You’ve set us back dear boy but I’m going to enjoy stripping every inch of regenerating flesh from you.”

Gabriel squeezed further. Azazel was going to faint, he had to destroy himself otherwise one of Gabriel's less volatile peers would extract information from his mind. He dug into his belly with his clawed hand and pulled a metal thread in his entrails. His body exploded into flames. Gabriel leapt off of him.

“Goddamn you!” Gabriel said as he beat the flames off of his wings.

With his last remaining ounce of strength Azazel jumped back onto the level above. The old fat man he rode in was still yelling for his son. Azazel had enough energy to do one last thing. He bellowed from his aching throat,

“For the courage of the rebel queen! For the freedom of the soul!” He grabbed the old man and took him along to oblivion.

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

In with a

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

The Blue Colby
(2645 Count)

"Listen you battery licking screw ups! I'm giving you one final warning. If you try to crack that vault in the next room, you're gonna regret it."

The old man's voice sputtered out of the speaker below the security camera. Colby undid his belt and mooned the camera while his girlfriend Maggie threw a rock at it. It shattered the lens. Colby complained, "Oh c'mon Maggie! You should’ve waited till he saw that.”

"That" referring to his rear end. Maggie grabbed him by the belt, "Put your pants on. We're lucky the old man can’t call the police. The last thing we need is him doing something stupid because you had to act like a teenager."

Colby made a frowny face and began work on the door to the room. He reached for a clothes hanger from his duffel bag. A bunch of random and homemade lock picks jangled on it. He used a diaper pin with a soldered grip. Laying his big ear against the door he slid his face around its surface like a sponge on a pan.

-click- he jabbed it left -click- -rattle- he slid his head down to the base of the door handle -click- -clack- he moved the diaper pin in a small v-click- it opened. The speaker spoke up with an ear-splitting screech. The rock had messed the wiring up but it still worked,

"Goddammit! That camera wasn’t easy to put up! I had to cover every inch of cord in nitride! Do you know hard it was to get all that?!”

After a long whining sigh, “I'm warning you kids. If you get into that vault. Your lives are done for. I don't stay here because I want too, I stay here to try to convince people like you to stay away from what’s in there.”

Maggie looked into the room beyond. It was 10 feet wide from the left and right of the entry and 3 feet long from the entry to the wall. In the center of the wall was a ringed vault door.

Colby licked his lips and said, "Maggie! you were right! This has gotta be some good swag he's keeping."

She was still doubtful, the room looked weird and the ease involved was even stranger. The old man was “warning” them? She grabbed Colby to keep him from going ahead. She thought about what she knew about the Vault.

--------------------------------------

Two days ago

Whenever her uncle got drunk and grabby, Maggie left for a hike into the wilderness. She would find Colby sleeping under the bridge nearby. He was kicked out of his mom's house on a consistent basis. During that stroll she ralphed down some blueberry muffins Colby stole. He was making plans again for the both of them.

He was telling tales of stealing copper pipes and breaking into the jewelers all so Maggie could go back to college. He was sweet but Maggie knew Colby was an airhead and would get put in prison if he kept up his shenanigans. She had to talk him out of it before he got in real trouble.

She told him that her boss might let her live in her basement giving her an out from her uncle. He shook his head, “That’s great of her but you’re smart Maggie. You still need a good bit of money so you can get away for reals.”


Maggie said, “From what. My uncle won’t give a crap if I live with Lenore.”

He coughed up crumbs as he hastily replied, “But it's not enough. My mom went through what you did Maggie. She only got clean because my granddad took her in. Look at her though. She got out of the family bullshit with heroin but she’s still drinking like it’s her last day with a liver. She didn’t go anywhere even after getting away from my dad. She just moved into a different kind of bullshit. You need a fresh start.”

He inhaled some air and finished his speech, “The words you know, the stuff you’ve told me about. Hell, you can read to the end of a dictionary.”

She blushed and murmured, “I was bored and my uncle got us banned from the library again.”

He laughed, “That’s why you’re the one who should get out! You read when you’re bored. There ain’t nobody like you around her. By the way, I think I’m going to kick your uncle in the junk when we get back. The last time I did it he left you alone even when he got soused.”

She smiled, “You’re just as incredible Cole. You’re thoughtful. If there is anything you impress me with. It’s being thoughtful.”

He waved it off, “Bullshit. I care about you and sometimes mom. That’s it.”

He yanked his right ear, “Though I do got quite an ear!” He jangled the clothes hanger of keys in his bag and winked at her.

She laughed. He stopped in mid jingle and pointed at something off of the dirt path. She noticed it too. A little flash of light. She went in to look.

From a cluster of blackberries, she sat on Colby’s shoulders and spied. There was an old man leaning out of a window of an ancient three-story house. He was fastening a nest of black cords to a hook he had welded to the gutter. The cords looped and dangled from nearby trees to a generator below the elm out front.He sprayed something out of a tin canister onto the cords.

There was no road into the property and yet this old man had been living there. He was dressed in dark red robes and had soap white skin. He looked like a retired cult leader. She decided to ask her boss Lenore about the place. She had a lot of knowledge about local history whether she wanted to know or not.

--------------------------------------

Lenore owned the pawn shop and told Maggie about it during her time reworking the store books the following day.

She said, "My aunt told me to stay away from that place on account of what happened to her son. She said Lars tried to break in and when he came back he had a fat ruby about this big." She made a fist to illustrate.

"He was going to rest for the night and see what it would fetch with the local jeweler in the morning. He wrote notes for his friends so they could rob the place too.”

Maggie pulled a breathing mask onto her face as she sprayed air freshener into a collection of old helmets. She asked, “What did the notes say?”

Lenore said, “The notes Lars wrote sat in a frame in my aunt Marie's tea room. Normally I wouldn’t remember anything that far back but you’re in luck. She was so heartbroken for so long. I looked at them every time she started crying when she was babysitting me.” Lenore closed her eyes and breathed out her nose. It was a sad memory for her.

“It was three numbers. Number one said that the house messed with electronics. Lars told Marie when he walked inside the battery in his digital watch shot sparks and so did his flashlight. It turned out helpful for him because he figured the owner wouldn’t have phones. Beats me why it was like that up there.”

She continued after she found her cigarettes in her purse. Maggie stopped spraying into a Pickelhaube anticipating Lenore would light up.

Lenore continued, “The second part was that the vault was tricky. According to Lars, he spent an hour on the lock and didn’t get anywhere. It was only until he went into the upstairs and forced the owner to give him the key that he got into it.”

“Who was the owner of the house?” Maggie asked.

“Some teenager I guess. According to Lars, he was white as a ghost. That’s all I know. Anyway. Number 3 was the weirdest part.”

Lenore stared off into the distance. She was remembering the last part and how frantically it was scrawled.

“Number 3 was barely legible. Marie thinks something bad happened as he was writing it. It said ‘I feel cold and sick and I’m getting colder’. It was nonsense after that and at the end of the gibberish It said, ‘momma I’m sorry’.”

Lenore sweated despite the cold temperature of the storeroom. Maggie saw the aunt’s desperation turned into fear in her niece.

--------------------------------------

That night, Colby tried to pick a fight with Maggie’s uncle. It didn’t end well. The man took out a knife and backed Colby out the door and then kicked Maggie out. Colby apologized again and again but all Maggie heard was the jangling of the pick ring in his sweater.

She decided that she’d see for herself if fist sized rubies are a real thing.

--------------------------------------

Maggie bit her lip. She thought about escape routes and if she had the right kind of first aid kit. Colby hummed a Ramones song while he fiddled with the Vault. He was sweating. The note wasn’t kidding, it was a hard lock.

She thought about the look in Lenore's eyes as she spoke about her Aunt. Maggie had been driven by anger to come here and now it was dwindling away to a small flame. She didn’t want Colby to get hurt.

Maggie said, “Colby. Maybe we should go. I don’t think.”

-click-

The vault swung open.

Colby backed away and held Maggie’s hand. A pitch black tunnel was behind the vault door. The sound of sifting sand and a few guttural whispers emanated from the darkness. At the edge of the pit before the border of the ringed vault were two small gems. One was a sapphire and the other was a ruby. They were both barely the size of a fingernail.

Colby lit his lighter and poked his arm in and scanned for anything else. He put a knee into the pit when Maggie grabbed him roughly.

Maggie said, “No. Let’s go.”

Colby looked invested which wasn’t a good sign at this point.
He said, “You said a fist sized ruby. These aren’t fist sized at all.”

She shook her head, “No Colby. Let’s go.”

He sighed and leaned out. He closed the vault up.

--------------------------------------

They were on the bottom floor and Colby shook his head at the entry.

He asked, “Are you sure about this? There’s gotta be some good poo poo in a weird thing like that.”

Maggie roughed up his hair and embraced him, “Don’t worry about it. I’ll get Lenore to let me move in sooner. Maybe you could stay with me?”

He grinned from ear to ear, “Really? I hope she doesn't mind springs rocking at odd hours.”

She laughed, “It’s a futon and you might have to sleep on the floor. It’s pretty small.

He opened his mouth but stopped as he peered over her shoulder.

The old man was there. In his crimson robes and his face that might have never been exposed to sunlight. He pointed at them and yelled,

“I did my best! I was told to watch it and persuade! That’s it! The rest is on you kids. “

He glanced at some of the wires he had hung up on the bottom floor.

He seethed and spoke ominously, “Between you and me though. It was for YOUR benefit I tried to install a security system. If I had finished maybe you’d all get the idea not to take from Mu.”

Colby began to run. He stopped when he saw Maggie wasn’t moving.

“Maggie! C’mon!!”

She said, “Just a second. I’ll be there. I think I can handle one old wizard.”

Colby gave her a bemused look and booked it.

Maggie faced the old man standing at the top of the staircase and asked him,

“Are you Mu?”

The old man cackled, “No! I am the appointed caretaker of this place where Mu peers from. You have taken something that Mu leaves only for fools.”

She asked, “First of all. If it so dangerous why don’t you cover it with a brick wall? Second, of all we left the two stones where they were.”

He shook his head, “I can barely leave this house due to the nature of my mission. The security system was the best I could do with the short amount of time I could spend away.:

He went back upstairs and spat on the floor. He turned and glared at Maggie.

The old man firmly warned her, “One has been taken from Mu. Which means only one will enjoy the reward.”

He slammed the door to his sanctum.

Maggie blanched. Colby had pocketed a stone. She ran at breakneck speed after Colby. She yelled,

“Colby! Colby where are you?!”

She couldn’t see anything out here in the dark. She took out her lighter and flipped it.

“Colby!?”

A small flame flickered far away in the darkness beyond the road. He was signaling her.

She rushed to the flame, heaving gasps of breath all the while.

Colby was leaning against a tree. He had a blue stone the size of an apple in his right hand. Veins of crystal grew into his skin and he shook violently. She reached for the stone but he jerked it away.

“No!” He said.

He gasped painfully. Sweat poured off his forehead in torrents. His skin was peeling as if from a heat rash.

She reached for it again and he held it away from her.

“What are you doing?! It’s killing you!”

He shook his head.

“It. It will burn you... Flay you…. I can’t give it... Take it after.”

He collapsed to his knees She tried to pry his arm away from it. He wrapped his body around it in a fetal position.

“Go to school...Get out... You’re fun. I like you…”


She grabbed him by the shoulder and dug her nails in. She shook him with all her strength,

“Goddammit! Let go of it! No!”

His face crinkled like paper in a fire. Veins and muscle exposed themselves from his retracting skin and boils popped up in every newly exposed area. He shuddered and let out a long scream. The stone rolled away from him.

It was the size of a human heart rather than a fist. After watching Colby’s body turn to ash and sitting in the wilderness for a remainder of the night she touched it. It was just a giant gemstone now. She left it there and went back into town. She came back later to find the house to firebomb it.

No matter where she looked, she couldn’t find it. Now that she thought about it, Lenore hadn’t said that her Aunt Marie ever got the police to find the lonely old house. It probably disappeared for a certain time. It made sense why the old caretaker couldn’t leave for long.

She came back to the tree where Colby had died. The stone was still there. She poured the shoplifted vodka onto the stone and lit it on fire. She knew it wouldn’t burn even it wasn’t cursed.
It seemed appropriate to burn it at least once. If anything, it would remove Colby’s left over fingerprints from its hosed up grasp.

--------------------------------------

The world's largest cut sapphire has been found in our fair town as of last month. The finder of the stone has asked for complete anonymity. It is to be put in an international auction.The finder has asked that it may be named after a dear friend. The Blue Colby will debut for potential buyers at an estimated price tag of fifteen million dollars. Speaking of jewels, a local man was arrested for indecent exposure at the library-click-

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

I forfeit to Fleta and will take the loss for crime week Thranguy. Sorry for spraying curse jizz all over your nice crime lab.

In for a mystery tech box 6.

Edit:

Jay W. Friks fucked around with this message at May 2, 2017 around 00:32

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

(edited out)

Jay W. Friks fucked around with this message at Jan 3, 2018 around 04:14

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

In

I'd like to collab too. I live in a pacific time zone for those looking for people with similar bedtimes.

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

Jack-in-the-box (1596) (collaborator)

“Stop that man!” echoed guards down the length of the White Mall lobby.

The man in question wore a plastic jester's mask and a coil embossed kevlar vest. He hummed obnoxiously while waving a Glock around as he sprinted towards the entrance. He dove into a Maserati parked between two revolving doors. Jack drove through the lobby and out into the parking lot.

Pedestrians cleared out of the alleyways behind White Mall except for a couple old ladies who met death via bumper. Sudden realization broke through the euphoric haze dominating Jack’s mind,
“I just killed those old women. This is too much. I have to stop. Why can’t I stop?”

He stopped the car and rubbed his aching neck.

The car roof buckled as something landed on top of it. Jack ducked at the impact. He grabbed his pistol from beneath his seat and got out. Kneeling on top of the car roof was a deformed hunchback. His body swelled and cracked as bones knitted and his muscles swelled and contorted.

“You got the wrong idea Notre Dame. I didn’t want to do this.”

Notre Dame peered threateningly at Jack from his swollen lids

Jack said, “If I shoot you in the brains, you can’t come back from that.”

The hunchback snorted. “You must think I’m some kind of novice if you think a little thing like a firearm is going to keep an old hero like me down.”

He tumbled behind the car. Jack ran into the overgrown bushes beyond the alleyway. Sirens echoed around him. Notre Dame trampled after him. Jack pulled the trigger and heard a click. His gun was unloaded.The hunchback burst through the blackberries and swatted the Glock from Jack’s hand.

He turned to flee but Notre grabbed him around the waist. Jack shook in his grasp as the deformed behemoth crushed him.

“Give it up Jack. I can take you in with a broken spine or I can take you in voluntarily.”

Jack coughed and said, “I can’t believe this. You know petty theft ain’t my thing Notre.”

“The only thing I know about you Jack is that you run a gang that does just that. Stealing.”

He punched the hunchback in the face and said, “Here’s something you don’t know about me.”

Jack hummed pop-goes-the-weasel. A ripple of sound emanated from inside his throat. The ripple projected out of his mask’s mouthpiece into a wave at Notre Dame. The SUPR serum had many odd powers to give. Such as humming a ditty which would affect others like a paralyzing agent. Jack’s power was one he used only at desperate times like this. He liked surprising the law.

Notre collapsed. Jack crawled out of his grasp and rolled backwards off of a ledge into the Lethe river. The police and SUPR SWAT found his mask and vest left on a bank washed clean of dna and fingerprints by the river water. It wasn’t a clean break for Lyle Barrett. He couldn’t go back to his hideout for awhile now that his alter-ego Jack was a public figure.

He had never been the type to show up and rob a bank like every other second-rate Villain. It was too dangerous and he preferred the long game. Something had been controlling him. For a few days he survived on what he could grab from his loft. He contacted his minions telling them to lay low.

Notre Dame would be obsessed till he had another villain to hunt. Three nights passed and his neck told him it was time for more serum.

He called the receptionist from his hideout.

“Hello. This is Lyle Barrett. Sorry about dropping off the radar I had a family emergency.”

The receptionist computer Mildred replied cheerily, “Of course Mister Barrett. Please hold on a moment. Miss Ambrosia wanted to speak to you personally.”

His forehead beaded with sweat at the mention of her name. SUPR serum had three divisions dedicated to different strains of steroids. His division was led by the scientist and daughter of the company founder “Miss Ambrosia.” The waiting music played while he put on a tie. He didn’t expect to get called in immediately but just in case he wanted to be ready.

He put a pen into his jacket pocket and cinched the tie with his free hand. A soft scratchy voice said,

“Hello Jack. How’s getting out of the box going?”

“What? How...?”

“How? I’m an informed person Lyle. I know that you steal from vat 33. I know you run a gang in the White Mall shopping district.”

His throat closed up. He couldn’t speak.

“I had you rob that store to get your garish alter-ego all over the news. It looks bad when people do something stupid with our product. I can’t abide my own employees doing such acts. We don’t need anymore bad publicity.”

Lyle’s neck muscles mimicked a tightening coiled rope.

“I’m going to hang up now Jack. Maybe in the next like you’ll pay attention to the drugs you’re stealing. After all, they might be spiked with something that makes you do stupid things.”

*click*

The shots he’d stolen from the company had never affected him this badly. Whatever he’d been shooting up was planted by the boss. There was a hidden drawer of small weaponry behind his tie rack. He reached into it and found a switchblade and pulled the pen from his jacket.

Little purple spots clouded his vision. He pulled the ink tube from the pen gratified that it was one of the empty ones he neglected to throw out. Making a cut in his windpipe he stuck the tube into his neck. He took long shrill breathes through the tube and waited. After a few minutes his windpipe relaxed.

He could breathe normally once more but his neck was in agony. He raced down the grassy slopes outside of White Mall. Lyle wondered where he could go. Miss Ambrosia’s private enforcers would find him eventually.

A week passed. He stole sandwiches from sidewalk cafes and lapped up water at coin fountains. More than once he had to abandon a quiet alley or warm dumpster to get away from a patrolling Hero or a pair of company goons. He mugged some hikers for their sleeping bag on their way to the Elysium reservation.

On a particularly fruitful day, he found a pizza box with cheese in it. Lyle peeled off the dried crusts as he checked himself in a lone motorcycle’s mirror. He thought he could pass for a vagrant now that he had some flannels and a scruffy beard.

“You look rough.” He spun around ready to stab. There was no one but trashcans and wide-eyed stray cats.

“Show yourself!” Lyle wheezed. He grabbed his throat in agony. Yelling was painful in his current state.

“Up here.” said a tired voice.

A metallic gargoyle with bored look sat on a window sill above.

“What the-” Lyle couldn’t speak.

“Metal is my portent, sentry and viewing lens into history. I saw your history as you were looking into that mirror.” The gargoyle pointed a clawed hand at the Harley. “That’s my bike.”

Lyle rubbed his vocal cords, “What do you want gargoyle?”

“Call me The Molybdomancer. I offer help to the needy.”

“Even someone like me?” Lyle cast a dismissive eye at the gargoyle, “If you know my history then you know I’m a criminal.”

The gargoyle shrugged, “Criminals are often the neediest.”

“How can you help me?”

“Underneath the Highway near the Librascope bookstore is a colony of vagrants I have contracted. Go there and you will be safe from Ambrosia.”

Lyle leaned on the bike,“And what will you get in return?”

The gargoyle snarled, “Don’t lean on my bike!”

Lyle flinched.

“Okay okay! I’m not touching it.”

“What I’ll get is you, Lyle. I need someone to keep an eye on my workers. The vagrants salvage metal from the junkyard nearby and I let them live there free from molestation. Make sure they’re not taking it for themselves or making hats out of it. Do this and you get a place to plan your next move.”

It was a tempting offer. Lyle stroked his patchy beard and thought about it. He needed to steal the source strain for vat 33. Not the watered down version the lab rat's got to play with but the stuff locked in the executive's private stills. It was the best chance at curbing his symptoms. For a robbery like that he needed time to plan.

“It’s a deal.”

“Excellent. I look forward to our partnership.” The gargoyle melted away into nothingness.

Lyle took a shortcut through the same street he lived on. Across the flat edge of Kent Street he saw the tuning fork-like needle of the Ambrosia head office. Maybe if Lyle used his time right he could turn the agony of his neck into a plan to kill Ambrosia.

Olympus City was about finding and falling from grace. This was a constant cycle for civilians, heroes, and villains. Only the SUPR purveyors of Silicon Valley rose above the cycle. That was why he’d aimed for the top. However, the Villain life was where he felt most alive. The surprise of a confrontation with Notre Dame during a heist always beat out a pay raise.

He found the encampment. Bustling and guarded by metal sheets it did appear safe. “Safe” meant time to plan. Time to slowly crank the unseen lever for Jack’s return.

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

sebmojo posted:

fixed link. still no av suggestions

Thank you Seb. Your comments mean alot to me.

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

In with a flashrule

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

Prompt

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

In

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

The Letter X
(1168 count)

“Twenty-six shall be our number come the day after.”

Byrhtferđ pointed at each letter of the vellum banner strewn between the grated twin pillars of the Ramsey Abbey Commons. Jwls the Eunuch balanced on a chain as he painted over the number 3 with red wax.

“A through Z are jointly agreed upon by all attending monks. Those letters have thus been ascribed to the official banner for King Ćthelreds war room. We are still shy of twenty-six however. Considering we have twenty-five letters left on the banner I must insist upon a final vote for which letter should stay.”

The twenty-five monks sitting upon the split logs running down the length of the commons stroked their en vogue frizzy beards and hmphed and grumbled for consensus.

Byrhtferđ, the twenty-sixth monk waved at Jwls to get off from the pillar staked chain. He tumbled off in a nimble twirl using his crotch as the focal point of turning. Slvrd nudged his grumpy non-bearded brother Mlch and whispered,

“Look at Jwls. Ever since he had the honor of being taken as an emissary of the king he’s been waving around his new position. I’m getting tired of his acrobatic theatrics. I can’t wait for him to leave here with that accursed banner.”

Mlch pointed his oaken mug upside down and shook it sulkily. He growled at Wno the Belligerent to fetch another cask so he could,

“...sit through hours of hmm-hawing over a pointless symbol for the king to distract himself with.”

Wno muttered in a sound similar to rocks rolling in a cauldron mixed with teeth and waddled down to the catacombs.

Slvrd, “Didn’t you hear me Mlch? I said-”

“I heard what you said. Jwls new status doesn’t concern me. This whole argument does. “

Slvrd took a swing of his half full mug and burped, “What troubles you?”

“What troubles me is that-”

He huddled closer to Slvrd so Byrhtferđ didn’t overhear,

“We spent all this time -together- raking through the Romans overtly verbose mess of an alphabet. We did so after all of us -together- were given the honored purpose of preparing a banner of the new English for the King. I don’t see a lot of -together- happening now my brother. Everyone else has had their ideas considered except me.”

He pointed at a man who could be mistaken for a walking gray bush considering his filthy oversized facial hair.

“Brother Yti still has that ugly ampersand up for consideration with the help of Byrhtferđ and 12 other monks.”

He pointed out a youthful monk who had crossed his legs the entirety of the meeting and sweated continually like an island sow,

“And that youngling Cnut has that idiotic idea for that upside down e. We have no words that use that sound and he only got support from the rest by arguing in the dumbest way possible. That it would be nice to have a letter for future words.

“Hgggghhhhhtttttt…”

Wno poured a stream of catacomb cooled ale into Mlch’s mug. Mlch blessed him and drank the whole thing.

“My brother. You must relax. I don’t understand how your symbol works exactly.The ampersand is obviously going to be needed and we were all impressed with Cnut’s idea for the...uh I think it was called a schwa... No offense but what word would use an X exactly? I can think of none that start with it.”

Mlch slammed the bench with his fist,

”You nincompoop! You just said a word that could use it. X-actly! Or how about : X-ceptional. What about what a chicken lays? Exx’s, obviously!

“I liked Brother Cnut’s idea of Ecksceptional and Ecksactly. It seems too...simple to use X in place of Ecks. We want the King to be remembered as a complex man, not a simple minded one.”

Mlch was about to beat his brother to death with the empty mug as he had a primal flashback to Abel and Cain when Byrhtferđ announced,

“Good news my brothers! We have settled on the ampersands after brother Bendict and brother Arnld decided to side against brother Cnut. “


The eunuch began painting the ampersands into the empty space of the alphabet. The black grease paint slopped around his bowl as he pulled himself back into the crotch killer position on the chain. He dabbed at the space with a bundle of horsehair as tears streamed down Mlch’s reddened cheeks.

Byrhtferđ sent Wno back below into the cellar to fetch the remaining casks and bellowed to the monks, “Now, my brothers! The work is finished so let us drink and be merry!”

“HERE HERE!” the Abbey replied except for Mlch who threw his mug against the pillar.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

The next morning Byrhtferđ awoke from a dream where a crown of thorns dug into his temple. It turned out to be a hangover. He licked his lips and scratched his ample belly. Mlch was already awake and cleaning up the mugs and bowls of porridge and mutton left in piles around the room.

The others awoke shortly after. They took trips to the vineyard to water the grapes and then came back to help clean. When it was finished they gazed at the banner with the still slumbering eunuch below it. Byrhtferđ narrowed his eyes and tried to recall the night before as he surveyed the letters. “Hmm.”

The congregation replied in turn. “Hmmmmm.”

Byrhtferđ said, “I cannot remember what the final vote was...Please excuse me brother Mlch but how did you get us to reconsider X?”

Mlch covered his left palm to hide the bead of red wax on it and said humbly. “I gave a clearer argument after brother Slvrd advised me.”

“I did? I do not recall the advice the I gave you brother Mlch.”

Mlch chuckled nervously, “Now don’t make the others think me a liar Slvrd. Remember the words we discussed? X-ceptional? X-cited?”

Slvrd scratched his beard. He pulled an apple stem from it and remembered, “Ah! That’s right! I and brother Mlch figured that Eckseptional as it’s spelled is far too lengthy for the King to adopt into the new english. We needed something concise!”

“Right right!” Mlch said.

“We settled on E-x-ceptional and E-x-cited! Remember now brothers?”

Mlch began,“Wait. No, I-”

“That’s right!” Byrhtferđ exclaimed.


“I remember we got the room to side with you after that rousing speech. Good job brother Mlch. It was a unique addition.” Byrhtferđ said.

The monks raised their hands and agreed, "Here here!”

Brother Mlch rubbed the black grease remaining on his fingers and thought about the results he’d gotten his night of sobriety.

After a long sigh, he said, “Yes! I have the Lord to thank for giving me the humility to seek my brother’s advice.” Mlch declared.

He picked up a half full mug and drank it down.

Slvrd said, “You have an iron gut brother. I’d expect you couldn’t drink another drop after last night.”

Jay W. Friks fucked around with this message at Jun 5, 2017 around 17:09

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Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

In with a short story.

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