I wrote a slasher short film in like… seventy two hours! Can you believe someone rejected a movie with a title this awesome?
WARNING: Mom, it’s a slasher film. There are blood and guts and some sexually graphic situations. That’s the genre.
I wrote a slasher short film in like… seventy two hours! Can you believe someone rejected a movie with a title this awesome?
WARNING: Mom, it’s a slasher film. There are blood and guts and some sexually graphic situations. That’s the genre.
I hate looking for work. I don’t much care for actually working either but looking for work is basically a full time job with twice the stress and none of the paycheck. When I worked at Target, at least I had some cash, pitiable non living wage cash, coming in. Now, because I’m following my dreams or whatever, I have a one bedroom apartment in Los Angeles, an out of work roommate, and a stress hernia building in my stomach.
Of course, things are never as grim as I paint them. For one thing, I have an apartment in L.A! Not the Valley or some podunk little suburb. I have an apartment in Hollywood. I can see Capitol Records from my living room. I get to pass the Walk of Fame and see the Hollywood sign every day on the way back from the library. I go to the library because an internet connection is for people who make money.
My apartment is especially nice now that our gas and hot water are running. Hot showers are probably the peak of human ingenuity. My neighbors are also shockingly nice and welcoming. The couple next door makes props and costumes for monster movies and they gave me tacos. If I ever run for political office, don’t vote for me because I will sell this entire country to Mexico if they offer me guacamole. The lady downstairs is a Script Supervisor who hasn’t given me any food yet but she is sending my name out to her contacts to try and get me a job. I would probably sell out the country for a steady gig in television too, if any of you are interested.
Unfortunately, no political or propaganda positions seem to be open so I’ve had to rely on retail and food service. So far I’m not good enough for any of that or maybe they just have really good cashiers at Target and don’t need my exceptional beauty distracting costumers. The worst part about job hunting is that it lasts forever and I am impatient. I’ve only been out here for two weeks and I’m sick of applications and resumes and promising over and over again that I don’t have a felony record. Job hunting is all or nothing, you either get the position or you don’t. Except one time I did get fried chicken.
The fried chicken place, which shall remain nameless in case they actually call me back, is the only place hiring on Hollywood boulevard. I found it on one of my pound the pavement days. Pounding the pavement is the employment equivalent of Russian roulette except you want to get shot because the bullet lets you pay rent on time. Basically you print of a bunch of resumes and give them to any business that will take them. According to legend, sometimes these places will call you back and actually give you a job. If nothing else, it is something to tell your parents so they don’t worry about you.
I walked into the fried chicken place because they had a big sign out front that said; “Now Hiring”. It was one of those places with workers behind a counter but the interior is pretty nice so that you don’t feel like you’ll catch something by sitting down. When we were looking for an apartment out here in July, we ate at a McDonald’s on Hollywood Boulevard and the restroom haunts my anxiety dreams. I waited in line to ask the young woman, Dani (Names have been changed in case they call me back) whether they had an application to fill out.
Sometimes I wonder if employers actually read applications or if they’re just testing to see how small I can write. Moments where I have to write with a pen or pencil, particularly on important documents requiring more than my signature, always worry be as my handwriting has been compared to a ransom note and “drunken, terrorist goat.” It’s improved since that particular incarnation but it takes a fair amount of concentration.
After taking about twice as long as any normal person to fill out the application, I handed it to Dani with my resume and thanked her for her time.
“Don’t you want to speak to our manager?” she asked.
“If that’s possible,” I said.
“Do you know where Danny is?” she asked a co-worker who shook her head.
“Aren’t you Dani?” I mumbled. Mumbling is really useful for when you say stupid things because people just pretend you didn’t speak.
She turned and went to look for him and I sat down and watched two other women put pieces of chicken into boxes. Chicken, unlike hamburgers or burritos, always come in a boxes. The other ones are just wrapped in paper. Chicken is serious business. I said as much to Danny.
Jobs like this are weird. Everybody, whatever business you’re in, has had a day job. Everyone has had something to pay the bills while they get a degree or try and break into the movie business. Yet in every job interview, I feel compelled to pretend that folding clothes for eight bucks an hour is my dearest life goal. Even with my unsurpassed skill at making up random barely plausible that’s somehow believed, I didn’t feel that I could lie to Danny. Not because I’d suddenly had a moral epiphany but because food service is terrible. You make food you can’t eat for rude people and minimum wage, less than minimum wage if you’re working as a waitress.
So rather that spin fiction worse than Twilight, I told Danny about how much I enjoyed having a job. This is partially true. I really enjoy having a paycheck. Having a job is a necessary evil. Still, there’s a certain satisfaction in finishing a job, in doing work that you can be proud of and generally being the best you can be.
Danny asked if I liked the food. I said I liked fried chicken but admitted that I hadn’t eaten at that particular establishment due to being broke as a joke.
Then Danny said the most beautiful words any one has ever said to me in a job interview, “Would you like to try something?”
I was suspicious. “I’m not really eating out lately.”
Then Danny said the most beautiful words a person can say to another human being, “It’s free.”
Since moving to L.A and trying to pay most of my own way, I have reached a level of frugality that I had not thought possible. I have given up buying soda, booze, chips and the internet. I sit in the dark and walk everywhere. That morning I had had a cup of tea and bowl of cereal.
I agreed to eat the chicken.
Danny left and returned with two pieces of chicken, a wing and a drumstick, a biscuit and a bowl of mashed potatoes. He said it was the most common order. I said thank you. Always thank the people who bring you food and the people who drive you places.
The chicken was sublime in the way only free food can be. It was also about a hundred degrees. I don’t understand how anything but ice cream parlors and bars stay open in southern California. By the time I started in on the biscuit, I was parched and had to ask Dani for a glass of water. I loathe asking for things from people behind the counter. They always have better things to do. At this point the lunch rush had begun so I was distracting them from paying customers in addition to not paying for my own food. But people who vomit at interviews due to dehydration are not called back so I persevered. I got my water and settled in to watch the crowd.
As I ate my free food, I watched a Japanese family, a French family and group of young men who wondered if they could get a discount for being from the state in the restaurant title, order their food. I’d never realized how many chicken places are tied to geography. Is there really much of a difference in the chicken frying techniques of Kentucky and Louisiana? Would a chicken connoisseur be able to tell the difference? Would it be covered in orientation?
After I finished my meal and my water, Danny had disappeared behind the counter to help with the lunch rush. I watched them for a while but to the untrained eye it did not appear very complicated. Doubtless, I will have intricate secret knowledge if they end up hiring me. I was at a loss. I did not want to leave without saying anything but neither did I want to sit awkwardly in a chicken restaurant with no chicken in front of me. I’d already distracted Dani once with my need for water; I didn’t want to bother her with a long line of people waiting for their food.
I sat there for fifteen minutes before I got in line and handed my resume and application back to Danny. I said thank you. He said he would call me in the next couple of weeks if I got the job. I left.
Danny hasn’t called me. Job hunting is a lot like dating except that it matters. You make many attempts before finding someone that will have you, let alone someone you actually want to be with. Unfortunately, I can’t assuage my bank account with chocolate and vibrators. I hope Danny returns my unrequited employment but, if not, we’ll always have free chicken.
There is a rock in my mother’s car. To be fair, it’s a special rock. We know this because my uncle, Jim, who found the rock in one of the fields at the family farm, told us; and a guy at a flea market told him and that’s how you have to cite information in a college essay. At our family reunion last week, Uncle Jim held a contest to see if anyone could guess why this particular rock was special. The winner got the rock.
We all wrote our guesses on slips of paper and put them into a box that Jim would draw from. I thought it was used to sharpen arrow heads. One cousin thought it was a hat. Another cousin thought that the rock was just a rock and possibly the center piece in Jim’s twisted game to convince us that the world has meaning. My cousin has all the optimism I’ve come to expect from a high school sophomore. My mother guessed that it was an ancient bowling ball used by the first generation of Hebbert pioneers. It’s a good guess as that farm has been in my family for over a century and I’m sure my ancestors were just as goofy as the present day generation.
No one got it right the first round so Uncle Jim gave us a hint. The rock had something to do with the last 500 years of history. Five hundred years is a long time. The United States of America was only founded 238 years ago. Five hundred years ago, Henry VIII had only had one wife. So somewhere between a dude making up a new religion so that he could get divorced (and then saying “forget it, I’ll just kill the next one”) and me moon walking away from any sort of commuted relationship, this rock had it’s time to shine.
Uncle Jim is a very tall, very quiet man. If he were theatrically inclined, I would cast him as the foreboding mountain ranger who warns teenage protagonists not to “mess ‘round up in that there Indian burial site”. Yet, he explained the history of this rock with the same enthusiasm I’ve only heard from his mouth when talking about bird watching, the Chicago Cubs and pie. That is to say; moderate enthusiasm.
Apparently, sometime between Copernicus postulating the sun as the center of the universe and Thor: The Dark World, horses were introduced to the American continent. This rock was used by Native Americans (Either Lakota, Sioux or Arikara, according to Wikipedia) to hobble their horses so that they couldn’t run away. Interesting, fun, good family bonding.
Until my mother started carrying it out to the car.
“Why are we bringing the rock with us?” I asked.
“I won it,” Mom said. She got the closest, after the hint. She knew what a hobble was called.
“But why are we taking it?” That rock had sat in a field for over two hundred years and as far as I was concerned it could stay there.
“I could use it.”
“For what? We don’t have a horse to hobble!”
“I’ll plant a flower by it.”
“As a memorial to hobbled horses?” My voice gets shrill when I am incredulous. I take a breath to calm myself. The rock should not have surprised me. My mother is a carrier. Her purse is a carpet bag with several notebooks, wallets, pens, tissues and various loose pieces of paper that could also hold her 15” laptop. She has two wallets for copious membership cards at stores she goes to once a year. For this reunion, she purchased and carried a full cylinder of lemonade mix because South Dakota, in her mind, has no grocery stores. When we were younger, she would bring empty cat litter buckets across Nebraska and give them to my aunt and uncle. Now she carries special black coffee that is apparently the best and unavailable in the Midwest. In another life, my mother was a rum runner.
“I can tell you exactly what’s going to happen to that rock,” I said. “You are going to forget about it in the trunk for two weeks until it bounces on some pothole and then Dad is going to bring it onto the porch where it will collect dust for ten years.”
“No,” Mom said and shook her head.
“Rocks should stay outside,” I said. Unless they’re serving a useful purpose like building pizza ovens or protecting anthropomorphic pigs, they should just stay where they are. Maybe if you’ve got to build a house or clear a path you can move them but even then I am suspicious.
“What’s up?” Dad asked as he made his way to the car.
“Mom’s bringing the rock with us,” I said, “Across state lines.” If this rock were an abducted child or a murder victim, my mother would be making this a federal matter.
My father made a face but said nothing. In 37 years of marriage, he’s developed a sense of self preservation.
“Fine,” I said. When I am irked, or happy or bored or slightly hungry, I fall into the refuge of sarcasm. “We’ll bring the rock. It’ll be great. We can put it on the table and invite people over:
Have you seen our rock? It’s from South Dakota because Colorado doesn’t have rocks. It’s the best rock because Indians used it. A man in a flea market told our uncle.”
“Yes,” My mother agreed, getting into the driver’s seat. My father got into the passenger’s front seat and I got into the back.
My sister was already there. She’d remained silent through this exchange other than asking me “what do you care? It’s not your rock.”
I didn’t care. I forced all the caring about whether my mother wanted to drag a rock across the country down into the pit of my stomach were I put all of my irritation. It doesn’t matter if there is a rock sitting on my parent’s porch for the rest of eternity. I am going to L.A. in two weeks. I don’t need to worry about it.
“I think we should take the rock with us when we drive out to California,” I said, as we turned down the long drive way of our ancestral home, “so it can see Utah, and the ocean.”
“No,” My mother said, “that would be too much.”
Edit: Now that we are home, my mother has hidden the rock somewhere on their property. I guess for future family reunions.
I wonder if The Onion takes submissions…
It’s impossible to raise a child without some expectation of what they’ll be when they grow up. I don’t want to plan out their lives for them but I truly believe my youngest, Dylan, will be the one who defeats me when that time comes while Kenny Jr will probably just follow in my footsteps of tyranny.
Again, I don’t want to pigeon hole the boys in any way. I’ll be perfectly happy if Kenny falls in love with a member of the many groups I’ve decided are beneath me and works to take me down from the inside in hopes of winning justice for the people. If Dylan grows bitter under his brother’s shadow and vows to usurp him and become a better warlord than I could ever be, that’s great! But I’ve been training these kids in the art of combat, subterfuge and weapons design since they were barely out of diapers. I know their strengths and weaknesses and so far, Kenny doesn’t show the kind of initiative it would take to destroy me. It’s not that he’s lazy; he’s just not a leader. Dylan’s a lot more comfortable thinking outside of the box. Kenny likes to work hard on a given task and then just hang out. Neither one is better than the other.
Of course, it’s possible neither of the boys will eventually gather the people together to overthrow my reign of madness once and for all. When I consulted the Oracle woman, all she said was “from the fires of your own victory, a spark shall leap into your throat and lay waste to all your joy when you expect it least.” That could mean anything. Maybe one of my lieutenants wasn’t quite as through as I’d like in purging my enemies. Maybe a plucky youngster managed to survive and watching the slaughter of everyone she knew has filled her heart with vengeance. I don’t know. I had the Oracle publicly executed as an example so I can’t really ask her to clarify. The prophecy might be self fulfilling. Maybe, by focusing on Dylan as the future savior destined to defeat me, I have guaranteed that it’ll be someone I’d never even considered but what Dad doesn’t want great things for his kids?
Whoever ends up defeating me, the important thing is to enjoy the time I have with my children now. When I watch Kenny and Dylan playing by the lava moat, I remember why I took over the world in the first place: to have something chaos torn and downtrodden to pass on to them. I know I won’t live forever, due to the instability in the cloning process, and those kids are the future of this great, mostly on fire, nation. It’s easy to get caught up worrying about the future but I’ve got to remember that the present, and Kenny and Dylan themselves, are a gift.
So, this one is slightly NSFW and contains sexual scenarios in honor of (drum roll) MAY: NATIONAL MASTURBATION MONTH! Masturbation: Sex With Someone You Love! Please leave any comments below and any whining about “oh no somebody got pleasure from their fingers” in the trash where they belong.
She got home late locking the door behind her. No one waited in the dark, no parent would demand to know where she had been, but even so Ariel didn’t turn on the lights. Even after years of being on her own, she didn’t trust her freedom. She said her keys and purse down and kicked off her shoes. She stripped slowly in the dark. Her silk skirt slipped to the floor, and she stepped over. She unbuttoned the white professional top and pulled it off her slender arms. It too fell to the dining room floor lying crumpled heap. She stopped in front of the refrigerator. Ivory skin looked translucent in Bright light, long sheet of white because interrupted only the pale red pimples and her lacy black underwear. Ariel reached into the refrigerator and pulled out a bottle of hard apple cider and a package of cold cuts. She pulled the pins from her hair letting long red locks drop down against her back. Shadow pain code echoed in her skull from where the hairpins had poked her all day long. She had looked good that day. Good enough that no one paid attention to her hands.
Ariel eight cold cuts with one hand the other unhooking her bra behind her. She let it fall in the kitchen enjoying the cold air on her breasts. She ran her fingers under the sink, washing off the slime of the cold cuts before pulling of her panties. These she carried with her, using the soft cloth to twist of the cider cap.
She took a long swig as she stumbled into the bed room. Her stomach growled as she plopped down, setting her alarm for the morning. Her phone buzzed in her hand. It was Eric.
It was after midnight. Arial rolled her eyes and turn her ringer off. There would be another five texts, at least, when she woke up all with progressing degrees of drunkenness spelling errors and swearword. She couldn’t quite bring herself to delete them, to delete him entirely from her life. Eric still made her heart pound when she was stupid enough to see him. He made her forget about the pain in her legs, the cruel jokes from the men that her office when they forgot that mute didn’t mean deaf. When she was stupid enough to see him, Eric made her forget that he was an asshole. She remembered the moment he was out of sight though, when she stalked him on Facebook and noticed a new picture of his daughter or quiet reminder from his wife. She remembered each time she went to the beach and swam out as far as she possibly could before the water began to drag her down, pulling instead of welcoming, and her survival instincts made her run back to shore.
She took another swig trying to down the entire bottle before she coughed her bed. The liquor made her dizzy, made her forget that Eric and her aching legs and the assholes at work. Her hands slid down the pale body, the body she’d sacrificed so much for. Men told her that her legs were beautiful. She heard it so much it made her skin crawl, made her fantasize about wheelchairs and black tattoos anything to make them avert their eyes. Not that that would work. She hated her beautiful ivory stabbing boring legs. Sometimes in the bath she crossed them so very tightly and held them there, imagining warm green scales sparkling where the stretch ugly skin remained. She still had scars from the bad days after Eric left, when she tried to fillet herself they were faded right now. She didn’t touch them anymore wouldn’t add to their pain because for all the regrets exploding inside her legs were gone and Eric was gone what would be left?
What would her sacrifice be if she lost everything she had sacrificed for?
Ariel finished her bottle. Finger slipped in between her legs gently toying with her own flesh. Her own warmth flew through her aching flesh, replacing the stabbing pain inside her. The ocean inside her rose at the touch, squeaking between her fingers. Ariel gasped, moaning as loud as she dared before the neighbors complained. She never made a sound with Eric, never spoke without the aid of her fingers. Only by herself with her fingers deep inside of her, could she make a sound. No words. Words didn’t have any place here. She didn’t need them to make herself understood not here, not alone. She lost so much trying to understand but now that she did, she wouldn’t trade it. She rolled over pressing her face into the pillow her fingers down gently massaging her insides. A few more moments and she drifted into sleep.
Hi, followers. I’ve been busy lately and am not shaping up to be any less busy in the next week. So I am going to do a pastiche/shout out to one of my favorite webcomics; A Softer World by Joey Comeau and Emily Horne. Most of the comics are two to three sentence stories that I’ve tired to capture the spirit of here.
These lovely people are my parents and they gave me permission to post this. Mom has a blog that you should definitely read. It has wonderful essays on aging and aging parents.
Okay, just to be clear, I have been writing. It just hasn’t technically been my stuff. I got a paying gig from a friend to doctor her book. More on that as events unfold.
Evelyn downed her pill with a shot of fire whiskey. In the other room, Liam was crying about something. The little green pills helped her listen to his high pitched wails without the need to strangle her nephew and the fire whiskey gave her the strength to deal with it. She stumbled out of the bathroom and lifted the little boy up into her arms, pressing a kiss into his mess of black curls.
“You smell like shit,” she told him. Liam bawled.
Once Liam was dry and Evelyn was dressed, she strapped the boy onto her back and stepped up to the surface. The city smelled like shit too but with a mix of rotting fruit and death to round out the bouquet. Evelyn wrapped a clean cloth around Liam’s nose and set to work.
Her work wasn’t easy. Easy jobs didn’t allow for a baby strapped to her back all day. Once Liam learned to walk without stumbling over his own feet, maybe she could get back into whoring, though he’d probably need supervision until he was at least eleven. For now, she lifted bales for farmers, laundry for rich women and coins off stupid men. No one noticed her in the crowd. She passed by them like a ghost, only black and fat, stealing whatever caught her fancy. Liam kept quite, occasionally cooing when he saw something that caught his fancy. Evelyn was well done with her morning larceny by the time he started whining for something to eat. She brought him Drax’s Room, the only pub in town where no one glared at her for bringing in a baby. Several of the dancing girls brought their kids as well and nobody said shit. Of course, most of the patrons were out of their minds on drink and pills so they didn’t really notice anything.
“Evie!” the bartender called, waving her over to the stool. “You’re still here.”
“For now, Bets,” Evelyn said, swinging Liam down onto her lap. She placed her morning earnings on the bar with a clatter. “Milk for the gentleman, bread and fire whiskey for me.”
“Starting with the sweet stuff?” Betsy asked, “how are you gonna have good dreams on nothing but whiskey?”
“I don’t need good dreams,” Evelyn said, shushing Liam, “I just wanna sleep through the night.”
“You’ve got your green men for that,” Betsy said, handing her a bottle of while liquid for Liam, “Hello, baby boy.”
“The green men are so I want to wake up,” Evelyn said. She took the bottle and held it up to Liam, who continued to fuss. “Come on, brat, I know you’re hungry. You haven’t shat since this morning or I’d have felt it so drink up.”
“I can’t see you depressed,” Betsy set her plate of bread and glass of whiskey in front of Evelyn.
“You don’t have to,” she said, finally forcing the bottle into Liam’s mouth. “Thanks to my little green men. Before they showed up, I wasn’t eating myself, let alone caring whether another brat lived or died.”
“If the green men are so sweet to you, why not diversify?” Betsy held a small vial of red and blue pills. “If a little is good, more must be better.”
Evelyn laughed. “Peddle your poison someplace else, Bets.” She pushed the bottle back. “Took me enough experimentation just to get to normal, I don’t want anything else mixed into it.”
Betsy laughed too, putting the bottle back into the pocket of her apron. “Fair enough. I like having someone half sane to talk to anyway. Drax will murder me if I don’t push his men out on everybody.”
“I’ve dealt with worse than Drax,” Evelyn said, biting hard into the bread. It was barely palatable but better than yesterdays. Drax never did a good trade in food, his main business took care of any hunger pangs.
“Speaking of worse than Drax, guess who’s back in town?” Betsy grinned, her smile stretching up to the tip of her cat like eyes.
Evelyn groaned, “Marisol?” she closed her eyes, more exhausted than ever. Liam started to wail. Evelyn patted his head weakly. “I know, baby, I hate her too.”
“Right in one, beautiful,” Betsy said. “She was sniffing around yesterday, just after you left. Looking for the savior.”
“Fine,” Evelyn said. She forced the bottle back into Liam’s mouth, waiting for him to remember he was hungry. “Will this settle up my tab here?” she pulled another bag of cash out of her pocket. Betsy counted it, quick as only a seasoned bartender could be, and handed her a bit of change back.
“Just barely,” she grinned. “Where to next?”
“No idea,” Evelyn slogged back her whiskey. “But we’re gone in an hour.”
“but I’ll miss my baby!” Betsy cooed to Liam. “He’s so big!”
“He’s not your baby,” she groused, picking him up and tying him back on to her back where he squirmed irritably. “You want him, you can deal with the shit and the screaming. Say nothing of Marisol and her fanatics on my ass every second of the day.”
Betsy grimaced, raising her hands in surrender. “No, thank you. I’ll see you both when you’re back in town.”
Evelyn smirked and headed out the door. Her feet still ached from that mornings work and the days ahead only promised more walking. She leaned heavy on the gray stone wall of the steps leading down to her room, ignoring Liam as he fussed in her ear. Her sister’s child, the cause of most of Evelyn’s problems, was in his hair pulling faze, stretching out her curls into long straight lines before allowing them to spring back to their rightful place. She pushed open the steel door and began to pack.
“Hail to The Savior,” a whisper greeted her from the bathroom.
Evelyn groaned. “Fuck off, Marisol.”
The short fanatic stepped out slowly, like a cat sneaking up on a mouth. Her head was bowed, a mess of red curls beneath a gray habit, but her eyes rested on Liam with quiet reverence. Liam blew a spit bubble onto Evelyn’s neck.
“I see your ways haven’t changed, caretaker,” Marisol said, holding aloft the bottle of green pills, “Fire whiskey too? I cannot imagine what else The Savior is subjected to.”
“He’s not a savior,” Evelyn rolled her eyes, “And if Liam can stomach your pious bullshit, he can handle whiskey on my breath. Get out.”
“And Lo, the God of Earth spake through the molten fire and said; I shall give forth a Son from ash and clay and He shall lay low the wicked and raise up the meek, for My Name’s Sake,” Marisol quoted, fire in her dark eyes.
“Too bad Liam came out of a puss like everybody else,” Evelyn said. “Back to the scriptures, I guess.”
“Do you not see how selfish you’re being?” the small woman crossed the room too quickly, reaching out for Liam. “This child may one day save the world and you would keep Him from His destiny?”
“Move that hand, or lose it,” Evelyn warned, taking her knife from her belt. Marisol took a step back, “Liam stays with me.”
“Are you so stepped in sin that you will battle against salvation itself?” she asked. “The Savior will wash the world clean of strife and suffering. He will end our addictions and bring a new light into the darkness.”
“It’s not Liam,” Evelyn said.
“Not if you continue to thwart His potential,” she said, circling around to block their exit, “You really think you are best for Him? You, who cannot even face the day without your little green men and your whiskey?”
Evelyn reached over her shoulder, trying to calm Liam’s cries without taking her eyes off the other woman. Her fingers pressed into her nephew’s soft curls but he screamed still. Maybe Marisol was right. Liam deserved more than a half crazed former whore to raise him on stolen goods. A life running from town to town, dodging either the soldiers or Marisol’s cult, wasn’t what Bellina wanted for her child.
She should have stayed alive then, Evelyn thought, clenching the knife harder. She’d seen Marisol’s compound, where her followers worshiped Liam like a god. It was clean and safe, with good food all the time. The people there would tend to his every need, every whim. They’d never resent a child for spitting up on them or shitting down their dress. Liam would be taken care of and all they wanted in return was for him to cleanse the world of all its sins. And what happens to him when he can’t?
“Out of the two of us,” she said, “I’m the only one who doesn’t want anything from him. Now get out of my way.”
“No.” Marisol drew her own knife. “I had hoped to end this peacefully. It brings me no pleasure to rob My Lord of His last human relative.”
Evelyn ran for her, slicing hard and fast through the air. Marisol blocked with her arm. The blade sunk into her pale, bronze flesh leaving a thick line of blood to drip on the stone floor. Evelyn didn’t care, stabbing again and again until she fell. She stopped only for a moment to grab her pills before running up the steps.
When Liam’s cries finally reached her ears, they were out of the city. She slumped down on the side of the road and took him into her arms.
“Shush, baby, it’s okay,” she whispered, cradling the little boy close to her chest. “I’m sorry you had to see that but it’s gonna be okay.”
She wondered if Marisol was dead, or only injured. Either way more would come after her. Her tears mixed with Liam’s as Evelyn fumbled for her pills.
A Day In The Life of A Desperate Woman
Jennifer sipped her chai tea slowly, listening to her oldest friend talk about the new job she was afraid of applying for. Abigail was afraid of a lot of things. Most of them were abstract concepts like “failure” and “sadness” though some of them were literal like rapists or spiders laying eggs in her ear. Abigail had barely touched her coffee, the cheapest on the menu. Rather she played with her dirty blond hair, as she always did when she was nervous.
“I just want to feel secure, you know?” Abigail said, “I mean, my job now… it’s not bad but it doesn’t pay enough for me to be really independent and I’m exhausted by the end of the day. But if I go for this one, and I get it, what if I’m not good enough? What if they fire me and then I have no job at all. I just got out of my parents house and they’re still paying most of my bills,”
Jennifer sighed. She leaned forward, “Look, Abby, say you apply for this job; what is the actual worst thing that could happen? LIke the worst thing possible?”
Abigail combed her fingers through her hair, thinking. “Just think of the worst thing possible,” Jennifer advised, “and know that whatever it is, you can handle it. If this job doesn’t work out, you’ll get another one. It’ll be hard for a while but you can-“
High above them, a meteor broke through the Earth’s atmosphere, hurtling towards their little coffee shop. Jennifer and Abigail didn’t know about the meteor and the meteor certainly didn’t know about them. The meteor didn’t know about anything. Meteors are rocky or metallic objects that careen through space and aren’t aware of anything that we know of. Sometimes, they crash into the Earth when our atmosphere doesn’t burn them up. Many people believe that a meteor wiped out the dinosaurs though it was actually an asteroid which is like a meteor but much bigger.
Anyway, this meteor did make it through the atmosphere and all the way down to the coffee shop where Jennifer was just about to tell Abigail that she could “handle anything that comes your way,” The meter long rocky object landed on Abigail’s head, crushing her and the table very effectively. Jennifer survived with first degree burns, massive scarring and minor telekinetic powers. She uses them to get the good china down from the high cabinets.
It was not the worst that could happen.
Am I funnier when I’m worried about paying off my student loans?
I was going to write a serious story this week. It was going to be about family and brainwashing and body image and it would make people think about the world in a different light.
Then I read this and… um… my hand slipped?
PS: it’s about 10 times better if you read Obama’s dialogue in his actual voice.
Carman Delgado’s feet ached as she walked through the halls of the Oval Office. Sixteen hours standing and walking with her feet in cased in black Jimmy Choos with two inch heels exhausted her physically but her sanity had taken the worst of the blow. Pushing through the double doors, she found the president alone with his head in his hands.
“Sir?” Carman never wanted so badly to turn in her resignation right then and there. She worked hard to get to where she was, graduated Summa Cum Laude from Harvard’s school of Political Science, put her time in on the campaign trail of senators, congressman and finally the president’s, sacrificed her relationships with family, friends and lovers all to get to where she was today. She never wanted this though, to witness an international cataclysm in her own life time. President Obama looked up, his handsome face tired and aged beyond its years.
“Ms. Delgado,” he nodded to her, “is that what I think it is?”
“I’m afraid so, sir.” She stepped forward, hardly even shaking and handed him the slip of paper. “Congress approved, so did the House.”
“Damn it,” he sighed, scanning the paper with a frown. “Damn it all to hell.”
He stood, squaring his shoulders with determination and resolve. Carmen wondered if she should leave, bring in the generals or the secretary of state or something. President Obama smiled softly at her nervousness. “Would you like to witness history, Ms. Delgado?”
She blinked, “Sir?”
“The law requires a witness. John and Joe headed home a while ago,” he shrugged, “I understand if you’d rather not of course but I’d like to get this over with.”
“Yes, Sir,” she swallowed hard, “I can do it.”
“That’s very good. Thank you, Ms. Delgado.”
Neither of them spoke as he walked to the farthest book case and removed a copy of Stephan Colbert’s I Am America and So Can You. He pressed his thumb into a scanner beneath it and the book case flipped around. Lighting the way with his smartphone, President Obama descended the jagged stone staircase, motioning for Camren to follow.
“Sir?” she asked after a long moment.
“Yes, Ms. Delgado?”
“Where are we going?”
The President sighed, gazing deeply into the fire. “Do you know what was on that paper, Ms. Delgado?”
“I know it was authorization for military action against Iran,” she admitted.
“Not quite military,” he said, “Most people, hell most members of congress, don’t realize we have access to what I’m about to use. If certain factions of the population were made aware of it, I’d never have been elected, let alone served out my second term. When I decided to run, I knew this job would be difficult-”
“You’ve done a great job,” she blurted out, “Especially considering what came before. The Affordable Health Care act saved my sister’s life, I-”
“Thank you, Ms. Delgado, but I wasn’t fishing for compliments,” he chuckled. “I thought, up until a few weeks ago, that that would be my legacy. Then it was confirmed, hard evidence from reliable sources, that Iran intended to use nuclear weapons against us. We did a lot of great things in this administration, things I’m proud to have a part in but this, what you and I are about to do, this will outlive all of our grandchildren, alter the entire fate of the world.”
They stopped at a thick metal door. The President entered a quick key code and leaned forward for a retinal scan. The door beeped and a monotone voice thanked him. Gears whirred as the door lifted to reveal a long narrow hallway ending in a black circle. Carmen followed President Obama inside, jumping when the door shut behind them.
“What’s down there?” she asked.
He swallowed and continued his story, “In the 1960’s, a group of American geologists were investigating strange tremors just outside of San Francisco. At first, they thought they were just run of the mill earth quakes but none of their instruments detected any fault activity. Then they found this:”
He held the torch aloft to reveal the contents of the inner sanctum. In the center of the round, cobblestone chamber was a large glass cage. It reminded Carmen of the tanks at the National Aquarium except, instead of water and depressed fish, it was filled with smoke. At first it seemed pink, then purple and green streaks appeared, followed by red and yellow and all the colors of the rainbow. It seemed to be screaming behind the whirr of machinery and she thought she could make out vague, almost human shapes in the mist but with long, curving fingers and small pointy horns.
“What the hell is that?”
“They didn’t know either,” Obama said, “The geologists, the CIA, everyone was stumped until someone brought in an expert on the paranormal.”
“Paranormal?!” her jam dropped and she stared at him, unable to form anything close to coherent thought.
He turned to face, his hazel eyes desperate, almost pleading. “There’s no easy way to say this. There’s no way to make it believable but it’s true. They’ve confirmed it themselves. Those things in there…they’re Homosexual Demons and they’re controlled by the United States’ Government.”
“What,” Carmen blinked and for a moment saw red, “That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. Gay people aren’t Demons! Mr. President, I’m Bi and I resent being dragged down here for some stupid-”
“I did not say gay people were Demons, Ms. Delgado!” Obama roared. She stepped back but he immediately calmed himself. “I’m sorry but these are Homosexual Demons. Apparently there are all kind of demons, heterosexual, bisexual, asexual, but these ones are Homosexual and they are our greatest weapon.”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
He sighed, staring back into the tank. “These demons- in clinical trials they were able to affect a person’s mind, completely alter their personality. Married men left their wives, became obsessed with theatre and the preforming arts. They were better groomed, took greater care with their money, becoming affluent. Men with military careers, football scholarships, every Clint Eastwood bullshit stereotype suddenly dropped everything for fancy dinners and manicures. Somehow, our scientists managed to harness them, to make the specifically work towards American interests.”
“The Gay Bomb?” Carmen stared.
Obama nodded. “Not the destructive power of the Atom at least, but comparable in that the world has never seen anything like it. In one act, I’ll be confirming the existence of demons and some will see it as proof of their own bigotry. There’s bound to be collateral damage, at the very least families will be ripped apart, personalities rewritten.”
“But no one will die,” she argued, “Speaking from experience, sudden attraction to the same gender isn’t the worst thing that can happen to a person.”
“There’s always collateral damage,” he repeated, “and this isn’t a case of coming out, Ms. Delgado. These creatures embody every random stereotype surrounding people who are homosexual. They’ve never been unleashed on a population even a fraction of the size of Iran. Believe me, I am only doing this because there is no other option.”
He stared at her, seemingly begging for absolution. Carmen nodded, “I know, Sir.”
President Obama nodded and stepped forward to the machine. He placed his hands in two golden manacles and recited something in a language she couldn’t understand. The rainbow mist began to swirl rapidly and the high pitched howling grew louder. The President’s eyes went white and his mouth opened in a silent scream. The colors rushed to the top of the tank and Carmen thought she heard something giggle. Then they disappeared, leaving only the empty glass chamber.
President Obama slumped to the ground, his hands sliding from the manacles. Carmen only just managed to catch him before his head knocked against the stone floor. His breathing was ragged and too thin. She swallowed hard, wondering if she could get him back up the stairs or even if they could leave the chamber.
His eyes fluttered and closed again. “May God have mercy on my soul,”
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