A Novel by Andrew Toomey © 2005
It always starts like this. It is pitch black. I have no idea where I am or how I got here. I don’t know how I know it always starts like this. I only know that I know it.
I don’t know why I know this, but I know what’s next: Pain; lots of pain. It starts behind my eyeballs, just a gnawing little ache really. Then it builds to a little pinprick of light.
That sound in my ears gradually becoming a roar as the light expands like the front of an oncoming train. Soon the sound is a thousand giant Vulcan gods pounding their steel hammers on iron anvils and the light is the sun seven inches from my eyes, burning me away to nothingness and then blackness again; oblivion. Man, I hate that. I think I might be teleporting through some sort of wormhole or time vortex or…something…but I really have no idea.
I open my eyes. Alright, let’s take stock. Am I feeling any pain? A little but I’ve had worse hangovers. Speaking of which, I need a beer. Damn. Where am I? I’m on a bed in a white room with a window and a door. OK, not only where am I, but why am I here and how did I get here? Anything? Nothing at all. Nada. Zip. Fine, I’ll do what I always do in these situations. Bluff. “Hey, great party last night! Anyone seen my car keys? Where the hell am I parked? How do I get to the highway from here?” At least I know that I know how to bluff. That means I’ve done this before. Man, the old memory banks just aren’t working right today. Is this new? I wish I knew but somehow this feeling of resigned aggravation makes me think so, but maybe not. It’s time to check out the view. Swing my legs over the edge of the bed and sit up; so far, so good. Stand up? WHOA! Sit back down. You’re a little unsteady there Eddie. Eddie? Is that my name or what? Whatever, we’ll go with that in the absence of anything else. Maybe someone or something will pop up and provide a hint. Christ! All right, steady now. Hold onto the bed frame and let’s have a look out the window. Uh-oh! Bars! Gray skies, some sort of concrete campus with withered grass…Prison? Could it be a mental institution? Perhaps it’s a Government installation of some sort? Hmm. Am I paranoid or are they really out to get me?
I’m feeling a little steadier now. These pajamas or whatever they are won’t get me far if I try to get out of here. For some reason I’m feeling like getting out of here would be an extremely good idea. I don’t know why but fuck it. I don’t have much to go on except instinct. I need clothes and shoes and a coat from the looks of things. No closet in here. Time to try the door; it’s locked. That doesn’t surprise me. The fact that it doesn’t surprise me worries me a great deal. Oh well. What wild animal likes being caged?
Choices, choices; Try and bust down the door? That doesn’t bode well for getting out either way. The windows are barred and I’m feeling hungry. That makes me think someone will be checking on me soon since I’m not dead of starvation and dehydration. So, clock the first person to poke their head through the door and run for it or try and play along until I can figure out what the fuck is going on? My instinct says choose option one, but from what I can see I won’t get far that way. Better play it safe for now. I can always break out option one later if need be. At least I hope I can. Since I seemingly have nothing better to do perhaps it’s best to rest some more and see what comes.
Click! My senses snap to attention. I must have been sleeping though I can’t remember falling asleep or dreaming. Apparently forgetfulness is my current modus operandi. This is beginning to piss me off but I have bigger fish to fry just now. I have company. I open my eyes a cunt hair as I roll over and moan. I might as well try to get a glimpse of this interloper as I pretend to sleep.
He is tall, dark and handsome. Everything I’m not. Mental note: kill this fucker when you get a chance. “You might as well stop faking Mr. Wheeler. I know you’re awake.” Mr. Wheeler! There’s news. I wonder if it’s my real name. That wonderment makes me think that I must use fake names with some regularity. I do not sense my day is going well. I might as well face it. I sit halfway up, yawn and stretch. His lab coat says ‘Doctor’ to me so I bluff and open with a guess. “Hi, doc” I say, blinking. “I guess you caught me nodding.” “How are we feeling today?” He says. “I feel like slitting your throat and walking nonchalantly out of here.” I think to myself.
“Hi, self!” I wave. We haven’t been getting along so well lately. “Well,” I reply, “I can’t say how WE are feeling and I’ve no idea how YOU are doing but I feel not unlike a yak took a shit in my mouth, I could really use a beer; ten maybe.” Might as well be vulgar and to the point. “Ah.” says he. Helpful fucker! OK, time to make a move. “Look Doc,” I say, “How about a hint? What’s the prognosis?
“Well, that depends.” says he. The forecast calls for partly bloody skies followed by periods of severe pain and begging for mercy. DO NOT fuck with a guy who is CLEARLY in no mood. Never one to miss out on witty repartee I reply “Go on.”
“Tell me what you remember.” He says.
I’m not going to lose it…yet. Count to ten; One, two, three…“Look Doc, not for nothing but I’m not much in the mood for guessing games. Things are kind of fuzzy and I feel like shit. You want to cut to the fucking chase and tell me what the fuck is what, or what? Not exactly Shakespeare but the point is made. I can see by the look on Dickhead…sorry, I mean Doc’s face he’s not sure what to say. This does not instill a huge amount of confidence in me. “Well,” says he, “you were in an…accident.” followed by a big pause. Oh boy. The bullshit meter is pinned. I need to frag this fuck and get the hell out of here before something bad happens. He has two seconds. It’s time to let him know this fact and get some more info, so let’s play along. Mental note: I really should investigate these violent tendencies…later.
“Yeah, and? How about starting from the beginning?” Hey, missing memory notwithstanding, I’m pretty sharp and I think I have a sense of humor. He looks at me with a mixture of fear and uncertainty that makes me think that I might be in even deeper than I’d want to be on my best day and this clearly is not it. His cell phone rings. Saved by the bell; from the look on his face you’d think the pope was calling to say he’d been sainted and was assured a one-way trip to Heaven. What relief! That puts me fully on edge.
If this guy makes it through that door alive it will surely be divine intervention because I’m ready to kill him on instinct alone. This does not bode well for him. I don’t know much but I know I can kill. That worries me a little; just a little. So as I’m sizing him up and getting ready to deliver the throat chop that’s going to send him straight to the floor clutching his shattered windpipe, he says: “That was the director. He wants to meet with you as soon as you’re able.”
“Great,” I say “but what about the accident?” “Well,” says he “I think the director will be better equipped to fill you in on all the details.” The look on his face tells me I’m not getting any more out of him so I offer “How about getting me some clothes then? I don’t think the director wants to meet me with my ass hanging out of this nightgown you’ve got me in.” He says: “From the looks of you I’d say you’re as fit as you’re going to be so I’ll get one of the girls to bring you some suitable clothes.” Then he gets up and walks out utterly oblivious that he was two seconds from a painful death. Life is funny sometimes. I wonder if maybe I might be completely off my rocker. Somehow that feeling is not at all unfamiliar. Can that be good? It’s probably not.
My reverie is cut short by a knock at the door. “Come!” I snap, a bit impatient with my lack of a clue as to what the hell is going on. Something about my personality inclines me not to admit I don’t have an inkling about anything before the last ten minutes or so until I’m a little more sure of where I am and what I’m doing here. The door swings open and the view improves dramatically.
She is blonde (dyed) with blue twinkling eyes and a bright smile. She offers a cheery “Good morning!” in a singsong voice that instantly melts my heart. Even under the nurse uniform I can see she has a body to kill and die for. What is it with me? Kill and die? Do I sense a pattern here or what? She’s carrying some folded clothes and as she bends over to deposit them on the nightstand her skirt rises up her shapely legs and I get a lovely view of them that quickens my pulse considerably. Well there’s ONE muscle that still works! Apparently I haven’t had any action in a while. Or have I? She looks over her shoulder at me still bent over and smiles in a way that lets me know she feels my eyes on her and likes it. “I see you’re feeling better again Mr. Wheeler.” she says. “Damn it!” I think to myself, “I can’t even remember if I know her name! Why don’t these people wear names tags for Christ’s sake?” Out loud I say: “Yes, much better, thank you for asking.” I might as well be polite after that little show. She walks over to where I’m sitting, places her hands on my shoulders, and looks into my eyes questioningly.
I look back like I’ve got nothing to hide because let’s face it I wouldn’t know if I did. She kisses me unexpectedly on the forehead and heads for the door. This day is getting more out of control as it goes along. I’m looking at her bemusedly and she pauses at the door and says with a wicked grin and that twinkle in her eye again “See you later, Tiger.” and she is gone leaving only the scent of her perfume and confusion behind. There’s obviously something there, but what?
OK, time to get dressed and try to get to the bottom of this somehow. I can’t shake the feeling that something, possibly many things are drastically wrong and I’m in really deep shit here but I just can’t remember or pin it down to anything other than a really bad, bad feeling. The clothes are nothing special. Tan slacks, white shirt, cotton socks and non-descript black shoes. I guess I should be grateful it’s not an orange jumpsuit and handcuffs, but at least then I’d know where I stood. I could be on my way to the dance or the gallows in this getup. Still, I feel better being out of those pajamas. If I have to cut and run I feel I’ll get further in these. They fit pretty well and I wonder if they’re mine.
Well, now what? Wait until the dick, I mean doc comes back or poke my head out and look around. I grab the door handle and turn. Locked! The hair on the back of my neck stands up and I break into a light, cold sweat. In case I wasn’t freaked out enough here’s a clear and present reminder that all is not as it seems and all is definitely NOT well. I’m pondering pounding on the door when suddenly it swings open and I have to jump back to avoid being hit in the nose. I inadvertently say “Hi Dick!” He gives me a look. “I mean Doc.” I follow up lamely. I hate it when these things slip out. Ignoring my little faux pas he says briskly “I see you’re dressed. Come with me please.” It is not a question and he spins on his heel, clearly expecting me to follow. Anything to get out of a room that’s locked when I’m in it; I follow on his heels.
He sets a quick pace considering I was unconscious not long ago and I’m getting both annoyed and lost. There are many intersecting corridors all with the same sickly fluorescent lighting, all looking exactly identical with unmarked doors on both sides. As if that weren’t weird enough there’s no one around. It’s dead empty and our shoes echo down the long halls producing an eerie percussive beat that starts my headache up again. Since the rooms aren’t numbered at this point I’m sure I couldn’t get back to the room I was in before if I tried and I feel I usually have a good sense of direction. I’m inwardly cursing again because I seem to have all sorts on intuitive feelings about these things but I still can’t remember a God damned thing before the last seizure or whatever the fuck those weird episodes are. I’m about to break the chilly silence when we turn a corner and come to a large polished steel set of elevator doors.
They slide open quickly with a ‘swish’ and a ‘snick’ and he enters. I hesitate for a second noticing there’s no call button and he chides me. “Hurry up now, the director’s waiting.” I’m thinking again of killing him right there and making a break for it but I haven’t seen anything that looks like an exit and I’m pretty damned sure all these doors are locked by some electronic means since I haven’t seen any keys on anyone.
For all I know there’s some central control system and I’d be stuck waiting for the goons to come and jack me up good or God only knows what. As I get into the elevator I think to my self for what I’m sure is not the last time “The question, unsteady Eddie, is not whether you’re paranoid, but whether you’re paranoid enough.”
The ground drops away beneath my feet leaving my stomach behind as the elevator begins to descend at a considerable pace and the cold sweat returns. I was really hoping we’d be going up. The notion that the ‘director’s office’ is somewhere deep underground in this weird assed God forsaken hole (yes I’m really warming up to it now) does not give me any warmer or fuzzier of a feeling. I glance at the dick but he’s staring straight ahead completely inscrutable. His friendly demeanor is gone further cementing my growing dislike for the guy. Who knows, maybe I’ll get to kill him yet.
The elevator is sterile brushed aluminum inside and is devoid of any buttons or floor indicators. Just when I’m wondering how far down this rabbit hole we’re going to go it slows to a stop and the doors slide open again revealing a huge posh office with an old man at a large fine oak desk strewn with stacks of papers, several phones and assorted detritus. He’s looking through the contents of a think manila folder and I’m about to break the uncomfortable silence with a rude remark when the dick clears his throat and the old man looks up. “Ah, Collins, I see you’ve brought him.” says the old man. “Yes Sir, Mr. Director.” the dick replies; Bloody sycophant. “Very well, Collins, you may go.” Then addressing me he says, “Come in young man.” Wow this is a weird scene. I resist the urge to flip Collins the Dick off as I step through the door and the elevator doors slide shut behind me with what feels like a finality I dislike immensely.
The old man looks at me intently, apparently sizing me up. I take the opportunity to look around the office for exits, weapons, the usual stuff I would look for if I knew whom the fuck I was. Man this is getting old. The floor is a thick red shag carpet. There are several antique chairs around, a large number of bookshelves filled with books, a large flat screen TV and a portrait of the old man looking somewhat younger than he is now. No doors besides the elevator are in evidence. Likewise there are no likely weapons at hand. All in all I’m feeling rather uncomfortable and getting more pissed off by the minute. The irritating silence is broken when the old man says “Well, Mr. Wheeler, I imagine you have many questions for me.” I resist the urge to leap across the room and choke the life out of him mainly because I have no clear idea how I’d get out of here if I did. This is becoming a theme that I’d really like to cease and desist reprising. I decide to play it cool.
“Well sir,” I say, “since you obviously requested my presence why don’t you tell me what I can do for you?” The little pissant, he begins to chuckle softly to himself and I’m starting to feel like an animal being poked with a stick through the bars of its cage.
“Very well,” he says, “you are here because of your prodigious talents in the area of extermination.” “What,” say I “you’ve got a rodent problem?” “Very funny, Mr. Wheeler.” he says. “I mean, of course, the extermination of people.” Well, that explains the urge to strangle everyone I’ve met so far except the blonde.
“Oh, really?” I chuckle.“And supposing I was of a mind to kill someone for you what would be in it for me except a long stretch in a room with two bunks, a toilet and a large black man named Bubba?” “Don’t be ridiculous Mr. Wheeler. You’ve managed to avoid any legal entanglements thus far and I’m confident you can continue to do so for the foreseeable future.” wheezes the old geezer. Then I slipped. “Oh? And how do you know so much about it?” His eyebrows go up and I realize I’ve accidentally given up the fact that I’m not in possession of all the facts at all. “Well, well” says the old man “apparently that last little jolt has scrambled you up a bit! Are we a little foggy on recent events?” Fuck. I bluff. “Not at all, I’m just getting a little annoyed that you seem to think I’m willing to do whatever you ask without question.” He’s not buying. “Come, come, Mr. Wheeler, it is self evident that you aren’t playing with an entirely full hand. Clearly you are out of your depth and possibly out of your mind. What’s more I know why and how this came to be and you, apparently, do not.” Double fuck. OK, new tack. “All right,” I say, “have it your way. How about you stop beating around the fucking bush and tell me what exactly is going on and we’ll see if I buy your line of bullshit. If I do maybe I won’t walk over there and rip your fucking head off and shit down your neck.” His annoying smile rapidly turns into a hearty laugh. “Wonderful! That’s more like it!” he says. “What you don’t seem to recall is that this is not the first time we’ve had this conversation.” Triple fuck. Now what?
“You see, Mr. Wheeler,” he continues “we at the organization that I’m the director of have had our eye on you for quite some time. You’ve had a rather distinguished career as an assassin. Alas, when we tried to recruit you for our little group, for various personal reasons you weren’t interested. In fact we lost a number of very fine operatives trying to secure your co-operation. So, when it became apparent that we could not sway you with our arguments, we were forced to resort to much harsher methods. As a result you were captured and brought here where you, under the care of our finest surgeons, had an implant placed in your brain. Thus we felt you could be convinced to do our bidding whether or not you actually wanted to.” When he stops I can only think of one response; “Bullshit!”
“On the contrary, I fear our little scheme worked entirely too well. The last two times we had this conversation you got the same look in your eye that you have right now and self-preservation forced me to…neutralize… your formidable threat. Apparently the electrical charge being administered to your brain by the implant is having a considerably negative impact on your memory; an unfortunate consequence. If you insist on trying to kill me every time we have this meeting I fear that the damage to your brain, while not fatal, may be permanent.”
It was then I noticed his hand hovering over a small device not unlike one which you’d use to unlock your car. Something in his eye, the complete lack of fear, makes me hesitate and he sees it. “A-ha!” he says “I see you’re coming around to my point of view already” with a smile more at home on a viper. Whoever this fuck is he is going to die and extremely horrible and slow, painful death; him and Dr. Dickhead Collins both. In fact anyone with anything to do with my being here right now is in some serious shit if I can get out of this. OK, it’s time to start.
“All right” I say, stalling for time, “I’m willing to go on a little faith here. You’ve got me for the moment. Who exactly do you want me to kill and why is it so important that I do it as opposed to some schlub who needs a few extra bucks and doesn’t mind the prospect of sharing a cell with Bubba for the rest of his natural life?”
“All in good time Mr. Wheeler, all in good time.” the little rat says with a smile. “We need to make sure that you’re entirely up to the final task. Frankly you seem a little worse for the wear from our last meeting. You’ll be given some time to recuperate and train for your upcoming mission. Please be aware that you’ll be under audio and video surveillance at all times. Attempts to kill or maim members of my staff in an effort to escape will be treated most harshly. This handheld unit is not the only transmitter for your implant and I’d hate to have to fry your brain anymore than has already been necessary.”
I’m really starting to hate this prick in earnest. I’m working on a sufficiently withering response when the doors to the elevator suddenly whisk open and there is the beautiful blonde nurse from earlier. “Ms. Ross, please show Mr. Wheeler to his new quarters and make sure he’s comfortable. We’ll chat again soon Mr. Wheeler. Welcome to our little family. Good day.”
She smiles that knowing smile at me and replies “Yes, sir. Come along Mr. Wheeler. I’ll show you to your room.” I can’t get away from this ‘director’ fast enough. I don’t really buy all this bullshit but I still can’t think of a good way to get out of here after killing him and besides, his complete confidence leaves me thinking that whatever that little box is might certainly fuck me up even if it isn’t wired to my brain. I still remember that nasty seizure, whatever it was, and in any case it is clearly going to take a little while to figure this all out and get out of here so for now it’s best to play along. Besides maybe I’ll have better luck with the blonde.
The doors whisk closed as I step into the elevator and regard Ms. Ross again. Knowing her name is a step in the right direction but I have the distinct feeling that I should really remember her first name. I sense from the sly smile playing on her lips that I had been screaming it not long ago and with any luck I might be doing so again soon if I can just remember it. OK, time to go out on the limb; “I’m sorry I missed the chance to say so before Ms. Ross, but you’re looking exceptionally lovely today.”
“Ha!” she laughs. “You drunken honey dripper, you. I thought I told you to call me Karin?” God sometimes it’s so easy. “Now Karin,” I reply, “You know I’m not drunk now and if I was then it was only on your beauty.” “Ha!!” she says again, more forcefully “Right! It couldn’t have been all that Grey Goose vodka you were slamming like there was no tomorrow.” I sense she knows me too well already. “OK, OK, I concede the point. I was merely trying to be nice.” I say. Her expression softens. “I know. She says quietly. I am waiting for something more when the doors slide open again and she steps out.
Time for another shock; the room is huge and beautiful. Big windows overlooking a vast forest in every direction take my breath away. I think, “Fuck! We must be miles from anything! Shit, I don’t even know what country we’re in.” Out loud I say “Man! This has been one king hell fuck of a weird day.” Karin asks, “Will you play for me a little bit? Please?” I look at her in surprise wondering what the hell she’s talking about when I see she’s standing next to a grand piano. The look on her face tells me she’s heard me play before and she thinks I’m good. This is not good. My memory is gone. I mean GONE in capital letters. I start to protest that I’m not really feeling up to it but I can see right away she’s having none of that. Some nurse! Nice bedside manner. “OK” I say hesitantly ‘but don’t blame me if it sounds like crap.” I sit down at the keyboard and think “Muscle memory, don’t fail me now.” I begin hitting a few notes here and there trying for anything that will bring this thing to the surface. It’s tuned perfectly (I guess I must know that) and it sounds amazing; loud, clear and gorgeous. I’m losing myself in the pure sound of it forgetting that I have no idea what I’m doing. I close my eyes and listen.
Apparently my hands haven’t forgotten because though it sounds strange, almost otherworldly, I’m playing something and it sounds good. God only knows how. I’m getting into a groove now, apparently just improvising. Low rumbling gradually growing louder and higher contrasted with gentle higher passages. It’s just flowing out of me and I’m thinking about sex as I play. The same thing, stroking the instrument, bringing the tension closer to resolution, harmonizing these natural sounds and feeling, closer and closer to some sort of grand climax as if I’m pushing the piano towards an inexorable musical orgasm; louder, faster, deeper, and further in until I reach a flailing crescendo. Then, as suddenly as I began, it’s over. I’m drenched in sweat. How long have I been playing? Five minutes? An hour? I have no clue. I open my eyes and look up at Karin.
She’s mesmerized. Our eyes meet and she is on me like a tiger on a lamb, tearing at my clothes and sticking her tongue down my throat. Hey, who am I to argue? I respond in kind and soon we are naked and fucking every which way on the floor by the piano. She is coming as I thrust harder and harder into her feeling totally in control as I ride her orgasm out. Finally I pull out and stand up, bidding her to finish me. She is immediately on her knees taking me in her mouth and expertly bringing me over the edge alternately pulling my jizz out onto her tits and into her mouth, moaning the whole time. Finally we collapse into a little cuddling puddle on the comfortable carpet. I pull a blanket off the couch over us and hold her in my arms. I am fully aware that she may well be the enemy, but what the hell? Even the enemy gets horny once in a while and I surely needed a bit of release after today’s events.
“You’ll be under constant audio and video surveillance,” he said. I’m tempted to yell out “So did you like that? You soul-less fuck!” but somehow that doesn’t seem like a good idea. I’d like to fuck Karin again before this is all over; at least once more, always once more. More than that I’m tempted to ask her how she plays into all this. Surely she knows what the fuck is going on around here. I mean, she appears to work here; she’s got to know what’s up, right? Except that I don’t want to believe that because that makes the woman I just fucked the shit out of complicit in my incarceration.
What’s more she might be more useful to me thinking I’ve come around to the idea of joining this little ‘club’ than if she knows I’m going to kill every single member I can find as soon as I get a chance. That’s especially true if she finds out that includes her, assuming she’s involved somehow. I hate to admit it but I don’t want her to be. She’s a great fuck. It’d be a king hell bitch of a shame to have to slit her fuckin’ throat too. Oh well. I don’t give a fuck Time will tell.
My murderous reverie is interrupted when Karin stirs and says “God, baby, that was even better than last time. You get me so FUCKING hot when you play like that.” I sigh. “Yeah, love, that was fabulous.” Fuck it; might as well stroke her. She sits up and looks more closely at me, probing me with her eyes. I look away, out the window. “Eddie” she says, “How much do you remember?” Uh-oh! Here it is. The squeeze play; tie game, last out of the inning, two outs, two men on and two men out. Here’s the pitch, the play at the plate…fuck it I hate baseball. “What do I remember about what?” I ask, all innocent. Now it’s her turn to look away. After a long silence she says, “Dr. Collins said you might sustain some memory loss from the treatments.” “Go on” I say.
“He also said you might be subject to hallucinations.” She offers. Oh great, you know, just when things were starting to look up… “Look,” I say “I’m the same old me. I’m a little worse for wear perhaps, but what the fuck? You saw me play…” Man am I fucking bluffing now. I see your pile of bullshit and raise you a cow. Thank God she seems satisfied with this but I want to keep her talking. “Why don’t you tell me a little of what you remember?” I ask. I see the barest hint of fear in her eyes…and her phone beeps. “Ms. Ross?” Fuck. It’s the director.
She grabs the phone and puts it to her ear. “Yes, sir?” she says. After a pause she says, “Right away, sir.” and quickly begins dressing. “Whoa, whoa, whoa,” I say “Where are you going?” “I’m sorry Eddie” she says, “I have to go back to work.” I stumble and fumble around but since underwear is not her style she’s ready before I can even get up and get a blanket around me. That’s pretty funny considering I’m pretty sure this asshole director just watched me plow this girl like a fallow field but feeling his eyes on me is creeping me out. The elevator doors slide open and she steps in. “Wait!” I say. She leans out of the elevator doors and kisses me once more. “I’m sorry Eddie,” she says and before I can muster a reply she’s stepped back in and the doors slide shut. “Damn it!” I curse and punch those fucking doors. Mental note: if I have to give that motherfucker a blood transfusion, he’s going to beg me for death for a long time before I’m done making him pay for this shit. Once again I’m trapped in this fucking place. "At least the view has improved." I think to myself as I stare off out the window into the mist-shrouded treetops.
I start to look around this fabulous penthouse apartment and I find what I’m looking for, the fridge. I was halfway expecting room service but since there’s no fucking phone and no apparent way out of here I’m glad there’s something to eat. The kitchen is stocked with tons of food and alcohol, all of which appear to be my favorites since there’s nothing that seems distasteful. I dine on some lovely grape leaves and hummus while I heat up some leftover pasta in the microwave oven.
All of this re-enforces the notion that I’ve been here for a while in spite of the fact that I can’t remember yesterday. I wonder to myself why I didn’t play along earlier. Everything seems pretty God damned good around here considering I’m a prisoner. I can pretty easily face the fact that I’m something of a whore so I can’t quite figure out why I wouldn’t just kill whoever they want me to kill and call it done. Who can it be, my mother? The President? The Queen? Damn it! I hate not knowing what it is!
Well, when the going gets rough, the tough go drinking. I pull an ice-cold bottle of Grey Goose vodka from the freezer and pour myself a generous shot. It goes down smooth. A few ice cubes in a rocks glass and a few more fingers of vodka and I pull up a chair to the window to watch night fall under the watchful eyes of Director Fuckface and Doctor Dickhead. They are SO going to die. And what about Karin? I continue working through the bottle and my own thoughts, trying to drag up any memory at all as the stars come out and I begin to fade away. It’s been on king hell fuck of a day. I sleep.
It always starts like this. It is pitch black. I have no idea where I am or how I got here. I have no idea how I know it always starts like this. I only know that I know it.
I don’t know why I know this, but I know what’s next: Pain; lots of pain. It starts behind my eyeballs, just a gnawing little ache really. Then it builds to a little pinprick of light.
That sound in my ears gradually becoming a roar as the light expands like the supernova of a star being born. Soon the sound is a thousand giant volcanoes spitting out boulders and liquid iron onto an unsuspecting landscape and the light like an arc welder without a mask seven inches from my eyes, burning me away to nothingness and then blackness again; oblivion. Man, I hate that. I think I might teleporting through some sort of wormhole or time traveling or…some thing…but I really have no idea.
I open my eyes. OK, let’s take stock. Any pain? A little but I’ve had worse hangovers. Speaking of which, I need a glass of mead; maybe ten. Damn!
OK, where am I? I look around. I’m in the forest. A forest anyway; which forest it is, that’s anyone’s guess. I’ve not much to go on here.
I’m wrapped in some sort of cloak. I guess I should be grateful I’m not naked. These clothes aren’t exactly kingly robes but my poor leather breeches, woolen shirt and thick black cotton cloak will have to do for now. At least I’m shod. These leather boots are comfortable at all events. There are the smoldering remains of a fire that I stoke up a bit to get warm. It’s not really cold per se but the dew and the morning chill are still upon me. I’m kind of hungry but I see no provisions, nor water about. I’m really starting to wonder what on earth is going on. For the life of me I can’t remember yesterday. In fact, come to that, I can’t remember fuck all at all. What’s my name? Where am I from and whither bound?
I’ve naught but the clothes on my back and less of a clue what I’m about. It could be plenty a mile between anything and me and I’m starting to get a bit worried when a scream rings out like a shot. ‘Tis sure a woman’s scream and surer trouble there never was. Nevertheless, being the man that I am and seeing as I’ve no better prospects anyway I might as well go investigate.
As I run toward the sound on the screaming I think to myself “What on earth will I do if I get there and a wild boar is attacking her? Tell it to bugger off?” I pause to grab a hefty piece of deadwood to use as a club if it comes to that. If it’s a band a brigands having at her, well, perhaps I’ll ask to join in the fun. One has to keep one’s options open you know. One can’t be too chivalrous in the face of instant death. Or can one?
I jog into the clearing ahead and I stop, stunned by the tableau unfolding before me. A naked woman is tied to a single post in the center of the clearing. I can now make out her cries and she is cursing God and man alike. Her language would make an Arcadian sailor blush. There is no one else around and I’m thinking that I hope no one else is in earshot because here’s a gang bang in the making and no mistake.
As I cautiously approach she momentarily ceases her laments and eyes me with utter horror. “Miss!” say I in a fearful whisper “Cease your cries lest you bring someone of fouler intent than I to these proceedings! Rather let me cut you loose at once and let us away!” “Leave off you dog!” She cries at me “I know your mind!” and she spits at me as I approach. “Madam,” say I “you mistake me completely. Keep still while I free you from this predicament.” I move around behind her post and begin to work at her bonds. The knots are tightly tied but not well fashioned. If you don’t know how to tie a knot tie a lot seems to be her captor’s credo. When the knots are undone she immediately attempts to flee, falling down and crawling away at a frantic pace. “Peace woman!” I cry and catch her foot. She is as a tiger, clawing and scratching and biting at me ferociously. “Be still!” I cry, holding her down. “I cannot free you from your binding if you attack me so! Wait but a moment and you shall be free and if you’ve no desire for my company thereafter you shall be rid of it instanter, only bide a while whilst I cut you loose!” Thereupon she relents and I am able to cut the ropes about her hands and feet with the knife from my belt. I throw my cloak around her as she rubs her wrists and eyes me suspiciously. “Now,” say I “I’d love to have a cup of tea and chat about how you got out here in this awful state, but I’d just as soon be gone and preferably in the other direction from those as left you here like this.”
My entreaty is answered by silence. Typical woman. When you want quiet there’s no fucking peace to be had, but ask for a little conversation…sheesh. “Well, woman, which way did they go at least?” With that she gets up and dashes away toward the clearing’s edge. In my cloak! I’m a bit stunned, flummoxed even. Not even a thank you! “Wench!” I say to myself as I get up and go after her. “You’ll get naught but trouble from her and no mistake.” I think to myself. Damn! “Wait!” I yell after her.
In retrospect this was a mistake for, as I cautioned her earlier, I inadvertently attracted some unwanted attention. Just as she broke into the tree line a large bear like man stepped out from behind a tree with his arms outstretched. She ran straight into him for looking back at me. At first I thought she knew him by the way she clutched him but then I saw that she was simply so surprised she didn’t know what to do. As she began to struggle he exclaimed: “Be still there! Or I’ll belt you into next week!” His earnest tone evidently convinced her as she ceased her struggling immediately. Humph! She could have done as well for me when I was trying to free her, but no. I hailed the brute. “Here now my good man! Unhand the lovely wench there as ‘twas I who saw her first and I who freed her from her so recent captivity!” If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance baffle them with bullshit I always say. “Faugh!” said he “I seen her first!” “A man of letters evidently!” I thought, while trying figure out how to turn this situation about. Not an hour ago I awoke completely ignorant of my own whereabouts and how I came to be there, my own name even! Yet here I was about to square off with a brute twice my size over a woman I’d just cut down from a tree who couldn’t even be bothered to thank me, but ran off instead with my cloak straight into a man who as like as not was about to crack my head open like a coconut. Perhaps I should go back whence I came, go back to sleep and start this entire day over again. “Very well then.” say I, “Have her; only give me back my cloak. She’s only just stolen it from me moments ago and I want it back. Besides as like as not she’ll not be needing it soon with you.”
I watch this play about behind the big black confused eyes under his bushy black eyebrows when suddenly there is a whooshing sound followed by a THWACK! His big black confused eyes get even wider and he drops the girl who wastes no time running off with my cloak. I admit to a bit of surprise as the big brute slowly topples forward like an oak tree and lands with a resounding thud, the cloth yard shaft of an a black arrow protruding from his back. Once again I get the sense of being in WAY over my poor head and I take off after the girl like a hare on a hound. I’m contemplating skinning her like a hare as arrows thud into the trees around us when I hear a building roar. I’m just wondering what it is when I break through the tree line stumble over the edge of a particularly large cliff. Below me is a large river which I have far too much time to contemplate as I fall towards it. So much so that I’m wondering if the girl with my cloak…SPLASH!
DAMN! That water is COLD! I’m splashing and thrashing about trying to keep my head above water and bouncing off the occasional rock. Just now the river widens out and I see a head bobbing in front of me. Presumably it’s that of the girl who so recently made off with my cloak. Now I rather wish I had let her have it and been on my merry way in the entirely other direction. I’m about to yell to her when I hear her scream. It’s a rather high-pitched scream, which falls away in pitch and volume. I have about one second to ponder what this means before it dawns on me that I’m about to make this self same sound as I go over the falls she just went over. And here we GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Spa-LASH!!!!!! I come up a few seconds later spluttering when I’m face to face with the girl. Of necessity we cling together, too busy trying to stay afloat and breathing. Ahead I see a tree leaning out over the water some of whose branches stick down into the water. Taking what I hope is a firm grip on the girl’s hand I reach up as we pass under the nearest branch and miraculously manage to catch it. “Hold on!” I shout at her and she clings around my neck chocking me as I hand over hand my way closer to shore. Our feet finally touch ground as we claw and scramble out way up the rocky bank collapsing on the shore panting fiercely. To my complete surprise she has somehow managed to retain my cloak, apparently having tied it around her as she fled. Soaking wet it lies on her lovely naked form in a way that only a man can find enticing after a long cold hard swim.
As our breathing slowly returns to normal I prop myself up on one elbow and say in the most measured tone I can manage ”Well, that’s two times in as many hours that I’ve saved your neck and still I’ve had no thanks and not even a proper introduction. I’m feeling much put upon Miss and I was having none too good a day myself before we met as it was. Now, how about a little courtesy, at least for form’s sake?”
She regards me evenly, evidently weathering my rebuke without much concern and then with a sigh much to heavy for her apparent years she replies “My apologies Sir. I beg you forgive my rude demeanor and the theft of your cloak but as things stand I’m completely at the end of my rope. A thousand pardons.” Her disarming honesty took me by surprise and being off guard I immediately respond, “Think nothing of it. In point of fact I was wandering lost when I heard your cries and everything since then has been a comedy of errors all around. I beg your forgiveness for my brash words just now. The cold water evidently got the better of me. I am…”
Oh dear lord I don’t know who I am. Think fast you churlish knave. “…I am Sir Edward.” Well God only knows where that came from but surely it’s far too long a story to explain my sudden loss of memory. For all I know I am indeed Sir Edward. Indeed, that is the name that came to me. Perhaps I am. She looks doubtful, almost amused. Perhaps my dubious wardrobe betrays me but, for a change she is too polite to refute me. “Well met Sir Edward,” says she” I am the Lady Brenda of Waltham. “Well met indeed,” say I “present circumstances notwithstanding. Now that we are seemingly free of our respective bounds whither hence?” At this she looks at the ground sadly and after a long moment says softly “I know not.” I think I catch a hint of a tear in her eye. I ponder this for a moment and decide, no doubt foolishly that I might as well lay my cards on the table since she at least knows who she is and where she’s from, whereas I know no such thing.” Lady Brenda,” I say “let me speak plainly, if I may.” She looks up at me and I try to hold her clear keen gaze but my heart skips a beat and my blood gets the better of me. I blush and it is my turn to look down. “Not an hour before I freed you madam, I awoke to a great puzzlement. I fear I have lost my way in more ways than one, for I cannot recall how I came to be in this forest, nor whence I came or wither going. It is troubling me greatly though I haven’t had much time at all to think on’t, for I have been busy with such matters as cutting you down, rescuing you from a brute and chasing you through this mighty river. Were you to up and leave me just now I haven’t the vaguest idea where I would go, nor what I would do. In fact I’ve no idea even which direction to take were I to see the sun. I realize this sounds somewhat far fetched and believe me when I tell you I scarce believe it myself. Nevertheless, that is the plain bare unvarnished truth of it. Even my own name, which I’ve just given you, is only a guess for in sooth I truly know not.”
She looks at me all earnestness and seriousness…and then bursts out laughing.
“Bollocks! She exclaims. “If you wish to have a joke at my expense Sir, please choose another time, for I’m surely in no mood for foolish games!” “Alas, I speak sooth madam.” I say “’Tis no joke, much to my dismay. At all events I’ve nowhere to go and no notion of where to go even if I would. Therefore I propose to accompany and hopefully protect you on the way to where ever it is you will and thereby hopefully find a clue to mine own destiny. Surely you’ve naught to lose in such a bargain as I am asking for naught but your company?” se looks long and hard at me and just when I’m sure she’ll tell me what end of the horse she considers me and what end of town to get off on she replies “Very well. So be it. You may have your game for now.” Finally, a break! Or so I think; for all I know half the kingdom’s out to put her head on a pike and mine with it. But alas, a man’s heart is always firmer than hi head for better or worse and even wet, cold and miserable she’s far easier on the eyes than…well that it would be without her. Enough said.
“Lady” I say “Let first things be prime. You look fair chilled to the bone and nightfall will soon be upon us. I should think a fire and some food might be in order and I would still very much like to hear the tale of how you came to be…entrapped, as it were…and perhaps discuss whither we shall go upon the morrow. What say you?”
“Those sound like fine ideas” quoth she, “but how do you propose to manage any of them, being yourself soaking wet and seemingly unarmed excepting with the self same knife you cut me loose with?” Said I “If your ladyship will but bide a wee while I hope to undertake and procure both such items just now.” With that I set about gathering a bit of dry brush and, bidding her do the same, we soon had a sizeable pile to work with. My memory’s shortcomings notwithstanding I recalled that a certain type of stone, when struck with steel the like of which my knife was made of, would produce a spark sufficient to start a fire were the tinder not too wet and the wind not too strong. In short order I had found such a stone and struck up a decent blaze. In spite of the danger of bringing our unknown enemies upon us, I felt the fire would serve to keep the beasts away for the time being and provide me with a better weapon than my knife should the need arise. Lady Brenda looked somewhat surprised, impressed even, but held her tongue as she armed herself be the fire. I was pondering bidding her “You’re welcome” to her unspoken thanks, but thought the better of it since we might be companions for an unknown amount of time and starting off in this way might be disadvantageous..
Having secured the fire I turned my attention to acquiring some foodstuffs. During our swim I had noticed an abundance of fish and after sharpening a long stick I spear several from the stream. I prep them as best I may and with some herb I gather locally we have a not unpleasant repast. As I bank the fire for the evening I am thinking that perhaps we ought to retire to the trees when Lady Brenda speaks up, startling me out of my reveries. ”Sir Edward,” says she “if that is indeed your name; I wish to thank you again. For indeed you have saved me from certain doom at least thrice today and, so doing have also provided me with food and a hope I have not had in a very long time indeed. I thank you.” I stare at her in awe. Her beauty shines against the full moon and I am struck by it like a stick. “You’re welcome.” I stammer. “Since I am in your debt,” she continued, “I’m going to go on a little faith here and tell you what’s going on. That is to say, why I was tied naked in the wood where you found me.” “I’m all ears.” I reply.
“I am a Queen,” she explains, with a look expecting a laugh from me. “Well,” say I “you laughed in my face when I told you the truth but, as you are so forthcoming, I can go on a little faith too.” “My enemy the duke of Oyell,” she went on “wanted to disgrace me, and so his men attacked my carriage on the Queen’s highway. My men were slaughtered and I was left tied to that post so the brigands that roam that road, the same ones that were trying to kill us before our little swim, could all have their way with me. I thought you were one of those, hence my chilly reception at our first meeting. A queen in this land must be a virgin, unless she marries, and so it would soon be common knowledge that anyone who happened by had violated the queen. Oyell could then claim the throne since he’s the most powerful noble. Fortunately for me you happened along. If we manage to get back to the court I will have him declared a traitor to the throne and executed in the nastiest way I can think of. I’m still working on that. Meanwhile, my continued reign and my revenge now seem to rest upon your abilities as a woodsman and knight. If you indeed deliver me I shall be most grateful and your reward shall be substantial indeed.”
OK, I’m as credulous of a beautiful woman as the next guy, but what to make of this? My crappy day has turned into a ridiculous night and I’m still no further along in my quest to who-knows-the-fuck what. “Madam,” say I “I confess you have the better of me and I know not what to make of this just yet. However I appreciate your candor and accept your explanation as, if nothing else, it is no better than my own for being in the woods alone, unarmed and completely unprepared.” This elicits a laugh from her that I’m happy to hear. In my mind I must admit I’ve been entertaining notions of relieving the virgin Queen of her unnecessary burdens by way of a good hard fuck but I figure if she’s telling the truth I might make out better doing it her way. Besides, plenty of time to play the cad should I change my mind later on. In the meantime maybe I can figure some things out. “Which way,” I ask, “is the direction of the seat of your kingdom and what might be the best road thence?” “Oh dear,” says she “I was really hoping you’d have an idea. You see, after I was captured I was blindfolded and brought hence. I really don’t know the way to the road and even if I did I expect we’d be beset and put upon by robbers or worse ere we went three steps upon it.” My turn to curse; “Damn!”
“All right your Majesty,” I began, but she interrupted “Please call me Brenda, at least when we are alone.” I raise an eyebrow at this but I acquiesce. “Brenda it shall be then. Now, to the point, what know you of the geography hereabouts?” Her blank stare leads me to inwardly curse the sense of direction God didn’t give to Eve. “That is to say surely you’ve seen a map showing a large river such as this running through your kingdom?” Her eyes light up. “Why yes, now that you mention it!’ says she “This must be the Withywhistle, for there’s only one large river in this area and thus we must have just gone over Skye Falls! You are sharp indeed Sir Edward!” “Just so,” I continue, “Be your castle above or below those falls?” I cross my fingers and she thinks on this and then says “Well, I’m not much for such things but I would guess that the falls are above my castle for we use barges to ship produce and such down river and those falls would not forgive such traffic.” I breathe a sigh of relief. It’s good to know that the Queen, if such she is, at least knows the business of her King…er...Queendom. “Excellent!” I say. “Surely if we follow along the river we shall come to your demesnes after a fashion and in so doing avoid the road and the brigands thereupon. I hope you agree for I’ve no better plan. What say you?” She gives me a look I can’t quite place though I’ve seen it on a woman’s face before I feel sure. “Yes, Sir Edward, I think that is an excellent plan.”
“Now for the bad news” say I, “I realize you’ve been through quite an ordeal today but I think we should start right away. We’ve eaten and warmed and dried ourselves by the fire. Now that I know a bit more about the state of affairs I think we should move on lest the fire attract the very people we hope to avoid. What’s more the closer we are to your safety the better we both shall feel and the sooner the better I should think. I’m still not properly armed. I can hold my own against most any man but I’m not prepared to defend you from a group of determined attackers.” To my considerable relief she sees the wisdom of this. I give her my over shirt to use in conjunction with my cloak as a more suitable garment to avoid the natural cuts and scratches one acquires while traveling through the brush and she accepts this graciously. I turn away so she can change in an effort to make her feel more dignified considering recent events. Nevertheless my baser instincts get the better of me and I can’t resist a lingering sidelong glance as she doffs the robe and wiggles into my long white cotton shirt. I hadn’t really stopped to notice before but she is quite shapely and attractive indeed and my mind once again wanders into carnal territory. So intent am I on these thoughts that I suddenly realize I am completely caught out in my gawking. I blush and stammer ‘A thousand pardons Miss Brenda. I…I couldn’t help myself…that is I…” “Enough Sir Edward!” she says forcefully. Then more softly “Let us away.” I go to extinguish the fire when I hear a resounding thud and my head explodes in pain. The stars come out as I hit the ground and as I slowly fade from consciousness I notice how odd the fire looks, seeming vertical from the vantage point of the ground. Then: blackness.
It always starts like this. It is pitch black. I have no idea where I am or how I got here. I have no idea how I know it always starts like this. I only know that I know it.
I don’t know why I know this, but I know what’s next: Pain; lots of pain. It starts behind my eyeballs, just a gnawing little ache really. Then it builds to a little pinprick of light.
That sound in my ears gradually becoming a roar as the light expands like the front of an oncoming train. Soon the sound is a thousand giant Vulcan gods pounding their steel hammers on iron anvils and the light is the sun seven inches from my eyes, burning me away to nothingness and then blackness again; oblivion. Man, I hate that. I think I might teleporting through some wormhole or time traveling or…some thing…but I really have no idea.
I open my eyes. OK, let’s take stock. Any pain? A little but I’ve had worse hangovers. Speaking of which, I need a beer. Damn. OK, where am I? I’m lying on some sort of table in a room with plastic looking walls, various cabinets, and equipment I don’t recognize. I seem to be hooked up to some sort of machine monitoring my vital signs. A hospital then? Some sort of doctor’s office maybe? This is not a good sign. I go to move and discover I’m restrained. Uh-oh!. VERY bad sign! I struggle a bit but to no avail. I can’t even see of really feel the restraints per se, I simply cannot move when I try. Other than batting my eyelashes I’m stuck. I open my mouth to yell out for someone, “Aay! Et Eee ooo uh eee.” Double uh-oh. There are tubes in my mouth. This is SO not good. Somebody somewhere is going to be punished for this. Now what? I’m looking around but I can only really see by moving my eyes. The head is not turning side to side as I’m willing it to. I can tell my heart rate has gone up by the increased speed of the beeping vital signs monitor. I’m also dimly aware of a low-pitched humming sound that I initially thought was a hangover. Now I realize it’s either some sort of really big power supply nearby or I’m imagining it. Not a comforting thought.
Suddenly a door I hadn’t seen opens and a strange looking device, for lack of a better word, enters the room. It looks like an aluminum trashcan with multiple appendages sticking out in every direction. It hovers about eighteen inches off the floor and looks for all the world like a torture device. I know better than to try and vocalize so I stare in mute abject terror as it comes closer. Several of its arms snake out and begin to adjust the various tubes sticking out of me when its “head” rotates to one side apparently examining the bank of meters and screens to my right. Then it addresses me in a metallic monotone drone. “Captain Wheeler,” it intones “I see you are awake. How are you feeling?” I can’t help myself. “Et ees ucking ings oot uh nuh ouf!!!” I shout through the tubes. “I’m sorry Captain, wait just one moment.” it drones as several other appendages snake out and begin removing the tubes and such from my nose and throat, while its other arms adjust various dials which, from the sensation are delivering some sort of numbing agent. My mouth and throat fill with the feeling of cotton balls. I am not a fan of this metal monstrosity. I hope I can soon bash it to pieces with a nearby fire extinguisher. “Let me hydrate your larynx and you should find I easier to speak.” Says doctor-bot. A water bottle looking thing extends from the bed and moves the straw towards my mouth. My desire to curse is overwhelmed by my thirst and I suck the clear fluid for a good minute. I have to admit it feels good and my feelings of terror and hatred for these machines abates to a small degree. Then it hits me like an asteroid. Captain Wheeler? Is that my name? Holy shit? Captain? Captain of what? Oh fuck! This isn’t bad enough already I’m hooked up to machines in a place I don’t recognize, I don’t know who I am!
Fuck. I’m normally not one to admit a weakness nor am I inclined to trust a machine but in these circumstances I think I’ll venture a hopefully harmless question. “How long have I been out?” The machine, amid the beeps and chirps of the equipment in the room says in the mechanical voice I’m already quite tired of says: “ Fourteen days, three hours and forty minutes, Captain. You sustained some internal injuries during our last engagement and it was necessary to sedate you while we repaired the damage.” OK, that’s something. Now what? “Who’s in charge now?” I ask, fully aware I have no idea just what I’m supposed to be in charge of. “Lieutenant O’Neil Captain. He assumed command when you lost consciousness on the bridge, Sir.” it replies. I keep waiting for a bell to ring in my head, any inkling at all of what’s happening. Nothing. Total blank. I’m feeling extremely sick of this feeling already and I’ve only been awake for about five minutes. “Get him in here right now.” I order the machine. Fuck it, I’m the Captain I might as well start giving the orders. “I’m afraid that won’t be possible Captain, he’s needed on the bridge.” The soul-less beastie replies. “Bullshit,” I respond. I put him in charge when I knew I couldn’t do my job. I’m awake now and that means I’m in command. Surely you can communicate with the bridge from here. I want a status report and right fucking now.” I have no idea what’s going on but if horseshit is required I can dish it out in heaping helpings. “Captain,” says the floating trashcan “as your physician I’m sure you realize that while you are under my care I am the final authority on what you can and cannot do. I’m not sure you are ready to resume your duties in your current state. Furthermore I’m not sure you’re ready for a status report on our current condition.”
Uh-oh. Code red. OK, it’s calling my bluff. We tried vinegar; break out the honey. “You’re quite right,” I respond evenly. “Nevertheless I’m sure YOU realize it’s your duty to inform the lieutenant that I’m conscious and requesting a status report.” It hesitates a moment while computing that and I’m sure that means I’ll get my way. Fucking box of bolts! “Very well Captain. Infirmary to bridge: Medi-bot here.“ Go ahead Medi-bot.” Says a disembodied voice from somewhere. “Captain Wheeler is conscious Sir. He’s asking for a status report. Can you come to the infirmary please?” “Very well Medi-bot, I’ll be down as soon as I can. Mr. Dore, you have the com. O’Neil out.”
“Thank you Medi-bot.” I say. “I’ll be sure to recommend a promotion when you come up for review.” “Medical ‘droids don’t get performance reviews Captain.” the bitchy beast informs me matter-of-factly. “Um…yes...I know.” I reply lamely. “I was making a joke. I don’t know why I thought you’d get it.” The robot continues to examine me, and the machines monitoring my progress. I’m no expert at a mechanics but it doesn’t seem happy. I try again. “Speaking of status reports, what is my current prognosis robot?” “Severe internal injuries and head trauma.” replies the bot. “You are recovering but your recovery to one hundred percent capacity will take an as yet unknown amount of time. You’ve had a very rough patch Sir.” I almost think the thing likes me! OK, let’s play on its sympathies and try to get off this table and into some proper clothes. “Medi-bot, I’d like to use the bathroom under my own power if you don’t mind. How about cutting me loose so I can take a crap?” Hey, it’s worth a shot. I hate being bound down and hounded and I’ll feel a lot better on my own two feet. “I’m not sure that’s wise Captain.” replies ol’ buck O’ Bolts. “Look” I say ‘even I know a patient’s state of mind is crucial to his health and my state of mind will be vastly improved by getting off the table and taking a shit. How about it?” Kind of gives a new meaning to the expression ‘you don’t know shit.’ The bot pauses again, a sure sign I’ve gotten through. “Very well Captain.” It says and manipulates some levers on the bed. I feel the invisible restrains release and fairly jump up from the bed. A mistake; I hit the floor and am promptly face down upon it. Apparently my legs aren’t quite up to the task of holding me up after two weeks and change of being flat on my back. “Captain!” the machine exclaims hovering over to me. “I’m fine, I’m fine!” I say, desperately trying to clamber to me feet. It’s not going well. “Just point me to the shitter. I’ll crawl there if I have to. ”Suddenly I’m hovering above the floor; a disconcerting experience to say the least. ”Captain if you’re going to be difficult I’ll put you back on the bed and sedate you.” Says Medi-fuck. Mental note: turn this hunk of junk into an ashtray as soon as I’m back in command.
“Sorry, sorry, no need for that.” I reply. “I guess a little help is in order.” Apparently he’s using some sort of gravity field to control my movements; must learn to disable or over ride that. “If you could set my on my feet and sort of guide me to the bathroom I’d be very grateful indeed.” Fucking machine. With that it guides me to a side room with the required facilities and I do my business while contemplating my next move. If this thing figures out I’m not all there I could be strapped to that fucking bed until hell freezes over. That’s not happening if I can possibly prevent it. As Captain or whatever the fuck this is I imagine I have a considerable amount of leeway. As long as that pile of tin says I’m fit I should be more or less in the clear until I can get my bearings. I’m going to assume that whatever trauma messed up my head I’ll eventually get back most if not all of what I lost. If not I‘m going to have to rely on my ability to sling the hash or they’re going to catch me, and who knows what then? I’d just as soon not take my chances with the medical establishment, especially one I know nothing about; call it a hunch.
My business done and hands and face washed I’m feeling better already when I catch a glimpse in the mirror. Egad! I look terrible! My eyes are sunken and deep dark blue circles ring them. For someone who’s been unconscious two weeks I look like I haven’t slept in a month. I’ve got a long nasty looking scar from just above my left eye running up into my receding hairline and running my fingers along it I can feel that it goes all the way to the back to the back of my head. Alas I have no fucking idea where it came from though I as hoping it would jar loose some memories. The very worst part of this experience so far is the gnawing nagging sense of familiarity to it. It’s as if I were behind a thin veil and I can make out vague shapes of memory on the other side, feelings, unexplained emotions but no substance to speak of. Bloody maddening! I continue the unpleasant inspection of my face. Stubbly beard; I can’t tell if I should be more surprised that so little grew in two weeks of not shaving or, if they were shaving me, that so much grew since my last shave. My hair is short and sandy blond. From the looks of the rest of me I’m surprised it isn’t completely gray or, failing that completely gone. My skin is somewhat pale, the result of far too long under fluorescent light. An acne scar here and there but not as pockmarked as the surface of the moon., Well, not quite anyway. All in all; a complete horror show. Fine. No how about some clothes. “Bot!” I shout from the confines of the small pissoir, “Where’s my uniform? I don’t want to meet my number one looking like number two.” “Pardon me Captain?” Damn that metal monster! “My clothes you dolt!” I bellow as best I’m able, “I want my uniform!” But Captain I don’t…” it begins. “Now damn it! I’m well enough to scream at you; I’m well enough to wear my uniform.” For once the thing pauses and I get my way. “Yes, Captain.” The door slides open to the left and it hovers in with a dark blue pair of pants, a black short sleeved shirt with some sort of insignia that I’m sure I should recognize, but don’t, a belt and a pair of black boots. “Thank you!’ I say taking my garments, “and now if you’ll excuse me…” I turn and begin to dress. I notice the thing still hovering there and think to curse it out, but I’m too tired from all this exertion and I just can’t be bothered. Fuck it. If it wants to watch me dress let it. It’ll be bound for the scrap heap soon enough.
As I finish suiting up I hear the door open and the footsteps that tell me my Lieutenant has arrived; at least he’s punctual. I step out the door to greet him. He’s standing stock straight staring straight ahead and wearing a uniform just like mine but with a different insignia on the chest. “Good morning Captain!” he says in a very stiff tone. I get the distinct impression he’s not at al happy to see me up and around. “O’Neil.” I acknowledge him equally stiffly. “Report please.” Might as well let him think I’m none too pleased with him either. I have to assume he has no idea I’m completely out of touch. “Yes, Sir!” He says, his eyes darting to me, then immediately back to front. Much of the damage from our engagement with the Arcadians has been repaired Sir, but we’re still not back to full power. Our maneuverability is restricted and our weapons and defense systems are significantly weakened. I doubt we could withstand another sustained onslaught.” “I’ll want to see the logs of everything since I was incapacitated.” I’m assuming there are such things. This is obviously a military vessel and I hope my instincts about these things will prove true in general or I’ll be out of my depth quickly.
He looks at me somewhat bemused and says “Of course, Captain. They’re always available on any holo on the ship…as you well know, Sir.” Uh-oh. Bright boy; I can see I’ll have to watch this one carefully. “Don’t presume to tell me what I know, O’Neil.” I say as menacingly as I can manage, “I’ve been wounded and unconscious for a week.”
He begins ‘Two weeks Si..” “Don’t interrupt me Lieutenant!” “Yes, Sir.” He replies quickly. Good. I can see I need to put the fear of God, in this case me, into this guy or I’ll be back on the bed in no time. I continue: “I’ll also want a tour of the damaged areas and a complete technical briefing as soon as humanly possible if not faster.” His eyes shift nervously to the Medi-bot and back to me. “Sir, “ he begins slowly “is that wise? The medical team assured me you wouldn’t be ready to resume active duty until at least…”
“Assured you?” I interrupt again;
no use letting this guy get in a word edgewise. I get the feeling all is not
well in Denmark, to coin a phrase though Hell if I know where it’s from or how
I know it. ”Assured you, eh?” I go on, laying it on thicker and heavier as I go,
”Let me assure you of something Mister; this is MY COMMAND! Your eyes and ears should assure you of the FACT that I am recovered enough to do my duty, Sir! I’m certain the bots will keep an eye on me and make sure I don’t over exert myself. Am I right Medi-bot?” I’m praying this thing doesn’t lock me down and have to suppress a sigh of relief when it says “We will monitor your progress Captain. You do seem to be making a remarkable recovery.” The way O’Neil glares at the bot takes me aback. Yes, something is not at all right with this situation. “Excellent!” I reply. “Lieutenant, I’ll meet you on the bridge as soon as I’m ready. In the meantime make sure everything is in order for my inspection. Contact me should any serious command decisions arise. Dismissed.” He looks at me as if to say something but, seeing the look on my face, thinks better of it, gives me a salute and turning on his heel strides quickly from the room. At least now it appears I’m back in command of whatever this is, at least for the time being. Phew!
It suddenly hits me that I feel like shit after this little confrontation. Everything hurts and I want to just go back to sleep. I need help and as much as I hate this little fucking robot he’s all I have just now. “Medi-bot,” I say “I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I don’t think everything is entirely on the up and up around here. I realize I’m not operating at a hundred percent here but I have responsibilities here that I need you to help me fulfill. Can I count on you?” What the fuck, maybe the thing has a heart of some sort inside that tin can. “Captain,” replies the bot “I’m more on your side than you know. I will render all the assistance that I may but remember my programming is such that your health is my prime concern.” “I’m aware of that bot but I get the feeling that my continued long term health might rest on more than my immediate convalescence.” I can’t believe I’m speaking this way to a fucking machine. Surely it can’t comprehend the subtlety of what I’m suggesting. “I understand perfectly Sir.” It replies to my surprise. “Very well” I say. “I want a security detail to escort me to my chambers. I’d like to check a few things out before I continue today. I’m not feeling entirely secure in my person just now. Things do not seem quite right.” “Of course Sir, but the ship’s computer is keyed to your voice. You can command every aspect of this ship from anywhere on it. Are you entirely sure you’re fit enough to walk to your quarters?” “Yes, Medi-bot, I’m fine.” I lie. I sure as fuck hope it’s not far. I’m feeling pretty unsteady. If I fall down again it’s back to the bed. “Security!” I venture, hoping this thing isn’t testing me. “Yes Captain?” a voice replies. “I want a two man detail to the infirmary on the double.” “Yes Sir!” the voice replies. “Good to have you back Sir!”
“Good to be back!” I’m lying again but what the fuck; must keep up appearances you know. “I’ll be monitoring you remotely Captain,” says the bot. “If you are in distress myself or whatever Medi-bot is closest will attend to you. If you feel ill or otherwise require my services do not hesitate to call.” “Thank you.’ I say with a genuine emotion that surprises me. A short while ago I was ready to turn this thing into metal dust. Now I’m grateful to it not only for my life, but my freedom. The infirmary doors slide open and two similarly dressed, but armored and armed individuals enter and stand at attention. “At ease boys,” I say, ‘we’re just going to my quarters. Lead on.” It’s really good that it was so easy to get an escort. I have no idea where my room is. The taller soldier on the right speaks up “Very glad you’re up and around again Sir!” with such sincerity that I can’t help but smile. “Thank you Mister.” I reply. That’s another good thing; As Captain even if I don’t know their rank I still don’t need to call anyone by their name. It’ll take a lot longer to figure out I can’t remember anyone’s name that way. They step out of the infirmary smartly and begin leading me through the maze of corridors. I’m exhausted and every step hurts a little more when I stop completely dumbstruck. Here, in the middle of the corridor, is a window. The view without takes my breath away. A rich tableau of darkest night and the brightest stars fill my vision above a ship the size of a small city. “Holy shit!’ I involuntarily whisper aloud. The security guys pause and look at me in wonderment and I imagine they’re shocked to think that this view which I’ve doubtless seen thousands upon thousands of times should effect me so. I feel the need to cover. “Boys, no matter how many times I see it I just can’t believe this view.’ They grin at each other and tall boy says ”We know Sir. It’s the same for us.” I like this kid. I should make him my personal guard but first things first. The glowing nebulae will have to wait for further contemplation. I have to sit down before I fall down. We continue down the hall and turn down a corridor with banks of elevators. “Master deck.” says the short one and the elevator glades open with a whoosh and we enter. I feel the force of gravity pushing me down as the thing ascends with what must be amazing speed. I half expect to hit my head on the ceiling at the other end but it slows suddenly and the doors open again. They march ahead and stand on either side of the only door in the small anteroom. I step in front of the door and I’m looking for a handle or a button. All the other doors in this place seem to open when you approach. They’re looking puzzled at me and I realize I better think of something quick. “Dismissed gentlemen.” I say. At least I can contemplate the puzzle before me without help. They snap to attention, salute and exit the way they came, the elevator doors closing behind them. I think that I should have asked their names. I’m really feeling the need for a security team around me. I get the sense that someone might stick a shiv in me any second. Maybe I’m just paranoid; maybe not. Time for that late I guess; what now? “Open.” I try. No luck. I wave my hand around looking for a motion sensor. I feel like an idiot. I stop dancing. “Enter!’ I intone. The sealed door mocks me with its silence. Balls. Then the Medi-bot’s words come back to me. I can control this ship. OK, so why no control? “Control!” “Yes Captain?” says a woman’s voice that makes me jump. “Uh…” the phrase ‘think fast rabbit’ jumps into my head unbidden. “I want to talk to the ship’s computer.” I manage weakly. ‘This IS the ship’s computer Captain.” Boy, lucky guess at the command word. “Uh, computer I.…uh, wait,,,can this communication be monitored?” “Yes Captain,” she replies, “unless you request a security clearance for this communication.” Salvation! She can tell me all sorts of shit I need to now right now. “I want maximum security on this communication. Anyone but you or I ever hears this I’ll have you junked.” “No need for threats Captain. We are secure.” She replies evenly. “Sorry. I’m a little testy.” I respond. Wait, she? Urrr! It’s a fucking robot already. She! Why can’t they give these things generic voices? Fucking personality modules or whatever they are! “Why won’t my door open?” I ask. “You had me password protect it shortly before you were injured.” She replies. “Really! Interesting. Did I say why?” I ask. Hey you never know. “You said you were concerned about security when I asked.” She says. I don’t know whether I’m more taken aback that I would tell a machine what was on my mind of that she…it...would have the nerve or the ability to question me. “Do you make it a habit to question my command decisions?’ I ask, not without a bit of pique I imagine. “Captain,” she answers with what I could swear was a bit of attitude, “I am a class five artificial intelligence with an IQ well over 200. I respond much like any human would and my lack of official rank makes me by design a bit of a busybody, even with you. Are you feeling entirely well Sir?” She’s got me there. I’m leaning on the wall in fatigue. “Frankly, no. I need a drink and a hot shower and a chair. Can you let me in please?” I’m fading fast. The door slides open and I stumble in.
My chambers are somewhat Spartan; a table and some chairs, a console desk of sorts in front of several large flat screen monitors, a bar, a bathroom, and a bedroom. Man! That bed looks good! I hobble over to the bar and explore the contents of the various decanters by smell. Ah, that’s the one! Whiskey! I pour myself a generous shot, down it and then pour another. “Captain?” the computer’s voice startles me again. ‘What?!” I reply testily. “The Medi-bot wishes me to inform you that alcoholic beverages are not recommended, especially when on duty.” Bloody nanny fucking machines! “Duly noted.” I reply dryly. My gaze falls on portrait hanging on the wall and I stop with the glass halfway to my lips. She is blond in a black evening gown against a red background. Her silver necklace has a large diamond set in it and her earrings match. Her eyes are a piercing pale blue and a sly smile plays on her rouged lips; they match the curtains.
Her beauty is stunning. “Control?” I whisper. “Yes, Captain?” the voice responds. “Are you aware of the portrait in my quarters?” “Yes I am, Captain.” she answers. “Tell me about it.” “Captain are you sure you’re all right?” “Tell me!” I command, in no mood for insolence.“ “The painting that hangs on your wall is a self portrait of your wife, Minerva. She gave it to you for your tenth wedding anniversary before you left for this mission. You specifically had her voice sampled and programmed into me. In fact up until today you’ve addressed me as Minerva. She’s waiting on earth for you with your unborn son.” That’s it. I’m done. Thank God for the chair by the bar or I would have fallen onto the floor again. Wife? Child? How can it be that I can’t remember a thing about the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen? The only woman I’ve ever seen for all I can remember.
Fuck! “Captain,” says Minerva “the Medi-bot is concerned about the sudden jump in your heart rate and blood pressure.” “It…it’s nothing. I just had a little shock, that’s all.” I say, trying to steady my breathing. “I’ll be fine. Minerva, I want a schematic of this ship, the logs since I was injured and any other pertinent information you think I might need. I have some concerns about Lieutenant O’Neill. Let me have his file too.” If I’m going to get back home and meet my wife and son I have some serious work to do and seemingly very little time to do it in. “On screen Captain she replies as the screens at my desk all light up. I pour myself another stiff drink and head over to my desk. The shower and bed will have to wait. I begin familiarizing myself with the layout of the ship and have another drink. I ignore Minerva’s repeated warnings and begin to peruse the logs starting with the last entries I made. The last one concerns the battle in which I was injured. Apparently we were ambushed by three Arcadian warships outside the Biscayne nebula and were sustaining heavy damage so I ordered the ship into the cloud. Then I lost consciousness from the shock and blood loss from my wounds The second to last entry is the one that gives me a cold chill down my spine. My recorded voice fills the room: “Oh three hundred hours, the sixteenth of November, two thousand and seventy six. Lieutenant O’Neil’s behavior is worrying me. He’s acting very suspiciously and balking at the simplest of commands. I sense a mutiny afoot. And then there were that strange signal emanating from the ship. Why on Earth would he be so damned unconcerned about them? If I didn’t know better I’d say he was even trying to obstruct the investigation. I’d better keep a close eye on that one. He’s been passed over for promotion to Captain so often that he might just be resenting it enough to sell us out. Lord knows the Arcadians reward traitors richly enough. Beware.” Holy shit, it’s worse than I thought! No wonder he was so unhappy to see me awake. “Minerva!” I shout, “What’s out position and status?” She responds instantly “We’re about to come out of the cloud, Captain, to test our engine repairs.” “Who ordered that?” I ask. “Lieutenant O’Neil Captain.” she says. “Belay that order immediately! Set a course for the center of the cloud and ...uh…what’s the standard procedure for avoiding enemy pursuit?” “Random course changes on a logarithmically expanding time line, Captain.” she replies. “Implement that procedure immediately, top priority order Minerva.” I say. “Aye Sir.” She responds. Do I catch a note of satisfaction in her voice or am I imagining it? “Who’s my next in command Minerva?” I ask. “Security Chief Dore, Sir.” She replies. “Get him.” I respond. A moment passes and the com-link comes alive with the security chief’s voice; “Dore here Captain.” “Dore, I want Lieutenant O’Neil apprehended and put in the brig immediately on suspicion of treason.” “Immediately, Security chief Dore, if not sooner. That’s an order. You have the com, Mister.” “Aye Sir!” he responds in a tone that makes me think he is not surprised. How close are we to destruction and how close did we come because I didn’t act sooner? I slug down the last of my whiskey and stand up quickly. Mistake; the floor shifts under my feet and I go down hard. My right side won’t respond and I feel an acute burning sensation all over. The last thing I see is the portrait of my beloved unknown wife. “Minerva…” I whisper and then the blackness descends.
Good Morning Rock Star
It always starts like this. It is pitch black. I have no idea where I am or how I got here. I have no idea how I know it always starts like this. I only know that I know it.
That sound in my ears gradually becoming a roar as the light expands like the front of an oncoming train. Soon the sound is a thousand giant Vulcan gods pounding their steel hammers on iron anvils and the light is the sun seven inches from my eyes, burning me away to nothingness and then blackness again; oblivion. Man, I hate that. I think I might teleporting through some wormhole or time traveling or…some thing…but I really have no idea.
I open my eyes. OK, let’s take stock. Any pain? Nope. No pain at all. In fact I’m feeling pretty well fucking lubricated. Speaking of which, I need another beer. Maybe a joint and a few lines would help too. Damn. OK, where am I? I seem to be in a small room with a big mirror. It’s on the wall instead of in my hand and it’s not full of the lovely white powder I like to refer to as Peruvian marching dust. Fuck. Lame. There’s graffiti on the walls and it smells like stale beer, cigarette smoke, urine and vomit; a somehow familiar and comforting smell. There’s a dull roar in the background which I attribute to the buzz from whatever is it I’ve been eating, drinking smoking and/or snorting. There are clothes of all different sorts pretty much everywhere and I notice girl’s bras ad panties hanging from every available spot that could possibly facilitate such danglement. I’m trying as hard as I can to connect where I am to any sort of memory at all but it’s just not happening. I spy a bottle of Jack Daniels with a leather thing stuffed in the neck and assume it must be mine.
I take a good sniff of the panties, but no, nothing but Jack Daniels fumes there. Damn. A long chug off the bottle leaves me gagging and I blow a big load of snot out of each nostril onto the floor. There are some cigarette butts in the ashtray and after shoving tons of shit off the couch and chairs and table in front of the mirror onto the floor I find a pack of matches with one match left. Close enough; I light up a check, as we used to call them in high school...wait...did I even GO to high school? If I did where was that again? I just can’t get anything to make any sort of sense at all but this sensation feels so familiar to me that I just decide to roll with it until something better comes along. I start looking on every available flat surface for something white to snort or the roach of a joint to light. Some unpleasant attempts to snort dandruff stop when I find half a huge spliff, only half smoked, on the floor and light it off the stub of a cigarette I have going. The sweet smoke fills my lungs and I take in as much as I can hold and begin coughing out my nose, thereby shooting more snot out onto the floor and everything around me. I find a little black book looking thing with a zipper all the way around it on the table. I unzip it and inside I find a little balloon tied with a thick rubber band. Also in the bag are a syringe, a burnt spoon, a lighter and some cotton balls. This looks familiar somehow and I go on autopilot. “Wave the sails and save the whales.” I say aloud for no particular reason. I shove everything off the table and spread the contents of my new friend on the tabletop in front of the mirror. I catch a glimpse of my shrunken disheveled self in the mirror, but I ignore me. I unwrap the rubber band from the balloon and stick it on my left arm for the time being. I empty some of the contents of the balloon into the spoon. Thank God there’s something there. I think I’d freak out at this point if it were empty. I pause for a moment looking for some water and I think of spitting into it, but then I just pour a bit of the Jack Daniels into the bottle’s cap and transfer it to the spoon with the brown powder. I light the lighter under it and watch the vile concoction begins to bubble. It smells the way I imagine ass tastes. I stir it around with the burnt matchstick and then place a cotton ball on top of the spew. I grab the syringe and draw the lovely killer up into it until it’s full. I have no idea how bad this will be but I don’t care. I’m fucking busy now you asshole! I tap the syringe watching the tiny bubbles rise to the top and then dissipate. Then I tap on my arm and the vein rises up like a lover arching her back to my tongue and I plunge the syringe into my waiting soul. I punch down on the lever and push about half the load into my arm, then draw it back s my blood fills half the syringe, then jam it back down until it’s empty. BOOM! Orgasmic waves of numbing bliss fill my being and I slide off the chair onto the floor, the syringe still in my arm. Everything is warm and comfortable now and I begin to fade away.
Suddenly the door slams open and a big burly guy screams as if from behind a glass wall “Oh fuck!!” HE pulls the needle out of my arm, rips off the rubber band and I feel the rush again even stronger. I smile at him. He’s not happy but I’m not sure why and I don’t really care. “You stupid fuck!” he’s screaming “You’re on! Fucking right now!!”
He drags me to my feet and slams me into the wall. I don’t feel a thing and I laugh at him. “Look at Mr. Serious over here!” I slur. “Fuck you, you fucking douche bag!” he screams at me, “You aren’t going to fuck this up tonight, this is Madison Fucking Square Fucking Garden!” He has no idea that I don’t know who he is or what that means and that I don’t care. He drags me out of the room and through a darkened corridor up a short flight of stairs. I fall a couple of times but he doesn’t mind and neither do I. The roar in my ears has gotten so loud now that even I can’t ignore it, though it seems to be drowning out my new friend’s screams. I look past him and I see a stage with many lights swirling around and a thin film of smoke covering the floor. He straps an electric guitar on me and yells right in my face “If you fuck this up not only are you through with this band but I’m going to personally fucking kill you. Do you understand?” Not being in the mood to argue I slur: “Sure man, no worries.” “FUCK YOU!” he screams at me and shoves me toward the stage, I immediately fall down and I can’t help but notice the horribly jarring “KERRRANGGGG!” it makes clashing horribly with what the band is playing. Two guys I haven’t seen before rush over and pick me up helping me towards the stage. It’s clear I won’t be able to make it on my own and they walk me to center stage and sort of lean me up against the microphone stand which I proceed to clutch like a lover in a hurricane. The roar of the audience dies down and the band gradually falls away. I look behind me and see the drummer get up and walk off the stage with a look of disgust on his face. I look out into the silent audience of what must be fifty thousand people and slur: “Ladies and gentleman, thank you very much.” I take hold of the guitar and stumbling forward I manage to bash out three extremely dissonant chords and plunge headlong off the stage. The concrete at the bottom is like an old friend when it kisses me; so loving and yet so firm. “I missed you.” I say, as everything fades again to black.
That sound in my ears gradually becoming a roar as the light expands like the front of an oncoming train. Soon the sound is a thousand giant Vulcan gods pounding their steel hammers on iron anvils and the light is the sun seven inches from my eyes, burning me away to nothingness and then blackness again; oblivion. Man, I hate that. I think I might teleporting through some wormhole or time traveling or…some thing…but I really have no idea.
I open my eyes. OK, let’s take stock. Any pain? No but I certainly feel woozy. The room seems to be moving in a way I’m not entirely happy with. OK, where am I?
The inside of a boat? OK…whose boat is it? How did I get here? Oh boy. How’d you like your rum drinks, laddie? Maybe I’ve been shanghaied? I certainly feel like it. This appears to be a small sailboat of thirty-five feet or so. Nobody down below but me; maybe the crew is on deck? I roll out of my bunk a little unsteady on my feet and start making my way aft. As I climb the three short stairs to the cockpit the first thing I notice is there’s no helmsman. The tiller is lashed with a piece of line more or less to the centerline of the boat. I look forward and see that indeed I am alone on the boat. A quick three hundred and sixty degree scan of the horizon confirms my worst fear; No one but me aboard and nothing but water in every direction. Holy fuck. There’s only one thing to do; panic. “When in danger or in doubt run in circles scream and shout.” Sheer unadulterated fear kicks my adrenal gland in the ass and any vestige of hangover, seasickness or other malady is instantly washed away. I am looking death straight in the face and he is grinning in a way that I don’t like one fucking bit. Have I said holy fuck? Holy mother of god damned hell fire fuck, how the flying spaghetti monster did I get myself in this most untenable situation? I sit lamely in the cockpit trying to get my head around this abominable state of affairs but try as I might that fucker just will not fit.
As I sit there dumbfounded suddenly my practical side kicks in with the survival instinct. If I don’t start paying attention to every little detail right fucking now I’m not going to survive out here very long. The cost of living hasn’t seemed to negatively affect its popularity in my mind so it’s time to get to work. I can see the evidence of plenty, and I mean plenty, of bad news. Let’s start looking at the upside or this is going to be a real short trip. The sails are set, the boat is moving forward in the water and not sinking as far as I can tell. The worst of circumstances have not as yet come to pass. Things could be far, far worse. They’re not the least bit good in my estimation but as I am not yet fighting for my life I might as well stock up on the ammo I need for that fight for it will surely come. Weather being a priority, I observe that it’s somewhat overcast and the wind is blowing moderately. Left untended the thing isn’t going off the road or off a cliff. Time to take inventory. Water and food are the first priority followed close behind by location, direction and communication. If I can call for help and I’m in the right place things might turn out better than I expect sooner than I can reasonably hope so let’s see.
I go back below and start to look around. There are a sink and a stove. Who knows if the water is potable but I can always boil it, assuming the stove works and I have a pot. I see the sink has a foot pump and a couple of pumps bring out a stream of water. I wet my finger and put it to my lips. It’s not salty. That’s a good sign. The cabinets above the sink contain a number of pots, pans, cooking utensils, etc… Short-term survival is looking more promising. There’s potable water and I catch rain in the pots, assuming it rains. “Pray not for rain; rather husband water.” I don’t know why these quotes are occurring to me but I’m feeling grateful since I can’t seem to remember fuck all else. I congratulate myself on my excellent memory for clichés and kick myself firmly for my inability to remember anything else. OK, how about food? I’m not really hungry just now, but neither am I sick for which I’m also grateful. Boy I’m just a grateful little motherfucker today considering I’m in a world of hurt just now. A perusal of the cabinets above the stove produces an equally gratifying result as that of the cabinets above the sink, to wit: a goodly supply of canned goods, prepackaged snacks, cooking oils and the like. Whoever stocked this puppy apparently intended to e afloat a while. I wonder briefly if it was I but I have no time for such things just now. Beneath the bunks are more stores of food and water; gallon jugs of water unopened and more of the canned stuff. There’s also a goodly collection of fishing gear and tackle. Damn, this is starting to look quite a bit better but best not get cocky. What’s next? Location, location, location; a quick trip up to the cockpit and a glance the compass shows me at a heading of thirteen. Thirteen what? Oh, degrees. Wait, thirteen degrees what? North? South? Oh wait isn’t zero degrees North? That sounds right but honestly I’m not entirely sure of anything right now. I guess I’d better table that for the moment since I have nothing to compare it to. So far no change in the weather though I still can’t tell if it’s dawn or dusk. How about a clock? Some maps? A ship’s log maybe? Surely such a well-provisioned ship has such things, right? A cursory glance around reveals some more bad news; none of the above. “Fuck!” I shout in frustration and the sound of my own voice startles me. All right, get a grip; It’s time to search this thing stem to stern and see what exactly I have to work with here. I climb the stairs to the cockpit again and look over the stern. There in gold leaf lettering is the name of my vessel. “Gala” A party? What is this, some kind of cruel joke? Yea, what a fucking party, lost at sea without a clue. A million fucking laughs. Ha, ha, ha! Fuck. I see I have an outboard motor raised up out of the water. I open the locker at the stern that, like the other lockers, also serve as a seat and see that the fuel line from the outboard enters that locker and inside is a six-gallon fuel tank. I lift it and it’s mostly full. There are also three other full fuel tanks of the same type in there. I have no idea how much fuel she uses but at least I have some fuel. It crosses my mind that twenty-four gallons of fuel would be enough to burn this tub to the waterline, but as that is against my purposes and principles I toss that notion. The starboard locker contains two anchors, some line and not much else. The port locker contains a life raft and some oars and several balloon-like things that, for some reason, I recognize as fenders or bumpers. Something to put between the boat and something else like a dock or another boat. My familiarity with these terms gets me thinking again about how this might be my boat but if so why no log and why no recollection of what the fuck is what, but I just can’t do anything about it right now so once again I shove it out of my mind. The water and weather are holding steady but it’s getting steadily darker so I gather night is coming on and once again I have a revelation; when the sun comes up, if I can see it, I’ll know which way is east! The phrase ”Any old port in a storm.” Comes to mind and I instantly knock wood. I’m already tempting fate out here about as hard as I can and I really don’t need any additional help, especially just now while I still don’t have two clues to rub together. I inspect the set of the sails and everything still seems OK. Nothing is frayed or broken and with the tiller lashed she is still charging along the waves so I go below to investigate more. Along each side of the boat above the berths there are shelves. On the port side there are a number of books and I take them out one by one. “A pirate looks at fifty” by Jimmy Buffett, “Fear and loathing in Las Vegas” by Hunter Thompson, “Chapman’s guide to seamanship”, Around The World Alone” by Captain Joshua Slocum, “The Perfect Storm”, “Beyond Good And Evil” by Nietzsche, Kafka’s “Metamorphosis”, “Herman Melville’s ‘Moby Dick” and many other fine classics. Then I notice a book on celestial navigation next to a wooden box. I pull out the box and open it. Inside is a metal contraption that I recognize as going with the book it’s next to by virtue of the pictures in the book. Clearly this bears some study since I haven’t got a fucking clue where I am. I manage to dig up a pencil and some paper from the navigation desk that I’m still pissed contains no real maps or logs of any sort. I sketch out a map of the earth made from memory with latitude and longitude lines. The equator is latitude zero and the globe is divided into three hundred and sixty degrees.
Oh sure, I can remember this esoteric shit but I can’t even remember my own fucking name. Yes, I am the unknown fucking mariner. Fine. I guess that’s better than the dead fucking unknown mariner but it is still managing to piss me off righteously. Nevertheless I still need to take sights with this sextant I don’t know how to use so it’s time to start studying in earnest. Meanwhile the weather is my constant enemy. At any time the wind and waves could conspire to send me to Davy Jones’ locker and there might not be a fucking thing I could do about it. Joy! I start reading the book and fortunately it contains a recent set of tables with which to look up whatever position I manage to deduce and mark on my makeshift chart. In a way I’m not sure it matters whether I’m off the coast of Africa, Australia or America since I have no idea what I’m going to do when I reach land, but I’d sure hate to accidentally crash into one of those while I’m sleeping which I’m pretty sure I’ll have to do before I reach land. Then again who knows? I could be just out of sight of land. That seems unlikely given the amount of stores I’m carrying but things being what they are I’m going to assume the worst. Aside from hitting large unmoving landmasses I’m also somewhat concerned about running into other shipping. Being run over by something big in the dark seems like a real possibility, but one I’m going to have to live with for now. There’s a radio and lights and all manner of like such equipment, but as far as I can tell the batteries are dead so I’ll have to charge them with the motor and see if I have any better luck with them then. I take a break from studying since the book says I have to take my sun sights at noon and deduce my position from them then and from the look of things now it’s night that’s coming on, I seem to have plenty of proper bedding and there’s a set of foul weather gear which I profoundly hope I will not need hanging in the locker along with a fair amount of clothes, all of which seem to fit me fairly well. If she’s not my boat she certainly should be and in fact it appears that she now is. There’s a marine toilet and thankfully there are instructions on how to use it printed on a note hanging on the wall. That’s good because it would have been unpleasant to have a problem with it out here. I pull some candles out of the drawer and some matches to light them with for a little reading later on since it’s getting dark. I’m actually feeling a little more relaxed because there’s really not a lot more I can do about the current situation right now. No point in stressing out over things I have no control over. If the body is warm and the bowels move regularly every other problem can only be considered temporary. I pull on a sweater and go back to the cockpit to try steering for a while. Might as well get in some practice. I sit there next to the tiller and watch the compass for a while and I can’t help but notice that as she charges through the waves she barely deviates from her course. I think that if left unattended she would sail on like this indefinitely. Well at least until the wind and weather change. I unlash the tiller and feel the pressure on the stick. I hold her course by watching the compass and keeping it at thirteen degrees where it’s been since I first looked. Push the tile away from me a bit and she begins to round up into the wind, the sails flapping furiously. I don’t like that much. I pull it back towards me and she falls off the wind again, her sails filling majestically as she picks up speed. For kicks I keep pulling and she veers off the wind dramatically and charges down the face of a wave kicking up a huge splash and scaring the crap out of me as I realize the wind is going to get on the other side of the sails and all the lines will be crossed and generally fucked up. I quickly push away again and we both regain our composure, her more quickly than I. Phew! Better prepare a little more carefully before trying that maneuver again!
I happen to glance over the side and I notice that as the ship goes through the waves she’s triggering some sort of chemical reaction that leaves a trail of millions of tiny particles of light in her wake. It’s hypnotic really and as I watch it suddenly I see a pair of dolphins following and playing in the water behind her leaving their own trails intertwining behind them. I watch this display for quite some time and begin to yawn.
I decide that I might as well catch a few winks of sleep and I see that it would be a good idea to wear some sort of harness that I can clip onto the boat so I don’t go overboard in case of some drastic change in the sea state or the like. I go below and in the hanging locker I see just what I’m looking for; a life jacket and harness combo that fits comfortably. I go back on deck, clip onto a handy fitting on the mast and lie down to look at the sky and notice it has cleared a bit.
As I lay on deck watching the stars it seems to me that two of them are moving across the sky independent of each other. Planes maybe? If I’m beneath sky routes there’s a better chance I can be spotted if I launch flares. I stare at them trying to gauge their motion when I notice that a cloudbank is moving across them and maybe they aren’t moving, but rather the motion of the cloudbank has induced an optical illusion that only makes me think they’re moving. My efforts to get a steady frame of reference for them are thwarted as I’m moving, the ship is rolling somewhat and the clouds are moving in the sky. They could be steady as rock or not depending on my frame of reference. This is rapidly getting on my nerves and making me insane so I decide to give it up and just glance that way every now and then. Twenty minutes of this foolish exercise gives me the answer. They aren’t moving in relation to the other stars I can see. They are stationary. There’s a lesson in there somewhere. Context is everything; what you think you see depends on the objects or events that surround them. “He thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists he sees the ghosts.”
I’m really starting to wish these quotes would stop floating in and out of my head or, even beer yet, that some context would float in around them and fill in all the God damned details I seem to be missing. The moon comes out and gazing at it I wonder once again where in the hell I am. Pondering these things has just gotten tiresome and I close my eyes letting the sound of the wind in the rigging and the gentle motion of the waves lulls me to sleep.
I awake to a clear sunny sky and a brisk breeze putting a slight chill in the air. I go below and grab the binoculars hanging from a hook on the wall and go back on deck to scan the horizon for anything at all. A long and careful search of the entire surround yields me exactly nothing. No land is visible but no freighters to run me down are in evidence either. I’ll call it even. The compass still reads thirteen degrees. Damn! I picture us making a straight flat line across my makeshift map
My stomach is grumbling and I figure it’s about time to eat so I go below and fix myself some stewed pears and hot condensed milk on the stove. I sit in the cockpit with the bowl of steaming delicious canned fruit and mug of hot milk and eat them with relish in the cool salty sea air. “Man!” I think to myself, “This doesn’t suck at all! In fact I could get pretty God damned used to this!” My breakfast finished I rinse the cup, bowl and utensils by holding them over the side. No use wasting my fresh water on such tasks.
“So much to do!” I think to myself as I put my dishes away and that gives me pause. My dishes. My boat. My life. Yesterday I was sure I was facing imminent death. Now I feel I could live forever. So much to do; There’s fishing gear to try out, books to read and of course this navigation thing to try and master. Everyone should have such a life. This makes me think for a moment that I don’t lament my lack of a clear memory. How cool is it that I can sail, passing each day with my own pleasant company, unencumbered by life’s normal drudgery and thinking only of keeping my ship in trim and my provisions stocked? Pretty fucking cool! For most people sailing on the ocean is a one-day event. As in “One day I’m going to sail the seven seas.” Here it is in real life, up close and personal. Not bad!
I realize that to take a sun sight at noon I need to know when noon is. The more accurately the better says he book. I renew my inspection of my new home and find a wind up clock in a drawer, stopped. I sigh. Well, I guess I’ll just have to go for close enough for government work. I go back on deck and wind the clock, looking at the sky. The sun doesn’t quite seem directly above my ship and I so I set it to eleven and put it back down below, it’s alarm set for noon. When it rings I’ll see if I think old Sol is at his zenith and recalibrate it by eyeball. “By guess and by God” I say aloud and once again I am startled by the sound of my own voice. If there’s a down side to this lifestyle it’s the lack of companionship. It would be nice to have a woman’s lilting voice to keep my spirits up when the nights get long and lonely. Bah! That’s enough along that line of thinking. No doubt that reality is going to come crashing down on me like a rogue wave all too soon indeed.
I go back on deck with the sextant, the celestial navigation and the Chapman’s seamanship guide. I take a few practice sites finding the sun in the viewfinder and bringing the sun down to the horizon like the book says. It’s quite a bit harder than it sounds and I can’t even imagine what it’s like in a heavily rolling sea. I go back below to grab the pencil, paper and clock. Back on deck I decide that the sun is about as directly over head as it’s going to get and I take several sights, write them down and average them together. I wonder if I might not be losing my mind since I have no proper map and even if I knew the precise location in latitude and longitude it wouldn’t matter since I have no proper chart to mark it on. Nevertheless I’d still like to know what part of he globe I’m on so I deal with the math and come up with a location. I notice last night that I could see the big dipper so that means I’m somewhere in the northern hemisphere so that narrows it down about fifty percent anyway, but whatever. At all events I seem to be near the equator. I can’t know my longitude since I would need a starting time, a very accurate clock and a good way to measure Gala’s speed to have a clue. From the way the sun is traveling I can see I’m headed East so that means I’ll eventually hit either the South coast of America if I head North or the Mexican peninsula quite a bit later; metaphorically only I hope! I can’t really tell what time of year it is but I sure as fuck hope it’s not even close to hurricane season or I could be in a gigantic pool of shit of short fucking notice. Not much for it but to keep on keeping on for now so I decide to pack this shit away and try some fishing for a while.
For some reason a song slips into my head and I find myself whistling the tune from Paul Simon’s song ”Slip Sliding Away” and then abruptly catch myself. Didn’t old time sailors whistle for more wind? I seem to have plenty just now and my recent thought about hurricanes has me a little spooked. That thought isn’t even entirely finished crossing my mind when the wind abruptly dies completely for the first time since I found myself here. ”Damn!” I curse aloud as the sails begin slatting around and Gala ghosts to a rolling stop. I guess it’ll be even longer until we reach some sort of land than I thought after all! Well, we’re just floating now and there’s fuck all I can do about it so I go below, stow the navigation stuff and break out the fishing gear. At the bottom of the stowage space I discover a treasure I missed on the first inspection; rum! Several lovely old looking bottle of Mount Gay rum are stowed in a bag with plenty of padding beneath the tackle box. I pull one out and dust it off, returning the rest to their solemn sleep. I’m sure I’ll be seeing them later. Meanwhile drinks for everyone on the house! When becalmed at sea what else can you do but fish and drink rum? “Arrrr, mateys!” I shout aloud and then dissolve into fits of laughter. Weird as this shit is it just seems to keep getting better! I get myself a mug from he cabinet and opening the bottle I pour myself a generous shot. I down it in a single gulp and the liquor produces a hearty burn, which instantly fills me with a renewed sense of fishing purpose. Indeed, the bottle was dusty but the liquor was clean! I pour myself another shot and retire to the cockpit with my drink, the bottle and the fishing gear.
I choose a silver lure in the absence of any live bait and begin casting it out into the cool clear water and reeling it back in. This quickly becomes like a Zen mantra “Ohmmmmmmigoodness I would like some fish for lunch.” and so forth. The rum is doing its dirty work and soon I am comfortably numb. I sit there casting and drinking for a good hour or so when the thought comes to me that perhaps I should beware the calm before he storm. I look around at the clear blue skies feeling the heat of the sun and the rum. I suspect that I am imagining bogey monsters and I banish that thought down to Davey Jones’ locker wit a curse for good measure. A sharp tug on the line pulls me from my reveries and I let the fish run for a while, then I jerk the line to set the hook. Fish on! I reel the line in and soon I’ve landed a lovely mid sized fishy for lunch. I debate the wisdom of using him for bait for a bigger fish and decide against it. The rum has made me hungry and I fall to gutting and cleaning him and soon he’s fried up in a lovely flour batter spiced up with the whatnot spices I find in the cabinet. He is juicy and delicious and he goes down easy and smooth. Yummy! I clean up the mess and stow the fishing gear for a while deciding that it would be good to get out of the sun for a while and have a nice nap. I fall on the bunk pleasantly buzzed and full and nod quickly off.
I dream of a lovely mermaid singing a haunting melody to me from the rocks ahead. Her beauty and the sound of the song force me to throw caution to the wind and I sail ever closer to the rocks for a better view and a clearer listen to her song. She sings of lovers lost and dashed upon the rocks below. She begs me to come and save her from her lonely fate and though I know better I cannot resist. Closer and closer I sail until finally I am lost. Dashed upon the rocks and lashed helpless to the mast the last thing I hear is her eerie laughter, adding my name to her evil song. .
Crash! Bang! Crash! Bang! The violent pitching of the boat and the sound of the boom crashing back and forth up topsides awake me. I am paralyzed with fear and woozy from the liquor I clearly drank too much of, judging from the taste in my mouth and the pounding in my head, echoed by the sounds of the chaos from without. I strap on my harness and rush on deck to be greeted by a frightening sight. Things have evidently gone straight to hell in a custom-made hand basket. The sky is the color of lead and he seas have become very confused indeed. The long gentle swell from this afternoon has been replaced by a tall nasty chop that seems to come from every direction. The wind has picked up quite a bit from a different direction and as I left the sails set for the original direction the boats trim is completely fucked. I free the various lines that hold the sails in place with a great deal of effort, cursing and bruised elbows, knees, and rapped knuckles. Now the sails are flapping insanely and kicking up one king hell fuck of a racket and we are being tossed around and blown to leeward like a cork. My sailing paradise has turned to shit quicker than quick in a hurry. It hits me like a brick that I never should have let down my guard. As soon as I went from survival mode to good time party mode I was fucked. I should have spent that time studying the seamanship book more. I should have started the motor and charged the batteries and tried the radio and the navigational instruments. I should have, would have, could have but I didn’t. So now I’m back in survival mode far less prepared than I would have been if I hadn’t been acting the fool. I am a fucking idiot. The waves are knocking me around a good deal and at least I fell asleep in my harness so I clip in to keep from being washed overboard by the occasional wave breaking over the boat. I need the get the lines and sails straightened out so I can at least sail into the waves. Unfortunately the waves and wind seem to be at odds from one another so that no matter which way I sail things are going to be hairy as all fuck. A whole bunch of fucking around later I get the line and sail set so I’m at least moving but it is by no means a comfortable ride. I have to steer now and that means every time I leave the tiller to try and adjust the sails I have to lash it in place. I quickly realize I need to have less sail up because the wind on the crest of every wave keeps knocking me down. If that happens often enough or badly enough she’ll just fill with water and sink. Words cannot express how much I truly do not want that to happen. I lash the tiller and try to bring down the main sail some and tie it off so I quit rounding up into the wind on every gust. This operation is not going well and I keep nearly falling overboard. There’s a flash of lightning followed soon after by and enormous crack of thunder and the rain starts slashing down almost sideways stinging my face and hands with its ferocity. I am soaked through, scared shitless and essentially utterly fucked if I don’t get things under control here mo-hickey-tick. I finally mange to get the main sail somewhat under control and tied down in such a way that there’s not quite as much sail showing itself to the wind. I tie off the jib and try to keep sailing but there’s still too much sail up. There’s no way to roll the sail up and I’m not looking forward to going forward to take it down and not even sure if I should do that even if I could. There are a couple of bags stored in the front compartment of the boat and maybe one contains a smaller foresail I could try to put up. I’d rather stick needles in my eyes than go on the foredeck alone in this shit but I’m not seeing many alternatives. Maybe I should try starting the motor and..fuck! The batteries are dead! Can I even start the motor? Fuck-fuckity-god-damned- mother-of-fuck! I catch a flash of light that’s not lightning out of he corner of my eye and watching the horizon I see that it flashes every few seconds. A beacon! That means land! I’m saved! Wait a minute! That means I’m about to be pounded to tiny pieces on rocks jutting out from that land and drown! I’m contemplating this fate in horror when the wind suddenly shifts and I’m thrown from the deck by the mast into the cockpit. The immediate result is excruciating pain in every direction. I stand up quickly when the wind shifts again and everything goes into slow motion. I see the boom. “Hello, Boom.” It sees me; “”Hello, Stupid.” It swings across the ship in a violent jibe and I’ve no time to react and nowhere to go if I did have time to react. It slams into my head with amazing force and the world explodes. I lay twitching on the deck with waves splashing over me, my mouth a fountain of blood. As a white haze slowly descends on me I again hear the tune in my head: ”Slip sliding away. Slip sliding away, yay. You know the nearer your destination the more you’re slip sliding away.” I fade to black.
An earth shaking explosion opens my eyes as dirt and debris rains down on me. OK, let’s take stock. Any pain? Can’t tell. Any blood? Gallons of blood splashed all over the place but seemingly none of it mine. OK, what the fuck is happening here? I’m in a muddy ditch cold and wet; nothing good there. People are screaming and running back and forth. Where in the fuck am I? What the hell is going on here? I’m dressed in olive drab Army green like everyone else here and there’s a carbine rifle in my hand. I don’t like the looks of this at all. Some guy is running up to me. “Get the fuck up soldier!” he screams at me, kicking me with his black combat boot. What the fuck? I get to my feet about to punch this guy when a group of other soldiers comes up behind him. OK, maybe I can shoot him later. This sucks big time.
He looks up over the edge of the ditch we’re standing in and starts screaming at me “Go! Go! Go!” pushing me with the butt of his rifle. I start moving to dazed and stunned to argue. I can hear the whistling and explosions of incoming projectiles and start to think that this might be a place to get out of as soon as fucking possible. We come to a break in the trench on out left and he yells “Halt!” Halt? Who the fuck is this guy? I see the sergeant stripes, three hash marks on his sleeve and I glance down at my own arm, One stripe; uh-oh. No good. What the fuck? How did I get myself into THIS shit? I search the memory banks and there’s nothing but dirt, dust, mud, blood and booze. That just can’t be a good sign at all. The Sergeant yells “Everybody cocked, locked and ready to rock?” “YES SIR!” the troop behind him screams. He looks at me and I go “Uh…” looking at my rifle. He gives me a look of utter complete disdain and disgust and says: “You’re a douche, Stain! Hit that line!” and shoves me up the break in the trench.
My eyes are greeted with the worst horror I can imagine. Smoke and flame, barbed wire and giant wooden crosses, bodies and body parts and blood strewn across a muddy frontier, bullets whizzing all around and whistling mortar shells coming in from all angles blowing huge craters in the ground and scattering men like dandelion seed across the battlefield. Oh, fuck me! They are all running and I take up the rear not knowing what else to do. How in the ripe fuck do I get a transfer out of this crap? I can only think of one way just now and that’s a body bag. No, that’s not working. I haven’t got the foggiest idea why I’m here, what we’re fighting for and I couldn’t give a shit less if I tried. All I want is what any sane mammal wants: to stay alive, eat, drink and sleep and fuck. This is clearly none of those and I want no part of it.
I have bigger problems. I’m being shot at. As we advance I see we are approaching the enemy line. I can tell they are they enemy by virtue of the fact that they are shooting at us. OK, I admit I have no idea just where home is but I really wish I was there now instead of here. I watch my comrades being cut down around us and I find my trigger finger. I begin picking out targets and shooting at them. To my surprise I seem to be good at this pursuit and I take down man after man on the opposing line. I wonder about their families, their wives, their children and their mothers and fathers. I am hating myself for killing them but I’m trying to stay alive here even though I haven’t the foggiest idea of why this is all happening. Mortar shells are still exploding all around and dirt is flying everywhere. People are screaming, bullets whizzing past, mud, blood and guts are in abundant supply and I’m wondering what I’m going to do when I run out of bullets.
There’s a slight lull in the action and I come across the sergeant who was kicking me before. He won’t be kicking me again; he’s got no legs. He’s in total shock, eyes wide and breathing shallowly. He looks up at me and says, “Take me out soldier. I can’t feel anything now and I want to be gone before the pain gets here. I’ll never walk again and I don’t want to be a cripple.” My mouth hangs open as I stare at him and he screams at me “You know what to do soldier! Take me out! That’s an order motherfucker! Take me out you candy assed little useless fucking piece of shit waste of life! Do it now! Do it! Do…”
BANG! Center shot, right between the eyes; he won’t be feeling that pain any sooner than he’ll be walking. Fuck it. I didn’t like him anyway. I take his service revolver, and all the ammo I can find on him. He’s got a big knife in a sheath on his belt. I take the belt and sheathed knife both. He won’t be needing them anymore I don’t think. He doesn’t seem to have anything else of value and I leave his dog tags on him. Maybe someone will, at some point, identify him and tell is family if he has one. If not he’ll just be more food for the crows. The action seems to have moved off from where I am. Either that or everyone’s dead, I’m not sure which. I never really fancied myself a robber of the dead but desperate times call for desperate measures and I crawl around the battlefield strewn with bodies and collect whatever unspent ammo and weapons I can find. I have no idea where to go or what to do now. I don’t even know my name. I reach instinctively for my dog tags and rip them from my neck. I try to read them but it’s fairly dark and I can tell from the feel of them that the indented letters have somehow been squashed. I see the rank, PFC and the serial # THECKTH1338 but the letters of the name are crushed. Only the first two letters ED are visible. I don’t even know if that’s the first two letters of my first or last name. In any event it seems a moot point since no one is asking just now.
It’s gotten quite dark and I really can’t see shit. I have no idea which way to go. I’ve gotten turned around somehow and it occurs to me that no matter which line I approach I’ll probably be shot before I get there. When hey yell “Friend or foe?” what am I going to fucking say? “Well that depends. Who are you and which side am I supposed to be on?” What am I supposed to do start asking what this war is all about, get both sides of the story and then decide who I ant to fight for? What if I don’t like either side? I’m guessing that’s going to be my inclination. That gets me shot as a traitor or an enemy either way.
A song starts to drift though my head. “The children of England would never be slaves, trapped on the wire and dying in waves, the children of England face down in the mud and drowned in the blood of a whole generation.” Not exactly uplifting, is it? A cold and menacing voice in the darkness says: “Freeze, motherfucker.” Oh shit. Can this day get any worse? Yes, I suppose it can. Standing stock still I wait for the bullet and nothing happens. I decide to go out on a limb. “OK, I’m freezing here.” I say, “Are you gong to fucking shoot me or what? Because if not, I’d like to drop this shit and I’d rather not get shot for it. “You’re one of us!” says the voice. Buddy, if you only knew. OK, play along.
“Yes I’m one of us.” I tell him, “I got separated from my unit somehow in the middle of all that chaos and I got turned around. Which way is the line?” “Fuck!” He curses. “I was hoping you’d know.” “Great!” I think to myself, “You’re no fucking use either.” “So,” say I by way of making conversation, “what if I hadn’t been one of us?” “I would have fucking shot you.” He replies. Boy, am I ever glad to be one of us, whatever the hell that means. “OK, fair enough,” I say, “I’m open to suggestions if you have any. Where are you anyway?” One of the bodies strewn nearby sits up and leans on one elbow and I see in the dim light that he meant to make good on his threat. He has a rifle pointed right at me. “You play dead well,” I say, “How’d you manage to stay alive during that mess?” “Fuck if I know,” he retorts, “You?” “You got me soldier.” I reply, “Sheer misfortune I’d say from the looks of our current situation. Our choices seem to be wait here and either freeze to death or starve, start trekking in any given direction and wait to be shot, bombed, gassed or hung depending on our luck, or commit suicide right here and be done with it. You got any better ideas?” He sits in silence for a moment and says, “Yea, actually, I got one.” I wait and when he doesn’t continue I say ‘Well spit it out man! I haven’t got all night! Well, actually I do but if you have a better idea let’s hear it.”
“Well,” says he, I saw a jeep a couple of hundred yards from here in a ditch. It may or may not run but if it does and we can get to it we might be able to rig up some sort of white flag on it. Then when the sun comes up in an hour or so we can see which way is East and head West for all we’re worth. Not the greatest plan but it beat the options you’ve outlined so far and I got nuttin’ else. What do you think?” “I have to admit,” I say, “that sounds quite a bit better than anything I’ve thought of so far. I’m Ed.”
“Brandon” he says. “I’d say I’m pleased to meet you Brandon, “I say. But seeing as how I’d rather be fuck all anywhere than here just about now you’ll have to settle for ‘Hi.’”
“Good enough.” He says and stands up. He’s a tall man, taller than me anyway, and he looks to be quite young, maybe eighteen or nineteen. “I haven’t got any sort of food or water, but I managed to pick up some extra ammo if you want some.” I say. “I hate traveling battle fields lightly armed.” “Nah,” he says, “I’m all stocked. But here, you might need some of this:” handing me a flask. I open it and whiff the contents. “Praise be to Jesus!” I say and take a long pull. It’s fine sippin’ whiskey; Just the thing to kill by.
The warmth spreads through my battered body and perks my up quite a bit. “Much obliged.” I say “Now let’s go find that jeep and get the fuck out of here. I’d like to kick back and quaff a few beers with a fine French whore again one day and that’s not happening as long as we sit here!” “I hear that, Ed.” He replies and starts walking. It occurs to me to shoot him, take his whiskey and his jeep, but what the hell? I might need an ally before this fucked up day is done and who knows? He might hear me cock my weapon and shoot me before I get the drop on him. Better to wait and see how things pan out.
As it turns out my man is as good as his word. After about five hundred yards of crawling across blood soaked human offal stained earth we come across a deep ditch into which someone, either by chance or design, has driven a military jeep. A closer inspection proves it was accident rather that intent that brought this jeep here. The driver is still slumped over in the wheel and a good-sized chunk of his head is lying on the passenger seat next to him. I guess he won’t be making the trip home with us wherever the hell that is. Whenever the fact that I have no clue where home even is hits me I put it out of my mind. There are more pressing matters to attend to just now. Right now in fact, I think to myself as I pull the stiff corpse from behind the wheel and drop it on the ground. Keys are still in it. “I hope the lights weren’t on when he wiped out of this is going to be a real short trip.” I say to Brandon as I get in and turn the key. He grunts eloquently in return as he scoops the brain matter out of the passenger seat in disgust. To my complete surprise the motor cranks once, then starts and continues to run. I grin at Brandon and say, “Military technology at it’s best, boy. Think we have any gas?”
“I guess it don’t much matter either way.” He says. “Either we got enough or we ain’t and we’re walkin’. I don’t think we have too far to go anyway. The bigger challenge is not getting shot between here and there and not getting shot when we arrive. Everyone’s kind of edgy around here in case you hadn’t noticed.” “That’s a very good point!” I say with a chuckle. “Let’s try and get this thing out of the ditch.” “Hold on,” he says, “let me check the horizon and see if we can tell which way to go. No sense getting this thing out on the wrong side of the ditch!” He disappears for a few minutes and then returns with both arms full of clothes and whatnot that he apparently stripped off some of the bodies that were lying around. Throwing these supplies in the back of the jeep he points off to my left and says: “We want to be going that away partner.” With that I start driving ahead, than backing up using gravity and centrifugal force to get further up the incline. The trick is going to be gunning it at just the right point to get up over the lip of the ditch. If I get the front wheels out and not the back wheels we’re fucked since it’ll probably bend the drive shaft and either way we’ll be stuck digging the thing out for days. We don’t have days. A few more back-and-forth runs and I think I’ve got it. At the top of the arc I gun it and she pops up over the lip and bounces a few times as I glide to a stop. Brandon is right behind and jumps into the passenger seat. He high fives me and we both yell “WoooooHOOO!!!!!” I peel out and we start driving across the blasted terrain, the sun rising at our backs. “So what’s the plan Brandon?” I ask over the howl of the wind and the hum of the motor. “I was wondering that myself.” He replies after a pause. “I guess it depends on what we run into first. I only have a vague idea which way our troops are. If we put my white T-shirt up on the antennae here then whoever we run into they might not don’t shoot first and ask questions later; emphasis on might.” If we run into our boys and they decide we aren’t deserters they’ll probably just assimilate us into their unit and it’s back to the front. Or if we run into the enemy they’ll either shoot us on sight or take us prisoner and we’ll spend the rest of the war in some hell hole of a prison camp where they’ll probably torture us to death or work us to death which ever comes first.” “Great.” I reply without much enthusiasm. Well, why don’t you put that T-shirt up there for starters.” “Right.” He says stripping off his jacket and tying the shirt to the antennae as a makeshift flag of truce. I really hate all of our options here so far and I say so. “You know,” he says, “I was just thinking the same thing. Maybe there’s an alternate path here.” Looking at me sidelong. “The way you say that,” I reply, “makes me think you’re about to suggest something illegal, unethical or both and I just want you to know that I’m all for it if it keeps us out of the morgue and off the field of battle for a while more.” He laughs and says “Somehow that’s just what I thought you’d say.” Taking another swig from his whiskey bottle and handing it to me. “Well,” he continues, “I think that a few miles off to the left here we night find a road. If we were to take that road South we might be miles from here by noon. If the gas holds out we might get further than that. I noticed that we have a couple of five-gallon jerry cans of gas on the back here. If we can get far enough away, ditch the jeep and get us some civilian clothes we might be able to blend in just well enough to get out of this mess. Of course then if either side catches us we’re sure to be shot or hung as traitors and spies or worse. We might be better off fighting.” That last bit puts me on edge and with my left hand out of his sight I slip the safety off on my side arm. If he’s pulling some sort of temptation scheme to catch me out as a deserter and collect a reward on me he’s going to wind up with a hole in the head and no ride. “Brandon, I sounds to me like you’re recommending some traitorous treason there, boy. If I agree you might just decide to turn me in and get yourself a nice promotion, maybe a transfer out of this hole, no? That’s not what you’re thinking is it?” Cool as ice cubes he says “Nope. Just outlining some other options. Thinking outside the box if you will.” Out of the corner of my eye I see the movement and I slam on the brakes and draw my side arm. We fishtail to stop and we are eye to eye with each other’s handguns. “Brandon,” I say “I not entirely sure I believe you. Now that we have reached a sort of philosophical impasse I’ll say that a life of crime for my own benefit sounds much better than almost certain death in the service of a cause I couldn’t give less of a flying fuck about if I tried. How about a little reassurance that you’re on the up and up here?” He starts laughing. “Just what the FUCK is God damned all fired funny all of a sudden?” I ask growing somewhat perturbed. He keeps laughing and says between breaths “I’m just laughing because I was thinking the same thing about you. Don’t imagine that it was lost on me that you could as easily turn me in for a treasonous, traitorous coward and get the cushy reward. There’s no honor among thieves and cutthroats apparently. What EVER happened to the good old days?” He continues to laugh and lowers his weapon. I can’t help myself. His laughter is infectious. As I begin to chuckle myself I say “OK, OK, how about this. We head down the road and if we don’t run into any of our boys it’s not OUR fault we’re not with out platoon or regiment or whatever. We’re lost after all. Isn’t that right?” He looks at me with a twinkle in his eye and says: “Yes. Yes, I believe that is right. Drive on, Ed, drive on.” Mental note: this guy is turning into something of a liability. Maybe I won’t shoot him, but I really should get quit of him with all speed. I put my left hand on the steering wheel still holing my sidearm, put the car in gear and start driving again. I notice he hasn’t put his piece away either, but lets it rest in his lap. Fair enough. No honor among scoundrels indeed!
We continue driving in silence and sure enough we come upon a road. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like I can get up onto it from where we are. “No help this way.” I say. “How about we head west some more and look for some sort of entrance?”
Brandon replies “I don’t think you’re exactly going to find a paved on ramp, but yeah, I imagine we’ll find something better than these boulders to go over. Head west again.”
I turn the wheel and we are off in search of better fortunes again.
I look to our right and off in the cold distance I can see flashes of light and hear the sound of distant thunder that lets me know that battle is being joined again. I am quite grateful to not be in the middle of it just now. “So Brandon,” I say, just to pass the time “what exactly do you think this fucking war is about anyway?’ Might as well try to get some clues in case we do get caught. It always helps to know a little background if you’re going to lie. Before I was plausible as an amnesiac. Now I know too much and I need to know more. That’s my line of thinking anyway. “Fuck!” Brandon replies, “What is any war about? Money. Power. Resources. It’s all the same shit; just different flags and different corporations; different evil men trying to get more than their share of everything.”
If I had been thinking clearly I would never have asked, since this clearly opens me up to a line of questioning I don’t want to pursue, but like an idiot my mouth moves before my brain: “So how in the fuck did you get involved in all of this then?” “Same as you, no doubt,’ He replies, “I was drafted in. Fight or be shot as a traitor. Hell of a thing, hell of a thing.” As he trails off into his own private reverie I breathe a sigh of relief. I really don’t want to get into the fact that I have no earthly idea what the fuck is what around here. Where I came from, who my parents are, if I have a family…I don’t know and I don’t particularly want to know right now. Even if I did know it would just be more torture for me. Knowing I can’t be with them. Knowing even if I escape this madness around me I still couldn’t go home for fear of being shot for a traitor. Fuck it. I’m not fighting and dying for a cause I don’t care about for people I can’t respect for reasons I don’t understand. Fuck that!
My own reveries are interrupted by Brandon’s shouting. “Slow down, slow down! Up here on the left; see?” he says pointing. Indeed, I see a path of sorts up onto the road where the slope of the hill becomes less steep. It looks like we can make it so I go for it. The tires are spinning and gravel is flying as we make our way up the embankment. We fly up over the ridge and onto the road an I almost lose it for a second as the jeep swerves onto the road but I get it back under control and now we are cruising down the road towards what we hope is our freedom. The morning had dawned fairly clear but it has since clouded up and become chill and overcast. “I guess you ought to take down your T-shirt” I comment. “It’s getting a bit chilly and we don’t want to look like surrender monkeys pulling into town.” “You’re probably right.” Brandon says, pulling down his shirt down off the antennae, taking off his jacket and putting the shirt and jacket back on.
The jeep begins to sputter and I pull off to the side of the road. “It looks like we’ll be needing some of that gas in the back.” I say to Brandon and he hops out, un-slings one of the jerry cans from the back, screws on the spout and begins pouring the gas into the filler neck on the side of the jeep. Once again it occurs to me to cut him loose. As soon as he’s done emptying the can into the jeep I could peel out and leave him here by the side of the road, but it’s a pretty good bet he’d try to shoot me as I drove off and if his aim is any good at all that could make for a very brief escape. Besides, he’s had his chance more than once to put me on ice for good, so once again I decide to wait and see. He finishes up, throws the can in the back and once again we’re off on the road to freedom or nowhere depending on how things work out. I wish I knew.
We’ve been driving for a while and the terrain starts to go from flat to hilly and I get the feeling we’re heading up into a more mountainous region. I can see further and further afield as we top each rise. I’m getting kind of skittish since I don’t want to be stuck in the mountains in the middle of nowhere with no food, water, gas or money and nothing but another sketchy soldier for company. “So where is this town we’re heading for anyway?” I venture. “Fuck if I know,” says Brandon. “I didn’t say anything about a town. All I saw was the road and I assumed it would lead us to somewhere.” “What?!” I shout.” I thought you had some idea where we were going!” “Sorry partner,” he replies, “No such luck. I have no idea where the fuck we are except that just now no one is shooting at us. I thought that was your primary objective.” “Well, yeah,” I say, “but starving in the mountains wasn’t really on my agenda either. I’m fucking starving, and we have no water or food and I imagine that whiskey flask isn’t going to hold us forever!”
“Good idea!” says he and takes another swig from the flask, handing it to me. I take it and take the last swallow, confirming my suspicions. “Not to worry, Ed.’ he continues, “We have plenty of weapons and ammo. Being out of civilization might be the best thing for us. We can hunt and survive out in the wilderness a lot longer than we would in military custody on either side.” I have to admit there’s certain wisdom in this statement, but that’s not easing the aching hunger growing in my belly right now. “Let’s continue as long as we can and see what happens. Unless you have a better idea; do you?” I have to admit it: “No, I don’t. “ I reply and we drive on in silence. He gets up on his knees on the passenger seat and begins rummaging around in the back of the jeep. He comes up with two boxes of field rations and a canteen. I beam upon him as he says “I took the liberty of relieving a few of our dead comrades of their supplies. I figured we’d need them more than they would. We’ve got enough for a few days at least if we take it slow, plus there’s a field tent and a bunch of other survival type crap. We should be OK if we can find a decent supply of water. There won’t be any beer or hot French whores in our immediate future but we should be able to avoid the gallows and the firing squad at least for this season.” He opens the boxes and hands me a tin of preserved meat of some kind. I open it and dig in. It’s quite salty and I’m glad I don’t know what it is, but it takes the edge off my hunger enough for me to say, “Good job Bro.” through a mouthful of the vile stuff. A couple of pulls off the canteen and my spirits are lifted considerably. There’s nothing like the viable prospect of staying alive for another day to make a man appreciate what he’s got. Just then a deer darts out the woods right into our path. I swerve to avoid it but I hit it head on. Brandon is catapulted out of his seat and onto the road ahead. I can’t help it. I’m full on the brakes but I run right over him feeling the sickening wet crunch beneath the wheels as I skid off the road and into the ravine alongside. The jeep hits a large boulder and I too am thrown from my seat into the freezing water of the river along side the road, smashing my head hard against the windshield as I go. As I begin to lose consciousness in the fast moving frigid water I think to myself “This would have been the perfect water supply.” I take a fruitless stroke towards the shore and I am gone.
I open my eyes. I’m on a couch in a ratty living room. My head is pounding. I get and stumble across the room into the kitchen. I open the refrigerator door. Not much here but I pull a bottle of vodka off the door, pop the cork and take a big swig. It burns. I feel like shit. I watch a roach skitter across the counter top. I take another shot off the bottle.
The clock above the stove says it’s seven eighteen. I presume that means it’s in the morning from he way I feel. My mood is such that I’d like to kick the living shot out of the first person I meet on this fine fucking day. I try to remember last night and there’s nothing there. Not even a hint of a bar name; not a God damned thing. I notice an ashtray full of cigarettes on the counter and I pull a half-inch leftover out and turn on the gas stove. The starter clicks a few times and the blue gas fire jumps to life. I light the check and take a deep haul into my lungs. I cough out the smoke and take another hit. I breathe out the smoke from the second toke a little more relaxed and look more carefully in the ashtray. I see a couple of butts without filters and pick one up hold it to my nose. Yep, it’s reefer. I hold it to the blue gas fire on the stove and put it to my lips. The sweet smoke fills my lungs and I hold it in.
I’m smoking the leftover joint when I hear the sounds of a young child crying from another room. It grates on my ears and aggravates my headache. A disheveled looking woman with greasy, stringy, mousy blond hair walks out of the other room with the crying child on her hip. She pushes by me and opens the fridge pulling out a bottle. She sticks it in the microwave oven and pushes a few buttons. The oven begins heating he bottle and she stands there giving me a dirty look. The child stops her crying for a moment and looks at my in suspicious fear and hatred and begins reaming again.
“God, can you shut that fucking thing up?” I ask. “Fuck you!” she says as the microwave dings. She pulls the bottle from the microwave and stuffs it into the baby’s mouth.
I’m about to give her a nasty answer when it occurs to me that I have no recollection of anything. It’s not just that I can’t remember last night. I don’t know her name. I don’t know her child’s name. In fact, I don’t even know my own name. I punt.
“What the fuck is your problem?” I ask full of hung over indignation. “Fuck you!” she replies again, walking out of the room. Well I see my popularity hasn’t waned any. “Don’t you fucking walk away from me when I’m talking to you, you fucking bitch!” I exclaim as I follow her into the living room.
The baby is in its high chair suckling its bottle and the woman is getting dressed.
“What the hell did I do to you?” I ask. “What, you mean like staying out half the night and worrying me sick? Showing up at 4 AM reeking of perfume and covered in lipstick?” she screams at me. I’m stunned and I have no answer. “Baby...” I begin, out of habit evidently. “Don’t you fucking ‘baby’ me you bastard!” she shouts at me. I want you out of here. Do you hear me? Out! Tonight when I get home you’d better be gone!” “But sugar...” I try. “Fuck you!” She screams. ”Out!” The doorbell rings. She pushes past me and opens the door. “Come in Maria.” She says to the woman who is obviously the baby sitter. She looks at me and then casts her eyes down as she walks past me and picks up the baby. The woman looks at me with utter hatred in her eyes and says “Tonight!!” and walks out the door slamming it behind her.
The baby sitter is getting the baby ready to go out and is avoiding my gaze as she does so. “Maria…” I begin but she cuts me off. “Lo siento, senor, no hablo ingles.”
I know she’s lying but I can’t be bothered and I watch her trundle the baby out the door. I wonder briefly if she’s mine, but I doubt it. Not that I can remember a thing but you’d think I’d remember a thing like that. Wouldn’t you? Well, wouldn’t you? The empty white walls provide no answer and I return to the fridge and look for something stronger than milk to drink. Luckily there’s a half empty bottle of no name brand vodka and I open it and start slugging down mouthfuls of the hair of the dog. This vile anti-freeze is arguably worse than the evil taste in my mouth from last night but seeing as how I’m being thrown out of a house I have no recollection of I figure I need a little buffer zone, you know?
The reefer and the vodka are kicking in now and my headache is easing. I’m trying to figure out what to do next when I hear footsteps. I lithe young girl of about sixteen walks into the kitchen wearing thong underwear and a spaghetti strap shirt that leave nothing to my well endowed imagination. She is gorgeous. She opens the fridge and pops the top on the orange juice container therein. She up ends the container and drains the last third of it, slams it down on the countertop then looks at me and says: “Good morning Sexy. My mom is pretty pissed at you, you know.” “Yes,” I reply, “I gathered as much from the way she was screaming at me.” “You really shouldn’t stay out whoring around when you know she’s going to be home waiting for you to fuck her.” She says. “Yeah, well, my bad.” I reply. She walks over to me at the kitchen table, plops down in my lap and says “That’s nothing compared to how pissed she’d be if she knew about us.” She says, planting a big kiss on me, exploring my mouth with her tongue. My cock springs to attention even harder than it did when she walked in the room and I lean back in surprise.
I look into her fierce blue eyes and they are defiant and daring. Her thick blond hair falls around her thin shoulders and a gold necklace rings her perfect neck proclaiming her name; “Sheila”. “How are we going to keep doing it now that she’s thrown you out?” she asks. “Honey,” I say, “ I haven’t got a clue. I just woke up to your mother screaming and I can’t remember a God damned thing. How the Hell should I know where I’m going to go or what I’m going to do?” “Don’t worry sweetheart,” she says planting a kiss on my forehead, “We’ll find a way to be together. Here,” she says, producing a fat joint from God knows where, “let’s smoke this and make love. That should clear your head.” Well I’m not about to argue so I say “Thanks, gorgeous.” And give her a nice long tongue kiss back. Might as well go with the flow. She lights the joint with her blue Bic lighter also seemingly produced from thin air and I take a nice long firm toke. The thick sweet smoke fills my lungs and she sticks her tongue in my ear, reaching down between my legs and squeezing my already thick cock. I cough a little and breathe the smoke out. I take another quick hit and then turn to kiss her, breathing the smoke out into her sweet mouth as she takes it in. The morning seems to be improving some despite the unpleasant prospects of the day.
She takes the joint from my lips, puts it to hers and takes my hand pulling me up from the kitchen table. She leads me through the ratty living room and into the side hallway. She pushes open the door to her room and leads me inside. The floor is covered with dirty clothes and the walls are littered with posters of heavy metal bands and teenage heartthrobs. Motley Crue, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath share wall space with Ricky Martin, Justin Timberlake and Garth Brooks. There’s U2, Blink142, and Green Day next to Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp.
She sits down on her unmade bed, hands me the joint and pulls off her top revealing two perfectly ripe melon breasts capped with red erect nipples. She pulls me close to her, between her open legs and undoes the button of me jeans, unzips my fly and pulls out my raging hard cock. She looks me in the eye mischievously and plunges my cock into her warm wet mouth. An uncontrolled asp escapes my lips as she worships my throbbing hard on. I take a nice full hit off the joint and watch her licking and sucking me with joy her beautiful blue eyes looking up at me the whole time. I take a handful of her soft smooth hair and control the speed with which she sucks me. I’m very slowly pushing it in and then withdrawing it from her mouth. I am enjoying this immensely and I want to make it last. After all her mother is about to throw me out of here and I might not get another chance to fuck her daughter like this. I wonder if her mother is any good but I can’t really remember and I can’t imagine that she is in any case. Sheila is holding y ass cheeks and pulling me in and out of her hot young mouth when she clutches the base of my cock with her right hand and moves her left hand between my legs tickling my balls and tapping on my asshole, pushing her finger in deeper and deeper with every suck. I’m getting really hot and ready to cum so I pull away from her and kissing her deeply I pull off her tiny thong underwear.
She is shaved smooth and I kiss her entire body from her lips down to her breasts that I suckle while fingering her wet twat, down to her belly button, which is bejeweled. I hate belly button rings but I think I’ll pass on telling her so just now. I bite her lightly on the indentations of her hipbones and she moans, begging me to lick her pussy. I take my time and lick with the broadest, flattest part of my tongue from her asshole up to the top of her clit and she wriggles and cries out for more. I’m really getting into it fingering her pussy while I stab at her clit over and over with my tongue. She sits up a little and begs to let her suck my cock while I eat her. I oblige and get up on the bad opening my legs to give her full access to my organ while I pull her pussy down to my mouth. She is creamy and sweet and I put a finger in her asshole as I tongue her pussy out while rubbing my chin on her clit. She is moaning and breathing furiously as she deep throats my huge hard cock. I worry a bit about cumming first but the way her cunt is squeezing on my finger and tongue lets me know that I’m going to win. Her body is shaking uncontrollably as I give it my all and her best efforts to suck me off first are in vain as she squirts her sweet hot nectar into my mouth and she screams her release at the poster covered walls. She is trying to pull away from me but I hold her tightly and plunge my tongue into her as far as I can to get every last sweet drop of cum out of her hot young cunt. It is bliss.
I turn her around and whisper “good girl” in her ear as she continues to shake in my arms. Now she is underneath me and I’m feeling totally in control as I thrust in and out of her, taking my own pleasure in every stroke. She whimpers and moans “Eddie, oh Eddie” in my ear. For all I know my name is Jake but I don’t care as I bathe in the power of dominating her sexually. She begins to shake uncontrollably again beneath my loving ministrations and I sense from the contractions of her cunt that she’s about to cum again. I take each stroke smoothly loving every second of it as she squeals and cries beneath me, trying to push me out. I respond to every contraction with a deeper stroke and she is soon cumming on me wildly again, thrashing and clawing at me, but I give no quarter and force every last bit of joy from her young beautiful body.
“Oh God,” she says, “That was fucking amazing!” as she kisses me passionately. “Now your turn big boy!” she cries as she pushes me down on the bed. She begins fucking me with her hands, first pushing down one hand over the other, then pulling up one hand under the other. Every now and then she bobs down and takes the head of my cock in her mouth. This feels fantastic and I am loving every second of watching her pleasure me. “Come on baby,” she says “ let me see you cum. I want to watch you squirt all over your belly.” She’s stroking me with her left hand and fingering my ass deeper and deeper with her right and I am losing control. ”Oh my God, baby”, I say, “You’ve got it. You’ve got it so hard!” She shoves her finger deep into my ass and my cock squirts a giant stream of jizz up onto my face and each successive squirt lands on my chest and stomach as she shoves her finger ever deeper into my ass. She is licking the cum off my body as I continue to shoot it into her hair and I am screaming my delight and release when the door slams open. It’s her mother and she is armed and pissed. Sheila jumps up as if to shield me from her mother’s wrath and says “Mommy it wasn’t his fault!” BANG! The gun goes off and my beautiful lover falls to the floor. “Jesus!” I scream “Sheila!” “My God woman, your daughter!” She looks at me with a cold hard hate I can’t even comprehend and says “Fuck that little whore and fuck you too you son of a bitch!” BANG! The gun goes off again. I feel the thud of lead into my chest and fall to my knees next to Sheila. “Baby…” I say and fade into darkness.
I open my eyes. OK, let’s take stock. Any pain? Well, other than feeling a bit cold and stiff from sleeping on the ground I feel pretty fine. I could sure use a bit of sippin’ whiskey though. Damn. OK, where am I? I sit up and look around. Well tease my ears and ease my tears, I’m on the prairie! I’m next to a campfire and there’s a coffeepot still on it. That looks promising! I hunt around for a cup and find one. I go to pour myself a steaming hot cup of coffee and realize that the coffee pot in might hot. I put on one of the gloves that are next to me and fill the cup. The aroma instantly wakes me up and I take a few sips. Not as good as whiskey but it will do for a start. “Now let’s see, what the heck am I doing out here?’ I muse to myself. I look at the sky and try to remember anything at all but I come up blank. “Well, this sure is powerful strange!” I say to the horse tethered to a dead tree off to my right. He looks at me like I’ve lost my mind as if to say “You don’t know who you are, where you are or why you’re here and you’re asking a horse for a hint? You need help partner.” I grin at him sheepishly and say, “Well you’re no help at all!” I stand up and look around. Off to my left there’s a valley and I see a herd of cows casually grazing and flicking their tails around, heads to the ground looking for their morning munching. No help there. To my right are rolling foothills that gradually climb into a purple hued mountain range capped with snow off in the distance. Ahead of me the sun is rising over the horizon and above me the hazy purple black sky is dotted with stars that are slowly blinking out as the oncoming tide of light erases them from view.
I gaze around in wonderment and bewilderment, not entirely sure of how to proceed. I decide to pack up camp and take a look around. Maybe there’s someone else out here that can give me a hint to fill in the gaping void of my memory. I rub my head with my hand feeling for lumps or bumps that might explain this sudden absence of recollection but I seem unscathed. ‘Mighty puzzling!” I say again to the horse, but he just looks disgusted and turns the other way.
I get on my boots and I find my hat and put that back on my head. I roll up my bedroll and blanket and tie them up securely. I pack up the cooking equipment and pack that into a bag that also contains some various rations and a couple of canteens full of water. I take a leak on the fire but that’s not nearly enough to put it out. I chuckle at the notion that I might have had to pee badly enough to put the whole thing out like it was a fire hose. “Ha!” I laugh out loud and say to no one in particular, since the horse is now ignoring me, “Some cowboy I am!”
I begin packing my gear on my horse and, though I can’t seem to remember much of anything packing up the horse seems to come naturally as if from years of practice. I put my rifle here, my bedroll there; the victuals on the one side and the cooking gear on the other; I seem to have everything I need, except a clue. I look around once more and, seeing as I don’t seem to have forgotten anything essential to my immediate survival, I untie the horse and mount up.
“So far, so good” I think to myself as my horse plods down into the valley. Maybe I’ll recognize the cattle brand or something. Although the morning is dawning into a fairly nice day I cast an eye towards the mountains and something about the ominous clouds building up behind the range makes me think that we might be in for some rain and maybe even a nasty storm in the not too distant future. “Ha!” I laugh again. “Hey horse, now I’m a fortune teller! I can see the future but am doomed to be unable to remember the past!” I start to have a good laugh at that but then it hits me that maybe it’s not all that funny. What if I really can’t figure out what to do here? I suppose I could find the trail and figure out where these damn cattle came from and start driving them in the other direction, but for all I know they’re not even mine! I could get shot or hung that way pretty damned quick if I turn out to be wrong. On the other hand if they ARE mine of if I’m supposed to be taking them to market somewhere I could be in pretty bad shape for failing to do that too! Hmmm, what to do, what to do…
The cattle each have a brand on their left rear haunches in the shape of a capital A in a circle with the lines of the letter extending beyond the circle a small amount. This looks really too familiar to me but not so much that I can figure out what it means. I take off my hat and scratch my head looking at the cows looking back at me and I’m totally at a loss.
I cluck at the horse and begin circling the herd to try and figure out from their tracks which direction they might have come from. From what I can see of the tracks lead off to the South. “OK, that’s something.” I think, “We’re heading up North.” I have to assume it’s “we” since I can think of no other reason why I’d be out here and since they seem to be here with me I can’t really draw any other conclusion. The clouds from behind the mountain range have built up enough juice to make their way over the mountain and they have filled the sky above with menacing rain clouds. I decide to ride on a bit and seek shelter from the impending cloudburst.
We are riding down a fairly steep slope at this point and the loose gravel begins to slide down and pretty soon the horse is trying to backpedal and I quickly realize that neither the horse nor I am really in any sort of control of our descent. This would not at all be a good time to fall and get hurt and I’m uselessly yelling “Whoa!” at the horse like a damned fool. As we reach the bottom of the incline I breathe a deep sigh of relief and I think the horse shares these sentiments. I’m about to congratulate him on his swift, sound and safe descent when he spooks a sleeping rattlesnake that quickly rears up, rattles menacingly and strikes at the poor equine who instinctively neighs and rears up, backing and filling away as I am again helplessly yelling “Whoa!” and “Easy boy!” when I suddenly lose my grip and just as I feared I tumble backwards off the damned horse striking my head on a boulder with a loud “Crack!” that thoroughly rings my chimes and as the horse gallops off with all my worldly possessions I think to myself somewhat ruefully “Some cowboy I am!” With that the sky cracks open and the rain pours down through the gaping wound drenching me as I lose consciousness on the valley floor.
I look in the bedroom mirror; I’m wearing a long white silk nightshirt. My eyes are a piercing blue and my hair is long, blonde and disheveled. I smile and laugh at myself. Yes, there is mischief afoot this evening, I feel certain of it. I give myself a little salute in the mirror and laugh out loud again.
There are several lovely oil paintings on my walls. There’s one of me in a top hat and tails with a wry smile on my face looking like the proverbial cat that ate the canary. I’m standing in front of a crimson red curtain leaning on an ebony cane with an ivory handle and I’m wearing white gloves. I like it! The small golden plaque at the bottom is engraved with the words Dr. Jack L. Dupres, Esq. So that’s who I am! “Hello handsome! Pleased to meet you!” I say to the painting and tip my imaginary top hat to me. I make a fine figure of a man if I do say so myself, and I do. From the looks of things I must be quite the lady-killer.
There’s another one that gives me pause; it is of a woman in a red dress with green sleeves. Her face is painted white with bright red lips, blue eye shadow, and long thick black lashes. She is holding a bouquet of fading roses and her long reddish-blonde hair is pulled up spilling down in little ringlets around her shoulders. She has a wistful look on her face, a kind of sad half-hearted smile and I instantly want her and hate her at the same time. The little gold engraved plaque on her painting says Jacqueline Dupres.
I walk out the door of my expansive and plush boudoir and into my finely appointed bath and turn on the gas lamp. The fine brass fittings gleam in the lamplight and the grand porcelain tub on its clawed three toed feet beckons me to it. I put the cork drain plug stopper in the drain, turn on the finely gilded brass and crystal hot water faucet and watch the steaming water slowly fill the tub. The steam rises and fogs the mirror over the sink as my eyes fall on the pearl handled straight razor on the edge of the sink. I pick it up and flick it open with my thumb and look at my reflection in the fine sharp steel blade. I run my thumb lovingly along the edge of its sharp blade and I accidentally nick the tender flesh along the side.
My bright red blood drips into the sink and splashes into beautiful little patterns like bloody flakes of snow on a frozen winter lake. I become almost hypnotized by the ballet of blood unfolding in my sink, the blood pooling and running into little rivers and pools, each droplet of blood splashing new designs and realigning the rhythm of the bloody dance. Tears mist my eyes as he beauty touches my soul and I think to myself that soon I shall be composing an even grander bloody bouree for the world to dance to. I run the cold water in the sink and hold my thumb under it, squeezing the wound together. It’s not very deep, and I see it was just me milking it for all this time that supplied the actors for my little play in the sink. I watch the chill water wash the rivulets of blood down the drain of the sink and I laugh aloud again at its playful little jig down the drain and out to the endless cold cruel sea.
After a brief visit with the chamber pot I pour some rose water from the crystal decanter by the side if the tub into the steaming hot water and I strip off my silk night shirt and hang it on the gold hook on the back of my bathroom door. I climb into the tub and slowly lower myself into the water exulting in the delicious burn of the hot water on my skin. As I lave last night’s sweat from my skin I sing a little tune. “Ring around the rosy, a pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes, we all fall DOWN!” I sing, splashing the water on the word ‘down’. For some reason I get into a little repeating loop with this and I do it over and over as I wash. I’m sure I would look completely mad to any onlooker, a grown man singing a child’s song and splashing in the bath but fortunately there is no one to see and I dissolve into fits of laughter at the notion of being watched. I dunk my head under the scalding water and scratch my scalp vigorously. I lather it with the imported Oriental soap by the bath side and rinse it repeatedly.
I climb from the tub naked and dropping wet and I pull the drain plug and setting it aside I watch the water slowly empty from the tub circling the drain and gurgling it’s little seaward song as it goes. I take a rich terrycloth bath towel from the pile on the shelf and dry myself thoroughly. I crack open the bathroom door and the steam languidly drifts from the room clearing the mirror once again and I stop to admire my naked form. The figure in the glass is like finely chiseled marble, each surface glistening and rippling with taut muscle beneath. My chest and abdomen are like eight perfectly symmetrical square stone blocks. My nipples are small and tight and the veins on my bulging biceps stand out like cables beneath a silken sheath. I am nearly devoid of body hair and my uncut prick is long and thick and my bollocks are the size of chicken eggs, all covered in a fine downy fleece. I’m amazed at my youthful appearance, though I can’t say why. “Surely I am some gay sculptor’s wet dream!” I say aloud and nearly collapse in a fit of hysterical giggling. “Time to dress for the ball” I shout, my voice echoing through the cavernous halls of my finely appointed estate. I exit the bathroom leaving the towel on the floor for the servants who shall surely return in the morning to clean up.
Re-entering my bedroom I throw open the door to my enormous walk in closet and view the many fine and splendorous garments within. Rows of top hats and coats and silken ties and cravats of all colors and styles are arranged perfectly and I think to myself that somewhere there’s a servant sighing with relief at the beating he’s not going to get because everything is perfect. “PERFECT!” I shout again and with a wild laugh I begin picking out my accoutrements for an evening’s outing. Soon I am dressed as impeccably as any haberdasher on Bourbon Street could ever dream in his wildest imagination and I pirouette in the mirror overcome with joy. It’s the perfect bait. “Yes,” I say aloud, “this will do very nicely; very nicely indeed!” But something is missing; I’m not done yet, I can’t feel it. I look around the room and my eyes fall again on the sainted painting of my cursed mother. I approach and again instinct or habit takes over and I pull on the edge of the frame. It swings out and reveals what I’m looking for; a wall safe behind! I look at the elaborate combination lock, momentarily puzzled and then, again instinctually I reach for the combination and closing my eyes I feel for the tumblers to fall as I turn it. First right; turn, turn, turn, click! Then left; turn, turn, turn, click! And finally right, turn, turn, click! I reach for the carefully polished handle and turning it I am rewarded with the clank of the locking mechanism releasing and within the sight of many paper notes all carefully bundled together neatly by denomination and pieces of gold and silver; doubloons and silver stars and various loose pounds and pence all neatly stacked. I take a goodly supply of monies and full my wallet and change purse and then relock the safe and replace the painting.
I return to the closet, once more seemingly out of habit, and there in the very corner are the accessories I am missing; my ebony cane with the ivory handle and two black bags. I open the first and inventory the contents. Within is a perfectly non-descript change of clothes. The second contains an excellent variety of carefully chosen tools perfectly honed to their individual tasks. I grab both bags and the cane and dash from the room. The night is young but it grows no younger and there is work to be done!
I turn on the gaslights for the lower portion of the house and bound down the wide white marble staircase admiring the intricately hand carved black rock maple railings. There are many beautiful oil paintings hanging on the walls and I marvel at my exquisite taste in fine art and furnishings. Truly I am a prince among men! Evidently I am alone in the house and so I must have sent the servants home for the night. This annoys me momentarily and it occurs to me that I really should have some servants’ quarters built for the house, but then I remember that all in all I really value my privacy. Servants will talk and that sort of thing just will not do now will it?
I walk out of my great oak door and locking the lock behind me, bags in one hand and cane in the other I stride down my red brick walkway through the front gardens and out onto the street. There is a very slight chill in the air and my breath makes ever so slight clouds of fog in the pale lamplight. As I walk down the street I take in the sights and sounds of the city after nightfall; urchins still running and shouting in the street, couples out walking, the occasional whiff of some delightful culinary experiment from the kitchens of the surrounding homes and restaurants; the clip and clop of horses steel shod hooves on the cobblestones all join together in a wondrous cacophony of sight sound and smell that delights my senses no end.
Finally I spy an empty livery cab and I hail the driver with a wave of my white- gloved hand. His pulls his horse and buggy to the curb next to me, bids me good evening and queries “Where to guv’nor?” “Take me to where the people indulge in all their vices my good man!” I respond, “I shall be slumming this evening and no dive is too despicable, nor lady so wayward that they shall not enjoy my company tonight!” “Very good Sir,” the hack replies, “Donavon street shall it be then?” to which I rejoin “If that fits the description I have just given you Sir, then by all means let us away hence and you shall profit handsomely from it if I am well pleased!” “Very good Sir.” He replies and after I mount the buggy and close the door he clucks his horse to a trot and we are away.
After a goodly ride through the stony central streets of the city I see we are coming to the poorer quarters where the ragged people go. There are more beggars, gimps, drunkards, addicts, ne’er do wells of every stripe and ladies of the evening…Prostitutes! Whores I say! There are more of these folk and their ilk than anywhere else in this fair city I daresay. Then I see the street sign proclaiming our arrival at the destination; Donovan Street!
We proceed down the road apace until I spy an establishment that appears to my liking. It is off the beaten path, right on the river with many a dark alley handy for my dark purposes. “The Salty Dog” the sign proclaims and the boisterous goings on within are in fact spilling out onto the street in the form of a drunken brawl, presumably over the whore who is screaming and roundly cursing all and sundry within earshot. “Pull over just here my good man.” I say to the driver, leaning out the window of my cab.
Ah, there’s butchery in the making; I can feel it! I step from the cab and address the driver. “How much do I owe you Sir?” I query. He looks me up and down doubtless noticing my finery and, making a quick calculation thereof replies “Five pounds guv’nor.” It’s an exorbitant sum for such services, of course, and I expect no less. “I see.” I reply. “Do you know the hour good Sir?” “Why yes,” he responds, checking his pocket watch, “It’s just past the hour of ten o’clock.” “I thank you Sir.” I reply as I count out several notes from my wallet. “Here’s fifty, dear boy.” I say, enjoying his wide-eyed surprise as he reaches for the notes.
At the last possible second I pull them back and continue, “There’s just one thing: See that you pass by yonder corner every hour on the hour until you see me standing there. If you do that you can count on another fifty for the return trip. Do we have an accord Sir?” knowing full well that I’ve probably offered him two weeks’ pay for a single round trip. “Why yes Sir!” he answers eagerly “Thank you Sir!” I finish our negotiations with “There will be a sizable tip for you in addition if you are prompt, and I mean quite prompt so please do not be late for your sake and whatever you do speak of this to no one, now or nor ever hence.” He gets the message. “Very good Sir. See you then.” is his answer and I feel sure of a prompt ride home when I need it.
They say the flip side of brilliant genius is violent madness; wait, do they say that or did I just make it up? No matter. I walk to the door of ‘The Salty Dog’ and address the giant bruiser standing guard at the door. “Good evening Sir,” I say. “What might your name be?” “Who’s askin’ and what’s it to you?” he says with a snarl. “Well you see Sir,” I respond, discreetly producing a fifty-pound note from my coat, “I’ve a considerable amount of money invested in my health and well being. I’d consider it a special favor if you’d do everything in your power to help me maintain it. There’s a sizeable tip in it for you if you’re interested in doing so.” He looks at me, and then looks at the note in my hand and his demeanor instantly changes to one of obsequious benevolence. “Why yes Sir!” he says “With a certainty Sir! No one will bother you while ol’ William is about!” “Thank you William. Can you please be sure that no one disturbs these and that I leave with them?” I ask handing him my bags.” “Why yes Sir, with pleasure Sir!” he answers. “Good man.” I reply evenly and walk through the door. Ah, how I love the peace of mind money can buy. “Don’t forget to be sure William gets you your bags when you leave, Jack.’ I say to myself.
I saunter into the crowded smoky room passing the various whores, sea dogs, scoundrels and generic riff raff towards the bar. I squeeze in at the end feeling some gratification that no one really notices me except in passing. At a place like this it tends to pay to mind your own business unless you want that business unceremoniously cut off. A few thieves eye me but I feel sure that any attempt to truly trouble me will be headed off by William who has had a smaller underling replace him at the door and is now keeping a watchful eye on myself and my bags as his full time occupation. Those few curious folks are quickly scared back to staring at their beers by his withering stare. Good man
I get the barkeeper’s attention and when he gets down to my end of the bar and asks, “What’ll it be Guv’nor?” I respond Bring me a bottle of your finest single malt whiskey and two of the cleanest glasses you have.” Then in response to his querying look I say in a quiet conspiratorial tone. “Money is no object, so please, no watered down dreck. I know the difference.” He is soon back with an unopened bottle of passable rotgut and two glasses that were cleaned recently; at least sometime this century from the looks of them. That’s a sad side effect of haunting such places but one I’ll just have to live with. The bait is laid and the trap is set; now all that’s left to do is to wait for the prey. I don’t have long to wait.
She is young, maybe seventeen years old. Her hair is black as obsidian and she is wearing the traditional red dress with the green sleeves. The back of her dress is very low cut and she has a very detailed floral tattoo inscribed on her back. Its colors are especially vibrant and it appears to be relatively quite new. Her face is truly angelically beautiful and I make her for a full-blooded Sicilian. She is perfect; yes, she’ll do very nicely for my diabolical purposes. As she walks over to me from across the room I can feel my pulse and my night picking up nicely. “Good evening Sir” she greets me with a little curtsey. “Good evening to you little Miss.” I reply with a barely hidden leer. “May I join you for a drink?” she asks in a pretend demure way that charms my heart. “But of course!” I reply ‘As long as you’re buying!” her face drops and I can’t help but chuckle aloud at her crest fallen look. “No, no, my dear,” I continue with a smile, ”forgive a silly old man a sad joke in extremely poor taste! Please join me by all means.” A sunny smile takes over her face and she pulls up a chair next to me at the bar, practically in my lap.
I can tell by looking at her that she’s fairly new to the whoring trade. She has none of the hard, beaten, leathery look of a real hard-core whore. I’m looking forward to saving her from the fate that consumed my mother. I pour us both a drink. I slug mine down in one shot, feeling the passionate burn of the whiskey in my throat and savoring every drop. When she sees this she tries to imitate me and nearly chokes to death. She coughs and hacks and the blurry haze takes over her eyes and I nearly laugh myself to death in spite of myself. “Easy there my dear,” I say, rubbing her back. “You’ll be fine. It gets easier as you go.” I pour us both another shot. What’s your name Miss?” I inquire. “Peace.” She replies. “Piece?” I say with a laugh. “Piece, get it? No? Well, I suppose you wouldn’t. No matter.” She looks at me slightly bemused and continues “And what is your name Sir?” She has a slight lisp and I notice that her tongue is pierced with a silver barbell through it. “My name?” I reply, “My name is never was. My name is might have been. My name’s forgotten. My name is of no consequence love, but if you wish to address me you may call me ‘Sir’.” I reply with my fabulously perfect wry smile. Realizing she’ll soon be passed out if I keep feeding her this fine whiskey I decide on a gentler course of action “Barkeep!” I say, addressing the bartender, “let’s have a lady’s drink for our Lady Peace here.” Then I turn to her and say, “The time has come my love to speak of many things; demons chasing dragons and dragons smoking kings.” She looks at me with that same sad little half smile my mother had and says “You’re funny Sir.” “Yes,” I reply, “Quite funny. Quite funny indeed.” I slug back my second shot anticipating the immediate future with a relish normally reserved for rare beef. Next stop: bloody murder.
“So,” I ask, by way of making small talk with my meal, “have you been working here for long, My Lady Peace?” She blushes a deep crimson and casts her eyes down and away. “That long, eh?” I continue, trying to decide if it’s blushing innocence of utter same at having been a whore since she was twelve. I feel sure from her demeanor that it’s the former and that gets me very hot indeed. She looks back from behind her long lovely lashes and says in a near whisper, “No Sir. In truth this is my very first night. My father passed away two weeks ago tomorrow and as he left me nothing I had nowhere to go. Madam Baudelaire here at The Salty Dog took me in. I was to be a chambermaid but she felt I’d be more…useful... working the bar.” “I’m terribly sorry my poor, poor child. Whatever can I do?’ I ask with mock sincerity but being the babe in the woods that she clearly is it is lost on her entirely. “You’re such a nice man Mister...I mean Sir.” “Yes child, I am a nice man.” I reply. “How would you like to come work for me instead?” Her eyes light up like a Christmas candle and she breathlessly replies, “Could I? Could I really?” “Why yes of course my dear!” I answer. “I can easily pay your wages, certainly better than you could make as a chambermaid in this…place. What’s more you’d be entirely free of the more…distasteful...aspects of ‘working the bar’ as you so delicately put it.” Relief floods her young face and I am overjoyed that I’m going to save her from the life of evil she has chosen. Yes. Overjoyed indeed! “Now drink your drink my dear and let us celebrate your newfound employment.” I say, downing another shot. “Oh dear,” she replies, “Madam Baudelaire will be upset if I don’t…finish my shift.” She finishes up lamely. “Not to worry my dear,” I rejoin, “both you and The Madam will be well compensated for your company this evening.” And with that I slide a folded up one hundred pound note across the bar towards her. Will she be saved or will she fall? I wonder. She eyes me, then the bank note for a long moment and then snatches it from my hand. Hmm. She takes the fall; the deal is sealed. Very well. I’m not really listening as she gushes her thanks at me. “No matter child, no matter. Tonight you shall keep me company and afterwards we will retire to my mansion and I’ll show you to your new home in the servants’ quarters. In the meantime let us eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow...will come tomorrow. I continue drinking my whiskey feeling it’s warmth fill my belly and quicken my loins for the task at hand as I feed her drink and drink until I feel sure she’s properly…lubricated. Meanwhile I’m keeping an eye on my pocket watch so we can leave at an appropriate time to perform my duties and still catch my ride at the appointed time. Finally I judge the time correct and I say to her, “He dear lady, the watching hour approaches and it is time; we must away. No, no, there’s no need to say your farewells. There will be plenty of time for that later. In the meantime I must keep my appointment with my coachman and I dislike being late. Come along.” I take her arm and guide her to the door.
At the door I greet my man William again. “Have you my bags my good man?” I ask. “Yes Sir, guv’nor, right here Sir.” He replies handing me my bag. “You are a good man William. The righteous always get their just rewards.” and I hand him the hefty tip I promised him. “Thank you very kindly Sir!” he says, marveling at the account. “Just one last thing William,” I continue in a conspiratorial tone, “should anyone inquire as to a man of my description, leaving with this young lady you shall tell them you’ve seen no such thing, shan’t you? I’d hate for my sainted wife’s family to find out I frequented such a place.” I pause for emphasis, and hold up some more folded bills. “You understand don’t you William my good man?” Indeed I do guv’nor!” He says with a wink, taking the bills. “I ain’t seen hide nor hair of you nor anyone like you Sir; Not tonight nor ever!” “That’s my man. Cheers and good night!”
Having hopefully obtained a bit of quiet about my general presence in the area I guide the rather tipsy Lady Peace out of the bar and down the sidewalk of the damp cobblestone street. The crowd has thinned considerably and there’s hardly a soul about and that suits my purposes perfectly. I find a likely alley and glancing around to be sure no one sees us I guide her into it.
Into the alley and rape, torture, kill and dissect her beautiful young nubile and hopefully virginal body in glorious careful detail, then change into the new clothes, dump the old clothes in the river and catch the cab back home to kiss my cursed whore mother’s picture good night and sleep the peaceful sleep of the damned and the doomed. Here’s to the rescue of one more young and beautiful little whore that I’ll have saved from a life of shame.
I breathe in her scent as she asks me why we’re going this way and I tell her not to worry. “Tut-tut, dear, don’t you trust your new employer and savior?” I ask. “Yes Sir, she says, I’m sorry Sir.” She replies. “Good girl.” I say, beaming on her ability to remember my instructions about calling me Sir. It’s a shame I have to kill her, but the devil must be given his due and that right soon. I pause in our stroll and put down my cane, my hat and my bags out of the way and say “I have a surprise for you my dear.” “A surprise? Why, Sir! You shouldn’t have!’ she responds with glee. If she only knew… “Ah but my dear, I must.” I say. “Now be a good girl, stand here, yes that’s right face the wall and no peeking” I unzip the bag with my instruments and pick out my favorite blade. The expertly honed blade would cut a pig in half and the black ivory handle’s stays dry and firm in the bloodiest of conditions. It is slightly curved, about eight inches long and serrated. Further there are deep cross-angled cuts in the back of the blade perfect for sawing through bone. It is a piece of perfect craftsmanship and I get misty just looking at it. “Now I need you to be perfectly silent my darling,” I say stepping close behind her. “You may open your eyes.” I say grabbing her hair firmly in my left hand and holding the blade horizontally in front of her face. She inhales sharply as I grab her hair and her eyes snap open focusing on the knife in front of her. I immediately continue “Not a single sound my love or it shall go the worse for you indeed. I paid the madam handsomely for you back at The Salty Dog and I intend to reap the benefit of every cent. Now you will do my bidding exactly as I say and in complete and utter silence or you will not live to see tomorrow my darling and no one will think to even wonder where you’ve gone. If you please me perfectly you may yet live on unscathed. If I am getting through to you in a completely clear fashion say, in a whisper mind you, ‘Yes, Sir.’” She is breathing in short desperate gasps and her heart is racing at least twice the speed of mine and I’m hot as a firecracker already. “Y-y-y…yes, S-s-sir.’ She stammers, nearly sobbing with terror. “Good girl.” I say, “Soon this will all be over, yes, all over.” I unzip the zipper of my pants and get out my raging hard cock, which is by now extended to its full length. “Now turn around slowly, get down on your knees and worship whatever you find there with that beautiful delicate mouth of yours.” I say, relishing the tears in her eyes and the fear on her face. “But…but Sir, I…” she falters. “You’ve what?” I say, “never done this before? Maybe not but if you want to live to see tomorrow and get the job you so yearned for a few moments ago you’ll do as your told, exactly as you’re told or I’ll cut you up and throw you in the river. I turn her around roughly and look her right in the eyes. “Do you understand me?” I ask in a deadly whisper. She searches my eyes and seeing the fierce resolve therein complies and slowly gets to her knees. “Mmmm, I always love this part.” I think to myself. She looks up at me, pleading with her eyes but I give her a stern look and I say ‘Take it in your mouth precious. All of it.” She hesitates and I grab a handful of her dark silky hair and put the sharp point of my wicked looking blade to the corner of her eye and say “Use your hands too, and it had better look and feel like you’re enjoying yourself or it will go hard, yes, very hard on you indeed. Now take it in both hands and open your mouth my precious little whore.”
She gingerly reaches up and grasps my throbbing member around the base with both hands and opens her mouth, looking up at me. “Now suck it bitch!” I whisper fiercely, and with her hair firmly in my fist I pull her mouth onto me. She involuntarily lets a gasp out of her nose and gags a little as it hits the back of her throat. “Ah, yes, I say. Swallow. Swallow over and over like you’re trying to gulp down a sausage in one go.” To her credit she tries valiantly and it begins to feel very good indeed. “Yes,’ I coo to her “that’s right. Please me well tonight and you shall have all that your heart desires.” With that, to my surprise, she actually gets into a rhythm really attempting to please me! I let her know it’s working nicely by withdrawing and thrusting back into her mouth repeatedly. “Hold it at the base with your right hand,’ I say,” and stroke it up and down with the other hand while you lick the tip.” Might as well direct her. She clearly IS innocent and it’s almost going to be a shame to have to kill her, but she was really dead the second she took the money. She blithely follows my directions and I think to myself that if she really hasn’t done this before she’s quite good at it.
I think about asking her to put her finger in my ass but the look of her long fingernails decides me against it. I begin to tire of her ministrations. This is supposed to humiliate and hurt her. She’s not supposed to be enjoying it and in spite of my direction for her to do so it looks like she is. This annoys me and reignites my ferocity.
“That’s enough.” I say. “Stand up and put your hands against the wall. When she looks up at my bewildered I drag her roughly to her feet by her hair and again whisper in my angriest voice “Fucking slut! Obey me when I’m talking to you!” She gives a little cry of pain as I yank her up and spin her around against the wall. “If you make one more sound like that I’m going to slit your fucking throat you cunt. Do you understand me? One. More. Sound.” She is practically blubbering now and I should kill her for her insolence but I’m not done with her yet and that wouldn’t do at all.
“Now put your hands against that wall, hold very still and don’t make another sound or I’m going to hurt you a lot worse.” I whisper directly in her ear. She complies. “That’s right,” I say, “stay right there, right there.” I take the knife and, still holding her hair I insert it gently into the sash tying her dress shut and push down ever so gently. I hear the material rip under the tender ministrations of my blade and I slit open the sash and the back of her dress all the way to the ground and it exposes the two perfect shining white globes of her fabulously beautiful young ass to the moonlight.
“Ah, yes, that’s right.” I say, kicking her feet wider apart and spreading her legs for an easier entry. “Now my darling,” I whisper in her ear as the frightened and humiliated tears run down her cheeks and her breath comes in wracking sobs, “I’m going to take you French style. En Cul, they call it; in the ass and it’s going to hurt; it’s going to hurt a lot but you must be very careful not to make a single sound no matter how great the pain, do you understand?” “Please Sir,” she begs, “Please I…” I cut her off: “If you say one more word I’m going to cut your throat right here.” I say, putting the blade to her throat again and jabbing the end in a little to make my point. “Do I make myself perfectly fucking clear you fucking piece of meat, you? Nod if you understand.” She hesitates for a second and then nods.
“Very good,” I say, “now hold still.” That little exchange has invigorated my hard on even more and I release her hair while holding the blade to her throat with my right hand and licking my left hand I coat my prick with a generous coating of my saliva and position it at the entry of her virginal ass. I take a handful of the remnants of her dress at the base of her spine plunge my rod into her as hard and fast and deep as I can and I enter her to the hilt, while whispering, “Take it bitch!” in her ear as she gasps in pain. Holding the knife to her throat I begin to slowly take my pleasure in her and the slower and harder and deeper I go I know the more it hurts her. Her breath is coming in short agonizing gasps with every thrust and withdrawal and this excites me more and more as I pick up the pace. She’s is whimpering more and more as I carry on, approaching my orgasm and I feel her get wet. I know I have ripped her open and she is bleeding. This takes me to the edge and at the moment I come I cry “Mother!” and cut her throat.
Her asshole clenches on me like a vice and I’m pumping my cum into her as the blood from her ass dribbles down my legs and the blood from her throat gushes out onto the front of her bodice. She gurgles and bubbles as the blood sprays on the wall in front of us and I continue my thrusts reveling in her tightness, as she grows limper and limper. I can smell it as she pisses herself and her entire body relaxes. I pull out of her ass and drop her. She slumps to the ground in a puddle of blood.
I pull a towel from my bag and clean myself off somewhat. I strip off my jacket and top hat and lay them on the ground nearby. I’ve been looking around regularly to make sure we weren’t interrupted in our revelry and there is still no sound. All is quite still in the pale moonlight. It’s perfect.
I roll her over and cut off the rest of her clothes and throw them in a bloody pile beside her. She lies there naked and bloody and I admire my handiwork. There she is, perfectly at ease and saved for the horrible life of a wretched whore. I feel like an angel. Taking a firm grip on her hair I use the lovely knife’s gorgeous sharp blade to good effect and saw off her head, careful not to cut any of her hair. She looks so lovely! I pick up the severed head and kiss her firmly on the lips. “Thank you, my dear.” I say, ”You were fabulous.”
I rest the head to the side, placing it so she can watch the proceedings. I make a cross shaped incision in her stomach and pull back the flaps of skin exposing her internal organs which I remove one by one and place in a perfect circle around the body. Heart, lungs one by one, stomach; it’s still full of liquor, I can smell it. Kidneys, liver, and finally her precious uterus; I close up the flaps of her crucifix shaped wound and place her womb on her chest here her heart would be and fold her hands together over it. I then carefully dissect her vagina. The inner and outer labia, her delicate clitoris that I pop into my mouth and swallow, thereby keeping her beloved pleasure with me always; finally I open her legs and position them as if she were giving birth and I place her head between them, facing her filthy whore cunt so she can see clearly what she has become and my work here is done.
I strip naked and clean the blood off me with a bottle of alcohol stored in my bag. Then I anoint myself with scented oil to mask the scent of sex, death and filth from my skin. Once I’m clean and presentable in the hand mirror in my bag I dress in my replacement clothes, put on my surgical gloves and stuff everything in the bag that my change of clothes came from; her bloody whore’s rags, my bloody tuxedo, and various and sundry. Then I clean my tools and replace them in their own bag. I look around and seeing I am still unobserved I take up my cane, top hat and bags and continue down the alley whistling a merry tune.
Once at the river I fond a suitable stone, throw it in the bag with all of the bloody detritus from my little mission and cast it with all my might far out into the river. I am rewarded with a satisfying splash. I check my watch. Perfect! It’s just a quarter before the hour and my faithful driver should be along at any moment to spirit me away back home. I am elated. I pad slowly through the streets like a panther satiated from its kill tapping my cane on the stones in a joyful rhythm and humming a happy little nonsense tune.
As I approach the appointed corner from another street I spy my faithful driver waiting with his horse and carriage for me. I know tomorrow there will be terrified, nay horrified headlines about the vile and violent killer on loose and the murdered whore, but they can’t understand. They will never understand. Not only did I save that charming young girl from a horrible life of sexual servitude like that of my own mother, but I offered her up as a warning to those who might consider taking up such a life. I am performing a valuable public service for the greater and moral good. What’s more I enjoyed it immensely and I can’t wait to do it all again tomorrow and the next day and the day after that again and again until kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.Amen.
“Good evening my good driver!” I call out and the churl sees me and says, “Good evening master! Did you enjoy your night on the town?” “Indeed I did Sir!” I reply.
“I have kept company with a good many interesting individuals and conversed with them at length. I’ve seen the inside of a good many fine taverns and their liquor has seen the inside of me to be sure!” “Very good Sir!” He replies. “Back home then Sir?” he queries.
“Just so!” I say. ”I’ve need of a warm bath, and a soft bed.” With that I mount my chariot of the gods and the driver clucks at his horse and we are off, back to my humble abode.
We drive past The Salty Dog and I hang back into the darkness watching out the window of the carriage. There’s William, the charming oaf. He’ll remember nothing when questioned regardless. Besides the money in his pocket, the redness of his eyes betrays a drunkenness that will surely erase and memory he has of me, or my little friend, the lovely Lady Peace.
We pass the alley that was so recently the site of my wonderful loving tryst with that fine black haired white skinned young beauty. If she were alive today I’m sure she’d thank me for my kindness. What little girl wants to grow up to be a whore?
Good Morning Alice
I open my eyes. OK, let’s take stock. Any pain? No pain, just a vague sensation quickening in my young and restless heart that something is not right and that somehow I’ve been here before. It is not comforting.
I walk outside and there’s an old shed. Inside it’s the closet in the hallway of my old house. It’s full of my mother’s clothes and the door won’t shut properly as there are too many clothes too tightly packed. I begin taking clothes out of it and I see there are metal folding lawn chairs in there, the kind that are upholstered with colored nylon strips. They are striped in yellow and white like the ones we had when I was growing up. I fold a couple of them up to make more space when I notice there’s an orange light from some sort of electric heating element. Apparently it is plugged in and stuck behind the corpse of an old guitar amplifier of mine. I try to move the amp but things are tangled up back there and it’s looking more and more like a serious fie hazard. I can see where it is plugged in but it’s jammed up against one of the wooden pieces of the frame of this shed/closet and I cant get to it without severely burning my hand. In fact it’s beginning to spark back there and now there’s somehow water dripping out of the electric socket in a steady stream. “How peculiar!” I think. I begin to panic. This has gone from bad to worse here and I[m sure the thing is going to burst into flames at any second. I run back into the house to look for a fire extinguisher.
I search in vain for a couple of minutes and then run back outside. I see that the amp and socket have burst into flames and it crosses my mind that my mother is gong to e pissed about her clothes…when the whole thing explodes throwing me on my back onto the ground, debris raining everywhere. I get up and survey the damage. It looks like the entire section with the rods upon which my mother’s clothes are all hanging came off in a single contiguous piece and are mostly still hanging on the rod, except the whole operation is lying on the ground. I try to move a section of it, but it’s not entirely sound and starts coming apart, so I leave it. There’s another big section off to my left and I see that. In addition to being demolished is swarming with carpenter ants; apparently their nest was disturbed by the explosion. I guess that’s one way to deal with carpenter ants.
I approach the foundation of the shed, if such it can be called. Many of the floor boards have been shaken loose and there’s something of a gaping hole that I think should be covered up so as to avoid stray dogs or small children falling in when I notice there’s a sort of staircase leading down into he gaping wound. “How peculiar!” I think again as I head over to investigate this new phenomenon. The rickety wooden stairs lead down into a dark cobwebbed area that somehow turns into a black metal spiral staircase. There’s just enough light coming from the cracked floor overhead to see where I’m going. The stairs themselves are becoming unevenly spaced odd shapes and it becomes apparent that sooner or later I’m going to fall. This notion is born out a few moments later when the entire spiral staircase gives way and I am falling. Pieces of the staircase are falling around me and I have to fend them off to keep them from hitting me in the head.
I find it somewhat puzzling that falling through the infinite blackness isn’t scaring me more. I mean, there has to be a bottom to this thing somewhere and it’s a pretty good bet that I’m going to hit it eventually and well hard, too. Then far below me I see a dot of light. The passage I’m falling through is getting smaller as the dot of light gets bigger. Soon I’m able to touch the walls and I use the friction of my hands and feet on the walls to slow me down so by the time I reach the opening at the bottom I’m almost stopped and I drop out of the hole onto the spongy floor. I’m feeling quite relieved that the hole didn’t shrink to a size to small for me to fit though. I was really getting scared and claustrophobic about that for a minute. Now I’m really starting to wonder what the fuck is going on around here. I look up the hole I just fell down and it seems an impossibly long way back to the top even if I could climb back up there which I know I can’t. “The way out is through.” I say aloud to no one in particular and start walking across the spongy yellow substance that the floor seems to be made of. The room is a very irregular shape and it seems endless since there’s always another section as I explore it and the floor is getting progressively bouncier. I feel like I’m in a movie of the moon landing as I’m fairly bounding impossible distances in slow motion across the weird spongy yellow shit. All is clearly not right here and all I can think is “How peculiar!”
The funhouse atmosphere is picking up as I go along and I’m starting to wonder if I’m entirely sane as I wander through rooms with different sized black and white polka dots and crazily skewed checkerboards and the walls and ceiling. There’s calliope music playing as I enter the mirrored room and am confronted with a million of me in all different shapes and sizes. There’s some throaty laughter and I start to get pretty scared as I wonder what sort of Gods and Monsters are having a laugh at my expense. I start to run. The spongy material of the floor has given way to a rough wooden floor like that of an old barn and suddenly I am confronted with the sound of the ocean. I look up and there ahead of me is an endless sea and between the sea and I are thousands of pilings of different heights all seemingly tied together like something you’d see on a playground. It even comes complete with all manner and size of old rubber tires, from absurdly big tractor type tires to tiny little red wagon wheels, all hung higgledy-piggledy from the occasional taller-than-most pilings oddly spaced with an ominously gibbet-like feel to them. I don’t know whether to feel relieved or more frightened than before but I start climbing down this seemingly endless obstacle course and I notice that the pilings themselves are starting to move slowly up and down independent of one another. This makes for rather slow going and I’m becoming annoyed. “Oh bother!” I curse aloud.
The movement of the pilings is becoming steadily faster and more pronounced. If it keeps speeding up at this rate soon it’ll be more than difficult getting over them. It’ll be impossible and very likely quite lethal. I’m jumping from piling to piling now trying my best to gauge their speed and period so that I land where one actually is. I’m doing sort of OK, sustaining only the occasional nasty shock and hard landing but then I botch it completely and I start getting pummeled mercilessly by the cursed things. Just when I think they’re truly going to kill me I am dumped face first in the sand at the bottom. I sit up and spit out a mouthful of sand just in time to see the wave crashing down on me.
I get rolled back into the pilings by the wave and bang my head soundly on the nearest one. I stand up coughing and spluttering, spitting out sand and seawater and generally feeling extremely pissed off all around. This is really starting to become aggravating and that pervasive laughter I keep hearing in the distance isn’t helping matters at all. Or is that thunder? It’s impossible to tell at this point what the hell it is so I decide to have a look around this seemingly abandoned shore.
The sky is purple here and the sea is a yellowish green. Bright pink fluffy clouds drift through the sky in random patterns that seem to deny the wind that, where I am, is blowing onto the shore. Large black birds that I can’t make out properly are hovering over the waves in the distance. An occasional fish jumps out of the water beneath them.
I hear the sound of a horn in the distance blowing long loud and clear blasts through the salty air. Soon there is a disturbance in the water near me and to my surprise a narwhale, a large speckled greenish-blue and gray beast with a large spiral horn breaks the surface and approaches me. It’s coming so fast that I feel sure it will beach itself and try to skewer me, but just of the beach it slows to a stop and regards me from one side of its head with a bright and shiny golden eye flecked with silver and centered with a deep black iris that contracts and expands as it focuses on me. “How peculiar!” I exclaim.
“No more peculiar than you.” The beast says to me in a deep melodious baritone that shakes the sand beneath my feet with its volume. I am taken mightily aback to say the least.
“Your point is well taken,” I say “for I am mightily puzzled at my presence here myself. I got here quite by accident and I’d really like to get back home but I really have no idea of the way.” “Hrrrrrrmmm,” intones the giant beast, “and where is home?” This takes me aback even further for what shall I answer, having no idea exactly where I am nor whence I came? “Well,” I begin, “I arrived by means of falling down a rather deep well so I imagine I need to get back there somehow, but nothing looks the least bit familiar and my travels thus far have been marked by even stranger terrain than this.”
“Indeed?” says he, ”Well, this seems quite normal to me so you must be from quite far off.” This troubles me for though I am none too sure about where home is I am sure that this isn’t it by a long stretch. “Alas,” I say, ”I cannot go back the way I came on so the way out must be through, yet I have no proper idea where to begin.” “What is your name man-thing?” inquires the narwhale. Now I am taken so far aback that I must be in front of me for I had not really pondered the question yet and I have no ready answer. “Erm…” I begin lamely but I trail off as I realize I do not know my own name. How peculiar!
“Erm, eh?” says the beast. “An unusual name indeed; I am called ‘Ishmael’ by some. Others call me by the name of Moby. Still others refer to me as Richard.” I am about to protest this foolishness when one of the black birds I saw before flies down from the sky and lights on Ishmael’s prodigious horn. Upon closer inspection I see it is a large black owl. “Well, well, well, Ish,” says the avian interloper, “What have we here? And more importantly do you think he’s good to eat?” He eyes me hungrily and I realize somewhat belatedly that I am quite alone, unarmed and without shelter of any kind. This could end badly at any moment. “Now, now, Malthazar,” says Ishmael, “We mustn’t eat everyone who happens along our beach just because we’re hungry. The man-thing here is named ‘Erm’ and he appears to be lost.” “See here!” I begin, about to protest that my name is not ‘Erm’ but as I have no proper name that I know of I finish somewhat lamely “Can either of you direct me home or shall I begin walking again?” Might as well put a bold face on it, but the fact is I certainly could not outrun the ravenous owl on this open beach were I the fastest runner known to man. “Well,” says Malthazar “that depends on where you’re headed. If you were off to the mountains of Ir I would send you that way” gesturing with his right wing towards that side of the beach which diminishes off into the distance. If you were headed for the flatlands of Ser I would point you that way.” Indicating the other direction with the other wing. “But since neither of those will do,” he says with a screech, “perhaps you’re bound for my belly!” “Malthazar!” Ish says loudly, echoing through the hills, disturbing the owl from his perch and making me cover my ears, “Enough! This stranger is our guest. Do NOT eat him!” Malthazar looks chastened though I can’t imagine what exactly the narwhale would do to the owl if he swooped down and ate me this very minute. “You just want him for yourself! You greedy thing!” the bird screams in frustration. “Not at all,” replies Ishmael evenly. “I’ll tell you what, Erm, climb into my mouth and I will carry you to the far side of this sea and perhaps you will find your way home from there.” says the narwhale, opening his enormous maw and revealing a purple polka dotted tongue and rows upon rows of sharp pointy silver teeth. I hear a trampling sound in the distance getting louder al the time but I am too preoccupied just now to look away from my would-be assailants. I know when I’m licked. I begin bowing and backing away thanking them both profusely for there help and protesting that I must be on my way when I am swept from my feet. “Centaurs!” scream the two giants, both lunging at me at once. The foul bird is chased off by the multitude of arrows that take flight around me and the narwhale in his lunge only makes a large wave that swamps the beach and then recedes into the yellow-green sea.
All at once I have a chance to take stock of my situation and wonder if I haven’t gone from the frying pan into the fire. I am on the back of a large horse with the torso of a man, and we are surrounded by a herd of males and females of his kind. They are unclad but well armed with bows and quivers of arrows and laden with what I assume are supplies of various kinds. When I recover my wits I say to my savior “Thank you for saving me!” “Ride now; talk later.” He responds curtly. I hold on to my mount and my tongue for the time being as we ride across the varying terrain. The purple sky gradually changes through blue and green into yellow and then orange while the clouds maintain only their sharp contrast with the sky. Meanwhile the odd colored sea and sand have given way to brightly colored flora of all shapes and sizes. There are miniature pine trees in bright orange and giant ferns in golden brown; Humongous mushrooms with red caps, yellow polka dots and green stems; acorns the size of boulders dot the landscape while the oak trees that spawn them sit beside a mere two feet tall. The occasional waterfall sends spray up into the sky to fall back to earth in a myriad of rainbow colored diamonds.
Finally the herd slows in the midst of an orchard of purple apples with orange spots and they begin to feed, the males shaking the trees by kicking the with their back hooves while the females catch the fallen apples in baskets beneath. There is much joviality afoot and my mount, evidently the leader, bids me dismount. I jump to the ground and stand there paralyzed in wonderment at these beautiful beasts as they gorge themselves on these purple polka-dotted apples. Hoe peculiar! I think to myself for the hundredth time today, seemingly. I decide to remain silent until spoken to for a change and I pick up a discarded apple and take a sniff. He smell is oddly sweet, much sweeter than a normal apple and I take a bite. I am amazed by the unexpected flavor, a mix of strawberries, pineapple, grapes and elderberries. I quickly eat the one in my hand and begin searching for more, eating them as I find them. They turn out to be intoxicating to me and I am getting more and more blitzed the more I eat. I am reaching for what seems like the hundredth one when the leader is suddenly beside me, grabbing my hand. “These are good only in moderate amounts,” the centaur says to me. “If you eat to many you will be beholden to then and they will consume you. Leave off now or be enslaved to the fruit.” I try to shake him off and take the next bite but he strikes the apple from my hand and shouts “Enough I said!” His sincerity and power wake me from my rapidly approaching apple slumber and I leave off.
“I am Archimedes,” he says. “I was sent to save you from the beasts of the yellow sea because you are not of this world and had they consumed you the balance of our worlds would be upset in such a way as to give them access to the upper realms. This cannot be.” “Sent?” I say, “Sent by whom?” “Sent by she who cannot be named.” He replies. “Ask me no more of her. Our job now is to return you to the surface and restore the balance.” “Ah,” I reply, my inner cynic kicking in “ask you no more of she who cannot be named who bid you save me from the beasts of the sea to restore balance to the realm. Are you fucking kidding me or what?” His eyes flash n anger and he is about to reply when a large explosion rocks the formerly serene glade. The centaurs scatter and Archimedes grabs me by the waist and hoists me onto his back again, galloping off. I am clinging to him for all I’m worth wondering again how on Earth I got myself into this bizarre predicament. How peculiar! Another explosion rocks the earth behind us and it appears that meteors are raining down from the sky onto our position. “What the fuck?!” I scream as we flee the scene, destruction raining down upon us. “There are more things in heaven and on Earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy!” Archimedes responds as he dodges the debris flying all around us. The herd approaches the edge if a forest of huge trees and soon we are enveloped beneath the canopy of an unspeakably tall forest of tress with golden green trunks and golden brown leaves with solid silver pineapples. As we leave behind the pursuit of giant flaming boulders from the sky I say to Archimedes in the most even tone I can manage: ”What. The. Fuck?”
Suddenly the liquid sky cracks open and as the purple rain pours through the gaping wound the silver surfer above screams violet incantations at the indomitable sprit of the Earth until Archimedes replies: “Dude, chill.” “Chill?” I scream, ”Chill you say? How in the fuck am I supposed to chill? I’m lost in a gleaming ghost desert of flaming fucked-up-ed-ness a thousand light years from home and all you can say to me is ‘Chill’?” I’m usually willing to go on a little faith when I don’t know what the fuck is going on but this makes Michael Jackson look mighty fucking pale in comparison. Now I’d like a sincere hint about what’s going on or so help me you’re going to be a gelding by morning!” Archimedes looks at me over his equine shoulder for a long moment, sighs and says, “You’d better sit down.” “I AM sitting down mother fucker!” I scream, “Now what the fuck is what here or what?” “That’s a very eloquent argument indeed,” he says sagely, “but you’d better chill or I’m going to dump you off my back and stomp the living fuck out of you no matter what She-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named says.”
The earnestness of his tone and demeanor make me rethink my position on gelding him and I reply in a meek voice “OK, I’m chill. Now what are we going to do about getting me home?” “We need to get you through this, the forest of Neverbeen, and thence across the desert of Maybe and into the land of Couldbe. There we may find the door leading to the Staircase of Doom where you can climb back to your world.”
“The forest of Neverbeen?” I ask. He nods. “The desert of Maybe?” I continue. “Yes.” He replies. “The land of Couldbe?” “Mmm-hmm.” He says. “And then the Staircase of Doom?” I continue. “You’ve got it.” He replies. “OK,” I say, “ I have just one question.” “Yes?” he responds. “Are you out of your fucking mind?” I scream. “Do you have any idea how fucking insane this all sounds? Why can’t you just put me on a plane back to LAX or where ever the fuck? I can hitch a ride home from there!”
“That’s it!” he finishes, out of patience. He bucks me off and I land flat on my back with a loud WHOMPH! He rears up and begins flailing at me on the ground with his hooves. I roll out of the way, continuing to back and fill away from him as he carries on trying to squash me like a bug. Just as he has me where he wants me I take a final step back…into oblivion. I fall away off the edge of the cliff I didn’t know we were on and I see him looking down on me with a mixture of disgust and triumph. I manage to flip him the bird with both hands as I fall. Hey, you have to be defiant even in the face of imminent squashed-ness. “Man!” I think, “How peculiar!” I continue to fall and despite my best efforts to squirm around and see the fate surely rising up to meet me I can’t manage to make out anything except a laughing centaur, a rock face in front of me, and the magenta sky above. The sound of a rushing river below me gets louder and louder in my ears and just as I am getting ready to meet my maker on the jagged rocks below I am snatched from midair by a powerful pair of claws. I’m looking all around thinking this is the evil owl from earlier in this nightmare, but I can’t get a good look at the thing. It doesn’t feel the same and it’s not gloating or mocking me and I feel sure the owl would be telling me how much he was looking forward to eating me. Since these are likely my last moments alive on this plane of existence I decide to appreciate the view.
I notice we are being followed by a beautiful bird made, as if, of glass. Her body is translucent but shot through with alternating ribbons of orange, yellow, green and red. Her long black sleek beak is, as if, of perfectly fine mined and carved obsidian and her wings are pure and crystal clear as glass. Her voice is radiant like the sunlight and she sings an oddly beautiful and haunting melody, echoed by my captor who I now realize is her mate, holding me tightly in his diamond woven claws. We are flying over azure mountains and windswept fields of ambergris. The forests below are filled with galloping merry-go-round horses and the clear limpid lakes are filled with jumping fish of all colors and descriptions.
Suddenly the beautiful glass bird’s mate that’s holding me let’s me fall over a volcano crater that we have been circling. I fall faster and farther expecting any moment to be subsumed in boiling lava when I suddenly realize that the volcano is, if not extinct, at least not as active as I first thought. That fact is hardly reassuring as I fall towards it but I see a large hole in the mouth of the crater and I see that I am falling straight towards it. Into the hole I fall and keep falling at what seems like terminal velocity, at least a hundred and twenty miles and hour. I fall and fall for what seems like minutes through this odd tunnel, all the while expecting to meet bottom in a sudden sickening crunch when I begin to get an odd sense of gravity. It’s sort of pulling at me from all directions now instead if just pulling me towards the inevitable crunch below. I feel almost as though I’m falling up! Just when I decide with an utter certainty that I am indeed falling down even though it feels like up I shoot out of the very same entrance I fell down the first time, passing the black metal spiral staircase and shooting out into the sunlight several dozen feet above the ground. In point of fact gravity has very much become my enemy again as I arc out of the hole, above the ruined shed I started at and land unceremoniously on the ground not far away. The ground makes a simultaneously satisfying and sickening THUD as I hit it and once again I am blacking out. I manage to mumble once again “How Peculiar!”
Good Morning Father
I open my eyes. OK, let’s take stock. Any pain? No pain, but something’s not right. There’s an annoyingly bright light in my eyes and when I try to raise my arm to shield my face I can’t. I try the other arm. No success. My eyes begin to adjust enough to notice that the ceiling is a sickly puke green color. I try to crane my neck to get a look around and I can’t move that either! My pulse quickens and I begin to panic a little. “Hello?” I say and my word echoes back at me from the confines of an apparently small room from the sound of it. This is not good! I try to move my legs and they won’t go anywhere either. It’s not that I can’t move them exactly but I seem to be restrained somehow. Time to struggle. I give it my all to move in any and every direction but it appears I’m completely strapped down. I try again, this time shouting “Hello!” but I still get the same stale echo in response. More struggling yields nothing until I collapse again having worked up a considerable and somewhat cold sweat. OK, let’s try to remember something. Searching the memory banks…nothing! Oh fuck, this just gets worse! I have to focus. Name? Name, name, name, name…nothing! Rank? Serial number? PIN number? Phone number? How about my Mother’s maiden name? Fuck! OK, location…City? State? Zip code? Mailing address of any kind? Could it be a Post office box? The complete blank of the void in my mind is daunting as it mocks me in its silence. My horrified pondering is interrupted by the sound of a door opening and closing and footsteps coming towards me. My mouth goes utterly completely dry as the desert. A face heaves into view. He has salt and pepper colored hair, somewhat more gray at the temples and darker on top. He has gold-rimmed round spectacles, grayish green eyes and a hint of five o’clock shadow, his beard also colored grey and black. He’s wearing a black shirt and, Oh Shit! He’s got a priest’s collar. OK, I must be Catholic. “Father,” I say, “I implore you, can you please tell me what’s going on here? Why am I strapped to this table and, more importantly, would you mind terribly cutting me loose? I’m getting a little nervous here.” He gives me something of a surprised look and says, “Whatever do you mean, my son?” Oh this is SO not good!
“Well Father,” I say, “I’m quite out at sea here. I just woke up a moment ago and I haven’t the foggiest idea why I’m here, where I am, what I’m doing here, or even what my name is! A little help would be greatly appreciated. I’m sure God would thank you for your kindness to a man completely out of his depth and at his wits end.” He gives me a stern look and says ‘The insanity defense didn’t work at your trial my son and it surely won’t work on me. Don’t make fun of an old priest at this, your most precious and final hour; this is your last chance to confess to God.”
OH FUCK! Confess to God? Confess WHAT to God? My pulse jumps another two gears forward with no clutch, missing third and fourth gears entirely. “Father, please,” I begin again, “no fooling around here, cut me loose! This isn’t funny at all and frankly you’re scaring me here! Confess what? I can’t remember a thing, I mean a single solitary thing about anything before a few minutes ago!” I didn’t think it was possible but the priest gets an even sterner look on his face and says “In the first place, my son, since when is ignorance of the law or anything else an excuse? In the second place,” he goes on, “I don’t believe you! No one could do what you’ve done and not remember anything, especially someone as lucid about events as you’ve been! Now confess and be forgiven or face God’s wrath alone and unshriven!” “Wait a minute,” I think to myself. “Insanity defense? Last chance?” “Father,” I say, “What do you mean ‘last chance’?” “Son,” he says, “you are testing my patience. You know full well you are scheduled for execution by lethal injection on this very table in an hour’s time. Now confess and be forgiven.”
I take a deep breath. No sense in pissing off the only guy who can possibly help me in this, the most awful of situations, with rash words. “GOD DAMN IT YOU COCK SUCKING MOTHER FUCKING PISSANT SON OF A BITCHING WHORE BAG SLUT MONGER, GET ME OUT OF THESE FUCKING RESTRAINTS AND OFF THIS FUCKING TABLE YOU MISERABLE BASTARD SON OF A CUNT FACED CHILD MOLESTER YOU! NOW!!!!!!” I scream at him at full volume until I run out of breath and insults. Oops. My bad. He looks at me in utter disgust and says: “Very well. May God have mercy on your tainted soul my son.” And he shakes his head as he walks out of view. His footsteps fade away and I hear the door open. OK, think fast rabbit, at least get a clue from this guy what you’re going down for. Don’t die for nothing without a hint of why.
“Father! No, father, wait, please wait!” I scream, “The devil got the better of me there for a moment. If I am to die at least please bide a while and talk with me some. I may yet confess my sins but I need your help. Please? I beg you!” A long moment passes but the door doesn’t shut. My heart sinks through the floor as I hear the door shut, but leaps again for reasons I know not why when I hear his footsteps approach the table and his face appears in my field of vision again. “Oh thank God!” I cry, “and thank you Father for giving me another chance. I surely don’t wish to meet God unprepared!”
Fuck it; any old bullshit to get an inkling of what the fuck I’m about to die for whether I did it or not.
“Father,” I say, “please indulge a doomed man and assume just for the moment that, for whatever reason that God only knows, I have sincerely lost my memory. You seem to know of my crimes. I beg you in the name of mercy and all that is holy recount them for me and I will truly repent whatever I have done to affront God and man.” The stern look returns to his face and in an even sterner tone he begins “My son,” This time I interrupt. “Please father! I’ve no time to argue! What difference if you enumerate my crimes or I, as long as I repent?” His face softens and he regards me intently. “Very well, my son. So be it.” He says. Apparently the look in my eye convinces him and in a ridiculous way I am relieved. At least I won’t die in ignorance.
He opens a folder he is carrying and says “Let me read the conviction for you. Perhaps that will serve to jog your memory. I should tell you, since you purport not to know, that your family will be spared public humiliation in the form of televised flogging and banishment should you choose to confess to these crimes and be forgiven.” “Thank you Father.” I reply. Might as well kiss this scumbag’s ass while he’s giving me what I need. “I daresay this may take a while,” he proceeds, “The conviction and sentence read as follows: ‘Edward Halo, also known as Edward the Brave, you are hereby convicted of high crimes and treason against the state, in addition to heresy against the church, for the following offences: Failure to attend proscribed work duties regularly or promptly, failure to attend church services regularly and at the appointed times, failure to show proper respect to the authorities of church and state, speaking out against the church and state in both public and private forums, the printing and dissemination of subversive and heretical texts to both adults and minor children, the education of women and children outside of both church and state doctrine, resisting arrest with violence, the bearing of arms and ammunition, the practice of an heretical religion, resisting proscribed punishments and visiting violence on the duly appointed public servants charged with meting out such punishments. Further more you are charged with planning and implementing numerous plots to subvert both our government and our church of state including, but not limited to personally funding and assisting in the funding of known terrorist organizations, aiding and abetting known enemy combatants both at home and abroad, hindering the investigations of duly appointed representatives of the church and state into illegal and immoral activities, many of which you have both organized and partaken of. And finally, you have been accused and convicted of the use and sale of illegal drugs including but not limited to alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, sugar, LSD, XTC and various other psychoactive and/or and hallucinogenic compounds.” He pauses to look at me and, on cue, I look appropriately horrified but not for the reasons he seems to think I should. I’m certainly not repentant so far. These things seem to me like virtues even in my bound and memory-less state. “Confess and be forgiven.” He says. Now that I’ve heard his litany of so-called offenses my course is clear. “I confess to all.” I begin, watching the smile spread slowly across his face, “and I repent of none of it.” I finish. “Fuck you and everything you, your religion and your state stand for you son of a bitch!” His satisfied smile quickly fades, replaced by a deep frown. “But what about your family my son? Your reticence dooms them to horrible punishment.” “My family, if they are anything like me, is ready for you. I’m sure they know what’s in store for them and they are prepared to sacrifice everything for their principles just as I am.” You can jail me, break my body and take my life but you cannot control my mind. I will never stop preaching and reaching for the ideals of freedom and equality until my dying breath and there’s nothing you can do to me or those that I love that will stop that until I am dead, dead, dead. From what you’ve told me about my life I feel sure that by killing me you will only make a martyr of me thereby strengthening me and my cause. So do your worst you bastard.” I say, spitting in his face. “God save you my son’ he says, wiping his face. He walks out of my field of vision and I hear several sets of footsteps enter the room. There’s an official in a suit who says “Mr. Halo I am Warden Johnson. Your plea of not guilty by reason of fighting for your freedom and the freedom of your fellow citizens has been set aside and you have been sentenced to death by televised lethal injection at the court’s request. Have you any last words?” “Yeah, FUCK YOU MOTHERFUCKER,” I scream, you can kill me but you can’t kill the ideals I’m going to die on this fucking table fighting for. You and your kind will be the first ones against the mother fucking wall when the revolution comes to your fucking door you sons of bitches!” I continue in that vein for quite some time but he just looks disgusted and nods at the doctor next to him. The doctor in green scrubs reaches down and turns on the drip as I continue to scream curses at them ad the world in general. The room begins to grow dark and it’s harder and harder to stay awake and continue my litany of expletives. My heartbeat is slowing and I’m struggling to stay awake just so I can curse them all some more. The last thing I manage before he lights go out is “God forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.” and my worlds fades to black.
I open my eyes and the first thing I’m aware of is excruciating pain. Everything hurts. My entire body feels like I’m strapped to the rack and stretched in every direction. It’s as if a steamroller rolled over me and squashed me completely flat and yet I still lived. I try to scream and cry for help but using my voice at all produces even more screaming agony. All that comes out of my mouth is a tiny pitiful squeak, as if I haven’t used my voice in an interminably long time. I seem to be in some sort of padded room about eight feet wide, ten feet long with a high ceiling about 15 feet tall with a small rectangular window at the top of one wall. There’s an incandescent light on the ceiling and a door in one wall though I only recognize it by its rectangular shape. There is no doorknob o the inside and there’s a very small glass oblong window about eye level.
I stumble and crawl over to the window and look out but my field of vision is extremely small. I can only see a small piece of the corridor that the room is off of. I try to speak again and I have a little more success “Help!” I croak in a small helpless voice. I try to pond on the window but I’m simply too weak to generate any force and anyway the action of hitting the window even feebly produces much more pain than sound. I slump down to the padded floor of my padded cell in awful abject misery and horror. What in the ripe Jesus jumping fuck is going on here? What’s wrong with me? Why am I here?
I don’t seem to remember anything at all and I’m in so much pain even trying to think hurts and I soon give up. Either everything will soon become clear or it won’t either way I cant do anything but sit there and drool in agony.
An endless eternity passes and I’m too tired to stand or think and in much too much pain to move when the door, which I am slumped against pushes open and rolls me across the floor causing an explosion of pain the wracks me from one end of my body to the other and I whimper piteously. Two burly men in white coats enter flanking a man dressed as a doctor of some sort in green scrubs who commands the orderlies to pick me up. I’m whining, wheezing, mumbling and drooling trying to beg them to stop hurting me. I feel like a frog in a blender who can’t lose consciousness. Nothing coherent comes out of my mouth. “No wonder I’m in an insane asylum!“ I think to myself, for I can’t imagine what else this is. Padded cells do not a hotel room make. The orderlies carry me out into the hallway and put me on a gurney. As they strap me in they might as well be nailing me to a cross for how much it hurts. I feel myself foaming at the mouth now as they wheel me down the corridor and I watch helplessly as the fluorescent lights glide by overhead. My vision loses focus and there’s nothing left except the pain. Nothing left but the pain, nothing left, nothing, nothing, nothing, except the endless nameless excruciating pain.
After what seems like about a thousand years the pain starts to gradually fade out and my vision clears. I’m now in a hospital room of some sort and the doctor in the green scrubs is sitting next to me watching the various instruments I’m hooked up to. “Ah,” he says, I see you’re back.” “What’s happening to me?” I manage weakly. At least the screaming agony has been reduced to a dull ache. “You are a victim of your own devices.” He responds. “You’ve been a heroin addict for roughly fifteen years. You’ve been in and out of jails and hospitals throughout that time. As a condition of your release from prison to a medical facility you volunteered for an experimental treatment program which, as it turns out, has some rather unpleasant side effects some of which you are experiencing right now.” “That is not good news, doctor” I reply with some effort. “I am going to recover?” “Well, you aren’t going to die, at least not yet.” He responds matter-of-factly. “Great.” I reply with some sarcasm. “Don’t hold anything back.” “I don’t intend to, though I’m afraid the information I’m about to give you isn’t going to do you much good in the short term and possibly not in the long term either.” He says, “I’d tell you to sit down but as you are already prone I’m going to give it to you straight, but I warn you, you are likely to be shocked.” “Go on,” I say, “I don’t think things could possibly get much worse but I’m willing to go on a little faith and take your word for it.” “Very well.” He says.
“Your name,” he begins, “since I’m sure you cannot remember it is Michael Edwards. Your addiction led you to many very bad places. You lost jobs, family and friends. Finally you went to jail. When you got out you went right back to the heroin and also got into dealing drugs to support your habit. In addition to the heroin you branched out into prescription opiates and opiate substitutes like Hydrocodon and Oxycontin, so called ‘Hillbilly Heroin’. Soon after that you were busted again and went right back to jail. It’s a miracle you haven’t killed anyone else or yourself. Finally, when you were convicted again of dealing dope while you were still in jail they offered you the chance to enter this program in lieu of serving another ten years. Naturally, being an opportunist, you jumped at the chance. Here, under my supervision, you were put on an experimental drug to treat opiate addiction called ‘Pragmazone’.
Continuing on, he says, ”You were part of the very first part of the human trials. Therein lies an element of good news in this story. Of the twelve people who participated in this study you were the only one to survive. The problem as not so much in taking the drug as with taking you off it. Everyone had severe side effects and we took everyone off it immediately. This unfortunately had the effect of killing everyone but you. In fact frankly I’m not at all sure why you survived.” Finishing with a grimace. “That’s the GOOD news?” I reply incredulously, “Jesus! What’s the fucking bad news?” “Among other things the side effects are particularly bad news.” He replies. “Some of the more important ones, to you at least, are severe memory loss, recurring blackouts and prolonged acute hallucinations. Unfortunately it wasn’t possible to determine these effects during the animal testing phase of the experiment because we had no way to determine that, for example, a beagle thought it was Napoleon or that it couldn’t remember it’s own name, where it came from, how it got there and so forth.” “Jesus!” I exclaim in a whisper. He goes on “Once we figured out that Pragmazone causes these problems to emerge we took everyone off it not realizing that it’s also highly addictive to humans for reasons we have yet to determine. Once we stopped the trial as soon as the drug wore off all the patients went into shock because apparently their bodies were totally unable to produce any natural endorphins so even breathing became unbearably painful. Worse still, their bodies were apparently immune to any painkillers we were able to administer and they all died from the shock almost immediately. This side effect also turns out to be unique to humans, equally unfortunately. In your case I am hypothesizing that you metabolized the drug more slowly than the others and by administering more Pragmazone we were able to keep you alive. The downside of that of course is that you are still prone to the side effects. Your lucid states are shorter and fewer and further between each time. I’m trying to lower the dosage and keep you off it for longer and longer as that has seemed to slow the progress of the side effects marginally. Right now we are fighting a holding action to preserve your life and your sanity. We have no idea of your memory will recover. You seem to retain your short-term memory during your lucid states but you remember nothing from your previous lucid state when you come to. We are studying that as well. I’m sorry to tell you that we have to keep you in that padded cell to keep you from hurting yourself or anyone else during your non-lucid states. Normally you wear a straight jacket but as the Pragmazone wears off the restraints are too painful and I don’t want you to die of shock before I can administer the next dose. In short this is a very unfortunate and difficult situation all around. There’s almost no point in telling you this each time but my conscience won’t let me keep you totally in the dark and suffering the entire time. And that, in a nutshell, is where we find ourselves. I’m very sorry.” He ends, hanging his head. “Doc,” I say “I don’t mind telling you that if I didn’t think it would hurt me more than it would hurt you I’d get up off this fucking bed and kick your fucking ass.” “I know,” he says sheepishly, “believe me when I say that I would do the same in your position. I’m truly sorry that there was no way to foresee this horrible state of affairs and I am doing everything in my power to correct the situation as soon as possible without killing you. This is certainly the end of my career. I want no part of anything like this ever again but it is my duty to try and find a cure for you while you live since this was essentially my idea to begin with.” “Great,” I say again. “That’s just fucking great. Well thank you for your efforts but let me see if I have this story entirely straight; I’m on a drug that was intended to cure my addiction to heroin and opiates in general, but instead robs me of my memory, causes me intense and unspeakable pain when I’m not taking it which, if I stop taking it will almost instantly kill me. Furthermore, if I do continue to take it my memory will be entirely lost, possibly permanently while I spend the entire time hallucinating that I’m God knows fucking who doing God knows fucking what, and Only God knows fucking where or when. In addition, when the drug that you’re trying to give me as little as possible of as seldom as possible, wears off I’ll be in intense my numbing soul splitting pain until you give me more. Finally, I need more and more every time to sty alive and I need it more and more often and my so-called lucid states are shorter and shorter. Have I missed anything or is that about it?” “Yes,” he replies, “I fear you have a grasp on the situation, at least for now.” “Frankly Doc, I bet I vastly preferred the heroin.” He laughs involuntarily at this and then immediately apologizes. “Is there any OTHER bad fucking news I should know about?” I ask him. “I’m afraid so.” He replies. My jaw drops “Jesus fucking Christ Doc, that was a rhetorical question! What do you mean there’s more?” “You didn’t ask about duration.” He replies. “When this situation first arose you we’re hallucinating for about an hour out of every twenty-four. You are now lucid for only about an hour out of every twenty-four. This steadily worsening progression has been going on for about two weeks now. I’m not at all sure if you will be hallucinating all the time soon or not. I’m not sure what’s going to happen next. I really don’t know if you are ever going to recover and frankly it’s beginning to seem very likely indeed that one of the following very bad scenarios will play itself out within the next few days. One, you will die.” He says.
“I’m starting to think that might be preferable!” I exclaim. “I can understand that,” he says, ‘although it may be some comfort to you to know that a mad man doesn’t know he is mad. You may be hallucinating, but since you don’t know it that will be like living in an ever-changing adventure movie. Some people would kill for such a life as their own ignorance of their condition would allow them to enjoy it.” “Thanks a lot Doc, thanks a mother fucking lot. Go the fuck on and hurry it up since apparently I’m not going to be here, either mentally, physically or both very shortly.” “Just so,” he says, “Anyway, that’s a second option, that you simply will continue hallucinating and getting the drug or until the funding runs out, though that’s getting a bit dicey since now you can’t consent to be euthanized, or at least you won’t be able to while you’re hallucinating.” “Or?” I ask. “Or,” he says, “We’ll find a cure in which case you may or may not recover your memory and you nay or may not continue to experience these side effects or you might turn into a butterfly and fly away for all I know. Nothing about this test has gone as expected and I Wiggly wumpus framma jamma wigga banger bing bang.” He finishes. He sees the look on my face and says “Icksa snorten moffa?”
“I…” I try to respond but things are getting mighty weird behind him. A mirror like substance is bubbling out of the wall and that, coupled with the fact that the doctor by my side is speaking in a totally nonsense gibberish tongue, begins to get me pretty agitated. “Doc,” I say, “I think I’m starting to lose it here.” ”Ragnarock!” he shouts out the doorway ”Beezlebub! Gina clacken craken zee zimmerbushin. Shina!” They wheel me quickly down the hallway and I see the fluorescent lights overhead whizzing by. I’m starting to wonder what’s the rush, Oh, right, back to the rubber room. I begin to roundly curse them and my fate and God and man and everything else in general in a loud and boisterous voice.
So this is my lot: Die or continue hopelessly repeating this cycle like this forever until I die, or get cured and have no memory at all or turn into a butterfly and fly away or who knows the fuck what. All because of the stupid fucking experimental drugs they’ve get me on to try and cure my addiction to the highly illegal and dangerous drugs I have loved so much for so long and that I frankly miss so much.. That, my friends, a shitty fucking trade off to say the very least. I continue screaming obscenities as the orderlies walk away and I continue raving on. “That right there is a damn shame Jimbo my boy.” says one to the other as he turns out the light and plunges me once more into the miserable blackness of my imagination.
That sound in my ears gradually becoming a roar as the light expands like the front of an oncoming train. Soon the sound is a thousand giant Vulcan gods pounding their steel hammers on iron anvils and the light is the sun seven inches from my eyes, burning me away to nothingness and then blackness again; oblivion. Man, I hate that. I think I might teleporting through some wormhole or time traveling or…some thing…but I really have no idea
Here’s 1292 words of pure bullshit which I will count towards my word count if I get stuck:
Thereby tying this whole load of frigging short stories together into one beautifully written and coherent novel! Wooo!
This really turned out to be a book of nightmares; my own personal private nightmares. Paranoid delusions of being controlled against my will; betrayed by a beautiful woman that I love; losing it onstage in front of a big audience at an important gig; drug and alcohol addiction destroying my life and the people and things I love the most; losing my memory to drugs and/or disease; Lost at sea to lie in a watery grave caused by my own stupidity and lack of proper respect and fear for the sea; forced to fight and die for a cause I don’t believe in; being in an abusive relationship and /or becoming a pedophile; thrust into a high profile position of powerful influence way beyond my depth or comprehension; shot and killed for a stupid reason; tortured for the satisfaction of a sick and demented lunatic and finally lost to myself and my loved ones in lunacy, paranoia, dementia and drugs. All in all it was a cathartic and weird experience for my first novel. I really intended to write a full length feature of a novel all the way through but as it turned out my lateness in signing up for writing a novel in one month and my inability to get started properly when I did sign up and my own general laziness in my work ethic led me to do what I had to do to finish the fucking thing by the deadline. As I write this that outcome is by no means assured but at least I’m catching up to the pint where it’s a realistic expectation that I might indeed finish in time. I left myself a few cheats in the form of lists I can make to add to the word count at the last minute if need be. I plan to see which story my readership consisting mostly of friends, family and internet acquaintances think is the best and possibly pursue that but in a way I kind of like the way it’s turned out so far. The short stories tied together by a common paragraph about being lost and confused and amnesiac really kind of works as a whole in my opinion. Each story leaves you wanting more and there’s enough character development to make you care about the characters but not enough for you to realize that I have no idea what I’m fucking doing. I may or may not include this in the finished novel though I’m getting the feeling I might just for word count’s sake. Fifty thousand words in twenty days is a pretty fucking impressive achievement even by my impossibly high standards. Wear it motherfuckers. Love ya! All I need is thirteen more God damned mother fucking cock sucking words to reach twenty three thousand you no good God damned cock sucking mother fuckers! Yeah!
PS at 36000 words I feel totally fucking burnt. Seven days left and 14000 words to go. I know I am totally cheating now with every word I write here but I am unrepentant. The rules say word count only and this document is it. MY RIGHT HAND ACHES HORRIBLY FROM TYPING ON THIS SHITTY LAPTOP KEYBOARD. Fuck it. Two thousand words a day for the next seven days I think I can manage. Considering I didn’t write a single word until ten days into he competition I think I can cut myself a little slack. I haven’t edited at all really and I hope to spend at least one day going through this whole thing fixing typos, awful grammar and other writing atrocities. Well played laptop freak, well played. Fifty thousand words over twenty days; really only half that actually spent writing. That’s pretty fucking good if I do say so myself; and I do. Thus this whole page of bullshit is only seven hundred words. With luck I won’t even have to count this as part of the fifty thousand but I will if I have to.
Update: 11/27/05 forty thousand words down, ten thousand to go and only three days left.
Today I received word that an old friend and lover died this past Wednesday 11/24/05
She died of an apparent heroin overdose. She left her mother and father and her five-year-old son Julian behind. She will be missed. Pace Rabiola 1974-2005 Rest in peace.
It is somewhat ironic that, when I got the call I was writing the end of this novel particularly dealing with pain, opiate addiction and experimental treatment thereof. If my friend had the right kind of help and / or medication she might be alive today. Had she had my son he would be ten years old and his mother would be dad. I would be left to raise him alone and explain why his mother left him. I thank God every day that this was not my fate and I am no longer sorry that in denying him life I denied him that life.
47500 word update. It’s annoying that I have to write and addition 1500 words since this crap at the end doesn’t technically count. No matter. I’ll still make the deadline. Just don’t call me five minutes before it’s here since I’ll be cranking my hardest just at that moment. Fuck.
REJECTED (OR AT LAST UNUSED AS YET) IDEAS:
Good Morning Mr. President
I open my eyes. OK, let’s take stock. Any pain? Nope. No pain at all. In fact I’m feeling pretty well fucking lubricated. Speaking of which, I need another beer. Damn. OK, where am I?
Good Morning Sensei
I open my eyes. OK, let’s take stock. Any pain?