Wednesday, May 25, 2016

pulling teeth

*** You should stop reading this now and go somewhere else because this will be the most pathetic self indulgent load of crap on the Internet.

Good thing I got my 500 daily words done yesterday morning because if I had to do them last night, I would have been fucked. I'm not in a much better frame of mind this morning.

I want to quit writing. I have no idea why I want to write. It's fucking painful. Oh, should I have warned you that there'd be lots of cursing. This shit just hurts too much. It is physically painful to think about writing. I have nothing to say. I'm irrelevant and boring and I can't figure out why I should bother.

Last night, I almost deleted my Facebook account. It's a good thing I have fairly strong impulse control. I'd be causing havoc all over the place if I didn't. The writing gurus are right, though. Committing to writing everyday and posting this bullshit - without qualification or excuses - helps to force me to do it even when I hate it - writing - and myself.

The disdain I have for my writing can't be expressed. I never want to put pen to paper again (yes, I still write like the ancients did) or put my fingers on another keyboard. But the white screen calls to me and I respond like an addict. I hate it. I hunger for it. The thought of it makes me ill and more depressed and hopeless. I have to have it. I have to have more. I obsess over it. It invades all of my thoughts and moments.

I'm writing a one thousand word story for a writing contest and it's stupid and fractured. It makes no sense. I have until the twenty-ninth to finish it and submit to the judges. I suppose I'll work on it today. Maybe I'll read it at my writing group tomorrow. It's so dumb though. My adjectives are trite and mundane. Dumb. Seriously. I could throw up right now.

One soul is living and dying in five different dimensions/lives, switching genders and time periods. In one thousand words. What was I thinking? Man, I'm desperate. I have nothing to say and so I'm saying dumb things.

If you came here to read this crap, I'm sorry. I should put another warning in the beginning that I would be wallowing in self-pity and boring you with my whining. It's getting harder and harder each day to bother with anything. Routine is the only thing getting me out of bed now. I think it's the thing that's killing me, too.

Doodling helps you reduce stress. I need a big doodle pad. People are coloring now. I remember when I got laughed at thirty years ago for coloring. Now, I'm really babbling. I've completely lost focus.

I went back up to write a disclaimer so I could say, "I warned you."

If you've read this far down, though, I seriously apologize.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


One thousand, seven hundred and forty-five people from eight hundred twenty-four households located in one point one square miles of a valley in the Shale Tier. Jon knew the names of all of his constituents. He greeted them on the street, in the grocery store and the VFW. They smiled when he asked about their families, their jobs and pets. As mayors went, he was the best. He kissed babies, shook hands with farmers and listened to women. In every election year, the good people of his town re-elected him. He led his town for twenty years now.

He was born in 1956, in this town. His mother gave birth to him at home in her marital bed. He grew up here, running between corn stalks, laughing, mouth wide open, occasionally swallowing a bug. He stacked bales of hay into tunnels in a barn, crawling through the straw up to turrets above the cow stalls. He warmed his bare feet in fresh patties, squishing them between his toes.

In one of these rocky mountain fields, at the age of twelve, Jon spoke his promise to a hawk circling over his head.

"One day, I will be king."

He spoke these words in a rush as he ducked behind the old rusting cars his father had dumped in the upper cow pasture. He peeked around a rotting tire. The old man carried his black belt between both big hands, snapping the leather and clicking the pin against the buckle. The sound traveled up the hill to Jon's hiding place. Jon picked up a rock. His father came around the car. Jon stood. He topped his father by three inches. Jon looked to the house. His mother leaned on one of the porch columns, blood from her forehead smearing the white paint. The wet dark smudges called to Jon like a neon sign telling him it was time.

His father raised the belt. Jon pushed his father's drunken arm aside and smashed the rock on his father's head.

The insurance money sent Jon to a private high school and a prestigious college. His mother turned out to be an investment wiz which set them up as small town royalty. Jon came home at twenty-two to do good works. The next year, he took part in his first election and he won in a land-slide.

He looked out of his office window. The large panes gave him an unobstructed view the town's main street. His people traveled the center of town with purpose. They dressed in grays, browns and dull blues. He watched them with an unexpected sense of dissatisfaction.

Yellow caught his eye. Lavender, red and stark white flashed. A girl danced on the side-walk in front of the bank, her blonde hair floating on the breeze. He leaned foreword placing his hand on the glass. His mouth watered. His body tingling. As he watched the girl spin, he heard music swell around him. He wanted.

Monday, May 23, 2016


Lemonade hits the spot on a hot summer's day. Some people drink iced tea. I don't care for tea. The leafy, herbal flavor tastes bitter on my tongue. The sweet and sour of the yellow citrus beverage brings shivers with each sip. It's what I drink when I want something a bit stronger than plain water. I don't drink soda, either.

Gin and Tonic with a wedge of lime tastes good, too. I'm not opposed to an alcoholic drink. No prohibition bullshit for me. Some people can't handle their liquor, but I'm not like them, so I'm going to have a drink when I feel like. A Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon was best during Winter. They were heavier, warmer.

Milk went best with spaghetti. My mother's spaghetti. She wasn't Italian. She was German. Her spaghetti sauce was brown because it was mostly ground beef with lots of browned onions. The tomato sauce was just a condiment. There's be lots of left over spaghetti noodles. Those would be turned into a breakfast treat. She brown plain bread crumbs in butter, add the cooked noodles and top them with white sugar. Milk was a must with this dish, too.

Both of these noodle dishes are my favorite meals. They are my comfort foods. Literally. Both will put me into a carbohydrate stupor more effective than any calming drug. I need a lot of calming. Too much activity, too many questions, any excessive behavior must be squashed. Don't wiggle, jiggle or giggle. Have a cookie and be quiet.

Water is the best drink, though. Cold. I drink water all day. I prefer seltzer. The bubbles wake up my tongue. I don't know why the bubbles are good, but they make the water more yummy. I like the brand Vintage for my seltzer water and my tonic water. That brand has the best flavor for both.

I should have perfect skin and be the picture of health with all of the water I drink. I bet I'm more water than most people. Tests have shown that the average is 60% for the average male and 50% for the average female. Apparently, age, health, weight and sex all affect how much water is in a person's body. I think I must be at least 75% water. I'm an overachiever.

Oh, I almost forgot coffee. I don't really like coffee. I need it. First thing in the morning, I must have brewed coffee, black. A nice dark roast. I require two cups before anyone is even allowed to look at me. You'd be jeopardizing your life by talking to me before I've had three. Another two cups and I begin to function like a normal human being. I don't drink any coffee after eleven in the morning. I'd be up all night, the agitation creeping through my flesh and keeping my mind spinning. I don't like the taste of the stuff. It's bitter, but the idea of milk and sugar in it makes me queasy. The only way to have sweetened creamy coffee is as ice cream.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Don't Play Koi with Me

Sunlight bounced across the lake. Fish, just under the surface of the water, turned their faces to the light. White, fluffy sheep dotted the hillside like puffs of clouds fallen from the skies. Red rolled down a hill, picking up speed as his alternating visions of blue and green passed by his line of sight. He stopped just on the lip of a grassy outcrop, face towards the water and looked a Koi in the eye. It winked at him.

Red waved his fingers at the fish and tossed it some bread crumbs he had in his jeans pocket from his morning biscuit. The fish sucked each bit of biscuit in its mouth with plump orange and brown lips. Once it hoovered each piece down its throat, it hovered near the shore, turning left and right as it perused the boy laying on shore, chin propped on fists.

"Why share your meager fair with a goldfish?" asked the goldfish.

Red raised his head, shook it and wiggled a finger in his ear.

"I see by your dress you give up something precious." The Koi jumped, splashed Red in the face with his pectoral fins. "Are you stupid or asleep?"

"Fish can't talk," said Red.

"Stupid, then."

Red sat up, crossed his legs, leaned forward.

‘Hallucinations caused by hunger."

"That's a mighty word for a peasant."

Red laughed. Only he would have hallucinations that repeatedly insulted him.

"I came here for a peaceful afternoon in the sun. Go away and harass some other poor farmer's servant." He lay down, dangling his bare feet into the pond. He was almost asleep when he felt fish lips nibbling on his big toe.

"Most people, when confronted with a magical fish, will immediately ask for three wishes, but not you. Seriously, what's wrong with you?"

"No such thing as magical fish," said Red. "And even if magically fish were real, which they're not, any magical wishes they could grant, which they can't, would somehow backfire in my face."

"You could at least sit up and look a person in the eye when having a conversation."

"You're not a person." Red yawned.

"Are you ever right about anything?" The fish jumped up out of the water. Red saw it through a slightly cracked eye lid. It jumped two more times. Red rolled over and faced the lake.

"So, now you're telling me you are a person trapped in a fish body."

"A witch cursed me. I must remain in this form until someone makes the right wish."

"What's the right wish?"

"I can't tell you. Not because I can't but because I don't know what the right wish is."

"What sorts of wishes have you granted so far?"

"The kind you'd expect." The Koi tread water, churning mud up from the bottom of the lake. "Riches, true love, power, unlimited food and drink, fame, various talents."

"Those are all good wishes," said Red.

The Koi got a decidedly disappointed look on its face.

Red smiled.

"I wish your curse broken," he said.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Spinning Out of Control

The gun lay on the worn wooden table, the dull, black metal a shocking contrast to the white oak under it. It reminded Glenda of her former life, dressed in the black and white habit of The Sisters of Perpetual Obedience. She shook her head. Her chopped blond hair bounced around her pixie face some strands covering the teardrop tattoos under her left eye. The men sitting across from her never took their eyes off of her incongruous expression. Thinking Glenda as innocent as her appearance suggested would get you in big trouble. She smiled and the three big boys shivered.

Glenda picked up the Taurus 5-Shot Revolver, spun the chamber, put the nozzle to her right temple, grinned and pulled the trigger. She didn't flinch. The boys did. She put the gun down on the table in front of Sam. They were all sober now as Glenda was from the beginning.

She only drank bottled water. Her wants and needs were simple but specific. It was a matter of control. After nine years in prison, she walked a fine line between routine, things she could control and choosing exactly what she wanted without regard to others' concerns. Plus, alcohol is what landed her in prison to begin with. She had been too drunk to protect herself. That would never happen again.

Death didn't scare her. She couldn't die. She figured that might be an important bit of information for her gaming buddies, but all was fair when it came to gambling for living expenses and proving who was the baddest ass in the room. She winked at Sam.

He lifted the gun with a shaking hand. He spun the chamber three times. He looked at his buddies. Bob and his other brother, Sam, (yes, these were three brothers, Bob, Sam and the other brother, Sam - their parents fans of some ancient sitcom - but still trying, in vain, to be creative) both shrugged. The four of them had been playing Russian Roulette for forty-five minutes and six rounds each. They were all still alive, beating the odds. Hence, Sam Number One's fear of continuing the game.

"You could just pay up," she said, "if you're too scared to go on." Glenda leaned back on her chair, tilting on two legs. Her black combat boots swung in the air to the beat of a song she had been humming since she entered the bar.

Sam Number Two Pushed a pile of bills in front of Glenda. "I'm out," he said. He pushed back his chair and headed towards the men's room.

"I've had enough." Sam Number One set the gun down in front of Bob. He crunched his bills in his fist. He thrust the money at Glenda and growled. "You ain't normal."

She laughed.

"That, my dear, sir, is an understatement." She waved her fingers at Bob. Each had a silver spoon ring on it.

Bob remembered that she had made the same move when they first met. Perhaps she had hypnotized them into playing this ridiculous game.

The gun lay on top of his pile of money. He would have to pick it up, either to continue or give her his cash.

What to do? What to do?

Note: Yes, I know the gun in the picture is not a revolver.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Ghouls are a Girl's Best Friend

John and Jennifer were the owners of Crime Busters, a husband and wife duo who fought ghost crime. John was the front man because people trusted men more to get to the root of problems and get them solved. Men were stronger, faster and more intelligent. Everyone - with any intelligence, anyway - knew this. Women could answer the phone, look pretty and be nice. They had no business thinking, questioning, searching, carrying a gun, or punching an asshole in the nose.

Hence, John's picture on the billboards as the trusted face of Crime Busters. Of course, John didn't know anything about crime or ghosts or anything except talking a good game, but that was the most important part of any business. Just ask anyone. A business was only as valuable as the quality of its bullshit.

Jennifer saw apparitions. She talked to deceased people. She had a BA in crime investigation and a law degree. She sat at the receptionist's desk in a tight dress, kicking her crossed leg from the short hem. Her hair lay in perfect curls, her nails shown bright red and shiny, reflecting her pouty lips. When she answered the phone, her words came out in breathless, cartoonish squeaks.

They were both quite deceptive, especially with each other. He built relationships beyond her awareness (or so he thought) and she built bank accounts beyond his knowledge (in actuality.) Jennifer was rich. She discovered ages ago that as long as John's credit card was paid so he could run up his expense account, he was happy. He had no clue what they billed their customers.

He also had no idea that Jennifer was setting him up as a fall guy for her embezzlement and other fraudulent activities.

She called the FBI as a confidential informant and told them how Crime Busters took advantage of unsuspecting customers (after all, there really were no such things as ghosts,) billed outrageous fees and even gave credit terms at loan shark rates. Oh, and didn't pay any taxes on all of the cash payments they received. She told the FBI where they could find all of the secret books that John kept and kept secret from his bimbo wife.

She called John (using her real voice which he no longer recognized) as a tipster from one of his best buddies to let him know the FBI were investigating him. John secretly raided the only business bank account that Jennifer ever let him know about, netting him just enough cash to get him over the state line, thus making his crimes even worse in the government's eyes.

When the agents came to the office, Jennifer played her roll to perfection, her eyes big, round and innocent. She gave them the bank account numbers and let them look at all of their files. They didn't even need the warrants they carried in their suit pockets. They gathered everything up, locked the doors and sent the poor, dumb wife home, crying on the shoulders of a big, brawny agent.

The next day, Jennifer opened the first ever nudist camp for ghosts.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

tinker bell

We were watching television when it happened. I think my mother had a soap opera on, maybe Days of Our Lives. That was always her favorite. I have a picture of June Cleaver seated on her sofa: hair smooth and glossy with hair spray, a pencil skirted dress on a pencil thin body, cigarette held between the index and middle fingers of her left hand and a cup of coffee on the coffee table, a dollop of sweet cream floating on the surface of the hot, black liquid.

Walter Cronkite broke into the show and she sat forward, the back edge of her butt perched on the front edge of the couch, her knees locked together over three inch heels. Her bracelet caught the light when she lifted her hand to wipe away tears.

Someone killed King Arthur. Camelot destroyed on a sunny day, on a sunny drive through the badlands of Texas.

Lee Harvey Oswald inspired me to become the woman I am today. His supposed act was the first time I heard the word assassination and it struck a chord in my four year old heart. I wanted to be that person poking my rifle muzzle out of a twelve story window and anonymously taking out my target. And that's how I know he didn't do it. No self-respecting assassin gets caught.

He was a patsy, plain and simple.

All you have to do is think about it to know I'm right. I mean, I don't really know all of the facts but I'm pretty sure it wasn't LHO. I blame Castro and Jimmy Hoffa. They got together to get rid of the guy messing about their girl, Marilyn. Jimmy was especially upset over the way John cheated on Jackie all of the time and Marilyn was too innocent to know better. When John's handlers killed Marilyn to get her out of the way of their plans (John wanted to give it all up to run away to Cuba with her) Jimmy just couldn't take it anymore. He lost his mind with jealousy. He met with Castro and they decided to make some permanent changes.

One night when they were out together at a Salsa club, slow dancing after they had about ten margaritas each, Castro had an epiphany. He knew people. Jimmy knew people. They'd compare notes. If they found any people they had in common it would be a sign that God wanted them to clean up the mess made by a bunch of people who only had self interest as their guiding rule.

Upon sober reflection the next morning over tomato juice laced with lemon, creamy horseradish sauce, and two fingers of vodka, they still thought the idea a good one. They pooled their pocket change ($4,579.18,) called The Maggot (isn't that a great name for an assassin? I wish my code name was as good but somehow I got the moniker, Tinker Bell. I ask you, is that a proper name for an assassin? I think not but it stuck. ~ I digress,) and blamed it all on LHO.


Rainbow candies rain down on my head while I lay on my rocking bed. The devil stands at my feet, lifting me in the air without touching me. He's laughing like a lunatic. His red skin bulges and slides across his frame in a sickening imitation of neon clay squeezed between the fingers of a fist.

White gauze bandages wrap my body like a mummy. My closet is my sarcophagus. Dark, narrow and airless, I panic and fall to the floor, bang my head on the door and wiggle around like worm.

My liver pulses to the beat of "Bang the Drum All Day" by Todd Rundgren. My mother had him over for breakfast. He broke into spontaneous song over runny eggs and burnt toast.

A maid, dressed like a robotic troll with green and pink hair, vacuums my room with a head of cauliflower. She looks at me through the looking glass so I can't steal her soul. I try to stop her from throwing out the pizza I have stored in the drawers of my armoire, but I can't get the words past the duct tape covering my mouth.

An Easter bunny in the corner complains about its missing eye and eaten left ear. I tell him he should be more worried about his melting tail. He insists on standing next to the tanning bed because white chocolate isn't real chocolate.

The cocktail of drugs I've taken from my father's medicine cabinet calm my nerves. I focus on cleaning and reassembling my guns. The smell of oil keeps me grounded. I point my .44 Magnum at my action figures and tell Captain America, "Make my day." My matte black Ruger snarls in response, blowing a hole into my bathroom.

Gerald, the green, hulking bodyguard my parents hired to be my keeper, locked all of my toys in the swimming pool because I don't like water. He said I can have them back when I take a shower. I stand in the center of the foyer, staring at the stained glass dome while he speaks. His words buzz in my head, slurred, unintelligible, yet threatening. Red mist moves in from the edges, swirling around me in a hot fog. It touches my naked body and I exploded in a thousand needles that pierce Gerald. He screams and falls to the black and white marble floor.

My phone rings.

God tells me to put Him on speaker so Puddles can hear Him. The Texas Teacup listens intently, cocking her head left and right, small pink tongue tasting the air. I don't understand the language they speak to each other, so I wait, sitting cross-legged, wrists resting on knees, counting my breaths to prove I have the patience of a true saint, to show the All Knowing I am worthy of any task He cares to bestow upon me.

My phone dies. I forgot to charge it.

Puddles walks over to me, her pink nails clicking across the floor. She opens her mouth and God's voice emanates: "Can you hear me, now?”

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Plagued by Death

Brad's routine included an alarm clock that he invented to get him out of bed when most people were just falling asleep. He slept from one in the afternoon until ten at night. He didn't really get a full nine hours of sleep since it took him about three hours to fall asleep, but years of experience with this shift work taught him that even a few hours of resting his body was better than trying to get the physical and mental to sync up.

Once he did fall asleep, he didn't want to wake up. He could sleep through an atomic blast and so he invented his special alarm clock. A mechanical arm smacked him in the head with a pillow when the alarm went off. It kept hitting him until he got out of bed and turned off the switch which was located across the room from his bed.

Tuesday night, he woke up on his own. A very unusual occurrence. Something woke him up just before his alarm was set to go off to get him up and go to his job as a night watchman. He sat on the edge of the bed, shaking his head. He felt vibrations up through the soles of his feet. He looked at his closed window. He turned off his alarm and turned on the TV.

The News anchors looked disheveled. He turned up the sound.

" outbreak this severe since the late Middle Ages. An average of only seven cases of the Black Plague occur every year, mostly in Utah, New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona. The CDC has no idea why it is out of control now."


Brad felt something in his chest. He hit mute on the remote and cocked his ear like a dog. He lifted open his window. Wailing rose to his condo on the seventeenth floor. He leaned out and looked down. A loose line of people moved down the middle of the road like black ants. They followed a dump truck. The dirge came from that procession. He grabbed his binoculars. Focused on the truck. It overflowed with bodies tumbled in every direction. Men, women and children lay face up, face down, bent and awkward.


He turned back to the TV. The male anchor lay slumped on the desk. He turned the sound back on. The female anchor coughed between words.

"...thousands dropping..." Cough. "...dead..." Cough. "...every minute..." She fell off her chair in slow motion. The camera moved its view up to the ceiling and stopped. A line of words started across the bottom of the screen.

"Stay inside. Stay away from other people if you can." The words repeated on a loop.

Brad closed the window. He went into the bathroom with a bottle of whisky. He filled his tub with warm water and bubble bath crystals. He took the bottle of sleeping pills from his medicine cabinet, undressed and climbed into his bath. This would be the last night he watched.

Monday, May 16, 2016

you're too Jong-un to know better

You would think this took place in North Korea but you'd be wrong.

Yes, I was born in North Korea, in the reeducation camp in Tanchon, in 1991. Both of my parents were scientists: my mother a biologist, my father a physicist. They both died in Tanchon.

We spent twenty years together as a family and as scientists in the camp. They raised me with their ideals and they taught me to question, to search, to quest. They got me out of the camp, out of Tanchon, out of North Korea and then ran out of time. A message caught up with me three years after the fact. They were each shot in the head while kneeling in the exercise yard, holding hands, looking into each other's eyes.

They never shed a tear. I cried for weeks. I still cry, in the stillness of the night, but once morning comes, I pull it together. I've got things to do.

I'm testing out my PhD. My parents taught me so well, that I rarely took a class. I've been tested by a long line of professors in a variety of subjects to see where I should be placed in the American educational system. I'm a genius. I speak several languages, math being one of them. I'm an expert in practical and theoretical sciences. The government is supporting me while I acclimate.

No one really knows what to do with me: female, twenty-five, no family, North Korean, Genius, no formal education, anti-social, penniless, atheist.

My handler is making me go to a New Year's Eve party at the home of a congressman. I spent the day at an exclusive spa being pampered, primped and primed to be pimped out as an example of resources to be stolen out from under the little nose of Kim Jong-un. I was the poster child for a special new kind of secret program that wanted undermine other governments with double and triple agents. Even I no longer knew which side I was on.

People assumed my English wasn't very good, so I got away with being quiet. I watched. I smiled. I listened. I heard all kinds of things I'd use later as bargaining chips with my handler for things like time alone in a lab or a park, two of my favorite places. I had no qualms about passing on gossip about romantic liaisons, drug use, or illegal nannies. None of these things really mattered in the grand scheme of things. Not while people were forced to raise their children in prisons, forced to endure years of torture and agony.

I had more important things to thwart. Like that guy over in the corner, dressed as a waiter. He held a tray of champagne flutes filled with golden, bubbling liquid. He pulled a small white packet out of his pants' pocket, ripped it open with his teeth and poured a white powder into all five glasses on his tray.

He moved into the room, deftly keeping his tray from several people reaching for a glass. He was searching for specific people. I extracted myself from my group (no one noticed) and followed the waiter. He found a target and surged forward. I bumped into his arm carrying the tray. He tried to steady it but the glasses tumbled down to the floor, shattering on the slick wooden floor. The liquid foamed and ate through the Polyurethane.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

how did you say it happened?

His gray-green skin shimmered from the sweat forming on its surface. The heat floated up from the hard-packed ground and pressed down from the white sky. Zutphen pulled ozone into his body through his pores. His nervous system condensed the blue gas to a healing liquid that mixed with his blood and sent healing cells to his wounds. The open lesions across his faces knit together as his body revived from the chemicals in his tissue.

Lying on his back, looking through eight lidless eyes, Zutphen sighed as he felt physically better. His spiritual outlook, though was grim. His eyes, evenly spaced around his head, gave him a 360 degree view of the trouble he had caused.

It all began when his pod broke through the atmosphere of Earth and dropped through the air like a leaf on the wind. It moved so slow that he descent was captured by cell phones and cameras and sent across the planet via the Internet. Governments tracked his progress. By the time he hit the ocean, his capsule was surrounded by competing factions.

He popped the hatch, popped his head up through the opening and waved. There was a good reason why no one came to this crazy planet during day light hours. The inhabitants couldn't handle a friendly little wave of his flippers without freaking out. Nine different countries, represented by nine different war ships opened fire on his pod, but since it was protected by a shield, the fire power ricocheted and shot off in all directions. They blew each other out of the water, metal and bodies flying into the air in bloody pieces and then raining down around Zutphen.

The drones caught it all, televising the carnage around the planet. Fearless leaders across the globe panicked, poked index fingers on red buttons, sending bomb carrying rockets to all corners of the world, against friend and foe alike. The destruction didn't take long.

Zutphen ducked back into his pod and closed the door just before tidal waves sent him tumbling across the water, bobbing like trash. He took at nap.

He woke when he stilled. His pod had a permeable skin that allowed light and sound through. His eight eyes told him he was upside down on a beach. That meant his pod was damaged since it was designed to always remain upright relative to his body. Great. He rocked back and forth until the pod turned enough to get the door in a position where he could crawl out.

Debris lay everywhere. Smoke rose in thick, dark columns like a forest of undulating leafless trees. He absorbed helium through his skin into his body from the air. He took in enough so that he floated just above the ground. The tips of his flippers dragged in the sand, leaving lines along the ground as he moved.

He would kill Inuvik when he got back home. This was all her fault. She knew Zutphen couldn't resist a dare and now everyone on Earth was gone.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Caffeinated Courage

Seven. That's how many cups of coffee I downed before I hit the send button and agreed to meet the girl I met online.

Alone. I never do anything alone. John and I do everything together. Except this, apparently. I blame it on the excessive caffeine. It made me hyper and compulsive. I wasn't thinking. John does all of my thinking. And talking. I can type what I want to say but when it comes to vocalizing, I need John.
I need John and he had deserted me. Left me alone in our rooms. Left me alone to my own devices and the coffee maker.

The caffeine in my system propelled me to this cafe and this seat facing the door. I'm looking for a redhead with a big blue flower on her t-shirt. Now, the caffeine is out of my system. I only had enough money for one cup of java at this joint and because of the previously consumed beverages, I arrived three hours early. All of my rocket fuel burned up during my time spent waiting and jiggling my foot under the table. I was too spent to get up and leave. I crashed.

My head lay on the table, my right cheek pressed to the cool surface, my hands dangling between my knees. I kept my eyes closed. I couldn’t bear the stares from the normal people sitting at the other tables. They murmured and I just knew they were talking about me. John would say I thought too much of myself and laugh, but John wasn’t here.

The bell over the door jingled. I glanced up through my lashes. John walked in with a redhead wearing a t-shirt sporting a big blue flower. They were holding hands. She was giggling and looking up at John like he was candy. John pointed at me. She looked my way and smiled, showing all of her perfect white teeth. John patted her on the ass. She glided in my direction while John went to the counter to place an order.

I sat up.

They both sat across from me.

"You didn't close your browser. I thought you might need my loquacious talents with Natalie." John held Natalie's hand on top of the table.

The waitress brought a hot chocolate with whipped cream and a cherry for Natalie, a small, tiny cup of deep dark espresso for John and a glass of milk for me. She placed a round white plate of donut holes in the center of our table.

Natalie popped a cinnamon covered confection into her mouth and closed her eyes as she chewed. Little diamonds of sugar crystals dusted her lips and sparked with sunlight. I stared her lips, then at John and Natalie's entwined fingers. A sharp stabbing pain blossomed in my right eye. My breathing became erratic and shallow. My jaw hurt as my molars rubbed against each other.

Natalie placed her free hand on my upper thigh under the table.

John winked at me.