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Dave McCary from Santa Barbara, CA is reading A Dance of Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire series) October 4, 2011 - 4:45pm

I love sharing. Anyhoo... We have looked at first lines in another thread. How about the first scene? where does your first scene leave you? I am curious to see different approaches to the opening scene to your stories.

 

So, from Do Over

 

Day One

The light started to peer in through my slowly parting lids, intruding, driving away the dark.  Gradually waking, I could hear a few birds singing their redundant songs to the morning outside the window.  I rolled over away from the light that was trying to rouse me from my comfortable slumber, but it was already too late.  My mind continued that tedious climb to consciousness and wakefulness.  As I often do when I first wake up, I fondled my dick for a few; it seemed somehow smaller than usual.  I didn’t really think anything of it.  I did notice that there seemed to be a lot less hair in my groin than usual.  I tentatively opened my eyes, slowly at first, but at the scene before them, they shot open in confusion.  I looked around the room frantically, trying to understand the meaning of the space in which I found myself.  I was lying in the bottom section of a bunk bed.  There were two nearly identical cubby shelves with alternating red and blue doors directly across for clothes.  An end table sat between them with my stereo and a few knick-knacks on it.  I looked down under the covers at myself.  I was pretty much hairless and my prick was only a childish four inches long.  I jumped out of bed in a flash and ran to the mirror that was the door to the closet.  I stripped of my tighty-whities and just stared at the young body and young face staring back at me.  My God, I was twelve again.

“Oh my god!  What happened,” my tiny voice squeaked.  “What the fuck?!”  My hands were running all over my body, confirming that the image I saw in the mirror was indeed the same body I now inhabited once again.  I was slender and fair skinned; not much difference there.  My light blond hair hung down to my thin bony shoulders in a slightly overgrown mullet.  I could see my boy’s eyes, but I could still see my true years shining dully out of them from behind the youthful gleam.  What finally caught my eyes as quite odd was the fact that I still had my tattoos.  I hardly noticed them at first since I was so used to having them always there, but here they were on my twelve year old body looking a trifle out of place.  They were all there, the stickman on my hand between the index finger and thumb, the Rocky Horror Picture Show lips on my belly, the Celtic knots on my right bicep, the Hunter Thompson quote under the Celtic design on my arm in a language no one will ever read, the bass clef on my back between my shoulder blades, a face on my right kneecap, and a robot on the back of my left calf.  I turned from the mirror and the impossible image it contained, absentmindedly pulling my underwear back on as I crossed the room to my clothes cubby.  I grabbed something to wear making sure to keep my tattoos covered, got dressed, and started cautiously toward the door.  My hand stopped just short of the knob.  I didn’t dare yet see what lay beyond that door, although I already knew very well.  I hadn’t lived in that apartment for eighteen years.  How did I get back here, much less as a kid again?  I just stood there, transfixed on that shining piece of brass, lost in a frantic hurricane of thoughts and questions.

The night before, I was just hanging out at home drinking and haunting the message boards online. There was nothing really out of the ordinary, just me wasting time on the computer and getting drunk.  I drank a twelve pack and dragged myself to bed after an uneventful evening.  I was half passed out within minutes, but my sleep was troubled with bad dreams from my youth for about an hour or so before the alcohol put me under all the way into a deep slumber.  No doubt my sleep was still haunted with old memories, but I didn’t remember any of that; that’s what drinking is for.

My small child’s hand still lingered just shy of that door handle that I knew led to the rest of a home I hadn’t seen in almost two decades, trembling as I tried to reason out how this had come to happen.  I steeled my resolve, braced my nerves and took hold of the brass knob, turning it slowly.  The door creaked ominously as I pulled it open to see the hallway stretching out before me to my brother’s bedroom.  All was quiet in that hallway, but I could hear all too familiar voices from downstairs.  I could hear my two brothers bickering over the TV, and of course I could hear my mother from the kitchen, where she was making breakfast, telling them to settle on something and get along.  Before I even knew they were moving, my feet were already shuffling across the familiar brown carpet toward the head of the stairs.  One in front of the other, my feet continued without ever bothering to seek my permission first.  I took the first step down the stairs, then the next.  Apprehension and uncertainty wracked my adult mind as I descended in my twelve year old form.

Once I reached the foot of the stairs, I looked at my brothers.  Even though I knew what I would see, the two of them on the couch so much younger still took me aback and froze me in place for a moment; they hardly seemed to notice me.  My mother rounded the corner.  “Well it’s about time you got up, sleepyhead,” she said with flour dusting the front of her shirt.  She always did that.  She had often joked that that was why she had such large breasts, which she laughingly referred to as her “shelf, to catch what she spilled so as not to get all over her. 

I quickly snapped out of my daze and started toward her.  She was a sight to behold; she was younger, but there was a certain sadness in her bright eyes that I had thankfully not seen for a long time until that moment.  I adopted a huge grin quite unconsciously, gave her a timid but cheerful ‘good morning’, and wrapped my thin arms around her in a deep hug.  I really needed that comfort right then.  I had no idea what was going on, and I just needed my mother’s embrace and smell and soft sweet tone to make it all okay for that moment.

“Well, what was that for, sweetie?  Is there something wrong?  What did you do,” she asked with a chuckling smile.  “You and I both know whenever you get all lovey and buttery like this, it usually means you did something.  Should I be expecting some bad phone call today, or what?” 

“What?  Can’t I just give my own mother a hug in the morning?”  I said it with a smile, but I just wanted to cry so badly it hurt.

“Come on in here,” she said, “Breakfast is ready.  Jim, William, slop’s on.  Get in here,” she called to my lounging brothers.

***

After a breakfast that was both unsettling and comfortingly familiar—I somehow managed not to attract any undue attention to myself—I ventured outside. It was a warm Saturday morning, and I was in desperate need of a nice walk to wrap my head around things. “Stay close and be back in here by lunch, Kevin.”

“Sure, Ma,” I called back.

“Since when do you call me “Ma?”

“I…I don’t know. Uh… It just sounded right at the time,” I managed to stammer, following with a quick smile. My mother’s question threw me off. I hadn’t even thought of that. Calling her “Ma” was a habit I didn’t adopt until I was well into my twenties. I suddenly felt very exposed and even more out of sorts. Those questioning eyes stared after me. Was there a growing suspicion in those eyes? Perhaps it was only a glint behind the natural innocent curiosity. Perhaps I was just being paranoid. Either way, I’d really have to be more aware of my speech and my mannerisms. It simply wouldn’t do to wander around my old life carrying on with the affect of my 32 year-old self. To everyone else, I was just a kid. With a wave, I wandered down the road. No one else seemed to be out. It was quiet and serene. I was rather thankful for that this particular morning.

My head was spinning. Part of me wanted to believe that I was simply dreaming; more vivid than I had ever experienced, but dreaming nonetheless. But, I knew that not to be true. You know when you are dreaming and when you are not. Things were simply too real. Dreams didn’t bother with so many of the trifle details. The feel of the slight breeze rustling my hair, the feel of the concrete sidewalk through the thinned soles of my worn shoes, the over-brightness of the sun on my sensitive blue eyes; all these things smacked of reality, and in this moment, seemed the less real for it. So, I trudged on; one foot in front of the other. God, those feet are tiny.

This was utterly impossible. As hard as I tried, I could not muster any reason or rationalization for my current state. Mind you, at thirty-two, I like to consider myself a fairly bright man. Neither my intellect nor my creative thought processes were offering to be of any help now. How the hell did I get here? Why now of all times? I recalled the dreams of my youth that had invaded my head before falling into the deep sleep of drunken stupor. Damn it, I won’t be allowed any beer or whiskey for another nine years! Hell, I could really use a shot right now to slow down my brain just a bit. Okay no, back on track. Now is not the time to think like a drunk. The thoughts were simply coming too quickly. They spun and flew at me, assailing me in such speeding torrents that I could not grasp any single one long enough to contemplate a coherent answer, not that any answers were coming in any fashion. Still, those tiny feet trudged forward.

I found myself in front of a door I had not seen in almost twenty years. It was a simple white door just like all the others in these light blue apartments. I had been through this door countless times. It was Jon Haggerty’s. What the hell was I doing here? I was not ready to attempt reconnecting with my old best friend just yet. It’s not like I could actually tell him anything. What was there to tell? I still had no answers. Hey, Jon. I know I look the same, but I am actually my thirty-two year old self transported back into my twelve year old body. Check out these cool tats. No, that just wouldn’t fly. Either he would think I was nuts or he would think that I got some killer weed from my brother and be angry for not keeping some to share. No, I would have to just play it cool for a while, not let anyone on, while I tried to figure this thing out. Was there a way out? By the time I’m thirty-two again, will I actually be fifty-two? What will this do to my…

My thoughts were interrupted by the door in front of me opening. There was Jon, my best friend, a fellow freak, a real pal o’ me heart, as the Irish would say. I stood there startled and speechless, not exactly sure what to do, waiting for my usual auto-pilot to kick in.

“Hey, man! What the hell ya doing just standin at the door? Planning on knocking sometime soon?” Jon chuckled, and peered at me oddly. “You look like you’ve seen the ghost of your gay uncle.” More laughter, this time more raucous. “C’mon; let’s go down to the car port and have a smoke. I snuck one from my old man.”

“Yeah,” I mumbled. “God, could I use one of those. So, your dad’s visiting? Good, I have a feeling, we’re going to need plenty more of his smokes before he leaves. It’s been…” I caught myself before I said any more, amazed at how casually I almost let slip too many hints at my weird Twilight Zone morning. I reddened a bit, and quickly snatched the cigarette and lighter from Jon’s fingers. With an expertness unseen in a twelve year old, I flicked the lighter, inhaled deeply as the embers took, and let out the cloud in a great relieved sigh. I greedily took down nearly half of the thing before we reached the car port, and Jon unlocked the car where we used to hang out and smoke so many years ago. So many years ago? Hell it was today.

“It’s been what? Your family giving you shit?”

“No… No, it’s nothing like that. I just… I’m… I don’t know. I just feel a little off today is all. Ever just have one of those random mornings where nothing feels right?”

“Dude,” Jon chuckled again, “I have those kinds of mornings almost every morning. He took the cigarette back from me and inhaled thoughtfully.

Yeah, there was a reason we were friends. We both had our issues, our problems, our demons. I realized at that moment just how much I had missed my friend over the years. We lost contact after I had moved to Dublin, the next town over, at about fourteen. I found him again much later. I was in my early twenties. He had been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and was living in a sort of halfway house for the mentally ill up in the Oakland hills. He was a sad shadow of the vibrant kid I had known in my youth. Sure, he’d always been a bit crazy, but I always assumed it was an exuberant personality trait, not actual mental illness in the making.

I visited him and, surprisingly, was allowed to spend the night. It was both joyous at reconnecting with an old friend and heartbreaking at seeing the crazy young man he had been reduced to. The exuberance was there, but the hopeful vibrancy was replaced by a dulled glaze that could have come from the medications, the insanity, or both. We spent the time drinking and snorting various patients’ pills. High as hell, we recounted old times before depression or craziness had utterly enveloped us both. It was an interesting night. As we regaled each other with tales long past, other patients would wander in and out, most of them far more insane than my dear Jon. They would burst into our conversations insisting on some insane story or another. Most were really quite amusing. They were all harmless, but this was also my first glimpse at actual crazy up close. One old goat kept going to the phone, yelling into the receiver for the imaginary caller to just leave him the hell alone. This general madness went on until the sun started to break. We slept for a while before my other friends came to pick me up in the early afternoon. I had never been both so happy yet so sad to leave someone. I knew that would be the last time I saw him. And until this new unexplainable excursion into my past, it was.

“You’re too damn quiet today,” Jon said, suddenly jarring me out of past, or were they future, memories.

“Sorry, my head just keeps going in really weird directions.” Did I dare to say more? Should I tell him that he was going to go crazy for real? Does he need to know about him ranting to me in the future about conspiracies and the voices in his head? No, I didn’t have the heart or the right.

“I know how that goes.” He hands me the nearly burnt down smoke. “Last of ‘er?”

“Yeah, give it here.” I took the last couple drags in a greedy need. Damn, I was going to have to get used to not smoking regularly. That’s okay. Even though my head craved it, my young lungs were already aching. I just hadn’t paid them any mind. I thought to take a bit of a chance. “Ever had weird dreams about being older,” I asked. “Like, in your thirties and being nowhere near where you had hoped or dreamed?”

“I never really figured I’d live to see my thirties.” He looked at me as intently as I tried not to look at him. I had to share something. If I could do it in this backwards way, then just maybe I could start to feel a little more connected, even if it was only a temporary fallacy. If I could convince myself that the 32 year old me was the dream, my mind just might be able to survive this. “I dreamt that I was 32. Weird age for a dream, huh? Anyhoo, I was working for this company that made…”

Jon cut me off, laughing. “Did you just say fucking ‘anyhoo’?”

“Yeah. What of it?” Damn it, there I went again using words that I just didn’t use till my twenties. Whatever, I can play it off. “ Like I was saying…”

“No, no, no… Who the hell says ‘anyhoo’? You certainly don’t.” Jon had a look that was somewhere between amused and who the hell are you, anyhoo?

“Look, it came from that damn dream, and it kinda stuck, alright? I kinda like it. Has a nice ring to it. ANYHOO,” I emphasized, “I was working for some company that made fake tits, but was going to school to be a teacher. How random and fucked up is that?”

Jon chuckled a little. “What are you talking about, Kev? Fake tits and teaching? That’s what got you so weird today? It was just a…”

“Damn it! Don’t tell me it was just a dream! You think I don’t know that? It was more than just fake tits and school. I could remember everything that had happened between here and then. I mean, all the years between now and when I’m thirty-two. There was some fucked up stuff that had happened, but I was in a place where I had gotten over most of it. I was grown up and moving on. All I’m saying is that it kinda weirded me out is all. It was all just too real and not right. I had resigned myself to the life I had, but that’s not what my life is supposed to be!” Wow now. Which side am I really supposed to be believing. I had surprised myself a bit with the sudden outburst.

“Easy, pal. You’re wound up today. Lemme go see if my dad has an old joint lying around. That’ll be just the thing.”  Jon walked back toward his apartment, leaving me in the car.

A joint did sound like a damn fine idea, but I just couldn’t handle the conversation or my escalating emotions and unease anymore. I got out, closed the car door, and snuck away. I walked the blocks back to my own apartment wondering just how I was going to get through this. How exactly does one adapt to this kind of situation. It is kind of unprecedented, don’t you think? I lowered my head and eyes downward, just as I used to as a boy, and watched those tiny feet trudge forward.
The light started to peer in through my slowly parting lids, intruding, driving away the dark.  Gradually waking, I could hear a few birds singing their redundant songs to the morning outside the window.  I rolled over away from the light that was trying to rouse me from my comfortable slumber, but it was already too late.  My mind continued that tedious climb to consciousness and wakefulness.  As I often do when I first wake up, I fondled my dick for a few; it seemed somehow smaller than usual.  I didn’t really think anything of it.  I did notice that there seemed to be a lot less hair in my groin than usual.  I tentatively opened my eyes, slowly at first, but at the scene before them, they shot open in confusion.  I looked around the room frantically, trying to understand the meaning of the space in which I found myself.  I was lying in the bottom section of a bunk bed.  There were two nearly identical cubby shelves with alternating red and blue doors directly across for clothes.  An end table sat between them with my stereo and a few knick-knacks on it.  I looked down under the covers at myself.  I was pretty much hairless and my prick was only a childish four inches long.  I jumped out of bed in a flash and ran to the mirror that was the door to the closet.  I stripped of my tighty-whities and just stared at the young body and young face staring back at me.  My God, I was twelve again.

“Oh my god!  What happened,” my tiny voice squeaked.  “What the fuck?!”  My hands were running all over my body, confirming that the image I saw in the mirror was indeed the same body I now inhabited once again.  I was slender and fair skinned; not much difference there.  My light blond hair hung down to my thin bony shoulders in a slightly overgrown mullet.  I could see my boy’s eyes, but I could still see my true years shining dully out of them from behind the youthful gleam.  What finally caught my eyes as quite odd was the fact that I still had my tattoos.  I hardly noticed them at first since I was so used to having them always there, but here they were on my twelve year old body looking a trifle out of place.  They were all there, the stickman on my hand between the index finger and thumb, the Rocky Horror Picture Show lips on my belly, the Celtic knots on my right bicep, the Hunter Thompson quote under the Celtic design on my arm in a language no one will ever read, the bass clef on my back between my shoulder blades, a face on my right kneecap, and a robot on the back of my left calf.  I turned from the mirror and the impossible image it contained, absentmindedly pulling my underwear back on as I crossed the room to my clothes cubby.  I grabbed something to wear making sure to keep my tattoos covered, got dressed, and started cautiously toward the door.  My hand stopped just short of the knob.  I didn’t dare yet see what lay beyond that door, although I already knew very well.  I hadn’t lived in that apartment for eighteen years.  How did I get back here, much less as a kid again?  I just stood there, transfixed on that shining piece of brass, lost in a frantic hurricane of thoughts and questions.

The night before, I was just hanging out at home drinking and haunting the message boards online. There was nothing really out of the ordinary, just me wasting time on the computer and getting drunk.  I drank a twelve pack and dragged myself to bed after an uneventful evening.  I was half passed out within minutes, but my sleep was troubled with bad dreams from my youth for about an hour or so before the alcohol put me under all the way into a deep slumber.  No doubt my sleep was still haunted with old memories, but I didn’t remember any of that; that’s what drinking is for.

My small child’s hand still lingered just shy of that door handle that I knew led to the rest of a home I hadn’t seen in almost two decades, trembling as I tried to reason out how this had come to happen.  I steeled my resolve, braced my nerves and took hold of the brass knob, turning it slowly.  The door creaked ominously as I pulled it open to see the hallway stretching out before me to my brother’s bedroom.  All was quiet in that hallway, but I could hear all too familiar voices from downstairs.  I could hear my two brothers bickering over the TV, and of course I could hear my mother from the kitchen, where she was making breakfast, telling them to settle on something and get along.  Before I even knew they were moving, my feet were already shuffling across the familiar brown carpet toward the head of the stairs.  One in front of the other, my feet continued without ever bothering to seek my permission first.  I took the first step down the stairs, then the next.  Apprehension and uncertainty wracked my adult mind as I descended in my twelve year old form.

Once I reached the foot of the stairs, I looked at my brothers.  Even though I knew what I would see, the two of them on the couch so much younger still took me aback and froze me in place for a moment; they hardly seemed to notice me.  My mother rounded the corner.  “Well it’s about time you got up, sleepyhead,” she said with flour dusting the front of her shirt.  She always did that.  She had often joked that that was why she had such large breasts, which she laughingly referred to as her “shelf, to catch what she spilled so as not to get all over her. 

I quickly snapped out of my daze and started toward her.  She was a sight to behold; she was younger, but there was a certain sadness in her bright eyes that I had thankfully not seen for a long time until that moment.  I adopted a huge grin quite unconsciously, gave her a timid but cheerful ‘good morning’, and wrapped my thin arms around her in a deep hug.  I really needed that comfort right then.  I had no idea what was going on, and I just needed my mother’s embrace and smell and soft sweet tone to make it all okay for that moment.

“Well, what was that for, sweetie?  Is there something wrong?  What did you do,” she asked with a chuckling smile.  “You and I both know whenever you get all lovey and buttery like this, it usually means you did something.  Should I be expecting some bad phone call today, or what?” 

“What?  Can’t I just give my own mother a hug in the morning?”  I said it with a smile, but I just wanted to cry so badly it hurt.

“Come on in here,” she said, “Breakfast is ready.  Jim, William, slop’s on.  Get in here,” she called to my lounging brothers.

***

After a breakfast that was both unsettling and comfortingly familiar—I somehow managed not to attract any undue attention to myself—I ventured outside. It was a warm Saturday morning, and I was in desperate need of a nice walk to wrap my head around things. “Stay close and be back in here by lunch, Kevin.”

“Sure, Ma,” I called back.

“Since when do you call me “Ma?”

“I…I don’t know. Uh… It just sounded right at the time,” I managed to stammer, following with a quick smile. My mother’s question threw me off. I hadn’t even thought of that. Calling her “Ma” was a habit I didn’t adopt until I was well into my twenties. I suddenly felt very exposed and even more out of sorts. Those questioning eyes stared after me. Was there a growing suspicion in those eyes? Perhaps it was only a glint behind the natural innocent curiosity. Perhaps I was just being paranoid. Either way, I’d really have to be more aware of my speech and my mannerisms. It simply wouldn’t do to wander around my old life carrying on with the affect of my 32 year-old self. To everyone else, I was just a kid. With a wave, I wandered down the road. No one else seemed to be out. It was quiet and serene. I was rather thankful for that this particular morning.

My head was spinning. Part of me wanted to believe that I was simply dreaming; more vivid than I had ever experienced, but dreaming nonetheless. But, I knew that not to be true. You know when you are dreaming and when you are not. Things were simply too real. Dreams didn’t bother with so many of the trifle details. The feel of the slight breeze rustling my hair, the feel of the concrete sidewalk through the thinned soles of my worn shoes, the over-brightness of the sun on my sensitive blue eyes; all these things smacked of reality, and in this moment, seemed the less real for it. So, I trudged on; one foot in front of the other. God, those feet are tiny.

This was utterly impossible. As hard as I tried, I could not muster any reason or rationalization for my current state. Mind you, at thirty-two, I like to consider myself a fairly bright man. Neither my intellect nor my creative thought processes were offering to be of any help now. How the hell did I get here? Why now of all times? I recalled the dreams of my youth that had invaded my head before falling into the deep sleep of drunken stupor. Damn it, I won’t be allowed any beer or whiskey for another nine years! Hell, I could really use a shot right now to slow down my brain just a bit. Okay no, back on track. Now is not the time to think like a drunk. The thoughts were simply coming too quickly. They spun and flew at me, assailing me in such speeding torrents that I could not grasp any single one long enough to contemplate a coherent answer, not that any answers were coming in any fashion. Still, those tiny feet trudged forward.

I found myself in front of a door I had not seen in almost twenty years. It was a simple white door just like all the others in these light blue apartments. I had been through this door countless times. It was Jon Haggerty’s. What the hell was I doing here? I was not ready to attempt reconnecting with my old best friend just yet. It’s not like I could actually tell him anything. What was there to tell? I still had no answers. Hey, Jon. I know I look the same, but I am actually my thirty-two year old self transported back into my twelve year old body. Check out these cool tats. No, that just wouldn’t fly. Either he would think I was nuts or he would think that I got some killer weed from my brother and be angry for not keeping some to share. No, I would have to just play it cool for a while, not let anyone on, while I tried to figure this thing out. Was there a way out? By the time I’m thirty-two again, will I actually be fifty-two? What will this do to my…

My thoughts were interrupted by the door in front of me opening. There was Jon, my best friend, a fellow freak, a real pal o’ me heart, as the Irish would say. I stood there startled and speechless, not exactly sure what to do, waiting for my usual auto-pilot to kick in.

“Hey, man! What the hell ya doing just standin at the door? Planning on knocking sometime soon?” Jon chuckled, and peered at me oddly. “You look like you’ve seen the ghost of your gay uncle.” More laughter, this time more raucous. “C’mon; let’s go down to the car port and have a smoke. I snuck one from my old man.”

“Yeah,” I mumbled. “God, could I use one of those. So, your dad’s visiting? Good, I have a feeling, we’re going to need plenty more of his smokes before he leaves. It’s been…” I caught myself before I said any more, amazed at how casually I almost let slip too many hints at my weird Twilight Zone morning. I reddened a bit, and quickly snatched the cigarette and lighter from Jon’s fingers. With an expertness unseen in a twelve year old, I flicked the lighter, inhaled deeply as the embers took, and let out the cloud in a great relieved sigh. I greedily took down nearly half of the thing before we reached the car port, and Jon unlocked the car where we used to hang out and smoke so many years ago. So many years ago? Hell it was today.

“It’s been what? Your family giving you shit?”

“No… No, it’s nothing like that. I just… I’m… I don’t know. I just feel a little off today is all. Ever just have one of those random mornings where nothing feels right?”

“Dude,” Jon chuckled again, “I have those kinds of mornings almost every morning. He took the cigarette back from me and inhaled thoughtfully.

Yeah, there was a reason we were friends. We both had our issues, our problems, our demons. I realized at that moment just how much I had missed my friend over the years. We lost contact after I had moved to Dublin, the next town over, at about fourteen. I found him again much later. I was in my early twenties. He had been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and was living in a sort of halfway house for the mentally ill up in the Oakland hills. He was a sad shadow of the vibrant kid I had known in my youth. Sure, he’d always been a bit crazy, but I always assumed it was an exuberant personality trait, not actual mental illness in the making.

I visited him and, surprisingly, was allowed to spend the night. It was both joyous at reconnecting with an old friend and heartbreaking at seeing the crazy young man he had been reduced to. The exuberance was there, but the hopeful vibrancy was replaced by a dulled glaze that could have come from the medications, the insanity, or both. We spent the time drinking and snorting various patients’ pills. High as hell, we recounted old times before depression or craziness had utterly enveloped us both. It was an interesting night. As we regaled each other with tales long past, other patients would wander in and out, most of them far more insane than my dear Jon. They would burst into our conversations insisting on some insane story or another. Most were really quite amusing. They were all harmless, but this was also my first glimpse at actual crazy up close. One old goat kept going to the phone, yelling into the receiver for the imaginary caller to just leave him the hell alone. This general madness went on until the sun started to break. We slept for a while before my other friends came to pick me up in the early afternoon. I had never been both so happy yet so sad to leave someone. I knew that would be the last time I saw him. And until this new unexplainable excursion into my past, it was.

“You’re too damn quiet today,” Jon said, suddenly jarring me out of past, or were they future, memories.

“Sorry, my head just keeps going in really weird directions.” Did I dare to say more? Should I tell him that he was going to go crazy for real? Does he need to know about him ranting to me in the future about conspiracies and the voices in his head? No, I didn’t have the heart or the right.

“I know how that goes.” He hands me the nearly burnt down smoke. “Last of ‘er?”

“Yeah, give it here.” I took the last couple drags in a greedy need. Damn, I was going to have to get used to not smoking regularly. That’s okay. Even though my head craved it, my young lungs were already aching. I just hadn’t paid them any mind. I thought to take a bit of a chance. “Ever had weird dreams about being older,” I asked. “Like, in your thirties and being nowhere near where you had hoped or dreamed?”

“I never really figured I’d live to see my thirties.” He looked at me as intently as I tried not to look at him. I had to share something. If I could do it in this backwards way, then just maybe I could start to feel a little more connected, even if it was only a temporary fallacy. If I could convince myself that the 32 year old me was the dream, my mind just might be able to survive this. “I dreamt that I was 32. Weird age for a dream, huh? Anyhoo, I was working for this company that made…”

Jon cut me off, laughing. “Did you just say fucking ‘anyhoo’?”

“Yeah. What of it?” Damn it, there I went again using words that I just didn’t use till my twenties. Whatever, I can play it off. “ Like I was saying…”

“No, no, no… Who the hell says ‘anyhoo’? You certainly don’t.” Jon had a look that was somewhere between amused and who the hell are you, anyhoo?

“Look, it came from that damn dream, and it kinda stuck, alright? I kinda like it. Has a nice ring to it. ANYHOO,” I emphasized, “I was working for some company that made fake tits, but was going to school to be a teacher. How random and fucked up is that?”

Jon chuckled a little. “What are you talking about, Kev? Fake tits and teaching? That’s what got you so weird today? It was just a…”

“Damn it! Don’t tell me it was just a dream! You think I don’t know that? It was more than just fake tits and school. I could remember everything that had happened between here and then. I mean, all the years between now and when I’m thirty-two. There was some fucked up stuff that had happened, but I was in a place where I had gotten over most of it. I was grown up and moving on. All I’m saying is that it kinda weirded me out is all. It was all just too real and not right. I had resigned myself to the life I had, but that’s not what my life is supposed to be!” Wow now. Which side am I really supposed to be believing. I had surprised myself a bit with the sudden outburst.

“Easy, pal. You’re wound up today. Lemme go see if my dad has an old joint lying around. That’ll be just the thing.”  Jon walked back toward his apartment, leaving me in the car.

A joint did sound like a damn fine idea, but I just couldn’t handle the conversation or my escalating emotions and unease anymore. I got out, closed the car door, and snuck away. I walked the blocks back to my own apartment wondering just how I was going to get through this. How exactly does one adapt to this kind of situation. It is kind of unprecedented, don’t you think? I lowered my head and eyes downward, just as I used to as a boy, and watched those tiny feet trudge forward.

Nick Wilczynski's picture
Nick Wilczynski from Greensboro, NC is reading A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin October 4, 2011 - 10:13pm

You posted it twice, but I thought it was good. Perhaps your exposition is a little rushed with regard to his friend, I don't know, do you really want the reader to know all of that about the kid right up front?

Rarely would I comment on someone's penis imagery, but I found that it fit in quite well.

That's what she said.

To answer the question posed in the title, it is, I think that the idea bears exploration.

-

From Upright Citizens

 

I wish I could tell you that the good guy always wins, but in my experience this is rarely the case. The problem is that in order to make such a claim I would also have to tell you that I know who the good guy is.

But it gets worse than that. If you ask me for my personal opinion the proponents of legalized marijuana are good guys, right? But here I am, in an abandoned building with no lease to anybody. Driven into the underground by the forces of law and order, my power doesn't come from the utilities, I have to bike it out myself in the back room to charge batteries for the heat lamps. We have to build wind turbines ourselves out of junkyard scrap and sheer American defiance to help us keep our production up to the maximum levels.

But maybe you think that Johnny Law is a good guy. Say you see the divine in the soul of a given DEA agent. For argument's sake let's say Gary Walsh, a five foot seven, blonde, brown eyed man of mixed Nordic descent who lives in the forward bedroom of 2001 Sunset Drive way back east in Philadelphia. Driven so far from his home, mortgage, wife, two girls, and six-year-old Beagle named 'Spike,' to spend the last two months in some sort of pathetic and heavy-handed attempt to follow a relatively low level distributor on the other side of a state line. If he is a good guy then it's still hard to call him a success, at this point we know more about him than he knows about our boy. Even if he follows out his fantasy to his conclusion then he still faces the daunting problem that marijuana will remain, even in that world, America's number one cash crop. No joke. So even if he knocks over individual dealers or growers then what has he accomplished?
In this city, though, the cops are not good guys. They don't have the sort of ambitious middle class life that Gary's got in some East coast city; no, they are abandoned and scattered across the westward journey of manifest destiny. Their lives are unaccomplished, strewn with failed marriages and half-finished degrees in criminology and their assorted problems all get drowned in expensive habits that corrupt the liver and
lungs.

This makes them susceptible to bribes. You don't even have to know their daughter's school schedule to get leverage over them. On the other hand little Betsy Walsh would probably best be apprehended at the split between third and fourth periods, approximately at ten fifty five, when she has to change buildings.
Now I'm not making a very good case that I'm a good guy, but I promise you that I would never hurt a hair on that little girl's head or direct anyone to do any such thing. Besides, her school year finishes in a couple of weeks and then the information will be useful only for blunt intimidation through idle threats. However it serves to make my original point: if the good guys always won I wouldn't have any of that information.
Inside this building it is indoor gardens, wall to wall, dark and musky in the night. In the corner a radio blares out some of the generic sound that the paid stations try to pass off as music. Even with the flowers all clipped off there has to be a smell to this place but it has been lost on me for months, just from constant hermit-like devotion to this private stock.

There was no reason to move out from the Farm, I suppose. I could manage this building from down the street with Rob and the various minions who collect their weekly check in cannabis, which they loudly gamble away and trade for money to the well connected dealers. I'll be the first to admit, after these lonely months, that the wild and constant noises simply did not justify fleeing the commune to live in solitude on its
outskirts, growing my private brands.

Every different private brand I could imagine. I've crossbred every different strand I could get my hands on and I've managed to mix my palette into everything, split up into individual cannabinoid pixels each more radiant than the last. When the lights are on this room glows of crystals, when a bud is plucked and rolled it could do anything. It can challenge what you thought weed could do. It can make you jittery and tweak you out;
another bud might sedate you into complete stupefaction. The current King of this little garden, my personal Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, is a strand called the Jester.

This, ironically, is the strand that I started with. I have been evasive to everyone since I convinced Tina to help me haul a mattress and frame into the building with her car, and in that time I have accomplished fuck all in my mission of improving nature. 

Three harvests, with four distinct generations of plants, and nothing I had yet grown could top the Jester for its cool, even, and yet somehow intellectually challenging high. Inducing engaged analytical observation without the sort of paranoia or sulking that usually accompanies that thought process with most strands. The complete abolition of paranoia is something of a sell for me, and it usually disappears within a generation of
hybrids. 

On the roof I light a Marlboro Red and look out at the assorted clones that I have arranged.

In the alley next to this building, the other side being devoted to gravel for the parking lot, there is graffiti that just says 'Billy Zoom and John Doe were here,' A tag from some sort of execution. It was there before I set up my own operations here. I know Billy Zoom isn't his real name, but I don't even think Jim, who buys meth from the guy, knows his real name. Nobody knew the other guy's name either apparently but if I had to
guess one thing about him it's safe to say that he probably owed Billy money. If I had to guess more I'd say he was one of the truckers who pass by the weigh station down the highway needing a tweak; a borderline vagrant sacrificed at the altar of gas prices.

Jesus, Rob's going to kill me. I really have no idea what I was thinking earlier today when I dragged these plants up here. Well, to be fair, there wasn't any room for them downstairs and my lights have been getting more and more cramped as these months have progressed until these smaller ones just couldn't manage down there without extra light. So I had brought them to the roof where I could definitely get them light, despite the blackout over all the windows and the lack of lamps. Still, now that they're up here this is a complete fucking disaster. Anybody could see these things, one helicopter and this whole party gets wrapped up and sent to the big house. And not just me, but if I go down then everyone in the Farm is going down too. They're just too close for the state police to be investigating here. But even if that doesn't happen then Rob will definitely hear about this. If nobody else sees it then someone from the Farm will, and then I'll have hell to pay.


It is possible that this little experiment, out here in the tenth building of our larger experiment, is getting out of hand. Although the solution is pretty simple, I'll harvest what I can to thin the herd. Then show up down the street and hand over as much as can to Rob and just focus on getting these clones downstairs.


Down the street there is the unmistakable single headlight of one of the motorcycles that are always roaring down these streets on hell-bent runs between their trailer parks and their bar, Spokes, an unimaginative unpainted little concrete box. Once the first one turns the corner and lights up, almost immediately there is another, and another. Soon a swarm of lights is whooping and hollering down the road. I step back in the shadows and lean against the door frame to the stairs, turning away from the street. There's a railroad out there beyond a fence behind Building 10, and a cracked asphalt and gravel lot where somebody used to park when they did honest business downstairs.

The place is still set up like an office or some sort of call center; there are cubicles and desks still set up, plants on top of them or growing around them. All of that was just abandoned at some point by whoever had done business here when they couldn’t keep their heads above water. It’s all owned by the banks now, and they don’t care about anything. Even if they knew about this whole operation they would just try to figure out a way to charge us rent under the table. Nobody cares how dirty your money is. All money's value is put in place by wars and oppressive economic treaties with the third world. Your paper is legal tender because some man with a gun said so, so why not barter and bargain with thugs, thieves, scumbags, hostage takers and drug dealers?


People do it. Ask the Contras, hell, ask the Fed.

Out in front of Building 10 the bikers have rolled to a stop, and start doing doughnuts. You see, this is the problem with drunks. A worst case scenario of getting stoned and driving is only a wildly paranoid trip, quickly hustled to an end as soon as possible. These assholes driving drunk do downright stupid shit. If one of them falls down and cracks their head then there'll be police and all sorts of truly moronic heat.

They wear denim vests with their logo fucking iron-patched on as far as I can tell; some sort of vicious, and yet simultaneously kitsch looking eagle. Over half of them are wearing bandanas tied as skullcaps instead of helmets; some of them wear prescription glasses. In a word they look ridiculous.


But they don't seem to mind and they hoot and holler at the sky as they peel out doughnuts in front of the building. Their spinning headlights providing a dizzying light show as I look down at the spectacle.

“Go to Hell, Dopers!” I hear all of the sudden, and realize that the roar of the motorcycles has dulled to a grumbling hungry purr.

The front of the building is almost totally made of glass, and I hear it crack and shatter as they throw things at it. Jesus Christ, if I still carried a gun. What the fuck do they think they're doing? Do they think there won't be consequences for this sort of behavior?


But I don't carry a gun anymore, and now it seems a little late to worry about the relative safety of my gun ownership. As I look down on the street, I see it suddenly light up out in front of the building along deep, long cracks. Oh God.

I hustle down the stairs and see the whole massive garden is burning. The batteries are along the back wall, surrounded by bags of fertilizer. The fire will still get to them and I have no desire to be inside when that happens. It is growing fast. The bikers are still tossing burning bottles into the building. I see them flash into blazes all over the room.

And the plants catch on to the idea, along with the cubicles and desks of my terraces. In a moment I see the flaming sword come down between me and my Eden. I don't even know what to save, there is too much. Most of it is attached to heavy pots and large amounts of expensive fertilizer. The room is filling up with smoke, with the weed smoke mixing with every type of rubber and plaster and plastic that's melting in this sudden growing blaze. Jesus Christ what the fuck is going on? Where the fuck did this come from? Why is my fucking building on fire? The hair on my arms starts to curl up as the fire grows wilder and wilder. The Jester stares at me longingly from across the room, I bolt to it as the fire grows and all I can hear is its angry hungry roar and the joyous laughter of the drunks outside.

I grab a plant and pull it up wholesale, as best as I can. I'll clone the parts that survive.


There really isn't enough time to grab anything else. Everything of sentimental value is back by my mattress and, more importantly, the batteries and my stockpile of fertilizer. Anything of monetary value is already getting toasted; there is nothing left here for me but to go down with the ship.

Yeah, fuck that. I barge up the stairs.

To the clones.

I start throwing them back into the parking lot, handfuls at a time all bundled up in dirt and half-assed burlap pouches. Part of the roof starts to collapse up at the front of the building. I can tell that the bikers are still there by the yells and shouts as everything I own goes up in smoke.

I finish tossing another few clones down into the parking lot, grab the Jester and take a moment to evaluate how tall exactly one story looks at a moment like this. It's best not to dwell on these things.

I try not to land on any of the plants, but if any of them only made it as far as my jump then they're probably done when the batteries go anyways. The inferno grows up into the night as I crawl over the fence at the back of the parking lot and hop across the tracks. Behind me, the batteries and fertilizer blow out the back wall with a loud pop.

For a second the building sways in the breeze with the two side walls buckling under the extra weight of the windmills and the various architecture that was supported by the back wall. On the other side of the flame, through the blown out wall and smashed windows, I can see captivated looks on the faces of the bikers as they realize how completely they've brought it all to rubble. The absurdity of this situation is too much for
me. We've prepared a complete dossier on a DEA agent a state away and a thousand connections separate from us, we have paid off all the local law enforcement and muscled out anybody who wanted our turf. Yet here I am getting my ass kicked by motherfuckers in denim vests. As they stare dumbfounded at their own power the side walls shudder and collapse.


But the fire somehow doesn’t even go out after that, and it burns bright and tall as the bikers roar off and circle the block yelling “Hallelujah!”

I know some of the clones didn’t make it far enough to escape that fire. I don’t know if I’ve made it far enough to get out of this. I’m running like a bitch and hopping fences, but God alone knows what’s going on tonight or if they’ll be able to strike me down even here, huddled down behind the railroad tracks.


Somehow I feel like I don’t believe my eyes all of the sudden. Like I don’t buy that they really did destroy my home and business, all my savings in one savage swoop. I can see the fire, but it seems unreal.


Their engines don’t even have mufflers. They roar through the night and break its peace.
 

Bob Pastorella's picture
Bob Pastorella from Groves, Texas is reading murder books trying to stay hip, I'm thinking of you, and you're out there so Say your prayers, Say your prayers, Say your prayers May 1, 2013 - 10:39am

This is the first scene from my work in progress that I'm not going to use for this particular book. Might use it for book two, since this is a series character. I think it sets the tone pretty good, I just have a better scene to use for the first book that better fits the story arc. Surely there are typos, cause that's how I roll, LOL.

Thoughts? 

 

The house looked like any other house in the subdivision, with the exception of the SATAN RULES some dipshit spray painted in red on the garage door. Grass needed cutting too. Coming back from a run in Houston about a month ago, Beck turned off the highway and checked the house out. No reason, he just needed to have a look. It was one of those little subdivisions right off the highway looking a little out of place, waiting on the rest of the world to catch up to it. Beck didn’t know who lived in the house, and figured he probably didn’t want to know. Something was drawing him to the house, and that usually meant bad shit. Every couple of days he would drove by real slow, trying to peek through the curtains, never really seeing anything, then back on the highway.
The SATAN RULES on the garage door was new. Someone else knew more than him now, which wasn’t a good.
Only two vehicles in the driveway; an older model silver Camry with a Texas A & M bumper sticker and a white GMC crew cab with a Longhorns license plate bracket. Who says opposites don’t attract? Third time around the block Beck started looking at the neighboring houses. Six pm in January and pretty much every house was lit up. Good folks sitting down to eat supper, watch some TV, read to their kids, fuck. Lights turned on in nearly every house on the street except for that one house. It was like the power was turned off at that address.
Parking two streets over, Beck grabbed his knives and checked the bag in the trunk. The shotgun would work for sure, but the damn thing was too loud. The knives would be fine. The green cover of a pocket New Testament caught his eye. Surely the folks in this house have been praying, but in this day and age, you never know. Shoving the book in his back pocket, Beck shut the trunk nice and quiet and started cutting through the alley.
When he reached the backyard of the neighboring house it hit him. Total, deafening silence. No birds, no kids playing around in the dark, no hyperactive puppies barking at his heels, or rumbling growls coming from the back of a dog house. He looked around the backyard and spied a tiny cross by the flower bed near the fence.
RIP My Little Lexi, Jan 5th, 2013 was scrawled on a faded piece of construction paper attached to the top of the cross.
It was January 18th.
A week and half and already all the neighborhood pets were dead.
Beck climbed over the hurricane fence and approached the house. The French doors in the back were locked as well as the door leading to the garage. From the windows in the French doors he could see that the curtains were stapled together. The odor coming from inside was strong enough to make his eyes water. 
That churning in the gut that screams something’s wrong, that’s instinct. It makes the hair on the back of the neck stand straight up and sweat roll down your back. Most people would have just gone to their cars and drove away. Most people would have watched the local news every night, waiting for the story about the house, and they would be glad they left when they did, that they weren’t involved, and it was better that no one in world knew that they had stood on the back porch of the house and felt their guts flipping around and their heart racing.
Most people would get on their knees after that news cast and pray that whatever happened to the people in the house never happen to them.
Most people would have bad dreams without ever knowing exactly what happened to the people in the house.
Beck pulled out his knives and kicked the French doors open. The curtains billowed out enough for him to crouch and pass underneath them as they fell back down. Broken glass continued to fall all around him,  but he stayed completely still, looking all around for anyone or anything that meant to cause him harm. He was in the dining room of the home. A large table overflowing with stacks of bills was directly in front, surrounded by four chairs coated with a fine layer of dust. There was a thin layer of dust on the floor as well.
Beck listened, expecting silence, heard singing instead.
Someone was singing.
No, chanting.
Broken glass and wood splinters were all over the floor. He stepped over as careful as possible and stayed crouched, listening and watching. The chanting was coming from the other side of the house. There was an opening in front of him that probably led to the living room. A shadow shifted in the other room, the profile of a face turning into view.
Chanting down the hall and someone watching in the living room.
Beck stood and walked across to the living room. As he got closer, three shapes scrambled to get back. A lamp clicked on in the corner. Two men and one woman. One of the men looked like a business type, tie loosened and sleeves rolled up. The other man was wearing a ratty ass t-shirt and dirty sweat pants. Looked like there was blood on his forehead.
The woman was a mess. She was probably pretty, but with all the crying and stress all the pretty must have gotten flushed down the drain. Her gym shorts were dirty and there were several grains of rice clinging to her halter top.
“Who the hell are you?” asked the man wearing the suit.
Beck stared at them, watching for any sudden movement. He figured they were scared shitless and no threat and pocketed his knives. “Doesn’t matter.” He pulled the New Testament from his back pocket and threw it on the floor next to the woman. “Have ya’ll been praying?”
“Praying? Praying?” The woman’s voice was strained and raw.
“Did that priest send you here?” asked the man in sweatpants. “He said he was going to make some calls, find a specialist.”
“No. How long?”
“Uh?”
“How long ya’ll been holed up in here?”
“Since the…couple of days.”
“Boy or girl?”
“Boy. He’s eleven. Wouldn’t hurt a—“
Beck held up his hand. “How long has he been chanting?”
“Since this morning. We can’t get into the room.”
Beck nodded. He looked at other man. “What’s your story?”
“I’m with the university. Their doctor wanted me to film everything. I filmed one in Florida last year. The priest managed to save the little girl. The priest—“
“Florida? Bullshit, I would have heard about it.”
“It didn’t make the papers.”
“Bullshit. You’re just a flimflam.” Beck looked down the dark hallway. “What’s the boy’s name?”
“Henry,” said the man in sweatpants. “We call him Hank. Hank the tank.”
“Cute.” Beck pulled his knives out. “Get on your knees.”
They all stared at him.
“Do it, now.” Beck pointed at the green New Testament on the floor. “Get on your fucking knees and start praying. Pray harder than you’ve ever prayed before. Pray like you mean it, like you got a pair.”
The woman quickly got on her knees and bowed her head, lips moving slightly. The man in sweats knelt beside her and hugged her tight, tears streaming down his face. The other man picked up the New Testament and opened it, reading aloud from the first page he saw.
Beck watched them pray. The woman looked up at him. “Are you going to be able to save him?”
“Probably not.”
There was a time photos of family and friends lined the walls of the hallway. Not anymore. Beck stepped over shattered frames and broken glass, cutting quick glances to pictures of the boy with his parents littering the floor. One caught his eye: Little Hank the Tank and Mom, both wrapped in kite string with one long strand hanging from the sky. The kite was probably stuck in a tree. For a moment, the two of them, mother and son, caught in that perfect afternoon shot, warm breeze ruffling their hair, sunlight shining on their faces, together like nothing else mattered in the world. A curio leaned against the wall across from a closed door, shelves caved as though something, or someone, slammed into it pretty hard. The chanting was coming from behind the door. Under the door, he could make out a faint glow, coming from either a TV or computer monitor. That’s where Hank was, behind the door. Hank the Tank. Beck stood in front of the door, knives at his side. This was the part he hated the most. He knew what he was going to find behind the door, just like he knew there was something happening in the house from the start. Not visions, just knowing. That, and he’d been through it before, many times. He used to wonder how he knew these things right before they happened, like it was on the tip of his tongue all along and he just couldn’t get the words out. Beck raised his knives and kicked the door open, pausing for a second to let the blood all over the walls and carpet and the computer monitor register in his line of sight before stepping into Hank’s bedroom.
Hank the Tank was dead. Been dead, probably for a while considering the odor coming off what was left of him.  Movies set the standard for what demons look like, how they act, what they think, the words they say. The only thing the movies ever got right was they are legion. With that one exception, they couldn’t have been more wrong. The demons that possessed Hank were probably long gone, but the wreckage they left behind would leave a scar on the earth forever. Beck stepped into the room, boots sliding in the slick molten carpet on the floor. Strips of wallpaper hung down in singed tatters, exposing scorched sheet-rock and charred beams. The bed was flipped up and pushed against the wall so there was ample space on the floor for the patterns burnt into the carpet. If there was a spot in the room that wasn’t burnt, then it was coated with a film of blood. In the center of the room was a crispy husk that was once a little boy. With each step Beck took in the room ash puffed off the charred bones. That’s all that was left, bone and ash. Surrounding the blackened body were the symbols Beck had seen many times before. To the North was a horizontal line cut by one vertical slash. Same for East and West. At the South was a circle. The circle was an entrance, a way for those South of Heaven to enter this world. Knowing the symbols was one thing, knowing what to expect when you used them another.
The computer desk area was barely even touched by the burning. Beck stepped over Hank’s body and looked at the monitor. A video loop of a naked man and woman embracing was playing, They were chanting, staring into each other’s eyes. There were tons of videos like this all over the internet. Every once in a while one would pop up on Youtube, only to be taken down once the believers got wind of it. Downloading the video was common. It was knowing what to do once you could view it that was an entirely different can of worms.
Apparently, Hank knew what to do.
Or the demons wanting his body knew what to do.
That was the best answer.
Scrawled across the screen in dried blood was Hi, Beck! We Love You!
The attack is always personal.
They all loved Beck so much.
They all wanted him dead.
Reaching behind the computer desk, Beck ripped the extension cord out of the wall, ending the video loop and chanting.
The man in the suit met Beck in the hallway, holding his camcorder up. “Can I get some footage?”
Beck shoved him back into the living room.
The man looked like he was more angry than scared. “Hey, what’s the big idea?”
“Shut up.”
The parents stood up, still holding on to one another. “Is he…”
Beck shook his head.
The parents looked at each other for a second, then looked at the ground.
“So he’s dead?” asked the man in the suit.
Beck didn’t say anything. His knives were still out. He slid them into their scabbards and took a couple of deep breaths. “You all need to leave. As soon as possible. Don’t stop at the bank, don’t use your credit cards, don’t call anyone. Go to an ATM, get as much cash as you can, then throw away your cards. Get on a bus, head south. Mexico.”
“Mexico?” asked the man in the suit. “What are you talking about?”
“You can hide out there, but I wouldn’t plan on coming back here, ever.”
“We can’t ever come back?” asked the woman.
“Stay out of the cities, and make damn sure you don’t land in jail over there.”
The man in the suit stepped forward and put his hand on Beck’s shoulder. “Hey man, don’t know who you are, really don’t care. We aren’t leaving here. This one is ours.”
Beck shrugged the man’s hand off his shoulder. “You need to leave now.”
“What’s he talking about?” Hank’s father asked. He looked over at Beck. “Is he dead?”
“Yes. Hank is dead.”
The father shook his head. “Did you kill him?”
“No.”
“Then how did he die?”
“He was dead when I walked into his room.”
“Is it all like…icky and gross in there?”
“A fucking shit load of demons were possessing your son, what the fuck you think it looks like in there?”
The man in the suit shot pass Beck. “I’m shooting some footage. Got to get this on camera.”
Beck grabbed the man by his collar as he passed, pushed him back into the living room. “You don’t seem to understand what’s going on here. They might not come tonight, or tomorrow, but eventually the law’s going to come snooping around here, and ya’ll need to be long gone when they come.”
The man in the suit straightened his shirt, then took a deep breath. “I get it. It’s okay.” He looked over at the couple. “It’s okay. He wants in.”
The woman shook her head. “Are you crazy? We don’t even know who this guy is.”
The man looked back at Beck. “So what do you want?”
Beck remained motionless.
“A cut of the money? A percentage? Look, this thing is going to be huge. Shame the kid died, but that makes it more real, right? My guy in Florida is working the book deal. We get that handled, sell the movie rights, then we’re all sitting pretty.”
“Book deal? You talking about writing a book about what happened here?”
“Got a guy already set up to write it up. The footage has to look good. It’s going to be everywhere. It’s going to be huge.”
The father touched Beck on the shoulder. “We can all benefit from this. Millions.”
Beck looked at all three of them. He stood back and put his hands by his sides.
“Can I just get past you so I can film in the bedroom?”
Beck popped his knives out of their scabbards, watching them spin in the air. He grabbed them and flipped them open, blades down. Raising his arms, he slammed down, stabbing the eyes of the man wearing the suit. Before the knives sunk down to the hilt, he pulled them from his sockets. Go too deep and they would hang up on the bone. He let loose of the blades and they spun in front of them. He twisted his wrists and caught them again, turning to face the couple. He crossed his arms, then slashed outwards, slicing open Hank the Tank’s parent’s throats like splitting an apple in mid-air.
The whole sequence of movements took around four seconds. Beck’s knives were back in their scabbards before their bodies hit the floor.

Nathan Scalia's picture
Nathan Scalia from Kansas is reading so many things May 1, 2013 - 11:23am

I feel like this thread circumvents the workshop, which is something people pay to use here.

Though it is public. Maybe. I don't know.

Bob Pastorella's picture
Bob Pastorella from Groves, Texas is reading murder books trying to stay hip, I'm thinking of you, and you're out there so Say your prayers, Say your prayers, Say your prayers May 1, 2013 - 11:39am

I wouldn't mind being a part of the workshop, but I really don't have the time right now, due to personal issues that consume my life. The workshop ideal means I have to critique others, and I'm just not capable of committing to that right now. Those that have worked with me before know I'm pretty thorough with my LBL's. Posting a scene in a public forum hoping for some thoughts about it is not the same thing, at least how I see it. Overall thoughts is different than asking peeps for an outright LBL, which is where the workshop certainly comes into play. 

Devon Robbins's picture
Devon Robbins from Utah is reading The Least Of My Scars by Stephen Graham Jones May 2, 2013 - 10:06am

Agreed.