by Bob'n Around
Invisible matters of the mind turned real into the written word.
|My mum named me April. Most kids get theirs from a beloved relative, parent’s favorite idol or other significant feeling like Joy, my new best friend’s first name. I got stuck with April. My parent’s couldn’t think of anything female. I was a surprise birth, supposed to be a boy.
“Why’d you get called, April?” Joy asked, after showing off how she was the joy of her mum’s life.
“I got born on April Fool’s Day, April first. My mum promised me I would carry on my dad’s family name as a lad instead of a lass.” I sighed. How Joy laughed. Nothing I could do about it. I was stuck with it all of my young life.
“They wanted to remember you as a family joke?” Joy giggled, snuffed, bent over holding her heaving tummy. “What do they do on your birthday?” she wanted to know.
That made me feel worse. It was true. My mum and pappa liked practicing April Fool’s jokes every day of the year, but on my special day non-blow out candles where you never got your wish was only the beginning of such things.
Oh, they did it all in good fun. It was either take it and grin or be called the worst thing there ever could be, a spoil sport. Pappa bragged how it was the best kind of training for keeping your wits sharp.
I’d come over to Joy’s house to invite her to my birthday party, looking for reinforcements to cover my back. She wasn’t having any. “I’m not going over there and be made a fool of.” She had the prettiest long locks of golden hair shaking at the thought.
“It is me those practical jokes will be aimed at. You’ll be as safe as if you wore armor,” I implored. “Show me your new party dress, the one made of pink chiffon that feels as light as air.”
That was underhanded, I know. Once she had it on, there was no going back. I’d cut it close on purpose with party time coming on. “You better be right,” Joy spoke to me in her mirror. “Anything happen to this dress and I’ll be wearing rags.”
We live next door to each other. The weather was a delightful springy day. She walked as if on parade. I held the present she’d bought for me, feeling it, figuring out what it might be. “Go ahead, Joy. You are my guest of honor. You go in first.”
My front door was already slightly open. A chorus of Happy Birthday beckoned us in at the sound of our voices. Joy’s voice joined the happy throng. As she pushed inside, a bucket of rainbow tinted water lost balance, turned upside down, spilling all over her head. Pappa shouted out with glee, “You certainly made a big splash, April, darling.”
Joy’s drenched springy curls lay plastered across her eyes. She gasped, shuddered, slipped, plunged forward, face landing in my birthday cake. “Oops,” mama said, “You forgot to make a wish.”
“My lovely dress.” Joy’s cry of consternation and my anguished reply brought their eyes from her to me.
“Joke’s on you. I guess it backfired,” I told pa.
There was a lot of commotion getting in the way of settling things down. “I want to go home,” Joy wailed, rubbing sticky chocolate frosting into her eyes.
I became her seeing eye dog, leading the way, shooting daggers back at my family for destroying the best friend I’d ever had in my life. “I’m so sorry, Joy. I wish there was something I could do to make things better. Will you ever speak to me again?”
“For one thing, help me out of this dress. It doesn’t fit so good,” she began wiggling at it as soon as we got back inside her house.
“I’ll spend every penny I earn until I can buy you a new one.” This knowing it was one of a kind. I’d never seen anything like it.
A strange gleam and whisper of a smile appeared as Joy’s washcloth revealed her face. She licked at a spot of chocolate and grinned. “This old thing? It’s a hand-me-down. Tricked you didn’t I?”
“You did this all on purpose?” My jaw dropped to her floor.
“Your family deserved a lesson. An April Fools joke double whammy is what I came up with.” She patted her golden curls dry. “Got you and them, too,” she laughed out loud, pointing at my image in her mirror where this had all begun. “Our secret right? We’ll play the joke as long as we can.”
That spring and summer was the best one of my life. Free tickets to the movies whenever I wanted them, going out to eat became second nature, sleepovers happened without having to ask.
The best part of all was no more practical jokes. Peace was made with Joy and me by agreeing to a new contract with a new way of doing things. April (me) would no longer have April Fools jokes on my April 1st birthday or anytime else.
At first it was a struggle for mum and pappa. It took getting into the new habit of doing secret thoughtful 'Pay It Forward' gifts before their new lives were satisfied. Joy's practical joke was the best and biggest teaching experience of all.
I guess, in a way, pappa thinking practical jokes were a good learning tool, could actually turn out all right. And for once, I hadn't minded becoming an April Fool.
Entry in the "SENIOR CENTER FORUM" April contest. Note. My birthday is April 6th. I bumped the date up a little and did a gender change just for this month's contest. The privilege of being a writer.
|“There’s a problem with the product.” Sully Moore refused to budge.
“It works, doesn’t it?” Lead scientist, Harry Evans, pointed to the animal cages. The evidence was in plain sight. The current test session revealed the metamorphosis of an old rat on an examination table learning new tricks.
The two researchers watched in awe. The thing had been brutalized beyond belief, surgically cut and spread open, it lay barely moving ready for death. Electrical probes attached inside and out recorded what happened next.
“Rats rarely live longer than two years. This one is on its last legs. I personally raised it from a pup.” Harry Evans flipped a switch. A pearl drop of moisture wept from the end of a needle plunged into the rat’s viscera.
“It works too well,” Sully Moore rocked on his heels, fasciation in his gaze.
“Physician, heal thyself,” Harry Evans prayed aloud.
Wounds healed before their eyes. The rat twitched. Recording probes popped out. A vibrant animal, glowing with health, blinked its black beady eyes, squeaked, and appeared to grow younger stil.
“Watch,” Harry Evans said. A cleaver in hand raised and lowered, cutting the rat in two. Both severed ends jumped, wiggled back together, even to the smallest evidence of lost blood and guts. “Voila. We have conquered death.”
“The problem remains,” Sully Moore lifted the traumatized creature up. He wore thick padded gloves woven with armor to prevent savagely intended bites reaching skin. The rat thrashed, long teeth hunting revenge against nimble fingers. “We can’t hide it any longer. Subjects never stop growing younger until they turn into orgismic glue at conception to die before they are born.”
“It is why I brought you in.” Harry Evans produced a shiny new syringe and needle. “While your section worked on our ‘Fountain of Youth’, I’ve been working on a stasis binder. I can stop the residual effect at any time.”
He triumphantly speared the rat’s midsection and emptied the plunger. The rat shuddered into immobility, curled up and slept. Harry Evans plucked the animal up by its tail to drop the thing back into a cage. “What do you think of that? Twice the money for twice the product. Results guaranteed.”
“You’ve started shipping haven’t you?” Sully Moore prodded. “To specialized old and diseased customers chronically ill, who are willing to take the risk. No questions asked, privately funding your work under the table. I’ve heard hints and rumors too horrible to be believed.”
The first uneasy glance was shared between the two researchers. “A few. Just enough to keep things going. “It is why I called you in. Adjustments need to be made, only you can provide,” Harry Evans said.
“No way, if what i’ve heard is true. What you are doing is not only unethical, it is pure torture to those you treat. Their bodies memorize what they’ve gone through. Hiccups occur. Flashbacks. Their moments of near death spontaneously lived all over again.” Sully Moore’s eyes strayed from the rat, cleaving itself into two aging separate parts only to reform back together to grow younger.
The gun appearing in Harry Evans’ hand barked. Pain flared into unbelievable agony in Sully Moore’s chest. The scalpel in his hand thrust and carved itself against the head researcher’s throat.
“Can’t have that.” Edward Marker, Project business partner stood over two hospital beds, regarding the patients. “Too much stress. Time to get back to work again, boys.”
Revolving cameras placed in each project room were replicated in this one. “Good thing I took necessary precautions. My aides, watching you, shot you up before you passed away. Now, you’ll be personally motivated to figure out how to remove that awkward glitch.”
Harry Evan’s gulped, feeling the scalpel sear through his throat, making it impossible to swallow. A moment later he was whole. Sully Moore felt his heart stop where the impact of a bullet had initially made way. The blackness of death gave way to reconstituted perfect youthful vigor. He massaged his chest with the realization, anytime he felt stress this might happen again.
“Mother nature’s perfect revenge is sweet, is it not? Better get busy, boys. Jesus Christ.” Edward Marker hated the public exposure he went through of his mistress poisoning him into rictus for two-timing her, and leaving him for dead before his aides got to him in the nick of time. It never got any easier resurrecting himself.
He wondered, not for the first time, at the bible’s reference of the dear Lord and Savior showing the holes in his hands from hanging on the cross to his disciples. So, was this what it felt like when he took upon himself the pains of the world, doing away with death.
Scientific evidence was hard to take. Becoming God like wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.
|Harlequins, court jesters,
Groomed from birth
Each one of us all
Safe behind masks
Barbed wit is a faceless
Echo from tongue to tongue
Worshiping the unholy crown
Lashing our desperate desire
To look better than who we are
9 line free verse April entry into the 'Dark Dreamscapes Poetry Contest
|Earth Day, 18 line poem for the 'Writing 4 Kids Contest
Did you know we come from two mothers?
Or haven’t you heard the word?
We all have the same mom,
Her name is Mother Earth.
To every one of us, she is the one
Who has given us our birth.
We are made from what she gives us,
Each meal where we find its worth.
The plants that grow and feed us,
Each of us come from the same dirt.
All that Mother Earth asks
Is that we help her instead of hurt.
Pick up before we toss away
And go about our play.
Such a little thing is all she asks
For us to bring to each day.
Please do, if not for me, for you,
It is the best way we’ll be here to stay.
|To not be hurting, that was the thing. Anticipation gets down to the small stuff when that is all you have left. What I had was the blank white walls of a hospital room with a never ending supply of jello.
It gets so time becomes a mindless form of humming music humming idle thoughts singing between the ears. Concentration becomes not moving to make the hurt worse. The body is a prison you can’t escape from.
They took my roommate out during one of my fitful nightmares. Cancer, they said. I wasn’t lonely. I had me and my pain to keep me company. You breathe in and out, lungs made intimate bellows with the help of the respirator.
Everyone talks in whispers when you are near death. Doctors, nurses and aides turn you into an object without ears while they discuss your fate. Jello is canceled. You are put on the needle for nourishment. The drip of liquid pain killer, your new best friend, lies. It doesn’t work.
Hope is a distant thing. It is a spot in the ceiling you look at. Space suited nursing staff take care of your personal needs. The double shifts turn them into robots running on exhausted routine. There are not enough ventilators to go around. A new roomie shares the one with you.
There is a TV out in the nursing station. Kept on loud to help staff wake up. News is all about the dead piled like cordwood. Mortuaries are doing brisk business. Everyone else is stuck home, jobless, wondering when they’ll be kicked out for not making monthly payments.
Hope is more tiny still. I have a roof overhead. It is a miracle I am still hanging on.
There is a new policy. Only those likely to survive will receive treatment. I lose my ventilator privileges. I’m shuttled on a gurney into a waiting area. Last rites are offered. I answer with tears in my eyes and a shake of the head. All I want is to be left alone, feel the pain of my bed sores keeping me alive.
There are not enough body sacks. Thick black plastic industrial garbage bags are used instead. They wheel the bodies to the exit door. No-one else is allowed outside. Space suited figures on the other side transfer each corpse into the back of a freezer container. It is more than half full.
I can see it. I’m going fast. I think I am next. When there is nothing left to anticipate but one’s last breath, you hang on as long as you can, trapped in an inescapable jail.
Thanks for this intriguing and well written tale of a curious invention. By eliminating all that makes people unique and individual--their emotion and personality--it also eliminates their chronic unhappiness in life. And of course the dopamine receptors can't get enough. Poor Harvey bears the brunt of their dissatisfaction when the inevitable happens and the device breaks. I wonder what the hordes will turn to now that both the device and Harvey are gone. Nothing good, in all likelihood.--S.
Harvey Branwadder surfaced from the backend of his pickup. “Top of the line. I got to get rid of it to pay some bills,” he lied.
What Harvey did was steal things. What he couldn’t sell from his engine puffing out blue clouds of exhaust while running on dimly lit street corners, Harvey unloaded at unsavory hockshops. “Take a look. Check it out.”
The notebook was a modern version, the size of a small laptop. He’d burgled it from a hockshop month's ago. The owner had short changed him. Someone else’s loss, his gain. The first time he’d tried to sell it, the strangest thing happened. Now the miracle was routine.
The thing glowed when the newest stranger opened the screen. “Yes?” it said.
Harvey stepped back. “Got a friend here, wants to meet you. Be nice.” Harvey leered, thrusting the computer into willing hands. “Call her Suzy Q. Blink. She’ll get your retinal image stored and you’ll be friends for life.”
“System processing,” spoke the well modulated female tones of the notebook. The shifting light from the screen reflected in the stranger’s eyes held the figure captive like a moth to flame. All sense of emotion and personality was slowly sucked dry. There is no greater prison than one’s own body.
A stir, a twitch, as if awakening from the dead was followed by a long sigh, “Wow. Unbelievable. Sign me up again.” Harvey accepted the praise along with cash in hand for the rental time with the unit. Another satisfied customer would be spreading the word to a wider audience.
It was time to jack the price up, again. This product was more addictive than any drug. The best side benefit is that every one of his victim’s would do anything to protect Harvey and his notebook. In their eyes he was a ministering angel if not God. “Thank you, brother, spread the word.”
Witnessing a meeting between the notebook screen and a supplicant was like watching the blind see, the lame walk, better than any miracle found at a revival tent. The innermost prayerful yearning secret wish vibrated into an unseen link between the screen and the mind that beheld it. “Go with God.”
Harvey was scared of the thing. Greed kept him going. Losing control was his worst nightmare. “Look at them. All end up looking the same numbed out human replicas of themselves.”
None spoke of the personal vision they had seen. Each went through the motions of living and breathing, waiting patiently for their next turn at the tit.
“It broke.” Harvey shrugged off the look of terror in his visitor’s eyes. “Wore out. See for yourself.”
Another fallen God, a religion of lost faith, the true believers came together to worship one last time. Urban legend has it not one of Harvey’s bones was not broken, one muscle stretched, torn apart. This is the sacrifice all unmasked God’s become, when shown to be all too human.
Harvey became nothing in the end.
|Co-win Daily SCREAMS!!!
Things happen. You are going along minding your own business when those flashing lights appear in your rearview mirror. “Traffic check,” you hear.
The cop is having a bad day and about to transfer the honors. “License and registration please.”
Lucky you. You find it without needing the cop to get a search warrant while you are cleaning out your car. “Here, officer.” Total respect.
“Step out of the car.” Traffic slows to a crawl, faces wide eyed, wondering who you killed.
All except the guy on his cellphone, smoking pot, texting it is not his fault why he’s going to be late. Lucky him. Good reflexes. He swerves from crashing a domino pileup effect totaling twenty cars. Takes out the cop instead, gives you the finger, tosses out his lit joint and keeps on going blending safely into a string exiting an off ramp.
“Why’d you do it?” There’s a gun at your head. Highway patrol stopping where all the gawking is slowing people down. “Lay down. Spread your arms and legs while I call this in.”
There you were, leaning over the cop, hand on his throat feeling for a pulse. Your other hand feeling the bloody lump on his head. You’re not murdering him. He is already dead. Smell of marijuana smoke rising up from the lit cig under your shoe.
“Hit and run, officer. He’s getting away.” You start to rise. Helpful. Ready to describe what happened.
Luck runs out. Tasered to the ground. One foot accidentally hitting the Highway Patrol guy a grazing blow in his nuts. You receive a close up face full of mace. Handcuffs. A knee on your neck. Hot melting asphalt coats your teeth.
“Where’s your I.D.?”
It is nowhere, of course. When the cop got hit, spun, and turned into a corpse, your wallet became air born and split the scene. “I want a lawyer.” It comes out garbled spit, gravel and hot tar, turned into half angry denial, the rest maybe a curse.
“Everyone thinks they’re a tough guy.”
Pulled up on your feet, pushed running to catch your balance, duck and roll out of traffic. “Trying to escape?” A billy club sends stars dancing in your head. Lights out.
Wake up in vomit too old to be your own. Sliding length wise in the back seat of a traveling cop car. Siren going. Head splitting. “I didn’t do it. You got the wrong man.”
“Tell it to the queers having a get acquainted party in your cell. Special favor only for cop killers. No I.D. you could be an illegal alien. No rights. No lawyer. No phone call.” The Highway Patrol guy starts whistling between gritted teeth.
It’s the guy whose car hit the cop faces you when the cell door whines open. “You.” He says. Eyes widen. Maybe your luck has changed.
My knee jerks up into his groin. All I have to do is get him to talk. I grab him by the hair. It comes off, a hair piece. Other cell mates circle, sheltering the fight from the hallway’s view. “Let’s make it interesting. Give them a knife.”
Out of nowhere, one spins across the floor. We both lunge for it. Men start taking bets. The two of us scramble, getting kicked, pushed and shoved. The knife gets thrust at me, handle first, from the sidelines. “Do it.”
“All right. Break it up.”
More chemical spray mists the air. I slip the blade inside my pants. I don’t know who may come at me next. “Him. He started it.” A fellow prisoner yells in my ear.
Eyes and nose streaming, I slip in blood, trip over the body of the man who could have set me free. Someone else did him. Not me. The knife slides down out of my pants to flash into view. “It is a set up.” I groan.
The same hustle all over again. This time with ICE agents battering me around. Another car ride. No jail. A warehouse filled with Spic’s who look like me. I’m American but it makes no difference. “On the bus. We’re overcrowded. Sending you home.”
There is no way out. No one is listening. Things move too fast. We are let out in the middle of nowhere an hour across the border. No water. No food. I feel someone trying to pick my pocket. There is a wallet I just stole placed there.
I keep and hold the thief’s hand. “Los Zetas, drug cartel. Make contact for me and keep the wallet. There’s more when we meet up.” There is a hesitant silence, a shrug and a nod. The thief lifts a cellphone to his ear.
I am given respect. Other’s move away from me. Even the pickpocket’s eyes are filled with fear. We walk. A car approaches. Conversation is made. I am given the cell phone. The thief gets his cash.
We ride away in air conditioned comfort for me to give my report. It is a good thing the drug deal went down successfully in the states. I was on my way to return for the next deal. My new bruises, cuts, scrapes and scabbed wounds elevate me in the minds of my bosses. “Take a break, your choice of a woman, extra money, a two week beach vacation.”
It is not a request. It is a command. "You a rising star. Maybe we make a political assassin out of you. You got staying power."
They know I will be back. Once a member and a mule for Los Zetas, there is no way out. No turning back. Not if I want my family left alone. I've heard from my mother about the rape of my sister. I know I am being watched, to see how I handle this thing.
She is now a Puta. A piece of flesh, no longer human or worthy of respect. Will I put her out of her misery while carrying out my revenge? I will use my newly given resources to find a way. There is a sadness in me I cannot express. Life has lost its honor.
There is no turning back, for me or for my many enemies. How many will I take with me into an unnamed grave is yet to be known.
|Daily SCREAMS!!! win
“You dropped this.”
“Why, thank you.”
For romantics like Marva Lee Parker, love is a mystery, a thrill of suspense. The whys and wherefores mixing fate with idle chance made her a sacrificial offering to Cupid’s arrow.
“Don’t I know you?”
“I would remember. Where have we met?”
Starky Lee Adams handed over the monogrammed lace hanky, feeling their fingers momentary caress. He was a ladies man, well mannered, cultured, rich and well dressed. The vagaries of Cupid were not in his itinerary. The only mystery in his life was in how long it would take to get what he wanted, how long that would last and what would be next.
“Perhaps in Deja Vu? It is a common meeting place for lovers, don’t you think?”
“You make me blush, faint with your uncommon flirting, sir. I think I must sit down.”
Marva lee Parker lived in a well inhabited fantasy land of ever changing made up beliefs. From pirates to princes, scallywags to CEO’s, the men adorning her sense of reality all waited for the moment that embraced her.
“Please. I usually am not so bold. Let me get you something to drink.”
“A glass of water, if you would be so kind.”
The hotel lobby offered the sight of a convention table before a door with a variety of colored liquids in clear plastic cups laden on it. Starky got in the back of the short line, unobtrusively joined hands reaching for freshly poured brew and withdrew. He had gotten what he wanted without an adieu.
Too many faces crowded together. He side-stepped, nudged and made his way back to his prey. A dark haired middle aged matron sat in her place.
“Pardon me? Did you see where the blonde sitting here went?”
“That is no mystery. She’s the guest speaker. See? She’s up on the diyas getting ready.”
Marva Lee Parker caught his eye, winked, saluted him with a raised glass of water. She dabbed her lips with the lace hanky as if sealing their shared glance with a kiss. The hunt was on, the chase begun, romance yet to be won.
“We both seem to be speakers. Mind if I sit next to you?”
“What are you speaking about?”
“About twenty minutes. On Romanticism. Late 18th century to mid-nineteenth. With a focus on heightened interest in nature, emphasis on the individual's expression of emotion and imagination, departure from the attitudes and forms of classicism, and rebellion against established social rules and conventions.”
The audience loved it. Starky and Marva traded barbed wits. Instead of speaking separately, they played off each other with innuendo, a flirting tease and ease delighting both assembled men and women. Laughter brought in so many strays the hall filled with standing room only. People with tear drenched faces continued to heehaw after they could no longer catch their next breath and breathe.
The combined twenty plus twenty minutes were up. No standing ovation, everyone was rolling on the floor. There was a strange light in Starky’s sun yellow flashing eyes turned upon Marva. “Coming?”
“Already did, thank you. Noticed you did as well. The front of your pants is wet.” Her black eyes had become smokey glint sparkling coals. The hand she laid over his was possessive.
“We killed them, didn’t we?” Starky’s own touch stroked the fire between them briefly, memorizing it.
“Romance will have its way,” Marva leaned into him, fitting her curves where they fit him best, making him her own. “When do we get married? Where shall we honeymoon?” She couldn’t wait to get started now that her innermost fantasy had become real.
A low hungry growl that was Starky’s form of laughter brushed her lips with a nibbling kiss. “I know the perfect place. Let’s get out of here.”
“Inferno county, Hell, yeah.”
“City certainly lives up to its billing.”
“Not a structure left standing. Every building burned down.”
Starky’s hand crawled out from where it had been cuddling between Marva’s thighs. “Told you we’d be alone.”
“Where we going to stay? I got an opening ready to take you home.” The red hot painted SUV began rocking with a timeless rhythm urged on by the cries of ecstasy inside.
“We slept, didn’t we?” Marva disentangled herself from mismatched arms and legs. She felt herself hovering out of body, out of mind. A floating presence satiated and complete gazed out at the hot sun bleached Death Valley desert stretching out in every direction.
“You sucked me dry. I can barely move, woman. Give me some water.”
“Spilled it. Kicked the bottles to pieces. Backseat had a party with it. Got more in the trunk?”
Marva wiggled her sweet bottom firmly in place in the front. “Is that supposed to happen?”
Starky heard his car groan and shudder along with him as his muscles screamed in protest. The abuse he’d put them through in the countless forms of love making gyrations had him all knotted up. “We left the engine on for the air conditioning. Overheated the radiator. Going off like a geyser. Hell’s bells.”
“It is real pretty. Casts rainbows on the windshield. What happens for an encore?” Marva returned to her body in a chuckle. Womanly endurance settled in with pride.
The SUV engine sighed, gasped, coughed and died. Silence became deafening. Hell’s heat wave baked itself inside the cab. Starky’s flesh threatened to separate from his body where dried up salty sweat cracked and pried. “Trunk. We were in such a hurry. Did you pack or did I?”
The back end pried open, yawned and gave up its momentary shade. “Empty,” Starkey’s laughter sounded equally so.
“Honeymoon in Hell. How we going to get out of it?” Marva sucked on her blistered hands baked in an instant touching the SUV. She moved away from the threat of being too close to Starky, her hot breath the only breeze.
“Devil is in the details. There’s an old mine with potable underground river water pooling on a lower level. Maybe some leftover supplies for emergencies like ours. Within walking distance.” Starky didn’t look at Marva, avoiding her hot blazing eyes.
Romance was left in the car. “You’re slowing me down. I’ll go ahead.” Starky’s growl no longer laughed. The couple’s footsteps had widened apart, half buried in the alkali surface, on the bottom of the twelve thousand year old bones of a lake. “Bring you back some water.” He didn’t think he’d see Marva alive again.
“Hot as hell outside. Cold as sin in here.” Womanly endurance proved him wrong.
“You made it. Our honeymoon suite.” He didn’t look up from his mirrored exhausted reflection in the pool.
The shock of ice cold subterranean water made her gasp. Riverlets ran down her face into dried up cracks. “Supplies? Like a CB radio to call out for help?”
“Maybe. Hand crank generator. Too tired to give it more than a couple of turns.” Starky’s foot moved to prod it into life.
The boxy piece of equipment obliged, squawking at him. “Hello? Do you read me? What’s the emergency?”
“Help. We’re lost in Hell,” croaked Marva. Her lips cracked, sputtered into a single cry of laughter and relief.
“The old mine,” added Starky, his growl barking an echo of joy into the surrounding room size cavern. The couple were both on their feet, embracing, dancing together.
“Gotcha’. I’ll relay to the Devil’s Ridge. Have a chopper sent out soon as they can. See you then.”
“You left me.” Marva pushed at Starky. She was so dehydrated her wedding band fell off her finger into the pool, sank and disappeared.
“Only hope was for me to make it and get help. I did.” Starky grasped at her, held on firmly, shaking her into half belief. Marriages are made of a bed of comforting lies, half truths, wishes and a dose of romance. He winked, too happy to realize it was all slipping away.
“Watch out. Let go. I can’t swim.” Marva slipped in a tangle of arms and legs, falling with Starky into the ice cold bottomless pool.
“Ghosts.” The helicopter pilot stared accusingly at the CB owner. “No-one here. Hell of a fool’s errand bringing me out on a lark.”
Two weeks later he was proved wrong. Starky and Marva floated out from hell into a tourist camp oasis, arms and legs bound in a lover’s knot. The sound of bubbling laughter of an embedded water fountain gave applause.
The trip to Hell and back proved successful. The couple would be joined together forever in the small graveyard at Devil’s Ridge. There were other hapless guests in attendance from previous forays where it overlooked Inferno county and the burned out city that was Hell.
|“I feel light headed.”
“You’ve been shipwrecked, mate. Crash landing.”
“Why am I hanging upside down caught in these sticky threads?”
“Oh, that. Space Monkeys. It’s a long story.”
Philo Vance sucked in oxygen from his spacesuit, checked his blinking power light and knew he was running out of time. “Give me the short version.”
His own ship’s emergency pod bobbed softly as if nodding its head in agreement. The female face peering at him through its porthole waved, face adorned with a pleased smile. “I was preparing to feed you to them. That stock of Betelgeuse hundred proof liquid Black Magic you brought in, is about empty.”
“And? So I’m broke, no means of travel. I do hope you thought I was dead?”
“Your spaceship crashed a hive of them while they were breeding. Saved my sorry life. They’d attacked my reserve of Lower Galactic Cloud Space Dust, the celebration got out of hand. Space Monkey’s destroyed my bar called ‘Spaced Out’ just as you arrived. Name’s Marty Evans. What else was I supposed to do?” The woman withdrew from sight.
Philo Vance and his space suit were lifted by the pod’s external work arm and thrust through a ragged dark hole. Star light exploded around him along with a mass of swarming Space Monkey’s.
“Sweet rings of Saturn. She turned my suit into a time bomb.” The power light began blinking an angry red.
The first swarm of alien invaders coupling with each other got caught in the suit’s silken threads. The mass swarmed, writhed in a shock of mating frenzy. Philo Vance watched his power light turn from angry red to purple overload. “I’m cooked. Made an orderve for a drunken Space Monkey wedding party.”
An orifice plastered its wet sucking feeler against Philo’s face plate. He felt another tingle and vibrate at his left arm. An explosion of white hot pain shattered his fear.
“Where am I? What happened?”
“It worked. Sort of. I used the combined energy of the Space Monkey’s moment of rapture and your spacesuit coming apart to create a small break in the space-time continuum.” The woman’s face came up close, kissed Milo’s ear. A soft hand patted his head.
“I’m alive?” Philo Vance moved into her embrace. He was no longer inside the shell of his space suit. The woman, no longer in the emergency pod, seemed intent on replicating the mating actions of the entire horde of Space Monkey’s.
“Very much alive.” Marty Evans did her best to avoid an elbow prying itself under her chin. “What’s wrong with you? We survived. I saved your life.”
Marty used another elbow to wedge himself apart from this wiggling mass of female protoplasm intent on seducing him. “Hey. Stop it. We hardly know each other. We’ve barely met.” They seemed to be inside some kind of force field bubble riding ribbons of fire.
“Spoilsport. We’re snug inside a wormhole pre-programmed to take me back home. Come back here and show me some gratitude. I’m drunk on being alive.``
There is only one thing worse than sex starved Space Monkey’s intent on making your paralized entombed body encased in a cocoon, a repository for their eggs. “You’re not human.”
Finding himself trapped in the embrace of a Sarcovian hallucinating traveling mind dream was the next step up. From undulating pure ecstasy it would turn into unbearable nightmare any second after his psychic energy became drained of any desire.
Philo forced himself to couple, explore and probe the thing’s most intimate demands. There. IN the last moment of his sanity, he created a feedback loop and disengaged. “Enjoy, babe. Climax yourself into star struck infinity. Have a blast.”
The force field shivered. The bubble popped. Marty wrapped herself up in pulsating waves of undulating rainbow ribbons, screaming her agonized release upon release. Philo swam free, riding a blue streak of comet tail flying through the wormhole. His life and his many past lives passed before his eyes. Was this to be his final end?
“Cosmic Hallelujah.” Philo found himself deposited at the famed pearly gates of a mist clouded door to Heaven. Winged angels blew trumpets, played harps and polished their halos.
A glowing white gowned figure beckoned, stroking at a long stringy fading rainbow colored beard. A hand turned a page, pen poised above a list of names. “Next. Oh. It is you, is it? Grab a harp. Here’s your tarnished halo. Start polishing and try to stay in tune.”
Philo struggled against the blare of heavenly music assaulting his ears. “I thought Hell was where unspeakable horrors happened.”
“Our best kept secret. Otherwise everyone would want to end up there. If you’re lucky, in an eternity or two, if you work hard you might earn a vacation. If you don’t blow your mind circuits before then, maybe we’ll meet again. There’s my ride. I’m at the end of my shift.”
Philo watched in jaw dropping consternation as Marty Evans, followed by a host of devilish looking Space Monkey’s warped into the current tick tocking moment of space and time. “Tell my replacement I couldn’t wait and he’s late. Fill in for him while you’re waiting, if you can.”
Gabriel’s name tag dangled, flashing rainbow colors where it lay pinned to his chest. “Takes time learning to control pleasure in all its eternal and vast varieties. Valhalla has some nice surprises, See you later. I’m sure you understand.”
Philo Vance’s mind went numb. “I feel spaced out.”
“Eww.” The two angels holding him couldn’t let go fast fast enough. “Stick him in the nearest black hole.”
Darkness. Depressing unbelievable weight prevailed. Philo Vance was beside himself, caste into all of his many guises. A whole population of a race yet to be born, spit out the end of a giant black hole into a new and empty universe.
He felt himself explode into an instant of the next big bang of birth matter spreading, racing itself into ever expanding nothingness. Clouds of shifting rainbow colored gases belched into suns, solar systems, galaxies. Philo Vance had become an unwilling God of all creation unleashed in this reach of the multi-universe he had become.
The birth pangs would last until the last light of the last sun burned out and space time returned to its dark womb. Philo Vance dreamed up a new breed of drunken Space Monkey’s to entertain one portion of the void.
There was the image of himself arriving. Would the God who was himself answer an unspoken prayer of deliverance or would Philo Vance sacrifice his son?
|I was toast. I knew it, Harry knew it, and worst of all the Little elf dude knew it, too.
The gale-force wind swirling around us plucked Harry up with invisible pincers. One moment he was there, the next moment not. My turn would be next.
“Call me a loud mouthed blustering bag full of wind, will you?” This was the little elf dude that Harry had been making fun of, back in the green room where the mead was flowing fast and free. Little did we know we would be treating our next meeting with black Irish dread.
“Look, lady. Your being a tourist to the Emerald Isle, I shoulda’ been ready for your shenanigans, make’n fun about steal’n my pot a’ gold and me along with it fer’ my bag a’ magic dust.”
Harry did a summersalt, came flying back, upside down, arms and legs swimming in the air. The evil little creature cawing with laughter before me, slapped his knee, wiggled his nose, and Harry made a one point landing on his head.
He never did use it that much when alive. After making a smashing success of himself, I saw, with my gorge rising up, that Harry wasn’t doing any better when dead. “He was jest funn'n. What kind of fairy tale are you, treating cash paying visitors to your country like that?”
“You tricked us,” I admitted, catching my breath. “We never met a real Leprechaun before. Least you could a done was tell us.” My hair settled back down around my shoulders. A sideways glance showed Harry’s body parts twitching as if he was still alive.
If I was going out of this world the next instant the way Harry had, I was going to do it without losing my pride. My tongue struggled to come up with an insult worth cursing this puffed up piece of black magic to hell where he belonged.
“Only reason you are still alive is that lucky four-leaf clover in your fist.” The elf guy’s green eyes glowed. He licked at the rot stuck between his teeth. His breath stunk so bad I almost wished the wind storm back. It had wiped all the moisture out of my eyes. It felt like sandpaper scraping across them when I closed and opened them.
“That’s what all this is about? You could have been nice and asked for it.”
“I want it. Give it. I’ll let you go with your life.”
“I don’t trust you, your foul mouth, or that hair trigger of mad anger you got.” I nodded over to where Harry lay limp as a rag. He’d stopped his twitching and made peace with his fate. Mine still hung in the balance.
“I could blow you to kingdom come and back, If’n I wanted.” His hairy red eyebrows arched in warning. His face began blushing the same deep hue.
All I could think of was to say, “Go right ahead. Puff yourself up all you want. You won’t get my four-leaf-clover. It’s going with me.”
The little guy looked so deflated, he seemed to shrink half his size. “All right. You got me where you want me. How we going to work this out?”
“Can’t bring Harry back to life, for starters, can you?”
The Leprechaun's eyebrows danced on his head. He belched an evil cloud of dark laughter near gagged me. I reeled, clawing at my throat, struggling for breath. “He wouldn’t look nor act the same, but sure. He’s all yours.”
Harry’s butt more than wiggled. His arms gave the earth he’d plowed into a heave and a shove. From the head down he looked just like his old self. The gory scrambled mess above his neck made me want to throw up. I did. All over the little miscreant done Harry in this way.
“Try to blow me off, will ye? You got what you asked for. Now pay up.”
The elf smelled better wearing my half digested last meal than he did with his sweaty natural perfume clouding round him. “You little drip,” I swore, feeling my nose clog up. The Leprechaun’s bad mouthing me tasted worse than swallowing the remains of my own vomit.
“Nuff playing. I ain’t going to ask nice.” He screwed up his face like a purple prune, green eyes flashing sparks of fire. He turned around, leaned over and farted.
I got ready to meet my end. A torture of wind curled around me, lifting me off my feet. It threw me like a missile, striking what was left of mindless, wandering Harry. It was lucky that it did.
Harry got torn apart from me using him as a landing cushion. Pieces of him took to the hurricane wind with bone, gristle and guts flying, spraying bloody mist everywhere. A white splinter of thigh bone took aim, punctured the windbag and left me laying dazed collecting myself.
“Don’t torture yourself like that,” I went over to give that evil elf a good solid kick where he lay pinned by that bone shard to the ground. His black bag of magic fairy dust was open, contents floating away in a last gust of fresh breeze. I could breathe again.
“Ye can’t be leaving me here, this way,” he groaned.
“Make no bones about it, yes I can.” I stared around. Nothing of Harry was left to be seen. He was blown away by what happened. I couldn’t blame him. I felt much the same way. Every stitch I’d worn on me was gone away, leaving me completely naked as the day I was born. “Why should I not? I’m not picking bones with you. You haven’t a good bone in your body, except for Harry’s.”
I blew my hair out of my face, leaned over and kicked Harry’s bone twisting deeper into the Leprechaun’s lung, letting as much hot air out as I could. The little fairy belched a good one and groaned. “Damned tourist. We never should have let you buy our mead and taken your money.”
“Money?” As luck would have it, The little windbag’s farting around had blown a hole in the ground where his pot of gold lay hidden.
His glinting pain filled green eyes met mine. “Take it, for all the good it will do you. Find out how good luck turns bad.” His threat came out as a mere whisper caressing my cheek. I felt the skin there shrivel into a dried up knot.
“Treat visitors like this, makes me wonder how you treat your kin.”
As if on cue, as the dust settled around us, small bobbing heads came into view. I heard the wind stirring in the evil promises the little folk were promising as they came closer. “Just leaving. He’s all yours.” I saluted with a wave.
It was time to go sailing back to my homeland. I managed to keep my balance, dancing on the toes of my feet until I got beyond the sight and sound of what Leprechaun’s do to their evil minded own.
The luck of the Irish went with me. Accidents that end up killing others around me, never blow my way. I keep my four-leaf-clover with me and resist the temptation to bluster like one small Irish windbag I’d known.
I'm a stay-at-home type, now. I mind my own business. You should mind yours no matter what you heard about me. Wish me the luck of the Irish and I won't blow your mind wishing you bad luck, long as you leave me and my four-leaf-clover alone.