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The start of the novel. The full book is available at Amazon for $0.99
Drowned Beneath a Bleeding Sky by Mark Comstock

Roger awoke. He opened his eyes and stared up at the ceiling, morning grogginess clouding the picture, he wanting only to fall back into sleep. In this semi-conscious state he remained for an undetermined passage of time. With each tick of the clock, a new day’s clarity only crept more into form. Roger groaned dejectedly. There was no way around it, a new day had indeed begun.

He sat up on his bed, placing his feet on the ground. He grabbed a piece of a cigar from his nightstand, He put it in his mouth and lit it. He took a long drag then released a thick plume of smoke into the room, as it hung within the still air, amorphously shifting and spreading out, the morning sun poking around the curtain that covered the window, creating a kaleidoscope of light and shadow within the room.

Roger listlessly stood up from the bed and, with the cigar in his hand, walked across the small room in which he lived, over to the window. He pulled open the curtain. The window was raised and a light breeze blew into the room through the screen. Roger looked out the window. He exhaled a disgusted sigh. He noticed an open bottle of vodka on a small table by the window. He let the curtain close and picked up the bottle and took a long swig then set it back down. He pulled open the curtain again and looked back out the window and shook his head. ‘First morning light. Oh how I do so loathe thy sight.’

The picture was as it always was when Roger set eyes upon the world. An ugly portrait enclosed within a wicked frame, ambushed by a grotesque, the artist a madman, infatuated with their own power and greed, fulfilling a narcissistic, selfish need. People traveled within the same stream, of a jagged, twisted, broken dream. Pedlars held out all of their three hands with two behind their back, counting the money they possessed while the masses remained obsessed, with their petty, gutter goals, so goes the marching of the trolls, empty vessels without souls. So thrown the fist, so struck a hand, so erupted the flames as they were fanned, so billowed the smoke that choked the lung as everything remained undone, thimbles of gold to say they’d won. Zombies to masters who didn’t give a damn, servants to some pointless scam. Petty aspiration, comatose masturbation, empty life vacation, decipher the translation, no words were being said, by the already dead, within the pit of depravity, so take a look and what you will see is, ugly.

Roger shook his head again. He let the curtain close and took a drag from the cigar piece then picked up the open bottle of vodka and took another long swig. He turned around, holding the bottle and walked over and sat back on his bed which was in the far corner of the room against the wall. He set the bottle down on the floor. He sat there smoking the cigar piece, staring ahead with a vacant gaze. He took another drag and put the cigar piece out in an ashtray on the nightstand, the ashtray being an empty can that was filled to the top and overflowing onto the nightstand. He picked up the bottle of vodka and filled a small cup on the nightstand. He set the bottle back on the floor and picked up the cup and took a drink. He exhaled a weary sigh.

“Well, guess I have to figure out what I’m going to do today.” he unenthusiastically stated out loud to the empty room. He exhaled with antipathy and began assembling the things he would need for his shower, picking them up from the floor where they were scattered and placing them in a plastic bag. He realized that his options of things to do were not exactly bountiful and settled on just going out to run some errands, a tedious, familiar process, the destinations always the same. He picked up and lit another cigar piece that was atop the nightstand. He took two long drags and put the cigar piece out in the makeshift ashtray then picked up the bag and exited his room, closing the door behind him, walking to the bathroom to take his shower.

Roger was walking along the sidewalk, wearing the clothes he had slept in, a change of clothes to commence a new day really wasn’t something that was given any thought. He was wearing a pair of black shorts and a black t-shirt with the sleeves cut off, his customary attire, temperature permitting. He was also wearing a black backpack, a useful accompaniment when running errands that made getting the items he had purchased back to his room a far less cumbersome process. Discordant noises from the traffic grated within his ears, a cavalcade of sirens cutting any pretense of serenity, seeming as if in an uninterrupted flow. An ambulance would race by to pass off the screaming baton to a police car speeding from the opposite direction which would screech around a corner with a fast turn to then pass the baton to several fire trucks barreling down the street from the direction the police car was heading so that there was not a moment of silence that wasn’t immediately shattered by blaring sirens. ‘Lovely’ Roger thought to himself. ‘I was thinking I really could go for some peace and quiet.’ Roger sluggishly continued walking along the sidewalk. At some point he happened upon a bench and sat down. He pulled out a plastic pack of five cigars, took one out and lit it, put the pack back in his pocket then just sat there on the bench, smoking and looking around at the area.

It really wasn’t the most pleasant of scenes. There were dirty, rundown buildings, daylight a highlight for the blight. There was a steady flow of cars on the street, a steady flow of people upon the sidewalk, though not a particularly crowded flow. Roger just looked around at everything as he sat there smoking. The parade of cars really ran the gamut, from junkers on their last legs to tank sized SUVs to high end luxury vehicles, because I guess you really do need to spend eighty grand on a car, I mean it’s not like that money could possibly be put to better use elsewhere, especially in a dilapidated community in need of funds. The people flowed past on the sidewalk, various conversations combining into a jumbled chatter. Many marched forward with purpose while others just aimlessly strolled with barren looks because they had absolutely no place to go. Some talked gleefully on cellphones while others erupted with shouts of rage directed at the person on the other end of the line, creating a combined seesaw of various emotions. There were also many trying to hunt down their target, a dollar by whatever means, like prospectors scraping the walls of a barren mine already picked dry, hoping for enough dollars collected to bring them their gold.

The main financial institution of the area was also busily at work. It was a mega supermarket, though the supermarket itself was not where the action was. It was the connected recycling area. All through the day there would be steady streams of people transporting numerous, very large garbage bags filled with bottles and cans that were stacked high upon a shopping cart they would push, all to be redeemed for whatever coin the machines would give. The number of bags stacked upon a single cart seemed to defy the laws of physics, yet still, all through the day people would arrive at the recycling room to reap the miniscule rewards of their daily labor and hours of toil. It truly was the grandest display of monetary possibility in the area. That was really sort of sad when you stopped and thought about it.

Roger looked at the people as they passed by on the sidewalk. They were like aimless zombies plodding through their steps, carrying on through memory of what they believed they used to be. Decrepit soulless soliloquies, crying for themselves, alone in the theatre of their own mind.

He would glimpse into the eyes of the people as they walked. Windows to the soul it’s said they were but when Roger looked into them he saw only the stained glass decoration trying to conceal the empty church beyond, a sociopath pastor conducting a ghost sermon, the doctrine of the deranged, an ugly edifice, scorched earth shell, torched for others sins, to bring the miracle of life to sadists and sickness. When Roger looked beyond the masquerade decoration, what he saw really was not at all pretty.

Roger leaned down and put his cigar out on the sidewalk then placed what was left of it back in the plastic pack and put the pack in his pocket. He started to get up to leave. A very thin woman with dirty blonde hair, wearing jeans and a loose fitting t-shirt stopped by the bench and called out to him. “Hey, you got a dollar you can give me?”

It was a woman Roger had actually talked with at times before. “You already know I never have a dollar I can give anyone.”

The woman was very jittery. “You got fifty cents?”

“I can’t give you fifty cents, and though it’s to half the degree that I can’t give you a dollar, I still don’t have it to give.” Roger informed her as if reading a script, a line he had read verbatim many times before.

The woman slapped her leg with frustration. “Shit. I gotta make some money, man.”

“If it makes you feel any better, you know I would give it to you if I could.” Roger consoled her.

She looked at him with an annoyed look. “What? That doesn’t make me feel any better. I’m trying to get enough so I can get high. How the fuck does you would if you could help me with that?”

“Well. I suppose you could instead just get high from the warm sentiment.” Roger suggested as an alternative, though knowing full well how she would respond.

The woman looked at Roger incredulously. “You know, you are such a dick. Alright, I gotta get out of here to go find some money. You’re no use to me right now.”

“I’d say I’m never any use to anybody.” Roger commented.

“Don’t be so damn negative, Mr. Grouchy.” she grumbled, looking anxiously around the area.

“You know, if you want to come by later to hang out, just give me a call.” Roger offered.

“Yeah, that sounds good,” the woman absently responded, darting her gaze around the area. “I’ll do that. But I gotta go. I’ll see you later then, bye.” The woman walked away, moving very quickly, looking around in all directions as she did.

“She won’t be coming by.” Roger announced out loud then pulled out and lit the piece that was left from the cigar he had been smoking.

Roger sat there, smoking his cigar, staring up at the sky, watching the birds gliding seemingly effortlessly within the air along their fluid patterns, the wind taking them wherever it saw fit, the birds in freedom, happily following along with it.

Roger reached the end of the cigar and flicked it away with his index finger, the cigar darting through the air then clumsily falling to the ground. Roger got up from the bench and began walking again, smoke still drifting up from the sidewalk, from the embers burning away.

Roger continued on his planned route, stopping in the liquor store to buy three bottles of vodka, the local deli where he picked up a couple packs of cigars and then the dollar store to pick up some food to replace dwindling supplies.

Now, there might be some who would question the efficacy of purchasing your food at a dollar store. Well, to that I would just say this. It was fuckin food, wasn’t it?

His errands completed, Roger turned around and headed for home. The sky was beginning to darken, night time starting to close in. Roger continued walking along his route, an uneventful journey to get back to his room. He reached the front door of the house, took out his keys, unlocked the door and stepped inside, closing the door behind him. Immediately upon entering, his ears encountered the piercing, grating, banshee wailing of a woman, the house maiden, somewhere on the basement floor below. She was berating and belittling a tenant within the house, belching out her complaints. “What the hell is wrong with you. We’re going to kick you the hell out of here if you don’t start following the rules!”

“What, what rule did I break?” the man responded, confused.

“You know damn well what rule you broke! Don’t you dare stand there and try and tell me you don’t know what you did!” the house maiden screamed with agitation.

Roger walked to the stairs to get to his room on the top floor, the third floor, hearing the blaring wail as he walked.

“No, really, I don’t, can you please tell me.” the man replied.

The house maiden laughed with an incendiary vigor. “Oh my God, this is unbelievable. You’ve got to be kidding me. You really are stupid. Come on, you’re wearing a green shirt!”

“I’m wearing a green shirt? I didn’t know I wasn’t allowed to wear a green shirt.” the man said, perplexed.

“Of course you’re not, moron!” the house maiden shrieked. “You are not allowed to wear a green shirt and that rule was made absolutely clear to you!”

Roger began his ascent of the stairs.

“Um, I don’t remember anyone ever stating that rule to me. Um, wait, but you’re wearing a green shirt.” the man observed.

The house maiden laughed mockingly with annoyance. “God, could you be any dumber? That’s exactly why you’re not allowed to wear a green shirt. No one in this house is allowed to wear a shirt that is the same color as the shirt I am wearing!”

“Um, so I’m never allowed to wear a green shirt?” the man asked, trying to understand.

“Jesus Christ, I’m sick of having to deal with so many stupid people! You can wear a green shirt anytime I’m wearing a shirt that isn’t green!” the house maiden snarled with an impatient venom.

Roger continued making his way up the stairs, accompanied along the journey by the sickening sounds of the house maiden shrieking.

“But, how would I know what the color of the shirt you are wearing is?” the man asked, befuddled.

The house maiden laughed derisively with a chaotic, cantankerous, cluster of cacophony. “Oh my God, this is ridiculous. I can’t deal with this anymore. You must have some serious mental problems because there’s obviously something very wrong with you. I can’t do this. I quit. I’m going to have to talk to my husband and he’s going to be angry and believe me, you don’t want to see him when he’s angry. You’re going to have to find someplace else to live. Get your stuff packed. I expect you out of here by Monday. I’m leaving. This is just crazy.” The house maiden’s footsteps could be heard stomping up the stairs.

Ah yes, the matriarch of the rooming house. As she always was, in quite fine form.

Roger reached his room, unlocked the door, stepped inside and closed it. He walked over and sat on his bed. He took off his backpack and set it on the floor. The house maiden was usually out this time of day. Something must have happened to alter her schedule. Roger was just glad that he was able to make it back to his room without having to encounter her directly. He opened his bag and pulled out the three bottles of vodka and set them on the floor. He took out the cigars and food he had bought and tossed them onto the bed. He picked up a piece of a cigar from the nightstand and lit it then took a drink from a cup on the nightstand that still had some vodka left in it. He pulled his legs up onto the bed and lay down, leaning against the wall. He just lay there on the bed, staring at the ceiling, thinking to himself how beautiful life it always was.

Roger was out and about, walking the sidewalk. Slowly, without any real point or purpose, direction or goal, he traveled through the bleak landscape that was the neighborhood within which he resided, the usual suspects passing by, everyone partaking in their everyday routines. It really seemed you could just take footage of any one day and run it on a loop because the picture never really truly changed. Now, it could rightfully be said that within the days of the wanderers around the area, the exact specifics of their actions certainly did differ and vary from day to day, but, let’s be honest here, in the end it really was the same scene playing out, all else, merely details. Potato, po-tot-o.

Roger continued walking along the sidewalk until reaching a bench. He stopped and sat upon it. He pulled out a cigar and lit it. He just sat there, looking around the area. He was looking for something worth seeing, something that did not fill his eyes with disgust. He shook his head, discouraged, because he saw no such thing anywhere he looked.

Well, I suppose in a way that wouldn’t be entirely true. As he scanned the people passing by, indeed there were many images he did actually like the sight of. All of these sights present upon various members of the female sex. A momentary glimpse of their eyes, their lips just a look on their faces, their legs, yes, admittedly, their chests, and, alright, fine, think him a pig if you want to, their butts. You know, Roger was not ashamed to admit it, he liked women’s butts, so fuckin sue him. But, really now, if looking at a butt was the best thing you saw when you looked at the world, in the end, what was that really worth?

So he tried to find something inside truly worth seeing, but all were just illusions, empty chaos, charades and ugliness beneath. The denizens of the world wander through their days without a soul where things like truth are only ever the lie they tell themselves. And so turn away from them he had, to try to lull himself to sleep, settle into the embrace, caressed by the blades of a dream, rocking back and forth within the cradle of nothingness, newborn emerging into an already silent world, the air retching on its own breath. Serenades of emptiness, a daily kiss within abyss forever playing in his mind.

Roger continued to sit there on the bench, the people around the area had begun walking with a more hurried stride. There was a rumbling overhead. Roger looked up above to see that dark clouds had moved in. The people began to scatter, running for cover. He felt the first drops from the sky upon his open skin and then down the rain began to pour in drenching droves as Roger just sat there on the bench, his clothes soaked through within a matter of minutes, his cigar reduced to a shredded mess he tossed to the sidewalk.

Roger lay upon his bed, in his room. He had just woken up. He was smoking a cigar. Was he smoking cigars instead of cigarettes because he liked the leisurely indulgence of a simple cigar rather than smoking cigarettes as he pleased? No, he was not. It was because you could get a plastic pack of five, large cigars, each one you would only smoke part of each time, for a freakin dollar. Cigarettes were a bit more expensive than that and had therefore been relegated to a very rare purchase that was only possible when he had the funds. Right now he had no money to spare.

Roger received only a very modest stipend every two weeks. The money was from a settlement that resulted from a time he was passing a construction site and one of the workers accidentally dropped a hammer on his head from three stories up, causing a massive wound. A lawyer sought him out. The case was successful, not a major windfall but he won. That’s where things got weird. The lawyer set up the stipend allowance. Roger was sure that wasn’t the way it worked and that his lawyer was screwing him over, probably in cahoots with the opposing counsel. What was there Roger could do about it? He was a nobody. The money he got paid his rent, got him his cigars, food, and most importantly it kept the liquor river flowing. But that was all it covered and so cigarettes were an extravagance he was, most of the time, forced to do without.

And so, Roger was smoking a cigar instead of a cigarette. It was a twenty cent cigar that you would smoke the same way as a cigarette, as in, you actually inhaled, and he would come back to it several times before it was done. It wasn’t some $5,000 dollar, luxury cigar. He was smoking a cigar because luxury was something he could not afford. And time out, who the fuck would pay $5,000 dollars for a fuckin cigar?! Might that be the most egregious, indulgent waste imaginable? Roger didn’t actually have a five thousand dollar cigar to smoke but you know what, if he did, he sure as hell wouldn’t be smoking it, he would sell the fuckin thing and go buy a fuckin pack of cigarettes! Spending more than twenty cents on a cigar was really fuckin stupid because cigars really fuckin suck and he was smoking one right now instead of a cigarette purely out of financial necessity because there was absolutely no other possible reason on the planet to do so. Cigars suck! Have I made this clear?

Wait, give me a second, my mail just arrived. Let me go and see if there is anything interesting… No...No...Hmm?...Yeah, I probably should have expected this. It’s a letter from Cigar Aficionado Magazine saying they rejected the editorial I wrote on cigars, which actually was just the previous paragraph, word for word. Yeah, that really shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Oh well, back to Roger who was laying on the bed, smoking a stupid cigar…

Roger was no longer on the bed. He had gotten up and gone to use the bathroom. Maybe I should take these things into consideration when I launch into such lengthy exposition that is unrelated to the events he was partaking in.

Roger opened the door of his room, having returned from the bathroom. He closed the door and walked over to his bed and sat down. He picked up and lit again the cigar he had put out before leaving the room. He sort of felt he was in the mood for tea. He stood up and went over to see what his choices were. It was a rather uninspiring selection. There were some bags of green tea. There was some orange tea. There was also, wait, I think we have a winner, a tea that was best suited to give Roger the exhilarating tea sensation he sought. You know those specialty tea blends with their inspiring names like, “New Day Sun Surprise” or “Joyous Journey” or “Soothing Summer Moments”, well, Roger had happened upon one that really did fit his mood. So yes, he had made his choice, he was going to have a cup of good old, “Melancholy Morning” tea. He picked up a tea bag and placed it in his coffee mug. He walked over to the microwave in his room near the window. He picked up a bottle that rested atop the microwave and filled the mug. He took a sip then walked over and sat on his bed, drinking from the mug.

Why didn’t he actually put the mug in the microwave to heat the tea, you ask? Because the bottle he filled the mug with was a bottle of vodka. You didn’t really think they actually sold a tea called “Melancholy Morning”, did you? Roger just grabbed a bag of green tea, threw it in his mug then filled the mug with vodka. He took a large gulp from the mug. Ahhhh. “Melancholy Morning”, the perfect way to start another crappy day. The microwave didn’t actually work by the way.

Roger stood in the shower. He had both palms pressed upon the wall. He had his head facing down and just allowed the hot water to spray against the back of his head. O.K, he allowed the warm water to spray against the back of his head. Fine, he allowed the lukewarm water to spray against the back of his head. You know, O.K., he allowed the in no way warm water to spray against the back of his head. Really, so you’re going to be like that, fine, you win. Roger stood within the shower. He had both palms pressed against the wall. He had his head facing down and just allowed the cold water to spray against the back of his head. There was no hot water. Happy now? So Roger just stood there, feeling the cold water spray upon him, moving not at all.

One might wonder, if there was no hot water and therefore a long shower would not be an escapist gratification to savor, why exactly was he just standing there, allowing the frigid torrent to rain down upon him, rather than getting in, getting it done then getting out as fast as he could? Well, the answer to this question was quite simple actually. It was because he was really damn drunk and felt that if he moved even an inch he might very well fall down. He realized upon entering the shower that it was a really bad idea but since he was already in, he figured he might as well just get it over with. It had not, up to this point, gone well at all so he had been standing beneath the icy water for fifteen minutes, waiting for a moment when he would feel the simplest of movements would not be potentially perilous. Roger slowly nodded his head. He felt his state was such that he could actually reconvene the showering process. He reached down and picked up his bar of soap. He began to rub it against his arm. Roger fell down in the shower.

Roger lay upon his bed, leaning against the wall. He was smoking a cigar. ‘Well, that went smoothly.’ Roger thought to himself. He took a sip from his cup that was filled with vodka. There was a knock at his door. He set the cup on the nightstand and put the cigar out in the ashtray and got up from his bed and walked over to the door. He opened the door and standing there was a woman with long, thick brown hair in a ponytail, who lived in the house. She was carrying a large, red, plastic cup.

“Hi. It’s me.” she said.

“Yes, that it is. You should be quite proud of yourself for knowing that. Well done.” Roger sarcastically greeted her.

“Asshole.” she muttered and walked into the room. Roger closed the door and walked over and sat on the bed.

“So, to what do I owe the pleasure of your presence here?” Roger asked suspiciously.

The woman shrugged. “I haven’t seen you in a few days and wanted to see how things have been.”

“Things have been as they have been.” Roger retorted, picking up his cup and taking a drink.

“Been good?” The woman asked, walking over and standing by the nightstand.

Roger drank from his cup. “Hmm. That really wouldn’t be the word I would use. How about yourself?”

The woman shook her head. “Things have been crazy.”

Roger drank from his cup. “It’s been my experience, things usually are.”

“I was wondering, can I get some liquor.” The woman asked, while fumbling around with her hand on the nightstand through the pile of pieces of cigars.

“Ah yes, big surprise, you claim to love my company but you only love me for my liquor. I guess, you arriving at my door with the cup really should have been a dead give away. And actually, it was.” Roger cynically replied then took a drink.

“I do love your company, dumbass.” She picked up one of the pieces of cigars, looking at it. “Damn, what the hell do you do to these cigars. You slobber all over them and ruin them.”

“Well, a slobbery mouth actually is a benefit when performing certain other activities.” Roger remarked.

The woman smirked. “I’m sure it is.”

“If you ever want to see, just let me know and I’ll show you, Of course, I know you would never actually take me up on the offer so I can say whatever I want. But don’t worry, I get it, you don’t want me for my body. You only want me for my liquor.” Roger drank from his cup.

“Shut up. I’m going to take this piece of a cigar, kay.” the woman said, having found one she liked.

Roger drank from his cup. “By all means, apparently what’s mine is yours.”

“Come on, pour me some liquor already, will you.” the woman requested, holding out her cup.

“You know, I always feel so used by you, and never in any good sort of way.” Roger snidely commented.

“Shut up. I’m not using you.” the woman asserted.

“Sure, you’re just dropping by to get liquor and a cigar which you will take back to your room to drink and smoke, leaving me here alone, reminiscing of the brief moment we shared together.” Roger drank from his cup.

“I like being around you, dammit. I just need to get myself right so I can go out tonight. Come on, just give me some and quit being an asshole.” the woman badgered Roger.

Roger drank from his cup. “Well, I may be an asshole but I’m your asshole.”

The woman retracted, abhorred. “You’re my asshole. Do you have any idea how freaky and perverted that sounds?” She held out her cup prominently.

Roger picked up a bottle of vodka and started pouring it into the cup she was holding. “Say when.”

“That’s good, thanks.” Roger stopped pouring and set the bottle on the floor. “I gotta get going.”

“So soon. My, seems like you just got here, wait, that’s because you did just get here. Ah yes, and have gotten your liquor and cigar so what more use could you possibly have of me.” Roger acerbically intoned with a smug voice.

The woman drank from her cup. “Shut up, stop saying that. I’m going to punch you in the face. I’ll see you later.”

“Have a good day. Until next time where you will pilfer more of my liquor and cigars.” Roger dryly replied.

The woman got a confused look.“What the hell is pilfer.”

“Steal.” Roger explained.

“I’m not stealing them, you’re giving them to me.” the woman adamantly protested, stomping her foot on the floor.

“Ah yes, but only because you pilfered my heart.” Roger sardonically responded, placing his hand over his heart then removing it and taking a drink.

“Oh go to hell with your pilfer, I’m outta here,” The woman walked to the door, opened it and walked out, closing the door behind her. Roger pulled his legs up onto the bed and just lay there, leaning against the wall, continuing to drink, lighting up and smoking a cigar.

A new day’s sun had arisen. Roger had just awakened and was on his bed, laying down and leaning against the wall. He was drinking and smoking a cigar, just soaking in the rare silence of the moment. That silence was then shredded by the piercing banshee wail of the dreaded house maiden who had cornered another unsuspecting tenant of the house with a blood curdling ambush. “I am so sick and tired of all the morons around here. You’re all crazy, you’re nuts and you’re all so completely stupid, I think my head is going to explode having to deal with you!”

“Wait, what did I do?” the man asked, surprised.

“Don’t play dumb with me. You know exactly what you did.” the house maiden snarled accusingly.

“No, really, I don’t. Won’t you just tell me so I know.” the man replied, confused.

“Are you insane? You obviously need help. You should be seeing a psychiatrist if you think I should have to tell you what it is.” the house maiden announced with disbelief.

“But, if you don’t tell me, how am I supposed to know what it is?” the man asked.

“You know exactly what you did! Don’t stand there and lie to my face! I’m going to have a talk with my husband and when he gets angry, oh boy, watch out. I’m sorry but you gotta go. I can’t be expected to put up with this.” the house maiden unleashed, enraged.

“Will you please just tell me what it is so I know not to do it again.” the man pleaded.

The house maiden laughed mockingly. “Oh this is unbelievable. You still have to find another place to live, but fine. When did I say you could bring that into your room?”

“Bring what?” the man asked, perplexed.

“Don’t play dumb with me!” the house maiden barked.

“No, really, what did I bring into my room that I’m not allowed to have in there?” the man wondered, having no clue what it could be.

The house maiden groaned very loudly with annoyance. “Jesus Christ, you are stupid and insane. Yesterday, you brought that box into your room!”

“The box? But that was just a box that had paper towels and kleenex in it.” the man replied with utter puzzlement.

“I never told you that you had permission to bring a box with paper towels and kleenex into your room!” the house maiden shouted.

“I didn’t think I would need permission to bring a box of paper towels and kleenex into my room. What’s the problem?” the man asked, trying to understand.

“The problem is, you deliberately defied me and snuck around behind my back to bring it into your room. Did you think I wouldn’t find out?” the house maiden roared with condemnation.

“But, it’s just a box of paper towels and kleenex. I really don’t understand what the problem is here.” the man recounted, sounding completely baffled.

“Oh boy, you really are something.” The house maiden let out a loud, screeching laugh. “The problem is, I refuse to allow someone to stay in this house who would do something like that. I won’t have it. You have to get your things together and move out before the end of the weekend. This conversation is over. I wish you luck because being as crazy and stupid as you are, you are really going to need it. I’m going to talk to my husband and he really isn’t going to like this, and the temper on him, he is not someone you want to make mad, believe me.” The pounding footsteps of the house maiden could then be heard on the stairs.

Ah yes, always such an auditory curse to encounter the unique sounds of the call of the rare banshee. I suppose the only redeemable aspect of the house maiden was that she did keep the house clear of rodents, bed bugs and roaches. This was, of course, only because she lived within the house as well. If she didn’t, that would be of no concern to her and the house would be overrun, and if she wasn't actually there to suffer it herself she couldn’t be bothered to give half a damn. That being said, I’m not so sure redeemable would be the correct word to use. Though, actually, the main reason the house was free of these unwanted vermin was probably because they were scared shitless of her and wouldn’t dare go near the house with a ten foot pole.

Oh beware unknowing traveller who walked about the hallways or stairs of this abode, for when you did, the unsuspecting prey ran the risk of being set upon by the dreaded banshee and could only dare to dream they would survive the encounter, the ear shattering call, the absolutely inconceivable ambush of utter irrationality and unparalleled, monstrous stupidity. Any trip where a dweller of the house crossed the seal of their room was a voyage potentially fraught with peril. From inside his room, many poor souls Roger had heard fall victim to the banshee’s wrath, their time of dwelling under the roof perishing and then they were gone.

How was it Roger avoided encountering this grisly fate? He just detailed every aspect of her schedule and based any and all comings and goings from his room around it. Now, there are some who would say that Roger basing all of his movements around the house maiden’s schedule was a really crappy way to live. To this, Roger would just say, what difference did it make? It wasn’t like any of his comings and goings would ever be coming from or going to anything he actually wanted to be doing or anything that actually provided any enjoyment at all, so set your fuckin clock to it. Because really, organize your actions around that or organize them around anything else, for when you got down to it, really, what did it matter? I suppose the only actual drawback to arranging his life this way was that it meant he couldn’t bring liquor with him when he went out, for if he did, it was guaranteed the schedule would get shot to hell. But, even that wasn’t so bad, because when he was out and felt the dissolution of his spirit amidst the demoralizing surroundings, he knew there would be a bottle waiting for him in his room, and it would only be a short while before he was back to it and the race to oblivion would be re engaged. And, really now, what is life, without something to look forward to.

Roger was sitting on a bench. He was smoking a partial cigarette he had found on the sidewalk. He was looking around at the scene, looking around at the surrounding ugly edifices, at all the people passing by. You can trust in no one and believe in nothing because nothing was all that was ever staring back at you, covered by different clothes, the camouflage of the misbegotten, images that flash before your eyes, but all you think you see was an illusion, the heart of the world was already dead and it was that which filled the hearts of the rabble puttering away. Roger shook his head dejectedly and took a long drag from the cigarette then commented out loud to himself, “Jesus Christ, every day really is exactly the same. What the fuck, is my life just a record caught on a scratch?”

Um, wait, Roger, I think you may be forgetting something here. You were now sitting on a bench and smoking a cigarette whereas the other times you were sitting on a bench and smoking cigars, therefore it is abundantly clear that no, your life was not a record caught on a scratch for this was indeed a new song and the album was continuing on.

Um, though, admittedly it was a new song that sounded very much like the previous songs. And, though a cigarette, it was just a piece of a cigarette he had found discarded on the sidewalk. Fine, you know what, I admit it, this band really fuckin sucked.

Roger just sat there, looking around. He smoked the final drag of the cigarette and flicked it away from between his thumb and index finger, to return it to its resting place back on the sidewalk that had been so generous to grant him its spoils.

The very thin woman with dirty blonde hair he had encountered before walked up, appearing jittery. “Hey, hi, you got a dollar you could give me?”

“I do believe you already know that answer.” Roger responded, believing it should be clear that was the only answer he could ever give in these interactions.

The woman was very agitated. “Yeah, yeah, I do but I was just hoping. Shit, I gotta make some money. But how?”

“Well, I suppose one solution would be to run for public office and once elected, exploit your position for your own financial gain.” Roger proposed, knowing as he did that his attempt at humor would not be received in the manner it was intended.

The woman looked at Roger, appalled. “What? Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with you giving a crazy answer like that?”

“Apologies, just making some political commentary.” Roger noted.

“Whatever, but how does that fuckin answer help me? Look, I’m trying to get high here and your crazy talk, even if I didn’t need to get high would really make me need to get high.” the woman chastised Roger, impatiently.

“Apologies again. I’m sorry, I cannot help myself.” Roger responded, contrite.

“No, it’s fine, you don’t have to be sorry but just don’t do that shit.” The woman frantically darted her gaze all around. “Alright, I gotta figure this out. I gotta get out of here. Bye.”

“You know, later, I always say stop by if ever you want to.” Roger invited the woman.

The woman nodded her head vacantly while looking around. “Yeah, yeah, that sounds good, I’ll do that. I’ll be seeing you later then, bye.” The woman quickly walked off, looking around as she did.

“She won’t be stopping by.” Roger announced out loud then pulled out and lit a cigar.

Ah, O.K. There may be some who are thinking the argument that Roger’s life was not a record caught on a scratch was actually untrue and that there was an attempted cover up at play to obscure the fact that the scenes playing out were in fact the exact same song. I do believe those naysayers out there might even use the appearance of the woman just detailed as evidence to prove this assertion. But, I will now detail how that evidence is faulty. Yes, it was the same character introduced earlier and yes the scene did play out very similarly but the specific words used were not exactly the same. As for those of you out there saying, “Wait, he’s talking about the same girl again so it must be the same song. Our point is proven.” Two points regarding this. First, she’s a woman, not a girl. You don’t think there’s something more than a little demeaning and disrespectful in referring to a female of woman age as a girl? Secondly, and this actually relates to the point being made. Yeah, it’s the same woman, no argument there, but what, do you believe there was some rule whereby each woman must be confined to an individual song on a particular album? Can a woman not appear in multiple songs on the same album? So you see, same woman, different song, thus proving Roger’s life was not a record caught on a scratch but was instead a full album proceeding along the arc of his story with many different songs. Still need convincing? Well, I will now put this debate to rest for once and for all when I reveal to you that the next song on the album was going to be the drum solo. So there, I’m glad that’s finally settled. Now then, let us return to Roger, sitting on the bench.

Roger was no longer sitting on the bench. Somehow he got word that coming up next in the concert would be the drum solo so he got the hell out of dodge to escape it and go have many drinks.

Oh yeah, the extended exposition thing. Gotta remember that.

Everyone twisting in their web of lies, maggots feasting on the heart, to be born again from their own labor, the fruits of their effort, parasites that devour their host so they can supposedly live. As all rot and decay around the carcass of humanity. But to walk and wander through the ugliness ever surrounding, the web of lies and deceit, wishing to just encounter a genuine thought, action, deed, a moment never realized in the perpetual con of disgust and greed. Abhorrent, unfortunate nonaberation.

Roger lay on the bed in his room.

He was drinking from a cup of vodka. He was just waiting within the grinding slog of the passage of time, waiting until he reached the point where he was drunk enough and would fall asleep. His eyes were very heavy. He glanced around the empty room. The night was reaching into its final hours to then give rise to the sun but still Roger was not able to get to sleep and so the night dragged on.

He then heard a peculiar sound outside his door and he got a inquisitive look on his face because he could not say what the sound actually was. He stood from his bed and curiously walked over to the door. Still, he heard the sound outside and still he could not say what the sound was. He turned the knob and pulled the door open to see what it was. Standing there was a very attractive woman with long black hair and green eyes, wearing a long, black dress and carrying a black bag. The woman spoke, “Hey, would it be alright if I stayed here tonight?”

“Sure, if you want. Come in.” Roger invited.

“Thank you.” The woman walked into the room and Roger closed the door. “Well, I’m glad I’m here. It’s nice to see you.” she announced. Roger walked over and sat on his bed. He picked up and drank from his cup. The woman set the bag she was carrying down on the floor. She looked around the room. “God, this place needs a good cleaning. I’m going to take care of that.”

Roger drank from his cup. “You really don’t have to do that. Don’t worry about it.”

The woman looked at Roger with a severe stare. “I want to and you can’t stop me.”

“Well, if that’s what you want, I won’t attempt to.” Roger capitulated.

The woman nodded her head, looking around the room then she turned to Roger. “I do. And when I’m done, we can fuck.”

Roger drank from his cup. “Well, if that’s what you want, sure, O.K.”

“Yes, and when you have to finish, I want you to cum on my pussy.” the woman instructed straightforwardly.

“You want me to, um, cum on your pussy, you say?” Roger drank from his cup. “Well, um, if that’s what you want me to do, um, I’ll do it, sure, O.K.”

“Yes. I do. Now let me just get this cleaning done.” The woman opened her bag and began pulling out cleaning supplies.

It was an interesting night. Roger actually really enjoyed being with her and the sex was very intense. Though, the thing of it was, Roger had absolutely no clue who the woman was and, before the night just passed, had never actually met or so much as even ever seen her before.

Also would like to point out for all you record caught on a scratch believers, I do believe the events of the night can put that debate to rest once and for all. What? What’s that? Are you serious? You’re still listening to the drum solo and didn’t catch any of it. Oh man, you missed all the good stuff.

Roger was sitting on a bench and smoking a cigar, just watching the people pass on by as they went about their daily lives. From here to there and back again to follow the same pattern over and again. The picture was just as dismal as it always was, the participants all the same. But Roger just sat there on the bench, smoking his cigar and watching the dispiriting progression.

Roger sat there on the bench, trying to figure out what he was going to do with this day. He was racking his brain but finding no answers. Eventually, he did settle on something. He would just watch a parade. He would watch a parade of the wretched and the sick as he sat there on the bench, smoking his cigars. Productive day indeed.

Roger was in his room, laying on his bed, drinking vodka from a cup. He had been drinking for many hours and indeed was quite drunk, yet still, sleep remained beyond his grasp and the night just wore on, limping through the hours as he lay there on his bed. He then noticed a sound from just beyond his door. He focused on it but could not determine what the sound actually was. He got up from his bed and curiously walked over to the door to see what the source of the noise was. He opened the door. Standing outside was the woman from last night. She was wearing a long black dress, though a different dress than the night before, and she was carrying the same bag.

“Oh, hello.” Roger greeted her, pleasantly surprised.

“Hi. I was wondering, would it be alright if I stayed over again tonight.” the woman asked.

“By all means, if you want to. Come in.” Roger replied.

“Thank you.” The woman walked into the room and Roger closed the door.

“I have to say, I am very glad to see you. When I woke up this morning you were gone. You didn’t leave a number or any way for me to contact you. I didn’t know if I was ever going to see you again.” Roger commented while looking at the woman, thinking to himself how beautiful she was.
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