A short rant before we begin. I was born in 1988, therefore, I’m quite fond of the number 88. Today, I learned that number is apparently a nazi thing? Fml, are you serious?! Screw that, it’s mine!
Time for another tale of terror from the time we rented the spliced together hoard house outside town. If you haven’t read Rain Showers, I suggest you go there first. You can’t appreciate the horror of this atmosphere without it. This will take place during our second month, before we lost water, but after we lost the dryer. You also need to remember Amy is Hubby’s sister and had a Xanax problem.
* I want to include a reminder. This story is almost a decade old, and Amy has not had a drug abuse problem in several years. We get along famously these days and I’m happy to consider her a sister. She has no memory of these events, but she’s a great sport about laughing at them. *
One day, I will get around to how Amy dumped Rob, but that drama can wait. Today, we’re going to talk about after they separated, when Amy’s electricity was cut off. Whether she forgot to pay the bill or used the money for drugs is irrelevant. The important part is that no one would take her in. We were the only family still speaking to her at that time, and we genuinely needed help making the house livable.
With great hesitation, we said she could stay the week if she helped out. To be fair, she did help a bit. As these things tend to, it started off well. She had food stamps and filled the house with groceries. Was it food we ate? Eh, not really, but we thought, well, at least she’s feeding herself. That will save some money.
Wrong! Let me tell you now, most of the groceries spoiled. Hubby worked during the day, I worked from home answering a phone. Every day, when I drove into town for whatever errands, Amy tagged along. Every day, without fail, she asked, “Can we stop at Fast Food? I haven’t eaten today.”
Of course, she only works the months around Christmas so she didn’t have money. She never volunteered the information, instead waiting until it was time to pay. I wouldn’t offer on principle, meaning we had to play out the same long, awkward silence until she asked for money. The worse part was how she counted the wasted groceries as “paying us back.”
Anyway, the point is, she offered us drugs to help cope with the pain. Our favorite pill has always been Adderall, but it’s extremely difficult for us to acquire. They were a rare treat. Imagine our glee when Amy announced, “You like those? I have a whole bottle. My friend has a prescription, but she hates them.”
“Amy, if you have a purse full of Adderall I need you to get it right now.” I said with the eyes of a starving wolf.
We tried to keep our hopes in check, it was Amy after all. Even as she removed the large bottle from her purse I thought it was too good to be true. Then she opened it, placing it on the table before us, and we stared at a mountain of pure white powder. That’s when I called bullshit.
“No, it really is, I swear! She just takes it out of the capsules so she can rip people off, but this is real stuff!” Amy insisted, spreading generous lines of the drug.
Hubby and I were dubious but had to admit it was a common practice. “You’ve done some already?” I asked.
“Yea, it’s fine, watch.” Amy snorted the first line, and when she didn’t have a seizure, we tried it.
It was Adderall! Can you believe it? We sure as hell couldn’t! I know, I know, ‘but what about your title’ right? Hold your britches, I’m getting there.
We had two extremely productive days thanks to the miracle powder. Everything went so well, we didn’t even mind Amy’s Xanax fits like when she asked the same question thirty times or talked through new episodes of Doctor Who. Everything was aces until we left her home alone for twenty minutes.
Hubby and I drove to the gas station and back, no big deal… or so we thought. Upon our return, we decided it was time for a pick-me-up. I retrieved our powder from its hiding place – it’s relevant to know it was hidden well on one of our many bookshelves. It wasn’t left out in a place for anyone to happen upon. I poured a nice healthy pile, and as I began to separate it into lines, I realized huh, why does it look so funny.
“Hey, come look at this… is. Is this salt?!” I asked Hubby in the opposite of an indoor voice.
(This is one of those times I’m going to reduce the cursing by 90%. It was so bad.)
“Because it is fraking salt! That bitch!” Hubby stormed off to find Amy while a monkey named Jonesy ruthlessly clawed my back for that Adderall.
I spent more hours than I want to admit separating the tiny specs with a flashlight and tweezers. I fully understood how pathetic it was, but I had to try. The worst part was, she didn’t have to do it. We weren’t being greedy, trust me she was like a blood-hound. Every time we pulled it out – no matter where we hid – she was there. She wouldn’t ask for it, no. She talked about how tired she was until Hubby offered.
That was fine. It was a huge bottle, and she didn’t get anything in return she wasn’t already getting. I didn’t understand why she felt the need to ruin the entire bottle to cover the fact she used more. My rage was also divided by the fact she thought salt was something to use for that purpose. I didn’t trust myself to speak when Hubby brought her to the kitchen.
I bit my tongue long as I could, but then she started talking. “I just came to see what happened, is there really salt in the Adderall?”
I glared at her, hoping to induce an aneurysm.
“Because Phoebe and that guy came over while you were gone. They just walked in the back door… and they were standing over there by that shelf when I walked in… they left after I told them you weren’t here.” After an incredibly long silence she continued, “So… I mean. I don’t know them, but could they like…”
Let’s entertain her story while we’re here. The notion of Phoebe and her boyfriend coming was ludicrous. She only walked over if they were fighting. When she did walk over, it was via the rock path to the front door, not the mud hole to the back. They didn’t know the drugs existed nor that I decided to hide something on that shelf for the first time ever.
“Do you understand what I would have done to you if I snorted salt?” There it went. The dam broke and all bets were off.
“I really didn’t…” Amy started.
“Please don’t. I’m begging you. If you’re going to do the deny, deny, deny thing, save it for later. Just get away from me for now, I don’t have it in me to pretend to believe you.” I couldn’t look at her, instead I looked at my tiny white specs and begged Jonsey to let me think.
Amy walked away but didn’t stop talking. She continued professing her innocence as she walked to the living room. My memory gets a little fuzzy here, but somehow I came to stand in the doorway, throat sore, staring at her, Hubby standing next to me.
“How about we go for a drive? It’s not like she can do more damage. I’ll help you sort what’s left when we get back.” He offered.
I suppose I agreed because we were no more than a few minutes away when I realized I left my purse behind. “Shit, we have to go back. I have cash in there.” I said angrily.
“Where did you leave it?” He asked.
“In our bedroom, under my nightstand.” I admitted, knowing what he would think.
“Okay, well it’s not like you left it in the open. She won’t go looking for it, she probably assumes you have it with you.” He tried to be reassuring.
“No, I already don’t like this. We gotta go back.” Money aside, I still had (have) only-child syndrome. I couldn’t accept she wouldn’t want to steal my prized possessions.
We turned around, gone for less than ten minutes when we returned. I almost let myself hope when she was sitting on the couch, exactly as we left her, but I knew I couldn’t breath easy until I saw the cash. I went straight to the purse and opened my wallet. It was empty. Can you guess who Amy blamed? Yes! It was Phoebe again! Wouldn’t you know we just missed those rascals!
I was done folks. I washed my hands of it. “You know what Amy? Forty bucks is a small price to pay to get rid of you. You’re going home first thing in the morning, best of luck with your electricity.” I walked away before I said anything truly harsh.
Hubby talked to her for a few minutes, but I had a monkey to feed. We resumed powder picking and saved more than expected, but it was a pittance of the whole.
The next morning I was gifted with Amy’s reasoning for destroying our white gold. She returned our money and a hefty pile of Adderall powder after waking. Apparently she wasn’t happy just doing the drugs, she wanted to sell some when she realized how much people like it. She was too ashamed to ask for it and thought salt would be the best way to hide her actions. She included, “I don’t remember any of it, but this was in my bag so I guess that’s what happened.” To help maintain a distance from true blame.
We took our possessions back and reassured her she was forgiven. “No hard feelings” as it were. Unfortunately she misunderstood forgiveness as “you can keep staying here”, but we were over our limit. You can only have so many angry, mentally disturbed people living under one roof before someone dies. Hell, we were already stretching that number before she came.
So yea, we dropped her off at her apartment. It was really dark in there, she didn’t have windows, but no one else would agree to take her. I really do feel terrible about how bad she sounds in this, but we all pull an Amy at some point in our lives. Whether you were drunk, high, or just plain nuts, you have at least one story where you star as the asshole. We all do, and we should all be the terrific sports about it she is.
Thanks for reading! I wanted to translate a non-horror classic next, but I seem unable to help myself. I want to have a variety of genres to select from, but I keep getting distracted, I’m sorry. The Yellow Wallpaper is coming soon because I’ve always wanted to read it but never had time. I’m going to try to take a few days off in order to clean a guest room out, but we’ll see how it goes.
Stay safe out there. Sometimes, they really are out to get you.
Poetry Disclaimer: The below poetry is horrible. Do not read it if you are serious about poetry. It is for amusement purposes only. For full poetry details see Sex, Drugs, & Robbery.
“Everyday Take Away”
28 hour days, Time trickles, slowly fading away. Lost, confused, in a daze, Spinning, twirling, in a haze.
Eyes are the windows to the soul, But mine is no longer whole. Rotten, decayed, black as night, Broken, defeated, screaming in fright.
Love is a useless word, Spoken but never heard. No give and all take, A world engulfed in hate. Whatever was meant to be, Is long lost to eternity.
I’m so sad Halloween is over, but I’m more sad we found another kitten. It’s a girl this time, nothing but bones and desperate for attention. On and on it goes. Until one day I finally catch the person doing it. Then you’ll all wonder why I disappeared without saying a word. It’ll be because I’m in jail for murder.
I have been working on my blog layout. I feel like I have too many posts to continue with one menu option. I wanted to let you all know I am aware of this and taking steps to improve. That being said, I’m bombing with the theme options. Ideally, I would like to have four categories:
Classics Translated (Re-written may give the wrong impression)
I know I have few items belonging to the latter categories, but I’m planning for the long term. My main focus will remain on my original theme, but I want to continue developing our cult. What started as a joke is growing into something beautiful, and I would like to see where it takes us. I don’t intend to write horror or classics regularly, but I have a passion for both and would like to post them when the mood strikes. Again, I can never thank you all enough for your tremendous support.
Today, I would like to properly begin explaining my time living is Rose-yard, a very dangerous subdivision in the middle of my hometown. If you’ve read earlier posts, you may have seen a few references to the “dangerous duplex” already. I briefly mentioned a desperate move after my parents smelled weed in my room, but the details were rushed as they weren’t the focus of our topic. I lived there 2-3 months before Crook and I bought his sister’s house. A surprising amount of drama happened in that short time, but to do it justice let me start by telling you a little about the home first.
In case any aren’t familiar with Duplexes, they’re basically one house divided into individual apartments. The one we’re focused on is somewhat well-known where I’m from due to the man who lived there before me. We will get to him in a moment, let’s start with Mickey. He was my coworker at the restaurant, and I considered him a close friend until he robbed me on multiple occasions. As you see on the map, he lived in the left side.
Mickey was an Irish boy with the frizzy, bright orange hair of a true ginger. He kept it braided in a single ponytail which ran down the length of his back, and only wore tight black jeans with plain colored shirts. If he was awake, he wasn’t sober. He was on a cocktail of cocaine, meth, more pills than I can name, and drank heavily on top of it all. I truly don’t know how he survived. His girlfriend (Mona) looked exactly like him; people thought they were twins, but she fed me free donuts so I was fond of her.
On the right side, where I would eventually live, was Booker. Fair warning, his story is tragic. He was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, but where I’m from they say that for anyone who behaves… well, dangerously insane. The problem with Booker wasn’t solely his mental illness. Don’t get me wrong, he had it rough, but his problems were exacerbated by the copious amounts of meth he injected.
Even more difficult was his financial situation. Meth can be an expensive drug when you need large quantities on a daily basis. Booker, ever the entrepreneur, began cooking his own. For all his quirks, he must have been good at it because he sold a lot and never blew up the house. A small bar opened off the highway next to Rose-yard and it became his office.
As time passed, Booker grew comfortable with his habits. People largely ignored him, considering him a harmless nuisance. One night, he set his sights on a girl at the same time as another local tough guy; only this one was well liked. As the competition grew heated, threats were made, and both men agreed to take it outside. The two exited the bar followed by a crowd eager to watch a fight.
As Booker instead walked to his truck, he was ridiculed. People taunted him for cowardice. No one knows if the insults changed his mind, or if his original intention was always to retrieve a gun. Regardless, he returned to shoot the other man in the head, killing him instantly.
Booker fled the scene, returning home. Police arrived quickly and found him in the attic, attempting to destroy his meth lab. After the arrest, they proceeded to make several large holes in each wall of the apartment. To answer the question of my regular readers, yes. They say the bar and home are haunted now. I can’t confirm the house is haunted based on my time there, but I absolutely could believe it’s cursed.
Skipping ahead to my move-in, we will jump to the part where I ask Mickey to please inform the landlord, “If he lets me move in today, he doesn’t have to fix the holes. And that I’ll pay all cash.” I don’t know how things are done in the real world, but in my messed up corner it’s called “getting shit done.” I was given the green light within the hour and ready to face my next obstacle.
When I go into my crazy place – that mental snap where the world goes fuzzy and my autopilot is stuck on self destruct mode – my brain doesn’t actively think or plan. Instead it understands the Now. The present moment in which we currently live. Nothing exists before and nothing will come after. You do what you must to stay alive in the Now. No more, sometimes less.
New home secured I understood my possessions needed to be relocated. After receiving my keys, I stared politely as Landlord explained there would be no rental contracts; I live there as long as I pay and will leave when I can’t. Pleased he appeared to understand how I live, I paid him to speed his departure. I then emptied my car to maximize space for moving. Preparing to make my first drive, a paranoid sensation washed over me.
I didn’t mind the holes in the wall. I already knew what posters would hang where. What I did mind – and should have expected – was the broken glass in the back door. The shattered pane was the bottom corner next to the doorknob, clearly done to facilitate a break-in. Unable to leave with such a security risk, I repaired it the way I was taught to fix everything – with duct tape. After a few layers on both sides and surprisingly less cuts than expected, it was acceptable.
I made several trips – loading my car to capacity each – all with my mind utterly blank. It wasn’t until I was making the last trip for the day that I realized furniture would never fit into my car. The hour grew late and I wished to avoid confrontation over my coming and going while Dad tried to sleep. I resolved to return with my bed and leave the rest until morning. I didn’t understand my dilemma until I stood staring at the bed, ready to remove the sheets. Unwilling to ask for assistance, I packed my pillows, filled the car once more, and went home to sleep on Booker’s leftover smelly couch.
In the interest of staying honest, I’m going to admit I carried my plan through without hesitation or guilt. We need to take a short recess so I can explain Chris. We shared a study hall the previous year and he drove a large truck. I developed a crush on him as we talked more and more in the classroom, bonding over our shared outcast status. He was probably the sweetest, most innocent guy I’ve ever known, but we weren’t suited for each other. He was a hopeless romantic who dreamed of moving to Tennessee and having five children. Obviously that did not appeal to me on any level. Okay, back to the story.
Last round of unpacking completed, I decided to text Chris. I initiated a ‘just wanted to chat’ conversation that quickly evolved into bragging about my new home. With some carefully phrased questions I learned he was also newly single and feeling the burn of rejection. I lured him into my web with little effort. “You know, if you’re really bored you could come hang out here. First I just have a few more trips to make before I’m finished moving… it’s really hard when you only have a small car…”
“Hey! I have a big truck! What if I came with you? We could finish in half the time!” Chris suggested, all own his own.
“Aw, you would do that? I hadn’t even thought of that! You’re my hero!” I said in my best distressed damsel voice.
Chris arrived within the hour. Not only did we finish in two trips, he stayed with me to assist in cleaning. The house was more disgusting than you imagine. “I don’t mind at all. Dad owns a septic business. It’s going to be mine one day so I’m use to this kind of stuff. As long as I have soap to wash my hands after, I’m fine.” He happily assured me as he scrubbed the disgustingly brown toilet bowl.
Making a mental note to find soap before he realized I didn’t have any, I continued unpacking. As the hour grew late, my brain realized I did not want to spend another horrifying night alone in that place. When you live in a neighborhood like that, in a house where only a thin wall separates you from people who never stop partying til sunrise, everything goes bump in the night.
“Wow, I didn’t realize how late it got. The day really flew by once you were here… too bad you can’t stay the night. I don’t want you to leave now, haha.” My heart hammered as I waited for his response.
“Seriously? You’d let me stay? All night?!” His innocence was adorable.
“Of course. I love having you around.” I genuinely did like and appreciate him. I’m not a complete monster. Yes, I initiated all this so he would help me move, but I liked him a lot. I was normally too shy to be so brazen, but needing him gave me courage.
When he agreed to stay I assumed we would sleep together. Men tend to have expectations in these kinds of situations, and in his case, I was okay with that. I knew he was a virgin, but still expected him to try. We shared a bed and talked a little before falling asleep, but he was too shy to make a move. I think it made me like him even more. We were officially dating before the next day ended, but that is when things turned sour.
As I returned to work and he to school, I learned what true clinginess was. He texted me every second we were apart. The only time he wasn’t texting was when he went into class, but even then I would receive, “I’m out of math now, I miss you so much.” He would talk for the five minute break, then say, “The bell for science rang, I’ll talk to you in 50 minutes.”
At first I thought it was cute, even enjoyed it. No one had ever paid me so much (positive) attention. I assumed things would normalize once we had time to settle into the relationship, but they didn’t. After two weeks things were getting worse instead of better. I didn’t know how to tell him, “I really like you, but I’m losing my mind. I can’t watch tv, play a game, or read a book because there’s never a time you aren’t talking. I can’t keep staying awake all night because the only free time I have is when you sleep.” I was too shy and it sounded cruel. When he mentioned the Tennessee and kids dream, I broke up with him as gently as possible. He took it surprisingly well, but I never saw him again. Now that Chris is out of the way, let’s talk about what being in Rose-yard alone was like.
I was completely alone until Crook moved in later. I only owned one tv which meant there wasn’t one in my bedroom. Sleeping without one proved terrifying and impossible. As I laid in the pitch black darkness on my third night, I heard doors opening all around me. Reminding myself it was on Mickey’s side was useless. I imagined burglars pulling duct tape off the back door and creeping into my room. I stared into the dark opening of the hallway, seeing human shapes there; waiting for me to fall asleep. I quickly resigned myself to sleeping on the couch full time.
Early the next morning, I woke to someone violently banging on my front door. I’m not proud of my behavior, but when I’m rudely pulled from a sound sleep I react poorly. I had no more control over my actions than an alcoholic in withdrawal. All fear of the dangerous neighborhood forgotten, I ripped my door open in a rage. I was face to face with a short, plump, blonde woman; fist raised, ready to begin the next round. I’m not going to type all the curses I threw at her, but if you want a truly accurate account, insert “fuck” after each word I say. I apologize, but I’m a tiny, weak woman. Cursing is my human way of intimidation. I can’t fluff my hair out like cats, but I can curse like a sailor.
“What the hell is your problem?” My voice was low and cruel. I wanted my face to exude pure hatred, and I think it did. The woman hesitated, unsure how to respond.
“I… I’m sorry if I woke you, but I need to talk to Mickey. Right now.” She looked past me as if expecting to see him.
“Yea, you did wake me! It’s 7:00 in the morning and a psycho is trying to beat down my door for someone who doesn’t live here! That is Mickey’s side.” I pointed to the other door as I prepared to slam my own.
“I know, but he won’t answer. I wanted to ask if you could try to wake him. Can you call him or knock on his wall or… something?” She asked me this as if it were the most reasonable thing in the world, but didn’t understand she wasn’t speaking to me. She was speaking to the demon who possesses my body when I’m unable to Adult.
“Hell no you didn’t just tell me that! You know?! What is wrong with you? Do you seriously expect to beat down someone’s door first thing in the morning and have that person help you?” Again, I prepared to slam the door, but she caught my attention once more.
“Wait, please! I’m Tyler’s mom!” She put her hand against the door and spoke faster. “That’s Tyler’s truck parked in your back yard, and I heard Mickey has been selling parts off it. If he gives me the keys and the money he made, I won’t call the police.” The woman misunderstood the situation greatly. The satisfied expression on her face told me she thought I cared if Mickey got into trouble.
I continued speaking with her because I wanted to enjoy seeing that smug expression vanish when she learned the truth. “Lady, I couldn’t care less what happens to Mickey or that truck. The only thing I cared about was sleep, but since you ruined any chance of that let me tell you a little something about Tyler. Do you even understand why that truck is back there? It’s because the girl who lived here before Booker was his girlfriend. When she broke up with him, your little psycho beat the shit out of her. Then when she wouldn’t forgive him, he decided to drive that truck into her kitchen. The house is so high up he went under the house instead of into it. Now the truck is totaled. If you want to call the cops go for it, but if I have to open this door again, it’s going to be with a gun.” I successfully slammed the door on that final note. I didn’t own a gun, but thought it sounded intimidating.
Through the peephole I could see her making a call. She yelled “Okay then, I’m calling them right now.” through the door, but I don’t know if she really did. No police came, but they rarely did in that neighborhood.
When I woke to more knocking at 4am the next morning, I feared it would be routine. This time, two extremely large men stood outside, knocking on both doors. They looked angry and I didn’t open it, but I watched them through the peephole. I tried to call Mickey, knowing he was awake by the sounds coming through my wall, but he wouldn’t answer. Unfortunately I would grow use to the sounds of their tantric sex parties, but my only concern at that moment was to rid myself of the angry men on our porch.
As I typed a message to Mickey, Mona text me first. It read “Stay inside and don’t call the cops no matter what.” That was never a good sign, but I didn’t understand why they thought I would call the police. I wasn’t suicidal (that they knew of), but it became clear when Mickey finally went outside. Since I was awake anyway, I indulged the curiosity, staying at the peephole to watch.
“Look who decided to open up! Where you been at white boy?” the taller one said as they closed in on a Mickey.
“I’ve been right here…” Mickey was more difficult to hear. He spoke softly unlike his friends. Whatever he said, the men clearly weren’t pleased.
“You think you get to ignore us? You think you something special? Like you can just take whatever you want we ain’t coming for yo ass?” The shorter man with gold teeth began poking Mickey in the chest, pushing him back against the house. They stood so close, their noses almost touched.
I could see Mickey, staring at the ground, lips moving, but couldn’t hear his response. When he finished talking he began digging through his pockets. He held out wads of crumpled bills which were promptly snatched from his clutches. Even without physically seeing how much it was, I knew it had to be very little. They were clearly tips from work, meaning the majority were dollar bills.
“What is this shit? I know this ain’t all you have! Where the rest? Up your damn nose prolly. Whatcha think D? Think we can take our shit right out of his nose?” I covered my mouth to stifle my scream. Very quickly, the one with gold teeth grabbed Mickey’s braid, yanking his head back to bounce off the wall.
“It’s all I have. I can get…” is all he had a chance to say. The man called D cut Mickey’s words short with a punch to the stomach. My eyes darted to the door, expecting to see friends rush to his aid, but no one came.
As Mickey tried to regain his breath, the short one threw him to the ground. Both began kicking him all over while D informed him, “This your last warning bitch. Everyday you don’t pay, this is gonna be worse! You hear me?”
Mickey, curled into fetal position, could only shake his head in agreement. The men spit on him before leaving, then his friends came to help. One eye already swollen shut, he walked inside with them. A few minutes later, he returned, gently knocking on my door. Checking to make sure he was alone, I let him in, eager to hear the explanation.
“I just wanted to make sure you were ok…” He stood by the front windows, watching the road.
Only wanting his story, not small talk, I set his mind at ease. “Don’t worry I didn’t call the cops, no ones coming.”
Relief washed over him and he took a seat. “I was suppose to pay them today, but I ran into a few problems. If you ever see those guys again, just make sure your doors are locked and stay inside, you understand?” He said these things casually, as if he weren’t just beaten up on our porch.
“Yea, I mean that kind of goes without saying. But why do you owe them money? Is that their cocaine?” I was surprised further by how calmly he prepared the line he was now snorting from my coffee table.
“Yea, but it’s really good stuff. Here, I thought it’s the least I could do after the crazy bitch from yesterday, and now you had to wake up even earlier because of this shit.” He arranged a smaller line and offered me a rolled up bill with which to snort it.
Being young and upset about missed sleep, I took it gratefully. I couldn’t help but laugh at the $100 bill I was snorting it with. I don’t know how much money he owed those guys, but I can’t help feeling they may have been slightly kinder had he paid with it instead of tip money.
I did indeed see the men once more. Of course it was at a rare time I was genuinely home alone. Mickey and Mona were at work, and my music was playing loudly enough to be heard from outside. It was roughly 5:00pm when the loud bangs sounded at the door. Looking through the peephole I saw them with the same angry expressions and knew Mickey never paid them.
I dialed 911 but hesitated over the call button. If I went through with it, not only would police never arrive in time, but those men would know I was the only person who could have called. I desperately wanted to stay off their radar. I kept watch, deciding if they attempted to enter – I would run out the back door and down the street. Instead, I tried to call Mickey and Mona but neither answered.
The one with gold teeth pounded against my door while D worked on the other. Finally, D kicked Mickey’s door hard enough to break it open. “There we go. Time to make our money back! Stay on that door.” D indicated mine. “If someone come out, take their phone.”
That’s all I needed to hear. I value my phone more than life. I moved the couch against the door, terrified he would decide to simply kick it open anyway. Then I continued stacking everything I could lift onto the couch. I almost threw up when I remembered how easy it would be for them to open the back door. You guys know those paracord bracelets? I use to have one until I used it to tie one end around the door knob and the other to the fridge.
As I did these things, I text Mickey and Mona several warnings and updates, but after finishing the back door I saw the men were gone. Mickey’s door remained wide open, but the men were nowhere in sight. I was too afraid to open the door, but I looked out each window several times and couldn’t find them.
Mickey eventually returned my call. He apologized and thanked me profusely for not calling the police. Apparently he had a large drug cache hidden inside and was desperate to check on it. Thankfully he didn’t want to tell me where, but even if he had I still wasn’t willing to open my door. This incident scared Mona badly enough to borrow money from her father. She paid the drug debt under the condition they agreed not to do business together anymore. Everyone seemed fine with her terms.
A few days after this incident, I left for work in a rush, forgetting to lock my door. Desperate not to lose more time, I called Mickey. He said he would lock the door, but after hanging up I realized I also forgot my cigarettes.
Turning around, I made it home in time to see Mickey exiting my apartment. I only had to wonder why he felt the need to go inside for a few seconds before he saw me and shoved his hands into his pockets. I was still too naive to accept a close friend would blatantly steal from me, but even if I had, I would have been too afraid to confront him.
Had I realized in that moment he stole the amulet I wore to every tennis match I ever played – I would have blacked out and burned the house down with both of us inside, but I didn’t. Instead, I chastised myself for being a paranoid asshole. Sadly it would take loaning him $250 on top of later discovering my amulet was gone before I learned I wasn’t just paranoid that time. He actively stole from me every chance he had, only to deny it later.
Now you should all have a decent idea of what it was like to live there. Next time we discuss Rose-yard I’ll be able to get straight to the good stuff. I’m not sure when that will be, but we’ll get to it eventually. I would like to stop here so I have time to tell you about one more idea I want to implement.
Last month, I mentioned the horrible poems I wrote in high school. I have several notebooks filled with the cheesiest emo girl stuff you’ve ever seen. In the OCD interest of having all my work in one place, I wanted to find a way to post them here without losing all my followers. I think I have found a way to do that. Obviously I can’t post them on their own, but I could write one at the bottom of every normal post.
I feel like that will complete my goal without fear of new readers seeing them first and never clicking on stuff again. I freely admit I know nothing about poetry; not how to write it or how to judge it. With the exception of Poe’s The Raven and Blake’s The Poison Tree, I don’t even like poetry. Mine were simply the byproduct of a sad, depressed teenager who desperately wanted the pain to stop. No more. I strongly recommend you only read the poems at the end if you want a laugh. If you’re cruising for good poems, this is not where you want to be.
That being said, thank you all once again, LGFN forever! Remember, be safe out there. Sometimes they really are out to get you.
You are so predictable, But god, you just seemed so sensible. Why shouldn’t I love you? Why can’t I trust you? Why not settle down? Why not take a chance? Why shouldn’t we hold hands? You promised you were right, You promised I was wrong.
I wanted to stop running, But now the pain keeps coming. Now the thought of you makes me sick. Why was it you I had to pick? Why did you have to be my one shot? Why was it me you forgot? Why did you give me hope? Why did you take it away, For a reason you’ll never say?
It’s not fair, it’s not right. Why is it you I have to fight? You were suppose to be different, You were suppose to show me how, But you were wrong, and I’m alone now.
I knew I shouldn’t love you, I knew not to trust you. I knew not to settle down, I knew it was wrong to take a chance. I knew not to hold your hands!
Why didn’t I keep running? This pain wouldn’t be coming, But I did and it is. Now I’m alone, forever and always, On my own, for the rest of my days.
Telling ghost stories around a campfire is a time honored tradition for those of us who love a scare. With each telling they spread further and evolve to fit their audiences. Eventually, they gain a life of their own, often becoming unrecognizable to the original author. Not knowing where the truth ends and fantasy begins pulls us farther from reality than we would otherwise tread. Succumbing to the desire to believe, if only for a moment… what if it is true?
In a town kept alive by retirees and tourists looking for a cheap scare, we knew a place hidden from their money was bad news. Plebes are paraded around in horse drawn carriages through the dead of night. If there’s a storm, all the better. In the dim glow of our gas street-lamps, we tell them stories, grinning each time a passenger shakes with fright. As long as they stay on the safe, paved streets of downtown, they’ve nothing to fear. If they knew what was really out there, beyond those city limits, they would jump in their fancy cars and never look back.
It’s when you drive past the city limits things become less… rehearsed. What use to be cotton fields far as the eye could see were now dried-up wastelands, unusable to the living. Over the years, our ancestors built further and further away, desperate for distance, but unable to leave entirely. A forest grew around the 300 acre area known as the Deadlands, but not even an insect crossed Mother Nature’s well drawn line.
The Deadlands were born in the Civil War aftermath. Losing did nothing to sway the opinions of ignorant Southerners who believed slaves were their God-given rights. In a world where tractors were not yet invented, farming seemed daunting. Cotton, ironically prickly, is painful to harvest. Days turned to weeks, and the sight of freed slaves settling into new lives taunted the rednecks relentlessly. In their world, White Supremacy and religion were one in the same, it was fact, unquestioned.
Five families, owned the majority of our state’s cotton supply. On their wealth, the town of Cotton Hills was founded, and on their heinous actions was it doomed. Where their property lines merged, each man donated 60 forested acres to the relocation of freed slaves. Thus the 300 acre plot of death was created.
The town formed a posse to deliver every black man, woman, and child. Guard towers were built, each connected by fences of barbed wire, and any who attempted escape were killed on sight. Eventually, some tried to carve out a life for their families. Primitive shelters were erected, men hunted, women homesteaded. They did okay at first, but as more people were thrown into what whispers already called the Deadlands, resources exhausted quickly. Friends who once worked side by side killed each other to feed their children.
After 20 years, the few who remained were so malnourished, so barbaric, they no longer appeared human. Few original guards remained, most replaced with younger, stronger sons. Sons with ambitions, and the desire to make their own names. One fateful night, while the old guards slept, those sons entered the Deadlands, intent to win their freedom with blood and fire. They set out to burn every acre, and kill any who crossed their path along the way. Fifteen men entered, but only one returned, smoke and flame billowing in his wake. He was spotted from a guard tower as he crawled from the tree-line, one leg missing below the knee. The remaining guards gathered, waiting to see how far the young man would make it.
When he was finally within ear-shot, David Grayson called to the man, who he now saw was the eldest son of the late Jake Abernathy. “What happened boy, tell us quickly.”
Abernathy moaned in pain but continued crawling until he was only a few feet away. A few men aimed their guns, ready to fire should he attempt to cross the boundary. With a knowing look of defeat, Abernathy dropped his elbows, and with his loudest cry yet, rolled to lie flat on his back. Coughing blood with each strained word, he managed to say, “We just… wanted out. To… to live normal lives… why… stay? We killed them… all. But the huts… there was crying… like a baby.” The old guards sat still and quiet through a longer coughing fit, too frightened to turn away, but all sharing the same thought. No way they could be having babies in there.
They all jumped when Abernathy resumed talking. “We killed… all of them… every… one… dead. So many… barely human… all dead. We were… leaving. All of us… they came from above… but we killed all… nothing left… what… what killed us?”
For several minutes, the only sound to be heard over the crackling flames were Abernathy’s wet, dying breaths, until finally, he fell silent. The old guards’ trance was soon broken by something large rustling through the flaming treetops, coming their way. They ran, hid until morning, and left the Deadlands forever. Whether a cowardly excuse to leave or the good of humanity, the men returned to their families, warning all to stay away. None doubted their words.
Now, we future generations are warned as children, raised with proper fear and respect. Maybe we hate our ancestors for their crimes against humanity more than we fear a legend, but the result is the same. It’s not a place kids dare each other to go, no clubs enter for initiation, no ghost hunters investigate, no Christians pray for it. No one has tried to enter for over 100 years now, but occasionally, something tries to escape. The evil merely resides within, sleeping, hungry, always waiting. Unfortunately for Todd and Linda, they knew none of this.
“I think this vacation is exactly what you need while you’re getting better. I checked this place out, and we couldn’t have found a quieter town. It has one of the lowest populations in the country and only old people and ghost hunters go there.” Linda sat in the passenger seat, reading from her phone as she and Todd entered the last stretch of a long drive.
“Yea, sounds great.” Todd knew Linda was trying to be supportive, but he hated how she said getting better. He couldn’t stand being coddled, why couldn’t she just say addiction? Was that so hard? It wasn’t his fault he got hurt at work, he didn’t know what the pain pills were doing to him until it was too late. He went to rehab, horrible as that was, and he was still consumed by the siren’s call every waking moment of his miserable existence. That’s not the point. He learned to live with that, he can resist the urges now, but what he can’t live with, is Linda’s desire to talk about it incessantly.
“I don’t think we’ll do the ghost tours, there’s no reason to put you through unnecessary stress, but they have tons of hiking trails. It says one leads to abandoned train tracks with a real antique caboose! Now, doesn’t that sound quaint! Oh Honey, do you think we could do that one first?” Linda turned her phone to Todd, showing him the pictures.
With a short glance Todd turned back to the road, trying to force a smile lest Linda notice his annoyance. What 30 year old says‘quaint’anyway? “I’ll look when we get to the hotel, sounds great though.” Using all his willpower, he forced a smirk on his face, and Linda sat back, placated.
Shortly after 6pm they reached their Holiday Inn, exhausted from a 12 hour drive. “How about we order some pizza and watch a movie tonight? I want you well rested for another early start!” Linda cooed, already googling the local pizza options.
Todd knew with sickening certainty the moment where he snapped on Linda would come, but he was beginning to worry he would enjoy it. “I think I’ll be just fine tomorrow regardless,” he replied through gritted teeth, forcing himself to add cheerfully, “but you read my mind, movie and pizza sound great.”
Linda’s hurt look faded as quickly as it appeared, leaving Todd to wonder if he’d really seen it in the first place. Most of Todd’s patience was born from guilt. He put Linda through hell with his mood swings and temper tantrums. He never hit her, and he thanked the god he pretended to believe in for that mercy, but he had wanted to. At his worst, he wanted to grab her head, force her mouth shut, and keep it that way, but he didn’t. That’s what mattered. He still got the shakes when he thought of that all-consuming rage. In the end, it was the reason he agreed to rehab.
Logically, Todd knew he and Linda had a happy marriage. They never fought before the accident. The addiction was to blame, they were its victims, both trying to cope however they could, grasping at straws to find the way back to their old lives. Linda was only trying to help. Keeping that thought firmly at the forefront of his mind, he sat next to her, wrapping his arm around her waist.
“Let’s see what we got.” Todd leaned over the screen Linda was currently studying. “Oh, you want to get P’zones? We’ll find an old movie and pretend we’re back in college.”
When Linda met his gaze, her eyes gleamed. “That sounds like the best idea ever! A zillion times, yes! Please!”
Todd felt his first genuine smile in longer than he could remember. Linda’s silly use of her old catch phrase, once used to accept his marriage proposal, and now specially reserved only for him, made him feel, a zillion times, yes, like things might be okay one day. After a magical evening that truly had felt like old times, they lay in each other’s arms and slept soundly through the night.
The alarm rang at 7:00, and they pried theirselves apart to prepare for the day ahead. Both walking on eggshells to preserve the previous night’s magic, they spoke in soothing tones through breakfast. As they exited the elevator in full hiking gear at 8:30, they bumped into an older gentleman who resembled Yosemite Sam. His name tag identified him as Richard Davenport, Manager. “Ah, G’morning folks.” He greeted them, also sounding like Sam, with a tip of his cowboy hat. “I say, lovely weather for a hike! Which trail have you chosen? Might I suggest Buffalo Bill’s Bluff? You begin just east of the river, but it takes you to a clearing on the bluff that makes a beautiful place to picnic.” Mr. Davenport waved a chubby hand over his head, as if painting the scene.
“That sounds lovely!” Linda replied, turning to Todd, “Let’s do that one tomorrow, Hun! Can we?” Without waiting for his answer she faced Mr. Davenport once more. “But today, we’re going on this one. With the train caboose.” Linda showed him her phone, the trail’s website loaded to her favorite pictures. She watched the manager’s face turn from bright pink to deathly pale.
“You okay, sir?” Todd asked, concerned how quickly the man drained of color. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost. We didn’t end up in one of them haunted hotels did we?”
“Ha. No, my goodness, no. I chose a Holiday Inn to separate myself from that part of the town.” Mr. Davenport stammered, pulling a handkerchief from his pocket to mop the sweat from his brow. “No, you’ll find no ghosts here, folks. But that trail is a different story, people get lost, it’s not safe. Please, choose anywhere else. They’re a dime a dozen here, all safe, public property maintained by the city. All except that one.” He pointed to Linda’s phone, pictures still displayed. “It’s privately owned by a family that moved here last year. They set that train to attract tourists, but they don’t know what they’re doing!”
“Really? But it doesn’t say anything about being haunted on the…” Linda began pressing buttons on her phone, ready to enter a full blown debate, but Todd cut her off.
“It’s okay Hun, we can check into it some other time. We better get going or we won’t have time for breakfast.” Having already eaten, he hoped Linda took the hint to play along. She did.
Once safely in the parking lot where they couldn’t be overheard, Todd explained. “That’s how these small towns operate, by sticking together. They probably hate the idea of outsiders horning in on their local legends. Look around, these people don’t have much else. I haven’t even seen a Walmart since we crossed the state line.”
Linda noticeably relaxed. “You really think so? I didn’t want to admit it, but he kinda creeped me out.”
“I promise. Think of it this way. In a town known for hauntings, don’t you think these people would plaster their website with ghost stories if it was part of their gimmick? But they didn’t, did they? In fact, that old man didn’t say anything about haunted until I made it clear we weren’t here for that.” Todd, seeing Linda’s perk completely restored, was pleased with himself.
“Hey! You’re right! They don’t, and he didn’t!” For only a second did Linda allow herself to think but what if it’s not be a gimmick. Then imagining the photos she would post on Facebook after the hike banished the thoughts completely. “Wow, we’re never telling anyone I almost fell for a redneck ghost story.” The young couple shared a laugh as they passed a sign informing they were now leaving the city limits.
As they drove, the GPS instructed Todd to turn left off the highway. The road they followed turned from a black top, to gravel, to dirt in the span of 20 miles. “Wow, we must really be out in the sticks now.” Todd noted, driving slower to appreciate the scenery around them. “We don’t have anything like this in the city, I don’t think I’ve seen so many trees in my life, not in one stretch.”
“I know, it’s so beautiful! I think I could live here.” Linda said, rolling her window down to breathe the fresh air. “You smell that, Hun? That’s clean air!”
The road ended in a large clearing with a parking sign in the center. Beyond that loomed a small, wooden shack with “Welcome” painted above a glass window. To the right, a brightly painted post marked the trail entrance, and a matching post to the left marked where they would exit. After gathering their equipment, the couple headed to the shack first.
“Huh, it looks empty.” Todd announced, face pressed to the glass as he peered inside.
“I’m sure it is, there’s no other cars here and look, they have a donation box. Do we have any cash?” Linda asked, knowing they didn’t but feeling guilty.
“Uhh, not in the last 5 years.” Todd laughed, shaking his head. “Oh well, I’m glad we have the place to ourselves. Does the website say how long the trail is?”
“It’s supposed to be four hours. No tricky terrain, just watch for snakes. Hey, we might have time for the bluff today after all.” Linda answered excitedly, skipping toward the entrance.
“Wait for me!” Todd called, running to catch up.
In the first hour, they walked without a break. Linda took pictures by the dozen, but having no signal for Facebook, resigned to save that pleasure for later. Todd walked slowly, enjoying the scenery and not thinking about pills for a change. As he felt his throat going dry, he noticed a fallen tree that looked perfect for a quick rest.
“Hey Lin, you wanna stop for a water break? This looks like a good place to sit for a few minutes.” Todd was already digging through his pack.
“Sure, I could go for a power bar.” Linda settled next to Todd, laying her head on his shoulder as he drank deeply. “I just love it here, we should go to places like this more often. Just listen to all those birds, it’s like nature’s music.”
“Definitely! I guess being raised in a city, I never gave this kinda stuff much thought, but yea. I dig this, we should make hiking our new thing. I wouldn’t want…” Todd’s words were cut off as they heard a shrill cry to their right.
“What the hell was that?! Was that a person?!” Linda’s nails dug into his arm, her eyes frantically searching for the scream’s source.
“No. No, it wasn’t a person.” Todd cleared his throat and tried to sound less terrified. “I think it was a deer. The doe are suppose to sound like humans or something. Danny told me that after one of his hunting trips. Whatever it was, I think it’s finished now. Come on, let’s go see that train.”
They hiked another hour before coming to the caboose, strange cry nearly forgotten. “I should have known they’d put it in the middle, those crafty devils, that’s one way to make sure people do the whole trail!” Linda took pictures from every angle. The selfies took 15 minutes followed by another 20 posing Todd every way she could think of. “Ok, that should do! I cannot wait to go through these tonight!”
“You sure you got enough, Hun? You only took a few hundred.” Todd teased, slightly flinching at Linda’s playful punches. The woman wore rings, if she caught you just right, those puppies could sting.
“You’re just a mean old bully.” Linda joked in a mocking child’s voice, but their flirting came to an abrupt end with the sound of a large animal barreling through the trees.
Both stood frozen, holding each other tightly as the sound drew closer, louder. The trees, thick around them, blocked their view. Mentally tracking its location by sound alone, they flinched when the animal should have burst through the clearing, but nothing came. The noise stopped as suddenly as it began. Only silence followed.
“I’m starting to think Mr. Davenport wasn’t so crazy after all.” Linda whined, voice thick with fear.
“No, that’s silly, there’s no such thing. He got in our heads is all.” Despite the hammering of his own heart, Todd tried to be brave. At least one of them needed to keep a cool head. “Everything is fine, I promise. Look, we’re at the halfway point. We’ll walk to the exit without any more breaks, and this will all make a great story for Facebook, whaddya say?”
“I say yes, a zillion times, hell yes!” Quickly, they once again donned their packs, and continued on their way.
Only minutes after resuming the trail, trees grew denser than ever. The path appeared to shrink, becoming darker, twisting and turning to restrict their lines of sight. The couple clasped hands, neither willing to admit the feeling of being watched, but they felt it intensely. They progressed from a steady pace to almost jogging without noticing until Linda fell to the ground, screaming.
Todd, unsure if her high-pitched wails resulted from agony or terror, kneeled next to her. “What was it? Are you okay? Talk to me, please! What happened?!”
Linda sat up, pulled her legs to her chest, and scanned the ground around her. “Where’d it go? What was it? Did you see? Did you see? Someone grabbed my ankle. Where’d it go!?”
Her words struck new fear into his heart. Someone… grabbed? “Hold on, grabbed you? Like a hand? You’re sure you didn’t just trip, I mean we were moving pretty fast?”
“Yes! A hand grabbed me!” She quickly shot her hand out and grasped Todd’s ankle in a vice-like grip. “See! Do you think you could mistake this feeling?”
“I believe you, I was just… hoping… that’s all. Do you need a second? We shouldn’t have let ourselves get so worked up, we need to be more careful.” Todd stood, offering his arm to Linda.
Taking hold, she pulled herself up, but collapsed once more upon standing. “I think it’s broken, I… I can’t walk on it. Why is this happening to us.” Linda sobbed, dropping her face into her hands.
“It’s going to be fine, here, let’s take a look.” Linda winced as he removed her shoe, but it had to be done. “It’s dark under these trees, can you shine your light? The shadows are playing tricks with my eyes.” He stared, unable to accept what he was seeing, but when the flashlight illuminated the purple bruise on his wife’s ankle, he gasped in shock.”
Terrified, Linda sat forward and instantly regretted it. Wrapped around her now swollen ankle was a perfect handprint. Well… perfect if your fingers were skinny as knife blades and your thumb was twice as long. She inhaled deeply, preparing for another scream, but Todd clamped one hand over her mouth, and the other over the light. “Eeem! Mmm! Grmm!” She hummed, staring daggers into her husband.
“Shhh! Please! I know, but if something is out here, maybe we shouldn’t draw more attention with loud noises.” He whispered close to her ear, relieved to remove his hand when he felt her struggles cease.
Carefully, Linda turned the light off, and returned the otherwise useless phone to her pocket. “What are we gonna do?” Her voice was barely audible.
“We’re going to get back to our car, drive to our hotel, lock ourselves in, and order take out. Because I am starving. You’re going to lean on me, and we’ll hop out of here if we have to, but we are getting out.”
Linda collected herself, dried her tears, and prepared to stand. After a dozen attempts, they conceded it was a poor plan. “I’m sorry, I just can’t! What are we going to do?”
Still catching his breath, Todd was lost deeply in thought. He knew he couldn’t carry Linda the rest of the way, he would never lift more than 100 pounds again thanks to his accident and that idiot forklift operator. That only left one other option. Not brave enough to suggest it, he stalled. “I left my phone in the car, let me see yours.”
Linda glared again, hurt and impatient. “Don’t you think I’ve tried that?! There’s no service out here!”
“We have to try something, we can’t just sit here and hope someone comes along to help. I’ll climb a tree, maybe I can text 911 or something.” She didn’t budge. Todd took a deep breath, “Look… it’s either that or I have to leave you here while I go for help. Neither of us want that, can I please see your phone?” Todd held his hand out, waiting.
Tears filled Linda’s eyes anew as she handed him the phone. “Please not that, I can’t be here alone, anything but that.”
Todd shook his head in agreement, and began searching for a signal. Linda dragged herself to the center of the path, propping her pack up as a back rest, staying alert for any movement in the dark forest. When Todd returned, it wasn’t with good news. “Ok, there’s no signal right here, but I know if I can get out from under all these trees I can at least get a text out. I saw a tall one I could climb easily just before we got to the train…”
Linda stopped him there. “No way, that’s back where that noise was! It’s too dangerous! And too far away, what if something happens?”
“Hun, we don’t have a choice, it’s this or walk ahead with no idea how far I’ll have to go. At least this way we know where I’m going.” He tried to sound confident, hoping to ease her worry.
Linda didn’t like it, but knew it was their only option. “Promise you’ll be careful and come back fast.”
“I promise. I love you.” Todd kissed her forehead, loaded his gear, and walked away. As he reached the curve that would hide Linda from his sight forever, he stopped for one final wave and kiss goodbye.
Todd jogged at a steady pace and returned to the train clearing in good time. Stopping at the tree-line to catch his breath, he felt his stomach lurch. Something seemed different, but what. Making his way across the clearing slowly, cautiously, he scanned the area for any sign of movement. It wasn’t until he passed the caboose, the spot with the little step ladder Linda made him pose on, that he understood what was wrong. His heart leapt into his throat, almost choking him as he remembered how the sun had glinted off the caboose, into his eyes. There was no sun.
It was gloomy under the thick tree tops where forest closed over the path, but this was wide, open skies. It was dark, nighttime without stars. If they were storm clouds, they were the blackest he’s ever seen. His mind raced, a storm like that would be on the news everywhere, and Linda checked the forecast at least 50x the night before. It should be a clear, sunny day. But, it can’t be dark already…
“No, it can’t be, we’ve only been here a few hours, this should be the brightest part of the day.” Todd muttered to himself, digging through his pockets. He dropped the phone between the tracks twice without managing to see the time, but even as he stared, mouth agape, at the brightly lit phone, he couldn’t believe it. The screen was technicolor and shattered.
Todd’s stomach lurched again and he thought about pills for the first time that day. So overwhelming was the craving, he momentarily forgot Linda. It wasn’t until the phone rang, that he realized the full extent of this new dilemma. He repeatedly swiped his finger across the bottom, hoping the phone’s other functions remained intact, but screamed in anguish when the ringing stopped. He sat on the ground, rocking, muttering. “What have I done, how long have I been gone? I’d do anything for a few pills. What will I say? How do I explain.”
A loud, piercing scream from Linda’s direction penetrated his skull. Phone forgotten, Todd leapt to his feet. “Linda?! Linda!” He screamed her name, not knowing if she could hear him, just wanting to stop his thoughts.
It was another deer, it wasn’t her. Is what he was trying to think.
It was her, and you know it. For that matter, you knew the first wasn’t a deer either, but you can’t ignore it this time. Don’t panic, after all, she’s going to scream every time a cricket chirps. Especially now that it’s dark… oh no. It’s dark! If I had pills, I’d crush some up right now and snort one big line. How long have I been gone? What must she think?! How can I explain this… or her phone? Is what he knew.
Moving fast as he dared in the dark and soaked in cold sweat, Todd focused every ounce of his willpower on returning to his wife. The longer he walked, the more anxious he became, and his junky monkey clawed his back furiously. He called to Linda, expecting to see her around each new curve. Unable to judge the passage of time, only when he reached a clearing with blackened remnants of tall wooden structures did he stop to assess his location. Taking a deep, steadying breath, he visualized his every step when leaving the train area.
“Was there more than one path? I didn’t walk toward the entrance, but I didn’t see Linda either. I’ve never seen this clearing, or I would have remembered these… what are these? Burned down deer stands? I want some pills so bad. Well if people hunted here, maybe a cabin with a phone is nearby. Maybe Linda fell asleep… I coulda passed right by her if she did.”
It felt strange hearing his voice break the silence, as if he were in a library, offending the other patrons. “Stop being stupid, there’s no one out here. You’re alone in Hicksville USA. You need to man up right now, find a phone, and get your woman to safety. Linda is out there, in a strange place, alone in the dark, depending on you. This is not the time to bitch out, son. Forget the damn pills!” Todd’s inner voice, became that of his father’s. A few slaps to the face helped him regain the illusion of control.
With his second wind coursing through him, Todd steeled himself, marching forward as if he could see farther than five feet ahead. He passed the ruined guard towers he mistook for deer stands and hair stood on the back of his neck. Continuing beyond the line of burned and rotted tree stumps from which an Abernathy once emerged, legless and dying, he began to shiver from a sudden temperature drop. Afraid to acknowledge the feeling of being watched had returned, stronger than ever, he desperately called for Linda until his legs shook and throat ached.
“Oh man, what am I doing? I’d sell my soul for a few pills. There’s nothing out here, everything’s dead, there’s not even grass.” He whimpered, teeth chattering as much with fear as cold. Todd tried desperately not to think of ghosts. If there’s one thing all ghost stories universally agree upon, it’s that cold inevitably precedes every encounter. “Nope, screw this. I’m going back the way I came, no way I’m finding a phone out here. There had to be another path, that hotel guy said people got lost here. I was so scared I ran off without the phone. I ran down the wrong path, hell, the paths are probably marked, this is for beginners! Yea, that’s it! I just have to get to the train, and then I’ll find Linda in no time.”
So relieved was he at the prospect of turning back, all fear of Linda’s anger evaporated. He would spend the rest of his life making it up to her. The moment he turned around, a bolt of lightning streaked across the sky, momentarily allowing Todd to see his surroundings clearly. His knees almost gave out, but somehow, he managed to stay up right. Due to their long feet and snout like mouths, his mind wanted to believe a pack of rabid coyotes were blocking his retreat, but couldn’t reconcile, how are they hairless…standing on two legs… and, were those… wings? Or really long arms bent the wrong way at the elbow?They were thin as these dead trees, what the hell are they? At the moment it didn’t matter. Neither did the rain that now soaked him to the bone. What mattered, was running.
He could only go forward. Running as he hadn’t since high school track, he couldn’t get their image out of his mind. Those eyes, they were red. If I looked back now, I would still see their eyes, glowing in the dark. I wish I could die high. Oh Lin, I’m so sorry. Another bolt of lightning lit the sky, and Todd saw a small hut only 15 feet ahead. Ignoring the stitch in his side, he ran with renewed vigor. Please be unlocked, please be unlocked, I don’t want to die. Lunging the last few feet, he collided with the door, and scrambled for the knob. Tears of joy spilled over when it turned easily under his grip.
He threw himself inside, risking a short glance into the darkness before slamming the door shut. “Holy…” he pressed his back to the door, slid to the ground, and dug his feet in for leverage as several creatures collided with the door. He almost lost his hold when the lights came on and the old man spoke.
“Here, move aside.” A deep, rattled voice of a lifetime smoker instructed, placing a thick, wooden beam across the door. “Don’t worry, that‘ll hold ‘em. Come sit and have some coffee, keep a lonely old man company won’tcha?”
Todd stared, stammering but unable to speak. The tall, old man shook his bald head as if disappointed, but not surprised. He poured two cups of coffee, and placed them at the table, waiting patiently. When no more creatures tried to break in, Todd found his voice. “What are they? My wife is out there, on the trail. I have to get to her.” He rose on trembling legs, body aching for the warm coffee despite everything else.
“On the trail you say? Ahh, she’ll be fine for now. It’s you who wandered away. Took a wrong turn at that train is my guess.” The old man let a hint of disappointment out when he said Linda would be okay, but Todd was too rattled to notice.
“How do you know that, who are you? Is this your trail, Mister?” Anger raced through him at the prospect.
“Oh my heavens, no! I’ve been here longer than you’ve been alive. No, I have nothing to do with it, but it’s brought me some visitors since it opened, so I can’t complain.” The old man mused, clearly enjoying himself.
“Then who are you? What the hell are those things out there?” Todd tried to keep his voice even, but couldn’t.
“I’m nobody anymore, I just stay in my cabin. Sleeping mostly, waiting. It’s them you gotta worry about.” The old man pointed his cane toward the door, indicating the creatures outside. “They’re hungry, it seems you’ve riled them up. They are Vetti. They’re normally solitary creatures, extremely rare, but special circumstances culminated to create this hoard.”
“You’re crazy!” Todd interjected.
Making no effort to hide his amusement, the old man smiled wide, exposing his yellow, rotted teeth. “My dear boy! If I’m crazy, you’re absolutely mad! Those Vetti were humans once you know. Are you familiar with Harpies at all? No? Shame. You see, when humans suffer terrible anguish, when they’re tortured for years, and there’s no end in sight, most develop a seething hatred. An overwhelming desire for revenge, for inflicting their pain upon others. In the most extreme cases, after they die, their souls reek of that hatred and pain, it’s like catnip to the Harpies… and when they come for it… well, you get the point.
“No, I don’t, what happened here? You’re not making sense!” Todd rose to his feet quickly, getting a head rush and feeling dizzy. His hand pressed to his forehead as he fell to his seat. “I don’t feel so good. Please old man, just speak plainly, I’m begging you.”
“I’d love to sit around shooting the shit, I really would, but it looks like that coffee is kicking in. I’m afraid we’re out of time.”
The last thing Todd saw, was the old man rising from his chair, eyes glowing red. With a snap of his fingers, the brightly lit room returned to darkness. He unlocked the door, opening it wide, “Come brothers, it is time!” He announced, arms held high in victory. “Tell me, which of you will take this vessel and venture forth?”
From the darkness, one Vetti came to stand before the others, snout pointed high, wings stretched open, strutting. The two entered the cabin alone. Several bloody hours and ear-splitting screams later, Todd emerged from the cabin, eyes glowing red. The other Vetti, not yet possessing their own vocal cords to communicate with, were still able to speak to their brother telepathically. What will you do first? They eagerly inquired.
I’ve decided to tell you about my first apartment with Hubby. It’s necessary information if I want to tell you the living without water situation. As promised, I don’t write romance gush, nor do we have time if I want to cover the best drama from our first apartment. The point to this post is to accurately convey how desperate we were to move away from that place. By the time we are finished here, that will be abundantly clear, but first I must ask your indulgence as I lead you there properly.
To begin this story, let’s go over how Hubby and I met. I have one cousin on Mom’s side, Rob, who is 7 years older. Our grandmother watched us as children, and Rob hated my annoying ass. Rightfully so, I was terrible. As we grew, Rob moved away to live his life as a waiter. The fancy kind, he worked at places celebrities ate, Britney Spears among others. Years passed, I grew, broke up with Crook, and landed back at my parent’s house, Rob’s taunts largely forgotten.
Dad came home one evening, and handed me a scrap of paper with a phone number. “What’s this suppose to be?” Dad still believed I wanted to socialize. You have to stay on your toes with that one.
“I ran into Rob at the gas station. He moved back and wanted to see you… but he looked kinda rough. I didn’t want to give him your number so I got his. You can talk to him if you want, but be careful, he sounded drunk.” Dad warned, hoping I didn’t want to call. Interesting change of pace.
Unfortunately, my memories were deleted so long ago, I forgot they were missing (how’s that for a mind-fuck). Any inkling I did have was chalked to, of course he was mean, do you remember how annoying we were? The fact he never physically hurt us says he’s practically a saint. “Really?! He asked for me? Wants to see me? Wants me to call?”
Dad’s shoulders slumped in my excitement. “Well, yea, but maybe you should start off with a few conversations before you go meeting up with him. We don’t know wh… where are you going?” He called after me as I ran to my room.
“Don’t worry, I got it. Thanks!” Silly Dad, Rob knows how to handle drugs. Rob is my super cool big cousin, I bet he’ll smoke with me. I can’t wait to show him how grown I am.
I took several deep breaths, rehearsed a few opening pleasantries, and dialed his number. He answered almost immediately. “Hey Big Cousin! Dad just gave me your number, you’re back home?” Damnit, you’re blowing this. Calm down, be cool.
“Sup, Lil Cuz? Glad you called, we need to meet up. Start hanging out and shit.” Rob said casually, proving he was still the modern Fonzie I believed him to be.
“Yea! Totally! Where you staying? Whatcha doing tonight?” Stupid! Don’t say tonight, could you be more needy?! I couldn’t help myself. I assumed Rob would have his own place. Possibly one with a spare room. Any room not in my parent’s house would be a welcome upgrade.
“I’m staying with MawMaw (except he uses her first name, so cool) for now, it’s better than living with Dad. I’m about to get an apartment though. My fiancé is pregnant and we want to get a place ready for the baby.” He said these things without a hint of shame, but my hopes were stomped further into the ground with each sentence.
MawMaw?! No, not her! I can’t go over there! Pregnant? Even if he had a mansion I can’t live with a baby! Pregnant woman is probably just as bad. Don’t hate me too much for the thought. The only thing I knew of pregnant women was tv portrayed them as extremely emotional. They were either angry, sad, hungry, or a combination of the three. “Oh, that’s neat.” I couldn’t think of anything more to say, I turned on auto pilot and went to my happy place.
“Yea, I want you to meet Amy. What you got planned for tonight? We could come over, her and MawMaw hate each other so she won’t come here.” The casual manner in which he informed me of one red flag after another made me nervous.
“Um, I was just going to Cody’s house, you could come there.” Most of you probably haven’t read How I Met My Mother, but we don’t have time for a recap. An aunt raised me for a few years, and her oldest son, who I just decided to call Cody, is a year younger. We were always close, and he was living alone in the house we grew up in. If it weren’t next to his father’s parents, I would have lived there too. Ok? Moving on.
“Cool, text me the address, we’ll see you later.” The call ended. I snapped out of auto pilot and got to work on Cody.
Thankful I retained enough sense not invite a stranger to our house, I called Cody. As always, he was game for anything perceived as a chance to show off. One day I do intend to talk about Cody at length, he has a tragic story, but without his background you may be tempted to judge him unfairly. For that reason, I will not include the multitude of annoying behaviors he exhibited this night. Don’t worry, nothing he did registers on his Cray Scale, you aren’t missing anything important.
Rob and Amy arrived an hour after myself, and as promised, he looked a little rough. Maybe if I hadn’t been in prove Dad wrong mode, I could have accepted it sooner, but Rob became his father. He was a full-blown alcoholic, probably still is; we haven’t spoken in a few years. He introduced us to Amy, and we all shared a fairly pleasant evening. I theorized winning Amy’s approval would ensure continued contact with Rob. I’ll leave it to you guys to classify results of said theory. It’s laughable how largely she impacted my future. Before I say things to make you hate Amy, know that she has been off Xanax several years, and I love her very much.
“So you were Crook’s girlfriend? That’s crazy, yea I know him. He went to our school, he was in Jessie’s (older sister) grade. You know, you should meet my little brother. You two have so much in common it’s kind of creepy.” Amy warmed to me quickly. I thought she wanted to befriend her fiancé’s cousin, and I’m sure that was a factor at first, but she wasn’t lying. Amy is Hubby’s sister, we indeed have much in common.
Hubby and I met the next night. We sat in his apartment with Amy and Rob, silently, both too shy to speak.
“Alright y’all, this is ridiculous, we tried to let you do it yourselves, but it’s been over an hour.” Amy stood, arms flailing in her annoyance. A quick glance at Hubby revealed he too, was mortified. I felt slight relief from terror induced chest pains as I watched another potential relationship go up in smoke. Then Amy continued, exasperated this time, “So. Whose read Harry Potter.” And with a deep sigh, she returned to her seat.
The spell was broken as Hubby and I both began our detailed analysis of the series. Our motto became ‘you had me at Harry’ and the rest is history. Now, let me tell you about Hubby’s apartment. I made you two maps this time!
As you see, there is only one bedroom and it must be crossed to reach the bathroom or kitchen. This made the fact Hubby had a roommate with a live-in girlfriend very uncomfortable. That situation in itself is a very long, complicated ordeal, but two months into our relationship, the roommate stole rent and fled the state. While it created a difficult hurdle, it was well worth having the place to ourselves. Since it does not relate to why we had to move, we will save my ex brother-in-law’s story for later. Remember, it’s the South. We’re all related.
Now we finally arrive to the good stuff. Oh where to start with Rob and Amy? Let’s pick up after the baby is born and taken by an aunt, some may find Cousin-Nephew’s situation upsetting, and that isn’t where your focus should be. From this point forward, understand the wall between apartments is paper-thin. Only poor, desperate people live there, and most (like Amy) were without jobs or transportation. Hubby and I shared my car, and Rob lost his shortly after I moved in. Please enjoy the following examples of what life is like when you live next to a cousin and sister addicted to Xanax, pain pills, and alcohol.
Each morning I worked, I woke at 8 to be at Giddy Up by 9. I learned to dress quickly and quietly, grinch-walk to my car, and never ever look around. I stopped showering before work, but sometimes even these precautions weren’t enough. Descending the steps outside, I hear Amy’s door open. She calls my name, but I keep running. I hear her footsteps cross the porch, chasing me. I reverse onto the street, sweating, staring straight ahead. Please make it, please make it, I don’t have time. Then she is standing in the center of the road, blocking any chance of passing.
“Hey! I was screaming your name the whole way down! How did you not hear me?” The way she continued pulling on the locked door told me her Breakfast of Champions was kicking in nicely. I unlocked the door on her 5th try, anger burning through me.
“I don’t have time for this Amy, I’m going to be late for work.” I said through gritted teeth, knowing it was pointless.
“Yea you do, I just want McDonald’s. You don’t have to be there until 9, and it’s only going to take 4 to get there, and…” I went to my happy place as she continued to account for each minute leading to 8:56 when I would arrive 4 minutes early.
I was already at the first stop sign, anxious to get her out of my car. I knew it was pointless to communicate when she was this far gone, but that day she insisted on asking questions instead of her usual scattered chatter. “Thank you for taking me. I’m so hungry, but Rob ate all my groceries last night. Do you want a breakfast biscuit or something? I have enough.” She offered, showing me a handful of ones, most likely Rob’s tips from the night before.
“No, I’m fine, thanks.” I tried to be polite, all I wanted was to get her out of my car.
“Oh. Ok. I can’t believe Rob ate all those groceries last night. You know, I get $500 in food stamps every month and we just spent over $200 a few nights ago. Hey! Thanks for taking me, I’m so hungry. Do you want something? I can get you like, a breakfast biscuit or something!” She excitedly showed me the ones again.
“Nah, I’m really good. We get breakfast at work.” I answered, then decided to add “I get there early so I have time to eat.”
She didn’t catch my sarcasm. “Rob was so hungry last night! After work, a busboy smoked some really good weed with him. It gave him the munchies so bad, he ate all our groceries, it was insane. But now I woke up starving and there’s nothing to eat. Thank you so much for taking me. Oh! Hey, do you want something? I got plenty of money!” Once again she held the ones out like an offering.
I doubt you want to read the other repeats anymore than I want to type them, but there were at least 3 more. When we pulled into the parking lot, there were 7 cars in front of us. The ride was so terrible, I counted them several times. I took her money next time she held it out, placing it on the dashboard clearly in her view. I hoped it would help her retain our discussion, but it didn’t. In the end, she ordered two drinks and six sausage biscuits. “I can eat two at once, but I want something to heat up later since Rob has a double shift and you work til 6:00.” She reasoned as if she weren’t simultaneously informing me I was her dinner plan.
I didn’t feel the need to respond to her statement, but I think she was fishing for confirmation I would be home on time. After her longest stretch of silence, she tried again as she swallowed her first bite of food. “Oh my god, this is so good, I needed this so bad, you have no idea.” I had a pretty good idea considering how long she talked. “Thank you so much for taking me, I was really scared I was gonna miss you when you didn’t hear me on the balcony. They’re so good. You want a biscuit? ” She asked, one hand under her chin to catch the falling food as she talked.
“I’m seriously good dude, I just want to get to work.” I was having a hard time controlling my anger at that point. If I turned up the music, she screamed over it. If I tried to talk, she cut me off before I finished a sentence. If I ignored her, she repeated herself louder with each attempt. I was only one stop sign away from home when I snapped.
“I can’t believe I ate a whole biscuit before we got home, I…” I was in another world, focused on surviving the last few minutes when I felt her hand on my shoulder. “Did you hear me? I said thank you for taking me you’re such a life saver. Hey! Do you want a biscuit?”
We were right there, but the word vomit spewed forth so suddenly there was no stopping it. “Fine, yea I’ll take a damn biscuit, Amy.” I held my hand out with every intention of throwing it to the backseat in spite, but it never came.
When I looked at Amy, her jaw was dropped, eyes wide in shock or terror, maybe disgust. She looked from the food to me, back to the food, speechless. I mean mugged her right back until she finally spoke. “Oh. Well. It’s just that I asked you before I ordered and you said no… I ordered a specific number, why wouldn’t you say you wanted one then?”
Guys, snap doesn’t come close to describing what I did. As she finished speaking, I was giving the gas pedal an extra push to get us across the finish line. We flew into the driveway, I slammed on the breaks throwing Amy forward, and put it in park dramatically. Before she could move, I was screaming, “are you joking. The hell is wrong with you? I don’t want your damn biscuit! I told you no! No, no, no, no, no, no. All the way there after you chased me down! All the way home while you rambled on, I said no! I said no over and over and finally I said yes hoping it would shut you up! I don’t care you don’t wanna give me a biscuit, I care you apparently remember asking the other times! So why the hell would you keep asking?!” I started choking on my words at the end, regaining enough control to close my mouth.
“Wow, I was trying to be polite, it’s called manners, maybe you should try it sometime.” The anger I felt throbbed in my chest. Amy looked at me as if I were a worm and got out. She forgot our altercation before they finished eating and it was never mentioned again.
After work, I visited with a friend to avoid going home. I didn’t feel like immediately taking Amy for more food, but if I waited for Rob leave work, he would bring her leftovers. Another infuriating habit she developed was to snub me if I didn’t do as she wished the second she wished it. She enjoyed walking into our apartment without knocking to ask Hubby, “can you drive me to the store for this sob story reason?” while refusing to acknowledge my presence. Somehow she thought it acceptable to have her brother chauffeur her in my car.
Rob and Amy fought daily and sought refuge in our apartment when they separated. It’s hard to say which one was harder to deal with, but Rob was violent so I’ll say he was worse. When they fought in earnest, they could be heard through the wall. Pending our mood, sometimes we were nosy enough to listen. Our favorite fight happened on a rainy, fall afternoon. Hubby and I were enjoying a day off when we heard the familiar sound of objects hitting the wall. Having just smoked, we muted the tv, curious.
“Why are you such a bitch! I’m so sick of it! You did it on purpose I know you did!” Rob was screaming, glass shattered against the wall, making us jump in surprise.
“I’m sorry! I wasn’t thinking, I swear it wasn’t on purpose.” Amy cried. I could picture her retreating into the bedroom as she became harder to hear.
“No! Don’t you dare use that excuse again! You say that every damn time, I’m done! Do you hear me?” Rob yelled louder, the objects he threw sounded larger, and we were dying to know what she could have done. Our guess was taking some of his pills, but we were wrong.
“No, I swear, I’m sorry, but they really are accidents. It’s really hard to remember I can’t fart.” It may be the most pathetic sentence I ever heard. Hubby and I stared at each other frozen, dumbfounded, wondering if she could be joking, but deep down knowing she wasn’t.
Rob’s voice cracked saying, “shut up! You ruin all my shit” and fell silent when he heard the walls roaring with laughter.
We rolled on the ground, tears spilling from our eyes as we heard Rob’s curses walk out his door and down the steps. He walked away, drunk and embarrassed while Amy joined in our laughter. She explained Rob was allowed to fart anywhere, it’s ok for men, but women should go to the bathroom. “What’s up with that? Is it something you grew up with?” She asked me.
“No! I don’t know where he got that bowl of crazy, could be one of Uncle’s loose screws.” I shrugged, trying to control my giggles. Rob sounded like she cheated on him, but no, she farted.
I know this is getting long, I’m sorry, let’s do one more then we can call it a day. It took a while, but I finally taught Hubby to keep the door locked. He had an occasional lapse, but after this night, he never forgot again. We lived together almost a year when we woke to someone trying to break down our door. It was 2:30AM, and we had no guns. We relaxed when the sounds of an attempted break in turned to banging on our living room wall. It was Rob or Amy seeking another mediation.
“They muse be really messed up to go this far. We are not engaging with this bullshit. They’re not going to learn they can get our attention with this kind of behavior.” I angrily informed Hubby. He shoved his head under a pillow, waiting for the end. I watched as our phones began to ring in concert with hard knocks against our bedroom wall.
I didn’t disturb Hubby until his mom began calling. We knew better than to answer, but we did read her texts as we sat quietly in the darkness, pretending to sleep. Apparently the cops were outside. This time, when Rob burned Amy with his cigarette, she wasn’t in the mood to put up with it. She ran to the bathroom, and Rob chased her. With her eyes closed, she grabbed the blow dryer cord and swung. The dryer caught him in in the jaw, cutting his cheek, so he called the police on her.
These officers responded to their fights almost weekly, and while they didn’t care for Amy’s refusal to press charges time and again, they weren’t eager to do Rob any favors either. Amy decided she could make us write witness statements claiming Rob hurt himself, but in the end the cops were out of patience. They offered a choice between both being arrested, or shutting up. They shut up.
The next morning, the fight promptly resumed when they heard us return from breakfast. They followed into our apartment, yelling their stories, angry with us for not getting involved. I ate silently, refusing to acknowledge either until Rob knocked my burger from my hand. “Hey! You better listen up Lil Cuz, that shit don’t fly with me.” I watched my burger fall to the floor, ruined as he rambled his nonsense. The room fell silent, whether actual or rage induced, I’ll never know.
All my rage from the last year finally boiled over. I fell into a magical zone of awareness where time slowed, all fear gone; I was confident, unstoppable, and pissed off. I stared at Rob’s finger, pointing at me, shaking, and grabbed it with my left hand. I snapped it sideways with an audible pop as I punched his still moving lips with my right. Rob’s head snapped sideways, a drop of blood appeared at the corner of his mouth, and his finger yanked from my grasp. I felt a new surge of rage as his eyes, full of hatred, came back to meet my gaze. I punched him again, this time in that wide, accusing eye. It was black the next day.
To Hubby’s credit, he moved quickest in the after-shock. He got between us as Rob prepared to overpower me, which I’m sure he would have done quickly given the chance. “You need to go now, you went too far.” Hubby told him. Amy came to stand next to me as we waited to see how Rob would respond.
“You tripping bro, that bitch just assaulted me! You’re about to go to jail, bitch! You under…” Rob’s spit was showering us, I couldn’t take another second. I wasn’t cut out for handling that level of crazy, I can barely control my own crazy on a good day, and this bastard wanted to play? Oh I played.
I screamed. In the middle of his little threat, I wailed like a murder victim. When I saw his mouth stay shut, I spoke. Everyone uncovered their ears as I said, “you won’t do shit, you have a record, and the cops hate you. Me and Hubby have never been in trouble, so tell me, do you think they’re going to believe the three of us, or you? I mean when I call to say we heard you beating Amy through the wall so I hit you? Look, my knuckle is bleeding, it’s obvious I did it. Do you think they’ll laugh when they hear your little cousin beat you up?” I spit my words like venom, almost hoping he called my bluff, but Amy broke the silence first.
“If you don’t leave now, I’ll let her hit me next and we’re all gonna tell her story. I bet it plays nicely when my face has the bruises to match.” I thought it was genius, but after another pause, Rob left. He cursed us the whole way down the street, but didn’t come back until the next day. As always, he was sober and sorry, but I was no longer disillusioned. It would be another six months before we got out, but this was the worst we dealt with while living there. Rob and Amy eventually moved into a better apartment, but their breakup story is another long ordeal that will need it’s own post. I suppose it’s comforting to know I won’t run out of material anytime soon.
Thank you all for re-living this experience with me. Each time someone enjoys a story it makes every crazy moment I endured worth while. Blogging has been fun and therapeutic, but I wouldn’t have made it this far without all you, dear readers. I change hobbies as often as normal people change clothes, the fact I’m over the two month mark with no sign of getting bored is truly astounding. I’m now fully nested and have every intention of staying that way. I purchased my domain, I read that’s a step bloggers take when deciding to get serious. I have no idea how to use it, but that’s why Bestie married a computer engineer. I’m sure he’ll get around to helping. Probably. Maybe I can look into a ‘coming soon’ thing until then.
For those who notice the blog’s new look, I hope you enjoy the astronaut’s company as much as I do. I had no intentions of changing it, but she reminds me of River Song! Look, she’s waving! I miss the good ole Doctor Who, a fandom that managed to span multiple countries and generations, dead to me now, thanks to a moronic casting choice. People wanted a female doctor? Great, write in a new one, don’t try to tell me a Time Lord who regenerated as a man 12-13 times (this isn’t the place for the number debate) is suddenly a woman now. Everyone wave to River, she’s here to stay.
Now to business, there isn’t much time difference between this and Pt. 2, most will take place before or during.
Entry 3:How to Buy Drugs
I dropped out first semester of Community College to sleep more and work longer hours. Not to make money, though it didn’t hurt, but to spend more time with Crook and friends. Working in a restaurant with a drug drive-thru gave new meaning to ‘business in front, party in back.’ Ready to have your mind blown? Drugs temporarily cure depression! Hold on, we should talk about risk vs reward before you make any life altering decisions. It’s not all cake and coconuts. Drugs are like explosives; fun to play with, but you can lose fingers. Let’s take a journey, I can show you what I mean.
Being a sheltered only-child, I was not provided with information on drugs. Much like my period and swimming, I was thrown in the deep end to swim or die. At 17, Goku introduced me to weed, on which I have already made my feelings abundantly clear. I don’t consider weed a ‘drug’ in the sense we’re discussing today; it’s a life saving miracle. The drugs we’re discussing today are pain pills and Xanax. Pain pills come in a wide variety, but give the same happy, ‘upper’ effect. Xanax now has a rainbow of flavors as well, but back then, it ruled the downer market solo. It cured my anxiety and allowed me to carry conversations as if I were normal! Big magic, indeed.
To enter DrugMart, you need a member to vouch for you. Without a referral, you’ll be met with blatant denials. Crook told the busboys I’m ‘cool.’ Don’t panic. In this case, ‘cool’ has a different definition; if you aren’t a snitch, you’ll be fine. After gaining admission, you are free to shop at your leisure. If you become a trusted regular, you might receive a job offer. I know the money sounds alluring, but had I understood the risks, I would have passed. Ok, I’m lying, I would have thought myself too smart to be caught. See? This is me staying honest. Being arrested for possession is embarrassing and expensive, while intent to distribute is a felony that follows you forever. Some things simply aren’t worth the risk, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me finish painting the scene.
To Teenage Me, there were three kinds of people in the world:
Those who stand in the center of crowds, entertaining the masses.
The members of the crowd who laugh in comradery.
Those who stand outside the crowds because if they try to enter, it will disperse.
Want to guess whereI belonged? Yes! The last one, Platinum Membership. At work, I was part of the crowd, it was intoxicating. I stood in the center once or twice, but I’m not here to brag. I’m here to say, if your ultimate fantasy is being allowed to stand near people, you may have worse issues to wrestle. Also, hard drugs are 99% likely to exacerbate those issues. And yes, it bothers me to have a time in my life I desired to be near people, but aren’t most of us fools at 18?
Crook went to work at a lumber mill shortly after we started dating. It paid more, but left me to fend for myself. I was experiencing popularity (fine, what I perceived to be popularity, can you guys just let me have one?) for the first time. I reveled in it, rolled in it like a pig in mud.
My career in the underground began with a bright yellow pill called Norco. It’s a pain pill, or as I call them, Happy Beans. I honestly never believed pills could effect me. I didn’t take medications, I smoked cigarettes to look cool and weed to feel human, but pills were voodoo. I’m not sure why, maybe it ties back to my doctor issues, but I held a strong aversion to them. Until a headache hit me early in a night shift.
Waiter Greg, gave me an aspirin, “This is all I have. Just don’t take the whole thing, break it in half… you hear me? No matter what, do not take the whole thing.”
“Sure, fine thanks.” I wasn’t in the mood to explain why magic wouldn’t cure a headache. He never said what the pill was. Why would I think anything but aspirin? When someone has a headache, people give them aspirin. That’s how social etiquette works.
But then my headache got really bad. Desperate, I retrieved the pill. No one ever recommended breaking an aspirin in half, I considered it may be something different. Desperation has a way of convincing us. I took half, but 20 minutes later, my head was still pounding. Hating myself for believing a voodoo doctor, I took the other half.
After 20 minutes more, the headache disappeared and the painful, crushing depression in my chest lifted. Pure happiness washed over me for seemingly no reason. Knowing it takes more than half a hour to feel the effects of medication requires a basic level of common sense about the human stomach which I didn’t possess. If we jump ahead 20 minutes once more, my euphoria turns to confusion when I’m left in charge of money. Brain was my calculator, I never learned to work the archaic ‘cash register.’ I knew which button opened it, then counted change back, but the numbers were moving. How could I do math when the numbers refused to sit still?
** In the end, weed killed Brain’s super power. I chose banishing suicidal urges over mathematical genius. We all face our own Crossroads. **
I asked Kerry to switch places, hostessing was easier, but the damage was done. I knew what possibilities those magic beans held and life would never be the same. Crook was excited at first. He was still trying to win my love and I discovered a fondness for something he knew how to provide. When he was sober, Crook was a Prince, but drugs turned him into a douche turd, what can you do? I’m almost proud to say I thought I was being careful. It may not have prevented every mishap, but it kept me from experiencing drug addiction. I already knew how ugly withdrawals could be.
I theorized if I didn’t allow myself to take the same drug too many days in a row, I couldn’t become physically dependent. Not to toot my own horn, but that part worked out. A routine developed for popping uppers on busy nights, downers for slow. I learned to use the damned cash register and called it an even trade. When I began to understand the financial downsides, DrugMart offered fair financial plans.
Two busboys ran our local DrugMart, we can call them Jay and Bob. Crook purchased a blunt the day he told them I’m ‘cool,’ but they were out of bags. Instead they sold him a blunt Jay had for the ride home. I misunderstood this and embarrassed myself thoroughly because of it.
Up to that point, Goku and I smoked out of homemade bongs. The blunt Crook bought was the first time I saw weed rolled into cigar paper, it spoiled me. A few days later, after Crook began work at the lumber mill, I bought a blunt solo. I approached Jay on his smoke break, he was easier to understand and had more patience than Bob.
“Ha! Aight Shawty, I knew you be back.” Jay dug into his pockets to retrieve a small baggy, and patiently waited for me to get the hand off right. I tried to mimic the handshake exchange I watched Crook perform, but dropped the money.
Jay noticed the look of confusion I wore when looking at the small bag. “What’s wrong, kid?” His laughter made me brave enough to ask.
“Umm. The other day, you gave Crook a… a cigar rolled.. thing. Ya know?” I muttered, silently pleading with the universe to let this be a test I’m passing. The ‘let’s see if this white girl knows her shit’ test. It wasn’t.
After a fair amount of laughter, he explained, “That’s all I had on me. This how it usually is. That bag fit in one cigar, one blunt cost 5 bucks, so me and you, we straight.” I have to give him credit for patience. I was lucky he found it amusing. Supposedly these guys killed people, but it was never proven and that’s not why we’re here today. Even if it was, they weren’t exactly innocent victims.
“So… where do I get the cigar part?” In for a penny, in for a pound.
“The gas station, any one of ‘em.” He turned to walk back inside, maybe I should have let him. This is probably what caused the side jobs.
“But… if everyone coming to you needs one, wouldn’t you make more money if you just sold them too?” I slid into another fantasy and ran with it.
Jay stopped, turned back, and scratched his beard in thought. “Well, funny you should say. Ole boy from the hood sold pre-rolleds for $7 a pop…” he paused, flipped a 5 gallon bucket, and sat before continuing, “…he made a lil, but ain’t worth it. Pay a dolla for yo cigar, go through the trouble to split it, roll it, and you only adding a dollar to profits. Nah, I don’t see it.”
“But who says you gotta roll it?” It came out before I could check it against the filter. Another problem exacerbated by Norco and Xanax alike.
“Choo mean don’t roll ‘em. What be the point?” He rolled his eyes, preparing to stand up by the tell-tale sign of adjusting his boxers. There was a comical irony in the way he primped his boxers above his hips yet over his tank-top.
“The point.” When he looked more confused I elaborated. “I can probably use common sense to roll it, but I’m too lazy to get a cigar to try. Plus, people under 18 can’t buy one anyway. Charge them extra.” Thankfully, Crook previously explained my monotone voice was involuntary, or he may have mistaken hesitation for condescension.
“Huh… well I’ll be damed. Go on girl, here, that one’s on me.” Jay returned my $5, shooing me along. I didn’t yet understand I would be handing it right back when I purchased my blunts and cigars at the special discount price of $7 each. Sure, I could have gone to a gas station, and Crook usually did, but I was always too lazy.
You guys remember Fucking Sookie? She’s making an appearance. After graduation, we stayed close for the first year. She continued dating her abusive high-school sweetheart, and stayed with me after their fights. His fear of Crook made our home a safe haven, but more importantly, they smoked lots of weed. I became the most convenient source to support the habit, and introduced them to Happy Beans.
The first time I asked for a bulk order, Jay taught me quantity/price ratio. “So… if you give me all the weed in one bag… that means I could pretty much split it up however I wanted… right?” I asked.
“You catch on quick, yup and you do it before the meet. Don’t let ‘em see what you buy. They only see what they buy. You already tell ‘em what the pills cost? You buy ‘em for less and charge more. Ya feel me?”
“That’s genius! Thanks!” I ran off to pilfer my first of many commissions.
It didn’t take long for Jay to notice how regularly I needed to re-up. He easily convinced me to expand his clientele with Sookie’s social circle. I brought home lots of goodies. Crook was proud, being a professional criminal in his own right. His approval felt really good, I craved more.
When Jay asked if I was ready to make real money, I thought I was. “You’d make more if you bought in bulk to sell it. You wouldn’t have to come to me erry time you wanna sling a dime bag, ya feel?”
“Yea, they do that on tv, but I can’t let go of that much money at once.” It was a pipe dream, nothing more.
“Nah, you sell it then pay.” He launched into a play by play of Dealing For Dummies, but all I heard was “…and you walk away with a few grand, then use it to buy more. You out of debt forever after one time.”
“Sweet! I’m in! What do I get to take first?” I know I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but I hate Past Me. If I ever figure out how to lay hands on that bitch, she’s dead. This bitch asked, “what makes the most money? Can I get a bunch of cocaine?”
“No, hell no girl, I can’t load you down with cocaine, that’s too risky. You can have some pills and weed. We see how you do.”
Can you believe I thought he meant it was too risky for me. Like he was concerned for my safety or getting arrested. He was concerned with his risk, all his.
I went home with 10+ years of jail time crammed into my purse. I walked through the door with a skip in my step, and dumped the contents on the table for Crook to see. His eyes widened in fury. Unfortunately, I mistook it for excitement and launched into my story, ending it with, “…so now we’re going to be rich!”
“What the hell is wrong with you?! I know you’ve seen this play out on tv! Why? Why would you do this?!” Crook screamed.
“Well… I mean, come on. This isn’t tv! Everyone’s always screaming life isn’t tv, and now you want to use it for an argument? Jay and Bob aren’t going to hurt us, they’re your friends. Jay even likes me now.” I was angry. I was so excited for him to be proud again. Not only was he disappointed, he was angry! It was the first time he yelled at me.
“This is the one thing it has right! What were you thinking?! Do you know how long it would take you to sell this much?! We don’t even own scales! No, we can’t do this, I have to take it back. My parole officer could come in here any day, do you know what happens if he finds this? We both go to jail!” That finally got through to me. I already lived in constant fear of his PO, I couldn’t add that to it no matter how small the odds.
“Ok, I admittedly overlooked that part. Can you give it back?” That was an extreme hot to cold mood swing even for me.
“Only because I know so many of them, I’ll be back, just be grateful you didn’t take any of this.” He snatched the bags up and left.
He came home an hour later, drug free. He wouldn’t talk about it any further aside from making me swear not to participate in their business again. I had no problems with that, Angry Crook was scary. It would be over a year before I had to see Angry Crook on a daily basis.
I thought loaning my car to them while I worked was pretty savvy and kept my promise. My car basically retrieved and paid for it’s own gas. As an additional thank you, goody bags were left in the glove compartment. It was an all-win scenario, I was technically supporting a habit with zero overhead. It was baffling to have my felon boyfriend outraged because I let someone borrow my car, but he lost his shit when he found out.
“What the hell?! What do you think they’re doing with it?!” He asked.
“Running errands! None of them have cars, they walk to work, can you imagine how much that must suck? It’s not like they’re using all the gas and bringing it back empty.” I really didn’t understand the harm that time, if anything, I saw it as charitable.
“How can someone as smart as you have no common sense?! They have cars! They walk to work so police can’t pull them over! They’re using your car to run huge amounts of drugs! That way, when the car falls under suspicion, it’s your car! Do you understand now?!”
“Oh, that’s pretty smart! Well… even so, wouldn’t it be fine when they pulled me over and I was me? Could I say they stole the car while I worked? Don’t look at me like that, I wouldn’t do it unless I had to.” I know it sounds terrible, but I was already spoiled and didn’t want to lose my goody bags.
“I’m going to talk to Jay and Bob. Your done working for them, and they won’t offer anymore.” Angry Crook was back, I didn’t argue.
I successfully prevented physical addiction to the pills, but not mental. Being motivated to do good work was impossible. Luckily, this is around the same time Krissy and Kristy needed someone with a car. Someone who was impressionable and desperate to please. That someone was this chick right here. I explained this in part 2, but there is a honorable mention worth telling.
When Kristy first moved into her shotgun house, she saved money on electricity by not paying for it. She let someone hook it up illegally, but obviously didn’t advertise the fact. That’s why, when I came to pick her up, I was confused by the strange utility truck and man in her yard. I parked on the street, tried to get out, but paused when the strange man began looking into windows.
Unsure what to do, I tried to call, but she called me first. “I’m so glad you’re here, I’ll explain in the car, but I’m going to jump in, and you’re gonna drive off fast. Get closer, and make sure the doors are unlocked.” She hung up before I could ask questions.
I drove closer and waited. Kristy rushed through the door, and jumped in like she was escaping a bank robbery. I floored it when the confused man came our way, completely consumed with the fantasy of a police chase.
“What the hell was that all about.” I asked, watching the man signal us to return. Like that was going to happen.
“Ugh, it’s a long story. I’ll give you a bump if you promise not to tell anyone.”
“Alright, here hold my cig, be careful, it’s laced with coke.” She handed me the cigarette and began digging through her purse.
I tried my first (and only) laced cigarette as I watched her remove a bag of cocaine from a make-up case’s hidden compartment. We each snorted a bump while she explained the power company caught on to her illegal connection. She would pay a large fine and monthly bills now, but that was it. She simply didn’t want to have the awkward conversation in person, and I didn’t blame her, I would have ran too. We had illegal cable once, but after 6 months, one day we came home to find only the TV Guide channel working. They wanted us to know what we were missing.
Life was good for a while. I enjoyed being a happy, social member of society, but all good things must come to an end. Though I was too blind to see it at the time, I can tell you what happened. Crook was taking more than 3x the amount of pills I was, but I never saw the quantity he purchased, only what he gave me.
When Feeny learned she had a DrugMart in her kitchen, she reported it to the police. How did she find out? Do you remember earlier when I said drugs might cost you a few fingers? Bob only lost half his index finger, but Fenny requested a drug test at the hospital. She said workman’s comp burned her too many times, and she had a feeling no sober person could lose their finger to a lemon slicer. When he failed the drug test, other coworkers gave her enough details to save their own asses.
Yes! Fine! Me too! It’s a shame I still live with, but it was an accident! Kerry tricked me! I thought it was normal girl-talk gossip! She told Feeny everything. It’s a matter of principle. I had a reputation to uphold. It may not have been the kind of reputation you write home about, but damnit there was an entire group of people who looked upon it positively! I denied it with fervent conviction. This blog is the first time I’ve uttered the truth aloud. I still feel weirdly ashamed.
City police were useless in the beginning. They asked for evidence and told her failing a drug test for work wasn’t enough. So what did Feeny do? Nothing, at first, but when we cooked 25 fish plates for a reservation that canceled, she made lemonade… metaphorically speaking. She had the food boxed up, and personally delivered it to the Sheriffs Department. The next day, three deputies came to speak with Jay and Bob. I can only imagine the conversation, but both left work that night never to return. A few weeks later, Jay was arrested and Bob was on the run. Police never found Bob, (that I’m aware of) but Crook participated in the food delivering rotation while Bob lived under a an abandoned house’s porch.
When Crook lost his pill source, every night of our lives became consumed with where he would find his next fix. Sure, I was super bummed the party was over, but not to the point I was willing to sacrifice all my free time to find more. I learned there was more to withdrawals than becoming physically ill, there was becoming an annoying asshat too. It was a hard, painful lesson, but it better prepared me for later, when Crook would fall off the wagon permanently.
Well guys, I think that’s it for my days as a drug dealer. I got in and out without being arrested or injured. I think that’s the best one can hope for in that scenario. Let’s call this one a win. After all, it did provide valuable life lessons. Thanks for reading, you guys are the best listeners I’ve ever known.
One more thing, before I go, I know it’s off topic… but why do girls cut their hair off at the end of every relationship? I’m not poking fun, I’ve done it at least 5x myself. Seriously, if I even come close to a break-up, the first thing I’m gonna do is chop my hair off. Why? Well, never-mind, this is something I can Google. But does anyone else feel it’s an overly dramatic reaction? In the moment I’m doing it, I know I’m going to hate myself for being a cliche, but I can’t stop myself. It’s as compelling as an addiction, I don’t understand it. I’m oddly fascinated with the psychology behind it. Oh well, thanks again, laters.
Once upon a time, there lived a prestigious family named Green. The family gained fortune buying failing businesses and making them profitable. After placing a trusted manager, it was time for the next one. Papa Green and Momma Green dedicated their lives to building a solid foundation on which Baby Green could continue their legacy.
The years passed, and Baby Green turned into Junior Green. When Momma Green suffered a brain aneurysm, she left her Green men behind. Each handled the loss differently, but Junior turned to drugs as a coping mechanism. When Papa Green reached retirement, he gave Junior the keys to the kingdom. Whether due to love blindness, old-fashioned ignorance, or pure lack of options, Papa Green was clueless about Junior’s addiction.
One by one, with heavy hearts, the Green advisors resigned. Close friends distanced theirselves as Junior shat on the family’s reputation. Junior, desperate to hide his failures, tried to replace the advisors with friends. Drugs were not the worst hinderance to their abilities, (certainly didn’t help) as none had experience or training in the positions to begin with.
For the first few years of Junior’s reign, he was able to keep the illusion of success by selling assets. Papa passed away never knowing Junior dismantled his legacy piece by piece. With the influx of life insurance money, Junior buried himself in drugs and prostitutes. It wasn’t until he sold the last asset that his advisers suggested they may be in trouble.
“But if we don’t have nothing else to sell, how are we going to buy stuff?” One advisor asked as he looked around the kitchen table. Like himself, the other advisors were still nursing headaches from the night before.
“Oh… I don’t know, I’ve never thought about it. What should we do?” Junior replied, wiping fresh powder from his nose and rubbing it on his gums.
“Well, I guess we could do like your pop and buy a business. Isn’t that how he got all his money?” The advisor suggested, digging cocaine boogers from his nose.
“Yea it is, but how much does something like that cost? Do we even have enough to do that?” Junior looked hopefully to the accountant.
“Uhh. Probably. I mean, I can go check and find out. Maybe a cheap one, nothing fancy.” The pant-less accountant picked up his Irish coffee, and stumbled away from the table.
** Ok, so I may take some liberties with dialogue, but it is important going into this knowing Junior’s drug use and actions are indeed, fact. Guys, never ever do acid without a sober babysitter. Just don’t. **
On the other side of town, 7 year old Past Me was listening to Dad explain why Uncle has to sell his store. Uncle owned the store 10 years, but Dad only became his partner a few years prior. Business was failing, and this was the only option left. The only buyer interested, Junior, had a questionable reputation, but there simply wasn’t anyone else. My family, descended from professional snake-oil salesmen, took great care in the contract details. The key points being:
Dad would receive a very generous severance pay if fired.
If Junior attempted to sell the business, he must give Uncle first chance to purchase it.
With the safety measures securely in place, Uncle temporarily retired to a life of collecting antiques. Though he didn’t know it yet, he was collecting inventory for his future business. Inventory that allowed him to collect boxes of original slave documents and various old writings. Documents that sold for thousands, yet he couldn’t give a few pages to a niece who loves collecting antique books. Sure, I have two pages, but I had to pay for them. I can’t even read them, they’re cursive, but I enjoy looking at them. It’s fun to think about what path they followed in order to land in my possession.
Back to Green…
Mr. Green, unable to afford anything else, let his newly hired legal advisors thumb through the contract. Upon signing, he chose a manager at random, and left for happy hour. Wanting to celebrate his first successful business deal, Junior thought acid would make a great gift for guests attending his open house party. A way to let them know he appreciated their efforts, he didn’t want to be one of those guys who turned into an asshole once he became successful. That’s the state of mind Junior was in when he took his first hit of acid.
I think that’s why, when a giant, deadly snake tried to bite his female companion, he acted instinctively, without reserve. He was their leader, they were in his home, depending on his protection. Without hesitation or concern for his own safety, Junior retrieved his machete. With a single swing, he removed the head from the snake.
** People who aren’t from here question why a machete was on hand. Don’t. We all have machetes, I can literally reach one from where I sit now. **
Blood erupted from the snakes limp, spasming body as its head rolled away into darkness. Guests screamed in confusion. Junior tried to calm them, “Don’t worry! It’s fine now, there was a snake, but I’ve killed it. See, it’s dead.” but he wasn’t sure if he could be heard over their panicked cries.
He tried to hold the snake’s dead body aloft for all to see, but as he tried to lift it higher, he felt a strange tug at his waist. As he experimented with the odd tugging sensation, he began to feel a painful throb in his lower abdomen. “Did the snake bite me, you think? Something’s starting to hurt awful bad down there. It’s burning.” Junior stared down at the headless snake, perplexed.
“Oh shit man! We gotta get you to the hospital! Who can drive?” A random man stumbled toward Junior, but kept a safe distance. No one wanted to get any closer to the… dead snake.
“Where’s the head? Can they reattach it?” Junior’s soon-to-be ex asked.
“Pshh, no way, that shit’s gone forever.” A man next to her stated as he took a long drag from his bong.
“Let’s call an ambulance.” Someone suggested.
“No way! Cops will come!” Another replied. A chorus of agreement followed his statement.
“Shit, come on, I’ll drive him. Maybe the bastard will make someone else manage that damn store.” The randomly chosen manager stepped forward to grab one of Junior’s arms. “Well, someone help me get his ass in the car, least you could fucking do. I know ain’t none of you sorry bastards gonna come with me.”
Another chorus of agreements followed as a few men stepped forward to help move Junior.
“Do you think it was poisonous? Don’t they gotta see the head to know?” Junior asked the men helping him to the car, still not understanding he cut the head off his penis, not a snake.
“Uhh… nah man, they can tell with just the body… it’s cool.” One told him as they loaded him in the car.
“Do you think we should put his seatbelt on?” The manager asked.
“You gonna reach across him?” The first asked in return.
“Hey, Junior, put on your seatbelt we’re leaving.” The manager said as he got into the driver’s seat.
Before noon the next day, Junior’s new name was ‘No Weenie Houdini’. The “How’d you make it disappear?” jokes were endless. When people hit rock bottom, they react in one of two ways. They either wake up, and take steps to get their life back or they double down on the drugs and plow forward. Junior chose to double down and plow forward.
I’ll FF through Junior spending the year trying to stay afloat by pilfering into our store’s profits. His lackey began keeping cash sales, and it didn’t take long for Junior to become desperate enough to sell. Uncle bought his store back at severely reduced cost with funds to spare. He reopened as an antique shop, and has thrived ever since. Thankfully, my family would never again have business dealings with Junior.
Junior was unable to find anyone willing to do business with himself or associates. There was no one in town who didn’t know he was No Weenie Houdini. All he could do was go out with a bang. Maybe psychologists can speculate why a man with Junior’s history would choose to do acid again, but I won’t try.
Surely enough, late into the night, that darn snake came back for revenge. Junior, so overcome with rage at the snake’s audacity, hacked away at the creature with the fury of a madman. He made sure there was nothing left, its body was smashed beyond recognition. The snake was gone for good.
The trip to the hospital was remarkably similar. The entire appendage was removed this time. Though he was a rare visitor, he made an occasional appearance in the real world. He was twice dubbed No Weenie Houdini, and secured a permanent exhibit in the gossip mill museum. “When’s the next encore?” being one of the most popular one-liners.
Junior adjusted to life on disability and goodwill. He now spends his days wandering around town, trying to warn people about the conspiracies happening all around us. If you ask nicely, he’ll make you a tin foil hat, but never let him see your cell phone or he’ll know you’re with them. No one knows who them are, but trust me, you don’t want to be with them.
During my time working at a western store, I saw him often. He took special interest to make sure I knew how much danger I was in. “You gotta think girl, always think. See with your eyes! Not what their eyes.” He’d always stand way too close when warning me.
“Alright, I’ll remember that.” I said exasperated.
“I’m not kidding girl, they’re watching you. I can prove it to you! What blood type are you?” His sprayed spit with each word.
“O positive.” I guessed, naming the first type I thought of.
“Nah, they’re lying to ya. You go get checked. You’ll see. They lying. You got the rare blood.” He whisper-spat.
“Cool, I’ll do that.” I said, taking another step back.
“They had to do it girl, they had to. Twas the only way. You’d be dead like the rest if they hadn’t smuggled you away with yer nurse-maid. They’ll be calling you home soon now that you’re of age. I hope you’ll remember me when they do.” He said with a wink and nudge.
“Aw, did you watch Anastasia again, Junior?” I tried to ask without making a face, but probably failed.
“SHH, shush! Are you crazy?! Keep your voice down!” He yelled loudly. “You cannot let them know you know they know! If they know you know they know you know, they’ll come for you!”
I guess he frightened himself. He dropped the items he planned to purchase and ran from the store as he said the last bit. Go figure.
By time my turn to deal with him came back around, he was preoccupied with the aliens living on the golf course. They were infiltrating our schools by taking over teacher’s bodies. Soon, they would take the children and fully integrate into the bedrock of our society. I think he watched The Faculty and got a little too into it. I have no clue why he went with the golf course, but who am I to question drug induced delusions?
Remember kids, say no to drugs and alcohol. If life is painful, weed will make you feel better and I can safely guarantee it will not be a prevalent cause should you cut off your genitalia.