Archive for the ‘Ugly’ Category

Reject

Posted: April 11, 2011 in Anger, Dark, Life, Musings, Rant, Slam, Thoughts, Ugly

Don’t you dare fucking think
for a moment that I’ll take
self-pity street! I drink
criticism straight, no chaser; fake
ME out, you say? You can try and fail,
overly polite disrespecting sonofabitch!
I’m resplendent with skill to nail
words deep into your brain, invisible itch!
Ain’t no reason I should be rejected thrice,
you hardly even know me! Your unfeelin’
collection of faceless masks ice
cold left your souls reelin’
deep in a snowfall that left you numb
to the plainest spoken word.
Now nurse your broken jaw makin’ you dumb,
maybe you should’ve taken a second or third
look at the letters so carelessly tossed aside,
makin’ a nice guy turn mean!
I’m a reject and it hurts my pride deep inside
that place kept clean
by creative construction that let me function
day to day with my failures adorned on my chest
as body armor for the fools hidin’ at every junction!
I accept I ain’t perfect but as for all the rest
you’re damn morons unable to see my vision!
And it won’t be long again before the pen hits paper
and again my faithful words will be arisen,
I’ll turn your fill-in-the-blank letter to vapor!
Don’t! for my own fucking sake
be the snake takin’ words out of my throat
before I can make a debut and slake
my thirst for written word, you can quote
me on it! And I say this for every time
I look on and smile at the red-pen pretender gods
making slashes through masterpieces sublime
when they never had the time to see through the facade
that they think is all bad but it ain’t, I know it’s good,
and I don’t give a FUCK if it ain’t understood!

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Fourteen days left.

Peter shoves hard on the glass door, hearing a small bell jangle above him as he steps over the threshold. The young clerk glances up from the small television screen, startled by the sudden noise. He stands up quickly, offering a manufactured smile to the new customer.
The news report, background noise: “Tonight, our subject: early expiration.”
Peter ignores the clerk, prowling to the back of the convenience store. He searches the store intensely, as if some hidden item had been eluding him for years. He stomps past the Twinkies and Snowballs and alcohol, past Cheetos and condoms and Slim Jims to get to the soda rack.
“In an effort to curb population growth after an American victory in Vietnam, legislation enacted by former president Richard Nixon in 1973 made the tattooing of expiration dates onto all children born post-1975 a federal mandate.”
The clerk glances reflexively down at his hand; the tattoo reads DEC 31 2061. He smiles. At the back of the store, Peter pushes sodas back violently, his eyes darting back and forth as he searches for a particular label.
“Recent studies, however, have revealed that those marked with early expiration dates– people marked to expire in their teens to mid-thirties due to statistics determining their worth to society– experience severe depression, suicide, and– more frequently– homicidal tendencies.”
“FUCK!” screams Peter in the back, punching a row of Coke bottles into the back. One of them falls to the floor, hissing and spitting brown foam onto the dirty tile. The clerk, taken aback by the sudden outburst, inches his hand towards the aluminum baseball bat concealed under the counter.
“This has prompted a movement to abolish the Expiration Date Act of ‘73. A bill has been put forth to Congress–”
Peter storms back up the aisle, eyes locked onto the clerk. The clerk is shaking, drawing the bat up and holding it loosely, eyes wide. He can’t be more than eighteen.
“–but it is expected to fail despite mass protests staged outside of the Capitol Building over the last few weeks. The bill, if passed, would only affect children born after its success. Those already bearing an expiration date would still be required to adhere to their own date of death.”
Peter slows, not intimidated by the bat but amused, a small, grim smile on his face as he stares the clerk down. He places his hands on the table, exposing the tattooed characters on his own hand to the clerk’s terrified eyes: OCT 23 2009.
“In the meantime, the county sheriff wishes to relay information to the public about a dangerous local gang that is recruiting those with early expiration dates and organizing them into a destructive and disruptive influence. The gang’s members call themselves the Living Dead, which is often abbreviated to L. D.”
Beneath Peter’s date, the carefully stenciled initials proclaim “L. D.”; the periods are small skulls. The clerk swallows hard.
“I’m sorry,” he murmurs.
Peter laughs, a short, harsh bark. He leans forward, blue eyes watching the clerk’s own brown ones with a frightening intensity.
“You got any Cactus Cooler?” he growls. The clerk blinks.
“What?”
Peter lunges forward, grabbing the bat from the clerk’s hands and jerking back, nearly pulling the clerk over the his side. He smashes the metal bat into the cash register, prompting a loud plastic crunch as the clerk cowers back, holding his head in his hands.
“Do you fucking have it or not?!” he yells. The clerk shakes his head violently.
“No, no! It’s d-discontinued!”
“Shit!” Peter swears, turning around and rearing back, throwing the bat as hard he can through the glass shopfront. He stomps back out the doorway and the clerk is alone again.
“If you encounter one of these gang members,” the newscast drones on, “your life could be in serious danger.”
The clerk is shaking slightly, clutching onto the counter for support. As he reaches for the phone to call the police, his eyes flick to the date on the calendar: October 9th, 2009.
His head sways from side to side in pity. The crazy guy that had just destroyed the store was eighteen as well.

Blonde hair that might have looked good if it was washed, faded green eyes, clear skin, almost rail-thin; by today’s conventions, she was very pretty. Her skin was pale, almost anemic. Besides a possible case of anorexia (judging by her weight and height), she had a slight yellow tinge to her skin that signified the early stages of liver failure, symptomatic of heavy drinking. To most people, she might have looked like a typical California girl, yet to me it was evident that her body was being badly abused through alcohol and starvation. Which, it could be argued, did in fact define a typical California girl.
White, cotton blouse. Dirty from the night, maybe a party. Dark blue jeans that were clinging far too much to her skinny little legs. Hollister sandals, bronze toe ring. A ring on her finger, a plain silver band with an opal set into it. Diamond studs in her ears. Cheap, gold-colored bracelet on her left forearm.
She looked like the kind of girl with family problems; a lot of problems, in fact. Maybe an abusive boyfriend, friends that were regularly drunk and stoned every night, trouble with school. Anything could have contributed to the situation she was now in. The situation being, of course, the fact that she was lying on her back in the middle of a grassy field at seven o’clock in the morning, eyes open, staring into the sky with cuts and bruises fresh across her face.
Add that to the list of her problems. She was dead.
“What was the name?” I ask curiously, pushing her head from side to side with the eraser head of a pencil I had found in my pocket. Tammy looks disgustedly at me from behind a clipboard that she’s scribbling on.
“Have respect for a corpse, Taggart.”
“How many times do I have to tell you, Tam,” I mutter, peering into the dead girl’s mouth, “call me Johnny.”
She ignores me. “Her name was Cassandra Halverson. Found her wallet and driver’s license. No cash, credit cards still there. Organ donor.”
“Well, I wouldn’t want her liver,” I murmur, poking curiously at dead, jaundiced skin. I pick up her hand and inspect her fingernails; yellow, like her teeth. A heavy smoker, drinker, possible drug user. “Did you send off samples to the lab for a tox screen yet?”
“Haven’t gotten them yet,” she mumbles, distracted by the clipboard in front of her.
“What are you doing there, Tam?”
“I like to guess at causes of death while I’m waiting for the brass to arrive.” She brushes a strand of hair back from her face. “At the top of the list now is alcohol poisoning, drug overdose, or boyfriend beating. All of which could have contributed to each other.”
Tammy’s a very smart woman. Those were my guesses as well. I peer into Cassandra’s staring eyes; the pupils are heavily dilated.
“Looks like ecstasy. Combined with alcohol could have lead to dehydration…which wouldn’t have been helped by her body type.”
Tammy nodded. “There was a card for an anorexia support group in her wallet. Looked like it was there for a while.”
“To be honest, though, the bruises are at the top of my list. Or some other kind of external damage.”
“Why is that?” she asks curiously. “You think this could be a murder? Sometimes bruises are just bruises.”
“I’m just thinking out loud. Twenty bucks says someone killed her.”
“I’ll take that. You’re not always right, Taggart.”
“Johnny,” I grunt, squatting next to the body and looking down at it. “Did anyone move the body yet?” I wave my hand at the forensic techs combing the field.
“No, but Noriega doesn’t want anyone moving it anyway, so you’ll just have to sit tight until he gets here.” She returns to her list.
“But you took pictures?” I ask.
“Uh-huh,” she says quietly, drawing a line through something on the clipboard.
“You were always very thorough about that kind of thing,” I comment as I reach under the body and flip it onto its stomach.
“Johnny!” Tammy cries out, eyes widening as I disturb her crime scene. “You can’t–!”
She stops, staring at Cassandra Halverson’s back. I look up to her, unable to keep a small, smug look off of my face.
“Seven in the morning and I’ve already made twenty bucks,” I laugh. I gaze back down to the body, to the dark, almost black bloodstain that spreads across her white blouse.
I give Tammy’s horrified expression a grim smile. “Murder.”

I can see dust and feel the ash filtering through my system, crumbly gray flakes that coat the inside of my throat like so many tiles. Every breath is contaminated, every step I take brings me closer to collapse, yet I push on. Full of the fear that clings to every mote of dust in my mouth, I know that if I falter once I will not be moving on.

My life has gone by in stages of death and birth, nothing more. The struggle to survive is implicitly linked to every relationship I cultivate, every animal I befriend, every daisy that I crush beneath my heel.

The ash that crowds my lungs is merely a symptom of a larger affliction, one that we receive at birth: life. The ash is no more an enemy than are my fingernails and hair as they persist to grow. It is a constant of life, one that I knew was to come and one that I know is here to stay.

Three Days Part 2

The ice cubes in my glass clink together as I push the remnants of my drink away. I get up. My shoes squeak against the wet floor. Simon’s predatory gaze follows me to the back door and out.
I can’t believe that an evil bastard like him is out in broad daylight, walking among all those innocents that could be his victims at the drop of a hat. If only I was able to take him out before the massacre begins. But no. There are rules. No matter how many lives are at stake, I’m still bound to play the game. Fortunately, Reeps and the other freaks are bound as well. There won’t be any killing, raping or destruction a week before the anniversary of conflict.
Coming out of the back door, cold hair rushes against my face, ruffling my hair and obscuring my vision with dark strands. I shiver, pull my coat closer. I brush the hair out of my face.
The red light of an exit sign stains the barren alley before me. Nothing stirs; not even rodents scurrying in between trash cans. In the center of the alley, I can see something glinting in midair.
It floats steadily towards me, a circle gleaming underneath the rusty lighting. I reach out to grab it, but the coin shoots into the air and my fingertips graze nothingness.
“Call it.”
A calm, self-assured and pleasant voice. I remember it.
I glance up to see Ellen as she glides down. She’s crouched low on a flattened trash can lid that hovers about six feet above me. It smoothly descends to the ground where she walks to meet me. Her right hand covers the coin sitting on her left.
“Call it.”
“Why?” I’ve never liked gambling without knowing the stakes.
“It’s just a coin flip.”
“But for what?”
“Stop overanalyzing and call it.”
I’ve missed Ellen. I really have. Not that I can let her know that. I look down at the slender hands that cover each other. “Heads.” I always go with heads.
She laughs. “You always pick heads.”
She moves her hand. A steely red eagle calmly glares up at me.
“You lose.” She smiles at me, and I feel like a winner.
I step back. Focus. That’s what I need to do. No need to reawaken old feelings this close to such a dangerous time.
“What do you want?” My tone is brusque, more so than I had intended, and she looks taken aback.
“I just thought I would say hi. Bad time?”
“You could say that.” Seeing Reeps so close to the Three Days Massacre has put me on edge, given me the same itchy, uncomfortable feeling that I always get when I see him in his true form.
“About time to be dragging the emblems out of the closet, eh?”
“I don’t see how you can be so cavalier about what’s coming.”
“You’ve been in this city for too long, Drake. I’ve just never understood why you need a symbol for the Three Days.”
“It can give people hope. They’ll be needing plenty of that when freaks like Simon Reeps come knocking at their doors.”
“Reeps is still alive?” Even in the bad lighting I can see the shock evident in her face. I nod.
“He works here.” I jerk my thumb back to the bar.
“Doesn’t he…attract attention?”
“No. Looks like someone’s made prosthetics or something for him. A suit maybe? Better than living in the sewers for ten years, I guess.”
Ellen bites her lip, and I suddenly wish that I hadn’t brought Simon up. She meets my eyes.
“How did you know it was him?”
“You kidding me? Who else has such a creepy voice?”
“Right.”
We stand there awkwardly for a few moments, silence hanging heavy like a shroud, before she throws her arms around me. My arms fall around her more from surprise than anything else.
“I’ve missed you, Lucas.” Her voice is muffled, buried somewhere in my shoulder. Almost of its own volition, my hand floats up to cup the back of her head. She’s still wearing her hair the same way, short and dark. I’d always liked it like that.
Damn it. This isn’t supposed to happen.
“I…” I can’t say it, even though I want to. I should have pushed her away by now. I can’t afford this.
I carefully disengage myself from her arms. She looks crumpled, like something’s missing, something that I hope isn’t called Drake. There’s a hard edge to her as she looks at me.
“I don’t get you.” Her eyes are accusing and melancholy. “Why do you always push me away?”
“I’m sorry. I–” I clear my throat, wanting to stay, wanting to hold her. But I can’t.
“I’ll see you in a few days, Ellen.” She’s silent as I turn away from her and head down the alleyway.
The street is a welcome respite of open sky and streetlights, a nice departure from confusion and a red exit sign. I press the bronze button for the crosswalk and take in a deep breath.

This is a new series that I will be posting in lieu of Brawl updates. Enjoy.

Behind me, I can hear familiar music: cheap electric horns and drum rolls. I stop wiping the counter and turn my attention to the television across the room. A newscaster bares pearly whites at his invisible viewers, and I snort derisively. The old man watching the news looks sternly back at me, then back to the screen.
I’ve never understood the purported charisma of such people. Their expensive suits, their good hair, their high-paying jobs. It always amounts to the same pompous attitudes and self-assured posturing. Though in these crazy days I suppose it’s better to be informed by an asshole than by no one.
“Our top broadcast tonight– the events surrounding the approaching ten year anniversary of the Three Days Massacre. The atrocities committed over the course of those three days are still burned into the minds of citizens who resided here during that time.”
My lips curl into a half-smile. Soon the festivities will begin.
There’s a younger man sitting at the bar, cranberry juice stewing in front of him, shaggy dark hair obscuring his eyes. He’s one of the players.
“However, some residents of Scorpi City are doubting that the activities of ten years ago will repeat themselves. This is due to the recent influx of families that have not lived in the area for very long.”
Good. The more idiots here, the more fodder for us to play with.
“Regardless, quite a few have decided to leave the city before the three day anniversary begins in anticipation of the danger that may or may not come. Here to bring you an up-to-the-minute report on the traffic situation is…”
I grab the rag again and it circles about the table. My eyes sing the tune triumphant as I think about what the upcoming events will hold for us all. There’s killing to be done, rampages around a city playground with no rules to strap us down.
“Stop grinnin’ and close up shop.”
Rudy. The young man with the black hair turns from his drink, watching my boss come from the back room to berate me. His green eyes flick over me. My boss is tapping a foot against the stained wood floor.
“Did you hear me? We’re closin’.”
“Sure thing, Rudy.”
I toss the rag behind the bar and smile up at my boss, my fat, aging bastard of a boss. I may pay him a visit when the party starts.
“So Rudy, are you leaving before–”
“Before what? Ain’t nothin’ makin’ me leave my town.”
I go into the back room and retrieve the mop. I place the yellow bucket underneath the faucet and watch as the water falls, as it surges up into a soapy mess.
“I mean, weren’t you here about ten years ago, Rudy?”
“Nine.”
Pulse quickening. Good news. He’s staying. The old man in the corner is getting up, lumbering to the front door as Rudy flips the sign to ‘Closed’. The guy with the black hair isn’t moving.
“So you weren’t–”
“You a real freak, Reeps, you know that?”
Pardon me for looking into my boss’s welfare. Next time the apocalypse comes up I’ll be sure to keep the subject off of the table.
A rustling from the back, and Rudy emerges with his coat. Nights have been cold lately. Odd for a California city.
“Lock the door when you’re done. And kick the guy over there out.”
“Sure thing, Rudy.” I plop the mop onto the bar floor and swash it around carelessly. Behind me, Rudy closes the door.
The guy with the black hair is still sitting at the bar. His glass is empty.
I ignore him and the mop continues to travel in a circular motion. I don’t do this job well and as a result it’s a dingy little shit hole. There are dark parts of this bar that have never and will never be truly clean, even with industrial strength cleanser and a stringy mop.
“How are you doing, Simon?”
I pause and lean the mop against the wall. Drake’s always been a pain in the ass around these times.
“You going to be enjoying the next few days? The anticipation, the waiting…”
“Of course. Who doesn’t?” I smile at the do-gooder. He can be quite the nuisance come the time of massacre, but he can only be a thorn in the paw of the few that he is near.
“I don’t.”
“You never did.”
“I just don’t see why this appeals to you so much. To all of you.”
I turn to this peacenik, this hippy, this fucking faggot shitting on the face of the fun that awaits me. I smile, polite, nice. Easy to deal with. I open my mouth.
“Get out of here before I bite your fucking head off.”

An Unusual Monologue

Posted: February 26, 2008 in Dark, Drama, Fiction, Graveyard, Horror, Love, Romance, Ugly, Women

“You know, I’ve always wanted a little flat by the ocean. Just a little place, nothin’ fancy, just a place where I can take a quick stroll down to the shoreline…would you come see me, Charlie love?”
The silence is as thick as the dark fog swirling through the graveyard; crunching, crackling footsteps suddenly shatter the mouldering tranquility of the dead. A swinging lantern bobs through the black expanse spreading throughout the crypt.
“Would you come see me, pretty Charlie?”
The lantern never pauses in its relentless movement towards the crumbling, aged resting place of so many corpses.
“I’d like that, Charlie. I really would.” The woman stops her pursuit of the lantern for a moment to brush a lank lock of greasy hair from her eyes. She hesitates, then speaks to the stubbornly consistent light in front of her.
“Oh Charlie, can’t you see that I’m mad about you? Won’t you please speak to me just a bit?”
The light stops and with a sudden clang, two shovels crash to the ground. The man gestures vaguely at the grave in front of them, and the woman dreamily drifts forward to pick up the metal tool.
“I mean, we can always get a little bit of work on the side to support us. That’s not hard, is it? We can get jobs like this… and I can paint! I’ve shown you my art, haven’t I Charlie?”
Stifled shoveling noises are slow and steady as the cold and shadowy night enshrouds the working pair. The noise quickens by the side of the flickering lamp; yet the woman decreases her speed, sets down her shovel.
“I wish you could hear me, Charlie. I wish you knew what I felt.”
The hole is around five feet deep by now; the digging is halted by a loud clanging, the crack of metal against metal. A face moves into the lamplight, flushed with excitement.
The face of a deaf and mute man.
“Charlie? What’d you find?”
More clanging. The crunch of a breaking lock. A triumphant clatter of metal and wood against metal and wood as Charlie throws the shovel onto the chest buried in the graveyard.
“Charlie…”
Face gleaming with greed and hunger, Charlie moves to claim the forgotten treasure.
“CHARLIE!” The woman screams and moans in desperation, picking up her shovel from the earth. “WHY WON’T YOU ANSWER ME!?”
She heaves the tool high, and the soil-encrusted blade swings down, down, down, into Charlie’s deaf skull.
The sound of metal on bone is a small noise in the night, a mere raindrop in a bucket of chirping crickets and empty silence that stretches for miles around.
The woman drops the metal and wood to meet more metal and wood; the hole is the new resting place for two shovels, a chest that may never be opened and a dead body that’s been opened by fate and the vagaries of a love that cannot be.
“Goodbye, Charlie. I hope I can visit you tomorrow.”
The lantern bobs through dark night and creeping fog.