Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Midnight Stroll

Posted: July 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

There was something about that night that made his feet wander farther from home; perhaps the winds had shifted and delivered a scent of curiosity across the valley, perhaps wanderlust was kicking into high drive through his veins and out his workboots. The empty streets and the “closed” signs lining the shop windows made the town a wholly different world from the tourist trap it was in the sunlit hours.
His clothes were dark and easy to move in, making him feel invisible and shady on the dark sidewalks. Just out of sight of a streetlamp’s watchful eye he stashed his bike, tires worn thin from the daily traversal he made for his handful of dimes. Careful to skirt the edges of the light and trot out into the street, he cast his gaze around, looking for a place to play.
A back alley leading behind a Thai restaurant caught his eye, for he had never looked beyond his avenue of perspective beyond its glazed veneer of shops and milling crowds. He moved towards it, gliding past the restaurant without much care for it, instead heading towards the dark center of the alley where a strip of glinting metal running up the side of a large, warehouse-looking type of building caught his eye.
A sizable amount of broken-down cardboard boxes, damp and gray with age, lay cast askew at the side of the warehouse, framing a second alley pinched between the parking lot of an adjacent thrift store and the edifice rising above. He moved toward the alley, pushing the rusted chainlink gate aside to step into the darkness. His foot connected with something, which bounced against the wall with a sloshing thump. Startled, he stopped, drawing his phone from his pocket. By the light of the screen, he examined the sports drink he had kicked into the wall; red liquid pumped out of it, staining the pavement black. He moved past it.
The glint that had caught his eye was a ladder secured to the side of the building by wires, cords and the wrapping vines of a kudzu plant spreading across the side of the building. He wrapped his fingers around its base and shook it slightly; it seemed steady. His feet hooked onto the steps easily, and as he ascended the metal structure his gaze was drawn to the sheer silence generated by the deserted road; he was well and truly alone.
He lifted himself onto the roof of the building with ease, casting a wary eye across the landscape of rotating fans and skylights. The bright moonlight illuminated the night sky, revealing his surroundings. It was an area in constant and varying states of repair; he had to watch his step and take care to avoid the various tools and materials scattered all around. A large air conditioning unit was the primary feature, big enough to obscure a third of what he could see.
Suspended under a pipe connecting the unit to the roof was a large, dangerous-looking black widow. It scurried away upon perception of the vibrations emanating from the footsteps, but he caught sight of it just before it vanished from sight. He shined the light from his phone under the unit, seeking the sight of the engorged body but finding nothing.
He stood and blinked. Sitting on top of the air conditioning unit was a plastic cup with something inside it. It looked like a spent lime squeezed of its juices from a distance, a cup taken from a bar and enjoyed in a less conventional location, but as he got closer he realized with confusion that there was a small amount of change, nickels and dimes and quarters, crowding the bottom. Frowning, he peered around the edge of the unit.
What looked like a piece of a blue duffel bag poked out into his sight, slowly rising and falling in rhythm to something he could not see. Squinting, he came closer to it, leaning in to look what the bag might contain.
Staring back at him were the letters C and A; around the A was a small halo. The logo embossed an ancient, greasy-looking baseball cap that sat above what was now clear to be a sleeping bag with a man inside of it. A snuffling and a cough announced the man’s return to consciousness, and he turned bloodshot eyes to his intruder.
“Get out of my house,” he croaked.

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It was three in the morning when Alex finally finished cleaning up the bar and stepped out the door, flipping the “open” sign to “closed”; he was always making sure that any poor sonofabitch roaming the streets at 3 AM would have a place to stumble into until he headed home. I flicked the cherry of my cigarette to the street where my foot found it trodden in my stride as I walked across the way to catch Alex before he left my sight.
His shoulders were hunched, his demeanor defeated. A black cap pulled down hard over his face, he sure as hell didn’t want to be bothered. For a moment I hesitated. Maybe tonight was a bad night. I could see the burden heavy in his eyes and drooping back, and I knew that talking to me would hurt him. But maybe it would relieve some of that tension running rampant cross his body.
“Alex!” I called, jogging slightly on the street to catch up with him. He ignored me, increasing his shuffle speed down into an alley devoid of any streetlights.
“Alex,” I called again, letting the exasperation show in my voice, “you know that I hate this as much as you do. But you can’t run from it.”
No answer from him. I couldn’t see down the alley, dark as it was. Muttering under my breath, I advanced slowly, keeping a hand inside my jacket. Squinting down into that yawning blackness, it worried me that I couldn’t see the lights of the street opposite it.
“Alex? Don’t give me any shit.” There was a slight crackle, like a foot impacting a dry leaf. My hand crawled slowly into my jacket pocket
“I’m just here to talk.”
From within the dark of the alley I saw the barest flash of blue and instinctively ducked, just barely missing the blue crackle of electricity arcing over my head. From my jacket I ripped out a small illuminator and smashed it against the wall to my left, grabbing my pistol from my shoulder holster as the alleyway was suddenly bathed in fiery light.
Spotting Alex crouched uselessly behind an overturned trash can, hands outstretched, I yelled out “Silver in this gun, Alex! Put your hands down!”
We locked eyes for a moment, neither of us moving, both holding our weapons trained on each other. Slowly, ever so slowly, Alex lowered his hands, standing up and scowling at me.
“You’re a persistent bastard, you know that?” Alex hissed at me as I approached him slowly. “I just wanna go home.”
“People who just wanna go home don’t throw lightning spells at people who just want to talk, Alex,” I smirked at him. “Thank God I dodged that one. I hate it when my hair gets frizzy.”
“Jerry’s the one with the natural family talent,” Alex said grudgingly as I shoved my gun back in its holster, “I got just enough to keep the lights on when we can’t pay rent.”
“That’s who I’m here to talk about, Alex,” I said, walking towards the old bartender. “A girl named Hannah Grayson was found dead last night. Want to hazard a guess at how it happened?”
Alex pursed his lips.
“She was strangled. Electrical burns found on her neck.”
Alex swallowed. My eyes narrowed.
“I know you don’t have the stomach for that, Alex,” I stared at him, “But I’m wondering if you know who does.”
“My son isn’t a killer,” he spat at me, sudden fury rising up in his eyes. The hairs on my arms started to prickle and I resisted the urge to pull the silver from my jacket again.
“Settle, Alex. I never said that. You did.” I placed a hand on his shoulder. “Is there a reason for that?”
I could see the doubt pooling in his eyes like blood on a coroner’s floor. His upper lip lost its curl, his shoulders drooped. He looked down to the ground.
“Jerry ran off about a week ago,” Alex muttered, “He’d joined some gang that hangs around Coney Island about a month before that. We got in an argument about registration. He broke a window, called me a Merlin and stormed out.”
“You didn’t report him missing?”
“He came to see Katie two days after he left, at her school. She told me he was all right. But…” He inhaled deeply, like the alley was tightening around him and squeezing the air from his lungs. “This norm that owns another bar in Brighton Beach, friend of mine named Dimitri, said he saw Jerry at that registration riot night before last.”
I crossed my arms. “Hannah Grayson was found in the aftermath of that one.”
“Shit,” Alex dropped his head into his hands. “And…you think…”
“I’ve never seen such a strong lightning spell cast this side of Brooklyn before I tested your son, Alex,” I nodded reluctantly. “He’s a suspect at the very least.”
He slumped against the wall of the alley, looking at me, scared. He shook his head. “I don’t believe it.”
I shrugged. “Thanks for your time, Alex. I’ll be coming in to talk to Katie in the morning. You two go to church?”
“Yeah,” he mumbled, “ten o’clock service.”
“You gotta get more sleep, Alex. No wonder you can’t throw lightning worth a damn.”
He tried to smile halfheartedly.
“I’ll stop by at eight to talk to your daughter. Thanks for cooperating, Alex.”
“No, uh…no problem.”
I started to walk off, then turned back to look at the old man, still crumpled against the wall.
“That norm friend of yours. How late does he stay open?”
Alex shrugged. “If you hurry, you might catch him. His place is just before the boardwalk.”
I headed back towards my car, tossing back “By the way, you owe me another illuminator. Those little bastards ain’t cheap.”
He didn’t say anything.
I drew my pack from my pocket and snapped the fingers of my left hand, holding the tiny cone of flame jetting out of my fingertip up to my new cigarette. Inhaling deep and pushing the smoke out in a strong breath to extinguish my fire, I opened the car door and settled in, cigarette clamped tight between my lips. I stuck my finger into the ashtray in the door, starting the car to the sound of the tight sizzle. To Brighton Beach.

Tuesday Afternoon

Posted: April 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

I flickered in and
out of existence for
three hours this afternoon,
stopping and starting in my sleep,
drifting back and forth restless
in my dreams. I dreamed of a
great lake filled with chunks of
ice floes floating white across
a calm glass surface.
I tried to jump in the water and broke
the surface, shattered it into great
green stabbing shards slicing
my legs and I pedaled desperately
for some sort of purchase
on a liquid, but
there was none. I then
gave up, accepting the pain
and sinking, flipping straight onto
my back, and I bumped gently
into a floe. The ice turned
crimson as I scrabbled
onto it, breathing hard, waking up.
I searched frantic for
the clock; there was an hour
before class began.

I just woke up from a bizarre and very lengthy dream.
It started out at a lake, though I have a suspicion that it started before the lake and I just can’t remember before that point. For some reason I have a faint recollection of fast cars and street races.
Anyway, it was as if I was part of a paranormal detective agency tasked with the removal of dangerous supernatural objects from the mortal world. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was involved for some reason, but I digress.
As part of a prank of sorts, fraternities were dumping their bros in this lake asleep as an initiation rite, only to have the bros run out of the lake screaming and psychologically damaged. Curious, I examined the lake with Joseph and a sassy Latina sidekick that had turned up (it was kinda like Psych and the X Files with a cliche installed). There were many students there taking a hike, presumably there for another initiation-type deal (bros aplenty). Shortly after arriving at the lake, the path split and Joseph and I split from the sassy Latina girl to cover more ground. Never heard from her again.
I noticed from the cliffs above the lake a strangely glowing metallic crab with a chain attached to it, like some sort of underwater bling. Soon after noticing it, a very leggy blonde woman modeled after a crush from my elementary school appeared on the path with us, claiming to have raced a crab (on a gigantic friendly seahorse). Suspicious, I believed the crab was the source of all the problems. I found no problem withe the seahorse, however.
It was at this point that the dream shifted strangely, and it was as if I was in a dorm room (one much larger and nicer than mine with great swinging balcony doors) amidst a torrential downpour (sadly lacking Joseph Gordon-Levitt). I asked my roommate (Logan, an awesome roommate who I might add has no interest in alcohol until he is of legal age to have such interest) to procure some liquor for me, which, after much complaining, he set out to do. I watched him go to a liquor store down the hall (?) and retired into my chambers, satisfied that he would be back soon. After a half hour, he was not back, and I then noticed him entering his girlfriend’s place.
Cursing his libido, I withdrew into my room and soon a knock came at my door. It should be noted at this point that I was apparently still in a relationship with my ex-girlfriend in the dream, rather than my current and wonderful girlfriend.
At the door was a girl from my freshman year who I remember as being very tiny and with an unhealthy obsession for a certain Disney-related actor with more muscles than acting ability. She came inside and started unabashedly hitting on me, causing me to take pity on her and deliver an apologetic kiss onto her cheek. She apparently took this to be foreplay, stripping off her clothes and masturbating furiously. At this point I fled the room, yelling over my shoulder that I had a girlfriend.
Suddenly I was in Target. I saw my mom picking out a basketball (?) and went to talk to her. She was expressing concern that I hadn’t called lately. I assured her that I was all right and just being crushed under the weight of my classes. Nevertheless she insisted that I show her my room, just to make her feel better. I complied, against my better judgment.
When we arrived back from the room, I noticed several things:
One, Logan had returned with the liquor at some point, which was on my bed.
Two, the tiny girl was still there but accompanied by two bleached-blonde slutbunnies who were apparently getting ready for a party.
Three, there was a small adorable Weimaraner puppy there.
Guess which one my mom noticed first?
As she played with the puppy I literally dived across the room, knocking a slutbunny out of my way and shoving the liquor bottle under my bed. My mom diverted her attention from the dog to cleaning the rest of my room, clucking like an old Jewish hen the whole way.
At this point, a manager from my place of work in real life appeared in our full uniform (visor included) and announced that she was looking for illegal alcohol (though why she was there in housing was baffling). Confident that she wouldn’t find anything, I was crestfallen when she picked up a bottle of Patron that the slutbunnies had apparently brought (I praise their taste) and placed on the table, which I somehow missed in my mad dash. The tiny girl and the slutbunnies immediately fled.
Saying “That’s not mine” over and over again like I was in some sort of college student purgatory, I soon woke up in a terror.
Then I remembered, my dorm room doesn’t have a balcony, I’m not with my ex anymore, and my manager definitely doesn’t work for housing. So here I am.
I miss Joseph.

Seventeen Jewels

Posted: March 9, 2011 in Poetry, Uncategorized

Pulled from the wreckage of a dead man’s life,
two bronze legs sit impaled on a circular disk, dull metal limbs that
suspend a glass orb ringed by a brass shawl.
Roman numerals edge his face, his arms are trapped at two minutes
past eight o’clock; morning or night, he will not tell you.
A black mark on his forehead, could be eyes and nose and mouth,
could be dragonfly or four blotches, mistakes left hasty.
His back is clear, deceiving and peppered with motes of embedded
dust particles, a shield to workers on strike: they don’t move.
Amidst those gears that would grind imperceptibly into operation
lay the inset of seventeen flecks of a precious ruby,
cracked stone split and fashioned into
a distiller of friction.
Imagining Uncle Fred leaning closer to inspect the glass, tapping
experimentally upon it. His back straining against metal,
trapped in his chair, mind still free to wonder
who had constructed such an object,
name erased by time. His eyes
catch the dull pink glaze
set into the gears.
Wondering, was it broken when he had it, fleamarket purchase or
old family heirloom, his elegant face frozen proud
by the passage of frigid years, clockwork eased
to a halt by a lack of proper cleaning and real
maintenance deserved by such a
magnificent treasure.
One day, maybe too soon for me to know,
someone else will be combing
through the objects that I have left behind,
and they will find the small brass tower and
they will wonder these same questions,
their eyes roaming over the metal inscription
proclaiming “17 JEWELS”.

Blue Orchid

Posted: February 25, 2011 in Blue Orchid, Uncategorized

That night, Doll and I lit into a bottle of vodka that didn’t last very long at all and before I knew what I was doing she’d convinced me to take her stencils for the project we’d been thinking about and lay it down on the blank billboard that had hung over the 33 for the past two weeks, pure white and perfect for a good piece.
“Think about it this way,” she had breathed out in soft white clouds of clove cigarette smoke, her head resting on my chest, “you got anything better to do? Other than fantasizing, I mean.”
I had laughed slightly, trying to look anywhere besides at her.
“I know you want to do it.”
My apartment was just a couple of blocks from the overpass, and soon we were scrambling up onto the ladder hanging high off the ground to the scaffold around the empty billboard. The lights that normally illuminated it when taken up by ad space were quiet and dark; no one could see us from the freeway or anywhere else for that matter. It was three in the morning.
I had brought a stepladder so I could paint higher up on the billboard; tying some rope to it, we hauled it up from the ground and leaned it against the board.
Doll pulled the hard cardboard stencils from a black tote bag hanging haphazard from her shoulder, shivering as a cold wind whipped around us. She handed the stencils to me and pulled her hood around her head, both to block the cold and to cover up her fluorescent orange hair from the sight of any passerby. The hood was covered in patches of blue orchid petals she had stitched onto it herself; actually light purple, the petals shone dimly in the darkness, lending Doll’s head an aura of mottled violet.
I watched her out of the corner of my eye as I laid the stencils by my feet, slinging my backpack around to open it while she sat down, dangling her feet above the thirty feet of empty space between the platform and the ground.
“Be careful,” I looked down at her, “you fall and I’ll kick your ass.”
She lit another cigarette to piss me off, waiting for the wind to swoop back around before she exhaled and the smoke whipped into my face. I smiled despite myself, taping the first stencil to the billboard. Glancing down, I saw Doll’s small hand offering me a can of black spray paint.
The piece took about twenty minutes; it was almost four, and the billboard was redolent with the aroma of fresh paint and Doll’s cigarettes. A marked improvement, in my opinion.
“How long do you think it’ll take for them to cover it up?”
I shrug. “Depends if whoever cares enough about a blank billboard happens to see it. Hope it’s up for more than a day though, that’s all I want.”
“I think it should stay. They could turn it into an ad, pay you a commission for the lovely art,” she smiles broadly at me.
I laugh. “What company would turn this into an ad?” I scoff, turning back to my work. It’s Buddy Holly, decked out in a checkered suit and his signature chunky frame glasses, hanging still from a noose that extends to the top of the billboard; on the wall next to him are pictures of Lil’ Jon, Katy Perry, and Justin Bieber. Next to them, a shaky message in bright red blares out “LOOK WHAT YOU’VE DONE”.
“Someone can make it fit, I’m sure,” she yawned, stretching her arms out; as she wobbled on the edge, her phone beeped. She reached for it automatically.
In the moment before Doll fell off of the scaffolding and down thirty feet onto dead grass and chunks of unused concrete from old construction projects, I saw a flash of panic and absolute dread cross her face, something I had only seen once before. For a single moment crystallized by my terror, her hood slipped back, her bright shock of blazing orange hair a beautiful sight in the dark vacuum enveloping her. Then her head hit the platform and she was gone, slipping down into the dark abyss without preamble or any time for me to stop and take stock of the situation.
The shock held me fast and unable to move until I heard her loud cry of pain from down below. I scrambled down the ladder, ignoring the stencils and paint left behind.
“DOLL!” I screamed, dropping from the ladder at a safe height and running to where she laid, body crumpled across the uneven terrain. She was sobbing from the pain; blood ran down from the wound on her head to mix with the tears; I grasped her hand.
“I’m getting you help, Doll, don’t worry-”
“Don’t leave, Silas, please don’t leave,” she cries out, eyes scrunched closed against the oozing blood, “please, please, don’t go!”
As I reached for my phone to call an ambulance, something made me stop; my mouth dropped open with amazement.
“Silas?”
“I…”
“Silas…it…it doesn’t…it doesn’t hurt.”
When I had gotten to Doll, the wound on her head had been a wide, jagged gash; had I looked closer, there may have been exposed skull to see. Yet right before my eyes, the wound was sealing itself up.
It was like watching a time-lapse video; the blood quickly scabbed and hardened around the wound, growing lighter and lighter until it faded into thick-looking scar tissue and eventually disappeared altogether, leaving only the blood already on her face. I looked down into her wide, scared eyes, touching her face.
“What was that?” she whispered fearfully.
I couldn’t answer her.
* * *
I was seventeen when I first met Doll at a house party near Ventura Beach. Her hair was pale pink and red, tapered to one side of the front and tied in braids in the back, and she wore a deep purple dress with a black belt cinched tight around her thin waist. Seated on a stuffed armchair, her legs and arms were crossed. Next to her, on the floor, a guy with bleach blond surfer hair took a long hit off of a bong between his legs.
The drink in her hand was something blue that I didn’t recognize. I had a cup of beer that I wasn’t really interested in, having only come to the party at the request of a part-time friend that had abandoned me for drunken karaoke contest. The girl in purple, though, she was fascinating. I made my way over to her, unsure of what to say but unwilling to continue to wander the party without attempting to make at least one connection.
“What are you drinking?” she surprised me by speaking first, smiling slow with lips pinker than her hair.
“Just beer,” I shrugged, “I haven’t really found anything else.”
“Then you’re missing out.” Already halfway done with her drink, she downed the rest and stood quickly, taking me by the hand. “I’ll be back in a second, Kurt,” she tossed back to the kid on the bong, who didn’t seem to notice her departure.
She led me by the hand through the labyrinthine hallways of the cramped house, gliding past the hazed faces of the party attendees with a single-minded determination to find me liquor. We emerged into an empty kitchen and she released my hand to search through the cupboards for another glass.
“Check in the fridge for vodka, cranberry juice and…Blue Curacao,” she said in a distracted tone, standing on tiptoe to reach a shelf.
“What’s this called?” I asked as I retrieved the liquor from the fridge, setting the two bottles on the kitchen counter.
“A Blue Orchid, one of my personal favorites.” She set a glass next to the bottles and opened the Curacao, pouring a small amount of the blue liquid into the glass.
“It’s a little misleading, this drink,” she murmured as she mixed the drink, adding a liberal dose of vodka. “A real blue orchid flower is actually more of a purple or violet, but this color is pretty regardless.”
“Yeah,” I said quietly, transfixed by the deep sapphire of the drink and the similarly-colored polish on the girl’s nails.
“Go ahead,” she pushes, “I want to see what you think.”
I took a sip from the glass, feeling the slick, familiar sensation of vodka and the newer, more bitter taste of the Curacao. I blinked.
“It tastes like oranges. Kind of bitter.”
“Good, huh?”
I nodded, laughing a little. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a blue orchid flower before, come to think of it.”
“It looks like this.” She set down the cranberry juice and turned her wrist up to my eyes, exposing a vibrantly purple tattoo etched with such intensity that the flower appeared to pop out of her thin arm like a prom night corsage.
“That’s a great tattoo,” I marveled, wanting to touch the violet body art in amazement. Her other hand took mine and placed it onto her wrist, right on the petals of the orchid.
I looked back to her face. “Why’d you get it?”
“Because names can be misleading. Something that people call blue might actually be purple, and that changes things. What’s your name?”
The question had taken me off guard. “Silas.”
“That’s the name of a prisoner that God freed in the Bible,” she smiled, tilting her head to the side.
“Oh, um, I didn’t know that.”
“Are you religious, Silas?”
I shook my head.
“Were you a prisoner, freed by the almighty glory of God?” A twinkle was developing in her eye.
I laughed. “I’m not so sure there is a god, really.”
“See? Names can be very different from who we are. That’s what the tattoo’s about; it reminds me to question, to seek that greater truth.”
“What’s your name then? You’ve caught me at a disadvantage,” I grinned, taking another swig of my drink.
She smiled, tilting her head to the side again. “But if I tell you, I’ll lose all traces of my mysteriously alluring figure. I’ll just be another face with a misleading name.”
“What am I supposed to call you then?”
“I like Doll.”
“Like a Barbie?”
She shot me a withering look. “Do I look like a Barbie?”
“God no,” I laughed. “Is Doll a nickname?”
“It’s short for Dahlia.” She extended a hand daintily, a sly smile on her face.
I took it in mine, glancing down at the deep purple emblem embedded in her skin for a moment. “Nice to meet you, Dahlia. I’m Silas.”
She laughed, taking her hand back and pressing it to my chest, pushing me slightly. “Call me Doll from now on, Silas.”
“Why?”
She paused for a moment, looking up into my eyes. Hers were hazel, a green that encircled an almond brown at the center.
“Because I’m not a Dahlia, sweetheart, and I don’t aim to mislead anyone.”
* * *
It’s been three days since Doll hit her head, and I haven’t seen her for the last forty-eight hours.
After I watched her head wound erase itself, I insisted that she go to the hospital; in accordance to her nature she refused, seeming far more mentally shocked than physically. She stayed at my apartment that night and dropped right off to sleep. I had fallen asleep in an armchair keeping an eye on her; by morning she was gone. I’ve called and texted her endlessly since then, but she hasn’t responded yet.
Two days after laying it down, the city arrived to clean up my Buddy Holly tag without much buzz around it. I didn’t care.
I’m sitting in my apartment now, phone glued to my hand and a hopeful eye on the door to open and deliver Doll to me. A kettle of hot water lays forgotten on the stove; I’m unwilling to get up and do anything except watch and wait.
A phone rings; not my cell, but my home line. I’m confused for a moment, as Doll never called me on it, but I rise anyway and cross the floor to pick the phone up.
“Hello?”
“Silas?” Her voice sounds nervous and short of breath, but it’s Doll nonetheless.
“Doll? Where are you?” An edge of panic crept into my voice. “You’ve been gone for two days.”
“I’m sorry, Silas. I just…needed time to figure out what’s going on. Will you forgive me?”
“Are you coming back?” I pressed.
“I…no. I don’t think I am.”
“Why the hell not?”
“Look, I have…I have something new here now. A purpose I can dedicate to doing something with my life, not just drawing up stencils for graffiti that gets taken down after a couple of days.”
“What is it you have? Are you some kind of superhero now?”
An exhalation of air rushes static over the phone, exasperation clear in her sigh. “It’s not like that. I don’t know what the hell it is, but I’m getting help for it.”
“Help?”
“I’ve met this guy in LA that knows what-”
“You’re in LA?”
“I have some friends here. I just, you know, needed to get away from what happened. You saw what happened to my head.”
I swallow hard, throat constricting.
“There’s something special about me, and I intend to find out why I’m like this.”
“Then I want to come with you.”
“What? No, Silas, it’s going to be dangerous.”
“Dangerous? What the hell, why?”
“I can’t explain. I wanted to call and let you know that it’s okay, I’m all right.”
“I want to come with you, Doll, I can’t just sit here and not know what’s happening with my friend.”
The same rush of static pushes back over the phone. “I’m not telling you where I am.”
“I’ll find you.”
“Goddammit, Silas!” A hard click and she’s gone.
Without another moment’s hesitation I’m packing a bag and pointing my ancient Mustang south on the 101, eyes cold and searching for any signs of Doll on the horizon in front of me. Special powers or no, I wasn’t about to abandon her to deal with this on my own.
I stop in the Valley to refuel my car after about an hour of driving, nerves still jittery on the subject of searching for Doll. I had no clue where I was going to find her, where to start or even where I was going to be sleeping that night.
The place I stopped at was just off the freeway, a seedy-looking gas station plopped squarely in the middle of a questionable neighborhood. Five minutes into getting my gas, my ears prick up and fear sped slick down my spine. I turn away from my car.
Three guys, all around my age, clustered around me with a menacing air. One of them has his hand in his pocket.
“Got any cash, man? I could use a buck or two,” the one in the center says loudly, a shit-eating grin on his face. The two flanking him smirk.
I tighten my grip on the handle of the gas pump, unsure of what to do.
“Are you fucking deaf?” he spits, charging closer. He draws his hand out of his pocket, a silver butterfly knife clutched tight in a fist covered in tattooed stars.
“I don’t have any cash.”
“Gimme your credit cards then.”
“Fine, fuck,” I mutter, reaching for my wallet and pulling the cards out.
“Just gimme the whole damn wallet, dumbass.”
“I need my driver’s license. Just take the cards.” I wasn’t about to jeopardize finding Doll for the sake of some asshole junkie with a knife.
He lunges forward and jabs the knife at me, eyes wide and mouth curled into a snarl. I raise my arm instinctively, feeling a shockwave sensation course up the bones in my wrist as the knife plunges deep into the skin and out again.
I don’t scream, but I do pull back and away from the mugger, jerking the knife from his grasp and leaving it embedded firmly in my wrist. I stare wild-eyed back at the three guys, heart pumping fast and skin wet with fear. They all stare strangely at me; the one who stabbed me has a look of bewilderment at my wrist.
I glance down at it. The knife is squarely through my wrist, but there’s no wound, no blood except for a few dark smears around the hilt of the weapon. The skin and blood and bone has healed directly around the cold steel of the butterfly knife, and I can feel it inside me.
I grip the handle firmly, tugging it out of my arm and watching as the hold left behind seals itself up after a few seconds. Tossing the knife to the side, I stare at the suddenly empty parking lot in front of me. The three men are now running far from me across the street, disappearing into one of the myriad alleys extending deeper into the city.
Blinking, I slump against my car and sit down on the dirty ground, staring ahead of myself and unable to grasp what’s happening. A cracking sound and blast of cold street air to my face allow me to focus on the figure suddenly appearing in the empty space in front of me. It’s Doll.
Her hair is green but I know it’s her; she wears the same hood with the blue orchid petals. Her hands are jammed deep in her pockets and she looks at me with a sort of sorrowful indignation, shaking her head slowly. A clove cigarette dangles dangerously from her mouth.
“I told you not to come looking for me, Silas.”
My mouth hangs open and I feel punch-drunk. “How did you….?”
She finally gives me a reluctant smile. “There’s a lot you and I have to learn, hon. I’m here to take you to Paul.”
“Paul?”
“The man who’s helping me. I think he can help you too, explain what we are.”
I frown, pushing myself up to a standing position. “What the hell are we, Doll?”
She smiles mournfully, reaching out and touching my face. I can see the edge of the blue orchid on her wrist and suddenly I am more afraid than I have ever been and all I want is to be back on a cold platform in front of a blank canvas with a mysterious girl that I love. I swallow and inhale the clove smoke-scented air and I look at Doll, trying to conceal my abject terror.
“We’re not what we were named, Silas,” she whispers.
“We’re lies.”

No Title

Posted: February 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

Remember the first time
I refused to go to church?
When it became apparent
that I wasn’t an apostle
to your Lord Jesus Christ,
oh hallowed be his hypocrisy.
You were fairly silent in that
swelling anger sort of fashion,
like the way that I imagine
people shut up when they first saw
pictures of people scarred by napalm
that maybe you dropped.
Let’s be honest though,
you weren’t the best model
for those Ten Commandments
that you praised so much;
remember thou shalt not commit adultery?
Out the window while I was in utero.
Did you remember thou shalt not kill,
when you called air strikes on
the Ho Chi Minh trail?
But hey, don’t beat yourself up about it, dad,
eight out of ten ain’t bad.