A Speedy Recovery Part 2

8 Oct

A Speedy Recovery Part 1

Talking

“Let me get this straight, it’s like speed, but you can eat it?” Carl asked out of morbid curiosity.

“Yes! Not only that, it doesn’t lose its potency at high temperatures. That means it can be baked into foods…like bread!” Dustin answered.

“But it’s gotta taste like shit, right?” Carl probed.

“That’s the beauty, no! Doesn’t change taste or texture. You’d never know it’s in there. Also, the buzz is subtle. You gotta snort it to get really high. But when you eat it, it gets metabolized by the liver and smooths out the buzz” Dustin stated with pride for having knowledge of something.

“Is it addictive?”

“Well, I don’t need it and I’ve been using it for months, but some people catch the hooks”

Carl knew “the hooks” meant chemical dependency; he also knew Dustin was not being completely honest when he said he hadn’t caught them himself. They went on to discuss price, availability of product and Dustin’s possible cut if they were to go through with this. One thing that held Carl back, not morality or ethics, was knowing Dustin was a world class fuck up.

“If we’re gonna to do this we’re gonna start very small and Dustin, look at me, no fuck ups. Especially that mouth of yours. You’re gonna have to keep real quiet about this”

“Scouts honor” Dustin replied, raising his right hand with his index and middle fingers extended.

“No one is even coming in to the shop, how are we going to get people hooked in the first place?” Carl asked.

“Leave that to me. I have some ideas”

“That’s kind of scary but I’ll have to trust you. I don’t know much about this world”

“Well, that’s about the only thing I know about”

“Make the calls, let’s do this” Carl said with a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach.

 

To be continued….

A Speedy Recovery Part 3

 

A Speedy Recovery Part 1

30 Sep

Sandwich shop

As the fiscal year was winding down, Carl realized that his sandwich shop might not break even for the first time since opening. He had even made a nominal profit his first year in business. A more health conscience public and a rough overall economy were his proverbial rock and a hard place.

He tried a marketing campaign on social media, but the coupons had an error and he ended up losing money every time someone redeemed one. He tried having an in-store even but his brother got so drunk he embarrassed himself and Carl. That event was deemed a disaster. He even tried taking the healthy approach to sandwich making but that, too, fell flat.

One slow afternoon, Carl was googling small business consultants when his ne’er-do-well friend form high school, Dustin, barged in.

“Hey man! How you doing? It’s been a while. Shop’s looking good. Got any water?” Dustin said in what seemed like one breath and with incredible speed.

“Hi, Dustin” Carl replied, “You can grab a water from the fridge”

Dustin paced around the empty tables in a curious manner to get to the beverages. “Thanks man. Hey, it’s lunchtime, why so empty?” he then drained the bottle of water and let out a loud “Ahhhhh”

Carl sighed, “Everyone’s on the low carb kick and if you take the bread away, what is a sandwich?” he asked rhetorically.

“Uhhh, a shitty salad?” Dustin earnestly answered, getting a chuckle from Carl.

“You’re a little extra fidgety today, what the hell you on this time?” Carl asked.

“A little bit of this, a little bit of that” Dustin smirked.

“You haven’t changed a bit” Carl laughed.

Dustin startled Carl when he exclaimed with all the animation he could muster “I can save your store and make some cash too!!!”

“Dustin, if it’s illegal I don’t…”

“Just hear me out!”

 

To be continued…..

A Speedy Recovery Part 2

Defense

23 Sep

Jungle Kingdom

Victoria and Gordon were in love. Victoria’s father did not approve and would not let them marry. Her father reigned over a fairly large kingdom. He was afraid of being ridiculed and possibly weakened due to this interspecies romance. It’s worth mentioning that Victoria is a lioness and Gordon, a bonobo ape.

They came to the conclusion that to be happy, they would have to start life anew, far from the reach of Victoria’s father’s power. They wandered for months before settling on a new home. It was enough like the place they left to be comfortable, yet far enough away to go unperturbed. There, they were sure, they would start their family.

They adapted well to their new home. Gordon quickly ascended to power. It helped that he had a lioness behind him. He found himself the king of their territory with Victoria as queen in little time.

A group of marauding chimpanzees got wind of the new, growing empire and saw Gordon’s infancy as a ruler as a weakness they could exploit. They had spies within the domain and were gathering information. Gordon was a fair and generous leader so one of the turncoats turned once again and alerted the king of the plot.

After discussing the situation with his advisors, Gordon came up with a plan. Their numbers and strength were weak compared to the ferocious, brute strength of the hordes of chimpanzees. It was decided they would use a biological solution; the employment of killer bees.

Gordon had the advantage of knowing exactly when the attack would take place. It was to jump off at day break in three days. Defensive preparations were made and bees were secretly gathered from all around the kingdom and beyond.

The fateful day came. A conch shell was blown to call the commencement of the attack. The chimps were me by thick clouds of bees. The jungle vibrated with their loud buzz. Screams echoed through the trees. The chimps dispersed in confusion. Some fell right away due to anaphylactic shock. A few jumped back into the river only to have their muscles seize and be carried away to their watery end.

Gordon sent his first wave of infantry to counter attack. Armed with spears, they made quick work of the remaining, confused chimps. Most were writhing in agony. The chimps spared by bee or spear saw their imminent failure and ran to save themselves. The battle didn’t last more than thirty minutes from the signal to attack.

Gordon and his subjects were ecstatic. They hadn’t suffered one casualty. Their only strife no was the inconvenience of having to remove the carcasses of their fallen primate foes. After that was taken care of, they put all normal activities on hold to have a mass celebration. The festivities went well into the night.

A little after nightfall, Gordon, slightly intoxicated, went looking for Victoria. He was told she had already retired to their royal quarters. He was more than happy with this revelation. His victory had made him rather randy and he wanted to celebrate intimately with his queen.

As Gordon pushed open the door to his bed chamber Victoria pounced upon him.

“Oh, my love, I think you’ve read my mind!” he said. Feeling sharp claws digging into his sides, he immediately realized she had other intentions.

“No you fool! I’m through with you! The last domino has fallen. I shall reign over our, I mean MY, kingdom by myself from now on” she replied.

In shock and in great pain he managed to ask “WHY?”

“I’m tired of living this freak show life. My father was right, it’s not natural. Besides, you cannot give me what I most want, a son!” she said, digging her claws even deeper and baring teeth.

“Look at what we have built, my love. Look at all we have! We have survived, conquered and endured” he pleaded.

Victoria shouted an order in a strange language. In came two chimpanzees with dressed wounds. “Take him out of here” Victoria ordered in the language of the chimps.

The chimps muffled Gordon’s pleas for help as they drug him away.

Fear of High

9 Sep

Door scratched

 

“I’m exhausted” Adie said aloud, though to herself, as she poured vodka into a glass. She had just put her baby, Belle, to bed after much fussing. As she put the bottle down, she reached for a half smoked joint. She went right to the kitchen window and smoked what was left.

The alcohol and marijuana always offered the same one-two punch. The booze numbed her while the weed sunk her into a pit of guilt and memories, deep inside her mind. She sat down on the couch with a familiar feeling of satisfactory intoxication and echoing regret.

“Why am I here again?” she pondered. The feeling was compounded by knowing she told herself she would “take a break” today, when she woke up with a slight headache from the previous night’s exaggerated indulgence.

These thoughts vanished like a puff of smoke in the wind when she heard a desperate scratching at the front door of her apartment. At first she thought it was a cat. Then she thought, but how? None of the neighbors on her floor even had a cat.

Furthermore, how would a cat get through the front door of the building and past security? After that feat, it would have had to either used the elevator or managed to open two fire doors and climbed the stairs to the fifth floor.

She was petrified with fear. The scratching continued, slightly more frantic now. Belle started crying. Belle only woke if she was sick. Something must be dreadfully wrong. Adie rushed into the baby’s room and immediately locked the door behind her.

She soothed the agitated baby; herself shaking all over. She couldn’t focus on a single thought of the many swirling in her head but they were all colored by terror. “What kind of mother am I?” she thought. “I can’t even protect my daughter, I’m so high”

As Belle calmed down, Adie fought back sobs. She put the baby back down to bed and went to confront the threat.

“If I die tonight protecting Belle” she thought, “At least my life was useful for something. Up to this point I’ve been a worthless loser” Calling for help was completely out of the question when Adie was in this state. Her paranoia of people didn’t even let her answer her phone when she was like this. Hearing footsteps in the communal hall sent her into panic so she knew she had to conquer this on her own.

She fumbled with her purse for the mace and stun-gun she had never used. Everything fell to the floor. Between the panic and the inebriation, her motor skills were compromised.

The scratching reduced but had not ceased. As she walked to the door, she played out many scenarios in her head. None ended well for her. After what felt like a long journey, she made it to the door.

First, she undid the chain, then the bolt. When she went for the lock on the doorknob the scratching picked up in intensity. She threw open the door. A shadowy figure darted for the couch. In the melee she couldn’t make out what it was.

Her eyes focused. There sitting on the back of the couch was Hope, her very own cat. In her intoxication she had forgotten she had one. That night she promised she’d reel it in and clean herself up. It wasn’t the first time she made that vow and it wasn’t the last.

 

Sloths to a Flame

5 Sep

Sloth in a tree

 

Felix and Gilbert were hanging in a tree doing what sloths do best, relaxing in the hot afternoon sun. They were also observing Dale, who was busy collecting buds that were particular to the season and also considered a delicacy to the species.

“That Dale! Who does he think he is, making us look bad for doing what we’re supposed to do?” Felix grumbled.

“It ain’t natural, Felix” Gilbert lazily answered.

Dale overheard the conversation but he didn’t let it bother him. He was used to it. Ever since he was a kid, he had more energy that the other sloths. He was never content just hanging in a tree.

The council of elders tried many interventions. There was counseling, homeopathic therapies, even pseudo-medicinal rituals involving chanting, rainforest plants and dancing. Nothing took the wind out of his sails. The elders reluctantly gave up and let him be an active sloth.

Dale spent weeks collecting and stowing buds in hollowed, fallen trees. He garnered enough buds for many times more sloths than were in the group in which he lived, yet he felt compelled to gather more. When he slept he dreamt about buds.

A few weeks later Felix and Gilbert were hanging in their favorite tree when the sun was slowly covered by a thick grey that wasn’t cloud formations.

“What do you think that is, Gilbert?” Felix asked.

“I don’t know, Felix but it don’t look good” was his only response.

Little did they know, the rain forest all around them was ablaze. Pure coincidence protected them. A few geographical features, like a wide stream to the north and a sheer rock face to the east were keeping them safe.

Close to evening a massive group of foreign sloths slowly dragged themselves to their safe spot.

“We’ve made it! We are safe!” the leader said as he looked back to his comrades. The news was met by a hail of cheers.

“Not so fast!” Felix said, “What do you all think you are doing here?”

“We’ve escaped unthinkable horrors! The forest is burning. There has been a lot of death and destruction. Please, show mercy, let us stay. At least until the fires die down…” he pleaded.

“There aren’t enough leaves in this patch of land for all of us! You might have survived these fires, but we’ll all die from starvation if you stay!” Felix shot back.

“Can I say something?” Dale meekly interjected.

“What could you possibly have to say, you busy body?” Felix snapped.

“With all due respect” Dale said, “We most certainly do have enough food for us and them. And for a good while”

“How so?” Felix asked, genuinely curious.

“I have buds stored all over the place. Almost every fallen tree from here to the outer edges is stuffed with them. There might be enough for months” he answered.

The group was so quiet one could hear the distant crackle of the burning jungle. “All right, you can stay until the situation improves” Felix said.

The crown roared with joy. In a few weeks the rains put out the remaining fires. The displaced sloths found a suitable home fairly close to their new found friends.

 

That’s the Ticket! Pt. 5 (Final Episode)

29 Aug

That’s the Ticket! Pt. 1

That’s the Ticket! Pt. 2

That’s the Ticket! Pt. 3

That’s the Ticket! Pt. 4

Red_Carpet_Spotlit_000009222897XSmall

Glenn was violently brought back to reality when someone tackled him. A few other valiant movie goers decided to jump onto the pile of bodies, probably seeking their own personal moment of heroism. Glenn felt like he was suffocating.

Despite an elbow smashing his face, he managed to say “He had a gun”

Someone close to him heard the words and cried for the mob to let up. The message spread slowly and Glenn felt a little relief. Then came confirmation, “Holy shit! Guy DID have a gun!” This informant had rolled the corpse over, exposing the firearm.

A few people in the mob offered apologies to Glenn. There were even a few shouts of “He’s a hero!” and “He saved our lives!”

Glenn’s mind went back to Heather. Surely she was somewhere in the menagerie of bodies. He even called out, “Heather!” A few Heathers even answered, but none where the one he was interested in.

The mall was shut down and a few people, including Glenn, were held for questioning about the event. Glenn sent off a few more messages to Heather, the last being –I hope you are safe-

As the police were wrapping up their investigation, their radios went crazy. A shooting had taken place at the Somerset Mall, across town. There were murmurs of it being a tandem crime. It happened at the movie theater at the same time the premier of the same film was about to be shown.

*          *          *          *          *

As Heather and her boyfriend filed into the screening room she took on last glance at her phone. “I hope you’re safe???” she read aloud. “Well that’s fucking creepy. I guess he figured out what happened and now he’s pissed”

“If that nerd-loser is threatening you, I’ll kick his …” her boyfriend’s words were cut short by screams. The crowd started to stampede. It quickly was made clear as to why. At first, the bursts of noises were thought to be fireworks going off, maybe even some pyrotechnics in honor of the big premier. Then the crowd grew wise and cries of “Gun!” rang out.

Heather got pushed over. She cried out to her boyfriend but he had already shoved his way through the crowd and was well ahead of her heading towards the exit. She first felt her legs and hands get trampled, then her torso. It became difficult to breathe. She couldn’t get up. She went into panic. She felt as if she was in the ocean and a wave had knocked her over and was holding her under water. After some excruciating time and a few unfortunate stomps, she cried the last tears of her short life.

Her boyfriend thought he was going to get out unscathed. Little did he know, he was pushing his way right towards the shooter. When he was confident he would finally escape, he came face to face with the deranged gunman. The man was expressionless. He uttered the words “pretty boy” before foiling the escape plans and claiming one more victim.

*          *          *          *          *

Glenn never spoke to Heather again. After a few days of trying to call and message her to no avail, he gave up. He fathomed that she must have been traumatized by the events at the theater and wanted to move on with her life. He still believed that their meeting was impeded by the averted tragedy. He had never learned of her fate. He shunned the news because he didn’t want to see his face anymore. He was considered a national hero and reluctantly did a media tour around the country. He only took up the offer as a way to see the country.

The pinnacle of Glenn’s rewards was a private screening of the movie he so dearly wanted to see. The whole cast showed up. It was a red carpet event. When the invitation was extended, he thought of asking Heather to accompany him. Although he decided against it, he did fantasize about walking the red carpet, hand in hand with her.

 

The End.

That’s the Ticket! Pt. 4

22 Aug

That’s the Ticket! Pt. 1

That’s the Ticket! Pt. 2

That’s the Ticket! Pt. 3

Crowded movies

A half hour past and Glenn hadn’t received a reply. She must be busy getting herself ready, he justified. She is probably finishing up and almost ready to leave or on her way even. The crowd was getting large and Glenn was getting nervous that they might have difficulty finding one another. He sent off another message with his exact location to make sure that didn’t happen.

Glenn was too preoccupied to notice a strange man pacing nervously about ten feet from him. The man was inappropriately dressed for the balmy summer evening. His baggy Cleveland Browns jacket caught Glenn’s attention. His father was from Cleveland and a die-hard Browns fan. The man’s behavior made Glenn pay attention to him.

Besides pacing, the man looked as though he was talking to himself, like he was psyching himself up. Glenn found the look on the man’s face unsettling as well. Glenn was so focused on the man that he had stopped looking at his phone impulsively every other second.

In fact, he had been so focused on the man that he hadn’t noticed the lobby of the movie theater fill to a shoulder to shoulder crowd that spilled into the mall itself. The man’s strange energy was a magnet for Glenn’s attention. Not even the freaks in cosplay could peal it away. His heartbeat increased and his palms were sweaty.

The man took a deep breath with his eyes closed and flung his jacket open. Glenn was given instant justification for his fight or flight response to the man. Tucked into the man’s pants was a firearm, a rifle of sorts. Glenn didn’t know what kind but it looked real.

In an instant, Glenn’s world was only this man and himself in a tunnel. He heard nothing. There was only a dark void in his peripheral vision. Immediately behind the man stood a no-smoking sign on a pole with a heavy metal base.

Without even thinking, as the man reached for the weapon, Glenn sprung from his seat and grabbed the sign. He held it like a baseball bat with the heavy metal base in the air. Remembering his days of junior high baseball, he stepped into a swing. The man didn’t see it coming. The base smashed in his cranium. The bone split open with a sickening crack. Blood splashed the crowd. The man fell dead upon his weapon, hiding it from the mass of people that was now horrified and starting to come online as to what happened.

Glenn stood there, chest heaving, with the bloody sign in his hands. As he dropped it to the floor he heard voices in the crowd calling out to apprehend him.

To be continued…

 

That’s the Ticket! Pt. 3

20 Aug

That’s the Ticket! Pt. 1

That’s the Ticket! Pt. 2

Clock stopped

Glenn was pacing around his tiny apartment for at least a half hour since his last shower. He had already taken three due to his excessive perspiration. He even had to throw the tee-shirt he had bought for this occasion in the dryer. Despite all this activity, he still had three hours to kill.

He already put the Sun Valley Mall into his GPS despite having gone there since he was a child. He could probably walk there blind folded if he had to. Apparently all the clocks in his house were broken because none of them were moving forward; at least in his perception.

This won’t do, he thought.  I’m going to go crazy waiting. He decided to go to the mall to pass the time. At least there was air conditioning there.

As Glenn pulled into the mall parking lot, he was down to only two hours before the big moment. As he strolled around, he was struck by how many happy couples there were. Admittedly, he used to feel a little envy seeing such happy pairs holding hands, sharing a good time. Not now, because he knew that would be him in the near future. He could see himself hand in hand with Heather. He pictured himself sitting on a footstool with her purse on his lap as she tried on clothes she didn’t really need but claimed she did.

With one hour left until starting time and a half hour until the rendezvous, he decided it would be better to go to the spot they decided to meet. He sat down and pulled out his phone. He took a moment to think of a clever thing to write to Heather.

-I don’t know what I am more excited about, the movie or meeting you-  perfect, he thought as he pushed send.

Riding in the passenger side of her boyfriend’s car, on the other side of town, Heather received Glenn’s text. She burst out laughing.

“Don’t tell me it’s that dork” her boyfriend said.

“That dork is the reason you’re gonna get to see the movie” she said, still laughing, “I almost feel bad for him, but, my God, how could he even think I’d give him the time of day?”

Meanwhile back at the Sun Valley Mall, Glenn sat staring at the two blue check marks next to his message that signified it was received and read. He all but held his breath waiting for a reply.

To be continued…

That’s the Ticket! Pt. 4

 

 

That’s the Ticket! Pt. 2

16 Aug

That’s the Ticket! Pt. 1

computer guy

Glenn scoured the internet for tickets. He checked other zip codes. There were no tickets available in the whole tri-state area. Glenn’s anxiety had never been higher. He felt he was blowing his big chance. His hopes were hinging on taking Heather to the premier.

When he was about to give up hope, he received a text.

-Hey handsome. Did u track down a ticket 4 me?- needless to say, it was from Heather.

-Still working on it- he wrote back. He started and subsequently deleted the next text message twelve times before finally sending –Don’t worry, I’ll find one :)-

Glenn didn’t sleep that night. He saw the sun rise from behind his monitor. He went to work with deep circles under his eyes. When he closed his eyes, he saw movie ticket sites; start times and seating charts.

Seven cups of coffee got him through until lunch time. With a jittery hand, he reached for his cellphone. He was about to send a text of capitulation when he phone vibrated.

-Any luck?- Heather wrote.

-Well…- he started to answer back.

-I have an idea! I’m gonna call u- she wrote before he could wave his white flag of defeat.

His phone rang. He momentarily contemplated throwing it in the trash, changing operators and moving out of the state. Instead, he swiped the green circle and said “Hello”

“Hey! I bet you didn’t have much luck…Lord knows how hard I tried” Heather said.

“I searched the internet all night. I’m like a zombie today” he answered with a feigned laugh.

“Listen, I have a friend that works in the Cineplex at the Sun Valley Mall. He said he could easily get one of us in! Did you buy your ticket on Ticket-king.com?” she asked.

“Yes!” he answered, seeing his chances coming back like a boomerang that almost flew into a neighbor’s yard.

“Awesome! That means it can be used in any theater in the entire country. So, transfer your ticket to me, then we can meet at the mall and my friend will get you in. Then afterwards, we can get drinks at my place”

Glenn pretty much only heard that last part; at least it was the only part he paid any real attention to.

“That sounds great!” Glenn said, again with focus only on the last thing she said and not really analyzing the rest.

“Ok! Do it now, with me on the phone” she prodded.

“Done” Glenn responded after only a few beats of silence.

“Hmmmm, that was quick! I can’t wait to see you again. Send the confirmation code, please?”

“I already have”

That’s the Ticket! Pt. 3

That’s the Ticket! Pt. 1

12 Aug

Movie ticket

 

All Glenn could think about for the past few months was the upcoming release of the latest installment of his favorite super hero movie. Just the mere idea that he would be whisked away to a fantasy land for a few hours in the dark, with popcorn in hand, gave him a thrill. It gave him a jolt of excitement he could feel in his belly. He even bought a new t-shirt, online, just for the occasion.

While in line for his morning coffee and bagel, a stunning woman caught his eye. He had to do a double take because he imagined that she was looking at him. Upon a second glance, it was confirmed. She was looking at him.

He immediately felt self-conscious. He must have had toothpaste on his face or his fly was probably open. Those would be reasonable motives for a woman of this caliber to be looking at him. The thoughts were washed away by sheer panic. She was coming towards him! He started to fidget. He contemplated running.

“Hi” the woman said, extending her right hand. Damn she moves fast, Glenn thought, “I’m Heather”

“Hi, I’m…” Glenn blanked, his mouth hadn’t felt this dry in a while. He managed to lick his lips and remembered his name after and awkwardly long time, “uh…Glenn”

“Hi Glenn, I love your tie” she said as she plucked it from his torso by her thumb and forefinger “I’m a huge fan myself” The tie was branded with images of Glenn’s super hero in a questionably tasteful manner.

“My mom bought it for me” Glenn said, immediately scolding himself for saying that.

“That’s cute!” Are you going to the premier?” she asked.

“I wouldn’t miss it for anything” Glenn said, “I already got a ticket!”

“Neat! I’d love to go but I don’t know anyone who would like to go with me and I hate going to the movies alone”

With clumsy timing Glenn blurted out, “You could go with me” his face instantly burned with embarrassment, he braced himself for rejection, yet he was proud of himself for his boldness.

“Why, I’d love that!” she said, “Let’s exchange numbers. We’ll work out the details”

Glenn was dizzy with euphoria and a touch of disbelief. He barely remembered his number and stammered as he recited it. As they parted ways at the front door of the bagel shop, Heather put her hand to her head with the thumb at her ear and pinky finger at her mouth and said, “Call me!”

As Glenn sat in his car and fastened his seatbelt, reality punched him in the gut. He said aloud “How in the world am I going to get another ticket? For sure they are all sold out! Shit, shit, shit!”

To be continued…

That’s the Ticket! Pt. 2