Posts Tagged ‘short story’

The motorcade of black Range Rovers gleamed unnaturally under the neon beams. Thousands of red, white, and blue lights flickered overhead. A fifty-foot sign stood high above them, it read Trump.

Vladimir Putin and his envoy of advisors and bodyguards, exited their vehicles and quickly made their way up the stairs and into this new White House. If one were to look closely at the Russian president just then, they would have noticed a smirk. No one did though, as all of his entourage were either shielding their eyes, or squinting as they went.

A disheveled man with haunted eyes, greeted the party at the door.

“Hey, how are ya? I’m the uh, the Secretary of Things. The Donald’s waiting in his circle room.”

“You mean oval office?” asked Putin’s advisor. A tall, well-dressed man.

The Secretary of Things began to cough uncontrollably. He pulled a cigarette butt from his pants pocket and proceeded to straighten it out and light the burnt end.

“It’s uh, more of a circle… but whatevah.” replied the Secretary, once he managed to take a pull from the mangled butt.

He led Putin and the group further into the building. They navigated a maze of dusty corridors, adorned with garish self-portraits of various members of the Trump clan. The constant ringing of slot machine bells could be heard in the distance. The group finally stopped at a giant set of golden doors. Across the center of the doors, in letters made from blood diamonds the size of baby-fists, read one word: Trump

Putin and his group entered the oval office (or circle room). The décor was a hideous plaid laden 70’s vintage. A ten foot oil painting of the Donald stood over a freshly stuffed panda bear, on the far wall. Under it, President Trump sat at his desk. He was deep in concentration, as he fervently flipped through a copy of Star Magazine. Vice President Pence sat on the couch nearby, passionately devouring a taco salad.

The Secretary of Things began to cough uncontrollably once again.

“Jesus, Joe!” exclaimed Trump, when he broke away from his issue of Star Magazine, and finally noticed his guests.

“Oh. Hey V-diddy!” Trump stood and greeted the Russian President.

“Glad to see you could make it. Can I get you a coffee or maybe a voucher for the buffet?” Putin took a seat on the other side of the desk.

“I did not travel all this way to make, how you say, small talk.” replied Putin, coolly.

Vice President Pence, eyebrows raised, set the remains of his taco salad aside. “Um, if you’re not gonna use that voucher, I can—“

President Tump cut him off. “No! Goddamn it, Pence. You’re eating us into another recession!”

President Trump then fell into his chair, let out a sigh, and once again turned his attention to Putin.

“Let’s get to it. I promised the American people that things would start to change around here. And when I moved the White House to Atlantic City, they knew I meant what I said. Now, let’s talk business.”

“You’re speaking of Syria?”

“No.”

“The sanctions?”

“Nope.”

“What then?!” asked Putin, visibly annoyed now.

“Pooty… I need to build a wall.”

“I do not understand.”

“Well, ever since I got rid of all those undocumented workers, I’ve been getting gouged on pricing. My voters wanted a bigger wall, and I’m trying to give em the biggest fucking wall since an Irishman laid a brick.”

“But you have a wall already… and it is very large.” Putin said, confused.

“I know that Pooty. And it’s a great wall. The best. But I need another one… in the north.”

Putin shook his head in disbelief. “For Canada? But why? They are how you say, white.”

“Listen half my damn country moved up there. And I don’t want any of those traitors ever coming back! So I’m gonna build the biggest goddamn wall in the world to keep em out! It’s gonna be the best!”

“And, uh, I need to keep what’s left of us, in.” added President Trump, nervously. Trump leaned in closer now, and his demeanor softened as he continued.

“But I gotta be honest, these damn construction costs are killing me.”

“And what is this to do with Russia?” asked Putin, clearly enjoying where this conversation was headed.

“Look, I need some people that’ll be grateful for the opportunity to do some honest-to-god work. And not because they need more money, or benefits, or any of that other crap.”

“So you want undocumented workers?”

“Exactly!” Trump said, smiling back. This guy’s not so bad, he thought.

“But you had them.” Putin replied, confused once again.

“I don’t dwell on the past. I move forward. And I know if anybody has a line on some cheap laborers, it’s my ruskie buddies.”

President Trump emphasized the ruskie buddies part with a wink and a playful nod toward Vladimir Putin.

He did it again. And then one last time.

Putin began to chuckle, and then that chuckle turned into maniacal laughter.

He wiped away his tears as he spoke. “Ahh, yes. I can help you with this. Do you know of gulags?”

“Sure. It’s like a stew, right?”

At the notion of stew, Pence’s eyes lit up. He thought a stew would fit quite nicely into his now empty taco shell.

“Eh, not exactly. Let us just say it is where I like to keep a lot of my work force.” replied Putin

Trump smiled triumphantly, but Pence sighed and looked down once more at the empty taco salad shell that sat before him. Why was it never enough, he wondered. 

“So then you’re in!” exclaimed Trump.

“What does Russia get in return?”

“What are ya looking for, Pooty?”

Putin shrugged. “Hmm, maybe some border problems go away. Maybe we get some good PR for once, and—“

Putin stopped suddenly, as he realized what he really, really wanted.

“Oh! Maybe we can work out something with Disney or Nickelodeon? Russia has much love for the singing and dancing of the children.”

President Trump slowly stood from his chair. “I’ll do you one better! How about I give you a tour of the labs where we make all those little weirdos.”

Vladimir Putin rose from his chair as well. A cold, wolf-like grin spread across his thin lips. President Trump extended his hand.

“Hell, by this time next year you’ll have a warehouse full of adorable song and dance bots.” declared Trump.

“And you will have another very large wall.” replied Putin.

The two men shook on it.

And that’s how Russia got Mikhail Mouse.

 

Tom Brady was in the middle of a story. One of those Tom Brady type of stories. You know the ones. Lots of name dropping and heroic feats. He finally took a breath. A toothy grin beamed on his otherwise expressionless face. His eyes were devoid of any thought or emotion.

Anyone else, and I might have considered it an impressive poker face. But we were playing blackjack, and Tom Brady was a moron.

“And then I said heck yeah I can act! Listen to this! Oi! Ows bout passing em sweet rolls, ya lovely bird! And that’s when Matt Damon passed me the bread.”

Tom Brady laughed triumphantly at the last part. As if Matt Damon handing him a basket of bread rolls was the greatest thing on Earth. And who knew, maybe it was.

Drew Brees cut in, “I don’t get it.”

His birthmark morphed like a Rorschach test as he spoke. Tom Brady eyed him impatiently.

“What don’t you get, DREW?”

“What you said. I don’t get it.”

“It’s an accent, DREW. An English accent, Dreeew. You know, like from England.”

Drew looked nervous. Real nervous. He shouldn’t have questioned Tom. We all knew that.

Hell, I was nervous too, but not because Drew Brees couldn’t understand Tom Brady’s terrible English accent. And it wasn’t because of Drew’s distracting birthmark (Although that was also becoming a problem).

No, I was nervous for one reason, and one reason alone. It was 1 a.m. on a Saturday night, in Las Vegas. And two of the three starting quarterbacks for my NFL parlay bet, were currently sharing drunken anecdotes at my blackjack table.

If I didn’t play my cards right (pun noted) I was going to lose a lot of money.

“Oh.” Drew finally sighed. “Yeah, okay.”

“Fucking right it’s okay.” Tom Brady shot back.

“It’s more than okay! I’m gonna be in Matt’s new movie. He said so himself… Me and Matt are boys.” Tom’s chest swelled with pride, as he proclaimed that last bit.

He really liked Matt Damon. And who could blame him?

We all nodded in agreement, and the game carried on. As is usual with the dealer, I was cleaning house. By my estimation, Drew Brees was down six grand. Tom Brady was down at least fifty.

Tom stared at his pair of kings, and then curiously glanced over at my nine of clubs. We locked eyes. I knew what he intended to do. And it was very dumb.

I softened my expression, trying to telepathically implore him to wave his hand. The same hand that had thrown a thousand touchdown passes. How was it possible that such a gifted hand could be connected to such a broken mind? Of course, his hand did not waver.

“I wanna split them.” Tom Brady barked.

“Sir, are you sure you—“

Tom cut me off. “Dude! I’m sure. Okay?!”

“Okay” I sighed, hoping he would comprehend the unspoken disappointment in my voice. The more this dummy lost, the longer he would play. The longer he played, the longer Drew Brees played. Because of course, Tom Brady made Drew Brees do stuff. All kinds of stuff. Everyone knew it.

And if I couldn’t get them out of here, and on a plane back to their respective cities, in the next couple of hours, I was going to lose a lot of money.

“Split em already, DUDE!” Screamed Tom.

Drew Brees and I both flinched hard.

He doubled his bet, and I split his kings. He nailed aces on both hands. Because he’s Tom Brady. And for the briefest of moments, I was actually happy for the dumb quarterback.

Just then, as part of his celebration, Tom Brady licked his finger and stuck it in Drew Brees’s ear. Drew squirmed away and wiped himself off. Tom laughed jovially, while Drew’s birthmark shapeshifted into a single tear. This was getting hard to watch.

Suddenly, the lights went bright. Too bright. I was blind.

I stepped back and rubbed my eyes. When my vision returned, I glanced at the area of the table that had blinded me. Where once there was only emptiness, now sat a glistening man. A man made of what seemed to be tiny silver lights.

My eyes further adjusted to the glare that beamed from the man. And now, I saw that it was just a shirt and top-hat made from a strange form of silver sequin, which apparently brought about temporary blindness.

There before me sat Cam Newton. The quarterback for the third team in my NFL parlay. Lady Luck was a heartless femme fatale.

Tom and Cam exchanged cold head nods, as Cam patted Drew on the back.

“Nice shirt.” Tom snarked.

“Sorry if it’s deflated your game.” Cam shot back.

Drew chuckled, but Tom shot him a look and he quickly quieted down.

It was too much. I had to say something. They needed to listen to reason.

“I, uh, I thought you guys were all playing tomorrow. Shouldn’t you get some rest or something? You know, for your big games?”

Judging from the stone-faced silence that sat across from me. I had spoken out of turn.

“Who the hell do you think you are, dude?!” Tom asked.

“I, um, was just—“

“No.” Tom said, cutting me off. “No. I don’t need an explanation from you, okay? So shut it. I’m Tom fucking Brady. I’m gonna be in a Matt Damon movie. So don’t you fucking lecture me.”

“Yeah.” added Drew, chiming in like one of Biff’s buddies from Back to the Future. Maybe the one with those weird sunglasses.

Cam just shook his head, nonchalantly. “As long as I don’t hurt myself making shitloads of money at this table, we gonna win no matter what.”

He flexed and kissed each bicep.

It was a little weird, but I smiled at the gesture. Sure, Cam was wearing the ugliest hat and shirt I had ever seen, but the man was confident. And that counted for something.

Maybe this was just business as usual for these three. Maybe I was looking too much into it. Maybe even, that hat and shirt actually worked when paired together.

And that’s when I noticed Sarah, our table’s waitress.

It was too late though, she had already looked directly at Cam’s shirt. Her eyes glossed over, like a doomed lover turned into stone, in one of those old Greek myths about really ugly outfits that turned lovers into stone.

She stumbled forward, uncontrollably. Her drink tray flew from her hands, as she braced herself for the fall. The tray now spun through the air, heading toward a seated, and still unaware Cam Newton.

In that same moment, as if the change in the air pressure was enough to alert him, Cam jumped to his feet, and spun to face the flying tray of glasses. With cat-like agility, he hurtled sideways and dodged the tray.

Drew turned as well, but it was too late, and the tray of glasses smashed into his face.

The table was silent for a long second, before Tom broke that silence by laughing maniacally and pointing at Drew.

“YES! That was in your FACE, Brees!”

Cam’s eyes lit up, and he stared at me expectantly.

“Did you see me dodge that shit, bro?! Did you?!”

He reenacted the move, with a quick juke step to his left… the move was followed by a strange popping noise. Cam Newton had blown out his knee in celebration.

He instantly clutched at his ruined joint, and crumpled to the floor in pain. Meanwhile, Drew Brees wiped the beer and blood from his face. His birthmark was now a bloody smear and it was growing.

Amidst the chaos, Tom Brady had moved onto the slot machines. He began chatting with Linda, at the Pirates of the Caribbean machine. This was Linda’s favorite slot machine, when she wasn’t turning tricks on the strip.

Cam crawled toward the exit. The blinding illumination from his outfit lit the way, but also blinded any good-hearted bystander who tried to get close enough to help him up.

Drew Brees stood from the table, and shot me a hard look. He was a man transformed. His birthmark had somehow continued to grow, and now covered his entire face. Drew was angry. And I liked him even less when he was angry.

With one tiny hand, he clutched the blackjack table and flipped it over. Brees threw his head back and let out a guttural roar.

He was promptly tackled by security and repeatedly tazed. It took four three-hundred pound Samoans to keep him down. Saints fans everywhere would have been proud.

Tom Brady had disappeared. So had Linda. I quietly pondered who out of the two had the more exotic STDs. But in my heart of hearts, I knew Tom was a heavy favorite on that bet.

My parlay was as broken as the blackjack table that laid before me.

It was true, the NFL was a cruel sport. Crueler still, was the fate handed out to those foolish enough to try and profit from its unforgiving nature.

And somewhere out in that steaming Las Vegas night, walked Tom Brady, in a warm pair of Ugg boots. Without a care in the world.

My stomach growled. The woman at the front desk remarked that it sounded like an old internet connection.

We both laughed hardily, then. But what she didn’t know, couldn’t know, was that I was currently in a tempestuous struggle to contain the sort of flatulence that might level this office building. Or at the very least, make the rest of our interaction awkward, possibly even unpleasant.

It was up to me, now. I couldn’t let my jovial new acquaintance know of the noxious darkness that roiled inside of me.

Suddenly, she stood. Had a vapor slipped past my defenses? Did she recognize me for the disgusting animal that I was?

No, her face still held a kind smile. She stood and politely excused herself, as she left her desk and walked into a back room.

And not a moment to soon. I quickly shuffled over to a large plant, in a remote corner of the office. Hell’s horn section was promptly released, and their gassy tune was a loud, rattling affair. With the soon to be wilted fern as its captive audience.

I sniffed at my stink. It was pleasant. I wanted to howl at a moon. To urinate on the potted plant at my feet. To run stark naked into a forest, and to just keep running. This was the freedom of the wild. I was the wolf man. Sasquatch.

The ancient dna of my caveman ancestors coursed through my being, and its primal charge whispered secrets of this unkown wild.

“Mr. Jajic, Jim will see you now.”

She smiled uncertainly, as I quickly stopped sniffing at the air, and let go of the fern.

Jim was ready to see me. And now we would truly meet.

The Father had finally let it slip. “If you believe in him hard enough, then he’s real.”

“But Billy and Joey said he wasn’t real. They said that you made it all up. That you’re lying.”

The boy let out a heavy breath, as he fought back tears. The Father shook his head glumly. Billy and Joey were creepy little assholes. The Father knew it to be so, ever since watching them pick their noses and share their boogers, like an overzealous couple enjoying tapas.

“That’s because Billy and Joey don’t believe. They never believed hard enough. That’s why he’s not real to them.”

The Father knew he was taking his son down a treacherous path, that the boy was still too young, but nevertheless, the time had come, and now the issue of believing was at hand. The Fat Man had given the gifts, and now he would come to collect on a debt, years in delinquency.

When the Father was his Son’s age, he had believed. He had believed extraordinarily hard that year. And on the night before Christmas, all were asleep… and then the Fat Man showed up.

“Hello Boy!” the Fat Man bellowed.

The Father, only a boy then, jumped from his slumber, recoiling in fear. He screamed for his mother and father, but no one stirred, not even the mouse, who was currently trapped in a wall.

“Quit your whimpering!” growled the Fat Man. He leaned in closer, his milky breath hot on the boy’s face. “You believed, and now I’m here. And I have a gift for you.”

“Y-you do?”

“Oh yes! It’s the badass BB gun you wanted!”

The Fat Man pulled the shining rifle from his bag and presented it to the boy, whose mood instantly changed from horror to delight.

“Nice!” Exclaimed the boy with a fist pump.

The boy reached for the gun, but the Fat Man quickly pulled it away.

“Whoa. Easy does it, you little shit.”

The Fat Man wore a fat grin, as he held the glorious weapon just out of reach.

“First things first, if you want this pretty little chipmunk-chopper, I need something in return.”

The boy eyed the fat man warily. He was now in the process of learning that everything had a price… especially gifts from imaginary fat men.

“Do I need to be good? Is that it?” The boy asked.

“Fuck no.” Replied the Fat Man.

“You can shoot fucking Bambi for all I care. No, I need something more important than that.”

“What’s that?” Asked the boy, slightly taken aback by the Fat Man’s propensity for f-bombs.

“I need to keep on keeping on, if you catch my drift.

“I don’t” said the boy.

The Fat Man let out a sigh of exhaustion. He was so very tired. Dealing with children was not his strong suit, and he really wasn’t a fan of them, when all was said and done. The fact that he needed the little beggars more than they needed him, just exacerbated his condition.

The Fat Man reached for the smoked venison in his pocket and tore into it. He spoke through mouthfuls of the salty meat.

“Here’s the deal, I give you presents and shit, and you don’t stop believing. Then when you have kids, you make sure they don’t stop believing. It’s kind of like a Journey song you have to listen to… forever.”

The boy gagged at the thought. The Fat Man dangled the rabbit-blinder in front of him once more. The boy was transfixed on the rifle. Its polished steel and rich wooden stock, hypnotizing him like a snake charmer with a red rider tattoo.

“O-okay. Y-you got a deal.” Stammered the boy, his eyes still locked on the raccoon-ripper.

“Thatta boy!” Exclaimed the Fat Man, as he shoved the rifle back into his bag.

“Hey! Don’t I get the–”

The Fat Man cut the boy off with a wag of his finger.

“Easy does it, kid. Tomorrow’s the big day. Tonight’s just the fine print.”

The Fat Man stood to leave, but before he could go the boy asked “What if I don’t believe in you?”

The Fat Man eyed the boy suspiciously.

“We have a deal, kid. You wanna know what happens if you pull out of a deal with me?”

The Fat Man’s eyes were suddenly fathomless pools, and in their dark universe, the boy saw a vision of the bearded giant, who stood atop a mountain of coal. He saw a horned beast in flight, its blood red nose aglow. Tiny elves danced savagely, their jagged teeth glimmering in the moonlight. And in the distance, there was a list with endless names crossed off of it.

In the doorway the Fat Man stood, looking down at his little believer.

“Remember kid, it’s the Journey song for you and yours.”

And with that, the Fat Man was gone… but his gift was not.

"Dooon't stoop believinnng! Hold on to that feeeeeling!"

“Dooon’t stoop believinnng! Hold on to that feeeeeling!”

I had to delete that goddamn chain letter, didn’t I? The motel bathtub—or my new my bed, depending on how you looked at it—creaked against my aching back. With the way my luck was going, I wouldn’t be surprised if I woke up covered in ice, and one kidney light. I rubbed my side and shuddered at the possibility, and then I wondered what twelve years feels like.

This Morning:
I sipped at the steaming coffee carefully, as I hid within the cubicle, checking my personal email. The traffic up and down the office halls began to slowly grow. The work day rearing its expressionless head, in minutes the place would become frantic, and we the sheep would flock to our specific herds—the high school class system still seeped deep within our psyche.

There were four unopened emails, two from my neighbor Pervert Dave, both of them containing attachments to video clips that I dare not open on the company computer. One was from Shelly—who worked down the aisle from me. She wanted to know if I would be attending our company’s Fourth of July barbecue.

The answer would be a resounding No. But Shelly was attractive, and showed an acceptable amount of interest in me (more than none), so I would skirt the issue, perhaps attempting to convince her that binge drinking at a dive bar near my dilapidated split level was the wiser choice. The fourth email appeared to be junk mail, its subject line read: Open me! And I did so without pause.

A graphic of a hideous leprechaun dancing appeared, and below the flamboyant troll, the email went on about the luck of the Irish, and how luck would be granted to all of those people smart enough to forward this email to twelve of their friends. I don’t have twelve friends to begin with, the fact that I had to be reminded of this in a chain letter was just plain cruel.

As I scrolled down further, I noticed the threat of twelve years of bad luck, and the word cursed appeared frequently throughout the body of the email. Not one to take kindly to chain letters, or idle threats, I forcefully slammed my index finger onto the mouse button, effectively erasing the ridiculous hindrance from existence. I was god.

A brief satisfaction gripped me, unfortunately it vanished quickly as my computer screen blinked the numbers 666 rapidly, and then switched to a wallpaper of a grizzly bear having relations of a sexual nature with a man, who appeared to be in a great deal of pain. The computer speaker blared Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy”, as I jumped from my seat in horror.

The volume of the music began to attract some of my co- workers; they began to gravitate toward my cubicle, peering in one by one, watching as I frantically attempted to disconnect the computer. The bear roaring and pumping away, the man staring out at the viewer, grimacing, resigned to his fate.

I leaped under my desk and pulled the plug from the outlet, the music thankfully stopped. My co-workers snickered loudly to one another as they began to disperse back to their own work stations. I gracefully re-emerged from under the desk, bumping its edge with my head, knocking my coffee cup onto the floor, its steamy black innards splashing into the outlet that had just relinquished my computer of its power. A hiss was audible, and the power in the entire office went out. Just like that. Cut to black.

The next hour brought an onslaught of commotion. Managers, supervisors, and countless vice presidents, all of them desperately were attempting to remedy the situation. Electricians and building engineers were called in, none of them able to figure out what was wrong with the power. The only thing that everyone was certain of was that I was to blame. A brief meeting with my supervising manager, and I was on my way home.

Admittedly, chain smoking in my Camry was a welcome reprieve. Traffic began to bottleneck, as I glanced up at the digital traffic billboard that hung ominously over the highway. The traffic times switched off, leaving a strange rectangular blackness in its wake. Suddenly, the digital board came to life once more TWELVE YEARS it read. The shock of witnessing this impossibility forced my hands into spastic gyrations.

Veering into the left lane; I caught a glimpse of a mini-van, milliseconds before the impact. The collision was obnoxiously loud, as I stuffed my front bumper under the van’s back end. Quickly gathering my bearings, I hit reverse, pulled out from under the wreckage that used to be a minivan and my Camry, and pulled onto the shoulder.

Smoke generously poured out from under my hood. The mini-van followed suit, pulling over onto the same shoulder fifty or so feet in front of me. I emerged from the car, startled and jittery, pretending to inspect the front end. Looking up at the mini-van in front of me, I noticed all of the windows were tinted completely black.

The sliding door swung open with a thud, long peculiar pant legs connected to giant red shoes stepped from the vehicle. Standing in front of me was an angry clown, adorned in a sport coat, checkered pants, and those mesmerizing giant red shoes. His large frizzy orange hair was puffed on either side of his head with a hat much too tiny for such a large skull. His face was painted a stark white, with black eyeliner circling each enraged eye, blood red lipstick generously coating his nose and lips. Slightly shaking my head side to side, I attempted to rid myself of this very real image.

As I did so, another equally large and angry clown exited the vehicle, identical to the previous one, and yet another, and then another. They continued pouring out of the mini-van, as the first few walked menacingly towards me. All in all, there were about seven or eight of them, I couldn’t be sure.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?!” The first clown barked.
“I’m really sorry! I lost control! The traffic sign freaked me out, it was tellin—”

He skipped towards me and threw a punch, like a coked up prize fighter swinging at an unfaithful wife. The fist connected with my mouth, bringing my frantic excuses to an abrupt conclusion. I fell to the pavement in a broken heap. My legs not responding as I tried in vain to get to my feet and run. The enraged clown septuplets circled me, beginning to kick and punch my body and limbs, while I desperately tried to cover up. One of them grabbed my arms and pulled them back, forcing me to stand upright.

The crazed clown in front of me leaned in close, his booze soaked breath layering my face as he hissed,
“Do you think you can just go around fucking with our kind?! Do you?!”
“I’m sorry…puh-puh-please.”

The painted devil nailed me with a body shot dropping me once more onto all fours. They all laughed in maniacal unison as they walked back to their mini-van. The clown carrier peeled out as it fish tailed back onto the highway, an empty forty ounce beer bottle flying out from the passenger side window.

Stammering back to my feet, I breathed in the lingering air of drunken clowns through a broken and battered sinus cavity. Dejected and beaten, I walked back to my car, dreaming of the sweet release my couch would no doubt bring me.

It didn’t turn over, my camry was dead. The accident must have severely screwed up something, because there was no starting it. The question now was would I remain here waiting patiently for help to arrive, or would I continue the trek home on foot. Seeing as I was just beaten in public by marauding circus folk, and no one came to my aid, I chose the second option. After all, the next ramp was my exit and I was only a couple miles from home.

The walking was hard to do as my bruised frame throbbed. I crossed the highway, and stumbled down the exit ramp, dodging down-on-their-luck veterans who asked for change. Maybe it was too many movies, but I felt as if the look they gave me was telling. As if they understood my current plight. As if maybe, once upon a time, in some distant past, they too wore the clothes of a clown beaten man-child.

My pace quickened to a brisk jog, and I came upon the local grocery store a couple of blocks from my home. It had recently been bought out by a large chain, and was now twice as bright and shiny as it used to be. I slowed back down to a walk, the all knowing bums far enough in my rear view for me to be comfortable with. There was some sort of commotion in front of the nameless chain’s front doors. Hundreds of picket signs which appeared to be held by hundreds of children, paraded in an energetic manner back and forth in front of the store.

I carefully walked toward the spectacle, slowly realizing that the children were actually little people. I had never seen a little person up close, let alone a hundred agitated ones with signs, my curiosity was peaked, and I felt the tinge of guilt as well. They chanted over and over in unison,

“Discrimination is wrong! We’re people too!”

I watched as they marched and repeated their mantra. A pretty blonde little person—who was watching the proceedings intently—stood next to me. I glanced down at her and nodded, as she glanced up at me and did the same.

“What’s this all about?” I asked.
“They refused to serve one of us, even after he showed them his i.d.”
“That’s weird, why?”
“Because they’re racist assholes.” She muttered matter of factly.

I looked down at her quizzically.

“Are you guys considered a race? I mean how does it work?”

The shock in her eyes told me all I needed to know.

“What did you just say?!” she growled.

I backed away slowly, my arms out in a “please, I meant no harm” gesture. Quickly turning, she screamed to the crowd of pint-sized picketers.

“This asshole just called me a midget!”

The crowd stopped marching, the chant with no rhyme scheme came to a screeching halt—imagine the record scratch, the bar full of angry patrons…yep, just like that.

“Whoah! Whoah! Whoah! I did not say that!”

The blonde kicked me hard in the shin.

“He’s a fucking liar!” She howled.

This lady was so fucking mean. I screamed like a six year old girl, and began to feverishly sprint away from the crowd, which only added fuel to the fire.

The mini-mob immediately gave chase; it was like when you briskly walk away from an over friendly, possibly horny dog, only to have it follow you even more aggressively. The mob mentality had grown roots in their collective heads, and there was no other option now. They were going to make an example out of yours truly.

Close behind me, I heard labored breathing and the rapid thuds of tiny feet racing closer toward me, cursing me all the while. Picket signs flew to the right and left of me, narrowly missing their target. I was gaining some distance on them now; I cut through some yards, and hopped some fences, making quick left and quick right turns along the way. Glancing back, I saw that the first fence had slowed the mob a great deal; they bunched up behind it, slowly climbing over, a few at a time. I stopped momentarily to catch my breath. Watching as they cursed and shook their fists in my general direction.

I continued on my way, free of the dangerous demonstrators but having learned an important lesson. Never ask a question to anyone, about anything… ever again.

Finally on my block, I smiled and walked to my front door. Upon entering, I crashed heavily onto my computer chair. The strange messages, the ferocious clown beating, and the angry protesters, were no coincidence, and I had to at least attempt to get that message back and send it to everyone I had an email address for, anything to lift its evil curse.

I shook the mouse, waking the monitor from its slumber. A red glow came to the screen, 666 flickered in a horrifying manner on the screen. It faded, as an angry leprechaun appeared in its place. I sat frozen in open-mouthed horror.

“You disobeyed our request and now you will face our wrath! HAHAHAHA!”

The monitor began to smolder and melt, flames bursting upward. The fire quickly began to rise up the wall and spread throughout my living room. I fell backwards onto the floor, screaming and crying in frantic bursts. I ran out the front door and watched from the sidewalk as my home quickly became enveloped in the Leprechaun’s spiteful flames. Neighbors slowly began exiting their homes.

Pervert Dave ran over to me, shouting inaudibly as he shook me by my shoulders, his dildo-forehead attachment slapping repeatedly against my face, but I paid him no mind. I was too far gone. They were no longer my neighbors, no longer my peers, they were now simply the lucky ones, and I the cursed.

The only answer that came to me in those moments was pure and primal… run away. And I did. My world had transformed into something else entirely, and I needed to figure out what to do next, who to become, and how to survive.

Later that night, when my legs could carry me no further, and the general area I was in didn’t seem to be filled with imminent danger, I stopped running. As I stood there, sucking in the air, the lactic acids building up, I saw the motel 8 sign flicker, and for the first time since the incident, an electronic sign did not heap digital threats upon me.

I walked toward the motel hoping that it would become my temporary holy ground…and here I am. In a bathtub—the mattress had a stain that looked like a masturbating bear, so I didn’t want to risk it. Yeah, I’m sleeping in a bathtub. The boogey man is real, the creaks in the floor are Satan, the crawling in the walls are probably zombie vampires, and twelve years is a long fucking time.