I’m not superstitious.
It is only the lack of proper information, or some crap to influence other’s decisions.
Got the lighter ready in my hand, spitting sparks. It starts to snow with big fluffy feather like flakes. My cig is the only hot thing on me now.
Ira wastes my time, again. He’s late. Stressed X-mas shoppers bump into my shoulders, trample on my feet. Not one of them mutters a ‘sorry’. Ugh, so many nauseating songs filter through the shop entrances. It’s my third time round his block, and my toes are ice cubes. I need a hot coffee.
He’s supposed to show up forty minutes ago. The entrance to his apartment building is a desperate kind of shabby. Not at all what you’d expect from an actor on the fast lane. He isn’t answering the bell. He isn’t answering his phone either.
It’s not that he wants to be picked up, or something… I walk him down to the theater, cause he gets mugged. The first couple of times he goes on his own, he gets beat up and robbed. Not good showing up with a bloody nose and a black eye, when being the lead.
Theater folk is superstitious. He’s jinx. That’s what everybody says. I say, he sticks out like a blinking neon sign for disaster. But nobody gives a damn about what a janitor says. So they pay me instead. I get him safely to the rehearsals. Easy bucks, really.
Finally! His brown jacket and red cap would fit any hobo around.
Ira says he’s cursed.
Bullshit! His grave look stops me from laughing my head off. His nervous hands run around his chin and breast to hide in his pockets.
So I ask him, I ask about his bad luck, ready to burst in disbelief. He says, it’s his old man’s fault.
One day, him being a toddler, he wanders off and disappears into the woods. They can’t find him, for three days. They are about to give up, when a huge white crow appears. His granddad shoots that bird. It falls to the ground. They go look for it, and that’s where they find him. Unconscious. Hurt.
He shows me. He pulls down his zipper, tugs his long orange scarf away. His T-shirt slides down, revealing his pale chest. A small circular snow-white scar flashes on his breastbone. Grievous look settles in his otherwise young face.
I almost fell for that. An actor, I remind myself. He’s pulling my leg. White crow, my ass!
His granddad taints his destiny that day. He says to no one in particular. He can’t fly away from trouble anymore. Ira believes it. He really believes it! I can only pity him for such nonsense. He’s disappointed, I don’t swallow his bogus story.
I offer him a cig instead.
The tortured howl of an engine and shrieking tires roar right behind us.
Part 1 – “SAFE ATMOSPHERE” – here
Part 2: published here
I’M THAT KIND OF GUY
It’s no fun, being tied up and dragged behind a vehicle at breakneck speed.
In case you’re wondering, and want to try it yourself – DON’T! Contain your beer-fueled impulses, folks! Don’t kid yourselves, I only make this look easy and enjoyable!
Part 1: published on WriterToWriters – see here
“Nobody took a dump here.” A scrawl in black sharpie stretched over the upper right corner of the booth door. “SEXXX! Call 314-159-26.” The lower margin of the door warned about the pervy limbo dancers.
Andy cracked a smile and checked for the naked chocolate bar and the newspaper in the inner pockets of his long leather jacket. Someone flushed a toilet two cubicles to the right. He heard the someone leave the public restroom, without washing hands. The door slammed shut. Andy sighed. He squeezed his notebook into one of the butt pocket of his denim. His naked toes felt wet and cold on the tile floor. He took a deep breath. The air was stale, the aroma of urine was overwhelming. He consoled himself with the fact, that in a blink, he was going to disappear from the questionable puddle, he had to stand in.
A whispering sizzling noise echoed from the walls of the stall, and Andy concentrated upon an imaginary spot, half a step away, in front of his navel. A little sphere of pale blue brightness formed instantly. He cupped his hands hovering two inches away from it. The heat it radiated, didn’t disturb him much. Its density grew fast, till the light emitted hurt his eyes. With every breath, it got bigger and brighter. The muscles in his arms vibrated with effort. His fingers tugged at it, his mental fingers dragged, pulled and stretched the ball of energy over his shoulders. The sphere spun counterclockwise.
Andy stepped into the pale blue vortex in front of him.
The bathroom, and the rest of the world at his back folded, and faded to nonexistence. Everything went black. The muscles on his chest and back rippled with tension and fibrillation. His spine tingled and burned, as if his skin had been shock frosted.
At the edge of his visual perimeter, the pale blue light twitched and sparked.
He felt lightning licking and stinging at the back of his head and around his shoulder blades. His fingertips and bare feet stung with electric pins and needles.
He stood in an Andy-shaped hole in the fabric between realities.
Entropy swept over him like a tidal wave, knocking his breath out, leaning on him, pushing downwards. He bowed his head. Submerged in the currents of energy flow, he slid through spacetime layers into lower energy state realities. The torrent caught him in a tight grip around his waist and yanked him down.
He hated this part. The sinking feeling in his stomach froze his mind.
He always did. What if, he got a hypo here and had no strength to get out again? Would he die, or would he be arrested in the terrified state of just realizing, that he was about to die?
His instincts took over. Grab! They ordered his hands. Hold on. His fingers found his daughter’s little praying bead bracelet.
In his imagination a happy family breakfast flared up. Ava buttered a bun for Emily. He was drinking coffee. The pressure that made him bow, lifted instantly.
The breakfast table faded, as he stopped focusing upon it. There was nothing to see, nothing to hear. He closed his eyes. For once, no static filled his head. Calm. Silence. He imagined this was peace. Surely this was, what it felt like. He wanted to stay. Inertia crept closer to the thinking part of his brain. Transition was a bitch.
Peace was not human nature, guilt was. Sickness, decay, futility, death, war and famine were too. Always suffering…
The burning sensation chewed up his limbs, his arms and legs stung. His face hardened into a heavy ice mask. He couldn’t breathe. His eyelids weighed tons, lips sagged. He couldn’t stop shivering. The clench of solid inertia overpowered his bones, his organs, his muscles.
The breakfast table flickered again. It hung in front of him, some steps away, taunting. He shuffled a foot forward. Keep going. Something cheered on.
A strange murkiness pushed into his pores, dissolved into his veins. He felt sick and broken. Entropy knew he was, and caught in his edges, in the fissures of his brokenness. It cooed to the darkness, that sprouted in his body and soul. His heart seemed to transform to a homing beacon to catastrophes and bad intentions. He had no time to brace himself. The rotten blackness in him sprawled. It found all his hiding places and poisoned them. Dizziness tipped him out of position. He spun, but his heart slowed.
He had to keep moving. The gaps between the beats grew.
Sick yellow light shone somewhere in front of him. It flickered like a candle a mile away in a dark stormy night. He tore at the slowness of his body. He tore at the spinning of his senses. His heart locked.
He fell to his knees in a moving cargo elevator, between Floor 17 and 18. The air around him crackled and fizzed. The elevator stopped with a sigh and a jolt. The lights flickered.
He shivered violently. Rime coated the walls of the elevator, his clothes, skin, hair, brows and eyelashes.
For a moment, Andy’s arms remembered the shape of his dying daughter. The scent of strawberry shampoo and blood hit him. Memories sank deeper and vanished from his consciousness, as his heart returned to the race. He knew he had the right timeline.
His mouth was a desert. Andy propped his arms on his knees. His lungs tried to breathe, but air refused to get in. The familiar pain burrowed deeper into his spine. No hunger, no cold, no nothing. His heart crawled up his throat.
Normality willed itself back into Andy.
Part 1 – Safe Atmosphere
part 2 – I’m that kind of guy
The safe sign and the notification flash on the screen shield, blink and then fade away. The pressure sensors in the seats activate the engine. Gently purring, the rover comes to life, instruments flare up on the dashboard and project unto windshield. The underground magnetic guidance system pings back on it’s navigation, showing their position on the southern hemisphere of the Moon.
“Great booty, innit?” Terry nudges Larry’s elbow, as they take their helmets off. Larry, Terry’s twin brother, is paler than usual. His grey eyes scan the inside of the cabin. No Chinese or Cyrillic characters, he sighs with relief. Blue arrows project unto the screen, showing the routes to the nearest landmarks. Tycho Crater is eighteen kilometers away. Surveyor Tycho City is six point seven, and Surveyor Seven fourteen kilometers north-to-northeast. “Lots of bucks.” Terry pats and kisses the console affectionately. He pulls his thin lips into a satisfied grin and straps into his seat. In the knowledge of a job well done, he holds out his palm, and awaits the high-five.
It’s no fun, being dragged behind a car at breakneck speed.
Just in case you were wondering, or planning on doing it… DON’T!
Half of the time you try to dodge stones and sharp rocks, and you try not to get too close to the tires of the following car, for obvious reasons. The other half, you try not to swallow too much dirt and fumes, so you won’t get dizzy. You have no time to enjoy the view. Besides, it’s most likely, that some moon tanned idiots scream profanities at you; all seven of them at once. This makes it even harder not to damage anything vitally important, like head, neck, spine, hands, or eyes. God of skull integrity, stay with me!
Some of those volume bloated harsh statements about your family and your origin are pure fiction and wishful thinking. Their promises of where which of their and your body parts will go, is mildly off-putting and fly off of the politeness chart. The newly imprinted courtesy protocol in your neural language hub does its best to bleep the sense out of words lodging themselves into your auditory canal. Thank you, universal translator. Well done, courtesy protocol.
So, how did I get myself tied up and dragged behind a car, you ask? Not on purpose. I’m not that crazy, despite the gossip – I swear. It chalks up to being at the wrong place at the wrong time. I’m the odd one out, not fast enough to hide in the nooks and crannies of my gallery, down in sub-level five.
It’s questioning from the lunatics’ point of view. It’s a full grown lynch mob, if you ask me. But no one ever does.
PART 1 – LIQUID PEACE
PART 2 – PATIENT PAPER
The police station was accommodated in an old building, a school from the 19th century.
It took me three hours to get anywhere near Benny.
They had me fill out seven forms, both sides, all identical. The policeman in charge ripped two forms apart, and I had to start again. “Hand slipped.” His comment slapped my ears. This was nothing but mile high harassment. I knew it. The police man knew it, and I tried not to get too angry.
Then they had me write down what happened from the phone call on, till now.
Time delaying tactics. Maybe they searched and bugged my apartment right about now. They must have turned Benny’s upside down already.
I tried to remember, if there was anything suspicious in my flat, something that could get me in jail.
Nothing to hide…
No political literature, beside what was permitted and encouraged. Some family photos, but I’m the only one left alive, so no danger on that end. No newspapers or magazines, no radio – lucky me. Only cigarettes, coffee and booze and dirty laundry.
Still, they told me to wait.
On the other side of the dirty window, the sky caught fire on the margins. The sun would be up in less then half an hour. Exhaustion burned under my eyelids, like sand. I attempted to close them, it stung like salt on an open wound. I feared my eyelids wouldn’t go all the way down. I pushed with with my fingertips against them. The burn eased a tiny bit, only to be replaced by headache. Benny mattered now most. As soon as I opened them, the artificial light made them water. I had to focus on Benny.
From somewhere outside, they dragged Benny in, hands cuffed behind his back. He stumbled forward, face pale and bright and full with terror and relief. He was scared to death. From the stains on his clothes, I could tell he had wet his pants.
This was, what a man on death row looks like. Nausea greeted me. God! I had to push that thought out of my head fast.
At first glance there seemed nothing wrong with him, only a split lip. His wet hair stuck to his sweaty forehead. I was three feet away from him. I could reach out, but I knew better than that.
The uniform holding his left elbow grunted. “He fell all by himself. Clumsy, like a child.” The other man at his right and the policeman, I gave my forms to, laughed. The smell of ethanol and urine hit me. It was a roaring filthy laugh, a laugh you laugh at a salt covered foaming snail, or at a cringing burning spider.
The man on his left pulled a lighter out of his pocket. Benny whined and jerked back as far as he could. I had to swallow hard, clench my teeth, so no reaction escaped me. The uniform at his right lifted his right elbow, forcing him down. His face got close enough to the flame that he could have breathed it out. He did nothing. He just trembled.
Behind me, the slick voice from the telephone harrumphed. The man put away his lighter, and the other uniforms straightened up. Everything went silent.
“So you are friends with Jews and Hungarians, doctor?” That man… The hair on my neck stood on end. Benny’s face fell, he winced. Slowly, I turned around. “Uncuff.” His voice is barely audible, but the uniforms obeyed. Clicks and a sigh could only mean, Benny was free now.
The man leaned with his elbow over a filing cabinet, posture most casual. He was bigger than me, wiry stature. He had broad forehead, a long crooked nose, broken once but healed well and bushy brows. His dark eyes seemed to sparkle with mischief.
From the edge of his lips hung a lit cigarette. Ash clung to the paper. His clothes were elegant, no uniform, coat and shoes handmade. He blew smoke through his nostrils right into my face. I didn’t breathe. Manicured hands, I noticed. Nothing cheap about this man, this was no foot soldier. This was someone, a big someone. This was an intelligent, well educated high ranking officer. He smiled a peaceable smile, perfect teeth hid behind his lips.
This man could only mean trouble.
I steadied my voice. “Only this one.” What a stupid thing to say! My head was empty, there was nothing witty to say.
“Your boss says, you are a capable man. A bit soft, but capable nevertheless. We’ll see about that.” He looks at his manicured nails with interest.
He noded a tiny bit, and the men shoved Benny into my back. I felt him bump into me, grab for my jacket and going down unto his knees.
The man chuckled and waved a hand. “So collect your garbage and go.”