Adam sat in a sterile, vacant limbo, the walls unsettlingly white and empty. The loneliness and despair of the place peeled sound from the air, leaving only the ringing in his ears, a field of crickets chirping accusations, reminding him of Tommy Keeler's bloody fate. Adam saw his tiny fists charging into the air, cutting molecules to bits as they flew toward their target and freezing for a moment, contemplating the late Keeler's face, searching for a reason to blast it, explode it into a juicy red mushroom cloud. What if he could have talked his hands out of it, stepped away from the fight, walked away peacefully with the talking dog, the world a motionless picture behind them? He and his new friend would escape, exploring, looking for a new photo to step into, a new world without bullies or anger or deadly fists. Fate dangled magical possibilities in front of him, but only offered him the cold reality of punishment.
Fiction: May 2005 Archives
Behold, the return of MNINW with part 6. Not to be confused with Leonard Part 6. It would be really helpful if you read parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Or read it by itself. You'll probably get the gist without the other parts. NOTE: This one is rated XXX because it is celebrating its thirtieth birthday in Rome. The words 'boob,' 'cooch,' and 'bass music' are used so tread lightly.
The filthy gang of boys led by Tommy Keeler rumbled down the hillside toward Adam, their yelping mouths smiling wickedly underneath dull, close-set eyes. Adam watched them descend, a sweaty, heedless avalanche of hooligans, and the shock of impending humiliation and pain turned the frail boy to stone. He stood still, a statue waiting to be desecrated, the talking dog cowering behind him.
The slope gave way to flat land and Tommy Keeler slowed to cocky walk, the other boys following him in a 'V' formation, lending him their mobbish energy. "This is a dumb place, to hide, A-dumb." Keeler's cohorts praised his vapid wit with their chuckles. "That's yer new name, A-dumb. Like 'd-u-m' dumb."
The talking dog couldn't resist. "Learn to spell, moron," he barked from behind Adam's legs. The talking dog regretted it immediately.
William Shakespeare once said, "A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!" Now, two things strike me about this statement:
1) I never knew Shakespeare was a king, but I guess he must have been, otherwise why would he say such a thing? I was never schooled in the succession of the English monarchy, but he must be in there somewhere. I know he's not William the Conqueror because he looks too fruity to conquer anything, but I'm sure they've had dozens of Williams on the throne over the centuries.
2) I never really understood what he meant by that -- that is, until just now.
Here are 3 short stories for your perusal. The first and third ones were lucky enough to make it onto Pork Pony, though they are somewhat disturbing, so viewer discretion advised for them. The middle one was written sometime between the death of PP and the birth of Unloosen. Ever notice how short my short stories are? I simultaneously rule and suck. Enjoy!
It's not necessary, but it might help if you read part 1.
Sick with children, the colossal red-brick building sneezed and the entire fourth grade shot out of its doors. 122 ten-year olds exploded onto the green hillside, kicking dust and mud onto the beastly edifice. They were like a happy load of buckshot, a swarm of jubilant disorder, all of them running, tripping, jumping for freedom. All of them except for one; a really little, skinny one called Adam. This one shuffled from the building, his frail, brainy body moving in slow motion while the other children blurred past. He stared at the grass as shoe-drawn currents ripped through it, fatefully tearing and snapping select blades, leaving others to stand the test of life for at least a few more moments.
Adam shrank into the grass, got small like the ants and climbed aboard a prime leaf, the perfect launchpad. He waited and watched, ready to surf the next hapless wave that followed in the wake of his new classmates.
"Heads up! Heads up! Heads up, uh, Adam? Heads up ADAM?" He looked up, but it was too late. Whack! A kickball to the side of the face and Adam dropped to the ground. Tommy Keeler, a miniature lumberjack with hair the color of vacuum-cleaner dust, ran over and grabbed the ball. Adam held his burning right cheek and hid his pain, keeping Tommy Keeler in his periphery, afraid to look him in the eye. Third-grade legend taught Adam that to look Tommy Keeler in the eyes in a time of weakness meant certain death, or at least a wedgie.
I was driving to work the other day and realized that I was lonely. I am 23 years old and I have little in the way of any enjoyment in my life. I get up. I go to work. I come home. I watch TV shows pre-selected for me by the American Family Association. I go to sleep. Adding church on Sundays and deleting the work part on the weekends, and sometimes the getting up part as well, my life is like the conveyer belt at the supermarket -- always going in circles with some sticky substance occasionally getting spilled on it.
Then my life changed. I saw it. It was right there, written along the barren stretch of highway that I have driven a million times before.
It was a sign! Adopt-a-Highway!
Genius. Genius occupied every sentence, no every word in those letters, but now those letters were gone, torn to shreds, sitting in front of Adam in a box. Adam cried for days after he opened that package. Michelle wanted no more of Adam’s company nor did she want the company of his letters, the letters he wrote, the letters soaked in genius. She wanted to spend more time with Pierre, her new man, that guy who took her salsa dancing. Adam would have gone salsa dancing. Why didn’t she ask him? Why did she push him away as if every physical advance was an illegal assault? After all, he could reconsider; the "give-me-some-room-let’s-be-friends-for-a-while" thing might work.
Adam asked his talking dog to explain it, but the talking dog could not explain it. The talking dog just paced around the couch waxing poetic about the pants he had just bought.
To say Steve never knew what hit him would be incorrect because Steve did, in fact, know what hit him. What hit him was a dart. Steve knew this because he plucked it from the back of his neck and looked squarely at it before he fell unconscious. What Steve didn't know was what he hit when he fell unconscious. It turned out to be a wheelbarrow full of peat moss, which he actually upended, but he didn't find this out for some time.