Minions – NaNoWriMo Day 2 – First Night

Across town, a day, the first day without the Orange Overlord, had passed.  The mood was cautious.  People were suspicious.

“Man, I don’t get it.” Lucius said to Maxwell as they both sat on the step to the row house.  “I mean, how do the cops have the Overlord?  The Overlord Owns the cops.”

“Not without his power suit, he don’t” Max said, taking a pull off the bottle.

“Maybe, but that’s not what the law says.  Don’t you read the papers?  They settled with his ass, what was it, five years ago?  More?  That shit didn’t say anything about a power suit.”

Max handed another bottle to Lucius.  “Didn’t say anything about that potato looking bastard they got at the station house either.  It’s an agreement with the Orange Overlord – in quotes.”

“Oh, so now you’re a lawyer or something?”

“I read the papers.  Actually, I read that shit on my phone.”

“The internet man,” Lucius opened the beer and took a swig.  “Shit’l rot your mind.”

“So, what do you think should happen?  We been paying the tax man.  Tax man gives that shit to the big O.”

“Man, I don’t know.  All I know is I want my money back from that if he’s really in the joint, man.  My baby girl needs that money, not the city, not the state and not some washed up potato-looking jackass.”

“You thinking of doing something young blood?”

Lucius looked off across the street at the amber color of the streetlamp.  “I just might be thinking.” He took a long draw off the bottle.  “Yeah.  I just might.”

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

“Are you telling me that the cops surrendered?” Having taken a shower, Rog now walked around the rather spacious living accommodations Donnie had given him.  The track suit looked ridiculous, but it was clean.

Donnie shook his head then winced at the pain.  Holding his face in his hands he said, “It happened six years ago.  How is it you are just finding out about this?”

Rog found an apple in the kitchenette and a knife.  He tossed the apple up in the air and caught it on the tip of the knife with a smile.  “Ah, well you see, me and the past don’t get along so well.  When they checked me out of the Marines they said I had too many concussions, but I don’t think I ever cared about yesterday if it didn’t bother me.”

“But it’s the Orange Overlord.  The supreme ruler of the quad city and the buffer.  The Orange Accords?  ring a bell?”

“Nah.  I think that all happened about the time I was coming back into civilian life.  Not much of that registered.  There’s about a year and a half that all I remember was taking Molly every week.  Guess it helped, but … Anyway, fill me in.”

Donnie rolled his eyes.  “All right.  Hey, can you get me a water?  Top shelf – fridge.”

“Two bucks.”

“We’re giving you this apartment for free and stocking the fridge.”

“Yeah, I know.  Just wanted to see what you’d do.” He opened the fridge.  “Hey!  Beer!”

“Yeah, go easy for right now.  Red’s probably going to call us in sooner than later.”

“And she can say Hi to my buzz.” Rog handed him the water bottle.  “So, again, what do you mean they surrendered?”

“Well, the Orange Overlord came in about ten years ago.  He started big, by killing Captain Courageous.”

“Wasn’t he a fake hero guy, like for the kids?”

“No, but he was a one trick pony.  Slightly more powerful than a normal man, bullet proof, had a club and was really fast.  He mostly did public appearances, though, you’re right.  One day, the Big O just squished him in his force field.  No job, no speech, no nothing.  Just killed the guy.

“Of course, there was an uproar.  Captain Courageous was the hero to a lot of kids in the city and it was like the orange overlord had just outed Santa as an elf pedo.”

Rog smirked at the joke and sat down at the table.  He took a sip of his beer as Donnie continued.

“It went on like that for a while.  The Overlord did senseless crimes.  Always violent.  The Psychics got feedback damage if they tried to touch him that way and his forcefield took care of most things at a distance.  The armor protected him against anything that got close.”

Donnie leaned back and flipped his hands in resignation.  “Finally, the city had enough.  And it wasn’t like there were any more heroes to fight him.  He either hurt them or ignored them, though courageous was the only one he outright killed.  Lots of property damage, though.  Lots of people hurt.  A few people died, but mostly from knock on effects from the super battles.  The Big O mobilized non-powered criminals to hold ground – used gangs against each other to expand his reach.  Any time the cops tried to shut down his guys, he’d show up and smash up the cop cars and lift their guns right out of their holsters.  Anyway, the city had enough.  They negotiated a settlement.  The Orange Accords. Where the Orange Overlord would get a stipend, be able to keep territory and even serve as law enforcement, flipping the gang idea on its head.  In exchange, the municipality would be able to continue.  Property rights were preserved, businesses could function, and things would go on as normal.  Strictly speaking, even the things that were illegal were still illegal, it’s just that the Overlord could selectively enforce – and of course, get a cut.”

Rog pointed at Donnie with the hand holding the beer. “And that right there don’t make no sense.”

“What do you mean?”

“If this orange overlord is actually the guy that owns Flanderal, what the hell does he need the chump change from Drug dens and whore houses?  Seems kinda … smalltime.”

Donnie nodded. “You aren’t seeing the whole picture.  Flanderal is a manufacturing and technology company.  We make phones and weapons.  That’s actually where I came from.  I’m one of Ted’s top product men.  One day I got whisked off here and I’ve been here ever since.”

“Didn’t nobody notice you gone?”

Donnie rolled his eyes.  “Look at me.  You think girls were lining up to date me?  After my Mom died, work was all I had.  Erasing me from existence was trivial for Red.  She’s really good at that kind of thing.”

“Yeah, and I bet she could suck a golf ball through a garden hose with those pulled in cheeks and Jagger lips.”

“I, uh… I wouldn’t talk to Red like that.”

“Well no shit.  She’s a dame.  You don’t talk to dames like that.”

“That’s not it.  She’s the Orange overlord’s right hand.  Beyond Ted there was no one else who existed in both Flanderal and in the Orange Overlord realm as much as Red.  She’s no joke and will disappear you forever.”

“So, not worth the chance of a blow job, eh?”

Donnie smirked.  “I warn you and you are an adult.”

“Yeah… ”

The conversation hit a lull and they both drank from their bottles.

“So, what happens now?”

“Now?” Donnie said, getting up.  “Now I’m going back to my apartment – just up the hall – I’m going to eat a lasagna, take some of the doctor’s miracle ‘don’t have a stroke’ pills and go to sleep unless Red pulls us all in for a late night.”

“Miracle pills?”

“Yeah.  It’s Doctor Lorenzo, the mad scientist?  Remember him?”

“You know, I think that’s where the VA got the idea for all the Molly I took.  You got him on staff?”

“Yeah.  The Orange Overlord took a few hits in his rise to power. He captured Lorenzo from the Matrix Masters and put him to work here fixing his body.  You’ll catch up with him eventually.”

“Yeah ok.  So, this is like evil genius summer camp or something?  Everybody got a room?”

“Yep.  And it’s more like a hotel.  The only reason we’re all here is because the shit has it the fan.  I had them leave you some food, by the way.  Pulled pork.  Hope you aren’t Muslim.”

“Nah, ain’t got time for that God stuff.”

“Because you are clearly a man of pursuits.”

Rog leaned back in his chair.  “I peruse cold beer, hot women and sticky buds.  The occasional pulled pork kinda slides right in there, though, thanks.”

“You’re welcome.  If we live so long, we can work up some buds too.”

“Really?”

“Yeah,” he said pulling the door open. “Who do you think distributes the shit?  The Orange Overlord literally employs every drug dealer and gang banger in the Quad cities.”

“Well that is a hookup!  But what happens now that he’s out of the picture?”

“I have a feeling Red will address that tomorrow.  Get some sleep.”

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

In Barkley, the smallest of the quad cities, young men gathered to discuss business.

“Gentlemen,” The one in front said, “I believe it is time to consider the current situation.”

Across the table another man, nowhere near as well dressed spoke up.  “What do you have going on Trevor?”

“Nothing short of a war.  You boys ready to go to war?”

They all looked at each other.  “Not really.  Who do we have a beef with? We’ve kept our territory.  The Makos are running the girls.  We’re running the protection.  The Snakes are running the drugs.  It’s all good.”

“Yeah, but think.  Why are the Snakes running the drugs?  Why can’t we?  Why can’t we run the girls, make the books, supply the knockoffs and the tax free smokes?  Why aren’t we doing payday loans?”

Finally, from down the table someone said, “I see where you are going Trevor.  The answer is because the Orange Overlord would kick our asses, but the Overlord ain’t here no more.  That’s a good argument, but it still doesn’t mean we can just roll up on the Snakes or the Crimsons and take their shit.”

“Why not?  Because, gentlemen, whether you think we should or not, one of those fuckers will get the bright idea of trampling on turf that isn’t theirs.  They will trample, and it might be our turf they turn to first, or next.”

“So?  The one thing we’ve got is muscle.  They come at us, we kick some ass.”

“Unless,” Trevor smiled, raising a finger.  “Unless we kick some ass first.  Strike at the time of our choosing, rather than reacting.  Gentlemen, it’s a whole new era here in the quad cities.  If we want to keep our corner of it, we will have to vertically integrate, which means some suckers will either be getting on the train or getting run over by it.”

Trevor looked out at the dozen young men, their pasty faces frightened, then cowed and now congealing into determined and nasty.  When the time ripened, he continued.  “Ok, so here’s what we’re going to do.”

Minions – NaNoWriMo Day 3 – Off on a Jog

[Author’s note: Day 2 and things are already squirming out of the box.  Lucius, Max, Trevor or any of the hangers on didn’t exist two hours ago, but they are here now!  I think this bit went a little better than yesterday, but this might be kinda hard to keep up all month.  We’ll see.  I’m already seeing continuity screw ups I’ll have to spackle over later.  Oh well.  FIRST DRAFT!!!! W00t!

Hope you are enjoying the ride and if you are, votes on top web fiction, likes and follows are soothing to the soul.  Hm.  That got personal, didn’t it?  Oh well, these words don’t count so stay weird and stay tuned.

-SC]

Minions – NaNoWriMo Day 1 – When You Gotta Go

[Author’s note: I’m taking a risk here by putting out an unedited block of the story.  Not only does it mis-hit more than a few jokes that could have gotten more lead-in (the dry eye thing in particular didn’t work at the first draft), but there’s the idea of ruining the story for the reader.  But, I highly doubt anyone gives a shit, will give a shit, will want to pay for this, publish it or anything else, so here’s the story as it’s being written.  If nothing else, it is an example of how I do a vomit draft and can serve as an example for other people doing vomit drafts that their stuff isn’t any worse than anyone else’s.  And I didn’t edit that last sentence either.

Hope you find this fun.  I’ll be posting through november and hopefully this manuscript will eventually be edited to be a real book.  Or not.  Tomorrow never knows.

Stay Weird

-SC]

Rog’s head hurt.  For a moment he was concerned that he couldn’t see.  Then he was absolutely concerned that he could not move.

“Mph Fwrk” he said through lips held closed by some mysterious source.  Through a wall or something he could hear voices.

“Is he awake?”

“It’s really hard to tell, Red.  His thoughts are…”

“What?”

“Well they are just kind of stupid.  I think he’s awake.  He’s concerned about the spell, but the framework of his concern seems…”

“Whatever, he’s awake.”  The Woman opened the door as she spoke, striding into the brightening room.  “Good morning.”  The woman’s smile was just for show.  Rog smelled trouble.

“Mwrph” he said back.  Rog realized he was lying on a cot.  His eyes were, in fact open, and he could see fine.  What he still couldn’t do was move.

“Can you loosen up the spell on his mouth.  I’d like to talk to our guest.”

Rog’s mouth popped open and he gasped.  “Ahhh.  You know, it’s a good thing that it’s fall and not spring, boy.  I get terrible hay fever.”

The redheaded woman looked back to the person at the door, who Rog couldn’t see, and then back.  “And this is a concern to me… why?”

“That trick with my mouth.  If I was hella congested, you might have killed me or something.”

The redhead looked at him, puzzled.  “You are here, immobile, and after how you got here you are … I … hm…”  The woman walked back to the door and closed it.  The lights went out again.

Rog could hear rustling in the hall and some voices, but they stayed quiet.

“Hey!  Hey!  I gotta pee.  Hey!”  He yelled.  After no one responded he said.  “Ah.  Never mind.  Just bring a sponge or something.”  Again nothing.

He’d started to think about taking a nap when the door opened again, and the light came on.

“Dude.  He’s been immobile all this time?”  It was Donnie’s voice.  At least he thought it was Donnie’s He hadn’t been in good shape the only time he saw the guy so it’s hard to tell.

“You know I can hear you, right?”

“Oh hey!  Yeah.”

Donnie and the Redhead came to where he could just see them.  “You know Donnie, I don’t see why we’re even bothering.”

“You’re bothering because boy are you guys in trouble!  And it’s getting worse by the minute!”

They both looked at him.  Donnie with a puzzle and Red with a smirk.  “How do you figure?” She asked.

“Well for one thing, I got the meter on.  Limo ain’t cheap and while I was helping your boy here get to his meeting I was on the clock.  Totally legit.  Like waiting on a fare, you know?”

“No, I’m not… ”

“Yeah, and I figure I been out for at least an hour…”

“Better part of a day, really,” Donnie said.

“A day!  Oh boy.  You guys screwed it.  After 12 hours I’m double time!  Keeps people from using short term limos as their own personal drivers, you know.  We got rules about this shit and I’m union!  You don’t fuck with the union.”  He looked at them, then tried unsuccessfully to blink.  “you guys are screwed.”

Red looked at the man as if addressing a child.  “Ok look, as fascinating as this is, Donnie, please tell me why this guy isn’t going down the memory hole?”

Donnie fiddled with his hands.  “Well, I feel like I kinda owe him.  He kept me from getting seriously hurt.”

“Yeah.  And about that.  What are you doing, going off like that?”

He shrugged.  I wanted to play pool.  Guess I was too good for those guys.”

Red scrunched her face.  “We will buy a pool table.  We have some considerable problems now and we can’t have people going off.  At the very least you should have had some muscle with you.  It’s a good thing we have a tracker for you.”

“One of *my* trackers.  Yeah.” Donnie said, a little defensively.

“You guys know I’m right here.  And my eyes are really fucking uncomfortable.  I would really like to blink now.”

To the door she said, “Hey, you can let him have his head.”

“Argh!” Rog closed his eyes and it was like sandpaper.  “My eyes … feel … like a Dead show.  Visine!”

Red rolled her eyes.  “So, this is some kind of blood debit, Donnie?”

“You make that sound dumb. I just feel like I owe him is all.  Doc said I’d be dead if I hadn’t gotten to him, much less taken a few more hits.”

“Well I’m stuck with him now.” Red sighed.  “This day just … ugh.”

“Does this mean you gonna pay my fare?”

“I think so?” Donnie questioned, looking at Red.

Red turned, her long straight hair flying with the twist.  “Well, about that.  You see… you know that nice lady that dispatched you and gave you the tracker?”

“Nice lady?  Gladys is the biggest bitch I’ve ever met!”

“Well she’s had an accident.  Ran off the freeway and into a pole.  Terribly sad.  Freak mechanical failure.”

“No shit.  Well that boyfriend of hers was a mechanic.  Kept tinkering with the cars around the shop.  Probably fucked that up.  I wonder if he feels bad or relieved?”

“Hm.  Well yeah.  And you know Mr. Randal, the owner of your limo company?  Yeah, his house had a fire.  I’m afraid he died of asphyxiation. Another… accident.”  She drew out that last word, sounding ominous.

“Yeah, well, he always was a cheap ass.  Probably didn’t change the smoke detector batteries when you fall back like they say you should.  He was a cheap ass like that.”  Rog hung his head. “Little sad though.  How’s the dog?”

“Dog?”

“He had a dog.  One of those yappy little things don’t like nobody but his owner.”

“I … ” She squinted at Rog.  “Exactly how dumb are you?”

He flinched, screwed up his face and then looked around.  “On what scale?”

“I’m sorry?”

“What’s the scale?  I mean, there’s Einstein on one end and a rock on the other.  We going metric here or what?”

The redhead shut her eyes and shook her head.  “Just… Shut up.”

“Ok, but you’re getting my fare, right?”

“Donnie.  He’s your puppy.  Get him a room and get him out of my way.  We’re in lockdown until we know what’s going on with Ted.”  She stormed out of the room.

The two men looked at each other.  “You look like shit.” Rog said.

Donnie looked down and then up.  “And you look like you pissed yourself.”

“Hey, I told them I had to go.”

“Yeah, whatever.  Come on.  Can you walk?”

Rog sniffed, gave a cocky grin and said “Yep” as he stood up and promptly fell on his face like a sack of loosely tied sausages.

“Oh geez!” Donnie said, moving to help him up.  He winced as he started to bend over and felt his head.  “Uh.  the doctor said I’m not supposed to bend over or do anything strenuous.  And helping you up is both.”  He looked at Rog trying to move.  The sloppy, sliding motions had no power behind them and he flopped, ragdoll like on the linoleum.

“Yeah, well, I thought this might be comfortable for a while.”

“There must be some residual paralysis from the spell or some toxin left from the darts.  Or maybe you just have your extremities asleep from not moving in so long.  If so you should start to feel the pins and needles in…”

“AAAAAarrrrgggggh!!!!”

“I guess about now.  Try to move around.”

“What?  Screw you pall!” Rog laid out on the floor and tried to hover, spread eagle.

“No, it will help.  I think.  That’s what I always do when my hands or legs fall asleep.”

“What so this shit happens to you often?”

“Well, I spend a lot of time in the lab not moving much so… yeah.”

Rog moved his thick, stumpy legs to lift his knees and threw his right hand onto his chest.  “RRRRRrrg  That’s kinda pathetic, dude!”

“Well, it’s a lifestyle choice.  Not all of us are the physical type!” Donnie put his fists on his fat hips. “I’m an intellectual!”

“Yeah, I can see that.”

“You know,” Donnie said in a high-pitched lilt. “I’m tempted to tell Red that she was right and that blood debits are kind of for pussies.”

“AAaaaarr.  Dude, don’t be a baby.” Rog managed to flop over, which made the wet spot on his pants all the more apparent.  “And what was she talking about with a lockdown?”

“Well, you heard all about our problems with our boss?”

“Yeah.  Orange overlord.  Meanest of the mean.  Got it.”

“Well you don’t got it.  We run Flanderal industries.  Ted’s company.  His legitimate company.”

“Your right.  I don’t got it.  The guy that owns Flanderal’s got to have serious bank.  Why is he fucking around being the Orange Overlord?”

“Well it’s complicated, but there are synergies between the two organizations.”

“Organizations?” Rog could finally start to sit up.  “What organization.  The Orange Overlord was just one guy.”

“One guy that controls territory.  you can’t hold turf without boots.  It’s impossible to be that powerful.  You simply can’t be everywhere.  There is a structure and the Orange overlord is at the top.”  Donnie got sad and looked to the side.  “Or at least he was.  And none of us are quite sure what’s going to happen now.”

“So.  Question time… Why aren’t the feds on your ass right now?”

Donnie smiled.  “There are a lot of layers to the ownership of things.  Ted was clearly the majority stockholder, but that could have just been coincidence.  Everything is highly compartmentalized.”

“Like a terrorist organization.”

“More like an army.  Don’t confuse criminal with sloppy.”

“All right.  Fine.” Rog got up on one knee and one hand and hoisted himself up on wobbly legs.  “Great.  So, you’re organized.  You still worked for a bad guy.”

Donnie looked up at him.  “Well, so did you.”

“Excuse me?” Rog squinted.

“Atlas limo.  A wholly owned subsidiary of Trinary transportation, which is owned by Confed delivery which is owned through an offshore shell company by Flandearal.  You work for the orange overlord.”

Rog smirked.  “Worked, you mean.”

“Have you ever heard the phrase, ‘out of the frying pan and into the fire?'”

As they left the room, Rog said, “Nah.  I don’t cook much.”

Minions – NaNoWriMo Day 2 – First Night

 

Minions – Another Prologue – And This is Where it Started to Get Weird

With the guy, Donnie, Roj had to correct himself, his name was Donnie, still over his shoulder Roj limped into the room.  The guy weighed a ton and based upon the squishy feel of his torso it wasn’t from lifting weights.  Roj slit the man clumsily into the nearest seat and his hand reflexively scooting to the circle in front of him lit his chair.

Roj stepped back a pace.  He was amazed that the guy could still move.  A beating like that should have left him leveled for a good couple hours if not longer, but in his experience he knew that was a rule of thumb.  No one could ever tell what a beating would do to a guy.

From the head of what he could see was an oval table, an alto voice broke through.  “Ah good.  Hi Donnie.  Glad you could fit us into your schedule.”

“Had to…” he swallowed.  “Had to drop by the lab first.”

The woman, red hair now blazing in the overlight at her position made the sound of a frown.  “You were to come here immediately.  Did you not get the message?”

The man raised his head with a drunken sway.  “No.  Broke in the fight.”

Around the table the half dozen or so other people Roj could see made little scoffing noises.  He knew better.  Donnie is lucky to be here at all.

“Ah…  Well I really didn’t think you needed the combat version, but I guess I’ll have to reasess.  Seems the time for that anyway.”  She stood and stepped around her chair.  The front of the room lit up as she moved, revealing wall screens.  “It’s good that we’re all here because we have some work to do.  You see, the Orange Overlord has fallen.  More specifically, he is in the custody of our local police force.”

Where there had been scoffs, there was now the non-sound of tension.  The red head hit a button on a remote and the screens lit up.  News reports and video from multiple sources appeared on the monitors.  A fight between the Orange Overlord and Commander Pain played on all screens.  “This is what I believe happened.  Ted took a date – Marcy, I think – to ‘La Province’ and somewhere while there he found he needed to power up and fight his way out.  Commander Pain has been making his plays for the city ever since the Heroes gave up and worked out the Orange Accords  to grant the Overlord dominion over a huge swath of territory in exchange for peace.  Apparently he made his latest play at Ted himself, though how he knew Ted Cal was the Orange Overlord is anyone’s guess.”

“This is very disturbing,” A man in a robe said.

The older, bookish woman next to him added, “And expensive.  This is going to kill Blazon industries.  When people hear that the majority stock holder of Blazon is the Orange Overlord…”

“Yes.  And that’s what we need to figure out.  Ted’s in jail right now.  What are we going to do to help him?”

She looked around at the faces at the table.  No one said a thing.  Aside from the man in the robe and the librarian lady, there was Donnie, a big muscular guy in a polo and a little sprightly guy.  None of them said anything.

“Well what the fuck is he doing in jail?”  Roj said.  He couldn’t help himself, really.  The silence was just creeping him out and he just hated that.

Everyone in the room looked at Donnie, who swayed, turned green and dry-heaved between his splayed knees.  Nothing came out.  He’d left it all in the back of Roj’s car.

“Who is that?  Donnie?  Who have you brought here?”

“Dude didn’t bring anyone.  I had to drag his ass here from the car, past his pigsty of a lab and here.  Ain’t no other way he was going to make it.” Roj was greeted by more silence so he added, “Dude took a pool cue to the head.”

“And you are?”  The redhead asked.

Roj started to look around in the shadows to try to find the door he’d come in.  Something didn’t seem cool all of a sudden.  “Me?  I’m Roj.  I had to go pick up your boy here using some kinda compass thingie.  Executech dispatcher gave it to me and said to make sure the guy got here.”  He motioned to Donnie.  “Here he is.  You know…  I figured he’d be leaving as soon as you realized his brains are scrambled, so I hung around.”

The redhead’s smiled with her mouth but not her eyes.  “How very industrious of you.  Tell me, Roj,” she said his name as if it were a joke.  “How much of what was discussed here did you hear?”

He scoffed.  “Look lady, I’ve been driving limo’s for five years now and I just never hear anything anymore, know what I mean?”  He smiled and looked around the room.  No one could see the smirk on his face.  He was still in shadow.

“How much?”  Her tone was cold and humorless.

Swallowing hard, Roj said, “Um… Just about everything, but really, I don’t say shit to nobody.  I mean, who the hell am I going to tell, amiright?”

“That is a very good question, Roj.”

“I’m pretty sure I was speaking hypothetically.  That’s … I mean sometimes I … people misunderstand.  I meant to say I can keep a secret.”

“And I am very good at ensuring people keep secrets, Roj.”  The Redhead pulled out a large white plastic gun from her hip holster and aimed it at Roj.  Darts the size of toothpicks slammed into his chest, sticking in and then melting into his punctured flesh.

“Ha.  Ah!  Oh.  Oh good I thought you were … we … I … park … shirt …” Roj hit the floor thinking unhappy thoughts about punching a woman.

Minions – NaNoWriMo Day 1 – When You Gotta Go

[Author’s note: I wrote today, the first day of National Novel Writing Month, but this is not what I wrote.  What I wrote will be the next posting.  Be forewarned.  This is a rough draft, even rougher than this, which is pretty rough.

Stay Weird

-SC]

Minions – Prologue – Yeah, So Here’s Where It All Started

A door flew open with a metallic clang as a man crashed through it.  He landed with a meaty thud and the scrape of dirt across old asphalt.

He scrambled to gain his feet, to get away from the door but only find the line of parked cars offering their bumpers.  Gasping for breath, he climbed one.  He only got as far as the trunk.

“Ya fuck.  Ya really think ya cheat me? At ma own place?” The big man pushed his victim’s face into the body work, then spun him back arched across the newly dented trunk.  Face full of new blood.

A right hook sent that blood flying across the alley parking lot.  The big man reveled in sadistic righteousness that extended to the two other men who had come to join him.  The victim’s face was out of expression, having spent it all on the fright that had been punched away.  The sadist pulled his arm back, a wicked grin of anticipation on his face for the next bow.

“You know, I wouldn’t hit him again.” The voice was deep and light coming from deep in the alley.  “Any more punishment and he’ll have brain damage, like you guys.  Can’t have that.”

“Ya?  And who the fuck ‘re ya?”

The man stepped into the light, confidently advancing on the scene.  Broad but not tall.  White shirt and black pants.  He took in half a hotdog into his mouth in a single bite and then said around it, “I’m his fucking mom.”  He swallowed.  “We’re late for soccer practice and the pudgy fuck needs to burn off some fucking mallomars.”

He took another huge bite and threw the rest into a convertible.  Chewing with his mouth open, he unzipped his pants and pulled out his penis.  Crumbs and flecks of meat dribbled down his shirt as he thrust his hips, letting his dick flap.

“Get him.” The big man said to his companions.

The now half naked man smiled at them pushing food through his teeth.  They looked at each other and backed away, shaking their heads.

“How about you? The man said through his food. “Wanna play?”

The big man threw the now barely conscious man to the ground and walked back through the door.  “Crazy Fuck.  Whatever, have him. Never come back.”

Stars descended on the man.  He stumbled to stay up on one hand while the other grabbed his nose. A thin orange line in a circle appeared were the blood ran through his palm.  The crunch of boots rose over the singing stars.

“So.  I am hoping that you are Donnie.”

The man nodded, trying to keep a hold on his nose and consciousness.

“Good.  We should get going.  That trick only works so well and I’m out of hot dogs.”  The man zipped his pants up as he walked back into the alley. A fob to turned on the lights of a car.  “You can walk, right?”

The injured man nodded and then fell to his knees shaking his head.

“Damn.”  The broad man went back to help the injured man up and helped him limp his way to the car.  “Must have taken a few licks inside.  What cha do, anyways?  No offense but you don’t seem like the bar fight type.”

“Thought I was cheating … pool.”  He walked a pace and then threw up on the ground.  They walked through it.

“Whatever.  Good thing I got this urgent call, then, or I’d be picking up at the morgue.  Come on.  Car’s just up ahead.”

Minions – Another Prologue – And This is Where it Started to Get Weird

[Author’s note:  This is the project for NaNoWriMo 2017.  I’m posting my words as I go so I don’t just write nonsense or political rants or porn.  These first two are prologues and they do not count towards the word count.  While not great, I have polished them a little.  Everything else, not so much.  I’m going to try to get the nonsense out of the draft before posting but no promises.  Hopefully there is enough story there to get me to 50K words.  If not… porn it is!

Stay weird

-SC]

The Strange – Episode 29 – InVision

Goldberg found himself pedaling his bike with it’s distinctive “bood-ie-hop-mmm” sound down thirteenth street towards eighth and away from campus.  He wasn’t quite sure how he’d made it this far, couldn’t think of how he got up the hill from the Pen, didn’t really remember saying good bye to Joy, though he did vaguely remember “If you need me, call me” and the concern on her face.

The red warning of the guy on the balcony and the craziness of Teague, of all people, knocking the guy’s lights out had spooked him.  He was only now coming back into his mind.

“What the ever-loving fuck?  I … I really wish I had just a second to slow down and think.  Hiding had clearly not worked for me.  Maybe running?…”  He realized that he was well beyond the turn off to Third, which would have taken him home.  Running was happening already.

“Gotta think.  Gotta clear my head.  Ganja was a bad idea.”  He snorted at that.  “Story of my life.”

The downhill slope of the street at this point made the noise of his tires into a hyperactive hiccup.  “Just got to think.”

His mind, still stoned, looked down at the post of the bike, where it met the handlebars.  Once again, he imagined himself as a tiny man watching this from the balcony of some kind of theater on a huge screen.  He’d had this feeling before, generally while high, and it always amused him.

He tried not to look at the corner of his vision, where the glasses cut off, but soon enough he noticed a peculiar tunnel vision.  More peculiar still, the rhythm of the noise from his ten-speed piece-a-shit slowed to his ear.

The tunnel in his vision popped away.  The cadence slowed even more.  Goldberg became concerned about balance and traumatic injury and road rash.  The view of the outside world receded and slowed still further until he could see the edges of the screen, notice the speakers.  Turning his head, he found the view to the outside still showed on a very huge screen.  That screen showed the handlebars and the now very slow passage of the street under his front wheel.

His view, his new view, the view of the little man inside of his head looking at the huge screen from a balcony, was … just that.  Except his seat was really nice.    Like one of those plush desk chairs that was good but not so overly ornate or big or high backed that you sagged into it.  A nice improvement over the worn bike seat that was giving him a wedgie the size of Kansas and was threatening to numb his junk.   He looked at his hands and feet.  Totally normal.  He was that little man.

This not being his first hallucination, he took full advantage of it and looked around, swiveling his chair.  The view over the balcony was into just a blank floor stories below.  The ceiling was way high and on his side of the balcony, it was a regular-sized ceiling with different screens and monitors lining the walls.  Turning almost all the way around he noticed a table with two drinks on it that had been slightly behind him with his original vantage point.  Grabbing the one nearest him, he saw a hand grab at the other.

He could have sworn he was looking in a mirror as he glanced up.  There he was, new haircut, red rose sunglasses, nose too big for either.  He waved his right hand and the other waved his left.

“You wanted to think and I thought it might be a good time to have a chat,” The Other said.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Loveless dreamed of black and white.  He’d worked on the problem with the model until sleep finally claimed him, yet his work followed him into his dreams.  Even here he hated surprises.  While there was color here in the dream, or there would be if viewed objectively, Loveless didn’t dream in black and white, he dreamed of black and white.

In this dream, loveless walked down University, just at the corner where Hogstown State started, past the bookstore and around the corner from the burrito place.   He looked at the color, the clear blue sky, the birds, the unrestrained throng of students and cars and bikes and everything.  Color and noise and indecision and formless nonsense and bustle.  All around – chaos.

The color was just one aspect of it, but it was emblematic.  It held no certainty.  Was this blue a black or a white?  Maybe it was a navy blue that looked like black.  Maybe it was a very dark blue that was impersonating black or was the blue in an LED streetlamp that impersonated white.   Would it be or not?  Would it appear or not?  Left or right?  Up or down.  The noise of it!  The chaos!

He brought his hand down hard and smashed the world flat.  The black of nothing was pierced in only two dimensions by this flat world as loveless once again raised his hand.  This time he made a passing wave and filleted the world by color, assigning each a dimension and either a black tile for present or a white tile for not present.  He could have gone with white for true and black for false, but it didn’t really matter.  At angles to these planes of color identification he created more superficial properties, cold and hot, again as numbers that would further be pivoted to yes or no, blossoming off as Loveless focused on more interesting qualities.  Moving or not moving, connected or separate.  To these he pulled his hand back and stretched them through time creating discrete points each with their own qualities, each manipulated and perverted to render themselves in being or not being.  Though this, Loveless formed order from chaos.  Certainty.

No scales.  It either is or is not or is probably white or not.

In his dream, the world swirled around as either or.  There was no gray.  It was or was not and then had the probability of either.  And then one probability affects the probability of other aspects to be in or not.  Black or white.

Loveless floated through his dream of black and white, certain of it all.  The dimensions and probabilities flowed around in certainty of being.  And even then, when a thing was probabilistic, if looked at close enough the outcomes themselves either are or are not in themselves.  What would be grey are vanishingly small points of certainty.

Color splashed through his certain world.  A new issue as yet unaddressed in the model he’d created.  Loveless dissected it with new dimensions.  Though it fought him, in the end, he was the master.  Even this splash of color would resemble a checker board by the time he was done with it.  He would will it.  Cut it.  examine it.  Find it’s pattern.  Find it’s certainty.

And he did.  This seemingly random issue came to a mundane wrinkle, like all others.

Except…

Before him lay a splotch… two splotches.  Red.

An obvious pattern laid across the white and black sea of constantly shifting dimensions and ever resolving probabilities.  Two red splotches.

A simple geometric pattern, yet they defied quantification.  They remained… qualitative.  Squirming.  He imposed his will and yet it refused to cooperate.

Frustrated, He reached out to pick it up.

The glasses, for that is what they were, slapped themselves to his face.  Everything became red as blood or the sickly black of bile.  Certainty shifted into chaos as dimensions collapsed and probability defied expectations.  The wave forms refused to collapse, no matter how hard he stared under this new sight.

He grabbed at his face.  The glasses, though crude and wirey, remained resolute.  All around, the struggle cleared away the carefully laid constructs that kept the hues of the uncontrolled world to a minimum and the scalars confined to ones and zeroes, left and right, up and down.  The certainty of is or is not broke down completely.

With a great expenditure of will, he wrenched the glasses free.  His bare eyes witnessed nothing short of chaos.  Color and form, property and action and relations all swirling randomly.  And within that colorful and misshapen form, danger lurked.  The chaos Loveless feared.  Things uncategorized and untamed haunted him from the cover of wavering confusion.  He began again to master this domain into the black and the white, but it no longer fit.  He could not find the thread.  The pattern changed and changed again.  Something kept it in motion.

He wandered off to find a truly dark place in this new world.  Finding it, he looked down at the glasses that changed his world.  He knew these glasses.  He knew who wore them.  Goldberg.  The jackass from the lottery, the Collector’s house, the picture Vic took of his weird ass wearing glasses, these glasses.

He put the glasses on once more and found that the world resolved back to a state of polar color, but instead of black and white, it was now blood and bile.

Well, Loveless could live with that.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A green canopy let only bits of light down to the forest floor.  In the distance, the village appeared, but that was not his destination.

Delgado realized that he was much too close to the ground, as if he were on a belly crawl.  The sounds of the jungle and the things that lived inside of it were all around and sharply in focus for him.  As he walked, he noticed, unsurprised, that his paws padded the well-worn path.  Splitting from the path to the village, he dove up the trail, tail lazily swishing in time to his stride.

He passed priests and astronomers, in their red and gold robes.  They all looked down with reverence at his form.  One day, he may eat one of them, and they would be glad for it.  Such are the ways of this time but for now, he was not hungry.  He had a meeting to keep.

He threaded his way through the increasingly familiar Aztec ceremonial complex, tracing the avenue east to west.  At the foot of he stepped pyramid at the center of the complex, he stopped, turned himself inside out around his navel, and stood as a man.

There were stares, he could sense them on his skin, but he paid them no mind.  On his powerful, tan legs he propelled his squat, muscular body up the stairs of the pyramid.  When he reached the platform, he lifted his arms high to the heavens.

As if to answer, a rift opened in front of him and a man wrapped all in cloth with a transparent window where his face should be stepped through.  It was apparent, that this was no man and he belonged on the earth not at all.  Through the window a single huge eye stared back.

The two, cat man and non-man stood at the top of the stepped stone pyramid for a while before the non-man spoke.

“So, are you going to put some clothes on, or do I have to be reminded of how you people procreate … again?”

Delgado could tell from his vantage point behind the cat-man’s eyes that this was not English or Spanish, but he could understand it all the same, just like with the other dream.

The man smiled.  “And since when did you get to be such a prude?  Nice get up!”

“Yeah, don’t remind me.  Squeezing my ass into this thing was a monumental undertaking.  Not everyone is so enraptured by the form you humans occupy. “

“Well, we could have asked you to come in the guise of a cat. “

“Blah!” The thing shook.  “You realize that I have to keep most of myself in a pocket dimension just so I don’t frighten the natives.  Have you any idea how badly that chafes?”

“Oh, poor baby.” The cat man smiled.  “So, pleasantries out of the way, old friend, I got your message.  How is it that I can assist you?  Oh, and make a bunch of grand gestures for the audience.  They love that shit.”

The man in the strange garb with an eye for a face turned to him.  “I’m not an attraction here.  That you keep up this ruse of divinity for these people is your problem.”

“Yes, well, as long as I’m running the narrative, they won’t gut me as I sleep.”

“Wonderful.”

The man smiled down at the watching crowd and said through gritted teeth, “Seriously, though, you didn’t come all this way wearing that to scold me for nudity.  What is going on?”

The being rolled his one single huge eye that only the cat man could see and raised his hands up and down.  “You remember the last time we worked together, right?”

“How could I forget?  The Azdomidans came through the dimensional rift under the river basin.”

“And you remember our allies?  The Knight, the Ninja, the Dark Warrior.”

“Yes, and you brought them all here with you.”  They both kept waving their arms up and down like idiots.

“No.  Those people are of this planet, just like you.  I followed the Azdomidans as they were planning to do to your dimension what they tried to do to mine.”

“Yeah.  Those guys were dicks.”

“And dangerous, Greedy.”  The non-man looked around, swiveling his body so his faceplate could allow his single huge eye to take in the scenery.  “I am not of this plane naturally but I quite like it.  I’ve taken to exploring it along with some of the others from that group.  And I have learned of and made alliances with others of this plane that are not of this planet.”

The cat man stopped waving and knitted his brow at the non-man.  “You found aliens?  Are they headed here?”

“Calm your fur.”  The non-man also stopped waving his cloth covered limbs. “These aliens had already made contact with the great civilizations of the west, east and the land beneath the great desert and the great island.  Places your ancestors never knew of or lost to their histories. They were given gifts, warnings really, or communications.  A way to … as you say … keep people like yourself from being gutted.”

The cat man gave the visitor the side eye.  “That isn’t making much sense, even for you.  You going to simplify that for me?  Remember, before I could skin walk, I was just a farmer, not even an astronomer.”

Delgado almost yelped in his sleep when the non-man pulled from a pocket in his garment the silver block.  He wanted to keep the cat man from reaching for it, since he was inhabiting that skin.  The silver thing stung like fire, he knew.

But it was smooth and cool in the cat-man’s hand.  “What is it?”

“It is a gift from civilizations that have come before any of the human civilizations.  Other beings have been touched by the same ineffable magic – even for a being such as myself there is no better term for it – that touches you and the others.  It is an emissary of the ones who have traveled before and travel still.  It helps weigh the weather and keep the storms at bay, lest they rip this world asunder.”

He palmed the device.  “So, I’m supposed to keep this and it will make me safe?”

“No.  It keeps you safe by giving it away.”

The cat-man blanched.  “To who?”

“To one of them.”  The non-man pointed his finger down the side of the pyramid at the crowd.  “But choose wisely.  Some of your people are kind of dumb.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“It’s reflex,” The Other told Goldberg.

“Reflex?” He said, not quite tracking.

The Other took a sip of his drink and set it on the coffee table.  “Look.  You asked specifically for the power to show things that were relevant.  Those things pop up in your hind brain way before you can intellectualize them.  So… reflex.  If a basket-ball were headed towards you, you wouldn’t calculate the trajectory, you’d just put your hands up or duck.  Knowing you, probably the later.”

“Do you have to be a jackass?”

“Well, I am you, dude.  You are naturally self-deprecating.”

They both shrugged, knowing the truth of it.

“So, putting Joy in the path of a bullet… ”

“A bullet that was headed toward your junk, by the way.”

“Well, yeah.  But doing that … That was reflex?  She could have died!”

The Other took another sip then shook his head.  “Nope.  You came here to think, so think.  Joy and Sarah both have the same weird hair thing, right?”

“Yes.”

“Examine that.  Focus your power on it.  And don’t pussy it. Really dig in.”

The answer came to him almost immediately.  “They… How can they have the same number of hairs on their heads?  That’s statistically…”

“They are the same person.  It’s fucked up, but it’s the most likely solution.  So, if one gets shot, the other takes half the blow.  That’s what we were working with.  Panned out.”

Goldberg gaped and The Other waved his hand.  “Dude, come on.  Don’t be all shocked and amazed with me.  You knew this.  At least you suspected it the second Sarah showed up at the Pen.”

“This more reflex?”

“No.  Look, you really need to think a bit about what the power you have really is.  Luck… at least our luck, is just foreknowledge plus reflex.  But it’s so much more.  You can divine the likely output of all things physical.  The relationships between things.  And it’s everything!  Be very, very glad that the first thing you did was to put a damper on this thing or else you’d be drinking from a firehose.”

“So… Why aren’t I again?”

“Because you asked, right when the power really began to manifest, to be told what was relevant or painful or when you asked.  The power wrapped itself around that as a permanent feature.  So, you need to concentrate on something for the relationships to appear.  And be super glad that you also got a huge upgrade on your ability to process information from the power, but we also keep that from you and use it to crank through the combinations and permutations.  That’s the only way to figure out relevance and harm.  As you instructed.”

“You say ‘We’…”

“Turn of phrase.  Pronouns get really fucked up here.  You are actually part of the ‘we’, after all. Consider me or us as the back office.  You are the front man.  Or just don’t think of it at all, but try using the resources your power gives you once in a while.  You are going to have to work on this.  So far, you’ve only been reacting to things the power gives you because they are an immediate threat.  You can do much more if you thought about it.”

“Ok, fine.”  He looked around.  “I gotta say, sitting here all plush while my meat body is out there cranking away is a nice plus.”

“You’ve only been here for a handful of seconds.  There is a time dilation because you are perceiving this weird-ass space ship delusion at the speed of thought.  And you can talk to yourself awfully fast.  Besides, you can’t do this for very long.  You’d do something stupid.”

“Like what?”

“Trip, run into a pole, hit a rock the wrong way.  You aren’t paying attention to your surroundings.  The mechanism behind it really doesn’t matter.  The effect is the same.”

“Well that’s …”

“Look, you wanted to think, so think.  You didn’t do this so you could drink imaginary Electrogreendrink with your imaginary other self, you came here to think.  What’s on your mind?”

“You mean aside from your little intro to how the power works?” Goldberg was starting to get annoyed with himself interrupting him. “OK.  What the hell am I doing?”

“That’s a good place to start.”

“And how did all this start?  Who is chasing me?  And why?”

“I think you’ve got a good idea about the why.”

The room changed.  Suddenly, Goldberg was in the entryway to Bill’s house.  The huge mess in the front room gave him the same crazy fractal spiral, rendered in translucent non-color.  Everything was exactly as he remembered it.

“Yeah.  Fuck.”

“You’ve been ignoring it,” the voice of the other said out of nowhere.

Goldberg shouted up at the high ceiling.  “I’ve been trying to stay ahead of it, actually.”

“By going off for hours and getting high?  By putting yourself in public view to get your lottery cash?”

“Hey, I needed to do that today or I got nothing.”  He felt the need to raise his voice, like he was shouting at the sky. “At least I didn’t go in to City Hall and the epicenter of all things Cop.  And what was that with the lottery anyway?  Was that you?”

“Initial burp of the power.  Reflex.  We were kinda sick of being poor.  So, we looked at the balls for the drawing, looked at where they would be and got the numbers.”  The Other mumbled in its disembodied voice, “Actually, a bit of a crap shoot.  They might have mixed things up more on us.”

“Just like that?  More reflex?”

“Yep.  Not terribly subtle, but it worked. Given the initial state and the action, the outcome was preordained.  Tada!  No longer poor.”

“But known…”  He looked at the door to the kitchen where he knew Weird Bill’s body stood, propped up.  “…Hunted.”

“We didn’t know you were going to be stepping hip deep into shit when we did it.  That was a week ago.”

“Again, with the ‘we’.  Fuck you all.”

“We’ll have an orgy in your honor later. Now focus.”

The room changed back and Goldberg mumbled into his drink.  “I don’t wana.  I don’t need to see it again.  My first dead body and it had to be someone I liked and knew well but wouldn’t exactly call a friend.  You’d think if I had to avenge someone, I’d at least, like, be buddies with them or something.”

“Well, we don’t get to pick our first corpse.  Does thinking about the ‘why’ resolve things for you?”

“No.  Why didn’t the cops want to take a statement?  Why haven’t they found me by now?”

“That last bit, that’s more reflex.  We’re routing your random wanderings around them.  It only works because it’s a passive search, but it’s worked so far.”

Goldberg got tired of being surprised and instead hung his head.  “So, I didn’t know about it, but I’m hiding from the cops?”

“Sure!”  The other leans back and rattles off the day.  “Dan talks you into going to the secluded woods, your desire to ‘disappear’.  Someone chases you and shoots darts at your ass and you go have lunch instead of calling the campus police?  You haven’t been mindful or purposeful, so your hind brain and your reflexes have been moving you around to best advantage.”

He looked up.  “That’s fucked.”

“Not really.  Ninety percent of all human activity is just one big shrug.  It’s the really rare thing to contemplate one’s actions.”

“Ok, now that’s fucked up and depressing.”

“Yes, but it gives the power here a little bit of something to hold onto with humans.  We can’t determine what a human will do, but given the default, we can expect them to do that.  That’s how we got Officer Small to be right where he needed to be.”

Goldberg sank back into his chair.  “Well, as long as it keeps me safe.”

“Oh, you aren’t safe.  You’re still fucked.  I can keep you from random cops, but that other guy is both active and … wrong.”  The Other scrunched up and visibly shivered.

“Yeah, I got that too.  It set off my alarm like crazy.”

The Other looked like he smelled something rotten.  “It shouldn’t be alive. Not like that.  Its arm was broken and it didn’t even notice. And this was before Teague broke most of the bones in its face.”

“So, what are you saying?”

“Don’t know.  No information.  But, and this is just me as your other me talking, I’d stay the fuck away from that thing and maybe … and I understand that this isn’t your strong suit, but bear me out … maybe you need to be more proactive here.  Whatever this is, it’s going to find you.  You can be ready, or you can let it blindside you.”

There was a sharp sound in the room and the light changed.

Goldberg looked up and around.  “That can’t be good not good.”

The Other looked alarmed.  “Yeah, That’s the power and it’s telling you to wake the fuck up. Been nice chatting!  Remember to think.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Goldberg instantly found himself biking along thirteenth again.  He’d only gone a block in all the time he’d spent wool gathering.  He used his power to focus on the bike.  It reported to him in a color that was not a color that the chances of it being involved in a catastrophic accident in the next few minutes was five percent and steadily growing.

A tan Buick slowly advanced with the traffic on Thirteenth street.  In the passenger’s seat, a man with Angry eyes poking out of a face covered in bandages had his arm slightly out of a window.  His hand, also bandaged, waved in the breeze.

A truck turned right ahead of them, exposing the hunched shoulders of Goldberg, pedaling away. The bandaged Mr. A pointed his hand towards Goldberg and a smile made of cracked and bloody teeth split the oozing gauze.

 

[Author’s note: Well, back.   Dad is up and about and back to giving me a hard time about my life choices.  Nice to have that continuity back.

I’m curious to see if anyone comes back to the strange.  You are here, of course, because if you aren’t here you wouldn’t see this, but I’m thinking of the other people and, of course, the robots, randos and people looking for porn and going away disappointed.  In other words, the internet.

From a story perspective, we’re finally starting to turn a corner here. And as far as my manuscript of already kinda finished chapters, it’s where the road starts to get bumpy.  This chapter, for instance, is completely new.

In any event, I’m trying to find my groove again and we’ll see what that groove winds up being.  I’m also going to do NaNoWriMo in November with a new story “The Minions of the Orange Overlord” as a further attempt to recapture my mojo.  I’ll try to get some episodes in the can so there won’t be another huge pause.

As always, votes on top web fiction, likes and follows are super helpful to spread the word for the story.  And also, you can… you know… just spread the word.  That works too!

Stay Weird

-SC]

The Strange – Episode 28 – A lot to Learn

“Central!”

Central jumped as she called out his name. It had been some time since their morning training and he clearly thought she had slipped out. The sudden realization that she never left put metal into his spine and rang him like a tuning fork.

“Yes! Um yes Bee. Central, go ahead.”

The wicked smile on Bee’s face was almost audible in the silent dark of the central monitoring station. “When was the last contact with Mr. Aye’s unit?”

“I…I don’t know, Ma’am.”

“You don’t know?”

The temperature of the room dropped a few degrees and it made Central stutter. “I…I’m just handling our routine security. I thought you were handling the … Uh … intelligence gathering.”

“And your unit does not report in?”

“Well he’s supposed to, but he hasn’t. I… Uh… Please don’t hurt me, but I thought he was reporting to you, like we loaned him to your team and you were controlling him. We don’t play offense here, just defense. I have to stay out of that stuff in order to work in the office.”

“So, you don’t actually know what we do here?”

“Well… No. I route phone calls, I watch monitors for unauthorized people and route security. Those guys get their marching orders from other people. I mean, I know this stuff is shady, and quite frankly, you people scare the shit out of me, but I don’t actually know what you are doing.”

Her voice softened. “Well then I apologize. So, no contact from your man Carl?”

“No. We do log these things and there’s nothing.”

Ms. Bee pulled her lips in, and the lines in her face deepened in the shadow of the room. “If you get any contact, call me. I will be available. Please, keep up your surveillance. Remember our lesson and reinforce it with the others in your group. We will be visited with hostile intent.”

“How do you know?”

Ms. Bee let her smile reflect the glare of the monitors. “I don’t, but I’d rather be wrong than in jail … or dead.”

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Mr. Aye came back to the world in the solar powered broiler of the Buick’s back seat. His face was one big bruise, his eyes were blood red and when he blew out, purple blood came out in little droplets. The drug store parking lot gave no cover from the heat and glare, even here around in the back, near the dumpsters. Mr. Aye didn’t seem to notice. Now that he was conscious, he thought about his prey.

“Goldberg.” He said the name while crawling out of the back of the car, disturbing a stray dogs inspection of the dumpster. “Dude lives like a pig. Juvenile, decadent pig. Makes me sick.”

He found his footing on asphalt so hot it softened the plastic of his shoe soles and cooked the blood that dropped from his face. A spot of shade on a narrow strip of grass that separated his parking lot from it’s neighbor called to him He wandered over. Again, the stray dog startled and growled protectively in front of his dumpster.

“Fuck you, dog.” Mr. Aye sat heavily, every bruise and ache complaining. “Lucky to be here. That bastard had a punch.” He spat again, noticing the absence of blood. “Heh. Lucky. Take that Mr. Goldberg. You aren’t the only one with luck. Shit, I survived the fucking Gulf War… twice, Contras, and countless wars with no names. And you, you fuck, you wind up with a hot girlfriend and more money than God for doing what? Sitting here, getting high and teaching kids to count?”

Thick hands rubbed over the purple and yellow bruise that was Mr. Aye’s face. He winced at the pain, but it focused his thoughts. Raw hate sparked in his eyes. “I’m going to get you, mother fucker. It’s my mission and I’m going to enjoy ending you.”

A sudden barking erupted from the dog, directed at Mr. Aye. The hired gun stayed perfectly still, eyes staring into the distance. The agitation in the dog’s bark increased. It repeatedly pounced forward and retreated, trying to scare Mr. Aye. Still the man did not budge

The dog quickly looked around, then appeared to change tactics. It slinked closer to Mr. Aye, growling all the while. It stayed beyond an arm’s reach of the man and crouched low. The growl exposed every one of the dog’s teeth all the way to its gums.

Mr. Aye’s eyes flicked over to the dog.

The dog yelped.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Carl strolled across the parking lot carrying a bag of first aid supplies and two sodas. Getting into the driver’s seat he said, “Here’s your fucking cola. Bandage that face before you go scaring children.”

From the passenger’s seat, Mr. Aye grunted. He swept up the soda in one meaty hand while the other grabbed at the medical supplies.

“You’re welcome, jackass”

“We’re going north, around to the other side of the campus. We’ll cut him off up there.”

“So, you called in and got some intel or something?”

“Uh…” He paused. “Yeah. Something like that.”

“Good. I’m glad we finally called in. Mr. Loveless gets particular about that kind of shit. So, north side. That’s pretty far pretty fast. You sure?

“Just do what I tell you. I’ve got a nose for things like this.”

They exited the parking lot as a smear of red came from behind the dumpster and seeped into the small strip of grass.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

The hot afternoon sun, the post-lunch food coma, and the eventual crash from that morning’s bong hits made the world seem burnt and all too real to Dan. The canopy of green played with the sunlight and it streamed down from the branches in pollen-filled beams along with the Spanish moss.

As he walked with Molly, the aging pervert considered the freshman’s short, round body. While he’d never been terribly picky and actually liked a little heft on his women, Molly had the look of someone who had given up on fitness for good. Dan didn’t care. Fat, crazy, needy. These weren’t problems. Problems were for people who did relationships. Goldberg had problems, Dan had opportunities. And Molly? She was female and that meant he was waiting for an opening.

“I could use a coffee. You know if we finished off the coffee this morning?” The sound of the young woman’s voice was both strangely familiar and somewhat out of place to Dan’s ears. She hadn’t said much this morning, not much that made sense anyway, and somehow this straight forward, practical question was odd.

His response was cool yet friendly, betraying little of his thoughts. “If not, I can direct you to the Quick mart. I’ve been up since last night, so no coffee for me. More bong hits, maybe, but no coffee.”

“Oh yeah, I forgot. You are nocturnal. Isn’t that a little weird?”

Dan shrugged. “Nah. You find work or the work finds you. I’ve worked hard to get a life where I don’t have to work so much. Weird shifts are a part of it. Pays well.”

They rounded the corner to the street where Dan shared the apartment with Goldberg. It was the only quiet side street that had been paved recently, so there were a bunch of kids doing skateboard tricks on homemade ramps.

“But what about girls?” She searched for his eyes as they walked. “Don’t they, like, have a problem with it?”

He smiled and looked out for errant skateboarders. “I suppose the right girl won’t mind so much.” The clacking skateboards of a half-dozen young daredevils swirled around them as they approached the apartment. Shuffling up the dusty driveway, they slid through the open lower door.

Climbing the stairway, Molly said, “Well, I don’t mind it. Especially on a hot day, it makes all the sense in the world to sleep past this heat.” She got to the door to the apartment and pushed it open without a second thought.

“Well, you know… If you wanted to join me…”

She turned around with a shocked look on her face. Dan tried to keep his careful mask of nonchalance in place, wondering if he’d just made a huge mistake.

“I… I never thought you’d ask,” she said with a blush.

“Well, I didn’t want to rush it,” he replied with a grin and an internal sigh of relief.

Halfway hiding behind the door, she made flirty eyes at Dan. “So, can I make you a bong hit, Dan? Will you be able to stay… up… for me?”

He grinned. “Never a problem.”

Molly walked into the cluttered apartment with Dan now nakedly ogling the way her behind wobbled in her shorts. “Uh, Dan?”

“Yeah.”

“I think the cats got into your stash.”

His anticipation broken, he finally noticed that the coffee table was a total mess, the rolling tray upended and weed spilled out on to the floor.

“Crap! Look at this mess. Billie!” Dan went off looking for his cat.

He came out of the bedrooms with a blurry eyed white cat in his arms. Back at the coffee table, he picked up what could be salvaged. “At least they didn’t knock over the bong. Dang, they ate a lot of this. They are going to be acting weird all day.”

“Why? What do they do?” Molly asked.

“Junior turns into the ‘great gray hunter’ and Billie mostly just sleeps or chases stuff. They are hyper-annoying, though, so they get to play outside today. Besides, I think we want to be alone, don’t you?” He flashed a leering grin then turned and called into the house. “Junior!”

 

~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Delgado drifted through the confused recesses of his own mind as it coped with the new doors opened and rooms created by the silver. In reality, he was in a toy car in the hot sun, but that world was lost to him now.

Thoughts drifted to dreams and dreams became crazy and jumbled, but surprisingly lucid. Delgado had not been much of a lucid dreamer. This nap though, this was something different and he knew it.

He began high above the desert, flying backwards, watching the sun set in the east. He knew it was east because a huge compass lay just beneath him, attached to his sternum with the north pointing off his left hand.

Bright light entered his eyes and then washed down to the color of sand. As the brightness faded further, the sand separated into a naked blue sky above and sand below. The horizon slowly sharpened and in the sand he could see acres of crops being planted along neat rows. The novel channeling of the far off river turning the silt to mud. Further focus found people in the fields wrapped in simple loin cloths, their bronze skin and dark hair marking their African heritage.

Delgado became momentarily disoriented as his view of the scene shifted suddenly. He realized that he was looking through someone’s eyes and that the viewer had been looking out a large, open window. Now the person whose eyes he was gazing through walked through the room. A high, thatched roof made of palm fronds kept the sun off of the dozen or so people examining papyrus documents and waiting for an audience with the man in the gold chair at the other end of the room.

“Nur!” a man called out, running forwards. Though Delagdo couldn’t understand the words, the meanings were plain as anything he’d ever heard in English or Spanish.

“Minister Makek. To what do I owe the honor? “

“Nur, I was wondering.”

“And what is it that I might help you with?“

“Well, it’s your brother. I was wondering if you might talk to him again.”

The man named Nur sighed. “Defense Minister, you have me in a bind. You know that my family is forever and always at the ready to serve the Pharaoh.  We are loyal people.”

“Yes, we understand. But the Assyrians from the East … Nur, they are a threat to us all!”

“I am aware, which makes my bind all the more painful to me. Pray thee, walk with me to my brother.”

The Minister stiffened. “I… I’m not…”

“Come now, Minister. We’ve talked of this before. My brother is a man and a simple man at that. I myself witnessed his birth. I myself had to shelter the boy, lest he fall to rogues. Retain a calm tongue and you’ve nothing to fear from my brother.”

“But if I’m to convince him to help us defeat the Assyrians once and for all, I must, I’m afraid, give evidence of the righteousness of our cause. These people are animals!”

“Then I’m afraid we reach, once again, my bindings. My brother is both simple in mind and quality and is, by his nature, very gentile. The thought of anyone suffering, even a foe – for he does not distinguish, upsets him greatly. You would have him aid our Pharaoh by bringing him to war, but his is the mind of a child. As such, he is much more attuned to playing with blocks.”

The pair crossed the room and swept aside palm frond doors and sheets of linen that separated the main room from the patio outside. The strangeness of the scene presented to Delgado in his dream made him question its truth. There on a pillow of white sat a young and frail boy with almost pitch black skin. He drank in the hot sun. Around him flatten disks of gold made crude mirrors that reflected even more sun onto him. If anything the blackness of his skin became even blacker for the light as it let no reflection escape.

As for the boy himself, his smile was docile and wistful. The glare around him was intense but the boy did not seem to notice or care. Instead, he looked off into the distance. There, Delgado could see both a quarry and a building site.   The site held the bottom third of a massive stone pyramid. As he watched, a gigantic stone rose up from the quarry and made its way over the land resting on a beam of golden light. It slowly rested on top of the incomplete pyramid and the boy stuck out his tongue, manipulating the stone into place. When he was done, he smiled again.

The boy noticed his audience and smiled even brighter. “Triangle and a square. Sun, Moon. The path of heaven in stone.”

“Yes brother, you have learned well of our spirits. You follow the instructions of our Priests and Architects. The gifts they have given you, you continue to repay.” Looking over at the Minister, he said, “To build is a calling, brother. Be safe with the men and give to the gods.”

The Minister’s eyes fell even as Nur smiled.

The boy turned back to the quarry where the quarry master had just raised a white and a red flag up, waving them. “Ah! Another block.” The boy’s skin seemed to suck the light in from the sunshine and the mirror’s refection. He smiled and stared again into the distance. The huge stone block rose from its place in the quarry and he said, “I like blocks.”

Nur turned to the Minister, who shied away from the boy. “Minister, we would like to help but it appears that all we can do is free up the men and resources while still giving our Pharaoh a just and fitting final home, a gateway from this world. My brother, though miraculous, is no weapon of war.”

The Minister stood straighter. “I can see that now.   Not all power is force. But we must remain vigilant. You say this boy is no god, I disagree. Let us pray that should the Assyrians find one of their number with similar qualities that they should be so peaceful.”

As the Minister turned from Delgado, looking through Nur’s eyes the scene washed out into the glare of the sun coming through the passenger side window of the micro compact car. Delgado shook his head, his real head, and tried to straighten out.

“Good morning sunshine,” Belatran said. “Or really, good evening.”

“What time?” Delgado said, but realized that he already knew. The silver had given him an internal clock. “Three thirty?”

“Yeah.”

The solid marine tried to untwist himself from his sleeping position. “What are we doing?”

“I’m asking questions, talking to people, getting the lay of the land.   You’ve been taking a nap.”

“Oh shit! Sorry.”

“Nope. No need. You are getting your training in.   History.   Let me guess, Nur?”

“Uh… yeah.   Did that…”

“Yep. Nowhere near the earliest, but interesting.”

“What happened to him… the kid”

“Pretty sure he eventually died.”

“Well, yeah, but… nobody bothered to note this, that he built the pyramids?”

“To be fair, he only helped with a few. The rest was blood and sweat. Look, recorded history gets weird around powers. The more power at play, the less reliable things get. People can’t handle the idea of powers so it all becomes folklore, explained away, outright changed and forgotten by the same forces that produce the strangers in the first place.”

“That’s convenient.”

“Yeah, but get used to it. These strange things happen but it’s hardly ever truly random. Too many coincidences. It’s almost like someone is fucking with us just to make it interesting.”

“Ah, now you are just being paranoid.” Delgado once again broke out into a big yawn. “It’s not like someone is watching us or anything.”

“You say that now.” He watched the younger man snuggle back into a nap position despite the heat. “You’ve got a lot more to learn.”

The Strange – Episode 29 – InVision

[Author’s note:  Back again in Houston.  Dad finally got out of the Hospital and though according to all of the doctors he’s not only extremely lucky to be alive but it’s a straight up miracle he doesn’t seem to have any lasting damage, he’s super weak.  And cranky.  Weak and cranky.  Glad to have him though.   So, The Strange hasn’t been a priority.  Sorry.

Thanks to everyone who has voted for the story on top web fiction and helped to spread the word that it’s here.  The likes and the votes and such help other people find the story, so if you could please help me out by keeping those coming I’d really appreciate it.

I hope this episode finds you all well and still enjoying the ride.  I hope to post again soon, but my posting schedule hasn’t been regular for quite some time and I don’t believe that will change soon, maybe not until the next project.  I’m working from a draft and frankly some episodes need more help than others.  Between the recovering Dad, and everything else that seems to be cratering this summer, I’m not sure I can promise that I can do much of any thing with regularity.  However, I am committed to being a weirdo, so you got that.

Stay Weird

SC]

 

 

The Strange – Episode 27 – Take Your Best Shot

The doors of the Pen opened out into the bright sun of early afternoon.  The concrete plaza outside reflected the sun back up and made everyone but Goldberg squint.  Two sides of the plaza, one opposite them and one to their right had walkways one flight up and there was a set of concrete stairs going up just outside the door.

“Well, I’ve got to get back to my office to finish up grading papers,” Joy said facing toward Goldberg.  “Remind me later never to make an assignment due on Friday.”

“Now where have I heard that before?  You are clearly taking council from a wise man.  And I’ll… I’ll stay in touch.  Ok?”

“You’re cute when you are stoned and awkward.”

Dan slapped Goldberg and turned toward the bikes they had rode down on earlier.  “I’m done, dude.  Time for me to turn in and call it a day.  Try not to blow up the house or if you do, try not to wake me up.”

Goldberg turned to Joy as the group broke up. “So, I’ll see you later?”  his eyebrows gave away the neediness in his eyes, obscured behind the rose-colored sunglasses.

“Maybe,” she said, fingers straightening out his new haircut. “Now that you look presentable.”

“Yeah, well… This really hot hairdresser gave me this nice do.  I think she was coming on to me too.  She kept pressing her boobs into my back.”

“Ah, you noticed that, did you?”  Joy put her arm around Goldberg’s neck and pulled him down for a long kiss.”

“You all need to get a room.” Sarah said and turned to go with Teague.  The two climbed the stairs that led to the upper plaza, leaving Joy and Goldberg to their kiss.

Dan wheeled his bike over to Molly.  “So where are you off to?”

“I don’t know, really.”  Her face darkened. “I guess I’ve got to figure out my life again and Joy was going to take me shopping later, but until then, I’ve really got no place to go.”

Dan looked around with eyes blazing red.  “Hey, well, you can hang out at our house.”

She sniffed.  “Really?”

“Yeah, sure.  You know how to get there from here?  You just follow…” He pointed up the stairs where Sarah and Teague were climbing but then looked back at Molly.  She looked clueless and more than a little cute.  “You know what, it’ll be easier if I just showed you.”  He walked his bike to the foot of the stairs and hefted it up to his shoulder with Molly bouncing behind.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hidden in the void between the wall of the student union and a planter holding a shrub, Mr. Aye opened his bag.  Inside he found, among other things, two guns.  One was a longer-barreled version of a revolver with a scope.  Kind of a cross between a handgun and a rifle.  This, he knew, was a medium range sniper rifle, at least in his trained hands, and with low-powder, subsonic ammo, as quiet as he could get.  The other was a longer version of the dart gun he’d used earlier.  More gas for more punch, better barrel for longer range, but still not lethal.

At that moment, with both guns in his hands, the door one tall floor down and across a paved courtyard Goldberg and his pack of idiots wandered into the sun.  “So much for catching them in the glare,” he mumbled.  “At least Carl got the head count right.”  The group formed clumps, then pairs.  Goldberg was entangled with one of the girls with funky hair.

Mr. Aye’s eyes squinted.  Veins appeared on his hands as he squeezed the guns tighter than necessary.  Without looking, he dropped the dart gun back into the bag.  He crouched behind a planter and steadied himself against the concrete.  Through the scope, he could see Goldberg’s smug, smiling face.

“Wing him,” Mr. Aye mumbled.  “Well, accidents happen.”

He went into his shot ritual.  Feel and mold your biology.  Breathe out, hold it, wait for the heartbeat to finish.

Ba-bump.  Squeeze.  Explode.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Hot expanding gases created a shock wave in a tiny space.  Lead jerked into motion, propelled by the gas and the wave, down a tube lined with swirling groves.  The tube was tight and the swirls cut the sharp point’s outer flesh, twisting it.  The pressure from the explosion did not relent, and the pointed lead projectile continued to accelerate. Twisting and pushing until it finally reached the end of the tube. It screamed spinning through the open air at fantastic speed toward the unsuspecting flesh of its target.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Goldberg and Joy continued to kiss.  After a while Joy broke it off.  “You know, this whole make-out as we are parting ways thing is really not my style.”

He smiled “Not really mine either, but I’m willing to make an exception.”

“It’s not like I’m evaporating.  I’ll see you again tomorrow.”  She chuckled as his hands were inadvertently tickling her.

“Yeah I know.  I just can’t shake the feeling like you are going to disappear or something.”

“Well you are just going to have to get over that.  Besides, I’m going to take Molly to get some clothes tonight after I finish grading papers.”  She glanced over to where Molly was following Dan.  “At least, that’s the plan.  You boys will just have to deal.”

“Sounds to me like you are ‘doing your hair’ or something.”

“Well! What! Ever!  You have fun getting lost, but here’s something to remember me by.” She jumped into his arms and gave him a big, playful kiss.  Goldberg wasn’t ready to be attacked like this and he stumbled back a good number of feet until he hit the front of the Pen.  By reflex alone, he quickly twisted Joy in his arms only by a few inches.  He noticed the sound of a fire cracker and Joy jumped.  With a naughty smile she said, “Whew!  Goldberg!  You pinch me like that again and I might have to give you a spanking!”

She kissed him again and Goldberg thought, “what pinch?”

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Up on the upper plaza, Sarah Grimaced and spun.  “Ouch! Fucker!”  She held her left butt right butt cheek and crumpled to the pavement.

“Sarah!  You ok?  Baby?”  Teague crouched down and put his big hands around his girlfriend as she sat on one cheek and winced.

“Yeah, it’s just… Ow!  What the hell was that?”

“What was what?”

“I just had this really sharp pain in… well… my ass.”

Dan came up the stairs with the bike over his shoulder and Molly in tow. “Man, you could at least have gotten more than a few feet away before you start talking about me.”

“Can the crap, stoner.  I think Sarah might have dislocated her hip or something.”

“Uh… ow… Actually, it felt like …  Like being shot with a rubber band or a pellet gun or something.  It stings like crazy, but I’m ok, I think.”

“Really baby?  Who would do something like that?”

Dan looked around the scene.  He narrowed in on the planters that lined the path where the plaza wrapped around the student union building, becoming a balcony.  “I’m just pitching, but maybe you should ask the guy with the gun over there?”

“Where.”  Teague’s voice dripped with chained rage.

Dan pointed before he thought better of it.  “Dude’s right there.  Between the bushes.  Just walk along the wall behind the planters and he’s right there.”

“What.  Where?”

“Right there!  Oh for shit sake.  Are you blind or something?  He’s hidden in the plant fucking thing right there.”

Teague took off mumbling, “Stay right here baby.”

“Teague!”  Sarah shouted.  “Don’t hurt him!  You’ll get suspended.”

“I’m already suspended.”  Teague said.  He squinted and followed Dan’s directions, running full steam.

Dan looked at Sarah and said, “Really?” His face clouded with loss.   “Ah crap, there goes the season.”

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Wedged in between the potted bushes and the student union’s wall, Mr. Aye manipulated his bolt action sniper rifle, ejecting the cartridge.  They had moved at the last second, but still, it was a dead-on hit.  Or it should have been.  But a look though the scope showed those two still sucking face.

“Bastard.”

Mr. Aye finally raised his head from his sight to see Teague barreling towards him.  He stood and calmly reached inside his jacket with his left hand while his right stayed in position on the sniper rifle.  His hand came out in a flash brandishing a black semi-automatic that looked small in his meaty hand.  The shot was almost casual, and dead on target.  Teague’s shirt exploded in a scorched rip, exposing his bronze chest between his pectorals.

A second shot ripped the shirt slightly to the left, but Teague kept coming.  He stepped right up to the man and grabbed him by the throat.  Two more shots went into Teague’s chest before Teague grabbed the gun and his hand.

“Dude.  Stop with them fucking bee bees.”

Wind had to force its way through the constriction in Mr. Aye’s throat before being formed into words, and even then, it also had to get through the bandages that now covered most of the assassin’s face.  “What Bee Bees?” He croaked out.

“Oh, you’re funny now.  You shot my girlfriend in the ass and now you owe me a new shirt.”

Mr. Aye’s eyes flicked over to where Goldberg and Joy are just now separating.  “Looks like she’s stepping out on you then.”  He tried to point with his eyes, but the way the big angry football player held him limited his motions.

“What the fuck did you just say?”  Teague’s eyes bulged out at the man dangling in his hand.  “You know I’ve been told today that I have an anger management problem.  They think I’m the same out of control street punk that came in last year, getting in trouble and shit, but you know what I say?  I say I’m being really fucking understanding here.”  He shook Mr. Aye by the throat and said, “Do I look like someone with an anger management problem?  I should kick your ass into paste, but I’m not.  You know what I’m going to do?”

“Urk.”

“Yeah, well, I’m not totally sure either.  But I am resisting the urge to throw you off this fucking balcony.  It’s not even a thing.”  Teague looked at Mr. Aye for a long moment.  “You familiar with the concept of Karma, mother fucker?  It means that if I do what I want to do and beat the ever-living crap from you, that I put a black mark on my own soul or som’thin’ like that.  But you see, Karma also says that you get what’s coming to you in the end.  Maybe not today, but some day, the bad man pays.

“Now here’s the deal.  You… are a Fucker.  A bad man.  You shot my girlfriend with your pea shooter and you ruined a perfectly good shirt.  It’s pretty well established that your karma here is pretty dirty.  You have some shit coming your way some day and some time, hanging over you like… like a fucking thing that hangs over you until it falls and wrecks your day.  But you know what?  I have the will and the means to help you out with that.  Right now.  You can pay right now instead of having it over your head, waiting to take you.  So, what do you say?  I’m feeling like being an agent of Karma.  How’s about we lighten that load you’re carrying around with you?”

“Merp!” the big man squeeked with nothing but his toes lightly tapping the ground.

“Great!  I thought we could work this out.  Now here’s the deal.  I’m going to punch you, but not in anger.  This is Karma for you and for me, an equalizing of the scales.  So I’mma hit you just once, but believe it…  I’m going to make it count.  You fucking deserve that.”  He reached back his enormous arm and said, “Say hello to karma, ya asshole!”

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

From where Carl waited in the car he could see the punch, hear the wet, meaty slap it made and feel himself cringe at the result.  No stranger to fights, Carl had an expectation of what a punch should look like.  This one seemed all wrong.  When a fist hits someone’s face, there is always an interplay between the two objects, a negotiation of breaking strength and kinetic energy, not that he’d think of it that way.  In other words, even at its most lopsided, the face gave a little back to the fist, either by slowing it or diverting the blow.  None of this happened here.  The fist just plowed forward toward a point three inches past the plane of Mr. Aye’s face and came back out.  Carl could see the mercenaries head snap back, but it wasn’t enough, especially since the big black man’s other hand held Mr. Aye’s throat steady.  It was brutal and quick, like a piece of machinery stamping out a hole in sheet metal.  And when it was over, the black man simply dropped Mr. Aye and walked away.  No rubbing of knuckles or massaging of forearms.

“Holly fucking crap!”  Carl started the tan sedan and hopped up the curb with a loud scrape.  Mr. Aye lay like a pile of meat.  He carefully drove past the wooden benches and concrete planters that lined the balcony and rolled to a stop next to him.  A practiced hand threw the car into park as he popped the door open and stepped out.  The guy that had thrown the sickening punch was walking away and Carl had no desire to get his attention.  He walked around the car and opened the door to the back seat.

Once again, he had to get an unresponsive Mr. Aye into the car.  This time he didn’t even try to be gentile and instead relied on leverage.  He unrumpled the big man’s body and rested his face against the seat cushion.  Putting Mr. Aye’s ass on his shoulder, Carl pushed against a concrete planter with all his might, causing Aye’s body to fold and scoot across the back seat.  His face provided the foothold for this action and it both scraped along the seat and supported his whole weight.  Soon enough, the meaty body was in the back of the car and Carl slammed the door.  “You’re welcome, you comatose piece of shit.  You’d better not be dead.”

The Strange – Episode 28 – A lot to Learn

[Author’s note: Sorry for the wait – again.  Lots of life issues plus a lot of anxiety about this particular episode has not been a great combination.  I’m also now dropping it when people are least likely to be reading, so I’ve farked this along numerous vectors.

How’d you like, arguably, the first time the team went into action together?  Not exactly the X-men, eh?

I know I say this every time, but if you like what you are reading here, please spread the word.  Voting for me on top web fiction is extremely useful, as are likes and follows.

The story is getting a lot more actiony as the gloves come off, so hold on to your hat.  I’ll try not to have such a long pause between episodes again.

Thanks for reading and Stay Weird.

-SC]