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Monday, May 30, 2016

Star Hustle - Chapter 2


                  Chapter 2 –
                  Prail and Janique were bored. That was a dangerous combination, the three of them. It could only lead to interesting times and Chinese arithmetic.
                  “Let’s be detectives!” Janique said, apropos of nothing in particular.
                  Prail took a more satorial approach, feeling that the universe was tailor-made for her. She never resisted its neutron flow. It was pointless. Useless. Fucking perfection.
                  “Fucking British detectives!”
                  “And I’ll tok like this.”
                  “Ah, a Yorkie. I’m a Cockney. The highest form of British theater.”
                  “Bloody right. There’s only one ‘em, and that’s fuck ‘em. Up the irons. Wot shall we be investigatin’, then?” Janique asked.
                  “Life. The universe.”
                  “And buttholes!”
                  “Ugh. Hate ‘em, m8.”
                  “S’okay. His fans hate us…”
                  “Proposal tabled.”
                  “Very well.”
                  “Interesting Dicks.”
                  “So mote it be done, guvna.”
                  “Reflective record, then?”
                  “Platinum, luv.”
                  “Give us a case, then.”
                  Janique paused. Resumed.
                  “Why can’t you divide ten by three?”
                  “Is this a trick, then?”
                  “Perish the thought, m’lady. Ever so much.”
                  “Additional information requested, then.”
                  “Do the math.”
                  Prail did.
                  “I see, said the blind man. Point three to infinity, ad nauseam. But where’s the last bit going off to?”
                  “Exactamundo.”
                  “Let’s be off, then.”
                  “Darling. We are so far off, we’re positively on.”
                  “Emily Watson, come here, I want you.”
                  “One…”
                  “Two…”
                  “Three!” they said together.
                  They were then both attired as Sherlock’s sidekick.
                  “No shit,” Janique said.
                  “He was the cool one,” Prail agreed.
                  “Twas the cocaine wot killed the beauty, innit?”
                  “Eva so right, right?”
                  “Bath salts were so much betta, luv.”
                  “Bloody true. Nothing like a warm, relaxing bath.”
                  “Bit of a triple entendre, wot? Fancy a go, then?”
                  “Bit of the old In-N-Out Burga?”
                  “Ultraviolence by Death Angel, then?”
                  “Elastic.”
                  “Plastic actuals.”
                  “All day long.”
                  “Vroom.”
                  “Who got day keys to da Jeep?”
                  “We’re Tigre’…”
                  “And Bunny…”
                  “And we like the boom,” they said in unison.
                  Then they exploded.
###
                  Meanwhile, back at the Bunny Ranch, Pex was shirking his duties. If he wasn’t going to be in this one, he’d sit it out. He still had his hobbies. Pexy collected dolls. But who was he kidding? He no more pass up an opportunity.
                  The Earth, long since slated for destruction by an invincible force, an infernal overkill, had a lot of valuable resources. Artists. He took a lifetime to work out the hows, whys, and wherefores. A blink, basically. Blink-187, he decided to call it.
                  He took a vote.
                  It was going to be a long night. He collected DNA. Rare, lost, often unpublished DNA. Cambridge had a little. In a nutshell, he developed an encoding process that interleaved their physical structure with the whole of their personae. It was an enormous amount of data, so he was forced to take a few shortcuts. He had a lot of people to visit.
                  One advantage he had was that they did some of the work themselves. Well, most of it.
                  Okay, all of it.
                  The clever part, he felt, was stegonaphragizing it all within their own respective crafts. So, the greater the body of work, the more of their essence was preserved. A slight drawback was that their art became more or less indivisible from their actual selves.
                  Actors (and actresses, to be fair) became themselves, and an amalgam of every character they had ever played. Musicians were now also the music they had written, and their lyrics, if they were inclined to dabble in verse. Visual artists were a bit more complex, but contained all of the worlds they had created.
                  It was all terribly recursive. He’d teach his sister a thing or two yet about coding. Perhaps.
                  The real, real beauty of it was that the enormously soft-hearted Project X considered everyone an artist to a degree. So he saved everyone.
                  He gave each of them a public and private key, composed of anagrams of their names, for simplicity’s sake. He really didn’t think that one through, he realized later. Oh, well. He tried. Not very hard, but he tried.
                  They were broadcast into the aether via a variety of methods, dependent upon the era from which they originated. Their quarks, neutrinos, dross like that. Their every word and action. Vibratory patterns. Their thoughts. That took some doing.
                  They were the original vaporwavers. Late-comers were sent via analog, and later, digital signals. It was also reverse faxed, to generate a papertrail.
                  Authors were the easiest. They poured so much of themselves into their work, Pex simply stole their original manuscripts. It was deliciously cruel, because he ended up with the most vast library in existence, much of it incomplete, unfinished, unedited, and unreleased.
                  God, he needed a girlfriend.
                  He sister was his only equal. Janique.
                  Wait. That wasn’t right? Was it?
                  Maybe he should chuck it all and become a centaur or something.
      But it was too late.
                 
                  

Monday, May 23, 2016

Forever Daddy - Chapter 2

Chapter 2
                  The next day, Pedro Morales approached Zach and quietly apologized. Lessons learned all around. That’s what it was really all about. Having set the last vessel, there was little else to do on site, other than put out fires and do paperwork. Despite the pace at which Zen Construction operated, there was plenty of time for idle chatter.
                  “Hey, Zach. Who are you banging next?” a piping foreman asked him.
                  His sex life (there was no love life to speak of) consisted of masturbation, and quarterly encounters with high-end Hollywood porn stars. He was the envy of every man on the jobsite, although any of them could have done the same, had they applied themselves.
                  “Ashley Blue. Next month.”
                  “Are you fuckin’ kiddin’ me, bro?”
                  “Oh. Are you familiar with her body of work, Motherfucker?”
                  This wasn’t disparagement. The foreman’s name on site was actually Motherfucker.
                  “Dude! She’s not the best looking girl in porn, but she’s super hot. Such an active, nasty, willing submissive. Until she switches and starts dominating girls. I’ve got half a hard-on right now.”
                  “Motherfucker, you’re the Roget Ebert of pornography reviews. For the record, I happen to think she’s one of the most beautiful women in the world, inside and out.”
                  “So who are you fuckin’ her with?”
                  “With?”
                  “If you just fuck her alone, you’re only getting a quarter of your money’s worth, I think. The things she does to girls. Oh my fucking god.”
                  “It’ll just be me and her. And the cameragirl. Maybe if we hit it off, we’ll try that next time. But I’d like to get to know her, first.”
                  “Nigga, you crazy. Tryin’ to romance whores.”
                  Although Zach didn’t consider them whores as such, he did indeed romance them. Inevitably, it was for naught. Fuck machines though they may be, he found each of them to be lacking, in one way or another. To a person, they were usually crippled by drug addiction, daddy issues, and even, he felt, mental illness.
                  He could handle each of those things on their own, but with porn actresses, they seemed to have all three traits. It was too much chaos for him to deal with and still maintain good work habits. He wasn’t a miracle worker. Obviously, he was barking up the wrong trees, however beautiful and compelling he found them.
                  More than once, his coworkers half-jokingly asked why he didn’t pursue Renee.
                  Because, he told them, he wore the pants, and any wife of his would wear nothing at all. She would present herself, naked and unashamed, and submit to his care and trust. Otherwise, there could be no union. Not so much in a controlling way, but a symbolic gesture of fealty. Any wife of his should realize he had her best interests at heart, or a lasting relationship would be impossible.
                  It was a daddy thing.
                  They mostly lacked security within themselves, and with it, the ability to accept that he could devote himself to one special girl, even in the face of the occasional threesome. Or orgy. Zach was even comfortable with giving them the same experiences on their side with men. But on his terms and timeline.
                  The objectivity of construction work had rendered him rather strict in regard to his personal life.
                  But Zach was learning to compromise.
###
                  Resigned to her fate, Zöe readied herself to take the bus home. Where else was she to go? She loved him. Briefly, she considered calling Rita for drinks. Her best friend, she was nearly twenty years younger than her, but somehow also worlds more responsible, organized, and driven.
                  She needed that in her life.
                  They got together frequently, for drinks, and to commiserate. They would talk, laugh, and support each other as best they could. The running joke was that although her name was Rita, they both drank Mexican Martinis.
                  Zöe certainly didn’t receive any support at home. At this stage, she was probably more of a man than her current boyfriend. Live-in boyfriend… In some ways, he was everything she wanted: tall, handsome, and talented. In every other possible way, he was a huge disappointment. At this point, a liability. A threat, even.
                  She checked her Samsung, and noticed that she still had time. She walked back into the bathroom at her place of employment and did her usual maintenance dose of cocaine.
###
                  Zöe sighed and unlocked the door to her duplex. There was Trent, passed out on the couch, the plate they used for coke on the coffee table.
                  It was empty, of course.
                  She stripped down to her bra and panties, and pressed the length of her body against his. She liked him so much when he was sleeping. Awake, not so much,anymore. She kissed him sweetly, and his eyes fluttered open. But instead of embracing her, he pushed her away and sat up. “I need some money” was the first thing out of his mouth.
                  Her heart sank.
                  “Why? I paid all the bills.”
                  Getting the bills paid on time each month was becoming increasingly difficult. She carried the lion’s share of the burden, there.
                  “I really need the guitar I pawned. Big show coming up.”
                  “Trent, you have three other guitars!”
                  “I know, babe. But I need that one. It’s the best one I have, and this is important.”
                  Zöe wanted to be important to someone. At one point, she was his world, and he was hers. Life, among other things, got in the way. Disappointed, as always, she got up, dressed, and grabbed her purse. Playtime was over before it had begun.
                  “How much?”
                  “Sixty. But seventy-five would be better. I’m out of cigarettes, and I could use some beer.”
                  She gave him her last hundred. She’d have to get her mom to buy her some cat food, which she hated to do. Luckily for her, she and Trent didn’t eat much anymore. He took it without so much as a thank you, and put it in his wallet.
                  “Give me some coke.”
                  “I don’t have any,” she lied. It had become something of a habit, lately.
                  “I already talked to Chuckie. He told me.”
                  Admonished, she pulled her dwindling bindle out and poured half of it onto the plate. Trent grabbed the razor and began to chop. He put most of it on his side, not even bothering to pretend to be fair about it, and did all of his before handing her the straw. She drew herself a single line, then scooped the remainder back into her baggie.
                  He stood to go.
                  “Where are you going?”
                  “Out. I told you. Drinking.”
                  “I thought you’d get some beer, and we’d watch a movie…”
                  Zöe placed herself between him and the door.
     He shoved her into the wall. Hard.
                  “Stupid fat bitch.”
                  He left her in tears. And pain.
                  A little while later, she received a reply text. It was Jason, an old boyfriend.
                  “>Humble, Texas. Same room as last time?
     You know it. Be ready to fuck. Slut…”
     She smiled. If you fucked them, they were boyfriends, right?
    Zöe wasn’t really cheating. It was more like revenge. It was going to be a glorious weekend.
###
The next day found Zach running late for work. To him, coming to work less than an hour early was late. Against his better judgment, he pulled into a Starbucks. He didn’t really support them. His life and politics were hopelessly intertwined, and inseparable.
Still, what was five dollars in the scheme of things? It was the moral lapse that hurt him. Hundred dollar cups of coffee were infinitely preferable to supporting an entity that he opposed philosophically.
The place was too busy to be relaxing. He was balls out all day at work, and didn’t need stress in his off time. Then again, he went to work to relax.
The girl running the register had her back to him. Long brown hair almost to her waist. Black shirt. Black ankle-length skirt. Her very modesty was arousing. But Zach was aroused a million times a day. She was tiny. He definitely liked tiny. He also liked average, and statuesque. But her preferred tiny.
He got a mild shock when she turned around. She was much older than he had expected. She had crinkles around her eyes, and a bit of a jowl for such an otherwise thin girl. But beautiful all the same.
Then she smiled at him.
Dimples.
She became twice as pretty. Radiantly beautiful.
“What can I do for you, mister?”
Phrasing. Deliberate.
“A large, plain black coffee.”
“We have Tall, Grande, and Venti.”
“Then give me whatever is biggest.”
                  “Yes, sir,” she said, twinkling.
                  He wanted to watch her work, but he also had to pee. Immediate biology won. He relieved himself, but the bathroom was filthy.
                  He sighed. Strike one.
                  When he returned, she was calling his name.
                  “Mr. Zach?”
                  He accepted the cup from her.
                  “I didn’t tell you my name.”
                  “It’s on your shirt, silly.”
                  Indeed it was.
                  “Zen Construction? I love it!”
                  He enthusiasm was encouraging.
                  “Your bathroom is atrocious.”
                  “I love dirty bathroom. But I’ll get right on it…mister.”
                  “See that you do.. Zöe.”
                  She smiled again, even more brightly.
                  “Yes, sir.”
                  Zach put a twenty in her tip jar, tilted his cup toward her, and left without glancing back.
###
                  “Sup, Asshole?”
                  “Same day, different shit,” Asshole replied.
                  “I don’t find it tedious, myself. I look for the small differences.”
                  His philosophical statement was ignored.
                  “Anyway, I met the most delightful little girl today.”
                  “Did ya propose yet, ya fuckin’ dink?”
                  Zach did have a terrible habit of doing so. A track record only exceeded by his string of successful strike-outs. He shook his head in negative silence, although Asshole couldn’t see him. Nor cared to.
                  “Little girl? Have you finally crossed the line? Need I remind you this isn’t Dynacorp or Bechtel Overseas. Renee would fire you in a heartbeat.”
                  “Oh, she’s probably forty if she’s a day.”
                  Asshole understood the phenomenon, the dichotomy, having a pet of his own, but offered no related comment. His personal life was just that.
                  “I thought you said you’d sooner take two twenty year olds over one that was forty?”
                  “Age is just a construct. Besides, we’re not dating. I just met her. I probably won’t ever see her again.”
                  But Zach knew he was wrong.