Diary Entry 8[15]99

[This was originally published in Underground Experts United Issue #514 and mirrored on attrition.org. The exact publish date is not known.]

Sunday night has come and gone, time spent at the usual. I can’t help but wonder why I go to that place with all the preppy assholes. Even dancing alone I feel a thousands eyes staring me up and down, as if they are fighting over which one will come up and verbally molest me next. I can’t even wear half my clothes in that place since they take nice outfits to mean “please, date rape me”. Fuckers.

Tonight was different though. Four hours of public solitude interrupted by some guy who had the nerve to catch my eye. Just as I had resolved myself to give up on dating and men in general, someone stands out and actually makes me wonder. I am not pleased with myself. Becoming a lesbian had a certain appeal.

Nothing stood out about this guy at all. Perhaps that is what bothers me and has prompted me to flesh out my thoughts right now. Average height, average looks. He looked a bit beyond his age from what I could tell, but not unattractive. For all intents and purposes, just ‘average’. dressed in solitary, unrelenting black, except for his shirt, which stated in bleach discolorment “shy”.

No doubt that is what prompted some dickhead jock to start in on him. At first it was just bumping into him while dancing. Then it lead to dirty looks and implied confrontation, as if the jock was begging for a fight. Mr. Shy shrugged it off and continued to dance to himself, barely looking up at anyone, often dancing for minutes at a time with his eyes closed.

I thought nothing would happen. Mr. Shy showed patience and tolerance well beyond what I would have had I been in his boots. Anyone that received that much shit in a one hour period was a likely candidate to go postal (to be politically incorrect). So I danced, all night long as close to him as I could. No matter how much I looked at him I couldn’t get up the nerve to talk. Yes, me, the so called slut couldn’t hit on him.

The last part of the night was a blur, but I won’t forget it I don’t think. The jock squaring off with Mr. Shy under the light in the parking lot. Challenging him and insulting him for every pathetic reason that came to mind. Situations like this disgust me and I guess I wasn’t the only one. Mr. Shy stood there with his hands clasped behind his back, with a look of pity on his face.

Before a crowd could gather, jock loser lashed out and punched Mr. Shy in the jaw. It whipped his head around in such a way I thought his neck could have been broken. Surprise. Instead of falling back or reacting in any normal fashion, Mr. Shy slowly turned his head back around. A trickle of a tear streamed down his left cheek. The smile that adorned his face was one of intense pleasure and evil rolled in one. It had the same shocking effect on jock loser as it did me I believe.

I can’t remember exactly what Mr. Shy said, and I don’t think I heard it all either. He was smiling, licked the blood running at the corner of his mouth and said “Any more of that and you’re going to turn me on.” I don’t know if he meant it or was just saying it to get a reaction out of the preppy asshole, but it worked. Jockboy looked around as if this was some kind of joke, or maybe looking for his friends or merely reassurance that he was still cool. Didn’t matter.

Jockboy tried to don a face of anger and lashed out again, once again to the jaw. Mr. Shy stood there, head whipped back again, hands clasped behind his back. It was my turn to look around as if this was some kind of joke. Compared to the jock, he was small, almost frail even. I had stepped forward to see what was going on and hear anything further. I’m glad I did. Mr. Shy responded to the second hit with a more disturbing comment. “This is foreplay bitch.”

It must have been a minute later, that or Mr. Shy’s reflexes were much better than I could imagine. It seemed like five seconds at the time. Four hits to the face, three to the gut, and a swift kick to jock’s balls making sure he would get no play that night. The controlled rage that must have been pumping through Mr. Shy was impressive. No other way to describe it.

As jock loser lie bleeding on the ground, Mr. Shy sat on his chest pinning him to the asphalt. He reached down grabbing Jockboy’s shirt, half pulling him up, half leaning down. I couldn’t hear what Mr. Shy said, but it had its intended effect. I don’t recall seeing terror personified on someone’s face like it was on Jockboy’s. Scary shit.

The transition from shy dancer enjoying the music to savage ass kicker extraordinaire. Someone so plain and average, yet so different even though we didn’t talk. I’m glad to have seen him for the short term tonight. He is the first guy that has brought back feelings I lost over a year ago after breaking up with John. Strangers dance in the night, and I pay the price of solitude a bit longer.

Dark Rain

[This was originally published on attrition.org.]

The alley stretched out forever in both directions. Dirty old alley lamps created an eerie lighting effect in the pouring rain. Derek had been walking for nearly an hour before he finally stopped. He pushed his lips together and tilted his head back, bathing his face in the downfall. Water rolled off his cheeks and dripped onto the black silk shirt he had bought earlier in the day. In the distance, barely audible over the rain, church bells tolled the midnight hour. Still looking up, he closed his eyes and listened.

Yet another in a series of failed relationships to add to the roster. Worse, the second one that ended on his birthday. A quarter of a century old, life was still plodding along with no noticeable perks. Only pitfalls, setbacks, and mindfucks from mostly disinterested parties pretending otherwise. The rain continued to fall down on his face with no sign of letting up.

Derek opened his eyes as he dipped his head. His eyes came to rest on her. Time stood still for him as he stared deep into her eyes. Had he cared, he could have counted the rain drops racing down between them. She looked back at him with an intensity he had only dreamed about. Without a word, he collapsed to his knees never breaking eye contact.

The shortness of breath he experienced reminded him of the first time he ever kissed a girl. Touch of the lips, quick intake of air, complete shock. Her mere presence did that and more.

Society wouldn’t necessarily deem her beautiful by their standards, yet he found her more than incredible. Taller than most girls, her height seemed overwhelming until he remembered he was kneeling. Her long black
hair flowed smoothly down, as if hugging her neck and back. Despite her tall form, her physique was absolutely perfect. The blazer she wore seemed to fit more like a low cut t-shirt. Her pale skin exposed in the dim light toyed with his imagination. The falling rain played with the old alley lights causing a dancing shadow on her chest. Below the blazer she wore intricate lace leggings that looked like tranquil water in a black night.

Looking back up he studied her face again. Her features were simple perfection to say the least, and they seemed to beg him to pour his heart out to her. Black makeup gave the highlight of hollowed eyes, but the rain had lent its brush to her art. Black smears ran down from the corner of each eye turning her face into the mask of a tortured angel. A face that seemed wise beyond its years.

The corners of her lips crept up the slightest bit giving the most serene and compassionate smile he had ever known. To see such inherent beauty in darkness. It seemed like days had passed since he first saw her, but it had only been minutes. Stuttering and tripping on his own words, he tried to muster enough coherency to introduce himself but failed. Before he could try again she slowly held out her arm. Derek took the offered hand into his own and felt the smooth skin; a reminder that this was not a dream like his others.

Shifting his position, he stayed on one knee while holding her hand. He bowed his head as he drew her hand closer, wanting nothing more than to feel his lips touch her fair skin. Before he realized it, the back of her hand rested against his lips. The kiss he so dearly wanted to give lingered there. She looked down to see his tears join the rain in bathing her hand.

With understanding she stood there, her hand to his mouth. A smile of content and happiness crept over her face. She brought her right hand up and placed her palm on Derek’s head as if she was granting forgiveness.
Upon touching him, she felt the tension flow out of his body and he relaxed, completely.

He could only sit there on his knee in awe, staring at her. The last thing on his mind was meeting someone new, yet here she was. As if they had power of their own, she drug him off his knees with her eyes. Beckoning him, her eyes seemed to reassure him, calm him, make him understand everything. He wanted to fall over onto the pavement and sleep eternal.

Half sobbing he whispered the first thing that came to mind. “Pure hands..” Hearing that she closed her eyes for a second. he stood up in the slowing rain to look at her face to face. No matter he tried he could not get over her beauty.

I know you don’t I?” Derek’s voice wasn’t much louder than the few drops of rain still coming down.

Yes Derek, you do.” Her voice sang forth.

I do… but I don’t know your name or where we met..” His brows wrinkled as he tried to think back. Racing through the past years he desperately tried to remember anything that would give him a clue.

My name is Faith.. and I’m your salvation.

His eyes lit up as if hit by revelation. It instantly became clear to him when she said the word ‘salvation’. He didn’t recall ever hearing her name before, but it just felt right. The best he could come up with was a strong sense of déjà vu, nothing else. This bothered him deeply because he felt he should know or remember more. He could feel that she was more than a previous casual encounter, that she was more in his life.

You can’t think of where you know me from. Maybe a déjà vu feeling at best?

Guilt washed over Derek’s face upon hearing this from her. “It’s ok Derek. We’ve never met actually. You’ve only dreamt about me before this evening.

But I don’t understand.. how do you know about my dreams?

She smiled at him conveying patience. “I am forbidden to go into that right now. I had a feeling that you were in despair, that life wasn’t going well for you. I felt I needed to find you and tell you..

Tell me what Faith?

That life is worth living. That better things away you in the future…

Things? Like you?

Yes Derek.

For the first time in years, he smiled and actually meant it. Withdrawing her hand, she smiled once more at him before turning to leave. She floated down the alley without another word.

Soon I hope..” he said to himself.

Getting his bearings, he turned around to find his way back to the club and his car. Rain started falling again encouraging him to pick up the pace. Walking around the corner he found himself face to face with a flat black blade. Before he could react he felt a swift punch to his lower back a second before two gloved hands grabbed his arms. Behind the blade in front of his face a cloaked figure shook his head. Recognition hit him
like a ton of bricks as he stared into the face of his only friend.

Derek’s first thought was to say something, ask what was going on, maybe beg for his life. Lyell’s eyes told him that course of action wouldn’t help much. A malicious smile crossed Lyell’s face. Time stood still. Derek felt the cold steel force its way into his stomach. Unexpectedly he felt a second blade enter his lower back.

Struggling to breath, Derek fell forward into Lyell’s arms.

You.. know what. Doesn’t really matter any more. Know why?” Coughing a few times he felt the life slipping away from him.

Well?” Lyell asked impatiently.

Faith…” Derek replied.


Inspired by:


[This was originally published in Underground Experts United Issue #435 and mirrored on attrition.org. The exact publish date is not known.]

Your morning paper Mr. President.

Thank you Stuart.

The President of the United States took the offered reading from his aide and continued to stir his coffee. Just like the past two years, the morning ritual of coffee and paper played out. One thing he had learned in his career was that taking the time to see what society deemed important gave him a great advantage when it came time to deal with the press. He leaned back in his chair going over the first section, mentally taking notes about each article’s focus. As the minutes pass and his coffee dwindled, he moved on to sports and entertainment. He had always liked Monday mornings as they gave him a chance to read about the weekend’s activities and get a fresh start on the week.

Can you line up ‘Mercury Rising’ for the next Movie Night? I think Jill will like that one.

Of course Mr. President.

Stuart shuffled off to put in the request after refilling the coffee pot. It seemed to be his boss’ life blood at times. Minutes later he returned to find the President almost done with the paper.

Stuart.. it says that Donald Gray passed away last night. That name sounds familiar; was he on one of the councils?

Yes, the Distributed Security Council I believe.

Hmm.. and what do they do again?

I’m not sure really Mr. President. I can look into it if you’d like.

No matter, I was just curious.

The week had been shitty to say the least. Nice relaxing Monday, and the next thing he knew it, the government was crumbling around him. The President sat at the end of the table looking out across the table at his staff. How could the whole world fall so quickly, leaving him in the dark more than ever?

Day two folks, and I still don’t have an answer.

The most powerful man in the world looked out over the table at the blank faces staring back. They were more in shock than he was it seemed. “WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON? None of you have an answer for me?! You have three days to figure something out. Three days.

It was only Tuesday and four of his top advisors had resigned in the last twenty four hours. The president looked down on the table and reread the headlines that had started this mess. “Roswell Only the Fourth Coverup.” Each time he glanced down he expected to see some cheezy tabloid name at the top of the page. But the top of the stack that held that headline read ‘New York Times’.

He pushed the top paper aside to reveal ‘The Miami Herald’. For the first time in history the paper had ditched every single ‘A Section’ article in favor of the twelfth page spread that ran this morning. Half the front page was dedicated to bold headlines reading ‘CIA: Cocaine Import Agency’. The next eleven pages gave a detailed list of operatives that were smuggling the drugs into the country. Names of planes and boats followed, along with photocopies of the books detailing kilos and dollars. Those twelve pages summed up the last sixteen years of drug running the CIA had been involved in. As he read through the summary, he could only curse more after seeing them downplay the importation of weapons as if it was no big deal. Three hours of sleep, and it could barely be considered that. He had struggled to get some sleep, but kept thinking about the living hell he could call this week. No chance of getting to sleep, he sat up and called for his aide. With a quiet groan, Stuart appeared in the doorway.

I’ll call the advisors sir.

With that, Stuart stumbled back out the door.

No one said a word. They sat there with folders and laptops sprawled in front of them, grim looks on each face. Newspapers sat stacked at each corner of the large table. The President cleared his throat and began.

Well, what lovely news do we have this morning? Wednesday, May 7th, 1998. Wall Street Journal reports that the NSA has been doing domestic spying on major political figures, industry leaders, CEOs, and others. Detailed listing of who in the phone companies were NSA operatives, lists of domestic surveillance teams, and more.

He looked up and surveyed the people sitting near him. Each and every person hung their head in shame, as if to personally take blame for the material he read them.

Well well, it must be ‘NSA Day’. Looks like we have some kind of network map listing every router the NSA has been sniffing on that internet crap. Hell if I know what a router is, but I can only assume it is a bad thing if Newsweek is doing a twenty-page spread on it. And here… ‘key escrow’ and ‘backdoored encryption’ gets its own section. The biggest baddest spook house gets hung out to dry. Do we have the first clue who is behind any of this?

With that question the room burst into small conversations. Groups of three and four people talked in hush voices trying to trade enough information to figure out who could have leaked such details. Not only the specifics, but the overwhelming proof that followed each and allowed the papers and magazines to run these types of stories without fear of retribution.

Thursday went further downhill if that was possible. Seventeen people had resigned that week, each fearing some kind of retribution for the information leaks. The president knew most of them had no clue what was going on, but he did know they had a right to be scared.

Do any of you people have any idea what this is doing to the administration? Can we all understand the world of shit we are in? Are all of you that far out of the loop? So much that you can’t find who the hell is behind this?

With disgust, the president picked up the latest newspaper and held it up for all to see.

Can anyone tell me what the ISA is and why they would kill JFK? Or better yet, how the director of the BATF has been using and dealing cocaine for the past seven years? Or maybe why the Media Control Board has systematically come up with a new scandal ever three months to keep people interested in the government? Am I the only one who finds all of this disturbing?

Friday’s meeting was the first that anyone had cracked a smile the entire week. Before the president could start in on his yelling and screaming, George Hanna of the distributed security council stood up. “Sir. I have a full report explaining the events that have unfolded this week. Some of the details are sketchy, but we have a pretty good idea of what happened we think.

By all means George, continue. Tell us how this clusterfuck could have happened.

Well sir, it started last week with the death of Donald Gray. As you may know, he was another member of the council and one of the longest standing members. It seems we lapsed in our background checks, and that lapse finally caught up.

A dozen thoughts flew through the president’s head that second. How could he have let this happen? Who was supposed to tell him about this kind of thing? What did this council do that a single person could be so powerful? What more could he expect? He looked to George and nodded for him to continue.

Under article 1, section 1, paragraph 2 of the Distributed Security Council bylaw, everyone must leave the room except for you Mr. President. The rest of you are sworn to secrecy. The DSC has kept people in check until now, don’t let this single lapse fool you into believing you are safe if you violate this law.

The tone of voice and way he recited the article suggested the laws and procedures were being followed verbatim. That scared him more than anything else. When George pulled out his handgun and placed it on the table, he didn’t know how to react. The line to the door shrunk much quicker with the informal motivation.

George walked over to close and lock the door behind the last person. Walking back toward the table, he reached into another pocket and pulled out a small metal pyramid and placed it on the table where his gun sat. He reached for a chair to pull up so he could face the president for the talk. “Well Mr. President, this is what we know so far. Understand, that this information does not leave us. If for any reason you or anyone on your staff try to use us for blame..

The President interrupted: “I think I have an idea George.

Good. Donald Gray was not supposed to happen. Without going into a history of the council and our procedures, let me try to explain. Donald has been a solid but sideline member of the panel for the past thirty eight years. During that time he has performed a wide variety of functions including what we call ‘support’ writing.

That entails access to just about every sensitive document in our country. From the initial reports, it looks as if he has been making liberal use of the copiers. Thirty eight years of research would explain a single person having copies of everything that has been spilled to the reporters. You’re probably thinking that we should have some safeguards against this sort of thing, and of course you are right.

During the past decade Donald has lost every living relative which is our first line of defense. Normally we catch that sort of thing and develop alternative methods of loyalty encouragement. Because of his dealings with the council and long standing membership, he has had access to several slush funds that we control to do the work required. As you now see, it is quite ironic that our own government tax dollars have paid these papers to run the stories and ensure everything ended up in the articles. No family, no personal belongings, no friends.. absolutely nothing to tie him to anything. Donald had set things up so that once he passed away, the information would be anonymously mailed to the various media sources. And it went down exactly as he planned. Which brings us to finding a solution to this whole problem. The people want to know why the government has been hiding this. They already know about all of the secret/top secret bullshit, the conspiracy theories, rogue agencies and more. Since we are that rogue agency they fear so much, and the entire council doesn’t care to lose their jobs, we feel it would be generous for you to take the blame.” Without hesitation, the President burst out laughing at the man sitting in front of him.

That has to be the most absurd thing I have heard in my life. Of course I won’t do that.

George smiled once while nodding. He picked up the gun and handed it to the president who was hesitant to take it.

Go ahead. I don’t want you to get the idea we are going to kill you or anything. Besides, I am sure we can come up with something agreeable to all parties.

With that, George picked up the small metal pyramid on the table and pocketed it. With a half bow, he walked away and left the room. Monday rolled around and the President resumed his morning ritual of paper and coffee. He went over his notes in preparation for his speech this morning. Everything seemed to be laid out perfectly and would hopefully explain the past seven days to the American people. Without warning his eyes glazed over. The notes he held found themselves on fire and being dropped into a nearby trash can before continuing on with his preparations. As he walked to the other end of the white house, he silently went over his speech and tried to guess what questions the reporters would ask. Anything that his current training wouldn’t cover? He certainly hoped not. Like a royal procession, some of his staff followed him toward the press room as usual. Looking around, something seemed a bit out of place, like someone missing. No matter.

The President of the United States stepped up to the podium and faced the crowded room. He recognized many of the journalists in front of him as well as a few members of media relations for the white house mixed in to ask strategic questions. As he surveyed the room, one face caught his attention and instilled fear into him. George sat toward the back of the room, hands in lap as if nothing ever happened.

Good morning. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for showing up. The past week has seen some interesting headlines and a lot of fear and speculation has grown due to it.

While he spoke, he couldn’t help but notice George reach into his pocket and withdraw something. From this distance it was hard to be sure, but it appeared to be the same metallic pyramid as before. Originally he had assumed it was a device to prevent electronic eavesdropping, but now he wasn’t sure. He continued on with his speech giving very little detail and wider speculation as to the source of all the information. His media analysts had indicated that until they could come up with a solid story, no details or they may hinder the investigation later.

With that, I would like to open it up to the floor for questions.” That is all it took for the journalists to go into a frenzy, causing each person to almost climb on each other trying to be recognized. The president started to call Sally from ABC but something occurred to him. His eyes lost focus and he spoke into the microphone, calling George’s name. “Thank you Mr. President. I’d like to ask a very direct question. Who is behind the information leaks, and what is going to be done about it?” The president slowly looked down to the microphone before continuing. Instead of a neutral but varying voice, his eyes lost focus once again as he turned to a more monotone inflection.

To answer that, I would like to speak plainly and honestly. I am tired of mincing words and lying to the public. The truth is, like my predecessors before me, I have repeatedly given the order to hide certain material from the American people. It has come time to make them aware of certain activities their government has been involved in. So, I say to you, that I am responsible. I have leaked this information to various contacts in the media. I have used taxpayer dollars to ensure that this information was printed as lead stories. I have worked directly against certain agencies designed to protect this information.

To answer the question about what is being done, I can only offer this solution..

With that, the president removed a familiar handgun from his suit jacket. Before anyone could react, he held it to his mouth and squeezed the trigger. National TV got a good idea what was on the President’s mind. As the crowd gasped and lunged forward to get a better story, George pocketed the metal object and walked out of the room. Beneath the roar from others around him, he quietly said “I think that was agreeable to both parties” as he walked away.

Black and White

[This was originally published in Underground Experts United Issue #440 and mirrored on attrition.org. The exact publish date is not known.]

The world is grey. I see everything as it is, people for who they are. Nothing escapes my eyes. I can’t begin to comprehend the idea of color. Color seems like the perfect way to ruin beauty. They say contrast of colors make them more appealing. How can that compare with the two hundred fifty six thousand shades of grey I can distinguish? Why do people think contrast is based on color only? My people have names for each shade of grey. Nothing like these vague names people use for colors. In many cases people will call the same shade different names from what I can tell.

The world is so vibrant through my eyes. My sight reaches out and goes beyond what they call “3-D”. When I look at something, I can see it in true three dimensional visualization. Perhaps it is me seeing things for what they are, or being able to “look behind people.” Beyond that I can see their feelings, their pheromones, their fears and more. With all of that showing, it is hard to hide what they are thinking. They see me as another of their kind, unable to see that my eyes are different. The fact that my eyes are a piercing gray with dark grey pupils would stand out in someone’s mind.. or so I would think.

Simple encounters in the street are so much more to me. Try to imagine it for a minute. To read their emotions, to see their uncertainty or perhaps their unfounded loathing based off simple appearance. Maybe read their curiosity in your mannerism, or their pure desire to get to know you better. Empathy for someone else they see, or disgust of someone near them, or pity on the street urchin at their feet.

There are a lot of people that think they are in control of their outward visibility. They think that a straight face and calculated reaction will make them “unreadable” to others. What they fail to realize is that so many aspects of the human body betray them. Their pheromones give away their overall mood, feeling and desire. Even if they wrote their life story in a book for me, it would be more difficult to understand.

I don’t know why I am here. I don’t know why I am different from you. I only know I am because of past awkward conversations about a piece of art, some new shirt, the color of a car or something as equally trivial. During those times I have to explain that I am “color blind” as they call it, and eventually agree that I am missing out on some supposed wondrous sight. The other person is always oblivious to the concept someone else can see or do something better than they. Their loss.

Why am I here… perhaps my ability coupled with my desire to write, study and observe tells me something? Am I to be taking better notes on society? Write a thesis or book on my differences, or maybe describe a world so full of “color” from the eyes of someone who doesn’t see them. Maybe to teach others that there is so much more to be seen than a simple “color?” That when focused, anyone could see everything else a person is saying whether they know it or not? Do I really know what the word “color” means? Can I? My search for the answers to who I am continue on. I am one of a kind thrown in a mix of such similar people, forced to question everything around me. Blessed and cursed at the same time, due to my superior sight. A life of research trying to answer these questions which plague me. I can only remember waking up from sleep, that day so long ago. It is just like waking up any other day, except I cannot remember anything before that. My research puts my origin as alien to your world. No previous records of beings like me, no mention of conditions or ailments that would explain my differences.

With amusement I read of others plight to find someone so much like them. Could they fathom what kind of task that is for someone such as me?

Scenes of the Assassin

[This was originally published in Underground Experts United Issue #387 and mirrored on attrition.org. The exact publish date is not known.]

The thump of the bass shook the walls throughout the club giving the perception it was in a foreign land. Fluid movement across the dance floor spilled out by the hundred or so bodies gyrating in near unison. No one had entered the club for nearly an hour and just a handful had left. Every week for the past year Tric had come here to dance away the week’s frustration that built up within.

Tonight was a good night, one of his best. As he moved around slipping into his musical trance, his hand continually strayed down to his left pocket guaranteeing the lump was still there. It was unlikely he would lose it in the club, but it wasn’t every day you walked around with five thousand in cash. He thought back to the seventy hours he had worked to get the money this week, and the delight of his employer. Well, the delight part was just a guess, it was always hard to tell the real mood of someone through email. Hacking for foreign governments was a very profitable venture.

Drums assaulted the crowd as the singer’s voice cut out and a heavy base line kicked in. Strobe lights began their own dance over the mass of teenagers in the club. As a wide variety of sounds struck out loud, the strobes quickened in pace. Tric snapped his head up and opened his eyes looking straight ahead into the wall. His quick moves of dance morphed into a new form as he shook violently.

A lone figure wrapped in shadows walked out of the club. Tric looked down to his empty pocket as he reached around to feel his back drenched in sweat. The figure in black put on his sunglasses and continued walking down the street. Bringing his hand back around, Tric noticed it wasn’t sweat, but his own blood on the freshly removed knife. One hundred yards down the road the man in black flipped through the wad of cash and checked to make sure his second knife was still secure. Tric fell to the dance floor, dead.

Four blocks away the assassin sat down at a coffee shop and ordered a glass of water. Even though he had done this hundreds of times in the past, his heart beat furiously as he surveyed his surroundings. Ten minutes passed before the first police car sped by followed shortly by an ambulance. He grinned as he watched the ambulance pass since he knew it wouldn’t be too helpful. Even if the mark survived the knife, he had to deal with poison that laced the blade.

Detestable was the only word to describe Draper. He had all of the fine qualities of a wart hog, and the personality to match. Even in the freezing weather surrounding the resort, Draper somehow managed to sweat. Coupled with the old sweat suit three sizes too small, and his lack of bathing for two weeks, he was outright disgusting.

About the only thing he had going for him was his ability to launder money. Somehow his past had taught him subtle tricks in covering his tracks in the financial system, and turned it into a lucrative career. His contacts refused to meet with him because of his hygiene, not secrecy, and that was the way he liked it. Draper had only dealt with a few members of an unnamed government agency in his past, and planned on keeping it that way.

His three night stay in Vail was almost at end. His work had only taken a few hours the first night, but he always demanded time off to “recover” as he liked to say. He packed his bags with a fervor that didn’t match his demeanor. Once done he grabbed his bags after throwing the room key on the table. In the distance he heard the steady beat of the helicopter that would take him back to his home in New York.

Downstairs he stopped at a candy machine hoping for a bag of chips and a Sprite for the helicopter ride. He fumbled for the change needed to get the chips almost dropping one of his bags in the process. The first quarter dropped in the machine with a few clicks. The second followed but had bigger results. A split second before Draper went deaf from the explosion, thousands of shards of glass from the machine sliced through his face and chest.

Draper was dead before he hit the floor. Seconds later, a black Miata sped out of the parking lot, a slight grin on his face. He picked up the mobile fun and speed dialed. As the remote line rang, he turned up the music to drown out everything else. He couldn’t hear the other end pick up the phone, but he knew they would, and the music delivered the message. He would collect the other half of his payment later that day.

Down time was always fun for him. A person can only take so much killing before they have to take a break and smell the roses along the path of life. Movies was his answer. He loved nothing more than a good movie to escape into, often imagining he was the hero or occasionally the villain. Either way, it was his fun time.

The Majestic Theatre was his favorite place to check out the newest movies. He felt as if he owned the place because of the amount of time he spent there, and had considered buying the theatre when he went legite. Until then, more new movies. Today’s movie of choice had the appearance of a typical action flick with lots of guns and mindless violence. Not his favorite, but typically amusing enough to life his spirits.

Today he was accompanied by Juli who worked over at the 82nd Street Deli. Not his first date with her, but he couldn’t dedicate any feeling to her because of his job and lifestyle. She knew it though, and enjoyed his company. Good for him, she was very tolerant and didn’t ask questions about his work, or some past incidents. As the lights dimmed they both kicked their feet up and positioned themselves to enjoy the film.

The previews rolled by displaying upcoming nights where he would be in the same place, at about the same time, maybe even with the same company. Juli nudged him away from his thoughts after she noticed him zoning out, he smiled in return. Seconds after the last preview something happened that he wasn’t quite expecting, his pager went off. For most people this was a typical occurrence, for him, it was much worse.

In less than a second he jumped up as if his seat had caught on fire. Half leaning over, he whispered to Juli while handing her his pager and some money. He gave her a quick kiss on the cheek before running down the aisle and out the side door. A small sigh is all Juli could do as she clipped the pager on her belt, pocketed the money, and sat back counting the minutes pass.

Exactly ten minutes later, the theatre burst into living hell as twenty armed federal agents stormed the aisles. Juli acted quite surprised at the intrusion and cooperated with the big armed men. Even answering all the questions about the strange man trying to pick up on her, it still took two hours before they were satisfied with all of her answers.

She walked home with a small grin on her face, impressed that he always managed to get away like that. It was only a matter of days before he called her again, asking to make it up to her, which always turned out to be a nicer night than any of the movies. Until then, work as usual.. and puzzlement over who always paged him like that, why he was wanted, and how he always managed to get away.

Since the first time he received that page, he couldn’t help but wonder who his guardian angel was. Like other parts of his life, the near busts were almost like clockwork, coming once every three months, almost to the day. Someone high up saw it in his or her best interest to keep him alive.. he just wanted to know who and why. Was it his employers looking out for a good employee? Or perhaps someone else higher up that sanctioned his actions.

Each time the page came it only said “escape”. The first time it had happened he almost didn’t make it out in time because he was unsure of what it meant exactly. His latest was unexpected only because he had forgotten it was a leap year. He was expecting it tomorrow even though he had no idea where he would have been.

Two days later he walked into the deli where Juli worked and asked for a BLT and diet coke. Juli smiled warmly at him before telling him it would be another hour before she was off. As usual the place was fairly busy serving the lunch crowd of surrounding businesses. Since Juli opened every weekday morning, she was always off by early afternoon leaving the rest of the day for whatever.

Two o’clock rolled around as she finished up the midday duties. A few minutes after she came out from behind the counter and sat next to him. She seemed quite happy to see him which always brought a smile to his face. He cleaned up his lunch mess before they headed out to spend the day together. Making it up to her was always enjoyable since he usually spent the entire day out on the town with her. From past conversations, he had gathered that she didn’t get out much which would explain her good mood each time they spent the day together. Either way, there was something else about her today that seemed different.

Their first stop was a small café a few blocks away on 91st Street. The café was nothing more than a hole in the wall, but the coffee was outstanding and the place was littered with old computers hooked in to the internet. Since he never bought a computer of his own, but maintained several email addresses to stay in touch with various contacts, trips to the café were frequent. He liked the anonymous access this place gave him. Julie liked to hang out on IRC and chat with a few friends from Texas where she used to live.

Juli enjoyed a Latte while she chatted on “#texas” while he went to each of his accounts checking mail. There were only a handful of people this early in the day, each scattered about drinking and chatting about daily affairs. It ended up taking the better part of two hours to finish everything up. He threw down a twenty to cover their tab and left the rest as a tip for the computer time. From there, they headed toward the zoo.

Despite the beautiful surroundings and the exotic wildlife, the two walked hand in hand throughout the zoo very slowly. Conversation seemed to turn back to a variety of daily chat rather than their normal deeper conversations. Every time he looked at her she seemed to glance away as if she had been studying him. He had a feeling this would come some day or another, not that he was ready for it by any means.

His mouth opened several times but shut a split second later each time. Everything he thought to say to start the conversation on his terms just didn’t sound right after his mouth opened. She saw his nervousness and grinned. Realizing he just couldn’t get things started, she began.

I’ll start, not that I know where to begin really. I guess you are probably expecting this to come some day or another. Hope you understand where I am coming from with this.”

He nodded and smiled to himself, impressed with her strength, as she continued on.

Ever since we met I could tell you valued your privacy, and I know you offer what information or feelings that you can, but I want to know you better. I mean, I know you can’t talk about your job much for whatever reasons, but I know you can tell me more about you.”

It took him several minutes to digest what she said and plan his typical carefully worded reply. They continued walking while he figured out what to say to her. Even after thinking of how to start, it took a poke in the ribs to actually begin.

Well, you’re right about the job. I can’t talk about it for a lot of reasons, some personal, some professional. What you don’t understand is that the personal reasons keep me distant, not the professional reasons. I don’t know how to explain this really. I guess its a really big catch 22 of sorts.”

He took a pause from his confusion and led her down a path toward the aquariums. While he walked he couldn’t help but to look down at his feet, unable to make eye contact with her. Squeezing her hand tightly in his, he continued on.

As for my past, its the typical college drop out story or something. Been on my own since I was sixteen. Finished high school before working as a computer technician for a while. Started contracting for some interesting groups who did some different things. Ended up doing a little college while I worked for them, but dropped out because the money was better. While I worked there they kept training me in different areas, and here I am.”

She half squinted one eye and looked at him as he told his story. She could tell he was leaving the most interesting parts out, but that was fine. It was more than obvious he couldn’t talk about a lot of it. She figured it had to do with one of the secret government agencies or another, and because of his use of computers she guessed it had to do with hacking or spying or something. She didn’t really care to know since he made sure it never affected her.

Even though they had only known each other for ten or eleven months, she felt a deep liking for him. Every time she thought about the whole thing, she could never really tell if it was love until she was with him. Then, she couldn’t deny it.

Well, that’s a start I guess, but certainly not the finish.”

She smiled really big letting him know she was happy with his explanation for now. Not wanting to let him off the hook so easily, she kept going.

First off, can I assume that you haven’t seen anyone else since we started hanging out? And if not, why not?”

He looked over at her surprised at how straight forward she was and laughed quietly. At least this was an easy question to answer.

The reason I am never with anyone is because I need complete and unconditional acceptance from them. But I can’t make them promise that without knowing all about me.. which I can’t tell them without that unconditional acceptance. So I am always in a bind of sorts. This goes back to the Catch 22 and why I don’t talk about certain things. If I could somehow manage to find someone willing to accept me at face value, and to unconditionally accept who I am, then I guess I could be a little more open. Just a matter of finding that person who can truthfully do that. And let me tell you, it would be a little more than ‘disturbing’ what I would tell that person. Do you see what I mean?

He wasn’t sure if she could ever fully comprehend what he just said, and even less sure she would respond positively to it.

Basically, I would tell that person a lot of really frightening things, and have to rely on them to accept them, and then accept me afterwards. Since I know what I would tell them, it gives me a good basis for never telling anyone.”

He glanced at her trying to measure her response, silently hoping this would be it. He had desperately wanted to find a companion in life, someone who could share his dark past and his dark present. Someone that could look past that and see the whole story. He had given up on finding anyone long ago because of the weird nature of his work. The smile slipped away from her as she considered what he said. They both knew it was an offer of sorts, but she wasn’t sure what was to come if she said ‘yes’.

Well, it’s kind of hard for me too. I can’t promise that I will accept it since I don’t know what it is. There are some things that I don’t like and I refuse to deal with. On the other hand there are a few things most people consider ‘twisted’ that I have always looked past.”

Her ability to reason and look at all points of a problem had always been appealing. She knew exactly what was up and just had to decide whether or not if she wanted to take that chance. He gave a sincere smile to her to try to comfort her. She hesitated with her response but finally managed to continue.

Let me think about it tonight. I can see it in your face that this isn’t some trivial bullshit, and that it is something I really have to consider. Do you mind?”

Of course not! Take all the time you need….shit..I’m getting paged.”

He checked his pager to see a message indicating his services were needed once again. Of course he would get paged right now.

I have to go. I probably won’t be able to see you for two or three days but when I get back I will find you.”

I understand. I guess this works out for both of us. It will give me time to think about it, and time for you to worry about my answer.”

She gave him a big mischievous smile after her response. Better keep him on his toes she figured. They said their goodbye’s and took off in opposite directions, more because it felt like a parting of ways, not because they were really going different directions. Both walked with the weight on their shoulders.

It was three days before he returned to town, happy with his performance during the job. The time to wind down was definitely upon him because of minor complications over the past three days. He took some time to clean his place up a little, grab a few days worth of snacks in case he spent time at his place, and to ready himself for Juli’s answer. He actually hadn’t thought about it much because of everything else happening, but now it was the only thing on his mind.

He picked up and set down the phone at least five times before he could muster the nerve to call her. The conversation went a little roughly because of the nervousness on both sides, but he managed to pick a time and place to meet her. Now, he had to find a way to pass the hours before they met. Those hours seemed longer than anything he had ever encountered.

He walked into the restaurant with a fear he had never faced before. The feeling unnerved him to the point he almost couldn’t go through with it. To top it off, his mind raced trying to figure out why he was losing control of himself like this. It was just one woman! He looked around nervously trying to find her, unsure if she had already shown up. He wandered around the various sections to see if she had already grabbed a table.

After walking through the entire place he headed back up to the front to wait for her. As he walked into the lobby he saw her walking through the front door. His heart stopped beating while they took a few more steps to stand face to face. Sweat dripped down from his armpits and his hands were very moist. He wasn’t sure why this was such a big deal, but nothing he did could make his body quit reacting like it was.

They both said ‘hi’ and turned to head toward a table. He glanced over at her and couldn’t help but wonder about the look on her face. She had a very intent look in her eyes which betrayed the half smile she showed. His mind read it as an extreme; either very good or very bad. Something about the way she was smiling today made him wonder about her intentions. This was quite different for him as he was accustomed to reading her like a book.

After the standard procedure of ordering drinks, appetizers, and the main course, it came down to it. He had made idle chat with her waiting for them to be alone for a little bit. Unable to contain himself, he started off.

I take it you have had time to think about our talk the other day…

Before he could finish she was nodding ‘yes’.

So.. after thinking about things.. I mean.. damn you! You’re enjoying this aren’t you?”

A big smile crept over her face as he said that since that was exactly her plan.

So throw caution to the wind..

He scooted up and leaned on the table anxious as he had ever for anything. His hands kept clinching back and forth, sweating like mad. His left foot was tapping quickly to some other beat or thought he had been having. His mind played out every scenario for every possible answer she could give. His heart screamed as he waited for her to say something. It was then that he realized what had made him lose control over all of this. One simple little thing. True and unconditional love for her. Now he only had to wait half a second more before he knew if the feeling was mutual…

Another day on the job. He never knew what order it would be in, just that he would kill, escape, and get paid. It had been like that for years now which was mutually beneficial to both he and his employers. Not that he really knew who they were, nor did he care. Some gut feeling told him that if he did know, someone like him would be hired to pass him along. Oh well, another day… but now, it would be another day with someone who accepted him for who he was. And that meant everything in the world.

#085: The Interview

[F.U.C.K. is an e-zine that I started on January 24, 1993 and ended on January 24, 2000. One concept is that articles should be timeless if possible, so they were not released with dates. As such, the date on this blog is not exact but I will try to use a date as close as possible.]

The elevator chimed telling her she had reached her floor, and more importantly, her big interview. After two years of reporting, she had apparently landed the big interview that would get her the recognition she deserved. She straightened her shirt, checked for her paper and made sure her pen was still in her front pocket. No mistakes in this interview.

Room 1620 was up ahead and to the right. Approaching, she could see that the door was open, but no lights were on. She slowed down a little and before reaching the door took a quick look around. Nothing seemed strange or out of place so she stepped up to the door and knocked lightly.

“It is open.” came from within.

Her hands trembled a little as she pushed the door open a little and peered into the room. The silhouette of a man stood poised against the far wall, looking out on the city below. She closed the door behind her and took a tentative step into the room. Not knowing what to do she stood there for a minute trying to study the features of the man in front of her.

Another second passed and he turned to face her. Reaching out, he turned on the light hanging near him, and pulled out a chair from the table underneath. He quietly sat down and looked at the woman standing before him.

“Please have a seat so we may begin.”

After a nervous sigh, she moved to the seat opposite of the man and sat down. Pulling out her paper and pen she tried to study his face but found it difficult. His penetrating stare made her uneasy to say the least. She flipped open the pad, and removed the cap to the pen as she set her mind to the task ahead. This was her time.

“Lets get a few basic things out of the way before we begin. Of course, you don’t have to answer any questions if you feel they are out of line. It isn’t often your profession is interviewed you know!”

She let out a nervous laugh trying to east the tension she could feel. Apparently he wasn’t nervous at all, but he smiled at her remark. She used this time to get a better look at some of his features. Seemed to be about six and half feet tall, about two hundred pounds, well built, but otherwise featureless. She couldn’t really consider him handsome, but he couldn’t be considered ugly by any standards. Everything about him seemed to set him as another face in the crowd. Black button up shirt tucked into blue jeans. No distinguishing marks, features, or anything else that would make him unique from what she could tell.

“Lets see, the basics; name, age, where you live, and official title.”

“Wil Johnson, 27, Washington DC, and Assassin.”

A look of doubt crossed her face upon hearing this. Even though he had told her that over the phone, it seemed more a ploy to get her here for another reason. No one in their right mind would admit to such a thing. But what if he wasn’t in his right mind…

“Assassin you say. And who do you work for?”

“A number of agencies. Occasionally an individual. It is a case by case basis.”

She jotted a few notes down before looking back up. At this point, she didn’t know where to begin. Hell, she didn’t even know whether or not to believe him. Guess we’ll have to take it one question at a time.

“Hmm. Agencies. Would you care to elaborate on that? It sound as if you are suggesting you work for the government or something!”

She let out another brief laugh and quickly quieted down when she saw he didn’t think it was funny.

“Of course it is the government. Who do you think gives the orders for over 70% of the assassinations in the world? I have been hired by the CIA, NSA, and occasionally the FBI because their snipers can’t shoot worth a damn.”

Disbelief registered on her face and it was quite apparent to the man before her. For him to suggest such a thing, and maintain that face, she didn’t know what to believe. Certainly the U.S. Government couldn’t do such a thing and as often as he said.

“Can you prove any of this? Some documents? Witnesses?”

A sly grin stole over his face as if he were expecting this question.

“Of course. Here are the orders for my first assignment. I was to eliminate a general in Phoenix who had been stealing classified documents from a military base. The nature of the papers demanded that he be dealt with quickly and quietly. He planned to take these documents to the press for general publishing.”

He reached inside his shirt and withdrew a folded piece of paper. Across the top of the paper stood the letterhead for the Pentagon. She quickly read through the letter and gasped as she finished. Even after reading the document she couldn’t believe what she had read.

“You said this was your first assignment? How many have you had? I guess I am asking, how many people have you k…killed?”

Fear ran through her knowing that she sat just a couple of feet away from someone that had killed several times and obviously had no problem with it. She tried to calm down a little before listening and jotting some more notes.

“I have been asked to do 103 jobs by the government. That is where most of my work comes from. Of those, I have 102 confirmed kills. I will complete my 103rd three days from now.”

Will repositioned himself in the chair and leaned back a little, as if he was relaxing, but nothing on his face showed he was relaxed. That was part of his job.

“102? There is no way. Someone would have noticed all these and linked them together. The police would be onto you or someone for those!”

There was just no way he could have done it. He was lying to her for some reason that she couldn’t figure out. Certainly if the government had him kill that many, he himself was a liability and could not live. CIA? They were chartered for world wide affairs, certainly they wouldn’t do business with a sniper. And the FBI? Domestic affairs. That meant that they had hired him to kill mostly Americans. And the NSA? Weren’t they the people that monitored communications between countries and here inside the U.S? What would they be doing hiring this guy! It just didn’t make sense!

“No. Evidence from these cases are almost always tampered with. They know that I will get the job done on the first try, and they need me. They will help me in any way I need. Everything from money, to destroying evidence, to providing alibis. Basically, I can prove that I wasn’t there, and that I didn’t do it. Works out nicely that way. That is one way I can sit here and tell you about all of this without having to kill you.”

Her eyes went wide upon hearing this, and realization hit her that he was right. She may have heard enough to warrant her own death. Needless to say, she was quite nervous at this.

“So then, why are you telling me this? Some sick game? You tell someone and then kill them too? If this hits the press, you are guaranteed to be dead!”

He thought about that statement for a second before replying.

“No. You are the first I have told. And I only kill people that have a contract on them. I came to you today because the government has done this for years. Probably as long as you and I have been alive. They will continue to do this, and continue to get away with it regardless of who knows about it. I figure that since they will continue to do it, the public should be aware of ‘big brother’ and what he has been doing. And even if they know I spoke, they can’t afford to kill me. Most of the agencies know I have detailed reports of every job, and more than enough evidence linking them so that they have to keep me around. If I should not check in with certain friends across the seas, that evidence gets released.”

“That makes sense. It is hard to believe that you are that well protected though, seems they could do something to get rid of you. And besides, you keep referring to them needing you. Aren’t there others like you?”

The expression on his face turned to a smug smile as he sat up. Clasping his hands in front of him on the table he continued.

“There are others, but they will only use me. I am the best there is.”

“Seems you have an ego Mr. Johnson.”

“It isn’t ego when you ARE that good.”

“I see. Lets get back to some more details about other assignments or whatever you want to call them.”

She turned the page of her notepad so that she could jot down a few more notes. As she did this Will leaned back in his chair again getting a little more comfortable. Without warning, a crack split the silence of the room. Eyes wide, the reporter looked up quickly, and slumped down on the table. Blood flowed freely out of her back from a bullet wound.

Seconds after she hit the table there was a knock at the door. Standing up, Will straightened his shirt, put the gun up that he had drawn from instinct, and spoke.

“It is open.”

The door opened slowly as a figure entered hesitantly. Looking near the window he noticed the body of the woman and the blood flowing down her back and onto the carpet. The gentleman closed the door and took another step into the room.

“I hope this doesn’t become habit Mr. Johnson. Everything you said about needing you was true, so lets keep things professional between you and our agency. No use in alarming the public about our activities.”

“Ok. I had to try though. We both know you can’t do this forever.”

“I think we can.”

#049: 1994

[F.U.C.K. is an e-zine that I started on January 24, 1993 and ended on January 24, 2000. One concept is that articles should be timeless if possible, so they were not released with dates. As such, the date on this blog is not exact but I will try to use a date as close as possible.]

Just above the mountains to the east, the sun had almost gone down enough to see clearly. Driving home this way was always hell at this time of the day. He adjusted his sunglasses a little, and tried to pull the sunshade down enough to block the rest of the sun so he could see ahead of him. The driver cursed silently after realizing he couldn’t quite block it. No big thing for him, he was used to driving home facing the glaring ball of light.

Traffic was bad like usual. The road he was on was soon to be 6 lanes providing efficient passage between areas of town. Right now, it was only two lanes wide. Cars backed up almost a mile behind him, and he imagined there were another mile of cars in front of him. That was the routine though, looking around, he recognized a few vehicles since he saw them each night when he went home. Life seemed to be at a perfect standstill right now since the cars had stopped moving five minutes ago. Probably another small wreck causing hundreds of people to sit in the 90 degree weather.

On days like this, Nick liked to drop by the local video rental place and grab a movie to watch that night. Not much else to do since all he did was work, sleep, and drive to and from. It was a good thirty, maybe forty minutes before he reached the rental place. Pulling into a parking place, he inched up and parked a few inches from a BMW in front of him. Nick quickly rolled up the window, jumped out, and locked the door. It always felt good to stretch his legs after a long ride from work.

Nick was pretty tall. About 6’4″ or so, and weighed around 190 pounds. Although he wasn’t muscular really, he was quite strong, and could use his leverage quite well. He had studied a few forms of fighting in his past, but he relied on common sense these days in a fight. His quiet demeanor, and his constant vigilance on things around him made him good when he did fight. ‘Reserved’ is how he was described on most occasions, but that usually meant ‘He knows what is going on’. Nick didn’t miss much.

The place was busy. Quite busy in fact. Must be a Friday night he thought. No other night would be this busy. Days meant little to Nick since he worked day after day, the same shift. Once a month he took a day off to catch up on stuff around his pad and run errands. Walking in, he passed the CDs and tapes, and went into the rental section. A small sigh and he headed toward the new releases even though it looked as if most of the movies had been rented. Such was life when you worked ’til 6:30 each night.

A small grin crossed his face and he reached toward a new action flick that had the potential of being pretty good. Leaning over to get it, he bumped the man next to him. He mentally damned himself for not watching out, knowing what this would lead to. Nick muttered a quick apology and turned to look at who he had bumped. Great, just who he wanted to have problems with tonight, a Dane. The Dane’s were one of the hundred local ‘gangs’ that claimed control of this area, although none of the gangs had more than 15 members.

The Dane turned a little more and shoved Nick backwards mouthing off to him. Nick nodded once and apologized again. It usually ended up in a fight, but Nick always gave a chance at avoiding it when he could. An employee came over and pointed outside, so the Dane pushed Nick toward the door. As they walked out, Nick studied the boy in front of him. He couldn’t have been more than 17 years old, and he carried one knife in his back pocket, and another in boot. Nick didn’t see any other weapons so he went on outside.

If the boy had been carrying a gun, that would have been a different story. Of course, he couldn’t have been or the detectors at the store entrance would have picked it up when he entered. Over 98% of the stores in the country were now equipped with the devices. Any gun or large knife would be detected and store personnel would be alerted. This usually meant that the person was escorted out or asked to leave his weapons in his car. Law was passed 5 months ago, allowing any fight between consenting adults, and that was it. Police had no right to interfere with a struggle between two willing people. So that was the way it was these days, if you had a gripe with someone, you shut the hell up, or fight if you thought it was warranted. It was common place to fight and was accepted in all walks of life
now, from the homeless, to the yuppies in the rich areas.

The Dane left the front door and walked out into the parking lot, and turned to face his opponent. Nick walked out, removed his jacket and nodded once before he took a defensive stance. Seconds later the boy pulled his first knife out of his back pocket. Before it had come in front of the boy, Nick had determined that it was a butterfly knife, and that the kid didn’t know shit about knife fighting. That would make this all the quicker though. With a quick kick in front of him, Nick hit the boys wrist and both watched as the knife flew 20 feet behind him and skidded under a car.

Mumbling to himself, the Dane quickly pulled his boot knife and promised Nick a quick but painful death. Almost bored with the whole incident, Nick decided to let the boy make the first move this time. It was only seconds before the knife came diving in at Nick’s heart, almost deathly slow. A fast block with his left arm sent the boy’s arm out wide, and another quick movement with his right cause the Dane to reel back, blood gushing from his nose. Another clumsy attack came, and a stinging blow to the left eye resulted. A third swipe came in chest level, and resulted in a flurry of movement from Nick. Not even Nick knew how many hits landed, but 6.3 seconds later, the Dane was sprawled out on the asphalt bleeding from several places on his face and sporting two broken arms.

Picking up his jacket and the boot knife, he nodded once more to the fallen Dane, and went back inside to get the movie he had reached for. Lets see, that made two fights for the day, and nine for the week. Each fight picked by the other person, each fight ended by Nick. In the trunk of his car was a book box full of miscellaneous weapons he had picked up from his fights. He was lucky he hadn’t run into any guns in just over two weeks. It was considered cowardly, even from a gang’s standpoint, to use a gun to kill a rival. No challenge, no honor, no previous experience required when pulling a trigger.

It was just after 7:00 when Nick arrived at his pad. His ‘pad’ consisted of a two room apartment with a closet and a bathroom. Despite the small space he lived in, it was furnished quite nicely. He had never wanted more room, just more things in his room to make life a little better.

He grabbed a root beer from the fridge, and a chocolate bar, and sat down on the cough to watch the show. He kicked his shoes off, and propped them up on a stack of magazines and hit play. Nick watched the movie in silence, and at the end though about the movie a little.

Standing up, Nick hit the rewind on the remote and picked up his empty bottle and wrapper from a Little Debbie snack. He deposited them in the trash and headed into his bedroom to change out of his work clothes. It was almost 10:00 but the night was barely starting in his eyes. He was quite active during the late night, and had adjusted his sleeping schedule to accommodate that.

After the past few nights, and little sleep, he decided that he would finish a couple of things, and then crash early. After all, he had to work in the morning. After a quick trip to the car, he came back in his place with the box of weapons he had accumulated. He set the box down next to the ‘puter and turned it on. Loading a program, he started typing in the weapons he had collected and sorted them. An hour passed quickly and he wrapped things up. Tomorrow he would go to a pawn shop and stand to earn a little over three thousand for the various weapons. From the serial numbers, he laughed to himself as the computer made him aware that he had picked up one of the guns for the 8th time this year. Such was gang warfare.

The wrist watch on the table beeped three times and Nick snapped awake. Glancing over at the clock nearby he laid back down and caught his breath. Two hours to get ready and get to work, no problem. Shit, shower, shave, and dress. He walked out into the general room and powered up the ‘puter. No new mail this morning, not that he had expected any, but he always checked in case a bill came in or something.

50 minutes this time, he swore that he had been driving the speed limit, but if that were true, he would have been here 20 minutes from now. Oh well. No enforcers had pulled him over so it wasn’t a big deal. Nick climbed out and locked his door and headed into the store he worked at. Half an hour of bullshit paperwork, half an hour of cleaning up and he pulled the front gate open to allow customers in, not that there were any waiting or anything. Slowly, other stores around his pulled their gates opened, and the mall began to come to life.

Lessee, bad rentals last night meant Friday night, meaning this was Saturday probably. If so, that was fine by him. That just meant the day would go by quickly since all the gang-bangers would be out of school and hanging out in the mall. This wasn’t the most popular clothing store for most people, but it catered to teenagers mostly. That was where the money was. Nick also knew the area so he made sure never to order red merchandise. That alone would start a fight in the store sometimes. This was a ‘Crip’ mall, and all smart managers kept red out of their store.

Of course, this early in the morning only the elderly mall walkers were out, and a few serious shoppers, but no one worth paying attention to. It was always well past noon before the real customers began shopping. Nick began to change a nearby display, taking off the popular striped shirt that had sold so well, and replaced it with a new blue striped, hooded sweatshirt. Size 40 Guess pants below it, and the display was done. Those two pieces of clothing in the window guaranteed him a little over 800 dollars in sales alone.

Time passed quickly while doing little things here and there. An occasional sale here, a friend or two there and it was noon. Jo-el came in just before noon to help out with the noon rush that was sure to come. More and more people began coming through the door to look for new clothes. Each ‘Crip’ that entered the store left with a bag and the outfit that had been displayed in the window. It was always easy selling to the gang-bangers. They weren’t that bright, and very open to suggestion.

The afternoon passed quickly and it was almost time for Nick to take a break when two guys walked through the door. The Detectors indicated neither were carrying guns, but that wasn’t what bothered Nick. As one turned to the other, Nick caught a glimpse of a red shirt under the jacket of one of the guys. Cursing to himself, he signaled to Jo-el to let him handle these guys. Maybe they wouldn’t say anything today, maybe they would just look around and then leave….who the fuck was he kidding?

Before he could greet them, one turned to the display, made a quick gesture with his hand indicating the gang he hung with, and pushed the display over. Not a good idea. Before the display hit the ground, 3 ‘Crips’ had moved in behind Nick and 2 more stopped at the entrance to the store, both waiting there in case they were needed. Nick held up his hand motioning for everyone to stop. Gang signs flashed once more and everyone knew where everyone else stood…almost. Both groups looked to Nick wondering if he would choose sides.

Nick warned all of them to back up and stay cool and then motioned with his left hand while countering it with his right. A simple gesture but it told everyone nearby that he didn’t give a shit either way, and that he didn’t hang with either gang. He played it safe in times like this, making sure you weren’t aligned helped keep your store in one piece. The ‘Blood’ in front of him began bitching about the display and warned Nick that if he should align with the ‘Crips’, he wouldn’t see next week.

What a bland threat. ‘Bloods’ had no imagination. Either way, Nick made sure that word got around he didn’t align with any group. He just worked there.

The rest of the day passed without incident, and sales had been really good. Like usual, after a really good day he offered to buy drinks for his workers after they were done cleaning the place. This put everyone in a good mood so the work went all the faster.

The group of four climbed in Nick’s car, and they took off toward Club Crash for beer and maybe dancing. Jo-el climbed in the front seat, with Corey and Amber in the back. It was no secret that Corey like Amber so everyone else always gave him the chance to be with her. Of course, that never really helped since Corey wasn’t that outgoing.

Music boomed out into the parking lot as they pulled up, each pulling out IDs and some money to get in the place. This was the spot to be at on Saturday nights, and the music was always good. The group of four waited in the line and slowly approached the building. Val, the door guard nodded to Nick and motioned to put away his ID. A few greetings and small talk and the four were through the door without losing a dime. Nick had the right friends it seemed.

Nick smiled as he walked in, and that was rare. His workers smiled in return knowing that Nick was enjoying himself if he smiled like that. A couple of beers later, and they were all dancing. Jo-el and Nick danced together, silently celebrating being number one in the district for the first time. Since both managed the store, a nice bonus would be included on their next paycheck for the sales they had had earlier today. As soon as the two had hit the dance floor, Amber grabbed Corey’s hand and pulled him up to dance. Corey smiled.

Things were going great tonight, and everyone was having a good time. Doubt lingered in the back of Nick’s mind though, as he knew that something would happen before the night was over. It always did, and tonight was no exception.

Obumbratta finished up, and the Dj began to mix in the next song when it happened. Nick felt two hands pull him back and watched as someone stepped in front of him to dance with Jo-el. Regardless of what happened, it always happened to Nick. Disregarding any polite conversation or formalities, a kidney punch and a kick to the heel brought the guy down. A gesture to a bouncer, and the guy was out of the club before he realized what happened. With a breath of relief, Jo-el continued dancing, glad that the whole thing was over. Nick knew better. So did Corey.

Both of them had been coming here on Saturday nights for three months now. Both knew the people, and both knew what to expect. Corey just kept out of it when at all possible. Nick looked around for the friends of the guy that just got thrown out. He knew they were around. No doubt one of them had sent the guy to do exactly what he did to gauge Nick’s response. Minutes passed and Nick calmed down and began to dance again.

TimeBomb began and all of them danced faster. Nick liked this song in particular and he had often borrowed the CD with this song from Corey. One little incident wasn’t enough to take the smile away from his face so he danced until he was tired. One by one they walked off the dance floor to the table, and ordered a new drink. It was always a good sensation dancing like that only to come back to a cool beer afterwards.

Leaving the club laughing and talking about the good time, Nick glanced over and noticed the worried expression on Corey’s face. Nick didn’t have to look over to know what was up, but he did anyway. Five guys sat on or around Nick’s car, all waiting for him. It wasn’t until 30 feet away that Nick saw the guy that had been thrown out. Lewd comments and obscene gestures accompanied threats toward the small group.

Nick removed his jacket and handed it to Jo-el. He warned her to stand back and that it would only take a few minutes. Moving away from the car the group circled Nick and made sure to cut him off from any help from Corey. That was fine by all of them. The first guy moved in on Nick and threw a few wild punches, all of which missed horribly. Two resounding cracks later, blood covered the guys face and Nick’s fists. Nick pivoted to the next one and gestured that it was his turn.

Both fighters took a defensive stance, and immediately, Nick knew that this boy had been schooled in Karate. Both prepared themselves mentally and began a volley of punches and kicks at each other. Few landed, and what did land was just small hits or grazes, none of which mattered to either. For two minutes the fighting continued, and as Nick began to re-approach, a figure behind him moved slightly and produced a knife from his pocket.

One step toward Nick, and he fell face down, hitting the ground with an audible thump. Corey stepped back and prepared another hit if needed. One hit to the base of the neck, and weapons were kept out of the fight. Jo-el sighed and leaned back against the car waiting for the whole thing to be over with. She had watched Nick fight, and knew that these gangbangers weren’t going to touch him at all.

Minutes passed and Nick finished his opponent with a snap kick to the chin and two jabs to the nose. Barely winded, Nick turned to the next. Not a second passed before the guy made the sign that the fight was over. Nick nodded, took his jacket, and they moved over to the car. Instead of helping their friends, the remaining two just shook their heads and walked on. Such was gang loyalty.

It was almost 2 in the morning before they got back to the mall parking lot. Nick pulled up to the three cars of his friends and parked. Climbing out, Nick left his door open and began talking with everyone. No work tomorrow so no hurry in getting home. Standing around in the almost empty parking lot, talking under the stars had become a weekly thing as much as the dancing. The fresh air did them all good. A rather uneventful day for a Saturday, but Nick knew that everything would begin again on Monday when he opened the store. It always did….

#029: Time Passed

[F.U.C.K. is an e-zine that I started on January 24, 1993 and ended on January 24, 2000. One concept is that articles should be timeless if possible, so they were not released with dates. As such, the date on this blog is not exact but I will try to use a date as close as possible.]

With an audible sigh, the teenager sat back wishing class would finally end. It had been over an hour since he sat down, listening to the endless babble from the figure at the front of the classroom. Right above the professor was a huge clock. Why do they always put the clock right in front of you, constantly reminding you of how long you had to wait before leaving. Two more minutes before he was free for the rest of the afternoon. ‘Damn. Nothing ever happens during the last few minutes of class.’ He slumped down in his chair again, wishing the prof would end the class. Glancing around and back toward the front he mumbled ‘One more minute. Nothing happens.’

11:14.01 – A baby boy was just born to Thomas and Mary in New Hampshire.
11:14.02 – Three people die in a five car pile up on a Los Angeles freeway system.
11:14.03 – A computer hacker transfers $100,000 into an anonymous account for a later date.
11:14.04 – Tibetan monks begin their weekly fast.
11:14.05 – Two five year olds are abused by their mother. One is hit too hard, and dies.
11:14.06 – A young teen writes a text file, condemning the current American government and cursing the political situation.
11:14.07 – Fire consumes a three story building, burning two people alive.
11:14.08 – Gang fights break out in Detroit.
11:14.09 – Another computer virus is released into the world of computers.
11:14.10 – A disgruntled postal employee takes the lives of two of his fellow employees before taking his own life.
11:14.11 – Another book is banned from a school library.
11:14.12 – Michael Jordon just made another thousand dollars because one of his commercials aired.
11:14.13 – Another 9 year old died, because someone else wanted his Air Jordan shoes.
11:14.14 – An oil freighter hits a reef, spilling its contents into the ocean killing thousands of animals, and ruining a public beach.
11:14.15 – Danielle, 17 year old daughter of Mary Ellen, runs away, and begins a life of prostitution.
11:14.16 – A ship leaves the U.S., carrying arms. At the same time, another ship leaves Peru, with cargo holds full of drugs.
11:14.17 – A foreign diplomat walks away from a crime scene, absolved of a crime because of diplomatic immunity.
11:14.18 – Another young man joins the ranks of the Ku Klux Klan.
11:14.19 – A congressman steals $50,000. Again.
11:14.20 – 17 more die of starvation in a third world nation.
11:14.21 – A dozen people are scared for their lives, as an armed robber levels a shotgun at them during his robbery.
11:14.22 – Satellite photos confirm the construction of two more nuclear war heads in China.
11:14.23 – Two Mexican citizens are stopped from crossing over into the U.S.
11:14.24 – A college student sits in his room, and completes a crack for a newly released game.
11:14.25 – A software programmer in California enjoys the success of his new game, but realizes thousands of people are enjoying his game, and they never paid for it.
11:14.26 – Two guys watch their friend die from an overdose of cocaine.
11:14.27 – Another of the great Blue whales die at the hands of ruthless hunters.
11:14.28 – Police uncover the bodies of two missing teenagers, found mutilated in some thick woods.
11:14.29 – A tornado in Kansas wipes out 32 homes, 7 cars, and takes the life of 2 people.
11:14.30 – A bullet spirals through the air over a short area, pierces the chest of a man in South America. The C.I.A. has finished another mission.

‘Damn. This clock is so slow. Come on, only 30 more seconds…’

11:14.31 – A technician at a nearby computer store, replaces a disk drive, and upgrades my system.
11:14.32 – A police officer dies in the line of duty.
11:14.33 – Three teachers are fired from a public school due to budget cuts.
11:14.34 – Another housing project opens up, providing homes for more than 300 homeless.
11:14.35 – The electric chair claims the life of one more mass murderer.
11:14.36 – John wakes up after a passionate night with Susan. John has AIDS and will die in less than 5 years.
11:14.37 – Two elementary school kids break out in a fight. Neither thinking of talking to resolve their problems.
11:14.38 – Only open for 15 minutes, ‘Dave’s Beer and Wine’ has sold 17 bottles of hard liquor.
11:14.39 – A gay man is persecuted in the U.S. Army.
11:14.40 – Over a thousand pieces of mail just got sent from all over the world on Internet.
11:14.41 – The FCC finished another investigation because the word ‘shit’ was used in a public broadcast.
11:14.42 – A 42 year old man cries behind closed doors, trying to cope with the stressful environment he is forced to work in.
11:14.43 – Detectives file away a case on another homicide that can’t be solved.
11:14.44 – Answering a phone call, a yuppie gets in a car wreck because he wasn’t paying attention. A three year old boy, and a two year old girl lie dead.
11:14.45 – A chemical plant just dumped 1040 gallons of nuclear waste into a nearby stream.
11:14.46 – An athlete in Georgia does his daily steroids in preparation for the upcoming Olympics.
11:14.47 – A judge just accepted a bribe, and a known criminal walked free.
11:14.48 – The N.S.A. just locked away more files concerning alien life forms and their business here.
11:14.49 – Neo-Nazi youth groups just added more members.
11:14.50 – A grave was just dug up, the looter in search for jewelry buried with the corpse.
11:14.51 – With an almost silent snap, Christine, an 18 year old female ends her life by hanging herself.
11:14.52 – After 84 years, Phil, dies of natural causes, his story untold.
11:14.53 – A small riot breaks out from a ‘peaceful’ demonstration.
11:14.54 – Marcus, a street beggar in Washington DC, has made over $130 this morning begging travelers for spare change.
11:14.55 – Three gang members die from gunshot wounds in Detroit.
11:14.56 – $250,000 is lost in a game of ’21’ somewhere in Los Vegas.
11:14.57 – A shotgun goes off, ending the life of a 23 year old male, under too much academic pressure.
11:14.58 – A rich computer hacker is interrupted by seven armed Secret Service agents during a federal raid.
11:14.59 – Four soldiers die in the Mid East as a grenade hits at their feet. Two more are wounded.
11:15.00 – Class lets out.

‘Free at last!’ he thinks as he bolts out of the classroom.

Just because nothing happens in your immediate sight, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

#022: The Dream

[F.U.C.K. is an e-zine that I started on January 24, 1993 and ended on January 24, 2000. One concept is that articles should be timeless if possible, so they were not released with dates. As such, the date on this blog is not exact but I will try to use a date as close as possible.]

It was a typical day the other day, like usual, I woke up sometime after noon and squinted as my eyes adjusted to the sun coming in through the window. Same room each day that I woke up to. It was quite spartan, just a chest of drawers, table, bookshelf, and footlocker. Two framed posters, a cork bulletin board, and a monthly ‘planit’ board behind my door. No use in decorating a room I only sleep in. With an audible sigh, I walked out into the hallway, into my bathroom and took a quick shower. Got out, dressed, put in my contacts, and headed for the kitchen. The rooms to either side of the kitchen were fairly dark with the shades closed, and the TV was off.

I noticed then, that my roommate wasn’t here. Opening the fridge, I grabbed some milk for cereal, and something to drink. A quick meal in the morning was rare, as I had forgone breakfast long ago. The cereal was ok, and it was filling enough, but lacking in overall enjoyment. ‘Oh well’ I thought, forget it. I would go out for lunch later that day. Moving into the front room I turned on the monitor to the computer, to check the board mail and see if anything needed to be done. Nope. The board was pretty self sufficient, and I barely needed to touch it these days. Reading messages would be done later that day.

Stale air in the house started overwhelming me. Opening the windows brought in fresh air, but it was hot. So, I decided to walk about in the back yard and get some air. Opening the curtains, I quickly realized something was up. I looked out into the backyard, and instead of seeing the typical single tree, dirt areas, and old patio, I saw something totally different. I opened the door quickly and found cool fresh air blowing in my face. Just what I was looking for. It was light out, but there was no visible sun that I could see. Before I could finish the thought, the sun appeared on the horizon. But everything else was black, with white lines forming a grid running everywhere. It reminded me of the holodeck on ST:TNG. Laughing at myself for being stupid, I blinked a few times and looked back in the house and nothing had changed. Quickly I glanced back outside and the black horizon, with the sun. Nothing else. Grass, rolling hills of grass, nice cool air, lots of trees. These thoughts swarmed through my mind and seconds later it was in front of me. I had just created everything I could see.

I took a tentative step out onto the grass where the patio had been and was amazed when I realized that it was real. Nice thick green grass under my feet. It took me at least 10 minutes to fully comprehend what was happening but I wasn’t complaining. Lesse. Birds, small animals, a small pond and hundreds of other things appeared as I thought about them. Hmm. I looked back to the house I lived in. Five minutes later I sat back on a chair, drinking a cold beer, admiring the repairs to the house. Nothing big, just a house in front of me that wouldn’t need cleaning, repairing, or any other maintenance for quite some time. Better carpet, food in the fridge, and other small things that made life easier. Hmm. Too good to be true. I knew there would be some limit to what I could do, but I would have to find that on my own.

I walked around the house to where the front yard used to be and looked around at where my neighbor’s houses used to be. Nothing. Just the rolling green hills I had thought of. Hmm. Ok. I walked across the road and up to the front door of my friend’s house. I knocked once, and he came to the door. “Hey, what’s up?”. “Oh, not much. Hmm. Look around ‘J’.” He stepped out into the front yard and looked around. Confusion hit him hard. “What the hell is going on?” I kinda snickered at that, and produced two chairs and a couple of beers for us, and explained everything. Hmm. “I could use bite to eat”. ‘J’ stopped me quickly and told me to hang a second, he wanted to try something. His face kinda got a look of hard thought and he blinked. In front of us was a table with a Chinese dinner. “Not bad”
was my only reply.

We both ate, and thought about things for a while. During the time we had both summoned up a computer to help us out. We wanted to know the extent of our world, and our power. Only took a couple of hours and we found out that we were the only ones around and we controlled the world. “Cool” I said, and looked over to ‘J’. An evil grin spread over his face and I knew what he was thinking. “Welp. Lets be careful what we put back. I don’t want to deal with any assholes. And if you put any more people back I am gonna kick yer ass boy.” I laughed at that, and he did too. Since both of us had jobs that required social interaction with people we didn’t care for, neither of us were eager to put people back right away.

Hmm. “Ya know, ‘J’, all those people that bitch about the cyber culture, and say it is bullshit, and will never be? Guess this is it. To some extent at least.” He thought for a minutes and nodded. “Sure is, I think I kinda like it. Thing is, if we put something back, will they be able to do anything like we can?” This made me think for a minute.

I opened my eyes, and in front of me was another person. It was a guy I knew that worked at the mall. “Hi Patrick. Howya doin?”. He was confused at first, but after looking around he replied “Heya. Pretty good. What the hell is going on?”. I quickly explained everything and told him to try and conjure something and told him how to do it. No luck. He couldn’t do it. I thought for a second and told him to try again. Next to him appeared this cute girl he worked with. He smiled. I thought about it. He and the girl quickly disappeared.

“Ya know ‘J’. I think I like this. We control who has the power.” The next few hours were filled with talk about what we would do, what we would restore, and what changes we would make. It only took a full day of thinking and all of Lubbock was back but it was much improved. Lots more trees, better roads, and no dust or cattle yard within 100 miles. “Welp, looks like our work is cut out if we want the rest of the world back.” He looked over and told me not really. “Just think vague thoughts, the lesser the detail, the faster it would appear, and for some reason it comes back the way it was.” He explained a little more.

We rested, drank a few more beers, and he drank a bottle or two of FireWater. Strange. We could drink all we wanted, and then get rid of the effects. A week passed and the world was back to a somewhat normal condition. Things were much better. There was still fighting and war and all that, but the little things that made life hard had been taken care of. Peace was cool and all but would never work. Wars had their part in the grand scheme of things.

‘J’ and I kept working on things, created elaborate computer networks that were much more efficient since that was our hobbies. We always had a place to go to talk about things, a nice rolling green meadow with trees, and a huge pond. We would kick back and talk about things. It was just one of those times, we started talking about the past. Something hit me then, and I quickly stood up. “Wait! Fuck this. Curiosity is killing me. What is the real story behind JFK? What is the N.S.A. hiding? Is there other life in the universe? I mean, with our power we can find out all that shit.” ‘J’ quickly agreed and we started to get to work.

It was two weeks after all this began that we were sitting there, and something started happening. We had found out everything we had ever wanted to know about the world, and what all had been kept from the people of the world. Sitting back contemplating things we both noticed it. Everything around us started growing a darker shade of grey. We both tried to stop it but couldn’t. We hadn’t lost our power, but we couldn’t control it for some reason. Things blacked out.

I woke up in my bed, and looked around. After a long sigh, I realized it had been a dream and that once again, utopia had slipped through my grasp. I close my eyes trying to recall details about everything we had discovered but it wasn’t coming back to me. I cursed for a second, knowing that some of the things I dreamt of had to be the truth. Oh well. Like usual I forgot what I dreamed.

“Shut the mains off.”
“Mains off. Neural scanner de-activated sir.”
“Damn. I thought he would remember everything.”
“Lessee what all happened, I am searching the program logs. Here.
They both dreamt that they had control of anything, and then rebuilt the world so it was a better place, and then decided they would find out about everything we strive to keep secret. They learned of everything this agency has ever been involved in… Amazing, that a dream can do all that. They discovered the truths through a fucking dream. I’m glad that dream retention isn’t as easy as people say.”
“Damn. You’re sure that they don’t remember a thing? If either of them retain 1% of what they learned, we could be ruined.”
“Your right. We have to make sure. Send a team out. Have them taken into custody, erase all memory of the past 24 hours, and put them back. Continue monitoring them, and if that doesn’t work…. then kill them.”
“Yes sir. Good thing we have these neural scanners. They have saved our asses more than once.”
“Amazing technology.”
“Yep. Sure is. Just remember, don’t question where we got it.”
“Yes sir.”
“Lets go to lunch.”

#015: Fiction – Take 1

[F.U.C.K. is an e-zine that I started on January 24, 1993 and ended on January 24, 2000. One concept is that articles should be timeless if possible, so they were not released with dates. As such, the date on this blog is not exact but I will try to use a date as close as possible.]

For starters, a fictional story. Read it, then any comments at the end of it. No doubt I will bitch up a storm because there are TOO many of these ignorant bastards in the world.

It was only a ten minute drive to work. The only thing that made it that long was other people on the road. People that shouldn’t be on the road in the first place. Yuppies on their car phones, moms with screaming kids, older people intent upon ‘safety’. All of these people not paying attention to what is going on, causing all sorts of wonderful problems. Changing lanes without signaling, veering over and cutting others off. He hoped it wouldn’t be like Tuesday, where he almost got run off the road, and prayed it wouldn’t be like the Friday before that, where the guy pulled out in front of him while he was doing 40. Both times, he was able to get out of the way and avoid an accident. He didn’t care much about his safety or anything. He just needed his car in one piece so he could get to work, and back. Like everyone else in the world, he was forced to be money’s slave.

Pulling in the parking place he looked at his clock, almost fifteen minutes early today, about the usual. The teenager quickly rolled up the window of his car, locked the door, and jogged inside. An hour later he would be bombarded with the stupidity of humans as they bought their lunch. One hour of prep work before that though, no problem. Little stuff around the restaurant to make things go as smooth as possible. He changed the chalkboard sign so it listed the daily specials, the soup of the day, and the two new items on the menu. Hung it back on the wall right behind his cash register. In front of his register was a printed copy of the menu listing all the ingredients of each meal, the calorie count, and how much fat was in it. He worked at a restaurant that catered to a ‘healthy minded appetite’.

Few more chores out of the way, he counted his register. One hundred and fifty dollars. That was always good to start and could cover anything he needed. Looking at the clock, the time approached 11:00 am, opening time. With a final swig of his diet coke, he walked back out front. Standing at his register he was in a good enough mood, ready to take on the lunch rush. It was always busy, about 2 hours of time, and hundreds of customers each day within that time. Between the nature of the store, and being next to the hospital, it was guaranteed customers. Glancing up, he sees his first customer walk through. Sigh.

With a smile on his face he began the busiest part of his 6 hour shift. As usual, three registers, 300 people it seemed, but all the people on the registers knew what they were doing. They each knew the menu, the prices, and the ingredients, and what they didn’t know was on paper nearby. The first hundred people, all daily customers, make the job enjoyable almost, starting brief, but friendly conversation, helping them with what they needed and moving on to the next customer. A little after 12 things start going down hill as usual. Fewer customers, first time customers, and other small things that rapidly grew on him.

A group of three walk in the door. Obviously their first or second time in. Walking in, looking around and smiling, looking to see if they seat themselves or walk up to the huge counter with three people standing behind cash registers. Realization hits, and they move closer. Three yuppies, all in early thirties, two with mobile phones, and all of them with this look of superiority. First one steps up further and the guy behind the register offers the man a menu with a list of items, and ingredients, then reminds him that he is welcome to ask any questions. Yuppie1 looks down at the menu for two seconds and back up to the menu with only the prices behind the counter.

“Hi. I have been here before, but my friends haven’t so I will order for them.”
“Ok sir. What can I get for you?”
“I will take the daily special, my friend will take the combo special and the other will have the ‘Very Vegetarian’..”

<‘Oh yeah, you have been here. You just managed to order the three most vague orders you can get. Read the fucking menu.’>
“Ok. First, there are three daily specials, , which would you like?”
“Oh. Uhhm……I will take the Italian.”
<‘Didn’t I just point to this big board in front of you stating all the specials…is Italian on there? I don’t think so. Get a clue dipshit.’>
“Sir? Today we don’t have the Italian, we have these three. .” sigh
“Oh. I will take the Santa Fe. And I want a potato with that.”
<‘Duh? Doesn’t the big board say that comes with it?>
“Sir. It comes with a potato. Next, the combo special. That comes with a half sandwich, your choice of soup, salad, or potato and then your choice of chips, pasta, or fruit.”
“Lessee. Which sandwich do you recommend?”
“I like the roast beef sandwich. It is really good.”
“Hmm. I will take the chicken sandwich.”

<‘Don’t take my suggestion, then ask for one of the two sandwiches we don’t do on the combo special. Ignore all the others that we DO do.’>
“Sir. We can’t do the chicken sandwich or the one below it on a combo special. The menu here shows which ones you can choose from.”
“Oh. I will take the Turkey sandwich.”

<‘Like the menu says asshole, you have a few choices to make. You want just the sandwich? Bet that is a real combination eh?’>
“And would you like soup, potato, or salad?”

“I get my choice?”
<‘Are we deaf AND dumb? Get a fucking clue please’>
“Yes sir.”
“I will take the potato.”

“And would you like chips, pasta, or fruit?”

“Chips are tortilla chips, pasta is a oil based pasta salad, and the fruit of the day is watermelon.”
<‘Wow! A full master’s degree and you can’t figure that out?!’>
“Hmm…….I will have chips.”

“Ok. And on the third, the ‘Very Vegetarian’, would you like the VV sandwich, salad, or taco?”
“You mean it comes in all three?”
<‘No dumbass, I am making this up. Read the fucking menu.’>
“I think I will take the sandwich.”
<‘sigh And you can’t read either eh?’>
“Would you like chips, pasta, or fruit? That choice is with ALL sandwiches.'”
“Uhh. I think I will take pasta.”

<curse from the employee. With a order half rung up I can’t help anyone else>

Minutes pass while the fucking yuppie talks about racquetball later with his bed buddies.

“Ok sir. What would you like to drink?”

“Give us 3 cold drinks.” “They only know the difference between hot and cold drinks here.”

“Cold drinks sir? Coke? Tea? Lemonade? Shake? Slush? We have a lot of cold drinks.”

“Oh. Three cokes please.”
<’bout damn time’>
“Your total will be 18.42”

<‘You couldn’ fucking hit 110 at the ATM? Got to have those nice big bills to impress your loser friends?’>

“Excuse me you fucking yuppies. Please get the hell out of this store and get the hell out of my face. You are such a dumb ass yuppie who doesn’t know shit about the real world.”
“Let me see your manager!”

“You said that to him?!?”
“Yup. Sure did. Doesn’t he look like a fucking loser?”
“Your fired! I am extremely sorry about all this.”
“Ok. See ya!”

“Hi! Boy I sure love when you ignorant bastards come through my line acting like you know everything about the restaurant. Why the hell do you think I am here? Because I know this shit better than you. All three of you are fucking perversions of nature, and shouldn’t be allowed to roam around. You sit back with your master’s degrees which you got by cheating people, bribing others, and bullshitting your way through, and you expect to come in and treat ME like the incompetent? That isn’t how it works.”

“I think I will do society a favor today.”

“There. Go rot in a hospital and do something good for society. Spend your money somewhere else, and stay the fuck out of public.”

The enD.

Anyway, you get the point. Fucking lameness abounds and seemingly I get stuck with it all. I get so sick and tired of dealing with other people’s shit, and cleaning up after them. People are so sloppy, so ignorant, so conceited, and overall, so unaware, it is pathetic.

Fix it. If not someone else. You. It all starts with YOU making sure you don’t fit in the above category. If you don’t, then that alone makes you a plus to society, regardless of anything else.

Believe that. Not the bullshit you are fed by your parents, or other adults. And make sure you don’t believe the hype. Don’t be a yuppie. Don’t be this. Don’t be that. Be yourself. That is the one thing I learned from a good friend and to date, that has held up. And something tells me it will continue to do so.

p.s. Thanx goes out to S.L. aka Bulldog. He got through to me.