Because pee

The line at this particular bathroom killed her. She hated lines like she hated obscurity. But she had to go. Bad. Justine was a pretty little thing. She’d just cut her long blonde hair off a week ago, going for a tomboy style she found charming. The men in her life weren’t so sure about it, but that didn’t stop them from drooling at the clubs in San Jose. She was in Paso Robles today, far from her base of popularity. Justine made this trip inland to Arizona regularly. It was part of her job, stroking and grooming pharma accounts. She got paid to act flirty and smile with sexual charm at the old men in charge of her business. The rest fell easily into place.  Except this particular bathroom at this particular gas station. It always pissed her off.

She held her pink iPhone over her face and snapped a saucy selfie while standing in line. She stood there patiently and posted the pic to Instagram, then realized there wasn’t a line to get into the men’s bathroom. Her line was six women deep. She typed, “Screw this. I’m going into the mens room. Because pee,” and hit share. Oh, there’d be a few hearts on that, she was sure.

Just as she’d forgotten the word because was once followed by more than one word, she’d forgotten that rules were often in place for a reason. It could be they didn’t apply to her. It could be so many rules were just stupid. It could be Justine was stupid. The reasons didn’t matter to her. She didn’t even think twice about going in there. Because pee.

She kept her eyes straight ahead and trucked in, strutting past the yellow-stained urinals with a sense of high dignity (and by a large man hunkered up to one), and entered one of the two stalls. A pair of brown boots were visible in the stall next to hers, but she ignored it. It was only when she sat down did she hear the deep, manly voices.

“Think we got a tranny in here,” one of them said.  “Must be a dude to think it can come in here.”

Justine scowled, indignant. “Hello? Did you see the line out there for the girl’s? I didn’t want to wait, but I am a woman.”

“Like we believe that,” the other man said, flushing the toilet next to hers and walking out of the stall.

Justine was about to reply when a brown boot kicked at her stall. She stood and just yanked her pants up when the door crashed open. A storm of wide, bony knuckles fell over her. She’d never felt pain like that before. Never thought she would either. It filled her very soul, that pain, squeezing out her own indignant anger like a vice. She went to black and collapsed on the filthy floor. Boots kicked her a few times to make sure their point was made.

Because ignorance.

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Alien in Big Sur – Dead

Alien-2The creature made a move. It wasn’t much of a move, but it totally counted. It’s pale, fleshy head with almond shaped eyes (if almonds were the size of watermelons) nodded in my direction. But hell if that scared me. I’m an American. So keeping my iPhone as steady as possible in my right hand, I lifted my pistol with my left hand and fired. The thing staggered backwards behind a fallen pine tree. I kept filming with my phone, hoping it wasn’t too dark for the camera to pick up the action.

I go to the range regularly and know for a fact I hit the thing, just like I killed a rabbit a few minutes earlier on the trail. But the creature, an alien for sure, kept moving even after it took a round. It dropped the rabbit I shot. Still not sure why it picked it up in the first place. When the rabbit hit the ground the damn thing scurried off. I know it was dead a minute ago, but somehow just touching the alien brought it back to life.

I may not have some fancy degree, those totally worthless pieces of paper sold by the liberal media like store bought intelligence, but I do have something better. My instincts. And those trump your un-American agenda any day. Not having a degree just means I haven’t been brainwashed.

So I kept my instincts in my back pocket and reloaded my gun.

I may live on my parents’ property in Big Sur, but I’m not a hippy. Far from it. And I’ve seen Independence Day.  If I’d wanted that rabbit to be alive I wouldn’t have shot it. I popped off another round at where I thought the alien might be hiding, then snuck closer to the fallen pine tree.

“This thing wants to kill me,” I said. I talked into the camera on the iPhone, for the sake of the video. I’d quit Farmers Only if it didn’t go viral, but I knew it would. Within hours of posting it too.  “Not sure what it is, but I know it’s not from here. Not from my planet.”

The alien leaned against the fallen pine tree, gasping for air. Eucalyptus bark, shredded from recent wind storms, covered the area. I could smell the trees, but also the hot blood of my enemy. I knew I’d got him. He held a long skinny hand over a bloodied wound on its shoulder, the wound I caused.

“You’re not even wearing clothes,” I said, glad for the camouflage jacket I had on. Made it harder to see me in the night. Actually I rarely ever went outside not wearing it. The alien’s other hand rested on the trunk of the tree. Flowers were popping out of the dead tree wherever the alien touched it. Unbelievable. It’s touch, just it’s touch, seemed to bring life. The flowers looked like poppies, maybe some violets too, I don’t know. It’s like it was trying to tell me it was the second coming or something. I wasn’t having any of that, so I kept the iPhone steady and shot it a few more times in the head. This time I was sure I’d ended whatever plans this monstrosity had for me and my neighbors.

“This pistol right here is my God-given right,” I told the dying alien. “You might want to think twice about invading an armed country next time. You hear what I’m saying? Think twice about coming to America!”

But it was dead. Guess it’s healing touch didn’t work on itself. After a few close-ups I stopped recording and got down next to the thing. Had to take some selfies with it. Make for a sweet profile pic.

Then I uploaded the video. I put it on Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, everywhere.

I wrote, “Killed an alien tonite. Your welcome,” and waited for the likes.

Epipen Noir

I couldn’t see the inanimate object, but I could hear it speak. The Epipen had a voice like an Italian mobster if you can believe that. The thing probably wore a sharkskin suit, something full of money and pizzazz. It told me who it was while parked outside the pharmacy.

My fingers hadn’t turned the key in the ignition yet. I was still in shock about the six hundred dollar Epipen cost and that I had to leave the pharmacy empty-handed. The bruises and tape marks from my hospital stay made it hurt to bend my elbows, but I gripped the steering wheel in shock nonetheless, thinking I was about to be robbed until the inanimate object clued me in to its identity. First the severe allergic reaction to some unknown crap, now this.

“I know you’ll find this hard to believe,” it said, regardless of who could hear it besides me. “But us Epipens, we’re lonely. We get around, we do, but not to everyone. You, my friend. You need me. It’s a matter of life and death with you. You don’t take my help; bad things might happen. You know what I’m saying?”

I whispered, ashamed and slightly terrified. “But I don’t have the money.”

“You hear me say anything about money? What I’m talking about is whether or not you see that beautiful son of yours again.”

I watched a line of cars waiting for a green light on Fremont. “It costs money. More money than I have. It’s hopeless.”

“Ain’t nothing in life free, my friend. You want to see your son graduate from college someday? You get protection. My protection.”

“How?”

“What do I look like, a fortune teller? That’s for you to figure out.”

There were so many nice cars out there on Fremont. Sunshine gleamed from them: jaguars, BMWs, a black Mercedes; so nice. “A side job? Beg someone for money? Start a Go Fund Me or something? The hospital said I need one right away. There’s just no way to do it. What if the same thing happens before I can afford one?”

“Boo hoo hoo. Stop acting like a baby and man up. You’re an American for God’s sake.”

I wanted to tell him I hated being an American. I hated rocks and hard places. And being American, more than anything else, often meant getting used to just that. Here’s a rock. Here’s a hard place. Here’s you. But he was right. I had no choice.

“I hate you, Epipen,” was all I could manage to say.

Abe Lincoln goes to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Spoiler Alert! Do not read if you have not seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens

If you do not care, keep on keeping on

Lincoln kept his hat on. Not sure why. It’s not like we were going to have our pictures taken or anything. If anything, people would think he was an actor on his way to a local theater production. They probably turned up their noses to that kind of thing. If he were Titanic Leo, they’d be on him like flies on fecal matter, but this is local theater we’re talking about.  Abraham liked the look. He knew it screamed his name. No one really copied his style after he’d been assassinated, so it was all him.

But that hat would cheese people off in the row behind us.

They came to see if J.J. could pull off a new Star Wars movie – as in making something we’d all like, non-fans, monster fans, women, men, transexuals, Republicans, Democrats, Muppets, kids, dogs and cats. So many waited like hungry zombies to see if he’d fail, so many thinking it couldn’t possibly live up to the hype, to the sickening level of abject fervor, and were ready to devour those responsible with one out of place sentence – to digitally shame them for the rest of their natural lives – and if they came back from the dead like Abe did, for eternity – or as long as online fanboy trolling stays a thing – one or the other.

The tall former president leaned forward in his seat and snatched the popcorn as the lights dimmed. “As I was saying, Patrick. Being a writer, whether in the world of journalism or fiction, means you must teach humanity how it can grow, how it can be better than it was yesterday.”

“The hell it does.”

“Show your readers the true path to wisdom,” he said.

“The movie’s starting.”

“Yeah, shut the hell up,” someone said a few rows below us.

I looked behind us to make sure no one had their view blocked. Thankfully the seat was empty. Lincoln stuffed his mouth with popcorn, but kept speaking.

Bits of yellow filth jumped out of his mouth. “Wisdom can be found in any man, but most don’t know to look for it. A writer must teach these things.”

I couldn’t think of anything clever to say, but I kept thinking about how I love Six Million Dollar Man novelizations and read those more often than I did Strayed or Angelou. “Writers are no smarter than anyone else. Dumber probably. You’re not supposed to talk during a movie. I saw this on opening night remember. It’s a cool movie. Take your damn hat off and enjoy it.”

“This is why you can afford to listen to me, Patrick. You’ve seen this movie.”

I began to wonder why Lemmy from Motorhead, or Kubrick, or even Rowdy Roddy didn’t show up at my front door. It had to be Lincoln. The same dude from a row down shushed the sixteenth president before I could.

Abe continued. “You’ve seen this Star Wars. You already know Han Solo dies at the end.”

“Are you serious?” The man from a row down again. This time he was on his feet. Anger surged through his tall, muscular body. The evening deteriorated from there into a bloody mess of sneers, foul language, split lips and white hot pain. Security, police, rage and the realization that theaters and Abraham Lincoln do not mix. Spoilers trump wisdom. Experience can make you bleed. And humanity can grow backward. One thing I know for sure?

Abe punched first.