Opposite Day Part 4

Derrick sat.  His hands tied behind his back.  Bobby’s old Camero made an uncomfortable ride for crazy people.  Ashley sat cramped in the back seat.  Her long legs and strappy heels rubbed against his side every chance.  

“Ashley, you need to stop,” Bobby shouted impatiently as she rubbed the side of his face with the side of her foot.  Derrick stared through Bobby, from the passenger seat.  The hair on the back of his head stood.  Bobby turned and looked forward as he felt Derrick staring at him.  Ashley heels bounced beside his face but he noticed the world outside this small cramped Camero.  The world had lost it.  

The sun was perched in the horizon.  The morning sun shone off the tall windows of the university housing buildings.  Below the normal looking morning some men on the street pranced like women and some women walked like men. The trash trucks threw garbage on the street and the firemen sprayed houses that were not on fire.

“How am I supposed to get anywhere in this mess,”  Bobby thought.  

Slowly, Bobby drove through the insanity.  Several men and woman attempted to become dogs and wore leases but the dogs would have none of it.. they didn’t care to walk their former owners. Within the center of the campus sat a large park.  It was normally full of people but now empty.  The sub shop, the campus book store sat empty, with the doors open but no one was around to loot it.    

 

Opposite Day _collection in Progress

Bobby walked slowly down the faded boardwalk. The long boards of the wooden walk way jutted up here and there making it a small challenge not to trip. The shops were long boarded up. Former neon signs now looked like dark broken tubes which helped to keep people away instead of bring them to the shop. The windows were long boarded up due to a hurricane which blew in years ago. No one turned the power back on. No one walked the rickety, broken floor. No one cared much for boardwalk anymore.

Bobby rounded the corner. An abandoned toy store stood sad and depressed. The plywood that held up the large picture window had fallen slightly and Bobby could see something strange. A red glow from something inside. The power had been cut for the whole board walk so to see anything but black and gray over here was weird. Bobby pulled on the plywood, which gave easily and walked into the building. The small red glow sat in a corner of the toy story. Bobby could not yet tell what was making it. The shelves of the small toy store sat empty. It’s shelves fallen face first onto the dusty ground. A few toys were scattered but most were covered and dust and unwanted by the looters years ago. Bobby had to climb over a couple shelves to get to the red object. It sat over a thin cover, dusty like everything else. Bobby covered his mouth and pulled.

Under the cover was a coin-operated magician. A partial man, hat, head and shoulders, stood staring away from Bobby. Inside his small square prison he looked like he just came off the manufacturer’s floor. His hat was a tall stove pipe with a brim. His face was painted on ceramic, wrinkles and all. The partial man wore a half tie and suit. The red light shone brightly from the top of the square glass case.

“Alfonso, the Great,” shouted the letters as it spelled out the name. Underneath the glass box was a steel slot and beside that a tin sign, bent slightly at the corner, that said 25 cents.

Bobby shook his pockets and found a quarter. He pushed the quarter into the slot and the magician came alive. First thing it did was straighten its gaze. It looked forward into Bobby’s chest for a moment then upward. It’s painted on eyes seemed to become real as it soon caught Bobby’s gaze. “Young man, how are you?” Said the magician his halved body moving back and forth as he continued to stare right at Bobby.

“I’m so sorry staring is rude,” he said as he adjusted his gaze to something less creepy. “You don’t understand it’s been years since I’ve seen a young boy your age.” The magician laughed. It’s voice was metallic, his accent slightly British. “I am Alfonso, the Great. Magician extraordinaire. I am here for your pleasure. “Would you like me to perform a trick for you?”

Bobby shifted uncomfortably. Fear doubled up in his legs and gut. “I think I’m just going to go,” he said but his legs would not move.

“Don’t be frightened, young man,” said the magician. “What am I going to do, I’m in a glass box for Christ’s sake and I have no legs.”

Bobby attempted a smile which peaked slightly at the edges.

“Let me get my small arms working so I can take off this old hat.” Two small wooden arms moved slowly, stuttering at first, then eventually pushing upward to remove the magician’s black hat. For a few seconds the magician’s gaze disappeared behind his hat. Bobby breathed in deeply till his gaze returned.

“Alright,” said the magician, “let me reach into my hat and pull out a trick.”

Bobby watched as the magician’s hands moved mechanically into the hat and pulled out a small card. The magician then turned, while still watching, and dropped the card into a large black pit area. The card dropped and the magician asked Bobby to remove the card. Bobby pushed himself forward. He reached carefully. Pushing the tin cover in. The card sat face down at the bottom of the pit. Bobby picked up the card. He watched the magician carefully for any sudden moves. The magician looked forward. The paint in its eyes chipped slightly. It’s two arms sat at the base of the glass case. Bobby stood. The light above the magician flickered then went out. The magician suddenly disappeared into the darkness of the abandoned toy store.

Bobby shook off the nerves and turned back toward the only light he could find. He stumbled over the fallen shelves and toys until he reached the front of the store. He stepped out into the salted air and onto the uneven boardwalk. He placed the card into his pocket and walked away.

Reaching home, just after midnight Bobby pulled the card from his pocket and sat on the bed. He stared at the neatly typed letters on a business card shaped magic trick. The only words displayed showed ‘Opposite Day’. Bobby huffed. Upset at the commotion this little incident caused him. The fear and the weird gaze only to get a card that says Opposite Day. He placed the card on his bedroom dresser and slipped into bed.
“Get out of bed, loser! The day has started.” Shouted Bobby’s roommate as he lay half asleep. A sudden kick swept the sleep from him and he fell between the bed and wall and then onto the floor. Seconds afterward his roommate tore the mattresses off his bed. His roommate, always the kidder, looked frightening as he held a bat in his left hand. His face was twisted into utmost hatred.

“It’s about time you pay for my grievances Bobby. The pot smoking, the woman… you are paying for all of it.” His roommate then swung the bat. He smacked the metal foundation of the bed making it ring loudly. Bobby scooted under the spring of the bed as his roommate swung over and over. Several forcing the spring into his chest and face.

“Stop! Stop!” Bobby shouted but his roommate just laughed and smack harder. He had no escape from the rage of his long time college friend. His roommate began to lift the bed when Bobby’s ex-girlfriend walked into the dorm room. She hated his guts and he was sure the problems would only start but they only got strange. Ashley, his ex, shoved Bobby’s roommate. The young man tripped and fell sideways. He hit his head hard upon a shelf of books and passed out. Ashley waited patiently as Bobby slid from under the bed. The steel spring would never be the same and he would likely have to call Mom and Dad for more money.

“How will I explain this to my parents?” He asked rhetorically as Ashley helped him up.

Ashley nodded and looked over at Bobby’s roommate. Bobby followed her gaze and noticed a pool of blood growing under his roommate.

“Oh, my God, is he dead?” Shouted Bobby as he rushed over to look him over. Ashley stopped him. “He just tried to kill you. I saved you. You should care about me more.”

“Are you crazy? You think I’m Satan’s brood. you told me. What is wrong with you?”

She laughed. “I said that. I don’t recall.”

“Doesn’t matter, we have to stop the bleeding or Derrick is going to die.” Ashley laughed again. “Die Smeye. He is going to a far better place.”

“That is heartless. What is wrong with you?”

“Do you love me?” She asked impatiently. “Yes,” Bobby answered impatiently, “can you get me a bottle of Jack Daniel’s whiskey in the student center?”

Ashley giggled with delight and bounced out of the room. Bobby stared in disbelief but quickly turned back to his roommate. He applied pressure to the side of his young head to stop the bleeding. He searched the room for anything he could use to tie it to his head. A woman’s scarf sat a stretch away so he grabbed it, wrapped the head and placed it down carefully.

Several moments to think gives you so many thoughts. Murder, police, jail, execution, escape… “Oh my God.”

Bobby’s roommate woke and stared.

Derrick woke slowly. His eyes slowly beat as he regained consciousness. Bobby came into focus slowly. The desperation within Derrick’s head slowly increased but he was slow to move. The blow to his head scrambled his normal functions.
“It’s opposite day, Derrick. You don’t have to suffer under the oppression of your past activities,” a quiet detached voice began to echo. “Your activities are unacceptable. Your pot smoking, women and violence needs to be paid for.”
Derrick felt the tips of his fingers tingle. He began to feel the ability to move.
“Bobby, is an innocent. He can carry your burden.”
Derrick thought about this for a moment. He recalled a couple parties the two friends attended. The beer, the girls…
“…but Bobby left,” the voice answered. “The opposite of sin is innocence, Derrick.”
Derrick sat up quickly, surprising Bobby. “I have something for you Bobby,” he said as he grasp Bobby by the throat. Bobby struggled and freed himself easily. Derrick had yet regained 100% of his strength.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” Shouted Bobby as he backed away from his approaching roommate.
“Dude, it’s opposite day and you are innocent.”
“Ummm…” Bobby stammered illegibly. He recalled the magician and the card. It was hard to imagine something like this actually happening. What kind of magic is this?

“Innocent, my ass,” Bobby shouted.

“Don’t screw with me,” shouted Derrick, “you are a virgin and you know it. I’m not a virgin.”

“Count the woman on one hand, man,” Bobby insisted as he dodged a swipe from Derrick’s pocket knife.

Derrick growled as he approached but he slowed when he tried to recall his sexual conquest.

“Jen…” He began but Bobby interrupted him. “No, you lost her to Jeremy Song.”

“April, Mary, Ashley?”

Bobby dodged a swift punch. Derrick hit the wall with his hand. His face froze as several of the small bones in his fingers snapped. Bobby shoved Derrick backward causing him to fall. Bobby grabbed a broken table leg and stood beside him.

“Derrick, you are a loser like me!” Bobby pleaded. “That’s why we are roommates and friends. “Dude, you have to stop.”

Derrick wanted to stand but he was exhausted and sore.

Ashley walked slowly into the room and offered Bobby a bottle of whiskey. Shocked, Bobby accepted it and set it the floor.

“Listen guys, this is all because of some magic I ran into yesterday.”

“You are magical, Bobby,” Ashley cooed as she slowly ran her hands down his side. “Stop it,” Bobby shouted.

“We have to destroy the damn machine.”

“I have to destroy something,” Derrick said as he stared at Bobby. “Oh my God, man. I’m going to have to tie you up.”

Opposite Day Part 3

Derrick woke slowly. His eyes slowly beat as he regained consciousness. Bobby came into focus slowly. The desperation within Derrick’s head slowly increased but he was slow to move. The blow to his head scrambled his normal functions.
“It’s opposite day, Derrick. You don’t have to suffer under the oppression of your past activities,” a quiet detached voice began to echo. “Your activities are unacceptable. Your pot smoking, women and violence needs to be paid for.”
Derrick felt the tips of his fingers tingle. He began to feel the ability to move.
“Bobby, is an innocent. He can carry your burden.”
Derrick thought about this for a moment. He recalled a couple parties the two friends attended. The beer, the girls…
“…but Bobby left,” the voice answered. “The opposite of sin is innocence, Derrick.”
Derrick sat up quickly, surprising Bobby. “I have something for you Bobby,” he said as he grasp Bobby by the throat. Bobby struggled and freed himself easily. Derrick had yet regained 100% of his strength.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” Shouted Bobby as he backed away from his approaching room mate.
“Dude, it’s opposite day and you are innocent.”
“Ummm…” Bobby stammered illegibly. He recalled the magician and the card. It was hard to imagine something like this actually happening. What kind of magic is this?

“Innocent, my ass,” Bobby shouted.

“Don’t screw with me,” shouted Derrick, “you are a virgin and you know it.  I’m not a virgin.”

“Count the woman on one hand, man,” Bobby insisted as he dodged a swipe from Derrick’s pocket knife.

Derrick growled as he approached but he slowed when he tried to recall his sexual conquest.

“Jen…”  He began but Bobby interrupted him.  “No, you lost her to Jeremy Sonn.”

“April, Mary, Ashley?”

Bobby dodged a swift punch.  Derrick hit the wall with is hand.  His face froze as several of the small bones in his fingers snapped.  Bobby shoved Derrick backward causing him to fall.  Bobby grabbed a broken table leg and stood beside him.

“Derrick, you are a loser like me!”  Bobby pleaded.  “That’s why we are room mates and friends.  “Dude, you have to stop.”

Derrick wanted to stand but he was exhausted and sore.

Ashley walked slowly into the room and offered Bobby a bottle of whiskey.  Shocked, Bobby accepted it and set it the floor.

“Listen guys, this is all because of some magic I ran into yesterday.”

“You are magical, Bobby,” Ashley cooed as she slowly ran her hands down his side.  “Stop it,” Bobby shouted.

“We have to destroy the damn machine.”

“I have to destroy something,” Derrick said as he stared at Bobby.  “Oh my God, man.  I’m going to have to tie you up.”

Opposite Day – Part 2

“Get out of bed, loser!  The day has started.”  Shouted Bobby’s roommate as he lay half asleep.  A sudden kick swept the sleep from him and he fell between the bed and wall and then onto the floor.   Seconds afterward his roommate tore the mattresses off his bed.  His roommate, always the kidder, looked frightening as he held a bat in his left hand.  His face was twisted into utmost hatred.

“It’s about time you pay for my grievances Bobby.  The pot smoking, the woman… you are paying for all of it.”  His roommate then swung the bat.  He smacked the metal foundation of the bed making it ring loudly.  Bobby scooted under the spring of the bed as his roommate swung over and over.  Several forcing the spring into his chest and face.

“Stop!  Stop!”  Bobby shouted but his room mate just laughed and smack harder.  He had no escape from the rage of his long time college friend.  His room mate began to lift the bed when Bobby’s ex-girlfriend walked into the dorm room.  She hated his guts and he was sure the problems would only start but they only got strange.  Ashley, his ex, shoved Bobby’s roommate.  The young man tripped and fell sideways.  He hit his head hard upon a shelf of books and passed out.  Ashley waited patiently as Bobby slid from under the bed.  The steel spring would never be the same and he would likely have to call Mom and Dad for more money.

“How will I explain this to my parents?”  He asked rhetorically as Ashley helped him up.

Ashley nodded and looked over at Bobby’s room mate.  Bobby followed her gaze and noticed a pool of blood growing under his room mate.

“Oh, my God, is he dead?” Shouted Bobby as he rushed over to look him over.  Ashley stopped him.  “He just tried to kill you.  I saved you.  You should care about me more.”

“Are you crazy?  You think I’m Satan’s brood.  you told me.  What is wrong with you?”

She laughed.  “I said that.  I don’t recall.”

“Doesn’t matter, we have to stop the bleeding or Derrick is going to die.”  Ashley laughed again.  “Die Smeye.  He is going to a far better place.”

“That is heartless.  What is wrong with you?”

“Do you love me?”  She asked impatiently.  “Yes,” Bobby answered impatiently, “can you get me a bottle of Jack Daniel’s whiskey in the student center?”

Ashley giggled with delight and bounced out of the room.  Bobby stared in disbelief but quickly turned back to his room mate.  He applied pressure to the side of his young head to stop them bleeding.  He searched the room for anything he could use to tie it to his head.  A woman’s scarf sat a stretch away so he grabbed it, wrapped the head and placed it down carefully.

Several moments to think gives you so many thoughts.  Murder, police, jail, execution, escape… “Oh my God.”

Bobby’s room mate woke and stared.

 

 

Opposite Day – new?

“Bobby, time to wake up”, shouted his father as the sun peeked through his dark curtains.  His father was likely busy down stairs so that would allow his to steal a few extra minutes of sleep.

“Bobby… let’s go buddy,” his father shouted as he stood above his bed.  “Today is a special day.  Everyone is getting up early.”

Bobby grunted and covered his head with a pillow.

“Come on, boy,” pleaded his father.  “You have to see what’s going on outside.  It’s crazy.”

Bobby whined and slowly tossed both legs over the bed.  He walked slowly over to the bedroom window.

Bobby stood at the bedroom window watching the different characters parade across the concrete. Human-sized fairies with sewn on cloth wings, Monsters with mutated paper-mache faces that looked they were drawn on by children. All these people, dressed as something they have always wanted to be and failing at it miserably.
“This is such a stupid holiday,” Bobby said as he closed the shade and turned away. His father stood in the doorway. A large paper-mache ball upon his head. Within the center of the ball was a drawn out iris and along the outside several red lines that were supposed to be veins.
“What is that supposed to be,” Bobby spat angrily.
“An eyeball of course,” his father said. The words muffled behind the thin paper mask.
“Dude, I’m not wearing that.”
“Aw, come on, Bobby. Don’t be a sour puss.” His father pulled the paper-mache from his head and smiled. “It’s Opposite Day.  The best time of the year.  What an opportunity to do something different for a day.”

“It’s an opportunity to look like an idiot for a day.”

His father laughed.  “That’s true but its all for fun.  Head downstairs when your ready. ”

Bobby waited till his father left the room then grumbled and shut his bedroom door.

Thoughts of the boardwalk and the magician filled his head.  “What did he do?  What is going on?  What am I going to do?

“It’s really an opportunity to do anything you want to do,” someone spoke from behind him.

Bobby jumped, turned and noticed the magician standing within 2 feet of him.  He was taller then Bobby by several inches.  He had a full tie and real arms.

“What are you doing, here?”  Bobby asked.

“Well, its your holiday so I couldn’t leave you in the dark about it.”

“Ya, that’s nice.”

“Imagine the world on a platter, Bobby.  Anything you imagine.  It is opposite day.”

“What are you saying?”  Bobby asked suspiciously.

The magician just smiled then and weighted on one side.

“Anything?”  Bobby paused, thinking.  “What if I want a million dollars?”

The magician’s smile broadened and his lips parted showing perfect teeth.

“You can’t have it…  You can have nothing…  it is opposite day.”

Bobby’s father opened the door very quickly tripping off the corner of his computer desk.  He fell, head first, into Bobby’s small bed moving it.  Bobby quickly realized that the magician was gone.

Bobby’s father held his head.  He stood slowly.  “Bobby.. Bobby…,” he began.  Your mother just won the lottery.  This is the most exciting day of our lives.”

“Seriously?”

“Pack it up, boy we are going on a field trip to the lottery office.”

His father bounced around the room then left.  Bobby stood quietly staring into the empty hallway.

“Congratulations, on getting nothing,” said the magician from a large mirror within his closet.  He winked then disappeared.

Dread drained the excitement from Bobby as he joined his father in the car.  It was the too-good-to-be-true factor that ate at him but also the sense of evil that he was beginning to feel when the magician visited him.  There was something going on that he was yet to figure out.

“Oh, great!  Of course.” shouted his father because the car didn’t start.  Bobby thought for a moment then suggested turning the key to the left.  After a short argument it worked.  Next up Drive would be Reverse and Stop would be Go.

“Very strange,” stated his father as they drove slowly forward with the car set in Reverse.  “Someone must think this is a joke.”

Bobby looked ahead and followed the magician, standing on the sidewalk, as they passed.

The dread buried deep within his gut.

Bobby sat in the backseat of the family’s small four-seater car.  “What if I want a dog?”  He asked quietly.  A large black cat appeared on the seat beside him.

“A beautiful woman?”  An old, ugly women appeared to his left.  The cat walked slowly toward the middle of the car and stepped into the front passenger seat.

“Wha..”

“What is this?  Where did it come from?  Bobby?”

His father looked back and saw the old woman.  He attempted to stop the car, which failed.

Mitch and Kyle find uneasy shelter

“What the hell is wrong with you, man?”  Mitch stood over a large bald man.  The bald man lay on his chest with his face buried in dirt on the cave floor.
“He was trying to eat me,” Kyle protested as he slid a small pistol into his over-sized coat pocket.
“You idiot… Mitch shouted.  “…he was talking.  Have you ever seen a zombie talk?”
Suddenly realizing his mistake Kyle stammered…”Son..of..a..bitch..”
Mitch smacked him hard on the back of the head. Kyle turned instinctively and swung.  Mitch dodged the blow but tripped over his feet.  He fell onto the cave floor.  A cloud of dirt rose and enveloped Mitch.
“Stupid ass… I told you not to hit me on the head anymore” Kyle cursed.

Mitch and Kyle had found this cave just hours before.  Prior to that they had fought through the city of Kingsboro then climbed the Grey Mountains to find some peace in an undead chaos.  The problem was that Mitch and Kyle could barely stand each other.  Mitch was a former college graduate with a ‘better then you’ complex and Kyle was a car mechanic with an attitude.  They were reluctant companions but made a pretty good team when it came to survival.

Mitch stood slowly; his 42 year old body was tired and wore out.  Dirt from the cave clung to his face like an instant tan.  As soon as Mitch was able he rushed Kyle and both men tumbled over the body of the bald man.  The two men traded blows as they rolled over the dirt floor of the cave.  The dust from the tussle filled the interior of the cave.  Kyle placed his left hand upon the dead man’s leg as he dodged a kick to the head.  Mitch scooted back away from Kyle to plan his next move.  Below Kyle’s hand the dead man’s leg jerked.  Kyle jumped, removing his hand.
“Uhhhhh”…
“What the hell was that…? “Mitch asked as visibility in the cave was less then arm length.
“Shut up.” Kyle shouted, “The idiot I shot is rising again.”

“You have got to be kidding me, “Mitch said.

“Uhhhhh”…

The new zombie shuffled somewhere in the cave.  The dust began to settle but the men could only see a shadow of the bald man Kyle had recently shot.  Its blood-thirst already raging the zombie quickly managed to move near Mitch.  Mitch was unsure whether it was Kyle or the zombie and nearly lost his life when the zombie thrust forward.  Mitch stepped back instinctively protecting himself with his hands.  The zombie grabbed Mitch’s hands and pulled Mitch toward him.  Kyle kicked the zombie and it stumbled into the cave wall.  Mitch followed, the zombie’s grip only tightened.  Mitch managed to stand as the zombie fell sideways.  The zombie held tightly to Mitch’s hands its head dangled near Mitch’s ankles.  Mitch knew if he dropped the zombie it could pull him forward but if he held it up it could bite into one of his ankles.

“Damnit”, Mitch shouted.  “I can’t hold him up all day, do something Kyle.”

Kyle pulled the gun from his coat jacket and fired three rounds into the zombie’s chest.  The zombie released his grip but not before a bullet ricocheted into Mitch’s thigh.  Mitch screamed but managed to scoot away from the zombie.  Kyle placed the pistol upon the zombie’s forehead and shot a final time.  The bullet sank into the softer floor of the cave and the zombie stopped moving for the final time.

Charlie updated

The sun stood staring down from its mid-day perch. Larry walked across his small yard with a fishing pole on his shoulder and two smaller ones in his left hand. Erica, a blond explosion of energy bounded around him while Robert moped several feet behind both of them.

“Why do we have to do this again,” Robert said.

“Because I don’t get to take much time off anymore. This new job takes a lot out of me.”

“Are we going to catch Charlie today, Daddy?” Asked Erica as she raced ahead.

“I think we are, darling. Today is the day.”

“You say that every time, Dad.” Said Robert as he reluctantly took one of the smaller poles from his father.

“I say it everyday because one of these days I’m going to be right.” Larry smiled widely. He beamed down at his son and watched as his young daughter danced around the small pond behind his house.

Robert reluctantly threw out his line and waited impatiently. Something tugged on his pole bringing it inches from the water. Larry dropped his pole and grabbed Robert’s pole. They both pulled with everything they had till finally the fabled fish leapt from the pond.

“Oh my God, ” said Robert as he flashed a smile and watched. Larry quickly grabbed the fish and looked it over. Two long blue lines ran along the sides of the fish. Its remaining scales glistened in the sunlight. It was a beautiful beast. Larry unhooked the fish and threw it back in the water.

Several years later Larry Price sat staring at the telephone. He was wishing for it to ring. Wishing for someone to tell him where his daughter was. His life had taken a turn for the outrageous. He wife left him after 15 years. His son left with her and his daughter went missing three months ago. She would of been sixteen-years old today. She had been out fishing behind the house when she went missing. When Catherine, his wife, left Larry began drinking heavily. Erica took care of him dispite of her mother’s opinion on the matter. She left their only daughter in the hands of an irresponsible wreck of a man. “He should of been out there with her,” he thought as he downed the rest of glass of whiskey and filled it again.

Larry was still the authorities prime suspect for the disappearance. They approached Larry’s small trailer and opened the door. Larry looked at them and passed out. He woke up in a cell. The police had laid him out upon the small bed within it. Around 10 o’clock they woke him and lead him to an interrogation room. They interviewed him and screamed at him. They knew Larry had done something to his daughter. They assumed this downtrodden man would confess to everything but Larry was too lost in himself. Lost in grief he didn’t care what they did to him. He almost confessed when his son stepped in to declare his father innocent. Robert hired a lawyer and got his father released from custody. He drove him home and helped him into bed.
“Dad, ” Robert said sadly. “You need to straighten up. You almost confessed to murder. Are you that ready to give up on Erica?”
“I am,” Larry paused.
“You can’t give up on Erica,” Robert pleaded but Larry told him it was over.
Robert stayed for several more hours then left. Larry concluded, before he slept, that he would wake up in the morning and decide what to do to end his life.

Something crashed loudly outside Larry’s house. He woke up with a start and sat up in bed. He could clearly hear something moving through his yard. The likelihood of a stray dog in this neighborhood was extremely high so Larry ignored it and went back to sleep.

Morning came very early. A column of light burned Larry’s face as he laid in bed. He opened his eyes and realized glass from his bedroom window was thrown all over the end of his bed. The blanket, that served as a curtain, sat on the floor. The first thought to enter his mind was neighbor kids but it wasn’t likely. They avoided his house like the plague. He carefully moved his feet off the bed. He got up and carefully looked out the window.

Something had made a mess of his yard. It looked like an animal of some sort. Large claw marks under torn gray siding told him that. The ground was moist from a recent rain and Larry noticed a human-sized trail of mud leading to the marsh. It looked-as-if someone had been dragged. Larry got dressed and almost fell from his front door. Something had shoved his stairs from the door and it laid against his truck. Larry jumped from his trailer and pulled the stairs back under his door. Larry found the trail of mud beside his house and followed it till it disappeared into the pond.

Expecting to see a body Larry approached the water carefully. The pond was deeper then it looked. Larry had fallen in it several times over the years. Nothing stirred within the water. Larry stared into the mysterious pond for several more minutes when nothing showed up he left.

It was Sunday and God was waiting. Larry got dressed, left his house and slowly crept into his truck. He stared again at the pond and caught a glimpse of something swimming near the surface. A little bit of hope, and a slight smile surfaced. Charlie was back, he thought as his stepped out of his truck. He grabbed his fishing pole and worms and walked back to the pond.

Larry strung up the worm and cast the pole into the center of the pond. Immediately, Charlie took the bait and Larry braced himself against a tree. Charlie pulled. Larry pulled but neither would give. Larry pulled hard, conscious that he may snap the line. He was going to win this fight. Charlie pulled back and nearly tore the pole from Larry’s hands. His arthritis ached and his back screamed but Larry held his ground. There was little chance Charlie was getting away this time.

That was until Charlie leapt from the pond and Larry dropped the pole. It wasn’t the Charlie he’s seen years ago. It had a long cylindrical body and a large tail, fanned out like a peacock’s plume. It had a human head which disappeared behind a long crop of black hair. It reentered the pond and sank into its depths. Larry’s fishing pole began to slide toward the water. He grabbed the pole and walked around the biggest tree he could find. If he was going to lose his line it wouldn’t be without a fight.

He went around the tree three times. He held the pole as hard as the arthritis in his joints would let him. He waited and he waited but nothing pulled on the line. It sat limp in the water. Again life and hope drained from his face as he realized that his magnificent catch disappeared.

Larry left the pole lying against the tree, he hung his head and went to church.

Larry returned a couple hours later. He had started drinking after church and continued until dark. He woke up on the couch in the middle of the night because of a crash outside the house. He sat up slowly, his head full of marbles. He stood only to sit again. Another crash started him and then the distinctive sound of someone crushing his metal trash cans.

“Get out of here!” He shouted loudly the noise echoing between his ears. He stood and shuffled to the door. He opened the door and began to shout again but stopped. The beast from the pond sat upon his trash cans. Its long black hair covering its face.

“What the hell are you?” He asked not expecting it to respond. The beast flipped its black mane from its face to reveal someone familiar.

“Erica?”

The beast turned and sped back to the pond. It slithered like a snake holding a human, up and in its grasp. Larry stepped from his trailer and fell hard to the ground. He woke up late Monday morning with a welt over his left temple and dried blood pasted to his face.

“I saw Erica last night.” Larry said confidently as he stepped into work.

“I’m sure you did.” Laughed the foreman. A greased up, pig of a man. ” You were likely wasted again like you always are…” He laughed again. “…but your the best damn worker I got. I don’t know how you do it.”

“I’m sure I could answer that”, Larry thought but declined to sink back into his familiar stupor. He felt good today, even with the noticeable lump on his face. He happily fielded questions about it with a reply including he had found his daughter. Most were happy for him until he included what had happened to him last night.

Larry fought with the foreman to let him leave after eight hours. Larry hadn’t worked less then ten in 6 months. Finally, the foreman took him aside and asked if he was alright. “The men are all taking about you and this fish story of yours. They say you have finally lost your mind.”

“I haven’t lost my mind,” Larry said with a smile.

“My God, Lawrence I haven’t seen you smile so brightly in seven years. Why don’t you take a few days off.”

“I would be happy to.” Larry said confidently and left.

It was ten o’clock and dark as sin. The old headlights on his truck barely illuminated the road ahead but Larry was wide awake and more alert then he’d ever been.

The drive home went quickly. He passed the bar that he frequented every night and pulled the truck into his driveway. He scanned his yard like a kid at Christmas but didn’t see a thing. He had a super-bright flashlight in the back of his truck. He reached into the bed and found it. He turned it on and again scanned the yard. Still nothing but he shouted into the stale marsh air.

“Erica!”

He walked toward the pond. The bright yellow light encircling a small patch of the still water.

“Erica!”

Something stirred and Larry swept the light toward it. The beast crawled slowly from the right-side of the pond. Larry walked toward it a little too recklessly and it reared up like a frightened rattler.

It was too late when he realized that Erica was not in that beast. It was an animal like the feral dogs that roamed around the neighborhood. Larry stepped back slowly but the beast moved fast and grabbed his left arm. It pulled him closer and revealed a large set of predator teeth.

Desperate, Larry said the only thing that came to mind, “Erica, please. Please don’t kill me.”

The beast settled for a second and it lightened its grip. Larry saw for the slightest of that second his little girl glistening in the reflection of the beast’s black eyes. He recalled Christmas when she was four. Erica sat in front of the tree as he and Catherine watched smiling. She opened her presents with such innocence, such gleeful enthusiasm. The beast then dropped Larry hard upon the wet marsh ground. Several smaller circles of light danced around him. Larry knew what it was and what was coming. He stood quickly, but carefully and turned his back to the beast.

“Don’t you think about shooting this beast. I will haunt you for the rest of your damn lives if you kill it.”

Robert stood, pale-faced behind his flashlight watching the beast stand quietly behind his father. Two police officers stood on each side of him and one walked toward Larry and the beast. Larry turned to face the beast again and ducked a vicious swing from its long, sharp claws. The officer that approached took the blow and collapsed. The beast tore into the officer as his partner stood in shock. Robert fired the first shot which grazed the beasts head. The other officer fired the remaining shots and the beast fell upon its back. Larry stared at the beast. Two long blue lines traced the sides of the tail. He looked up upon the human body and realized it had changed. It’s hair was short, inches from the scalp, and it’s face was masculine. It had taken the officers life. It had taken his face. Grief erupted from every pore. Charlie had taken his daughter from him. Charlie had destroyed his life. Charlie had done the worse. Larry stared at his mud-covered knees and his worn-arthritic hands till a warmth struck his chest. He then collapsed and everything disappeared.

Larry woke up several days later. Tubes, in his nose, and machinery thumping along side him. Robert was sitting, asleep in a small hospital chair in the corner of the room. He thought about everything that had happened to him. He thought about Erica, Charlie and his life. He questioned his methods and why he had chosen this path. He realized that he had given his life to Charlie, a fantasy. A fish that took away his life. Charlie was now gone. Erica was gone but Robert was still here. Larry’s life wasn’t completely destroyed and he could still recover. It was time to start again.

I met God…

I met God the other day.  He was sitting on a steel park bench marvelling about the craftsmanship of such a simple, overlooked chair.  God was about 5’ 7” and kind of looked like me.  He had a kind face and a welcoming smile when I walked up to him.  “No autographs, please,” he said then laughed.  I sat down, braver then I had always believed I was, and asked him a question.  “Why haven’t you done anything about humans killing humans and humans destroying the world?”
God smiled, a large, near laughter-sized smile, and then said.  “Son, this is a resilient world constructed by my hands.  Every tree that crumbles, every man that falls serves a purpose before and after death.”  God stood and pointed at a small rodent scurrying by.  “This mouse is going to die a miserable death in just one hour.  Eaten by a cat but you think the world is only about you.  The world has been around for a long time.  It takes care of itself.  I do not do anything for the mouse, eaten by the cat or the cow eaten by man.  It is the natural course of life.  The world is my creation not man, mouse, or cow.”
God then smiled again, waved goodbye and left me to think alone on the steel park bench.

Larry and the Mermaid

The sun stood staring down from its mid-day perch.  Larry walked across his small yard with a fishing pole on his shoulder and two smaller ones in his left hand.  Erica, a blond explosion of energy bounded around him while Robert moped several feet behind both of them.

“Why do we have to do this again,” Robert said.

“Because I don’t get to take much time off anymore.  This new job takes a lot out of me.”

“Are we going to catch Charlie today, Daddy?”  Asked Erica as she raced ahead.

“I think we are, darling.  Today is the day.”

“You say that every time, Dad.”  Said Robert as he reluctantly took one of the smaller poles from his father.

“I say it everyday because one of these days I’m going to be right.”  Larry smiled widely.  He beamed down at his son and watched as his young daughter danced around the small pond behind his house.

Robert reluctantly threw out his line and waited impatiently.  Something tugged on his pole bringing it inches from the water.  Larry dropped his pole and grabbed Robert’s pole.  They both pulled with everything they had till finally the fabled fish leapt from the pond.

“Oh my God, ” said Robert as he flashed a smile and watched.  Larry quickly grabbed the fish and looked it over.  Two long blue lines ran along the sides of the fish.  Its remaining scales glistened in the sunlight. It was a beautiful beast.  Larry unhooked the fish and threw it back in the water.

Several years later Larry Price sat staring at the telephone.  He was wishing for it to ring.  Wishing for someone to tell him where his daughter was.  His life had taken a turn for the outragous.  He wife left him after 15 years.  His son left with her and his daughter went missing three months ago.  She would of been sixteen-years old today.  She had been out fishing behind the house when she went missing.  When Catherine, his wife, left Larry began drinking heavily.  Erica took care of him dispite of her mother’s opinon on the matter.  She left their only daughter in the hands of an irresponsible wreck of a man.  “He should of been out there with her,” he thought as he downed the rest of glass of whiskey and filled it again.

Larry was still the authorities prime suspect for the disappearance.  They approached Larry’s small trailer and opened the door.  Larry looked at them and passed out.  He woke up in a cell.  The police had laid him out upon the small bed within it.  Around 10 o’clock they woke him and lead him to an interogation room.  They interviewed him and screamed at him.  They knew Larry had done something to his daughter.  They assumed this downtrodden man would confess to everything but Larry was too lost in himself.  Lost in all encompensing grief to care what they did to him.  He almost confessed when his son stepped in to declare his father innocent.  Robert hired a lawyer and got his father released from custody.  He drove him home and helped him into bed.
“Dad, ” Robert said sadly.  “You need to staighten up.  You almost confessed to murder.  Are you that ready to give up on Erica?”
“I am,” Larry paused.
“You can’t give up on Erica,” Robert pleaded but Larry told him it was over.
Robert stayed for several more hours then left.  Larry concluded, before he slept, that he would wake up in the morning and decide what to do to end his life.

Something crashed loudly outside Larry’s house.  He woke up with a start and sat up in bed.  He could clearly hear something moving through his yard.  The likelihood of a stray dog in this neighborhood was extremely high so Larry ignored it and went back to sleep.

Morning came very early.  A column of light burned Larry’s face as he laid in bed.  He opened his eyes and realized glass from his bedroom window was thrown all over the end of his bed.  The blanket, that served as a curtain, sat on the floor.  The first thought to enter his mind was neighbor kids but it wasn’t likely.  They avoided his house like the plague.  He carefully moved his feet off the bed.  He got up and carefully looked out the window.

Something had made a mess of his yard.  It looked like an animal of some sort.  Large claw marks under torn gray siding told him that.  The ground was moist from a recent rain and Larry noticed a human-sized trail of mud leading to the marsh.  It looked-as-if someone had been dragged.  Larry got dressed and almost fell from his front door.  Something had shoved his stairs from the door and it laid against his truck.  Larry jumped from his trailer and pulled the stairs back under his door.  Larry found the trail of mud beside his house and followed it till it disappeared into the pond.

Expecting to see a body Larry approached the water carefully.  The pond was deeper then it looked.  Larry had fallen in it several times over the years.  Nothing stirred within the water.  Larry stared into the mysterious pond for several more minutes when nothing showed up he left.

It was Sunday and God was waiting.  Larry got dressed, left his house and slowly crept into his truck.  He stared again at the pond and caught a glimpse of something swimming near the surface.  A little bit of hope, and a slight smile surfaced.  Charlie was back, he thought as his stepped out of his truck.  He grabbed his fishing pole and worms and walked back to the pond.

Larry strung up the worm and cast the pole into the center of the pond.  Immediately, Charlie took the bait and Larry braced himself against a tree.  Charlie pulled.  Larry pulled but neither would give.  Larry pulled hard, conscious that he may snap the line.  He was going to win this fight.  Charlie pulled back and nearly tore the pole from Larry’s hands.  His arthritis ached and his back screamed but Larry held his ground.  There was little chance Charlie was getting away this time.

That was until Charlie leapt from the pond and Larry dropped the pole.  It wasn’t the Charlie he’s seen years ago.  It had a long cylindrical body and a large tail, fanned out like a peacock’s plume.  It had a human head which disappeared behind a long crop of black hair.  It reentered the pond and sank into its depths.  Larry’s fishing pole began to slide toward the water.  He grabbed the pole and walked around the biggest tree he could find.  If he was going to lose his line it wouldn’t be without a fight.

He went around the tree three times.  He held the pole as hard as the arthritis in his joints would let him.  He waited and he waited but nothing pulled on the line.  It sat limp in the water.  Again life and hope drained from his face as he realized that his magnificent catch disappeared.

Larry left the pole lying against the tree, he hung his head and went to church.

Larry returned a couple hours later.  He had started drinking after church and continued until dark.  He woke up on the couch in the middle of the night because of a crash outside the house.  He sat up slowly, his head full of marbles.  He stood only to sit again.  Another crash started him and then the distinctive sound of someone crushing his metal trash cans.

“Get out of here!”  He shouted loudly the noise echoing between his ears.  He stood and shuffled to the door.  He opened the door and began to shout again but stopped.  The beast from the pond sat upon his trash cans.  Its long black hair covering its face.

“What the hell are you?”  He asked not expecting it to respond.  The beast flipped its black mane from its face to reveal someone familiar.

“Erica?”

The beast turned and sped back to the pond.  It slithered like a snake holding a human, up and in its grasp.  Larry stepped from his trailer and fell hard to the ground.  He woke up late Monday morning with a welt over his left temple and dried blood pasted to his face.

“I saw Erica last night.”  Larry said confidently as he stepped into work.

“I’m sure you did.”  Laughed the foreman.  A greased up, pig of a man.  ” You were likely wasted again like you always are…”  He laughed again.  “…but your the best damn worker I got.  I don’t know how you do it.”

“I’m sure I could answer that”, Larry thought but declined to sink back into his familiar stupor.  He felt good today, even with the noticeable lump on his face.  He happily fielded questions about it with a reply including he had found his daughter.  Most were happy for him until he included what had happened to him last night.

Larry fought with the foreman to let him leave after eight hours.  Larry hadn’t worked less then ten in 6 months.  Finally, the foreman took him aside and asked if he was alright.  “The men are all taking about you and this fish story of yours.  They say you have finally lost your mind.”

“I haven’t lost my mind,” Larry said with a smile.

“My God, Lawrence I haven’t seen you smile so brightly in seven years.  Why don’t you take a few days off.”

“I would be happy to.”  Larry said confidently and left.

It was ten o’clock and dark as sin.  The old headlights on his truck barely illuminated the road ahead but Larry was wide awake and more alert then he’d ever been.

The drive home went quickly.  He passed the bar that he frequented every night and pulled the truck into his driveway.  He scanned his yard like a kid at Christmas but didn’t see a thing.  He had a super-bright flashlight in the back of his truck.  He reached into the bed and found it.  He turned it on and again scanned the yard.  Still nothing but he shouted into the stale marsh air.

“Erica!”

He walked toward the pond.  The bright yellow light encircling a small patch of the still water.

“Erica!”

Something stirred and Larry swept the light toward it.  The beast crawled slowly from the right-side of the pond.  Larry walked toward it a little too recklessly and it reared up like a frightened rattler.

It was too late when he realized that Erica was not in that beast.  It was an animal like the feral dogs that roamed around the neighborhood.  Larry stepped back slowly but the beast moved fast and grabbed his left arm.  It pulled him closer and revealed a large set of predator teeth.

Desperate, Larry said the only thing that came to mind, “Erica, please.  Please don’t kill me.”

The beast settled for a second and it lightened its grip.  Larry saw for the slightest of that second his little girl glistening in the reflection of the beast’s black eyes.  He recalled Christmas when she was four.  Erica sat in front of the tree as he and Catherine watched smiling.  She opened her presents with such innocence, such gleeful enthusiasm.  The beast then dropped Larry hard upon the wet marsh ground.  Several smaller circles of light danced around him.  Larry knew what it was and what was coming.  He stood quickly, but carefully and turned his back to the beast.

“Don’t you think about shooting this beast.  I will haunt you for the rest of your damn lives if you kill it.”

Robert stood, pale-faced behind his flashlight watching the beast stand quietly behind his father.   Two police officers stood on each side of him and one walked toward Larry and the beast.  Larry turned to face the beast again and ducked a vicious swing from its long, sharp claws.  The officer that approached took the blow and collapsed.  The beast tore into the officer as his partner stood in shock.  Robert fired the first shot which grazed the beasts head.  The other officer fired the remaining shots and the beast fell upon its back.  Larry stared at the beast.  Two long blue lines traced the sides of the tail.  He looked up upon the human body and realized it had changed.  It’s hair was short, inches from the scalp, and it’s face was masculine.  It had taken the officers life.  It had taken his face.  Grief erupted from every pore.  Charlie had taken his daughter from him.  Charlie had destroyed his life.  Charlie had done the worse.  Larry stared at his mud-covered knees and his worn-arthritic hands till a warmth struck his chest.  He then collapsed and everything disappeared.

Larry woke up several days later.  Tubes, in his nose, and machinery thumping along side him.  Robert was sitting, asleep in a small hospital chair in the corner of the room.  He thought about everything that had happened to him.  He thought about Erica, Charlie and his life.  He questioned his methods and why he had chosen this path.  He realized that he had given his life to Charlie, a fantasy.  A fish that took away his life.  Charlie was now gone.  Erica was gone but Robert was still here.  Larry’s life wasn’t completely distroyed and he could still recover.  It was time to start again.