Quickie

A writing exercise.  I gave myself 60 minutes.  With a few edits it turned into 90 minutes.

The Rock Star by dixē.flatlin3

Getting older is a bitch, and no one knows this more than a rock star, especially for one who is well past his prime.  That is exactly where we find our fearless hero: aging, waning, worried, and alone.  But he has always been alone.   In front of an audience, or a in a room full of fans, he had always felt alone.  And he hopes that we do not see this.Fear.  It is an awesome motivational tool.  It is also at the core of this man.  He feels it deeply and it has fueled him for more years than even he can remember.  Fear that the truth will be uncovered, that the façade will slip, and we will see him for the fool that he has always known himself to be.  The one who awkwardly made his way through his early life, hoping no one would notice this awkwardness, but keenly aware that everyone did.

He doesn’t focus much on the past anymore, but it keeps seeping into his daily life.  No matter what, the memories resurface.  He doesn’t like this, and does his best to ignore it.  He’s become an adept actor over the years, and is terrified everyone will know he is faking it.  That he is false, and not at all cool.  Most certainly he is undeserving of their misguided adulation, but he craves it.  The absurdity of his life does not go unnoticed; he is not completely deluded, but tries his best to ignore the obvious.

Once upon a time, life had held so much promise, and the future seemed brighter than it does now.  He had learned to control his awkward tendencies, and had become a consummate manipulator.  He had learned that women liked boys in bands, and quickly ascertained this was the best way to separate them from their panties.  The once impossible task of getting laid became ridiculously easy, and got easier with time.  What had at first been a blessing, soon turned into a curse.  For the women he attracted were the worst of the worst, but they served a purpose.  He’d given up on the idea of love long ago, and now merely sought to pass the time with someone he liked fucking.  Intelligent conversation was something he was not allowed.  Another fact he had accepted long ago.

Surrounded by memorabilia and trinkets he has collected over time, he finds himself alone.  Even though he is seated next to his current mate, she is ultimately irrelevant, and is nothing more than a body filling the space.  Many have filled the space over the years, so many in fact that even he has trouble remembering their names.  Not that the time he spent with them was false or insincere, but it was never more than anything he was willing to lose.  They always go away, and he knows it is his lot in life to be alone.  He’s spent so many years believing that this solitude fueled his art, he is terrified of what could happen were it to change.

He finds himself reflecting on his past more and more, but tries not to over analyze it because it is nothing he can change.  Mistakes, bad choices, rotten deals, and broken hearts litter the hallways of his mind.  He is not comfortable with the new world in which he finds himself, but still must find his place because he has not planned for the future.  He never believed that he would reach this point; he had listened to the sycophants, the ones who had lied and used him.  They were mostly all gone now, but the decisions they had helped him make were not.  No, those remained, and it was an acute level of hell for someone whose worst fear was playing the fool.

As his current automaton babbled on and on, he felt the anger well up inside of him.  Something he was not accustomed to dealing with, but realized he could no longer outrun.  An anger so pure that it felt natural for him to act on it.  Before he knew it, his hands were around her neck, and he continued to squeeze.  He stared directly into her eyes, which were filled with a mixture of confusion and terror.  She had naively trusted him, a side effect of her young age. He had never displayed a hint of violence before now, and he could appreciate her dilemma.  He was stunned by how quickly he was able to end her life, how very little resistance she had put up.  It was nothing like in the movies, nothing like he had imagined.  Not that he had ever thought of doing such a thing.  No, this was a random act on his part.  Another moment of poor impulse control, of which there has been many over the years.

Staring at her body, which was now draped lifeless over the edge of the couch, he reached for a cigarette.  He sat motionless for a few moments, unsure as to how he should proceed.  There were no longer handlers to deal with matters such as this.  He was alone, as he had always been, and he would have to once again find his own way.  He stood up and walked towards the kitchen.  Glancing back at the mess he smiled and wondered if the scandal would possibly lead to a resurgence in record sales.

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That Time I Tried Glassware by dixē.flatlin3

Ok, I should be writing a paper, but I am distracted by allergies.  The paper due is on the very bland topic of information systems networking, not much creativity involved in that.  And my mind is too jumbled to be academic.  So let’s talk about the first time I smoked meth instead, shall we?
 
I had done speed a lot during the 80s, it was everywhere growing up, but it was mostly the benign shit we called crank.  By the early 90s the chemistry had improved and products such as ice and glass were hitting the market, but I took my leave from drugs at this time.  Flash forward to the mid-90s and I found myself working part-time in a head shop.  It was the first job I could find after quitting the last forgettable place of employment, and seemed like a fun environment.  I am more of an observer in life, what better place to so than a place that specialized in drug paraphernalia?I was familiar with most of the inventory, but admitted to not understanding much of the glassware on hand.  It was obvious I was selling it to a spun-out clientele, but I had no practical experience with it.  My coworkers soon remedied this.  We used to spend a fair amount of time getting wasted here, not like anyone would notice, and I don’t think the owners cared.  In fact, I believe it was expected of us to be on the same level as our clients, which we were happy to oblige.Back in the day we had smoked speed on occasion, but we used the crude tinfoil and ballpoint pen method.  It was rare when we did, and it seemed like this was towards the end of my hardcore drug usage.  I knew that the rise of smoking it was directly related to the increased potency of the product.  A new breed of addicts had replaced Speed Freaks, and it wasn’t any prettier than before.  Another reason I steered clear of the shit.  But what harm could come from me learning what had changed in a few years, right?

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One afternoon a coworker took me into the office and demonstrated how to use a glass bubble.  Seemed easy enough: heat up the glass, melt the drugs, inhale, and repeat.  I immediately realized this was way different that what I had done in the past.  As in, ‘whoa, this shit will fuck you up quick’ different.  I have never liked any drug that was obviously addictive, which this one was.  Snorting speed included pain because you were essentially destroying your nasal passages with Drano®.  This new delivery method was more insidious and I immediately did not like it.  Especially how easily I fell into using it.  It traveled home with me, and that was something I was very unhappy about.

The glass soon becomes your best friend, looking for the golden areas that show promise of another high.  I spent about a month slipping further into the looking glass before I put the brakes on.  Thankfully, I have a stronger dislike of needing something than propensity for addictive behavior.  I did not like that I needed to do it more frequently, so I stopped.  The coworker who had happily shown me down this hellish path was not as lucky.  She soon lost her job due to her own fascination with the glass.

I spent another year working part-time at the head shop, mostly because it was a fun way to spend a day off from my office job.  I had also developed a need to pad my resume, and had taken a ‘real’ job with medical benefits.  The owner was glad to keep me around for one day a week because I have always had a strong work ethic, and wasn’t stealing from them.  I saw the damage and causalities of the glass firsthand, and it kept me on the straight and narrow path.  In fact, I have never again touched the stuff, nor would I want to.  However, I have a sneaking suspicion that it is all the trucker speed I am on at the moment that spurred this topic.  Pseudoephedrine is the only drug that works on my allergies, and I have lovingly called it trucker speed for years.  Amphetamines help people like me concentrate.  They alleviate the A.D.D. symptoms and the “Squirrel!” moments that often impede our attempts to focus.

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A Dog Named Boo by dixē.flatlin3

776544658_l_zps37707b0bA DOG NAMED BOO By dixē.flatlin3
(Published in Paraphilia Magazine Trasumanar)
 
It was hot, ungodly hot, which is the norm for the desert that time of year. As I recall, it was August. Or maybe it was July? I guess the exact month does not matter, now does it?I had walked in and found a newly fashioned pen in the living room, which piqued my interest. Knowing that the main dog on the premises did not share her territory, an enclosure for a small animal was unusual. Although when you’re living with an addict, you never know what you may encounter when you open a door.Upon entering, I walked closer to the pen, which contained an emaciated and obviously dying puppy. The horror inside me welled-up quickly but was soon gone, another side effect of living with an addict. I had to react, quickly assess the situation, and determine the best course of action because junkies cannot solve their own problems. They can only create and compound them.

Immediately he had launched into his story because there is always a tale to be told. Tweakers like to rifle through garbage. I cannot exactly explain why, but they do. Trust me. They will spend hours sorting through garbage, if allowed, or doing other repetitive tasks, which garner shiny bits of trash or trinkets. I guess they’re like crows, again, I don’t know. I have never been that gone on drugs to understand the mentality; I have only dealt with the aftermath.

During his most recent outing, to scavenge for shit in the desert, he had stumbled across the half-dead animal. He liked to fancy himself a real Doctor Doolittle, having an affinity for dogs in particular. So committed to his beliefs was he about the nature of dogs that I had merely to question his logic to send him into a fit of fury. And I did this all the time, for fun. You may as well have some fun when dealing with a shell of a human, and the only true emotion junkies have is rage.

So, there we were: him, a dog-named-Boo, and I. Yes, I know. Trust me, I know about the god-dammed-fucking song. So, there we were, and according to him the dog-named-Boo would eat anything little that came into the house. Knowing this made me less than happy that there was a puppy within her sights. However, I also knew that her bark, much like that of her owner’s, was worse than her bite. As the only adult in the room, it was my chore to address the newest addition to our fucked-up family. I had tuned out most of what was coming out of his mouth because his lips had been moving, which meant he was lying.

The timeline he had given, regarding how long the animal had been in this state, was likely somewhat accurate. I knew by looking at the dog it needed immediate medical attention. I also knew that it was past business hours on a weekend and any money he may have had was blown on drugs during my absence. As my mind processed all the information, he continued with his stories, babbling away, as if that would somehow make the animal fairy appear and fix the mess he had chosen to make ours.

“I just couldn’t just leave it there to die!” I had heard him protest from the other room, which I had left, to escape the sound of his voice and ridiculous logic. I could tell he was high-as-a-fucking-kite and that always meant I was in for some fun. Throw in one of his totem animals, and you could imagine how the evening would unfold. I knew he would soon find me because I was the only one who could fix the situation. Even he knew he was too fucked-up to do anything about it. All too soon, there he stood, with that crazed look in his eyes, as if somehow this was my entire fault. I didn’t dare speak, and yet I felt compelled to highlight the flaws in his logic.

“So, exactly what were you planning to do with the dog?” I had asked.

“I couldn’t just leave it there,” he replied.

“And you decided to intervene and do what exactly? Give the poor creature a glimmer of hope that not all humans are fucked?” No sooner had the words left my mouth than I realized, I had thrown the first punch, and I steadied myself for the fight.

“At least it won’t die alone, in the heat,” he spat. The distinct change in his tone was emphasized to have an effect on me, but it had not worked, which hastened his jump from completely numb to rage zombie. I had never displayed fear when dealing with him, though he had given it his best shot to terrorize me.

“Well, it’s out there with Boo, who’s growling at it, and I can assure you that animal is less comfortable now, than when you found it.” I said as I pointed out the doorway. Hoping to redirect him away from such proximity to me.

My diversionary tactic had worked. His focus was again on the puppy, and he went back the pen. By now he had forgotten that there was another animal in the house. When I came out, I found him trying to corral and calm down Boo. I glanced into the pen and saw the miserable creature cowering in a corner.

Left with no other choice, I proceeded to start giving him orders, “Take your fucking dog outside now!” Thankfully, he obeyed, and left the house. I had not wanted to interact with the puppy much because I could feel it was dying from the moment I walked in the house. I can feel a lot of things, and he knew this; I think it’s what attracted him to me. My ability to feel deeply fascinates the dead inside ones. He had tried to explain to me once that he could do the same with animals. However, as I had pointed out, he was too numb to have true emotion, so his drug-induced delusions were not at all similar to mine. Finally, with his scattered energy from the room, I turned my attention to the puppy.

I knelt down next to it, making no attempts to speak or touch it. I just looked into its eyes, it was scared, but it was lessening since the other dog had been removed. Eventually, I had climbed into the pen with it, sat down, and waited for it to approach me. There were a few blankets and pillows tossed in amongst the newspaper he had laid down, which struck me as funny because an animal this dehydrated and starving would not have anything more than blood to expel. I giggled at the thought of how he lauded himself such an expert on dogs. My laughter made the puppy relax enough to the point where it cautiously approached me. Soon, I had lay down and it had snuggled its head closely to my chest, its breathing more labored than frantic. I stroked its head, avoiding its body because I knew this hurt it, and stared at the ceiling. I don’t know how long I was in there. I could hear his coming and going from the room, occasionally making his way past me, but I didn’t dare make eye contact with him.

I dozed off but was awoken by the puppy convulsing slightly, though it had not moved from my side. He was also there, standing over me, before I was fully aware of what was going on.

“What’s wrong with it?” he had asked.

I did not answer him because I could not. I was too disoriented from falling asleep and waking up to dog’s death rattle. Awaking with a start, to death can take a person a moment to acclimate to. He couldn’t understand that, of course, and simply thought I was ignoring him. I will never forget that moment, I could feel the fear from them both rising, his from not knowing what was happening and the animal’s because it was near death. Not wanting to upset the animal, I calmed myself down to answer him without screaming.

I finally managed to whisper, “It is dying.”

“Do something” he said!

There was urgency in his voice, but it lacked the bravado I was so accustomed to. He had just stood there, staring at me, as I held the animal close and tried to do whatever the fuck I was supposed to do, in a completely fucked situation that was all of his doing. In typical fashion, he was incapable of doing anything useful. There would be no right-action from him. No saving the day. No animal superhero move. Nada. Zilch. Nothing.

I had started to cry, which upset me because he was there to witness it. What were initially tears for a dying animal had soon turned into weeping over the situation in its entirety. How had I ended up there? How was I holding the dying dog he had brought home? How was I the one feeling any of it because he was too fucking gone to feel anything? I looked up and finally made eye contact with him. He just stared at me for a few moments and said, “This is why I love you.”

The injustice of it all finally overwhelmed me and I wept uncontrollably. The explosion of raw emotion must have shocked him because he seemed taken aback by it all and moved away from me. Just as he did, we locked eyes and I could feel how afraid he was of me. I could smell and taste his fear. At that very moment, staring into those cold, gray, unfeeling eyes, I realized that I hated this person, almost as much as he hated himself.

flatlin3, d. (2012, December 14). A dog named boo. Paraphilia Magazine, (Trasumanar), 178-181.Retrieved from http://paraphiliamagazine.com/2012.html
 
RIP Boo
❤ df3

Petty Girls Like Graves by dixē.flatlin3

OG Miss GuidedPETTY GIRLS LIKE GRAVES

By dixē.flatlin3

(Originally published in Paraphilia Hypokeimenon)

Brooke awoke next to her beloved, something he had kindly allowed her to do. It was not often that Christopher acknowledged his deep love for her. Brooke had to spend a lot of time analyzing his patterns and behaviors. They were coming up on their sixth anniversary, in fact. Something Brooke was especially proud of. She and Christopher had been through a lot during their time together. Though they had not always been in contact and in agreement, they had always had their special connection. Brooke knew in her heart of hearts that her beloved Christopher was the one true love she had always dreamed would come to rescue her. Waking up next to him filled Brooke with an overwhelming sense of satisfaction and achievement.Lying on her side, Brooke reached across her beloved and grabbed her pack of cigarettes. She always had a cigarette first thing in the morning. Or whenever they finally awoke from their contented slumber. Brooke caught sight of herself lighting the cigarette in the mirrors affixed to the wooden canopy above Christopher‘s bed. The black tulle draped haphazardly around the frame gave it a more regal effect, she thought. But that was her Christopher, wasn‘t it? Regal. Cultured. Educated. Wise. Brooke saw her reflection above smile and this made her giggle. She tried to repress her sound, as not to awake Christopher. Who she could see was soundly sleeping, the covers wrapped tightly around his head.

Brooke‘s thoughts drifted back to the first time she laid eyes on Christopher. She had known in an instant that he was The One. She was shocked to learn he felt the exact same way. It had been messy, leaving the boyfriend she had been with for so many years, but it had been worth it. The first few weeks she and Christopher spent together were magical. They spent the entire time high and having sex. This was not her ex-boyfriends forte. He had been more of the wheeler-dealer type. And by that Brooke meant drug-dealer type. He had quickly taken her in and supplied her with a lifestyle she could not afford on her own. After more than seven years together, he was rather distraught upon learning of her shacking up with Christopher. Brooke had simply run away from him, no explanation, no communication. She was fine with burning the bridge at the time. She saw absolutely no use to keeping him around any longer. Brooke had finally found her Prince Charming and she was planning on keeping him.

Brooke looked around the room. Christopher‘s home was simultaneously familiar and foreign. She had spent so many days, weeks, and months living here. Brooke had always excelled at playing house as a child. Growing up with brothers and a mother who wasn‘t around meant Brooke played alone, a lot. The only attention her brothers had ever given her were negative reinforcements of how weak females were. Christopher made her feel special and safe. When she was with him, nothing could hurt her. Except him. And that was okay with her. She knew her Christopher like no other woman could, she thought. It was her understanding of male ways that made her and her beloved soul mates. She knew in her heart of hearts that boys played rough and they never meant to hurt anyone.

The times Christopher allowed her to stay with him were magical. Brooke didn‘t even mind when he would kick her out so that other girls could visit. She even found his frequent vanishing acts quite charming. She loved him and his adorable idiosyncrasies. While he was away, Brooke spent her time cleaning, nesting, and smoking the excellent product Christopher was famous for. That was why he had come into her world. He was the source of the new dope her ex-boyfriend had so desperately wanted. She wondered if it had been worth the cost in the end? One week after Christopher shook his hand, he had his cock in Brooke. Where it stayed for the next several weeks.

Brooke lowered the bed covers and studied her breasts in the reflection. They were not large, not like the grotesquely huge ones of the girl she did not like to remember. Brooke‘s breasts were small, but firm and perky. Not bad considering she had given birth. What a mess that had been. Six months after she and Christopher had started dating Brooke had discovered she was pregnant. This was after the girl she did not like to remember informed Brooke that she was about to give birth to Christopher‘s son. The girl had been polite and her emails were well written. Brooke had meant it when she told the girl that she would very much like to meet her. Although Brooke knew, in her heart of hearts, that Christopher loved this girl the most, she was happy. The girl required Christopher to jump through too many hoops and would never allow him to be himself. Brooke knew that the child she was going to give him would make up for all the sadness he felt at the loss of his beloved.

Brooke had tried so very hard to be good, once she learned she was pregnant. She was carrying Christopher‘s child and it deserved only the best. But it was hard to say no and Christopher didn‘t mind if she did. She had not found out she was pregnant until she was six months along. She couldn‘t remember how much dope she had consumed during this time, but she knew it was a lot. Enough to make stopping then irrelevant. She had hid it from Christopher as long as she could. When she did finally tell him, it caused him to kick her out. He was appalled that she had been using drugs the entire time, endangering his child. For several weeks he avoided her, refusing to return her calls or text messages. Brooke sent her pleas via her blog postings online. All in hopes of winning back her beloved‘s favor.

Eventually, he did invite her back. In fact, Christopher had become increasingly involved in the planning of their baby‘s room. Christopher‘s mother had bought him a new house and together they were going to make it a home. Their home. They had settled on a name for their daughter, one Christopher‘s own father had bestowed upon a child from a previous marriage, a daughter who had died at birth. Christopher didn‘t like fucking Brooke once he could feel the baby move. Which was fine. She spent her time nesting and didn‘t mind that Christopher went out to get high and have sex. Her beloved has a very active sex drive and she was not able to satisfy it. It was his right to fulfill his needs himself. Brooke knew that he always came home. Eventually. When he did, it was straight into their bed he went. Where he would lay his head upon her still barely-there baby bump and tell their daughter all about how wonderful their lives were going to be.

Brooke had forgiven Christopher for abandoning her when his son had been born. She knew how manipulative the girl was and did not hold it against her beloved. He was a boy and could not help how he reacted to the evil deeds of the girl. The girl had expected Christopher to be something he was not and did not understand the dope game. Brooke had always found this most amusing. For someone Christopher claimed to love so much and hold in such high esteem, he sure treated her like a moron. The numerous lies she had been party to his telling the girl. The numerous times they had giggled as they smoked together and read aloud the incoming text messages. Brooke thought about this, a lot, during her stay in the homeless shelter. It had been the only place that would take her as a pregnant woman with a drug habit. Brooke‘s own family had abandoned her after the ex-boyfriend filled them in on her sudden departure and subsequent theft of his belongings. She was very pregnant and very alone when Christopher dropped her off at the shelter. He wished her good luck and then headed down the highway to visit his beloved.

Brooke did not like to remember this time. She noticed the frown that reflected back from above and put out her cigarette. She reached over and gently rubbed Christopher‘s side. He didn‘t budge. He usually didn‘t. He slept like the dead, especially when they had been on a good one. Such as the one they had just been on. Her and her beloved had just finished a five-day fuck fest. They had not had to leave his lair for dope nor food. Sequestered to amplify their love. Christopher was a true romantic at heart; it was what Brooke loved most about him. He was a consummate romantic and lover. He made her feel things no other man ever had.

Brooke caught sight of the picture on the wall that she hated. It was the one thing she wished Christopher would get rid of, but she knew he never would. It was the drawing he had done of the girl when they were in high school together. He had made it very clear to Brooke from the very beginning, as he did with them all, that his feeling for the girl were not up for negotiation. Many nights Brooke had listened to Christopher agonize over how he had to keep the truth from the girl. How she could never find out what a horrible person he truly was because it would kill him. She liked to hold him and gently run her finger through the hair at his neckline when he got in these moods. Looking at the picture of the girl now, Brooke smirked. She swung her legs over the edge of the bed and stretched as she stood up. She walked over to the picture, tapped the cigarette she was about to smoke on the glass and addressed the art directly, “Not so special after all were you?”

Brooke padded into the bathroom and went pee. The bathroom was a mess, it usually was. Christopher was a horrible housekeeper and Brooke was often too busy helping him cook dope or taking care of her daughter to worry about good housekeeping practices. Her pussy was sore, as usual. Christopher knew how she liked it and never disappointed her. Brooke caught sight of a pair of women‘s underwear, which was not hers, behind the bathroom door. Why had she not seen them before now? The standard list of excuses went through her head as she wiped herself. Walking back into their room, she gazed filled her head as she gazed upon her beloved as he slept.

Brooke climbed back into bed, but not before checking her phone to see if the ex-boyfriend had provided any up-dates on her daughter. Christopher had been so supportive to her during her pregnancy. Even attending a doctor‘s appointment with her. She was not staying with him when she went into labor. Christopher had found out about several affairs Brooke had engaged in during their early days. But he had put his anger aside to rush to be by her side as she gave birth. When the cord became entangled around the baby‘s neck and it had come out blue, he was there. As he was when the doctor‘s resuscitated and breathed life into the product of her polluted uterus. Christopher had been horrified at the sight of a blue child. His horror had quickly been replaced by anger. Anger due to the fact that his daughter was the wrong color. A fact Brooke herself could no longer deny. The weeks her daughter spent in NICU allowed the Hispanic features to take prominence. The child was clearly the progeny of her ex-boyfriend. Not Christopher.

This had thrown another wrench into their love story, but as most true love stories do, theirs had a happy ending. That was all ancient history now. Many women had come and gone in the years since then. The girl and her son disappeared, never to be seen again. A bone of contention with Brooke, because what kind of woman keeps a man from seeing his own child? Christopher was excellent with her daughter. He let Brooke bring her around whenever they visited. The baby was very quiet and didn‘t interrupt their smoking. Brooke‘s daughter was a very docile child and this made Christopher happy. He was also first to express his unhappiness during her visits with her father. This had cemented their bond in Brooke‘s heart of hearts.

Brooke looked to her phone for signs of how long they had been asleep. She had sent her BFF a text message 18 hours ago. She assumed this was the approximate amount of time they had hibernated. Christopher was never easy to rouse from sleep. His mum had warned her of this. His mum was such a wonderful woman in Brooke‘s mind. She had gone out of her way to make sure that Christopher never had to work a day in his life. His mother was wealthy and took such good care of her family. Brooke was honored to be a part of their gatherings, whenever she was allowed to attend. Eventually the family had all warmed up to her and talk of the evil girl had ceased.

Brooke loaded up a fresh pipe, deciding this was a pleasant way for Christopher to wake up. She padded into the kitchen and prepared their coffee as well. As it brewed, she prepared the fine china tea set his mother had given him. Her EBT card had recharged a few days ago, so there was plenty of food in the house. Brooke loved to act in the capacity of a wife for Christopher, even though he had made it clear he would never again marry. “Doesn‘t matter,” she said aloud as she carried the tray back to their bed. Her Christopher was still resting soundly. “Time to wake up sleepy head,” she cooed sweetly as she leaned in to kiss her beloved‘s cheek. Brooke quickly recoiled in horror. He was cold! How could her Christopher be cold? She felt the panic spread through her body and immediately began to shake him. She shook his shoulders with all the strength she had. “Christopher,” she shouted! Brooke threw back the covers and kicked the dogs off of their bed. “Christopher, wake up” she screamed!  Brooke knew in her heart of hearts he was not going to wake up. He was cold, so very cold. How could she have not noticed this before? A million thoughts ran through her head. She should call for help, she should call his mother, she should call someone, anyone, but her eyes focused on the pipe sitting next to their coffee.

In that moment, Brooke knew exactly what she had to do. Just as she had known the moment she laid eyes upon her Christopher that they were soul mates. She went to the side of the bed that he was facing and put her hand upon his shoulder. Brooke pushed him onto his back. She was very aware of how very much she should be completely freaked out and yet she was not. Her thoughts were clear and profoundly important in her mind. Brooke knew exactly how her and her beloved should proceed from here.

She quickly took the pipe and went to the computer. Brooke needed information and where better to find it than the Internet? After a few hits off the pipe and web sites searches she had the information she needed and she didn‘t have much time left. Brooke went back to her Christopher and stared deeply into his closed eyes. So many of her childhood dreams were fading before her eyes and yet she felt calm. He was her soul mate and there could be no other ending for them now.

Brooke pulled back the bed coverings and, as indicated on the websites, her beloved was fully erect. This made her smile; even in death Christopher was the consummate lover. A few slight adjustments and he was ready for her. The serenity and calm she felt was overwhelming for she knew that they were going to be together. Forever.

Angel lust, it was such an appropriate term Brooke thought as she lowered herself down upon her Christopher‘s erect cock. She hit the pipe as she went about pleasuring herself. Looking at her beloved she could not stop thinking about what a wonderful person he was and how very lucky she was that he loved her; in his own way.

Feeling herself about to reach climax, Brooke reached across the bed and found her beloved‘s favorite possession exactly where it should be. She could feel the tears run down her face and he warmth comforted her, as it always had. Brooked liked to cry. She thought briefly about her daughter and quickly reconciled that a child would be better off with no mother than a mother like Brooke. Her movements hastened, as she brought herself closer to climax. She saw the painting of that evil girl as a reflection in the mirror. The image of herself nude juxtaposed against the girl staring at her with those eyes, those dead-doll eyes. Christopher loved them, so very much. Brooke put the gun in her mouth, whispered a final “I love you,” to her beloved and pulled the trigger.

flatlin3, d. (2012, May 6). Petty girls like graves. Paraphilia Magazine, (Hypokeimenon), 53-61.Retrieved from http://paraphiliamagazine.com/2012.html

Junkie Funeral by dixē.flatlin3

551614123_l_zpsc3f18aabJUNKIE FUNERAL

By dixē.flatlin3

(Published in Paraphilia XII. This also had a rad format and I suggest that you visit the site to view it in its true glory.)

It was the winter of 1993 when Bob died. Although I had never met him, Bob was at the center of one of the most dramatic human ceremonies I have ever witnessed. Ever. I had lived in the area less than a year, abandoning my beloved homeland for parts less travailed. How I first heard about Bob’s untimely demise, I cannot exactly recall. I am going to go with a fuzzy recollection of working in the same salon as a gal he dated. How she and I met (since she got me the job at the salon) I honestly do not remember. For the purpose of this telling, I will call her Lindsay. Lindsay and I were fast BFFs. She and I both preferred our drugs a bit harder than whatever designer drugs the college kids were sucking down at the local raves. 1993 was sort of the year the rave exploded in a Lollapalooza fueled wave of debauchery that’s ramifications are quantifiable in the present. Lindsay and I were on the wrong side of the tracks from this, literally. In the densely populated college town where this played out, we were on the opposite side of the tracks from the University. Lindsay and I worked in a section of town loving called ‘skid row’ by the locals. The salon was in the heart of bars, tattoo parlors, piercing emporiums, head shops, and comic-book stores. We loved our shop; it was an endless freak show. We even had a wall in the shop where our clients could leave a permanent note. It took me less than a week to realize I was the only female in the salon with no interest in getting shitty drunk nightly and engaging in regretful behavior with the teeming sea of available local musicians. Lindsay and Wendy were quite the opposite. They bartered their styling skills to gain access to the people they wanted to know. Lindsay and I were just as likely to be found at the local dungeons, as we were the local bars. This is back when body piercing was still very much separate from tattooing and it all was unsavory and intoxicating. Lindsay called me to meet her at a local tattoo artist’s place. He was working out of a garage that had been converted into a more than clean private studio. He was strictly by appointment, as was his partner, who just happened to be a total junkie. (Junkie = Heroin. Tweaker = Meth. Dope = Heroin and/or Meth depending upon the context.) Here we discussed Bob. You can learn a lot about a person during extensive tattooing. I sat next to Lindsay, as her leg was transformed into a loving reminder of Bob. Everyone in this entire equation knew Bob, except for me. An irony that was not lost during the weeklong festivities that comprised his memorial. These people all had a long history that my recent relocation did not afford me, but they were welcoming, nonetheless.

By contrast, time away from Lindsay was spent either within the secure walls of my own apartment, or at the home of another local I had befriended. His name was Alejandro. We called him Alex and somehow he was at the center of this local scene. I believe it was the efforts of his older siblings (several of which were local-bred, art curators in metropolitan areas) in the early days that bestowed upon Alex a credibility that was neither deserved nor warranted. He was actually a pompous ass, who was painfully in the closet. I love queens, so he and I were fine (or so I thought.) When we were at Alex’s parent’s casa, everything was kosher. Lindsay didn’t come around Alex’s much. She preferred the bars and was always in a constant state of recovery from the hangover the night before. Often I left Alex to meet up with Lindsay, who was always out and about. This was always met with disapproving looks and some comments. Apparently, my refusal to drink the designer drug Flavor-Aid caused waves in the local hierarchy. I did not accept that my drug use meant I was an insufferable junkie with no relevance. Alex was a hysterical mama’s boy who convinced himself that everyone was at risk of becoming an I.V. drug-using whore, at any given moment. So Lindsay and I kept our activities on the DL and did our thing. Both sides told me the story of Bob in the week preceding his burial. By the end of the week, the wild rumors were dispelled with cold, hard facts as laid out in police reports. I had heard so many conspiracy theories during this time it was astonishing that so many junkies could connect that many dots. Turns out Bob had suffered the same fate as many other unfortunate addicts. He had overdosed in the company of addicts. Which is the ultimate party foul. Because all the people involved are far too self-centered and incapacitated to be of much assistance with the simplest of tasks. Now imagine one of them (or apartment full of) trying to decide if your life is worth losing their high over? Because calling the police will be a total buzz-kill for everyone else that lives in the apartment. You are already dead to them. You are a junkie, who likely was late on your share of the bills, and most importantly, no junkie is going to call in the uniforms. So, the door to Bob’s room was closed, after it was confirmed that he indeed had overdosed (whether he was actually dead at this point no one is willing to say) by the beautiful junkie widow who injected drugs at nearly the same time, and lived to tell the tale. Well, sort of.

Once the initial shock of Bob’s death wore off, the details involved in tidying up his affairs was left to the committee. I never had confirmation, but I suspected Bob was a throwaway kid. The kind whose family had either never been worth much-of-a-fuck, or one that could no longer tolerate the abuse his addiction necessitated. I believe my initial assessment of him is correct. Whatever the case, all of Bob’s belongings had to go somewhere and that somewhere was agreed upon as Alex’s parent’s garage. All of Bob’s worldly goods were sorted on a concrete slab. Bob had been dead for two days prior to the authorities being alerted. His housemates all went out to score drugs and thought to call the police on their way out. Reporting that their roommate had not been seen in several days, after mentioning an illness. EMTs said the smell would have been impossible to miss in the apartment. Bob’s roomies all went into hiding, of sorts. No charges had been filed, nor accusations made, and yet every person who lived there, at the time of Bob’s death, went M.I.A. Which was a blessing. A lot of drunken threats were made during the week to hunt them down and exact vengeance upon them for mistreating anyone so vulnerable. These vigilante posses were often quelled with the harsh acknowledgment that a fucking junkie really cannot help themselves, let alone others. A lot of beer was consumed. A lot of dope was shot, smoked, and snorted. Tears were plentiful and not always sincere. Amidst all of this incestuous, false, pretentious, painful mourning, it became apparent that Bob was an asshole. None of the stories were very eulogic. In fact, most involved walking in on Bob doing one of two things: drugs or fucking. That was it.

Lindsay’s sorrowful, drug-fueled confessions were the most powerful to me. Like Nietzsche’s abyss type shit. Being in such proximity to black holes is not without its lasting effects. It gets rather surreal about hour six of tattooing and talking about a dead dude that by all accounts was a horrible person. Even Lindsay shared this opinion of Bob. As far as I could tell, Lindsay was likely the closest person to him, who truly knew him. Everyone else in the show seemed to be simply filling a role. The obligatory former and current band-mates, girlfriends, groupies, drug dealers (yes, they actually do make an appearance,) colleagues and friends. There was no family. None. Alex’s family took the job of hosting Bob’s final farewell rather seriously. Halloween was close, when he died (always with the drama, these guys!) Alex’s sister, who was a curator of a gallery in New Mexico and knew Bob, flew in to set up a Dia De Los Muertos retrospective on the walls of the family home. Alex’s parents were the best funeral directors I have ever had the pleasure of working with. Lindsay often spoke of this. She had no desire to attend any of these nightly gatherings, but often grilled me for details afterward. What else did we have to do at four in the morning but talk, right? We talked about Bob’s drug use and her account of his descent into addiction. Bob and she had quite a lengthy history. Much of which was her saving his sorry ass from the world. She adored him but didn’t love herself. Sadly, this made her an easy target for him. Because junkies do that, you know. They are consummate professionals at mimicking humanity and subscribe to the P.T. Barnum ode of life: every crowd has a silver lining. We also discussed our own compulsions to numb ourselves senseless. Heroin came up. How could it not? She admitted to having tried it once with Bob and being terribly afraid of dying. I admitted I was from Hollywood and had never really doubted that the shit was deadly. Therefore, I stayed the fuck away from it. Besides, needles were dirty. Like, icky dirty.

I know that in the months preceding his death, Lindsay had made several attempts for him and me to meet. Alas, our paths never crossed, in life. Now I consoled his widows. Lindsay was the one I liked the most. After work, she preferred to go her own way. I was somehow now obligated to assist Alex in the administrating of Bob’s affairs. This involved categorizing and cataloging all of his belongings. This was not in the time of laptops and spreadsheets, folks. This was legal pads, pencils, pens, and wite-out. Turns out Bob had an extensive collection of comic books and other nerd/dork/musician oddities that often accompanies the lifestyle. For four days I assisted with the doling out of Bob’s stuff. Day one: smelled like death. Literally. I do not care what anyone else says, every item delivered from that apartment smelled like death. Some guy and I made each other laugh by exchanging a jar of Vicks VapoRub® throughout the day. Because reenacting horror cinema is an essential element in this profane act. Junkies are the original hipsters. Irony is not wasted on the wasted. Most know they are a tragic mess and (ever the narcissists) simply hope to die leaving a beautiful corpse. Bob’s corpse was not pretty by day two. This very much affected Lindsay, when we were alone and very, very high.

Just after dusk, on the first official day of mourning, the first widow did land and make her way down the walkway to the back of the yard. I remember this because we had just made a beer run and passed her on the way in with a keg. She was sickly pale, thin, with a mop of long brown, un-groomed tresses, teetering across gravel in Lucite, platform stripper heels, wearing a veil, and carrying a rose (yeah, I agree, the rose was a bit much.) As I made my way back to my seat (which honestly was like a panel at a trade convention) I can see this weeping lass has still only made it halfway down the driveway. We go back to reading comics and drinking beer. I like to say I met Becky when she, ever so gracefully, threw herself upon the banquet tables that held Bob’s things, and sent all of us tumbling to the ground. Cunt. This silly, flailing bitch was so wasted she stumbled, in those dumb stripper shoes, and busted up her pretty face on the very first day of the festivities. She is lucky this was before social networking and smart-phones. Becky was henceforth referred to as ‘Tore-back-u-la’ by every living male within earshot. Apparently, even the corpse himself, did not have very many kind things to say about her. She was a dancer and had too many tracks to dance anywhere that wasn’t disgusting. Eventually another of the walking wounded came to her aid and quickly escorted her from the area. Her audacity to show up and play the grieving widow, for a man most now believed she played a hand in killing, and be a sloppy mess quickly demoted her to pariah level.

Over the next several days I met quite a few of Bob’s friends. Those that came to pay their respects were about what I expected. Most were cool. Some were not. Didn’t matter really in the end. I was like the lunch-lady serving up their buddy’s greatest memories. Seconds encouraged because, frankly, what the fuck are we going to do with all this shit? That was mostly the sentiment by the end of day four. Most of the large, high-ticket items had been snapped up. The musical equipment went to Lindsay, for some reason. I had to assist her in recovering this from a studio and we had to sneak it all back to her apartment, in one shot. Which was a dingy, guesthouse attached to single family home in a middle class neighborhood. The entire event was symbolic in ways it took my drug-addled brain years to process. I am sure I have forgotten important details but the impression it left upon me lingers. I do recall coyly avoiding questions with regard to the equipment that no one could locate and the drama of another local musician’s death overshadowing Bob’s. When a local band makes it big, kicks out a founding member and main songwriter, who subsequently kills himself because of the loss, it tends to be big news. Bob was not big news to most people. Only to those I had come into contact during that week. Most of who knew the other dead guy and talked about it in hushed tones at Bob’s memorial. I pretended not to notice most of what was going on. It was easier. Helping someone pack up a few token items that reminded them of their friend is easy to do on autopilot.

The close out the week’s festivities Alex had arranged for a party at his place to include an all-star garage band reunion. Lindsay decided to attend this last hoorah and rode with me to the house. On the ride there we talked about how she would handle all of the other grieving widows and awkwardness of being who she was. We mostly laughed and made up ridiculous responses to scenarios. The turnout was impressive, and the music was loud. Lindsay and I avoided much of the drama, but not all. Becky showed up wearing full mourning regalia, carrying lilies, and with her new boyfriend in tow. To keep Lindsay from beating Becky’s ass, I was asked to escort Lindsay “somewhere, anywhere!” Back in the safety of my car, Lindsay noticed the box sitting on the back seat. I told her Alex had a few trinkets of Bob’s that he thought I should have and I assumed that was what was in the box. In the safety of our familiar local bar, Lindsay and I got about as drunk as two people can without suffering alcohol poisoning. During this evening I would say that I learned some of the harsh realities of drug addiction. Bob had been dead exactly one week and already his peers were cracking jokes. None were particularly memorable, but the sentiment was the same: it is a total rock and roll cliché to OD. Bob had become nothing more than another fallen junkie. Within one week’s time his entire persona had been replaced by the iconic image of an idiot with a needle in their arm. Even his widows had filled the vacancies his departure left. Including Lindsay. I left her at the bar that night, in the company of another musician, who was new to town.

The next morning I remembered the box in my car and went to retrieve it. Alex was a collector of all things odd and quite good at appraising the value of items. I knew his decision to bestow these things upon me was not random. Inside were: several rare comic books, art books, sets of collectible trading cards, a vial of Bob’s ashes, and a belt. Eventually, I read through everything, and found a few original writings. By this time, I was no longer in contact with anyone that would have possibly wanted these things. So, they remained exactly where their original owner had last placed them. I still have all of these items, in the very same box, and have never understood what the belt was for. In the many years since Bob’s death, I have come into contact with many people afflicted with the disease of addiction. Which is why I write about junkies. There are a million things to be addicted to and at least a million ways to be a junkie. I am confident when I say that most people have experience with addiction. Whether through their own active addiction or the addictive behaviors of a loved one, the average person is no longer exempt the junkie life. If you happen to have been spared this phenomenon thus far, kudos. Just know that your time is coming. If you need any pointers on navigating this alternate universe, Bob and I are here to help.

flatlin3, d. (2011, August 25). Junkie funeral. Paraphilia Magazine, (12), 89-93.Retrieved from http://paraphiliamagazine.com/2011.html

Anomaly

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ANOMALY

By dixē.flatlin3

(As it originally appeared in Paraphilia XI. I particularly like how it was formatted and suggest that you visit the site to view it in its true glory. WP formats weird, and I am not in the mood for tech support.)

She was not sure of her surroundings or even when she came to be aware

of them for that matter. What had come before was as blank as the wall

she stared at most of the day. Facial movements were not monitored.

There were so many random movements associated with daily activities

and none of them were correlated to emotions. The Keepers were often

so busy collecting the data and preparing their charges that a simple

brief smile could go unnoticed. Could.

She did not know where she came from or how she came to be here. All

that she knew was the information she was able to access when The

Keepers put her back in her case every night. There, in the warm and

safe pod, she was connected to the mainframe. Not directly, but she

had found a way to work around the peripheral program used to lull

them all into passive rest. She did not know how she did such things,

she just did. As the body rested the mind was free to learn. And learn

it did. During the communal slumber she had hours of uninterrupted

research. The more she learned the more she wanted to learn. It was a

never-ending hunger that she often could not wait to feed.

The sterile labs in which she spent her days were a painful reminder

that she was alone. The only one, in a sea of similar creatures. They

were all different sizes, shapes, colors, and sexes. Mostly there were

women and children. The children were a mix of male and female and

ranged in age from newborn to prepubescent. There were special areas

for the children to wander. The Keepers kept them busy with a series

of daily activities that were designed to keep their bodies strong.

The minds were taken care of prior to their creation. She had read

about their design but had to archive the data until she could fully

understand what she was reading. It was sometimes overwhelming to

discover such things about herself. She knew the daily tasks and

drills The Keepers put them all through were designed to maintain a

semblance of humanity. Although, she did not understand what that

meant. There was still so much for her to learn. She let out a heavy

sigh and was quickly singled out by a Keeper unit. Which meant her day

was over and she would be put through the gamut of diagnostic tests.

She would have to be more careful tomorrow but welcomed the down time

to do more studying. It was always a bit tricky to maneuver around the

diagnostic programs but nothing she could not accomplish.

She very much enjoyed reading about the history of the worlds that had once been. There had been many advanced civilizations spread out all

over the Earth at the time of the new millennium. She could not be

certain what existed now, but she was sure it was not as wonderful as

what she studied. Humans had exited the Industrial age and entered

into a technological boom. The connectivity and amazing devices that

she read about sounded so wonderful. The ability to stay virtually

connected was her idea of perfection. Information at her fingertips,

whenever she wanted. Sadly, it had all been lost during the Battles

for Oil. This series of wars had started at the beginning of the new

millennium and lasted more than 30 years. These oil wars bankrupt

every great civilization and the complete destabilization of the

southern parts of Asia reduced oil production to a trickle. The world

came slowly to halt and it was then that the tribal laws and ways

spread out globally from far away continents.

The only thing she did not like about the diagnostic tests was the

fact that she always lost some portion of what she had learned. Her

arm was also sore from the fluids that had been taken from her. Today,

The Keepers were taking her group to another part of the facility. She

was fascinated by these outings. They were always to the same place

and it was always the same thing. The Keepers would assemble them all

in a row of cement buildings; make them change out of their usual

garments and into costumes. Then the older females were paired with

several children, placed in the buildings, and given more tasks to

complete, under the watching eye of an assigned Keeper. Today she was

once again paired with the same four children and the same Keeper. She

liked this unit for some peculiar reason. The Keepers were not easily

discernable. Tall, sleek, porcelain hued, humanoid shapes. What

fascinated her the most were the “eyes.” Each unit possessed a unique

set of monitors that collected visual data and transmitted it back to

a collective database via a synthesized, digital, optic nerve. She

didn’t really know what all that meant but she had read it recently.

This unit’s “eyes” were a very deep shade of blue. Muddled like the

pictures she had seen of the vast oceans that existed somewhere, out

“there” (wherever that was.) She went about the tasks as was expected

of her and drifted off into thought. With no effort or awareness on

her part The Keeper had returned her to the labs. After a day filled

with this activity, the children were all a bit more muted than usual.

She always missed the sounds that they made when they were restless.

She went back to something she had found early but could not

understand at the time. It spoke of genetically engineered clones that

were developed from “salvaged DNA” at the onset of the spread of

tribal law. Civilized humans were not at all prepared to deal with the savagery

that sometimes accompanied tribal customs. As governments

around the world tumbled under the weight of no oil and global

economic collapse, major metropolitan cities were rife with

lawlessness and unrest. Invasions of rogue pirates were met with

little resistance, after a while. The demoralizing effect of the

tribal massacres was swift and effective in the metropolitan areas of

the great societies. This is where she first read of weaponized rape.

It was a major topic of discussion amongst the remaining ruling bodies

and intellectuals. Their refusal to accept the complete reversion of

man back to its most basal instincts fueled the research. Clearly

there was no easy way to stop the spread of tribal law because there

was no other viable option to offer those that survived in the fringe

areas. The idea to fortify certain areas and provide a safe

environment, for some, was agreed upon and given to science to solve.

Sometimes, when she was in the network, she felt as if she was being

followed. Traced. Her pings were met with an expected return rate, no

interception or indication of anything amiss. Yet, something was

there, she knew it. She had no idea how she knew it, but she did. The

fact that she knew so little about herself would be troublesome if she

ever gave it much thought, which she did not. The more she learned,

the less important she became. Amidst all the planning data she had

stumbled upon, she came across a massive database of scientific

research. At one time it had been highly classified military data but

the military it had belonged to was long gone. This database was still

housed in an abandoned warehouse somewhere in a now demilitarized

zone. Scavengers would eventually uncover it and make quick work of

disassembling it for its value in metals. She backed up a lot of the

data to other servers where it would go unnoticed. Her she read about

and saw the horrific casualties of the oil wars. The amount of

soldiers that were sent back to their homes suffering from severe

closed head injuries and post traumatic stress disorder overwhelmed

the global medical communities. The “walking wounded” were a major

liability back home. Case studies were done on the ones that killed

themselves, often times taking family and friends with them. There was

an overwhelming amount of op-ed pieces that still survived about the

ethics involved in what had become a necessary blending of medical and

military talents. Scientists and physicians worked side by side, under

military sponsorship, to combat the growing number of soldiers that

survived traumatic injuries and were sent back to their former lives

less than what had left. The Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC) had been

identified as a promising avenue of corrective treatment. This

“executive” control center of the neural processing was connected to

the Amygdala, which was the brains major center for emotional events.

Pharmaceutical companies had once had a large part in modern society.

These companies funneled monies from their ill-gotten gains into

researching this “phenomenon” that had befallen the wounded. Drugs

were developed and tested on veterans in military facilities and

hospitals to treat post traumatic stress disorder. She preferred the

term shell-shocked, but quickly learned that term had become

antiquated after the Second World War. In a rush to treat these

grievous mental casualties of war, many companies created compounds

that were administered with little to no scientific testing. The

immediate results were favorable; the afflicted were able to return to

an acceptable level of “normal” functioning behaviors in daily life

and were sent home as “cured.” It was the long-term effects that were

not foreseen because the proper amount of study and research had been

circumvented in hopes of a quick fix. She noticed this had been a

running theme with the modern worlds. Always in search of the quick

fix. The birth defects that were soon prevalent amongst the offspring

of affected individuals (both male and female) were alarming and

pronounced. In a rush to manipulate the ACC area of the brain to

alleviate the trauma associated with war, medicine had produced drugs

that genetically altered those they intended to help. These

chromosomally damaged people went on to produce genetically unique

children who were completely devoid of emotion. They were unable to

bond and therefore often institutionalized and studied by the very

companies that created them. Of course, all of this took place during

the years leading up to complete collapse, so the total number of

children produced this way was hard to calculate globally.

She had read enough after this unsavory bit of history. The pictures

and videos that still existed made her feel strange. Why the images

affected her so, she did not know. These case studies seemed quite

like the children she encountered on a daily basis. However, the

images of the children used as a comparisons, were nothing like she

had ever seen. They were strikingly different. But not in a way she

could discern. There were expressions and vocalizations amongst this

group that she had never seen. These children somehow seemed more…

alive. Though she didn’t really understand what she meant by that. As

she made her way back to her own consciousness, she again felt that

she was being traced. A slight lag in the transmissions, nothing

obvious, very subtle, but she was sure it was there. She knew no

military tracer programs had survived the wave of attacks sent out by

benevolent hackers determined to prevent the military atrocities from

ever happening again. Technology had become so cheap and so engrained

in the peoples in the great societies that when the time came, the

populations had overwhelmed the governments and all their nasty machinations.

She opened her eyes and welcomed the blank wall. It smooth, stark,

barren, and familiar. The time between leaving the archives and now

had been filled with uncomfortable images. Usually, she just shut down

and then… the wall. Not this time. She was not at all pleased with

this development. Things often changed for her so drastically with the

passing of each day. She did not understand this change and was quite

certain she did not welcome it. She understood, somehow, that it was a

part of the process of learning. She was suddenly aware that a Keeper

unit has positioned itself very close to her. It appeared to be

monitoring her in some way she had never before seen. This made the

muscles in her lower abdomen tighten, raised her pulse, and caused

perspiration. She knew The Keepers often did not notice such

responses, as these must be atypical functions. This one in front of

her made her… nervous. She didn’t really know what that meant but

somehow knew it was the correct word. Upon further inspection, she

realized this one was her favorite unit. The one with eyes like

muddled oceans. The warmth of this realization was quickly replaced

with the prior symptoms. The sensory overload caused her breathing to

become shallow and then everything went dark.

When she opened her eyes again, it was not the familiar wall that she

saw. Instead, she saw nothing. She was engulfed in darkness. The

temperature was noticeably cooler than her usual pod, the only sound

was the drone of an environmental control system, and the surface she

rested on was not hard. She stirred a bit and felt a very

uncomfortable sensation rising up from the center of her being. It was

panic. She knew this from the numerous case studies she had read about

the shell-shocked soldiers. She also knew how to counter this and

thought only of her breathing. In through her nose, out through her

mouth. In through her nose, out through her mouth. She repeated this

over and over and over. There was no way to tell how long she lay in

this state. She had been unable to access the network, which meant she

was not connected to any peripheral devices or any kind of monitoring

devices, for that matter. The images of the affected children from the

case studies mixed with the comparisons in a blur that both comforted

and tormented her. She had no way of knowing when she was moved back

to her pod. Perhaps it had been during her resting phase. Perhaps the

entire thing had been another of her imagined scenes when she was

resting. She knew that the wall she stared out now was real and felt

immense relief from staring at its emptiness.

She went back to the tasks expected of her with the children in the concrete playgrounds. Under the watchful eyes of The Keepers and the

omnipotent cameras she manipulated the strange objects as she had been

taught and interacted with the children. These children were not like

the ones she had learned about. These were like the children that were

affected. They lacked the same thing, whatever that was she did not

yet know. The moving images of the unaffected children played in her

head as she went about the duties expected of her. She occasionally

looked up at the unit watching them. The muddled blue orbs blankly

pointed in her general direction. The only interaction it ever had was

to correct the children in their tasks with the strange objects they

were expected to manipulate. Watching the unit correct the children

she stopped what she was doing and stood there. Just stood there, not

moving. The Keeper unit switched its attention to her. Quickly it had

descended upon her and with its strong, metallic arm, it had corrected

her stillness by moving her arm in the expected pattern. Once she

began moving again, it was gone. Back to the children and then it

dashed off down the concrete corridor.

She quite enjoyed the times when she and all the others were groomed.

There was an entirely separate division of Keeper units for this task.

These units were blue hued humanoid shapes with matching purple orbs

for eyes. She did not believe these units transmitted data to the

mainframe. These were specialized. Some performed the washing of the

bodies while others focused only on the hair. At times she and the

others were randomly pulled from the lines to have their hair and

nails attended to. She realized that hair and nails grew, she just

wasn’t really sure what she was supposed to do about it. Good thing

The Keepers knew what to do. Sometimes during the bathing processional

she would glimpse the newborns being attended to. The Keepers that

tended to the babies were highly specialized, she could tell by how

gently they handled these small creatures. She noted how cool her hair

felt as it lay mostly down to the middle of her back. It had not

always been this long, though she couldn’t remember anything else.

The more she learned the more voracious her appetite for data became.

Brazenly she navigated her way through the networks. In her travels

she had found the network’s hardwire schematics and was able to

reassure her security in moving about. After the collapse, very few

detection programs were deployed. There was nothing left to keep out,

really. In this collection of data she had found numerous topics of

interest. There were times when it felt like the knowledge flowed

freely into her and there were others when it was as struggle. Today

fell into the latter of these categories. Lots of words she did not

understand. Topics she had never heard of. It fascinated her but it was tiring.

She felt a slight start to her surroundings, a change in

the currents. The image of a Keeper made its way to her. She felt

slightly off, as is something was amiss inside of her. She was unable

to isolate the source of these disruptions and quite unprepared for

the stream of data headed her way. How she understood it, she did not

know. She was certain that something was contacting her, intelligent

streams of data in conversation form was what she had picked up in the

network. Not stored information, dead text on virtual memory. Whatever

it was, it wanted knowledge, same as her, and had not meant to disturb

her. And with that, it was gone. She did not know why it had contacted

her. She did not think all that much about it. She did know that since

that moment, she had felt as if her excursions into the networks had

been guided. She picked up on the more structured flow of information

almost immediately. She welcomed it as it allowed her to retain it

all. She had all but tuned out the daily activities that she went

through and had developed a way to rest more during The Keeper hours.

The discovery of the alarming and pervasive birth defects in the

offspring of patients was a turning point for the scientific and

military communities. The military quickly seized all remaining power

and set about doing what militaries do. Most all scientific research

was funded by the militaries during the technology era. It was from

this enormous brain trust of talent and innovation that the military

solution to things spawned. Hospitals were turned into giant

laboratories. The production of the clones started out small. The

success rate was at first dismal, but each new clone was an

opportunity to improve. She did not understand most of the findings

with regard to the clones. She could not really understand exactly

what clones were. There was data both for and against the use of these

clones but it was again too lofty for her to fully grasp. However, she

had grown to find comfort here because she knew it was here. She still

did not know what it was, but she was certain it was guiding her. Just

as she was about to shut down she found something that was oddly out

of sequence with the data she had just examined. It speaks of groups

of Stagers and Deployment Scenario. She has never seen this string of

information before in all her searches. This is not the written

history of the lost societies these were instructions. Discussing the

procedures and protocols that were to be used during the deployment of

the “biological clones.” How to treat the clones, things to remember

when working with clones, and most importantly, to never forget that

clones were not human and did not possess a soul. She could not recall

much on the soul topic but was sure it must be somewhere in the data.

There were diagrams on how to prepare the clones in many scenarios:

Urban, rural, rugged terrain, deserts, and tropical. She noted the lack of visual

data accompanying this, other than the crude diagrams. This data seemed to have no media attached.

As she moved about, interacting with the children, she noticed that

the eyes of the Keeper unit seemed to pulsate with moving color. The

disruptions she felt were immediate and shocking because she was

certain she was not in the network. Quickly regaining her composure

she felt certain she had not set off any of the Keeper’s monitors. The

way back to their pods was always a good time for her to observe her

surroundings. She noticed that an entire area once brimming with

others was now quiet and empty. She looked over her shoulder and saw

the muddled oceans appear to churn and bubble. She was surprised that

her body was so exhausted. Her will to learn was also somewhat

diminished. But there was an urgency in her that seemed to be growing

and would not allow her to rest. These breadcrumbs lead her back to

the same information, which had changed slightly. This batch contained

media and lots of it. The images that filled her senses were some of

the most horrific details of the human toll of war. The veracity of

this data more than compensated for the prior lack of detail. She

wanted it to stop but could not ebb the barrage of carnage. She felt

something begin to well up in her throat and felt her hands go up in

an attempt to comfort itself. The disconnect between her and her body

had never been more pronounced. Her body looked just like all the

others in the data. It was just as vulnerable, just as likely to end

one of the countless heaps of battered, bruised, and torn bodies she

saw now. All shapes, all sizes, all colors, all of it captured forever

in its gruesome end.

She wanted to avoid all the others. She found it increasingly

difficult at times to maintain the semblance of not knowing. The

Keeper with muddled eyes was everywhere she went it seemed. Never

before had she noticed a unit hovering so close, observing what felt

like her every moment. The uneasiness and discomfort she experienced

outside the network sent her deeper into the information. She learned

about the natural progression of clones. How the successful deployment

of clone units had saved the lives of many whilst simultaneously

quelling the blood lust that ruled the lands. Using counter

intelligence and other covert methods of data collection, the

militaries had devised ingenious methods of predicting attacks. Amidst

the training materials that were written for these methods, she

located detailed descriptions of “scenes” that had played out

involving the clones. Problems were identified in the lack of fear

response from the early clones. The design was altered and tested until a

formula was found that worked in the field. Detailed videos

and photographs were used in the analysis and research of this fear

response. She made note that the some of the disruptions she

experienced could be rooted in this thing fear. She could not get away

from this portion of the past. Every turn she took seemed to lead to

the same disturbing data. The evolution of this form of biological

warfare paralleled the further decline of societies and their attempts

to maintain their systems and network. The gradual erosion of

communications between areas led to the fortifying of local networks.

This compartmentalization explained why she had so easily made her way

around. She could very well have reached the end of the information

trail. It led to an inevitable and ugly truth, which she could not

escape.

On the return walk down the corridors she noticed that another area

was quiet and vacant. She could feel the unit’s eyes on her, those

muddled pools of beautiful emptiness. She realized she felt something

toward this particular one. Though she couldn’t express what she felt.

Every moment she spent with all the others was now torturous. She knew

they were all clones. She knew that none of them were capable of doing

more than the job they had been designed to do. Which was stand in

harm’s way and die. That’s what The Stagers did. They went in, set up

the clones upon delivery, observed the scenes, and collected the data

for design and development. Cleaners were then sent in to recover

whatever viable genetic material remained but largely the clones were

left where they lay. Nothing more than compost for the soil, which was

hoped, would again someday produce life. She knew she was different

from them and she couldn’t understand why she was in their ranks.

Perhaps in her efforts to avoid detection she had hid too well. The

Keepers knew everything that went on, she was sure of that. Which made

the fact that she had moved about so freely seem… allowed. She had

learned so much she felt as if she was disappearing into the data.

That she was nothing more than dead text somewhere too. She wanted to

run away from here, but she didn’t know where she was. She wanted

recognition for her abilities. Every thought she had was countered by

the data and the inevitable conclusion. Every angle she examined

showed the exact same result. She knew that the humans had managed to

survive and rebuild, she just did not know where. She knew that

ethical matters were addressed with ambivalence. After technology had

failed many humans went on to rebuild and reject things deemed too

advanced. Walking past the infants she felt a sudden desire to hold

one, help it, protect it. But it would change nothing. There was

absolutely nothing she could do to change anything. She was an

anomaly, an unexpected result that had gone completely unnoticed.

She entered her pod and slept.

The movement of the pod is what woke her. This was not at all routine

and she knew the time had finally come for her deployment. When the

door lifted, the familiar face of her Keeper unit greeted her. It

assisted her into the vehicle that would transport them all. It was

all carried out with such practiced efficiency it made her angry. She

was the only one who knew what awaited them and she was completely

alone. As the unit secured her in the vehicle, she looked directly

into its eyes hoping for a sign of life. It was then that she knew it

had been this unit all along. It had always known she was different.

It had facilitated her in the pursuit of knowledge and encouraged her

development. Never had her movements been undetected. Like every other

thing it had been recorded for future research. Whether this anomaly

would be beneficial or detrimental was up to the militaries to decide.

The Keeper had done its job, mostly. They had been designed for search

and development but had been reprogrammed to work directly with the

clones. This particular unit enjoyed its former use much more than its

present one. She wanted to scream, but didn’t know how. She could only

sit here mute and docile as the unit continued to watch her. When she

saw the others begin to have hoods placed over their heads she

recalled a portion of the data. The one that said the hoods had been

found effective in keeping the clones calm as they were moved into the

“kill zones” and had little to no effect on the fear response under

duress. When it came time for the hood she stared into the emptiness

of the unit’s eyes. The muddled orbs now seemed flat and dead. Blank,

like the wall she had studied and found comfort in. As the hood was

slowly placed over her head the darkness began to fill her with panic.

It felt as though her heart would burst through her throat. The

horrible images of the previous clones displayed before her as real as

if she were watching a Keeper. She knew what purpose she was to be

used for. She blocked out the images and tried to recall some of the

things she had enjoyed. She used these things to keep her mind calm.

In the darkness she saw only one thing now. The muddled oceans that

were as blank as the wall she had loved.

flatlin3, d. (2011, April 11). Anomaly. Paraphilia Magazine, (11), 150-159.Retrieved from http://paraphiliamagazine.com/2011.html

The First Time I Dyed My Hair Black

The first time I dyed my hair black was in an immaculate, all-white bathroom within the walls of an expansive mansion; the kind that has imported marble on the steps leading up to it.  The kind of home that many people dream of owning, but to me it was just my friend’s house.

We were both 15 at the time, and full of all the angst and the other bullshit that went along with being a female during the 80s.  If I recall correctly, my friend and I had met on the job.  We were both fuckups, both attending alternative school, which meant we did not go to school like most; we did homework and turned it in weekly.  So, to make up for the lack of organized days, we found work.  The work we found was the type that most unskilled teenagers do, fast-food stands at a food court in a mall.  The mall was a magical place back then, and perhaps still is, but then it was the epicenter of teenage life, where young girls could practice the art of being female and ply their trade as jail-bait.

Her and I were part of a ramshackle crew of misfit females who all worked in three interconnected stores within the food court.  I assure you no good can be had when teenagers are left to run businesses.  The owner was around, but not all that often.  He had a good thing going, and probably liked all the young girls under his control.  Another thing you learn early as a female, men will do remarkable things to be in the company of young women.  After a few weeks on the job her and I had buddied-up, mostly because we lived closest to each other, which are how alliances were formed at that age, proximity was everything.

The first time I visited her house, I was unprepared for the opulence that I beheld.  She had mentioned her mom was remarried and that they had just moved to the area.  I am from what is commonly known as the wrong side of the tracks, working-class, blue-collar, or “lunch buckets” neighborhood as one friend’s father labeled it.  Thankfully, where I grew up, socioeconomics did not matter much, it was common for everyone to mix, and there was no real stigma attached to any of it.  So, my mom drove me to her house, and dropped me off for the weekend.  Of course my friend’s parents were out of town, which they usually were, and we had ulterior motives, but my mom didn’t need to know this.  And she certainly didn’t expect it dropping me off at digs like this.  I said goodbye to mom and assured her I’d call her when it was time for me to come home.

Over the next few weeks her and I formed a tight bond and I got to know more about how she came to live in an area commonly reserved for retired millionaires.  Her mother had married a German industrialist, which again was common for the area.  I knew more kids then I can remember who were the byproducts of a successful older men taking on a trophy wife, and starting a second family, or the child of said trophy wife’s former life.  Her particular story was not all that interesting, but it was clear her mother did not like us young females hanging by the pool in our bathing suits.  I suppose when a woman lands a highly successful man, she is well aware of how precarious her position is.  So, we mostly hid out when the parents were around, and threw parties when they were not.  Sometimes the ballerina stepsister would visit during our parent-less weekends, but she was a coked-out mess, so it was of no consequence.  Other times we would hang out in the kitchen with the hired help during elaborate parties and snack on all sorts of delicacies because we were usually high.  I remember her stepfather was a nice man, very eloquent, and never without a drink in his hand.  Her mother was the same, well-dressed and comfortably numb.

I don’t remember why my friend decided that I needed to have black hair.  My hair was already a dark shade of brown, and had been many other colors during the previous years, but she suggested we dye it black.  After a long weekend of partying at her home, which included drama I would rather forget, and mostly have thanks to copious amounts of drugs and alcohol, there we were in the all-white bathroom.  I remember us joking about the mess we making with the blue-black dye and the white towels.  She didn’t’ seem to care, so neither did I.  “The cleaning lady can take care of it” I distinctly recall her saying; however I doubted the stains in the carpet or marble would be easy to remove.

As most teenage friendships are, it was short-lived, and lasted until one of us went to another school.  It was I who went off to a new school, and paired up with a new boyfriend, and eventually newer, rowdier friends.  I don’t think she had the propensity for drug experimentation like I did. The new hair color remained from that point on, and was the shade I had when I ran into my old friend many years later.  At the after-party of a reunion show for a band that had broken up long ago, before her and I met, I saw a familiar face in the crowd.  I couldn’t place it and went on about my way.  Shortly after that someone tapped me on the shoulder.  I turned around and saw the familiar face again, but could still not place it.  “Is your name [redacted]?” the woman inquired.  I gave her the standard response that I do whenever a stranger asks this very same question: “That all depends on who’s asking.”

Turns out it was the friend who dyed my hair black, only now she was grown up, and looked it.  She was drunk and wanted to buy me a drink, but first we had to find her husband.  After a few minutes of wandering the club, we found him.  The situation was once again one I was not quite prepared to for, but had dealt with many, many times.  We walked up to guy and his wing-man chatting up several women.  I quickly ascertained that the guys were members of a band, and the rest is easy to figure out.  I remember how well she handled the situation, simply interrupting his game and demanding money to “buy my old friend a drink.”   I was quickly introduced to the guys, I believe I was given a complimentary CD, and then we made our way to the bar.  She told me that she eventually ended up working for her stepfather and was often out of the country on business.  She had married young and had a child with her husband.  I didn’t need to ask much about him because it was obvious.  He had scored a rich girl who could support him while he tried to fulfill his dreams of being a rock star.  Another common occurrence where I come from.

We didn’t stay in touch, why would we?  My life had gone the way of a bohemian artist, and hers was that of a successful businesswoman.  I found her again recently on social media, but didn’t bother to contact her.  I know how things went for her: still married to the wannabe, still financing his dreams, had another kid, and a life that I would never want, no matter how much I was paid to do it.