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Dave Winner's Journal

Thursday, February 5, 2004

12:10AM - Cat and Mouse

"What would you give to save your family?"
"I'd give anything"

He was wearing a Hawaiian shirt for god's sake. Torturers and madmen are supposed to wear black. Also, he needed a shave.

"There's an American expression, "I'd give my right arm…" He finished rolling a cigarette, and hung it from his mouth.

"Yes I suppose there is" I sighed.

He liked talking to me. In his own way, he liked me. I suppose it's the way a cat enjoys playing with a mouse.

A man at the door spoke to my inquisitor. "Please Mr. Kapsar! There is no time sir!"
"I'll ask you again my friend. Would you give your right arm to save your family?"

A bead of sweat rolled off his face. He was serious.

"Answer the question!"

"Yes."

He leaves without word. The airlock door dilates shut.

I wake up and it's dark. Kapsar is trying to get my attention. The world is thick like molasses.

"My friend. Will you give to save only one member of your family?"

"Please Kapsar. Don't do this."

"You must decide. Is your arm worth a life?"

I cried "Why do you have to do this?"

"The Captain's son was missing an arm."

"Monfort."

"Yes, Monfort. He died in the taking of this station. The Captain is very sentimental about his son, it will curry favor with him. Now decide."

"YES. DAMN YOU! Yes. Who do I choose? Please Kapsar."

"No my friend, that decision will not be left to you. You've made enough decisions for today. Sleep."

Tugging. Like a pressure, tugging on me. There's like a pulling in me. About six or eight inches deep in my arm. Tugging and then a snap. My arm feels too light. The shot they gave me. My arm's asleep, floating. No more numb tugging. If I could just wake up I could rub my arm and start the pins and needles. Needles. Shooting, my arm. My arm is gone. They took my arm. Those bastards took my right arm.

"Come my friend. There is little time." He was wearing a pressure suit.

"Kapsar. Where is my family."

"You're family is dead. They died in the taking of this space station."

"You said you'd save someone!"

"I kept my promise. I saved you. Are you not a member of your family?"

He dragged me to the north radius, down four rings to the service lock. Everything above the sixth ring was destroyed, sealed off.

"We must rappel to the lifepod, There's no tube. I'll help you into your pressure suit."

There, hung on the rack, was the last unoccupied suit. Missing one arm. It's nametag read: MONFORTE

I gave my left arm to save my own skin. It's okay, I only need one arm to hoist a pistol and kill everyone aboard this lifepod.

Good thing I'm a lefty.

Sunday, June 29, 2003

3:31PM - A Sad Last Ride Through the Valley of Death

      “They ain’t gonna starve Daymon Darnell, no they ain’t”
      In his fat fingers Daymon clutches a rolled up copy of Creepshow Comics.  He swats the ground with it and clumsily rises to his straining feet.
“NO YOU AIN’T!” He yells at the shuffling figures he can see from the basement window.
He looks longingly at the old drum in the corner of the shelter.  It once held 50 gallons of precious rainwater.
 
A few days earlier…
 
      “Yahoowe!  Damnit Nate!  We done it!”
      “Fugyeah Dickie!”
      The old Ford Mustang still fishtailing in the desert dust speeding from First National Bank of Nothing Left, Arizona.
Dickie Watson paws through the salad of twenties, fifties and hundreds in the sack.  A twenty snaps in the wind, takes flight and lands on the windshield of a copcar in hot pursuit.
 
Meanwhile…
 
      Dawn Armbruster lifts a slender finger to her nose and smells it.  Coppery and pungent, her blood.  It was just 3 drops on the tile floor of her bathroom, but it looked to Dawn like the Lord’s cross.  She smiled upon mighty Jesus and thanked him for help in these trying times.  She’d overcome spinal meningitis, Bells palsy, ocular hypoplagia, vascular polyps, and now He’d help her deal with this.
 
      “Thank You mighty Jesus” This time, He’s blessed her with cancer.  Praise be.
 
***
 
On a deserted stretch of road leading into the valley appropriately called Death, Dickie Watson was bleeding something fierce.
      “Ah shit Gnate!  Ahhg.  Goddabbit goodbuddy.  I’m Fugged!”
      “You aint fucked, that’s a pussy wound!  You aint no faggit isya?
Nate looked at the hole in Dickie’s face, and held back the urge to vomit in his lap.  “Is you a faggit?”
      “Aw, but Jesis id hurds!”
His voice is nasally swimming in the wet reeds that used to be his nose.  He puts a dripping handkercheif to the gaping hole in his face leading from his left cheek that stretches clear to his right ear.
“Fuggin cops”
 
      Dawn Armbruster fills her backpack and sets out to the church.  If anyone can give her sanctuary in these trying times it’s church.  A good dose of God’s word from the baritone voice of Rev. “Jug” Jackerman is what she needs right now.  Jesus told her it wasn’t safe to hitchhike, but with all those undead minions sent from Satan, walking wasn’t such a good idea either. Jesus had her put poppa’s old straight razor in her knapsack and told her to cut any sinner who sought the devil’s business.  Such a group of sinners were approaching.
 
      Dickie had been asleep for many hours and Nate was getting worried.  He needed help.  A speck in the distance in the shape of Dawn Armbruster hazily begins to take shape.  The sign she held, which Nate first misread as ‘Orgasm’ rests clutched to her chest sitting in the Mustang convertible.  He can now read it as ‘Olancha’.
      “What’s in Olancha?”
      “The house of the Lord,  Reverend Jackerman is preachin’ on The Apocalypse tonight.”
Nate had no reply to that.
      “I figure it’s about time for the Trump and Shout, and I aim to be there for the final call. Are you saved?”
      “I guess you could call me a seeker, ma’am.  It’d be a pleasure to attend services with you, my friend back there could use all the help he can get.”
      Nate hadn’t been to an old time revival show since he and his gram used to peddle her patent medicines in Kentucky.  It was his gram who taught Nate the grift.  He could sure use some of Granny Mae’s snake oil for poor Dickie now.
      “What’s wrong with your friend?”
      “He got shot defending the honor of a lady” He said with a straight face.
Nate wiped his hand on his overalls and offered it  to Dawn.  After exchanging pleasantries and surnames, they settled in for a quiet ride.
 
      Dawn studied Nate’s face.  Strong jaw, deep black eyes, clean straight hair.  A small scar above his eye.  She did not wonder how he got the scar, but imagined him slapping another man with his glove for making an impertinent remark.  She decided that her poppa would like him.  If she could lead this sinner to the light, she would.
 
      It was easy to believe it was the end of the world.  The mountains shine blood red against the low orange sun.  The western face of the Panamint mountains looked like just that.  A face with a million teeth bared to tear the life from all who dare cross their desert.  Miraged in the distance was the gleaming red and white bigtop of Reverend “Jug “ Jackson’s revival show.
 
      The tent was big as any owned by the Ringaling Brothers, and twice as gawdy. There were license plates from as far away as Joplin Missouri.  There were busses and cars and farmtrucks and motorcycles all the way down to horse drawn buggies.  Crowded ranks of concessions lay beyond the vehicles, all selling the ‘Official Brand of Jug Jackerman Happy DayWine’ and things like ‘HOLY SMOKES: Smoke the toke that Jesus smoked!  The only cigarette blessed by Reverend Jug!’  Once Nate could find a sacramental burrito to eat he felt a little better.  A Mack Semi was parked at the mouth of the tent, splashed across it was:
 
The Right Reverend Jack
“Jug” Jackerman
Healing begins at
Dusk
Every day until
JUDGEMENT DAY!!
 
Are You In The Light Sinner?
 
      The tent was flanked on the left by a small cemetery, no doubt chosen to remind people of the peace in a holy death, and on the right was a makeshift pen for the undead corpses family brought to be saved and ushered into the arms of the Lord.  Dickie could still walk, he was not fit for the pen yet, but he had eerily taken on the thousand mile stare…
 
      “I ask again, WHY ARE YOU HERE SINNERS!”
Jug really has the crowd whipped into a frenzy.
      “GOD BROUGHT US!” The crowd yells back.
      “Well WHY, has GOD brought you HERE!”
      “TO BE SAVED!” They roar.
      “To…be..SAY-V’D…  That’s right people-  TO…BE…SAVED!”
      “Ezekiel looked out on that field brothers and sisters.  That field of dry bones… “
Jug wiped the sweat off his brow and marched to the other side of the plankboard stage.  He caught eyes with one of the crowd.
       “AND HE WATCHED!  As GHHAWWDuh put flesh on those dry bones!”
      “To create an army…” Jug said that very low, but his lapel mike picked it up clearly.  He ran to the other side of the stage and pointed to Nate.
“TO CREATE AN ARMY! An army of the dead, brother-  An ARRRMYYY, to bring sinners to the light…”  Jug stares up to the klieg light spotlighting him from the rafter. The torches were just for effect. “WHO WANTS THE LIGHT?”
“WE DO!” roars the crowd.
With a flick of Jug’s wrist, someone behind the scene hoists a rope to reveal the zombies in the pen to the right of the stage.
“WHAT DO THEY WANT?”
The crowd, while not silent, comes to no consensus.
“They want to bring you to God… They want to share your bodies and souls…”
Jug reaches down and sets his hand upon the head of a young blonde toddler.
     “They want communion...” He pinches the little girl’s chin.
“CAW…MUNE…YON!!!”
“Say it with me, brothers and sisters…”
“COMMUNION!” The crowd roars.
The reverend Jug Jackerman steps off the stage and approaches Dickie Watson.
 
“This is a brother in need of Communion, What’s you name brother?”
Dickie can’t answer.
“Lost in the rapture of GOD’S light!”  Jug brings Dickie to the stage.
“What GOD sees isn’t Dead people...” He eases Dickie to the floor.
  “GOD… sees…people!  Who had jobs and families and lives... “  Gently, he throttles Dickie and begins to choke him.
“Dead from the madness of being a people who spurned GOD and went their own way, a way which dried the love, the passion, the LIFE out of their lives…”
Dickie’s arms go slack and dies of religious hypoxia.  This was all done so subtly that Nate, Dawn nor any other from the flock recognized what was happening.  It looked as though Dickie was being lovingly tended to.
“God loves His people, and wants them to be alive...”  He motions to the zombies in the pit. 
“The covenant APPEARS to be finished, But GOD will have NONE of that!”
Jug stands center stage and raises his arms to the crowd.
“God will do what it takes to breathe new life into the dead bones of His people... God wants the nation to live FREE!”
Dickie Watson’s corpse begins to stir.
“FREE! Brothers, of the mortal ties that KEEP A MAN FROM SERVING GOD!”
Dickie stands up and approaches the reverend, who with the deft skill of a snakehandler grabs Dickie by the back of the neck, thrusting his bloody face to the crowd.
“AND TO MAKE MAN FREE, HE HAS RELEASED HIM FROM LIFE!”
Dickie Watson snaps his jaws at the crowd, reaching out with God’s arms.
“who wants to share communion with this brother?” One of the devoted approaches the stage, submitting her flesh to the will of God.
 
“Fuck this”  Nate grabs Dawn by the hand leading her through the pandemonium.  For The Right Reverend “Jug” Jackerman has decided today is Judgment Day-  the zombies in the pen have been released into the crowd in an orgy of communing. Sinners, Seekers and Saved alike are all being ushered back to the arms of the Lord.  Quite painfully.
The tent has been sealed, sewn shut.  They only way out is over the stage. Treading bodies, keeping their arms and legs out of the mouth of the converted, Nate and Dawn reach the high exit wheel.  Only to be blocked by The Reverend himself.
      “If you leave the light, it’s to the Brimstone! You shall be born again in light, or IN FIRE!”  Brandishing a torch, he stares Nate down. Under his eye Dawn pulls her poppas straightrazor and slashes across the reverends wrists.  Dropping the torch, he watches his hands pool with blood.
“He who serves pays the price.”  He is so happy in his pain he doesn’t notice his pants catch fire.
 
***
      “They ain’t gonna starve Daymon Darnell, no they ain’t”
Daymon liked to use a bow and arrow from his basement window.  The tip of the arrow was barbed to catch and hold what it was he caught.  Mostly dogs and some cats early on.  The other end of the arrow was attached to 100 pound test fishing line.  Growing up fat, he’d always had a lot of time to read.  Moby Dick was his favorite.
 
He sees a dusty old Mustang approach the house.  Attracted to the P.A. system no doubt.  Every fisherman needed good bait.
 
Knock the shaft, knuckle it, let fly. THOCK! He gets Nate dead in the brain.
Knock the shaft, knuckle it, let fly. THOCK! He gets Dawn in the spine, she’d already turned to run.
 
He patted the empty drum in the corner of the shelter happily, all he’d had left was a face and two feet.  He whistled as he reeled in the bodies.
 
      “They ain’t gonna starve Daymon Darnell, no they ain’t”.

Thursday, February 27, 2003

1:32AM - Crazy Train: Ride of the Living Dead

(author's note: So I gotta ride the subway home from work now at like 3 AM and at that late hour it's just me and a bunch of goddamn stinky bums. Each car smells worse than the last and the fucking stinkpots I have to ride home with are like those loveable zombies I so revere. So in honor of you, stinkpots, here's a new story entitled...)

Crazy Train: Ride of the Living Dead

There is a fucking zombie on the subway. Smelling like shit and looking worse. His filthy outstretched paw reaches out to me. I kick him in the knees and they bend the wrong way sending the zombie onto his back. I jump up and stomp on his neck because I gotta disable the brain somehow. I keep stomping on the neck and kicking at it and trying to mash it with my heel to cut the column from the spine. Finally when it's open enough I can reach my hand in there and start ripping at cords until the damn beast will stop gurgling.

It doesn't stop there. Another one is running through the train at me, quite uncharacteristically for a zombie, and I try to make it into another car. He follows hot on my heels and I grab him when we’re between cars and we're like locked in this death struggle, he's shoving at my face and trying to force me to the ground. I see his leg is wedged between the hitch and the guard rail and I grab a handful of meaty flesh and force his head past the edge of the car. I smashed his face against the concrete wall rushing by and sandpaper it until it's ground down past his skull but this guy ain't dying he's still flopping his arms at me and he kinda looks like my dad and finally enough of his brain is shaved away to make him dead dead dead. It must have left a mile long streak of gore on the wall behind us. Only then did I realize that this guy used to be a cop, now I had a gun.

I can hear screaming. Why weren't you bitches screaming before? They're screaming because I have blood and viscera all over me and I’m all tired from fighting and my lip is all busted open and I'm having a hard time telling them I’m not a zombie. So I try to do something no zombie could do. I dance. So I'm doing this Al Jolsen shuffle type of thing but not very well, being I’m so tired and all. But they’re still screaming, I guess it's hard to get used to looking at a guy trying to dance while he's covered in blood and waving a handgun around. But hey, these are crazy times.

Boy am I tired. I sit down and wait. Where are we now? I’m on the 7 train, just passed Jackson Ave. We’re headed towards Grand Central Station. You’ve got to be kidding me. Some crazy bastard is driving this train into zombie central.

The place is crawling with them. Lookitem, their blank stares and shuffling gaits. Doesn't anyone else notice? Fucking jaded New Yorkers. Well if I'm gonna make it outta here alive I better start dispatching of all these zombies. I shoot the first one I see right in the face, and suddenly everyone around me realizes that the place is infested with zombies and they start to scatter all over the place, and I run too. I grab one and throw him in front of a moving train, I push another onto an empty track and she's caught by the electrified third rail, frozen in place now with galvanic response. But their sheer numbers overwhelm me. I shoot as many as I can but am soon dogpiled by them. They are everywhere blocking my arms, holding me down blotting out all light, choking me I can't breathe now and soon I cant even…and then…all…I feel… is… black.

When I wake up I’m in the hospital. I can't tell if I was bitten or not, I can't reach my arms too swell. My doctor is in the room and I asked him if I was bitten, but he's a different kind of doctor.

"Why did you kill that first panhandler Dave?"

I sure wish they'd loosen these straps, it’s none too comfortable in here. But at least the walls are thickly padded…

Current mood: Crypt Keeper-y

Thursday, October 3, 2002

8:32PM - I, Zombie

Frightday

It's just a scratch Dave. You'll be fine.
"But I'm bleeding" I think to myself.
The toxins are working their way through my circulatory system killing first my white blood cells, then my red, then eventually... in three days or so, me.

Fucking Zom. I can see her hand clawing at me. Bright yellow fingers flushed with jaundice, her fingernails clear like glass rimmed with a dark brown jelly. Her hands feel strangely warm as we struggle. On my face, she tries to grab a purchase to pull me towards her mouth. One yellow finger fishhooks into my mouth. Bitterly I recall the smell of earwax. Bright, sweet pain fills my cheek and a trickle of coppery blood runs down the back of my throat.

If she'd bitten my arm, I could have hacked it off. Shratched my leg, I could have cut out a chunk of thigh meat and saved my life. But what can you do with a head infection? Could anyone chop off their own head?

Here I am looking at myself in a Denny's bathroom. I gently caress the bolt cutters. Trying to make this horrible instrument seem gentler. Oh god. Do I have to do this? Well, without lips breathing will be easier. Permanent smile. No more kisses for me though. Do it mister. do it. I feel the pinch of steel on flesh.

wait a minute. Be rational. It's been like 45 minutes. You fought with her. You ran a few blocks. Your goddamned heart is thumping like a jackhammer. If you got any bacteria in you, it's everwhere now. Behind your eyes, in your elbows running in thin veins down towards your feet. You're fucked pal. Leave your cheecks alone, you cant hack off everything. Just take a nap. Things'll look brighter in the morning.

Splatterday

I slept 14 hours. When I finally creek awake, the dark room is way too bright for my eyes. I feel like I slept in a tin can.

"Where's the dog?" I asked her.
"What dog?"
"The one that shit in my mouth" I spit onto the floor.
"Ha Ha. Were you drunk last night?"
"Something like that."

The spit is warm and foamy. It's not really shit, but it does look sort of brown. Puss, bile and blood all mixed together- it isn't exactly Tang. God I feel like crap. We have to go on a water run today. Standing up, I feel high. Not much action below the knees. I think someone may have turned down the volume on the reality machine, I can hardly hear a thing. It sorta feels like the flu. Get out of bed. Pull on your boots. You can skip the sharkskin Dave it don't matter no more. Let's go hunt some zombies and get some fresh water for our Best Girl and the baby. Load up. Fifteen shells and one in the chamber.

4 hours later I came home with 20 gallons of water and 8 more kills to my lifetime record. I'd usually clear at least a dozen on an average day. But today is splatterday. First zom I pass, I use two rounds. One in each shoulder. Try clawing me with no arms motherfucker. Gutshots are nice and messy too. I like a clean spine shot, keeping the brain active but no motor function. The fucker is doomed to sit there throughout eternity nipping at the heels of passersby.

Back in bed. Soft clean sheets, warm down pillows snuggled next to my girl I can't belive I'm gonna die tomorrow. I should tell her but I don't want this feeling of hapiness to go away. I love you sweetheart.

Stunnedday
I woke up blind the day I died. I could barely breathe, my mouth was so swollen shut. I could feel her shaking me, maybe whispering to me- but she could have been shouting. It was hard to tell the difference. I felt my moth filling with vomit. No, I'm wrong. It was going the other way. She's feeding me something. Under my tongue I can taste it. Orangina. The last of our vitamin C, we were saving it for the baby to fight off scurvy. Silly girl, I don't need vitamins. I'm already dead.

Moanday
I don't know why she wasn't watching my corpse. I had risen and no one was there to greet me with a friendly bullet to the brain. We had discussed it vaguely in the past. Lotsa folks were stilldead, not rising. We would try. We would try not to. Come back. But She's a realist. I figured she'd cut off my head the second I stopped breathing. She's more sentimental than she lets on.

I wasn't thinking about all of that right then though. I was thinking about the color pink. The pink lumpy person in the cage in the corner of the room. The playpen I mean. Through dead eyes I see my prey. No I was right the first time. It is a cage. I rattle the lock and tear at the edges. The baby screams. I get my fingers close enough to tear off a tender wing to chew on.

"What's here? An arm in my true love's hand?" She spoke the words softly.

"Flesh I see, and left not a bite to feed me after?"

I started to walk towards her. She didn't flinch or run away.

"I will kiss thy lips, happily some blood doth hang on them."

A kiss and she presented her neck to me, I bit deep.

"Thy lips are warm" she closed her eyes.

Friday, September 13, 2002

4:48AM - How I learned to stop worrying and grew to love the brain slugs

You might think it would suck having a brain parasite. Most of us did. When the slugs first landed on Earth and began taking over people's minds and bodies, more than a few of us were (understandably) upset about it.

I got caught first week out. I was walking down Cortland Alley in New York's Chinatown. An ancient Chinee was selling these beautiful red hunting caps for one dollar each. How could he be selling these for so cheap? So I had to buy one. As soon as I put it on, the old bastard smiled his one big yellow tooth at me. Goddamit. I caught a slug. The little thing crawled out of the flap in the hat and burrowed into my ear. Suddenly I saw the Chinee as a little kid back in Beijing. His name is Jin Ji. His friends call him Jim. He was thinking about Wendy's baked potatoes. I spoke to him in mandarin. I don't know mandarin.

Wow. I know everything that every other host knows. Okay, this is kinda cool.

Only it wasn't all cool. Sometimes slugs would forget to feed their hosts. They'd stop your heart if they were unhappy with you. Sometimes a host would wake up with a mouthful of his own poop in the middle of a boardroom meeting if the slug decided he found humor in humiliating his host. The newsmedia called them Riders; but they really should have called them Drivers, because they were in complete control of you. It's weird watching your life unfold in front of you like a movie. My rider was like a farmer for making new slugs. A harvester. I'd watch my hands tilling soil and fertilizing it, adding nutrients and hydrogenating it and saying things into the telephone like " Good afternoon I'd like to order 200 liters of hydrochlorodyoxyphenelate 16. No less than 80 grade pure please. And all from the same mix if you will."

Pretty soon the news wasn't all about "The Rider Threat" but about the benefits of the Riders and how you could live to be like a million years old and look hot forever and have great hair and always smell good. They newscasters were all smiles talking them up like salesmen. They'd been slugged. I knew this because I knew the one on the left was trying not to fart right now. The other one had had "Daydream Believer" stuck in his head all afternoon.

Eventually the good guys figured out a way to kill off all the slugs without damaging the hosts. It was with some form of small pox, since the slugs were 100% brain tissue they died before it was too late to save the host.

Frankly, I’d rather be dead than not have a slug in my brain. I’m so goddamn alone now. I can’t tell what anyone is thinking anymore. I think and think and think and there my thoughts sit trapped inside my mind. I’m gonna put a slug in my head alright- a dull iron 44 caliber slug if I have to.

Instead, I find myself tilling soil. I order another drum of hydrochlorodyoxyphenelate 16. At least 80 percent pure please. My spores are growing nicely and responding well to the pox inoculations. I’ll have a new batch of slugs soon, and I’ll go see my friend Jin Ji down on Cortland Alley in Chinatown. Don’t worry dear reader- I’ll save one slug for you.

Monday, August 19, 2002

6:29AM - My life with the Love and Terror Cult

His voice was soft and gentle. His eyes seemed to be full of love. I thought of the first time I saw him- on the floor of the Pacific Palisades mansion, surrounded by his girls. "This is Charlie" sombody had said. He looked up at me with the same dreamy smile he was wearing right now. With a knife at my ribs, tripping in the California desert on the edge of a valley appropriatly called Death. We were camped at the mouth of an abandoned mine shaft, a wide gash in the southern face of the Panamint mountains. The jagged lips of the mountain shined blood red reflecting the campfire. This could pass for a martian landscape in one of my movies. It might even pass for Hell.

There were three of us with him that night. Me, Arnold Noonan and Carey Saunders. They were anxious to please Charlie; they wanted to be a part of what he had. I don't think that they were ready. When Charlie took out his buck knife and put it to thier throats they were not sure how to take him. Arnold thought Charlie wanted him to be tough and said that he'd fight him to the death if that's what he wanted. Carey skittered off like a scared rabbit. Charlie came to me. He turned the knife slowly to catch the reflection in the fire. It was hot on my ribs.

"What about you Dave? Will you die for me?"
"Sure Charlie, you can kill me."


I cocked my head and leaned into the blade until I heard the first layer of skin pop. With the knife in me, he asked:

"Will you kill for me?"
"Sure Charlie."


He stared at me with those incredible burning eyes that sometimes looked like love and sometimes looked like hate and he slowly lowered the knife and put it in my hand. I didn't recognize my fingers as they clasped the grip. Bone white and caked red with desert clay spidered in all the pores, I flexed my pointer finger just to make sure it was my own hand. Charlie clapped me on the back and pushed me forward.

"Looks like you've got a rabbit to catch. Go get 'im boy."

With a squeeze of the shouldder and a slap on the rump I was off to catch Carey Saunders. "Dont come back without his head" He'd whispered in my mind.

As I took off across that shattered hellscape it occurred to me that this was the first time I was ever alone since joining the Family . I could see the little town of Olancha squatting down the road, it was still a piece off- about twenty miles. In every other direction all you could see was desert, emptiness, and heat radiating off the naked hills. I was all by myself. No Family, no Charlie, no girls- just my racing mind wishing to be back with the others. I had an urge to lie on the scorching rocks and stretch out- searing out of me every thought. Every sensation. My mind wouldn't stop racing. Speeding over the days ahead, maybe tomorrow, maybe even tonight, when Helter Skelter would come roaring down and cleanse the world. My brain was zooming around, and my feet were running and my hands were holding the knife and my ribs were bleeding and I started to get an erection and Helter Skelter was coming and that meant the end of the world and I think I heard the Rabbit and my mind was racing and I couldnt slow it down and my brain may be slipping around inside my skull and I think I see the sun coming up, and.... maybe... I.. should slow it. down. Charlie, give me sopor. Let me rest.

The next day I spent watching, waiting like an animal that knows the hunt is on. I settled in and watched a fixed point in the distance. Speck. The desert miraged in the heat, everything looks kind of wavy. Speck. Movement. I see the rabbit about two miles distant. I see my future two miles distant. I see my future twenty miles distant too. The little town of Olancha. Carey Saunders. I make my choice.

"Don't come back without his head" his voice told my mind.

I could smell the fear eminating from the rabbit. His musky clothing was bathed in sweat, the sand now mud coated him in a thick red mask. I pinned him down and sat on his chest, he made a gutteral cry in pain- his ribs were broken. His one good eye was watching the knife. Watching it plunge into his chest. and again and again and again. I lost the knife somewhere in his chest cavity.

No. That's not right.

Speck. Off in the distance. That's not Carey, that's just a rabbit. I start walking twenty miles into my future.

Fuck you Charlie, I make the world.

I could hear the sounds of laughter and singing and love coming down from the hill. God it's been a while since I laughed.

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

1:00AM - Here be Zombies: Communion

He entered the cave darkly. Upon seeing the supine shape before him he put his hands upon it and spake a single word:

rise

With that Lazarus rose.

The zombie looked from the feet of the lord to the living face of Christ and chutched him. Jesus wept. The eyes of the risen man implored"What shall I do now?" With love and pity the lord spake a single word:

feed

With that he handed Lazarus the pound of flesh nearest his heart.

This is My body. Take it and eat it.

The holy stigmata opened the wrists of the living christ and he fed Lazarus from his vein.

This is My blood. Take it and drink of it.

The lord saw that this was good. It came to him that he too would rise and feed and that all persons should rise and feed, and the word came to him. The word for love and togetherness and absorbtion and absolution. The lord spake the word aloud:

communion

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

2:20AM - Take the test!

do you have the guts to find out?

Take my test!

WODOTDC Quiz by Davewinner.

Sunday, July 21, 2002

9:09PM



The sky above is a sickly shade of green . The pregnant clouds are so ready to burst they are already leaking raindrops. It is 6AM and I am laying in front of an AT&T building on a dirt hill trying to sleep. You can never sleep with more than one eye shut when you're sleeping on a dirt hill.

It reminds me of Ann Marie.

"Just leave her alone man."
I nudge her again. She's not allowed to sleep. It's been five days and she's past the point of complaining. The first two days were the hardest. She'd become wild. Her eyes blazed red, her arms would shove at me to let her alone. Incoherent babble about "Beatty Boys and Yardsticks". She wouldn't shut up about that whatever it was. By the third day, her jaw became slack and her eyes milked over. I couldn't get her to keep her tongue in her mouth. It was dry and gray, coated with street dust and car exhaust crap. JT was disgusted by her, and I'll admit I kinda was too. He wouldn't let her in the front seat anymore because she creeped him out.
"Christ, just point her another way willya?"
"She's not looking at you man. Ignore her"

So I'm laying on this dirt hill and I can't sleep. I'm waiting for this guy Orton to show up. Or maybe it's Horton. I can't read the piece of paper too swell anymore. Anyway, I'm waiting for him and I'm still thinking about Ann Marie.

Her bright red face while I fuck her. Her bright blue eyes staring up at me while she drowned. Her bright yellow dress the day I met her. She was sixteen, I was fourteen. She was my brother Erik's babysitter. Funny thing. That day I could never have imagined our future together. I'd like to say we talked about mutual interests and became friends, but we didn't. I can't remember her speaking more than four words to me that whole year. Until the day she drowned my brother. Ann Marie had been on the phone and left Erik alone in the tub.
Just for a second, he should be okay. I can keep an eye on him from here. Why don't these people have a cordless?

Ann Marie killed my brother so I took her for a ride. She and I and my pal JT and JT's Ford Maverick. Up the coast on PCH. Somewhere near Anaheim she started to fall asleep. She can't sleep while my brother is dead. I flick her nose. Hard. She doesn't say a word. I squeeze a nipple until she yelps.

Fat drops of acid rain are falling from the sickly green sky. This dirt hill outside the AT&T building is getting more comfortable. I wish that guy Orton or Horton would show up already. I wish I were in a motel. That motel in Canada.

"You gonna let her sleep now that we're in a motel?"
"I think she needs a bath"

Ann Marie's eyes widen.

"I think you need a bath Ann Marie"

I lead her by the hand into the bathroom. She looks so beautiful floating under the water. looking up at me. She slid in so easily- offered no resistance. Just slid in and began breathing water. Cool refreshing water. In a moment it was over and now I have to go meet this guy Orton.

"You Horton?" I have to yell above the noise the rain makes in the gravel.
"Who are you" he shields his eyes from the rain squinting to get me in focus.
"My brother is dead" I don't even bother wiping the rain out of my eyes. It drips into my mouth and tastes salty.
"I'm sorry...I don't understand what-"
"Do you know Ann Marie Fahey? Have you spoken to her on the phone lately?"
I see a look of recognition in his eyes. "Ann Marie? Is she all right?"

I step forward and choke him. Eyes well up with blood, face purpled in surprise, he lies still at my feet. I hold up a soggy copy of my phone bill and cross another name off the list.

"Did you see him? What did he say?"

Just drive.

Thursday, July 11, 2002

11:47PM - I think I may be kinda cursed.

I found this guy's ID cards on the subway. SS card, Foodstamp card, Welfare card, DMV ID, the whole identity package.

I figured we'd wrangle some sort of swindle to take advantage of this poor sap. But we haven't yet.

Ever since then we've been poor as fuck. I think it's kharma. Haven't really been spending alot, nor buying crap. It just gets spent on whatever. So we're poorer that I've ever been ever. ever. I've been pretty goddam poor.

We were at the hospital a few days ago and sheena found this plaster cast thing. She put it on me and it really looked like a real cast. Everone at work was like "Dude!" What happened to your arm?" I shoulda been like "Oh, it's fake" But no. I'm like "Oh, I fell down"

So I get to spinning the story. I gotta tell it over and over. So they were like "What did they perscribe?"
"Anti-inflamitories and something for pain"
"What did they give you for pain?"

everyone's a goddam pharmasist now.

If I'm like "Darvocet" someone'll be likely to say "that's for backaches" or some shit. I don't really know perscription drugs too hot, so I'm mum on what the percriptions are for. But I do mention that I'm fucking broke and cant afford the perscriptions anyhow. So Beth offers to lend me $. Then the CFO of the company gets on the phone and starts talking to me about workman's comp claims. I'm headed for some serious fraud here.

I explain that I checked in to the hospital under the name Charles Beaumont, so I can't actually file the claim.

Next day I'm about to go into work and we'd taken the cast off the night before. I gotta get a brace. did I mention that I'm fucking broke as hell? At the Duane Reade store I opened up a package containing a brace and was walking around the store with it trying to establish that I'd walked in with it.

"can I help you?" I get asked.

"um, yeah. I'm looking for a brace like this one."

as she walks me over to the acebandages, she sees the wrapper I'd discarded and picks it up and looks at the brace in my hand. The brandnames match.

"Did you take this out of the package?"
"no I found it this way, I wanted a new one"

She brings me over to the braces. I know I need one to show up with at work, all I have is cigarette money. Fuck. I grab the smallest cheapest one $5. I say thanks to the interloper and go to make my purchase.

"Rico to the front please" the PA squeals.

The security guard and the lady are now hovering at the door. I purchase my brace and walk out. As I approach the door, the guard takes two steps towards the door in case he has to chase me. I pass the detector, no bells go off. I get outside and look at them and smile. I really did purchase the shit and didn't steal anything, but I still felt like I got away with something.

Back at work it's just tying up loose ends. Keep the show up for a few more hours and everyone will forget. No one really cares anyhow.

theres more story here, but I dont really feel like it right now.

Sunday, July 7, 2002

9:06PM - unggggh uh ah oh jeez

My head is swimming. I'm so dizzy. The CD is skipping. now it's not, I almost wish it was still. I'm so dizzy I can hardly hear. My head is like 300 pounds of granite.

I'm allergic to certain artificial flavors.

I had Blue Soda lastnight. I think that's it.

Monday, July 1, 2002

4:30AM - It wasnt branding time!

It turns out the brand I made was too small. I'm pretty sure that if I burned the wire cherry red, I may have cauterized a vein or something, and it it werent hot enough that it wouldn't scar right.

I'd taken a litle wire and twisted it neon light style into the word Zombie. See I figured that if I were ever to get a tattoo, it would be that. But brands are sooo much better than tattoos. They're free, they take one second, you get to do it yourself, and it's more like flesh colored, and no one else does them. I'll do a bigger version of it, but I gotta get a better wire.

I'll scan pics of it when I do it.

Sunday, June 30, 2002

1:38AM - an open letter to my mother

The whole trip had seemed like a dream. Like characters in a tv show who’d never reach that far off destination. But as we were driving through Jersey, the fear set in.

I remember preschool. I cried everyday when I saw you there to pick me up. That hurt you. But I know now I cried from relief. A blind unreasoned wave of relief. Having to hold it together by myself. I saw your face and it meant home. Safety.

I saw your face that day on the Manhattan bridge, we were on the way to new york. We had no home.

I remember grade school. I was near the tireswings and I saw you all the way up at the top of the hill. You were wearing an Opulent sweater. you were waiting for me. I don’t remember why now. But I loved that you were there for me. Such happiness is immeasurable.

We drove into NYC, we were riding along the West Side Highway. New York looked like a fortressed city. I could see all the side streets and I was glad that we didn’t turn down any of them. The longer we stayed on the fringe of the city the better. Eventually, we did turn, down 42nd, right into the pit of Times Square.

I was confused and alone. We were still in Delmar. I hadn’t spoken more than three words to you in a year. You were asleep and I came in and asked if I could talk to you. We did. I cried and you stroked my hair.


Keeping it together.

I’m afraid mamma. I’m so deep into it that I cant even see what it is im afraid of. If I stop to look at all the things there are that can hurt me, I’ll collapse. So I don’t.

The psychic told us that we’d have three months of hard times. Trying times. I said ‘no sweat’ because I had faith in you. Faith in me. But such blind faith comes from ignorance. I cant afford ignorance anymore, One can live on the sunny optimism of faith or live in the cold reality of self reliance. I have no safety net to catch me when I fall. We never did, but I never knew how fast and far the drop was before. You did, and I admire the courage you had in keeping it together.

“Courage is when you know your licked before you’ve begun and you begin anyhow, and see it through till the end. Most times you’ll lose, but sometimes you don’t” —Atticus Finch

Today is not such a good day. I just want to sleep. I want to be on a ranch in new Mexico and let the days pass. Can I just stop this train and get off for a while? Take a year in a safe place. A little border town. Just read and write and maybe wash dishes or something. Pretty soon it’s gonna be too late. I’m gonna be 30 soon, then 40. I’ll be living the life of a mortal man. I'll have kids and a mortgage and chains that bind tighter and tighter until I die of the heart attack that’s waiting for me at the end of this long terrifying ride.

I want that wave of relief again. I want to be safe. I used to think that if I make other people feel safe than maybe I was too. I can see now how wrong I was. you told me once that you thought I had a jesus complex, maybe it's a closer to a god complex. remember icarus dave.

I miss you mamma.

Friday, June 28, 2002

8:12AM - Killroy

She runs from the room. In the long metallic corridors, he loses her.
He had to tell her the truth, so he lost her. He sees her reflected in a window, weeping into her hands. Instinctively, he runs to her, crashing through into the black abyss of space. From the opposite corridor we see her grow calm. Alarms are ringing, people run to escape the vacuum, but she stands still. The airtight doors close, and she is sucked into the void of space, into the arms of the robot she loves.

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

4:57PM - tell tale heart

Me and Sash are in the Torrey Pines High School library. There's some kind of recital or something happening. A few minutes ago we were in front of the school which had a swimming pool there for some reason. It was empty. There was some guy trying to climb out of the pool and I hit him on the head with a canister of gas to keep him in the pool. Inside now, we were sitting at the recital waiting for it to begin. There's the sound of an orchestra tuning their instruments. The man from the pool comes shambling in. We gotta get out of there. He wasn't a zombie, this is real life. You can't go around smashing people in the head, it's illegal. I grab sasha's hand and we run out of there. He's following us. We run and hide in the wing where Mr. Tapp's history class used to be. The fucking guy is right on our tail even though he's walking all slow and hurt. I grab him and try to strangle him. He's looking at me and I can see the hurt in his face and I do it anyway. But he just wont die. I cut off his arm with a boxcutter and tear his head off but I can still feel his heart beating. I stomp on his chest and it's still beating. I stomp until the ribs are exposed and tear into his chest and remove his heart and keep mashing until it's just jelly. I can still hear it beating. Fuck! Why is it still beating! I can still feel a heartbeat. Beat beat beat. I lay down exhausted and wake up from the dream. I can feel the heartbeat. In my ears, rushing through my veins.

Thursday, June 20, 2002

9:18PM

There is a process to this.

pop in the tape, hit return.

zipsqueal...wait.

change the tape, hit return.

drone...static...wait.

change the tape, hit return.

Feedback, squeal, wait...

The payoff is the tape. The tape is reality. My mother told me that I could make the world anything I wanted.

zipsqueal, wait. change the tape.

hit return.

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

5:49AM - I'm not a zombie! I have proof!





I'm NOT a Zombie! Tehehe!!


What kind of Zombie are you?

5:20AM - NowHere

He looked at the broken powerloader.

"It's got a breach in the core." Julia spat after saying it.

He watched her saliva bead up in the oily rust colored sand. She was beautiful. Beautiful in her old coveralls, beautiful with grease streaked on her face. Beautiful because she was someone.

He asked if it was gonna blow up. She smiled at the stupid question. Trager knew it wasn't gonna blow up, it would just melt down.

For the first time she actually looked at him.

"no, it wont blow up." She blew her hair off her face. A weak attempt, it still hung limply on her forehead.
"Have you been doing this long?"

Trager admitted he'd been doing this years longer than he should have.

"It'll kill you before you're fourty. You should stop soon"

He couldn't stop. All he had was his powerloader, the loader was life. it was reality. He was nowhere when he wasn't hauling.

She looked at the EVU plate, noted the number.
"This isn't your machine. I've fixed this damn core more times than I can frigging count."

He wanted to ask her out. But he had no words.

"they send it out, it breaks down. I fix it, they send it out again. At one point, you gotta realize that you're just fooling yourself. Fix it a thousand times, it's just gonna break down again. It's not worth it."

"I guess" He said. He turned the hand damper and got back in his powerloader.

Sunday, June 16, 2002

5:00AM - Here be Zombies: Henry Tollet

He thought he'd fortressed himself well, but his feeble walls were useless.

Henry's neighbors though him mad when he'd decided to build a bomb shelter. There was no more cold war, no threat of death from above. What they didn't know was the threat would be from the neighbors themselves.

When it happened, he was ready. Food for two for six months, he had prepared well for himself and his wife Chelsea.

But he hadn't counted of Ryan. The drifter. They couldn't lock him out, it wouldn't have been human. No one noticed the small bite on Ryan's arm, it could have passed for a scratch. It was two weeks until the bacteria worked it's way into his system.

Outside, the world went mad. People hid, loved, lived and died. Governments toppled, ad-hock governments took their place and toppled too.

He grabbed her by the hair and tore out huge masses of scalp. Dug his fingers into her eyes and split her skull like a ripe melon. Henry'd already been bitten, it didn't matter any more, he'd lost. Ryan was right in front of him. His long hair stuck to his greasy forehead. He'd had blood on his lips. The zombie had a beautiful face. Henry grabbed a handful of collarbone and punched his fist clear through his eight dollar smile until his fist was buried wristwatch deep in geekbrain. He'd given up, but now he was just fighting because he was mad. Mad at Ryan, mad at Chelsea. Chelsea lay there stilldead, heaped atop Ryan's beautiful face which now resembled a plate of spaghetti.

Henry opened the door. Henry found himself beset at all sides.

Just lay down and let it happen Henry. It won't hurt as bad as you think it will.

Friday, June 14, 2002

8:09PM - Here be Zombies: Blackbird

The blackbird waits for the farmer to arise. Ancient bitter enemies, one cannot exist without the other.

Blackbird, you were only waiting for this moment to arrive

He ignores his bounty and sits atop the old farmers chest pecking gently at his grave lips.

The dusty yellow sun rests above the horizon silhouetting the farmhouse, and at the same time illuminating every particle of dust in the air. In this light, reality looks like the grainy home movies of happier times.

The farmer had lived his whole life here. He raised and buried his children here. During the drought their poor bellies distended and finally succumed to their hunger. His wife was strong. She'd made it until winter that year. The waterwitch had promised he could find water.

The blackbird watched his strugles and cawed like laughter at his misery.

The blackbird watched the farmer kill the man who'd promised water. He'd watched them dig half a dozen wells, then half a dozen graves. The waterwitch was digging. Beads of sweat hung on his forehead so thick they looked like oil. Dust caked the outer rim of his face. He looked up at the farmer weilding a shovel. The farmer brought the shovel down weakly and with pity. The blade of the shovel bisected the waterwitch's nose and lips, making him look stragely feline. Dazed, the witch sat down in the hole as the farmer began filling it with dry earth. Filling it, filling it until the displaced mound of dirt was pounded flat over the seventh grave in the farmers freehold.

The farmer held his face in his hands and cried. The blackbird cawed.

The drought was broken and the farmer was able to break through the sodden earth. With his bare hands he'd coaxed a crop of beans. Small and hard, the blackbird had found them digestable.

The stroke came quickly. The farmer fell in the fields and would lie prone for the rest of his life. When the dawn came the black bird had gathered enough courage to approach him.

He'd sat with him for three days waiting. When the end came it was with a shudder. The farmer had a handful of dirt. Fingers slacken, the earth ran through his fingers. The blackbird cawed loudly.

Blackbird take these sunken eyes and learn to see

The farmer's corpse began to stir and sat up. It approached the blackbird. The raven took flight and sailed to the graves in the fields. It buried it's beak in the sand and began to claw the dust over the shallow grave. The farmer began to claw as well.

Satiated but not satisfied, the farmer began walking. The blackbird rode upon his shoulder.

Take these broken wings and learn to fly. All your life, you were only waiting for the moment to be free.

The farmer left his homestead, into the light of the dark black night.

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