Saturday, September 11, 2010

Roadside Velvet part five

Price Breaks and Heartaches

A journal of retail and failed romance

Chapter Four

Roadside Velvet

part five




I walked Athena back to the motel, she was full of stories from college and I smelled like a mixture of gin, tequila, run, vodka and cola. She told me that she attended a lot of sporting events- because she wore the mascot costume.


“So you’re in show business,” I joked.


“Oh no no. I’m like a cheerleader but without having to worry about the whole school seeing up my skirt,” Her laugh was a thing to behold, she had a way of looking at you out of the corner of her eye that made my lower extremities flutter.


“Do you have set routines or do just kind of improvise?”


“It’s lot of goofing around- which I’m good at and lots of running around like a fool,” she explained, “it’s a good work out too. I think I sweat out five pounds every game.”


“I never thought of that.” Actually I had never in my life given even the tiniest thought to the trials and tribulations of your average sports mascot. After this summer I never would again.


We were getting close to the hotel, I fumbled through my pocket for my room key and tried to make out my room number in the pale glow of the streetlights. Athena said, “The costume is pretty warm in the winter and fall but when springs come I just wear my underwear so I don’t get heatstroke. Even then- ALBERT!”


She had cried in alarm because the moment she said underwear I walked right into a lamppost.


*


Conrad, my co-worker in the roadside picture business, was in the room. Our boss Paul Desanti had insisted we double up. Actually the moment I found out I was going to share a room with Conrad I felt like doubling up.


Look, I never thought of myself as the most macho guy in the world. In fact one of my date to the senior prom told me that her father had thought I was very effeminate.


A lot of the kids I knew in high school told me the same thing in lots of different and insulting ways.


And so did my gym teacher.


And the substitute bus driver.


And most of my D&D group.


And several members of my family.


How did I feel about this? Well most of the time it left me wanting to scratch someones’ eyes out but it also made me sensitive to the way other people were perceived.


That being said Conrad was a scrawny bitchy little fruitcake.


His voice was squeaky, his eyes were watery, his body shape was willow and he whined all the time. He hardly did any work, sending most of the day sitting in the back of the truck reading romance novels- and not just for the hot parts.


This was not at all the person I wanted to be sharing a room with.


Conrad was sitting on the room’s single bed in his floor length green nightshirt. When I walked in he squawked, “What happened to you?”


“Nothing,” I spoke as clearly as I could through my swelling lip. Those lampposts were hard!


“Are you going to be all right?” he asked, “I don’t want to have to go to the site alone!”


“I'm fine,” I walked into the bathroom.


I turned on the cold water and ran one of the complimentary washcloths under the top. Once it was nice and chilly I put it to my upper lip.


Sweet relief.


Again and again I ran the night’s embarrassments through my head. My Dad had told me I could make Athena interested in my by pretending I didn’t care what she thought of me. I had tried but I didn’t think it was working out.


I wondered if there was another way, a better way.


Then I paused. Still holding the damp cloth to my face I walked out of the bathroom. I asked Conrad “What are you wearing?”


He looked up from his dogeared copy of Loves Savage Fury, “A nightshirt.”


“I thought so,” I went back into the bathroom and rewetted the washcloth.


A few moments later I left the bathroom to ask, “Why is there only one bed?”


“That was all the hotel had left,” Conrad whined, “oh sure Paul and Athena get the double but we have the share this single.”


“How about thad?” I went back into the bathroom and rewetted down the cloth. It looked like the swelling was going down.


After a while I heard Conrad getting ready to go to sleep. I walked back out of the bathroom again, “Are you really going to wear that nightshirt thing?”


“No,” he replied, “this is like my bathrobe.”


And with that he took off the green nightshirt to reveal he was wearing a matching pair of bikini briefs. He got under the covers.

“Good night,” I said to him, “if you need me I’ll be sleeping in the bathtub.

“With the bathroom door securely locked behind me I climbed into the crusty tub. It was cold and uncomfortable but I managed to lull myself to sleep by counting the silverfish crawling on the ceiling.


After an hour or three I drifted off.


A little while after that I found out about Conrad’s night terrors.










Click Here To Continue

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From: George Lewis
Date: Thursday 2 September 2010 6.51pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: No Subject

I have read your website and it is obviously that your a foggot.
From: David Thorne
Date: Thursday 2 September 2010 8.07pm
To: George Lewis
Subject: Re: No Subject

Dear George,
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Thursday, September 9, 2010

(an excerpt from In The Shadow Of His Nemesis) A Taste Of Freedom

The following is a condensed chapter from my serial novel but it is enjoyable as a stand alone piece.

______________________________________________________________________

A Taste Of Freedom

(an excerpt for In The Shadow Of His Nemesis)

by


Al Bruno III



Time and space had long ago lost all meaning for Gawain Wight; once hours and resources had been his to use as he saw fit. He had traveled the world and seen the impossible; he had sacrificed the innocent and the brave to bring down the enemies of his government. Now all he had was a sweltering ten foot by six foot cell and a diet of random noise and terror.


He didn’t even know how long he had been here, he didn’t even know what time of day it was anymore. He suspected he was on an island somewhere off the coast of Costa Rica, privately owned and unnamed. Once, over a decade ago, Gawain had sent an operative here only to lose him forever.


It started again, the crash of music and machinery, the cries of babies- all recorded and blared at random intervals from the speakers suspended from the high ceiling. Months ago he had almost broken his leg in a crazed effort to reach and destroy the damned things- or had it been just a few weeks ago?


They fed him once a day, a tasteless serving of gruel and a plastic cup of foul-smelling tap water. He made himself wait until he was really hungry before he ate any, it was the closest thing he had to a routine. Sometimes he would wonder to himself what might smell worse to a neutral observer, the water or the man drinking the water.


The orange jumpsuit he wore was stained, stiff and ragged. His hair was long and filthy. Gawain couldn’t remember the last time his captors had cleaned him up but sometimes he lulled himself to sleep with fantasies of a cold blast of water from a fire hose and a change of clothes.


But that was on the rare occasion they let him sleep long enough to snatch a dream or two.


It was funny in a way, when they had first brought him here he had been full of escape plans and defiance. But now? Now all he wanted was a few hours sleep and silence.


Footsteps approached. He started, was it meal time already?


No. He was almost sure it wasn’t.


Footsteps usually just passed on by but he still couldn’t help but get excited- would he be dragged out to the yard to be doused with the hose? Was it time for a check up with the dull eyed excuse for they had for a doctor? Maybe they were at long last going to kill him. There would be a kind of relief in that.


The door of his cell swung open and a pair of men in dark uniforms dragged Gawain out into the bright artificial light of a sterile-looking passage. They didn’t even give him the chance to get to his feet and walk; they just dragged him along like a petulant child.


One hallway, then another- they all looked the same to Gawain and he wouldn’t have been surprised if they just brought him right back to his little cell all over again. Worse things had happened during his time here.


Far worse.


There had been torture... No questions had been asked during these times, no taunts just a methodical application of misery that his captors soon seemed to lose interest in...


It was a shame in a way, sometimes Gawain almost missed the torture, it was better than having to face living one lonely day after another.


An elevator ride and another hallway later his handlers led him to a chair in the middle of an otherwise empty room. He sat down gingerly and waited.


“Mr. Wight?” A pleasant sounding voice filled the room, ”Can you hear us?”


Gawain nodded.


”We need you to reply audibly Mr. Wight. Can you understand that?”


“Yes,” Gawain was horrified at the sound of his own voice, he was sixty years old but he sounded ancient and worn down. “I can hear you.”


“Good, good. I think it is time that we spoke.”


“Why now? What do you need from me?”


“The world has changed so much since we took charge of you.”


“Could I have some water please?” he asked.


“We all regret the circumstances of your internment,” the voice paused as the door opened.


Gawain flinched but it was just one of the gray-uniformed men carrying a paper cup. He dutifully handed the cup over and left again.


The smell coming from the cup set Gawain’s body trembling, this wasn’t water. It was orange juice! He drank it so fast that he almost choked, his tongue came alive, his breathing increased, his prick stiffened without a single impure thought.


“Our files noted that you enjoyed orange juice.”


He crossed his arms and stared at nothing, “Why am I still alive?”


“We are not cruel.”


He laughed bitterly, “You really think that?”


“We defend ourselves when we must, but we preserve far more lives than we sacrifice,” the voice explained.


“You’ve got everything you want,” Gawain said. “Why am I still here? Why am I still alive? Unless of course you guys are somehow getting your jollies by making me suffer.”


The voice became more subdued, “There are those like you that do not understand and resist.”


...Gawain buried his face in his hands... they wanted to make use of the talents he had once used against them.


And if he said no?


Would they send him to oblivion or just back to his cell?


Which would be worse? The dreary cell or having to face the reproachful faces of his four sons as his life faded away?


“Do you need us to clarify our terms?”


Gawain straightened up in the chair and asked, “Can I have another orange juice?”


____________________________________________________________________


To read more of the story click here!


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred And One Through One Thousand Five Hundred And Fifty

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and One


She spent her entire work week making plans for the weekend, then when Saturday came she slept until 2 PM.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Two


He never imagined he would fall for pirate girl with a missing hand but from the moment they met he was hooked.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Three


The church elders decided phallic-shaped sandwiches were an affront to God. It was full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Four


If anyone ever learned what the crunchy bits in Jim's homemade potato salad were, they would have gone mad.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Five


Seven castaways washed up on that island but the skinny guy kept ruining their attempts to be rescued so the others killed him.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Six


Supervillain Chef Julia Infant threatened to fill the oceans with breakfast pastries until the Earth became a planet of the crêpes.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Seven


Magwier and Lorelei drove off leaving the Bone Eater screaming with frustration. Magwier said "That was a marrow escape."


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Eight


The meeting went on for hours but the atheists of the world still couldn't decide who to thank when it was Friday.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Nine


He led the double life of a lawyer and a pugilist. Ever day he had to decide between boxers or briefs.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Ten


“If you suspect that phone trees are an insidious plot to break the human spirit please press one...”


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Eleven


Dave hated how computers had taken over the lumber-jacking industry, he was always forgetting to log out.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Twelve


The thrill of victory and the high pitched squeal of defeat, these are the sounds of the Mens' Nude Dodgeball League.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Thirteen


She was Abner Deggent's kind of woman all right- no self esteem and incredibly low standards.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Fourteen


Killer unicorns and a pink-colored death ray? The Society of Evil Princesses was at it again.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Fifteen


Ironically enough Amazing Ed got tea-bagged at the local amusement park's ball pit.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Sixteen


There were some that found Commander Infinity's catchphrase “You can count on me!” both confusing and annoying.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Seventeen


Superhero luchador Fuego wanted to take his old tag team partner out to dinner at an expensive restaurant but he was tapped out.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Eighteen


As Captain Hero plummeted into the garbage Dumpster he thought to himself that they just didn't make ledges like they used to.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Nineteen


They told Psychotic Kid that he'd have to be crazy to try and take on the Reddeath. He simply replied, “Well duh.”


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Twenty


The corporation went broke so fast that the CEO was left with only twenty cents to his name. Talk about new paradigms.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Twenty One


Thalia cornered the evil wizard in a deli only have him create a monster of selected meats. This was the wurst case scenario.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Twenty Two


While it was an original idea the world just wasn't ready for DELIVERANCE cosplay.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Twenty Three


Even the Great Old Ones moved with the times that was why in his house at R'yleh dead Cthulhu waits twittering.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Twenty Five


The K-Y Jelly made just for STAR WARS fans is more expensive but you will pay for you lack of friction.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Twenty Four


"She's beautiful and she has an extensive thesaurus collection," he said, "and I wanna live with a Synonym Girl."


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Twenty Six


He was a starship officer from and ice planet, he never gained high rank but soon everyone knew the story of Frosty the Yeoman.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Twenty Seven


The protesters felt building the William Shatner Museum so close to a movie theater was insensitive to the victims of STAR TREK V.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Twenty Eight


Then the Maven realized that instead of her own utility belt she was wearing Amazing Ed's Big Bandolier Of Cheese.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Twenty Nine


There had been great hopes for the world's first nation of Drag Queens but it soon turned into a rouge state.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Thirty


The only way to make a starship move faster than the speed of light was to fill it with perverts. The more warped the better.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Thirty One


The aliens tried to conquer the Earth with an army of Nazis. It was Plan Nein From Outer Space.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Thirty Two


The super hero Dismembro could literally pull his body apart piece by piece- it always gave him a leg up on the villains.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Thirty Three


It was bad enough he had shut his hand in the door to his time machine but now he had 800 year old fingers to deal with.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Thirty Four


The course promised to improve her memory with 5 easy lessons but she kept forgetting to show up.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Thirty Five


It turned out the thing Dave was really allergic to was allergy medicine.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Thirty Six


He wanted a lover with a slow hand, which was why getting felt up by zombies was such a thrill.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Thirty Seven


Like most guys he lost his virginity in college but since he went to a clown college it was a really weird experience.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Thirty Eight


Only the most die hard music historians remember the album 'Disco Lullabies' by Donna Slumber.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Thirty Nine


He wanted to be a gigolo but wasn't sure if he could satisfy an older woman, so that first time was something of a dry run.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Forty


Of all the members of Abner Deggent's rogues gallery the ex Nazi Wilhelm Screame had the most distinctive battle cry.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Forty One


It turned out the members of the Black Robed Regiment dressed that way to hide their frilly lingerie.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Forty Two


At first she was excited that her milkshake brought all the boys to the yard, then she discovered they were all lactose intolerant.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Forty Three


In his later years Lord Greystoke left the jungle to start a vineyard. That was how he came to be known as Tarzan the Grape Man.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Forty Four


He read the memos from the central office religiously but never took them as gospel because it was one damned thing after another.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Forty Five


It wasn't until her fifth marriage in six years that she realized she was addicted to wedding cakes.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Forty Six


“Old super heroes never die,” Amoeba Man said, “they just keep getting revived in increasingly improbable ways.”


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Forty Seven


“It there's one thing I've learned it's never to trust a funeral parlor with a free buffet.”


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Forty Eight


The nude rapper liked to end his shows by yelling “Piece out!”


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Forty Nine


It was the dream of perverts everywhere, a vibrating Snuggie.


5 Second Fiction One Thousand Five Hundred and Fifty


He found blogging more efficient that submitting to magazines, because now he could be ignored by millions almost instantly.