Saturday, October 23, 2010

Roadside Velvet part eleven

Price Breaks and Heartaches

A journal of retail and failed romance

Chapter Four

Roadside Velvet

part eleven




When we last left our hero- by which I mean me- he was in a U-Haul truck being driven by his increasingly frantic co-worker Max.


Max had been so stunned to learn of my continued virginity that he briefly lost control of the vehicle.


We rejoin the story as the truck rejoins the road....


*


Max said, “But you’re nineteen!”


“Yeah that’s true,” I replied.


“Jesus man, I was getting to third base with the babysitter when I was eleven,” Max banged on the dashboard for emphasis.


“No.”


“Yes.”


“No?”


“Yes!” He insisted, “How can you not be getting some? Aren’t there any girls where you live?”


“Yeah there are plenty.”


“Then why don’t you nail one of them?”


“Because they know me?”


“Come on! Come on!” For a moment I wasn’t sure if he was yelling at me or at the car full of terrified old ladies trying desperately to get out of our way, “You mean to tell me there aren’t any girls with bad reputations or lonely housewives where you live?”


“I… I… I don’t know what to say to that.”


“Back when I was like fourteen there was this girl with some kind of learning problem, her brain was like in sixth grade but her boobs were like right out to here-”


“FOR GOD’S SAKE KEEP YOUR HANDS ON THE WHEEL!!”


Max did so but he gave me a twitchy smile, “Al, its got power steering calm down.”


“Oh, but still keep those hands at three and nine o’clock.”


“Sure,” he said. “Now what were we talking about?”


“How you came to accept Christ as your personal savior?” I suggested.


“What are you talking about?” his laugh was a cackle. “Oh yeah I was talking about this girl. I mean she wasn’t quite retarded but she sure as Hell wasn’t going to get on Jeopardy, you know what I mean?”


“I’ll take uncomfortable conversations for a hundred dollars Alex?”


“Funny. Athena’s right you are a funny guy,” he said. “A little creepy but funny… So this girl always wanted the attention of the older boys like me, we all felt her up at least once but I decided to take pity on her and give her a poke.”


“A poke…” I wondered if I was going to have to register as a sex offender just for hearing this story.


“Yeah so I gave her a poke but when I bragged about it to my friends they all started making fun of me because she had these yellow teeth. We used to call her ‘Ginger Vitis’. Funny hah?”


“Hah… ha.” I glanced to the roadside watching it speed by and wondered if the story could get worse.


“Long story short there was a huge scandal and her family had to leave town,” he shook his head ruefully. “Good times, good times.”


It took me a few moments to clear my head of the discordant images he had raised before I could speak again, “I want to thank you for sharing that with me but I really am looking for something more than just getting off. I want love, real love.”


“Oh man,” he said. “You’re not gonna get any hatchet cuts with an attitude like that. You gotta treat a whore like a princess and a princess like a whore. Don’t they teach you kids anything in high school?”


“Ok I know I’m going to regret this but I have to ask, what do you mean by hatchet cut?”


He laughed, “Where did you grow up? In a monastery? You know the hatchet cut...”


“No I don’t know.”


“Well when a baby is born the doctor looks checks to see if it has a pecker and if it does he goes ‘Yay it’s a boy!’. But if the doctor sees that the baby doesn’t have a pecker they doctor says ‘Hand me my hatchet!’ and he goes chop to…”


I put my hands to my ears, “Ok, ok I’ve heard enough!”


“Ok buddy. Didn’t mean to freak you out there.”


“It’s all right,” I offered him a conciliatory smile. “I guess we just have different ideas about things.”


“Yeah sure,” Max said as he simultaneously increased our speed and looked in my direction. “One thing you better know Al, if you don’t dip that wick of yours by the time you’re 21 it’s just gonna fall off.”



*



I learned a lot of things during my trip down misogyny highway but the only thing I really kept in mind was that I might need to have a cooler full of ice nearby on my 21st birthday.


Once Max and I reached the unmarked warehouse that was our destination we packed a bunch of cardboard boxes full of art into the U-Haul. With that done I caught my breath while Max argued with the guy who ran the place about invoices and money. Once the argument was over I had to unpack about twenty of those boxes.


Max was quiet and sullen for the ride back and I was profoundly grateful for it because just like you dear reader I’m not sure if I could take much more of his stories. In fact I had to take a long shower just after writing them down.


We dropped the U-Haul off right back where we had started in the DeSanti driveway. Paul sent me in the house to help his wife clean up the dead birds her cats had lovingly dragged into the parlor.


About two dead birds later I started hearing shouts and then the sound of Max speeding away on his motorcycle. A few moments later Paul called me outside, he didn’t sound happy.



*



“What the Hell are you doing to me Al?” Paul’s eyes were bulging and sweaty rivulets of glue were oozing down from his hairpiece.


“I did what you asked.”


“No you did not. I told you to make sure he was awake but not too awake.”


None of this made any sense to me, “I talked to him for the whole ride there and even though he was mad about something the whole way back I made sure he wasn’t dozing off.”


“He spent a hundred bucks of the money I gave him on coke!”


“What are you talking about? We were drinking Dr. Pepper the whole… Ohhhhh…”


“Yeah.” Paul said. “How did you miss that? Did you have a few toots too?”


“Look I can’t trust myself around Nutty Buddy bars so why the Hell would I try drugs? Besides why didn’t you say something?”


“I tapped the side of my nose!”


“How does that tell me anything? For all I know you had an itch or were asking me to throw a curve ball!” Now I was the one shouting, “You did notice I’m a nerd right? I know more about the non-canonical Klingon-Tholian wars than I do about cocaine!”







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Friday, October 22, 2010

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred and Fourteen

All he was saying was that a spit take from Jim Carey was a radically different thing than a spit take from Sasha Grey.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

THE LOCAL HEROES: Escape From Pickman's Grove


Escape From Pickman’s Grove
by
Al Bruno III

Most of the streetlights on Pickman’s Grove were broken. Rosie Mcdaniels walked as quickly as she could but the sounds were growing closer
All her friends had warned her to stay away from this neighborhood of River City. “It’s just not safe for a woman your age,” they said, “there are such terrible stories.”

The stories were terrible, that much was true; the disappearances and the reports of strange sounds and shadows that stalked the unwary at night. But Rosie went just the same the lure of antiques was too much for her to resist.

She could make out the sounds now, a chorus of snorts and meeps that were growing closer by the second.
And there was a smell- a terrible smell. She risked a look back and saw six shapes loping after her. Their clothes were filthy and torn, their flesh was pale and rubbery.
Other, similar shapes were starting to creep out of every alley and doorway. They began to surround her.
Then she started to run but she knew there was no hope. How fast could a woman in her sixties run?
Not fast enough. Tears began to well up in her eyes, she thought of her friends and her grandchildren.
A taxicab squealed to a halt in front of her. The back door sprung open. “Get in!” a deep voice shouted, “Hurry!”
Rosie hurried.
Once she was safely inside the cab door shut all on its own. Rosie looked back and saw there were dozens of the things but they were staying back, snarling and meeping with frustration.
“What’s your name?”
Startled she looked back to the front of the cab and saw the driver was wearing a blue cowl and a friendly grin. She made a stammering noise.
“That’s ok,” he said reassuringly, “you’ll feel better once we’re out of here.”
One of the pallid creatures threw a brick, it bounced off the glass of the rear windshield.
“And speaking of getting out of here...”
The taxi sped away with a squeal of its tires.
A super hero driving a taxi? Rosie thought with disbelief. She knew about super heroes; the city she lived in was teeming with them but those heroes flew, ran or swung from skyscraper to skyscraper. She had never heard of one driving a taxi.
It was ridiculous.
“Who are you?” she asked.
The driver chuckled good-naturedly, “Now I asked you first.”
“Rosie,” she answered, “Rosie Mcdaniels.”
“Well pleased to meet you Rosie Mcdaniels.” he glanced at her in the rearview mirror, “ I’m Captain Hero. Maybe you’ve heard of me?”
“No. Never.”
“Oh,” the taxi paused at a red light, “now where are you headed?”
“Home,” she said.
“And home is?”
Rosie told him the address and he nodded, “Ah Megalopolis City. I’ll have you there in a jiffy.”
Four headlights began to bear down on them. Captain Hero looked in his side-view mirror, his voice was calm curiosity “Now what is this?”
The light still hadn’t changed. Rosie looked back again and screamed, “It’s them! They’re coming!”
“Trucks?” the masked man turned in his seat, “Since when do they drive?”
The taxi sped through the intersection, the two pickup trucks in hot pursuit. A handful of the monsters had crowded into the rear cab of each. They threw bricks and stones as their vehicles drew closer.
The taxi took a hard left. “What are they?” Rosie asked as she held on for dear life.
“Sewer ghouls,” Captain Hero said, “bit of a local problem.”
Rosie was struggling to get her seatbelt on, she breathed a sigh of relief when it clicked into place. The trucks were getting closer, one mounted the sidewalk crashing through some long abandoned boxes.
“So,” he asked, “what were you doing in Pickman’s Grove anyway?”
The question stunned her, “Antiquing.”
“I see,” he nodded, “you can find some great little shops there, great bargains too. Tell me, what were you doing there at this hour?”
“I was at the bus stop,” she explained, “I fell asleep.”
“Oh you poor dear.” One of the trucks was close enough to bump the taxi. Captain Hero pressed a button on the dashboard and a stream of liquid squirted out of the back bumper. The trucks fishtailed and crashed. The masked man shook his head again, “Trucks! I really have to amend my crime files.”
Rosie asked, “What did you do?”
“Oil slick,” he replied, “but don’t worry. I use canola oil- better for the environment.”
The second truck came roaring up beside them, the sewer ghouls in the back started bashing the car with their homemade weapons. Rosie squealed with terror.
Captain Hero said, “Don’t worry. I had this taxi specially augmented by my good pal Rusty Johnson, it has weapons, a nitrous oxide injection system and the sound system will knock your socks off. Let me show you.”
With a flick of a button the song American Pie began to fill the car. Humming to himself Captain Hero jerked the wheel clipping the driver’s side tire of the second truck. One of the sewer ghouls lept out and landed on the hood of the taxi just before the truck spun out and crashed sideways into a lampost.
“I wanted the team to drive these creeps out of the tunnels but they got a lawyer and set up restraining orders,” Captain Hero explained, “something about squatters rights.”
The taxi slowed down to the legally posted speed. The ghoul on the hood clawed at the windshield and spat. With a flick of a button Captain Hero sent windshield washer fluid spraying into its eyes. It howled and tumbled from the hood.
“And that’s that,” the masked man said as he flicked the taxi’s meter on, “now lets get you home. I hope this experience hasn’t put you off visiting our fine city.”
Suddenly she realized, “I lost my purse!”
Captain Hero turned the taxi’s meter back off, “Don’t worry Rosie, this one’s on me.”

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred and Thirteen

It was his job to care for any women of ill repute that suffered broken limbs, it was all part of the Emergency Broad Cast System.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred and Twelve

“If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with. But for God's sake ask permission first.”

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eleven

The candidate compared herself to a grizzly bear, which was ironic considering how often she mauled the English language.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ten

She could write anywhere but she found that when she needed to be sitting on the toilet if she wanted her work to be really pithy.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred and Nine

The Maven hadn't meant to kill that villain but now she had to deal with the legal consequences and the fan mail from Frank Miller.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eight

It was the only full service car wash that allowed you to talk to the dead, the secret was their Squeegee Boards.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seven

Some thought it was a brilliant idea to make an erotic film based on the works of Ayn Rand but no one went to see ATLAS TUGGED.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred and Six

“I'm not too insecure to shower with the other men,” Deggent explained, “its that the sight of my body might make them insecure.”

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred and Five

“I'm no expert in demolitions,” Abner Deggent said, “but I've never heard any of the people I've blown up complain about it.”

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred and Four

Services at the Church Of Twitter are brief; the preacher posts 'OMG' and the congregation retweets it.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred and Three

Abner Deggent wore his scars with pride, except for the ping pong ball shaped one from an accident at a strip club in Singapore.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred and Two

Arachnid-Kid's powers only allowed people to communicate telepathicly with one spider at a time, then he got crawl waiting.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred and One

Everyone admired Frogman's youthful ward, the little guy really toad the line.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred

“Calls to Ocean World Aquarium may be recorded for training porpoises.”

PTA: Pay the Al!


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5 Second Fiction One Thousand Six Hundred and Ninety Nine

He had a penis and he had a blog. The blog generated more return visits.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Six Hundred and Ninety Eight

Captain Hero and Amazing Ed were captured by the villain known as King Carpenter. Amazing Ed commented, “We are royally screwed.”

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Six Hundred and Ninety Seven

He called the baseball bat his 'Debate Club' because if you tried to debate him he grabbed it and did some expounding on your ass. 

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Six Hundred and Ninety Six

The Lord works in mysterious ways, his followers inevitably go right for the rough stuff.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Six Hundred and Ninety Five

The super hero known as the Black Squirrel returned from battleworld with a snazzy alien costume and a mouthful of strange nuts.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Six Hundred and Ninety Four

The difference between Stephanie Meyers fans and Tea Partiers is that TWILIGHT fans have actually read the documents they venerate.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Six Hundred and Ninety Three

Rex paid for his tuition by selling his sperm, he wasn't the first student to exhaust himself with day long cramming sessions.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Six Hundred and Ninety Two

The Furry Separatists were led by General Cuddlesworth; he was a dangerous man and not to be yiffed with.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Six Hundred and Ninety One

The ninja crept into the crowded dining hall to masturbate, no one heard him coming.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Six Hundred and Ninety

It took years of experimentation but he finally managed to combine sandwich with a six string- now he was everyone's guitar hero.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Six Hundred and Eighty Nine

She mocked religious people for rejecting science but refused to get her kids immunized because of something a supermodel said.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Six Hundred and Eighty Eight

“You idiot!” Dave stared at the gown with 'Rick' embroidered on the front, “I said I wanted your name and ADDRESS!”

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Six Hundred and Eighty Seven

Many were confused when Quentin Tarantino opened a gourmet coffee shop but for him it was just another trip to the grindhouse.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Six Hundred and Eighty Six

Once again Greg critically injured himself by injecting hot water into his rectum. He had always been his own worst enema.

In The Shadow Of His Nemesis chapter eight six

In The Shadow Of His Nemesis


Chapter Eighty Six


By AL BRUNO III




Saturday, December 4th 1996





They made him kneel.


They made Jason Magwier kneel in the blood spattered snow even though his right knee was broken. When the pain made him grow faint a drone held him in place so Mr. Sauno could burn Runes of Enfeeblement into the man’s forehead. Galen Delaworg was face down on the ground, his arms and legs had been chained behind his back with manacles made from reenforced silver alloy.


“Why are we doing this?” Ms. McGlade asked, “Wouldn’t an injection be easier?”


“Not with a Vlodek,” Piers Sauno explained as he returned the laser brand to his jacket pocket. He gave Magwier’s wounded leg a nudge, “And as for this one... well I’m not taking any chances.”


Magwier cleared his throat with a weak laugh, “Little do they know we’ve got them right where we want them. Right Galen?”


Galen didn’t say anything, he’d been silent since his capture.


Mr. Sauno shook his head, “Even now he jokes. Amazing. Infuriating.”


The drones were methodically searching through the wreckage of Laurel House searching for any items that might be of use to the Monarchs. The surviving donnrup were clustered in a little circle, trying to stay warm.


“What will we do with the other three? Zeth, Hao and Isobel?” Ms. McGlade asked, “I so want to speak to Isobel one last time.”


“I’m sure you do.”


“I don’t know if I should be grateful or angry.”


“Why not be both?” Mr. Sauno chuckled, “But ultimately Helen will have to decide how best to deal with her. Doubtless she is...”


The handsome man in the perfect suit paused, one hand reached for his temple. His expression became crazed. “Helen...”


Cheryl McGlade imitated his posture, “How can this be?”


“Oh dear,” Jason Magwier said, “has something gone wrong?”


“You,” Mr. Sauno pointed at him, “what have you done?”


“Anticipated the future,” Magwier grinned and then shrugged, “...well mostly.”


Five of the drones stopped working and marched towards the prisoners.


Ms. McGlade’s voice trembled, “So much pain. So suddenly.”


“What did you expect?” Magwier said, “You wanted life. Life is pain little Monarch. Even for you.”


“You want to talk about pain?” Mr. Sauno’s expression was monstrous. He was crying and his tears were burnt orange, the color of his blood.


The five drones surrounded Jason Magwier. Acting on an unspoken signal they began to rain blows down upon him.




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TWITCH brings us the cautionary short film 'Just Take One'