Saturday, December 4, 2010

Roadside Velvet part seventeen

Price Breaks and Heartaches

A journal of retail and failed romance

Chapter Four

Roadside Velvet

part seventeen




After what I had done I expected to wake up the next morning to find myself stranded in the ass-end of nowhere but instead I got the silent treatment all the way back to Albany. I wanted to apologize to Athena a few hundred more times but I couldn’t get near her to do so. Paul followed me like I was a known shoplifter in a diamond market.


Once we got back to Albany, Paul had me follow him in my car out to a newly abandoned gas station and we worked in silence making what little preparations we could at that hour of the evening. By the time we were finished the stars had come out and the streetlights had come on, Paul told me to sit down with him on the rear bumper of the U-Haul truck.



*



“Well,” he ran his fingers along the irregular surface of his toupee. “I must say Al that I’m pretty surprised at you.”


The ragged rusted metal of the bumper prickled against my legs, I sighed heavily, “I’m surprised at myself, and disappointed.”


“What the Hell did you think you were doing?”


“I thought I was acting the way a guy was supposed to act.”


He shook his cigarette at me, ashes flittered everywhere, “Where did you get that crap? If you want a girl to like you you’re supposed to just be yourself.”


I rolled my eyes, “That might mean more if it wasn’t coming from a man with seven different social security numbers.”


“That’s not the point! Who on Earth taught you to behave like that?”


“Every guy I talk to, the lady that ran the dress shop, my grandmother…”


“This is not the time for joking around.”


“I’m not! Everyone tells me I can’t get a girl to like me by being sweet to her so now I’m in trouble for not acting sweet to a girl I liked.”


“You didn’t realize she liked you already?”


“Yeah as a friend.”


“And what’s so bad about that? You don’t think Debbie and I were friends before we got married? We knew each other for years.”


“That’s not… this isn’t…” I stood up, that sick feeling I had been cradling in my stomach all day suddenly became sharp.


What have I done?


“You’re in too much of a hurry, you’re trying to hard.” Paul took a last drag on his cigarette and flicked it into the darkness.


“What the Hell else am I supposed to do? Not try? Sit on my ass and wait for the love of my life to come along? Sorry tried that one, failed miserably. Besides I’m 19 years old, these are supposed to be my prime carousing years. Tell me something- were you all polite and patient when you were my age?”


“Shit no!”


“I didn’t think so. In fact Debbie told me that at parties you would just walk up to girls and say ‘Let’s do it’ until one of them said yes.”


He smiled and blushed a little, “Yeah that’s true.”


“So why is that OK for you and my brother and my Dad? What am I doing wrong?”


“That kind of stuff doesn’t work for nerds,” he said, “I mean you did know that you’re kind of a nerd right?”


“Well, that explains all the comic books doesn’t it?”


“You’re not a bad guy Al just confused,” he paused for emphasis, “really confused. Now you know you can’t work for me anymore right?”


“I kind of saw that coming yeah,” he handed me my last wad of twenties. I pocketed it.


“I need to know one other thing,” Paul asked. “and I want you to be straight with me, it’s not like I’ll be running to the cops or anything.”


“Cops? What do you mean cops?”


“Were you stealing money from me?”


That made me feel even worse. Had I fallen so far in his eyes?


“Did you?” he asked again.


“No,” I said. “I may be a loser but I’m not a thief. I don’t know why you should believe me now though. If you want I know a good lie detector place…”


Paul patted me on the shoulder, “No, I figured as much.”


A car pulled into the empty gas station, I couldn’t see who it was but I figured it had to be Debbie. After all Paul had driven the truck here and I had a feeling that after this was over he sure as Hell wouldn’t want me driving him back home in my car.


“That’s my ride,” he turned to go.


There was one last thing I had to say, “Look Paul, I don’t… I didn’t… could you just tell her I really am sorry? Please?”


Whoever was behind the wheel of the car beeped the horn twice. Paul raised a hand but kept looking at me, “Why?”


“Because you and I both know I’m never gonna see her again and I would like to leave her with something more than the memory of me being a jackass.”


The bright glare of the headlights cast Paul in silhouette, the light made it look like he had melted Astroturf perched atop his head, “So you’d rather she think of you as a sorry jackass?”


“That’s all I’ve got. Can you give me your word?”


“Sure Al sure, but now I’ve got to turn my back on you.”


“I understand.”


He shook his head, “No you don’t. Athena is my step-niece, the Casey’s are her half-brothers.”


“What?”


“She’s the baby of the family and they want to talk to you. Really talk to you”


“Oh. Oh crap,” I looked to my Monte Carlo and tried to gauge my chances. “Could I trade you my last week’s pay for a head start?”


“Sorry Al,” Paul turned to go and three shapes got out of the car.







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Friday, December 3, 2010

Naked Capitalism. Clothed Writer.

Hello readers!

You folks may notice that I am trying some of those Google ad things over on the sidebar and in the feed.

If you find them annoying or a turnoff let me know and I will reconsider having them here.

Your opinion is valued.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

CORPSE WARS: Attack Of The Crones episode five

Corpse Wars by Jorge Prieto



CORPSE WARS

Attack of the Crones

episode five

by

Al Bruno III


Mark Bradford crept into the cramped little army surplus tent that his family had called home for almost two months. His parents were dozing fitfully and Mark knew they must be exhausted after all that prayer and malnutrition.


There was a duffel bag in his corner of the tent. Soon it would be all he would have to remind him of his old life. Everything else had been lost to the almost daily ‘cleansing bonfires’.


It was hours later but the acrid smell of melted plastic, burnt books and things far worse still hung in his nostrils. His father shifted and Mark froze in place. If one of them awoke what would he say? What could he say? That he had gotten up to use one of the overflowing toilets? That he had been praying for forgiveness?


Or would he just run, hoping that they wouldn’t raise the alarm?


He grabbed his duffel bag and crept back outside.


The patrols had dwindled in the wake of Miss Blackwood’s ascension but that just meant they were more random. Crouching down Mark made his way through the tide of filth and garbage that was overtaking the Watervliet Arsenal.


Zombies or no zombies we’re getting out of here tonight, Mark thought.


Near the thrice barricaded main gates a gibbet was being constructed from whatever supplies could be scavenged from the nearby buildings. The faithful and the terrified alike labored side by side, only stopping when exhaustion overcame them; but there was always someone else ready to take their place.


Nothing like a good gallows building to bring people together. Mark thought.


A pair of soldiers rounded the corner and headed Mark's way. Their uniforms were in disarray and they were unshaven, their rifles however gleamed in the half-light. Mark froze, gripping the duffel bag to his chest. People had been killed for nothing less than acting suspicious during Miss Blackwood’s reign. He tried to act casual, tried to project an aura of “These aren't the droids you want, move along.”


The soldiers stopped just a few feet away from him, their weapons and posture at ease, “Where are you going?”


Mark tried to hold his voice steady and failed miserably, “I – I was looking for a place to piss. The bathrooms are kinda gross now.”


One of the soldiers laughed, “You said it kid.”


The other soldier rapped on the duffel bag, his eyebrows raising at the dull hollow sound. “What have you got there?”


“Muh- my grandma's ashes.” Mark blurted out and then winced.


“You take your grandma's ashes with you when you piss?”


“I'm afraid to leave them, I don't want anything to happen to them.”


The second soldier frowned, “Do you really think there will be any more breaking of commandments after tonight?”


The memories of fire and familiar voices screaming flooded Mark's mind. He felt tears well up and decided to run with them. “I don't know!” He sobbed, “I don't know anything anymore!”


Both soldiers stepped back, “Woah there kid. Didn't mean to get you riled up.”


“Just do what you have to do and get back to your quarters and you won't get in trouble,” The second soldier mustered a smile.


Mark nodded and slunk away, wiping his nose on the back of his sleeve. Snivel and cry and they leave you be. He thought, It's like high school all over again.


The rest of his journey went unnoticed and Mark found his way to the motor pool. The others were there already. He found Alec chatting with Harry and Pete while Tony and Ken packed supplies into the Hummer H1 they were going to use to make their escape.


“You should put the sleeping bags beside the M.R.E’s not on top of them. Whatever are you thinking?” Tony said, “This isn’t some kind of a camping excursion you realize.”


Ken shook his fist, “It’s my life.” He said, “Don’t you forget.”


Tony was still grousing, “I have a back injury received during a student protest so physical exertion is not really an option for me. But I think you all undervalue my organizational skills.”


“It’s a big enough umbrella but it’s always me that ends up getting wet.”


“Hey Ken!” Harry looked up from the maps he, Pete and Alec were studying, “Don’t let that hippie get to you.”


Tony bristled, “For your information I am not unaware of the irony that while I once protested the culture of American Military Fascism I now find myself living under its protection.”


“You were always living under its protection.” Harry replied.


Pete grunted and tried to turn Harry’s attention back to the maps. Like Harry, Pete was planning to desert his post and leave the fortified security of the Watervliet Arsenal behind.


Better the zombies than Miss Blackwood’s faithful flock.


“Ok,” Harry cast a glance at Mark’s duffel bag, “what is that?”


Mark shrugged, “Clothes?”


Harry rapped on the canvas bag, “Clothes? Clothes don’t sound like this.”


“It’s my stormtrooper costume.”


“Sheesh” Pete shook his head.


“Well, we might need it.”


Tony waved his arms, “Oh yes, you never know when a sci-fi convention might break out in the middle of this Hell. You’re insane!”


Ken muttered under his breath, “On the ice-build iron sanity is a place most never see.”


Harry shook his head, “Sorry kid. Your toys stay here.”


“But…” Mark sputtered, “But…”


“Did you ever find the codpiece?” Alec asked.


“No... but it’s almost a complete costume.”


“Ugh.” Pete buried his face in his hands.


They worked in silence for a time. Suddenly Alec stopped, “What was that?”


“What was what?” Harry didn’t even look up from giving the Hummer’s engine a final once over.


Alec looked around, “I heard something.”


Tony began to wave his arms in panic, “I knew it! We’re doomed!”...



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5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety Eight

For Christmas he gave containers of sauce made from egg yolk, butter and lemon juice, then wished everyone Happy Hollandaise.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety Five

The first restaurant in virtual reality had a lot of problems with its servers.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety Seven

The barbarian general Logar rode ahead of his army into battle, because of his leaky bowels they insisted.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety Six

Ghoulia, Queen of the vampires knew her subjects had expected her to resist the lesbian werewolves but admitted she was licked.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety Five

Not only did the Society of Evil Princess capture and unmask Amoeba-Man, they also gave him a complete makeover.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety Four

Reverend Smith gained more parishioners once he stopped faith healing their illnesses and healed their broken computers instead.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety Three

The tech support line changed its focus from “Customer Service” to “Tricking the Customers Into Burning Their House Down”

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety Two

When being arrested by cannibal policemen it is a good idea to wave your right to remain Soylent.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety One

As the battle with Col. Screame spilled over from the drawing room to the aviary Abner Deggent flipped him the bird.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety

First the The monster was too small to be scary-looking. Then it grew some.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty Nine

“In a world where politicians are news pundits and star in reality shows the reign of President Snooki is almost inevitable.”

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty Eight

Some other naval men might have gotten bitter about the ship not stopping but Sailor Dan knew better than to look back in anchor.

Craig Ferguson explains DOCTOR WHO!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty Seven

There was considerable scandal and outrage after Buck Rodgers' darkest secrets were revealed to the public by Twiki leaks.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty Six

If Abner Deggent had paid more attention to the tribal elders he could have avoided The Ordeal of the Cuttlefish Jockstrap.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty Five

There was something about that amputee she found completely disarming.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty Four

Abner Deggent kicked in the door, his guns blazing. By the time he realized it was the wrong room the Miler bat mitzvah was ruined.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty Three

The war of the time travelers was over before it even got started

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty Two

Abner Deggent made it past the trained lions only to knock himself out by walking into the low hanging doorway of the golden tomb.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty One

Captain Hero didn't like teaming up with Miniature-Man, he kept getting underfoot and he frequently got short with him.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty

Observers began to describe Karl as a loose cannon but that's what happens when you wear boxers instead of briefs.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy Nine

In the city of Lehman Heights is a superhero who calls himself 'The Acrobatic Flea' because all the other insects are trademarked.

5 Second Fiction One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy Eight

Supervillan chef Julia Infant wanted henchmen to manage her apple pastry factory of doom but there was simply too much turnover.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The HEROPRESS blog fills my heart with nostalgia and my neither regions with a strange tingling

 

I have started visiting the HEROPRESS blog for information on all things VILLAINS AND VIGILANTES and DOCTOR WHO. And they also have Geek Pin Ups of notable hotties like Lynda Carter!

 

 

Stop by and say 'Hi' to the blogmaster and potential member of 'The Local Heroes'  THE ACROBATIC FLEA

 

(Recommended Reads) 'Sugar' by Dan Powell

She gave her love away like jelly tots to sticky fingered boys with sugar smiles. Her parents had told her it was good to share though they hadn't meant like that. I watched as other boys grabbed a handful to fill their appetite and were gone as soon as they swallowed. Stood outside the youth club, her nail chewed fingers squeezed the once-more empty plastic wrapper of her heart...

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In The Shadow Of His Nemesis chapter ninety two

In The Shadow Of His Nemesis


Chapter Ninety Two


By AL BRUNO III




Saturday, December 4th 1996





Two drones lifted Galen up, making him stand and keeping him in place. Mr. Sauno was glaring at him. Galen wouldn’t make eye contact, instead he stared at the lapels of the man’s jacket; it was immaculate save for the spots where his burnt orange teardrops had landed and dried to the consistency of jelly. Galen had never suspected a creature like him was capable of crying. Some hidden part of himself had wanted to cheer at the sight.


“There’s still time,” Mr. Sauno stood with his hands clasped behind his back, “we can still come to an agreement.”


Even as he spoke Galen could feel the Drones’ grips tightening on his arms, “An agreement? You mean like before?”


The ruins of Laurel House were burning now, sending up a column of smoke the color of dust; it rose up until it reached the heavy clouds and then quickly dissipated. The soil that surrounded the burning wreckage was buckling inwards like the beginnings of a sinkhole. The remaining drones and donnrup were a safe distance away, silently awaiting further orders.


Mr. Sauno shrugged, “The value of the Torweigs has changed since your people chose genocide over security but you still have a chance to take advantage of the Monarchs’ generosity.”


“Then let me go,” Galen hated this but he couldn’t imagine himself doing anything else. He just wanted to live, “A show of good faith. Once I’m safe I’ll give you some locations. Then after some time has passed I’ll give you more.”


Mr. Sauno raised his eyebrow, “Even now you’re trying to set terms.”


Galen glanced up at him trying to sound confident, “Why not?”


Mr. Sauno leaned in close, “This is the end game. I’m trying to be kind.”


“Why?”


“Because Helen would have wanted it that way,” his face became a mask of sorrow and rage. It made his perfect features monstrous, “She just wanted everyone to be happy.”


“Take my offer then,” Galen said.


The thwup-thwup-thwup of an approaching helicopter reached their ears. The donnrup looked around expectantly, the drones remained statue-still. “You hear that?” Mr. Sauno pointed towards the sky “That’s our ride. We’re taking you to a Pit and once we’re there you will suffer. We have such tortures in mind.”


Miss. McGlade was watching over Jason Magwier’s crumpled form, she looked up and commented, “Ordeals bordering on the avant-garde.”


“Yes,” Mr. Sauno smiled a little at that, “well said Cheryl.”


The sound of helicopters was growing closer.






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Monday, November 29, 2010

(Insane News) X-Ray Nation | TSA Glass Box Mother Over Stored Breast Milk

This crap is getting INSANE...


X-Ray Nation | TSA Glass Box Mother Over Stored Breast Milk


I am the brunette in black getting my items ready for screening (you will see me about 45 seconds into the video). I travel every week and bring home breast milk with me through Phoenix Sky Harbor.

TSA rules allow for alternate screening (no x-ray) for breast milk and I almost never had a problem…until the week before this screening. I was held for 30 minutes that week while the TSA manager called to find out the rules. I was told to “pump and dump,” and asked why the milk wasn’t clear, also asked where my baby was and if it was really milk (uh traveling, working mom pumping doesn’t usually have the baby with her).

After begging him to figure it out, they finally let me through. I called and complained to TSA and was instructed to travel with the TSA breast milk rules printed out and present them whenever there is a problem.

As my items come through security this time, I notice immediately that I was dealing with the same people from the week before. The woman tells me right away that my milk might have to go through the x-ray, and then I tell her I printed the rules. I go to grab the rules on top of my bag and she freaks out and pushes my arm away. Another guy comes over and calls for “back up” and they put in me back in the glass cage. Standing 50 ft away are the same manager and supervisor I had dealt with the previous week...