Extended CLICK5… CLICKB8: HBD Cade Fon Apollyon – I Miss U…

Story Time: Pale Glider

*And they say the Left can’t meme, Clicky… /smirks…*

*You’re right, they do look a bit like the A Team…*

Welcome, Dear Reader 😀

I know it’s a day early, but I thought I’d present you with my Halloween story from Underdog Anthology XVIII: The Hole in the Veil

… It’s Sunday and the clocks went back overnight…

… So I have an extra hour to play with. Pale Glider is the 6th installment of my ‘Ronageddon’ series of stories. If you are at all unfamiliar with any of the previous five…

*LOL…*

… Well, maybe you have an extra hour to spare, too, Dear Reader 😉

What Time Do You Finish?
Christmas Death Wish
Walk I, With You
OK Charon!
In The Grotto

*Yeah, presented like one of Cade’s missive ‘wiki wavy walls’, Clicky… /smiles sadly… The story is dedicated to him…*

So, without further ado, here is Pale Glider for your entertainment…

*******

Pale Glider

by Roo B. Doo

Molly Darling had a secret friend. It wasn’t so much that her friend was ‘a secret’ but that nobody else could see him. She had caught glimpses of him on and off for years, mostly in her peripheral vision or at a distance, but more recently up close. Molly knew he was ‘a friend’ because when he did appear, he would give a wave and sign greetings to her. In her experience only friends took the time to learn to sign; Molly was deaf not dumb.

She strapped her boots tight and stood up to check her appearance in the full-length mirror in her mum’s bedroom. Pulling down on the fabric of the long, black robe she wore, Molly turned from side to side, paying particular attention to her feet. The bedroom carpet was too thick for a proper rolling test but she was satisfied that the fluorescent pink wheels of her roller skates were not visible below the hem of the robe.

Molly lifted the robe’s hood over her head until her face was hidden, and grabbed the plastic scythe that came as part of the costume from the fancy dress shop.

Perfect, she thought, taking one last look in the mirror. I look just like him.

Molly was sure she would win the prize for best Halloween costume at school that day.

***

God was not happy.

I’m not happy, Big D.

Death was neither happy nor unhappy. It didn’t even concern him that God constantly referred to him as ‘Big D’ when he was barely three-foot-three. “Ma’am?”

God strode around her island office, situated high above the swell of increasingly turbulent souls that filled the God Lobby below. Death smoothly glided alongside her as she paced.

Earlier today the Great Birthing Stork Marge Gerana reported to me that birthrates are down. Worryingly so, and now you’re telling me that death rates are up.

Death could understand why God was agitated; birth and death and somewhere to reside between the two states was God’s one true gift to humanity; what humans decided to do with this gift was left entirely up to them.

“It is a concerning turn of events, Ma’am,” Death agreed.

Both War and Famine are back in circulation, yet Pestilence remains elusive.

God was referring to the curious incident that occurred two years previous, when Satan had trapped a lycanthropic War, vampiric Famine and zombified Pestilence in the back of a London taxi. Halloween 2020 had a full Moon and as the clouds parted that evening, War had laid waste to Famine and Pestilence with bestial ferocity, before eventually succumbing to Pestilence’s toxicity. The only reason Satan had brought Death along that night was, apparently, for the ride.

Inexplicably War then turned up 6 months later as Wanda Warren, an entrepreneurial powerhouse, running a small but growing fitness enterprise. Wanda, however, had no memory of her previous incarnation as War. Not until she saw Death that is, but even then she had no recollection of the events of that fateful Halloween. Famine had only shown up this past Christmas. He turned out to be a Chinese Elvis-impersonating naked chef called XiXi Fat. Again, any knowledge of his former self was entirely lacking until XiXi laid eyes on Death.

Pesto had not yet revealed himself and Death wondered how that was possible considering just how busy he’d been of late. So busy in fact that it had become necessary to expand the workforce of the Grim Reaper Service to keep up.

“Ma’am,” Death said slowly; he had a suggestion but wasn’t sure how God would take it. “I’ve been thinking about this and I wonder if it would be a good idea if we could somehow observe what Old Scratch did with the bodies that night, after he let me out of the taxi.”

God looked at him blankly.

“I believe the Situation Room can travel both in space and time?”

God had created the Situation Room as a means of observing any given situation. It was a cube that allowed its occupants to look out but was completely invisible to anyone on the outside.

Death cleared his throat with a rattle and continued. “If we were able to observe what Satan did with the bodies of War, Famine and Pestilence, then maybe we can figure out where Pesto is.”

God stopped pacing.

Are you suggesting we spy on him?

Death shrugged. “He did hack our systems first.”

This was true; the whole Halloween scampocalypse of 2020 took place during a breach of the Cosmic Consciousness Neural Network. Although it had never been conclusively proven that Satan was behind it, all indicators and circumstantial evidence pointed in his direction. The question of who was to blame for the CCNN breakdown was more akin to the ‘who blew up the Nordstream undersea pipelines?’ mystery rather than ‘who shot JFK?’.

God drummed her fingers on her chin.

The Situation Room isn’t mobile, Big D. It can take us to any given spot but that’s all. The cube itself doesn’t actually move.

“But I can. I could follow Satan and see where he takes the bodies, and with this,” Death said, pulling his work PsyPad from beneath his robe, “you can follow me.”

God was not convinced.

Surely that won’t work if the CCNN isn’t operational.

Death flipped open the cover on his Psypad and tapped on an icon. “Look here, Bluetooth was installed in the tech upgrade you ordered as a result of the breach. It uses short-wave radio, so is independent of the network. We could sync up.”

So, I can track you?

“Indeed, Ma’am, from your PsyPad. I’m given to understand that there is an app for that.”

God was still doubtful.

And what if he sees you following him, Big D? That would cause no end of problems.

“Ma’am, I assure you, only very few see Death coming.”

God narrowed her eyes.

“And I’ll be careful.”

God sighed and cocked her head to one side. She placed her hand on top of Death’s bowed head.

Big D, when did you become so crafty?

“I cannot recall, Ma’am.” Death lifted his head and returned his PsyPad to the folds of his robe. “Eternity is an extremely long time.”

The morning was coldly dank and foggy, muffling Wanda Warren’s footsteps as she pounded her way around Victory park, on a solo run before the start of her first class. Wanda had a lot on her mind and none of it was good. She hoped a good, hard run would help to exorcise the frustration she was feeling from being caught on the twin horns of a dilemma that she didn’t like one little bit. As the Rona pandemic and the accompanying lockdowns of the past couple of years had started to fade from the public’s memory, so had interest and, more importantly, clientele from her outdoor, park-based fitness business, ‘Fighting Fit’. That was horn one.

The second stemmed from her previous existence as the second Horseman of the Apocalypse, War. The threat of nuclear annihilation had ramped up considerably during the course of the year as a major battle for hegemony was being conducted by global superpowers in eastern Europe, and Wanda had had nothing to do with it. As War, she thought she should have at least some involvement in the instigation of World War 3, but here she was, running laps around a park, worrying about her fledgling business being run into the ground. She wondered if her friend XiXi was feeling the same, although by all accounts, Famine was due to hit the big time in 2023.

Eat ze bugs. Loose the thugs. Kill the smugs. Wanda didn’t know where the sudden mantra came from, but it pounded through her mind, in time with her footfalls and the techno music blasting through her earphones.

She decided to stop at the bench by the duck pond for a breather and to stretch any remaining tension from her muscles. She thought of Jimbo Collins, the first client she’d ever lost. To be fair, Jimbo’s departure wasn’t of his own volition, as he’d died right here on the bench eighteen months earlier of a heart attack.

Or so it was claimed but who really knew the actual cause of Jimbo’s death; in the intervening time a whole swathe of fit, young people, from elite athletes to Sunday morning footballers, from across the world had also suddenly died for no apparent reason. Every medical authority in the world was dumbfounded and completely bemused as to the cause of these sudden deaths, but to Wanda, it sounded exactly like something Pestilence might have cooked up. And maybe he did; Pesto was still at large after all.

Wanda lifted her left leg and stretched it out along the back of the bench. She grabbed her ankle and rested her forehead on her knee. Closing her eyes, she stretched and breathed, which was why she didn’t see the loping figures emerge out of the fog from behind her. In fact Wanda’s first indication that she was no longer alone was when a rough hand grabbed her arse.

“What the..!” she yelled and opened her eyes. There were two of them, wearing dirty tracksuits and even dirtier leers on their faces.

“Hey lady. You need fuck?” the grabby one said and moved closer so that he could rub his groin against Wanda’s backside. “This is good position. It will be good. We fuck you hard and you enjoy.”

“Argh!” Wanda pushed the man away. “Get off me! Get the fuck away from me, the pair of you.”

The second man grinned at his accomplice and pulled a knife from his pocket. He showed Wanda the blade. “Lady, play nice or I will cut you.”

Wanda was momentarily shocked but she wasn’t scared. She was more furious with herself for letting her guard down; she’d worked long enough in Victory park to know the dregs that frequented it. These two were new.

Wanda mentally rolled her eyes. Tourists!

“You want to play a game?” she asked coquettishly. With her right hand, she slowly unzipped her tracksuit top to reveal heaving breasts and a flat stomach, all whilst dragging the earphones from her ears. She batted her eyes as she lifted up her left breast with the back of her right hand as she placed the earphones in the inside pocket. Sweat rolled across the top of her boob and trickled down into her cleavage. Wanda was immensely proud of her ‘boys’ as she often referred to her spectacular tits, and their ability to charm the pants off of most men.

The two attackers looked at each other. They couldn’t believe their luck. Grabby licked his lips. “A game? Yes, we play game.”

Wanda stretched sideways, provocatively, sliding her left hand down her leg to her ankle. “Let me guess.” The material of her tracksuit bottoms stretched tautly across her crotch. “I bet you want to play poke her.”

The man holding the knife was confused. “Poker? No, we want to fuck.”

Grabby chuckled. “No, she means ‘poke her’.” He thrust his hips backwards and forwards sharply to demonstrate. “Poke her.”

“Ah yes, I want to poke her.” Knife man turned to Wanda, “I want to poke you.”

“Oh, good, I’m so glad,” Wanda cooed, “’Cos I see your metal…” She abruptly flourished the knife she kept strapped to her calf under her tracksuit, before dropping her leg to the floor and taking a defensive stance. “And raise you chemical.”

The two men stepped back but it was nowhere quick or far enough away to avoid the stream of hot, burning agony Wanda sprayed directly into their eyes from the canister in her right hand. The would be rapists screamed and fell to their knees, covering their faces with their hands. The knife slipped from the assailant’s hand, which Wanda calmly kicked away into the long grass.

She took a deep breath and zipped up her tracksuit top. “God, I love the smell of pepper spray in the morning.”

***

The cloud cover was starting to thin and part on the night of Halloween in 2020. The area around Cleopatra’s Needle on the bank of the river Thames was deserted. Or at least it appeared to be deserted.

This is no good, Big D. It is far too bright from the street lamps. You won’t be able exit the Situation Room without being seen.

God and Death stood in the Situation Room, parked in front of one the sphinxes that flanked the towering Egyptian obelisk.

Death looked up at the sky above. Bright shafts of light from the full Moon were starting to break through the clouds; War would be starting to transform into a werewolf.

“Ma’am, Satan’s taxi will arrive here in approximately one minute and forty seconds. If I go now, I can hide in the shadows behind the bus stop across the road.” Death opened the door and prepared to glide out into the night.

God held him back.

Shouldn’t we synchronise our PsyPads or something?

“We synchronized them before we left,” Death replied, but the hint of nervous excitement in God’s voice was enough to give him pause. “We don’t have to do this, Ma’am. We can just leave if you prefer. Perhaps that would be best.”

God shook her head.

No. I’ll follow you on my Psypad and meet you at the end, wherever that is.

Death nodded. “It is exciting?”

Always. Now go.

Gently, God shoved Death through the door and closed it behind him. She watched him glide away, across the road and disappear behind the large bus stop poster of a Rona sufferer’s frightened face, with the instruction to ‘look into his eyes’. God tutted and wondered, not for the first time, if maybe she should get more involved with humanity; they were rather making a pig’s ear of it on their own.

After a short while, the rumble of an approaching taxi could be heard. God watched as it pulled to a stop just before the obelisk and sat there, engine ticking over. Through its windscreen she could see Satan behind the steering wheel, a fat cigar dangled between his even fatter lips. He appeared to be laughing at someone sitting next to him. Presumably the Death of 2020.

God checked the PsyPad screen for Big D’s position. He was represented by a red dot on a map and he seemed to be on the move already. She watched the red blip travel away up the street, double back and stop again.

What is Big D up to?

The front passenger door opened and the small figure of Death climbed out. The thumping sound of reggae filled the night, as Bob Marley’s voice rang out.

We’re jammin’. To think that jammin’ was a thing of the past. We’re jammin’, and I hope this jam is gonna last…

The music stopped as Death closed the taxi door. He glided toward Cleopatra’s Needle and disappeared. The taxi pulled away from the kerb and motored past the Situation Room, on to who knows where. God caught sight of Big D gliding along behind, his skeletal hands tightly gripping onto a chrome lip above the number plate at the rear of the taxi.

Now all God had to do was to wait and watch the progress of the red blip. The words of the song coming from the taxi played on her mind; it was a catchy tune.

We’re jammin’. Jammin’ Jammin’ Jamm-

God stopped singing and snatched up the PsyPad. She scanned the map and enlarged it with her fingertips. The red blip was gone!

He’s jamming! Oh no!

Somehow Satan knew of their plans and was jamming the signal. Big D was on his own.

Jocasta Darling felt exhausted as she wheeled the pushchair containing her sleeping son through the fog. She was glad he was finally sleeping peacefully; Paul was teething and had kept her up all night. It was his first birthday and Jocasta hoped he wouldn’t be crotchety all day. So far, so good, she thought wearily.

Her daughter held on to the handle of the pushchair, rolling along beside her. Molly’s school had encouraged its students to dress up for Halloween, for a fee of course, and Molly was dressed up as the grim reaper. On the importance of wearing roller skates with the outfit, Jocasta was still in the dark, but Molly had insisted on wearing them. Something about the way her imaginary friend moved or something, Jocasta wasn’t sure. All she knew was that Molly had been made up to receive the roller skates for her birthday and had hardly taken them off her feet since.

They were on their way to feed to ducks before school. It was a ritual Molly and her had started during the Rona lockdowns. The park was usually deserted at that time of the morning, except for the exercisers, especially in the summer months, but the weather was less than enticing today and Jocasta doubted they’d be out in force. She liked to smoke a cigarette whilst Molly fed the ducks and although a sit down and smoke appealed, it was too chilly this morning to be hanging around in the fog.

We’ll just feed the ducks and go, Jocasta decided, as they entered Victory park. She started to tick off all the things she had to do that day on her mental list: Feed ducks, drop Molly at school, shop for party food, cook party food, collect Molly from school, hold party, clean up, take Molly trick or treating, iron and go to bed. Jocasta had a full day ahead of her, as well as the million and one other things she would have to do that didn’t warrant a place on her mental list. No wonder she felt exhausted.

Can I hold the bread?” Molly signed.

Jocasta stopped and looked down at her daughter. She brush the hood covering Molly’s head back so that could see her face and Molly could see hers; Jocasta was too tired that morning for signing, and Molly was an excellent lipreader.

“It’s very foggy so I want you to stay with me today. Don’t go skating off. Okay?”

Molly nodded. “OK.”

“What about your scythe?” Jocasta pointed to the plastic scythe Molly carried.

“I can carry both,” Molly said aloud.

Jocasta took the bread bag from her shopping bag hooked to the back of the pushchair and passed it to her daughter. “Okay, if you’re sure. Here’s the bread.”

They continued their journey along the empty path, walking and skating until they reached the rise just before the gentle slope down to the duck pond. Suddenly, Molly let go of the pushchair and started to freewheel forward, letting gravity do the work. She quickly disappeared into the fog.

“Molly!” Jocasta shouted before chiding her self – Molly couldn’t hear her. “Oh fuck!” she snapped and chased after her daughter.

Molly’s shrill scream turned Jocasta’s blood to ice. She plunged the pushchair faster through the fog. “Molly!”

Jocasta nearly ran straight into her as she reached the duck pond. Molly was standing stock still, silently pointing. The fog was less thick here so Jocasta could clearly see what Molly was pointing at: two men lay prone on the grass bank of the duck pond, with their heads submerged in the water. Between them knelt the woman who ran the big fitness classes in the park, and she was tightly gripping the back of their necks.

The woman turned her head toward Molly and Jocasta. “It’s okay,” she called. “It’s not what it looks like.”

The fitness lady yanked the men’s heads from the water. They gasped for breath and blinked their eyes. They looked terrified.

She stood up and bounded over to Jocasta and Molly, wiping her wet hands on her thighs. “Hello, I’m Wanda. I’ve seen you three in the park before, haven’t I? I run the Fighting Fit classes.”

Jocasta stood in awe of Wanda. Of course she’d noticed before that Wanda was attractive with a very nice figure, and that she obviously had a lot of energy, but that was from a distance. Jocasta was quite unprepared for how stunningly beautiful Wanda was up close, and how she exuded confidence and an overpowering sense of presence.

“What happened to them?” Jocasta asked feebly. She nodded toward the men, who were rubbing their eyes and frantically splashing water into their faces. “Were you drowning them?”

“No,” Wanda laughed. Her chuckle was deep and throaty. “No, these two fuc-” She looked down at Molly and stopped herself swearing. “These two ruffians attacked me. I was just defending myself.”

Jocasta was both horrified and impressed. “Oh my God, really? What did you do to them?”

Wanda shrugged. “I pepper sprayed them.”

“Isn’t that stuff illegal?”

“Probably.” Wanda shrugged again. “To be fair, one of them pulled a knife on me.”

“No,” Jocasta whispered and pulled Molly closer. “They’re not going to attack us, are they?”

“Doubtful. I have a knife too and they know that.” Wanda called over to the men, “You two know I’ve got a knife, don’t you?”

“Yes, yes,” one of them cried. “Please don’t hurt us more,” the other blubbered.

“And it’s A LOT BIGGER THAN YOURS!” Wanda shouted back. She turned to Jocasta and gave her a dazzling smile. “They’ve learnt their lesson. But that does remind me.”

Wanda bent down and spoke to Molly. “Can I borrow your plastic bag?”

Molly nodded and pulled the bread slices from their plastic wrapping and handed it to Wanda.

“Thanks, I’ll just be a moment.” Wanda disappeared into the fog.

Jocasta didn’t know whether to stay or run away. She felt like they stumbled into a scene from a Dirty Harry movie or an American TV cop show. This was too surreal for a Monday morning, Jocasta thought.

She pulled a packet from her coat pocket and plucked the single cigarette and lighter from inside. “Fuck it,” she said and lit up. She didn’t feel quite so tired anymore.

Wanda quickly returned, swing the plastic bread bag. She held it up as she approached Jocasta and Molly. “Their knife. Can’t leave something like that lying around. You never know who’ll find it.”

“Can I feed the ducks now?” Molly asked.

“Sure,” Wanda said. “One second.”

She stalked in the direction of the two bedraggled men. “RIGHT, you two. Fuck off, right now and DON’T come back. If I ever fucking SEE you nobheads again, I will slice your FUCKING nuts off and roast them. GOT IT?”

The two men scrambled to their feet. “We go, we go. Please, we go.”

Wanda returned to Jocasta and Molly after the men stumbled away crying. “There you go, darling, it’s safe to feed to duckies now,” she told Molly.

Jocasta puffed on her cigarette nervously. “What if they’re hanging around in the fog? I’ve got to get Molly to school.”

“Not if they know what good for them they won’t,” Wanda growled. “I don’t think so, but I’ll escort you through the park, if you like.”

“Yes, thank you.” Jocasta finished her cigarette and stubbed it out with her foot. She bent down and picked up the butt. She saw Wanda looking. “I don’t like to litter.”

The two women stood awkwardly in silence and watched Molly throw chunks of bread to the gathering ducks.

“I’m Jocasta and that’s Molly, my daughter. By the way, please don’t worry about swearing around her – Molly’s deaf.”

“Oh right.”

“Although she can read lips. So out of sight is out of earshot, or so to speak.”

“Actually, I know Death,” Wanda said casually. “He’s a personal friend. He’s not as tall as Molly, but he does kinda glide when he moves. The skates are a nice touch.”

Jocasta didn’t know how to respond; what could she say to that? “Thank you,” she mumbled.

“So…” she felt like she should say something. “Do you also teach self defence classes?” Jocasta asked. “If not, I really think you should.”

Wanda’s face lit up. “Hey, that’s a good idea.” She smiled and nodded her head. “Something for women. Most women struggle to keep up in my fitness classes.”

Jocasta felt oddly pleased at Wanda’s receptiveness to her suggestion. “I’d join. A self defence class, that is. I couldn’t do one of your fitness workouts. They look brutal.”

“Yeah, you wouldn’t last two minutes,” Wanda said. “No offence.”

“Oh, none taken,” Jocasta assured Wanda. “I would like to know how to throw somebody though. I’ve always fancied throwing someone to the ground. You know, like judo.”

“Oh really?” Wanda seemed amused. “Got anyone in mind for the floor treatment?”

“Golly, I don’t know.” Jocasta didn’t expect to be put on the spot. “Um, there’s a multitude to choose from. Any of the smugs, I guess.”

Wanda’s eyebrows furrowed and her nostrils flared. “Why did you say smugs?”

Jocasta was taken aback at Wanda’s sudden sharp look and tone. “You know, condescending do-gooders. The ‘do as I say’ brigade. And if you don’t as they tell you, they’ll hound you until you do, smug in the illusion that they’re ‘doing good’. Smugs.” Jocasta stopped herself; she was starting to rant. “I’m sorry, did I offend you?”

Wanda glanced at her watch. “No, not at all, but that’s the second time I’ve heard the word ‘smugs’ today and it’s only eight-thirty in the morning. It’s not a term I’m familiar with.”

“Coincidence?”

Wanda shook her head. “There are two things you need to know in life. One, there’s no such thing as coincidence.”

Molly returned from feeding the ducks. She grabbed the handle of the push chair. “I’m ready to go now.”

Wanda crouched down to speak to Molly directly. “If you let me carry your big stick, you can hold my hand and then me and your mum can wheel you through the park.” Wanda looked up to Jocasta. “Right, mum?”

Jocasta nodded.

Really fast,” Wanda silently mouthed to Molly, and winked.

Molly suppressed a giggle and passed the scythe to her mum’s new friend. She slipped her hand inside Wanda’s free hand and they walked and rolled into the fog.

“What’s the second thing in life, I need to know,” Jocasta asked breathlessly. Wanda was setting a stiff pace.

“That floor you want to throw the smugs to, that floor is fucking hard. Be careful what you wish for.”

Jocasta decided that on the whole, she couldn’t disagree.

***

Liquid light reflections of traffic lights, street lamps and neon signage flowed along the sides and across the roof of the London black taxi as it sped through the city. It neither stopped nor slowed; every traffic light was green and every road devoid of other vehicles that may have hindered its passage. Even if the streets had not been empty, nobody would have seen the small, black robed figure clinging to the back of the taxi, skitching a ride.

After a while the streets became narrower, less well lit and the roads bumpier and neglected. A large pothole nearly threw Death off, but he managed to maintain his grip. He was very familiar with these streets; he had visited them many times before. Mostly for plague, cholera and TB, but that was in the past. Now it was more stabbings, drug overdoses and suicides requiring his presence, but Death had never toured them before and certainly not like this.

He suddenly had an inkling of where Satan was headed. He hoped it wasn’t where he suspected, but those hopes were soon dashed when the taxi pulled up in front of Death’s least favourite hangout in the city.

“Lapland,” Death sighed. Lapland nightclub had a seedy reputation for loose liquor and even looser elves. It was also Father Christmas’s main residence save for one day a year.

Satan opened the driver’s door and got out of the taxi. He adjusted the seat of his trousers and walked up to the door of the nightclub. He knocked three times.

Death took the opportunity to move to a covered position and glided silently into a darkened shop doorway across the street. He stood in the shadow and watched as the door to Lapland opened and Father Christmas stepped out.

“Brother!” Santa boomed jovially. He took the cigar from his mouth and held his arms out wide. Satan did likewise. “Brother.” They embraced.

Plot twist? Death wondered. So, the conspiracy theorists on spectral media were right along!

The difference in appearance between Santa and Satan was deep and yet superficial: one was white, bearded and a force for good; the other dark, clean shaven and mercilessly evil. But once seen together, the fraternal resemblance of the two was striking and obvious.

The Slay Brothers? Death mused, or Sleigh Brothers. Spectral media trolls will argue about this for years.

He slid his PsyPad from his robe. He wanted to check if God had arrived yet in the Situation Room, but as he opened the cover he realised that the sudden brightness of the screen could draw attention. Death hoped that God was nearby, also watching the fiendish family reunion unfold, and could corroborate what he was seeing.

Death watched as Satan handed the keys to the taxi over to Santa. The brothers embraced once more before Santa got into driver’s seat and drove away. Satan stood and watched the taxi leave, sucking on his cigar. He turned and started to walk slowly up the street, shaking his head and laughing. When he was level with Death’s hiding place, he stopped.

“You can come out now child,” Satan called and flicked his cigar butt in Death’s direction. “Come on now, I know you’re there. What is it she calls you? Big D.”

Death slowly left the shadows and glided onto the road to face Satan. He remained silent.

“That’s a pretty good joke, her calling you Big D. Would be considered downright cruel, by some folks. Worthy only of someone like me.”

A windblown plastic bag rolled between them. Intercity tumbleweed.

“Cat got your tongue?” Satan taunted. “Oh that’s right, you don’t have a tongue. But you do speak, so do you want to ask me?”

This is a trap, Death thought. He remained silent.

“I’ll wait.” Satan reached into his jacket and pulled out a fresh cigar. He rolled it between his fingers and sniffed the length of it. “Don’t you want to know where Pestilence is? I know you’ve been searching for him.”

Finally Death broke his silence. “Did Soda Pops tell you that?”

“Soda Pops? Is that what she calls my brother? Soda Pops?” Satan bit the top of his cigar off and spat it out. “So disrespectful.” He warmed its foot with a lighter. “And what kooky name has she given me?”

“None.”

Satan paused lighting his cigar and stared at Death.

“I’ve only ever heard her refer to you by your pronouns,” Death continued. “He/him. But then I’ve only ever heard you refer to God by hers,” he added.

Satan nodded and lit his cigar. He took several small puffs and let out a cloud of smoke.

Death pulled his PsyPad from his robes and opened it. He tapped the screen and swiped it several times before replacing it. His retractable scythe sprung from the sleeve of his robe, the blade crackled with electricity. “Well then. It’s been nice to catch up, but I really must be going. Work to do.”

Death turned his back on Satan and glided away.

“Hey!” Satan called after him. “Don’t you want to know where Pestilence is, child?”

“No need. I’m sure Pesto will turn up when he’s ready.”

Death disappeared into thin air.

***

He knew we were there. He jammed the signal.

Death watched Satan stare after him through the transparent wall of the Situation Room. “How did you know where to find us, Ma’am?”

Once I realised I couldn’t track you with the PsyPad, I popped back to the God Lobby and got my binoculars. The Shard building has an excellent viewing platform. I could see for miles.

“I hope I distracted Scratch long enough for you to see where Soda Pops went.”

Indeed you did, Big D.

Death watched Satan finally turn away and go into Lapland. “And?”

God sighed.

I now know where Pestilence is.

Death gazed up at God. “Ma’am?”

A single, crystal clear tear ran down God’s cheek.

He’s everywhere.

*******

*Shush, Clicky, spoilers…*

*Well, logistics and war do go together…*

*Indeed… /lights up and smokes… How about a Song, Clicky?*

I have an idea already for the next installment, Dear Reader, for the next Underdog Anthology, due out for Christmas, and I have November to write it…

*No, he performed in last year’s Christmas story, Clicky…*

Until then, Dearest Dear Reader, have a Song…

CLICK5: Farewell, My Text US Okie Devil…

Extended CLICK5… CLICKB8: Take Your Time…

Extended CLICK5… CLICKB8: A Fourth Turning Tale – Cavalier Cavalcade…

Missive From ‘Merica: Gentle Man…

Dear Reader, I received an unexpected missive from ‘Merica yesterday evening. Not from my very good friend Cade Fon Apollyon, but from his ex-wife, letting me know that he’d passed away in his sleep during the early hours of yesterday morning. She doesn’t yet know why he died but a heart-attack is suspected. All I know for certain is that my heart is broken…

cYa | cFa

Dear Reader… Have a Song ❤

Missive From ‘Merica: The Rum Diatribe…

*Yes, it was my 55th birthday yesterday, Clicky… /pats snout… It’s quite remarkable just how much The Rum Diary foreshadowed Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s relationship that followed…*

Dear Reader, as you may or may not have deduced from Clicky’s recent posts, I have been totally engrossed and grossed out by the Johnny Depp Vs Amber Heard defamation trial, that’s been going on for six weeks in Fairfax, Vagina, I mean Virginia, and is scheduled to conclude tomorrow. My evenings have been filled with little else…

*Yeah, I’ve still got a story to finish before the end of the month… /lights up and smokes… I really need to pull my finger out…*

… However, we’ve also received a new missive from Cade Fon Apollyon, and, boy, is it a doozy…

*/flicks ash… Oh, it’s very fine indeed…*

Enjoy, Dear Reader, enjoy! ❤

*******

Hold up…

…if everyone is putting apple slush out for bees, and the bees aren’t getting their nectar from trees and plants, the bees will not be pollinating trees and plants…right? Bees will be fat and happy for a while, but eventually there will be no more apples for apple slush because there are no more apple trees, the bees will die, and so will everything else. Oh sure, for a short time apple producers are going to be reporting record profits because lunkheads are purchasing apples in droves, and bee populations will thrive, but it’s little more than a buildup to collapse.

That is of course unless humans (*cough*…corporations) are pollinating trees and plants and/or have developed trees and plants that do not require pollination.

Still, it sounds to me like apple producers are simply trying to bump sales. We are talking about humans and human endeavours afterall. Humans will eventually lose interest and/or get lazy, stop putting out the apple slush, and the bees will all die because they forgot who and what they were when they became totally dependent upon humans and their trendy bullshit.

^Elvis Presley – I Got Stung (New Sound Remastered)^

Let us have another “wait a fucking minute here” moment…

…wait, wait, wait and hold the goddamn phone for a minute.

Q: What in the holy hell are “four year olds” doing “at school”?

A: ???

Why are “four year olds” not at home? With mom. Or even dad. What are “four year olds” doing “at school” in the first place?!? Oh right…both mom and dad work all day so that your little family enterprise can afford a better standard of living. Better home in a nicer area, better cars, better food, nicer clothes, better holidays…all that good stuff that corporations have to offer these days…you want it for your family. Or perhaps it’s some other excuse (reason). Maybe its just that mom is a liberated woman who refuses to sacrifice her career for the traditional family life and be at the mercy of the patriarchy, and as a result puts the child/children into the care of others.

Here’s the tweet I actually saw…

Infants? 

Hey…it’s real simple…if you want your children “brainwashed” according to your own needs, wants and desires, then don’t fucking put them into the care of others/make your child dependent on others 5 minutes after your child is weaned, all so you can get back to work and making money ASAP. Take Nicola Sturgeon’s face off that Nazi photograph, put your own face on it, and be your own fascist in your own realm. Make the sacrifices required to make it happen, and stop trying to be a dictator outside of your own little bubble. Simple.

Mystery = SOLVED! Next?
^ATTLAS – Parallel Lines (Enzo Bennet Remix)^

One of the most interesting aspects of that trainwreck above, is that yet again, old people are sending young people to front lines to fight their battles. You are putting your own children between you and your enemy/enemies, and you’re asking your own children to get bloody for you. Infants no less. Infants and 4 year olds. You’re sending infants and 4 year olds out to do your fighting for you. Don’t sweat it tho. A very long and historied tradition this is.

^War is young men dying and old men talking^

You realize that “your” child does not belong to you, right? They are not property. I mean, you don’t belong to your parents, do you? “Your” children are living beings that are temporarily in your care. You are a steward, and your term has an expiration date. These children will develop their own needs, wants and desires, and someday they are going to go off into the world, be totally and completely their own person/independent of you and your selfish mandates, making their own choices and decisions. And here you are kicking them the fuck out into the world before they can even walk, and forcing them to start becoming themselves before they have a single clue as to who you are and before you have a chance to make a real imprint on them.

I gotta wonder what your real beef is. Meaning, it seems like people who are yelling and screaming about this kind of shit are actually harboring guilt for choosing day care + career over “traditional family”. You’re not mad at Nicola Sturgeon or the SNP or the Scottish government or LGBTQIA+ activists, you’re mad at yourself for making the choices you have and setting your own preferences.

*cough* money and material possession and upwards mobility and social standing, etc., etc. *cough*

If it bothers you that “your children” are making decisions and life choices that are not in line with your own, seriously, can you not see that you are the fascist? You are the dirty commie trying to do others’ thinking for them?

^Rezz – Lucifer [NEST054]^

This bit is written with a certain someone in mind. This certain someone is almost sure to never, ever, read these words I’m about to write, but I feel compelled to write them anyway.

– – –

This world is not filled with evil people and evil things.

This world is not filled with evil.

You, are afraid.

You are afraid of anything, everything.

You so doubt yourself and your ability to meet challenges and deal with adversity, that you feel a need to become the very thing it is you fear.

You fear being hurt, being taken advantage of.

You fear having your life disrupted.

You fear not being able to do the things that you want to do or being hindered in any way.

You see, in everyone else, and in everything else, the potential to possess these qualities.

As such, you seek out the very things that do this.

In effect, you become the hindrance.

You become the hurter and the one who takes advantage of.

You become the disruptor.

You become the hindrance.

You become the evil you so fear.

And why do you fear this evil so?

Because it lives in you, and some part of you knows this.

You, say you love the world, but everything about you says otherwise.

This world that you love, only exists in you.

There is room for nothing else in this world, but you.

You, are the destroyer, not them.

So yeah, you are right that this world is full of evil…and you are the very one cultivating it.

– – –

Maybe someone else needs to hear that too. Maybe not.

/shrug

Just got thinking last night about how we are told things, we believe them, and the demonstrable evidence is either lacking or missing entirely. The only way to “make it so” is via propagation of the lie. Create these little capacitors to carry a something they do not understand, they just, do. Do as programmed. Behave as instructed. You never met God, never met Satan, but you’ll dance to their tune(s) because some human fuckhead told you to. We seek out evidence to support these claims, and we may even begin to manufacture shit ourselves so that we have our evidence. This evidence is not for ourselves of course because we know it to be a total fabrication. No, this is for others. Make us not feel so alone in being ourselves duped, so we turn around and dupe others. Perpetuate the lie(s). Misery loves company. Blah blah blah.

Go fuck yourselves...the lot of you.
^deadmau5 – Hyperlandia (feat. Foster The People) [Club Mix]^

Yes, I get very angry sometimes at having to play your reindeer games. Probably more despair than anger to be honest. You disrupt me. You hurt and harm me. You flat out flummox me with your contemptuous bile spewed out upon anyone who acts in any way contrary to your own designs and desires. You drag me through your bullshit, and what’s worse is that I can feel that you want out of your loop(s), but you’ve become so comfortable with this loop/these loops that you have trouble parting with it/them.

That's why you come to me. 

You want out, you know I know the way, so you seek me out for advice as to how. Some part of you wants to stay in it/them tho. You hate for me to tell you this. Perhaps you like hearing it tho. Perhaps you ego spies in them the opportunity to become the godlike something you so desire to become. Your ego sees that shedding these loops and removing yourself from them will remove all hope of becoming that all-seeing, all-knowing, and all-powerful being you want to become. The desire to act with impunity and have no fear of repercussions or any ill-effects. To act, free of guilt. To become untouchable. If you do not keep that ambitious part of you rooted in the notion of eradicating that which displeases you, you can never become the singularity you’ve grown to desire to become.

I’ve got news for you, to desire one thing, and to seek to acquire one thing, is to get…one thing. You also love to hear me say it…to seek nothing, is to find everything. To know nothing, is to know everything. To shed all, is to gain all. You don’t believe any of it, but you love to hear me say it.

^cLOUDDEAD ‘Dead Dogs Two’ (BOC mix) Music Video (Unofficial)^

What makes “all of this” the more vexing, is that I’ve seen and/or experienced some damn weird shit. I’m in no way contending that “The Else” does not exist. Quite to the contrary. There’s something, but I cannot qualify beyond that. Also, it’s been my experience that “The Else” is not a group thing. It/They don’t do parties. At least not in the way and ways that we here on Earth/Terra seem to view groups and/or how groups should behave. One entity, one path. And more than that, it’s your own particular and specific path. You cannot walk my path and find The Else. Sure I can guide you maybe sometimes, can help, or maybe just be supportive of you as you are lost, wandering, and I can provide no guidance or assistance at all other than just be supportive and encourage you to keep going.

Now you may be asking yourself “DUDE! Cade! Is it possible that you yourself have been duped?!”

No.

In fact, I’d say that it’s impossible that I’ve been duped.

Why?

Because it’s not even remotely “possible” that I’ve been duped, rather it’s “likely” that I’ve been duped.

Likely almost to the point of certainty that I’ve been duped.

Wanna hear something every more unsettling?

That's all part of the game.

Necessary. Certainly a necessity. At times, you are going to have to be totally, and stunningly…duped. Taken for a ride. Your ignorance taken advantage of. You will be shown “who is boss”, so to speak, but the experience of it will be more humbling than humiliating. More enlightening than demoralizing. More sweet than sour. I know this sounds contrary, but one has to actually stand in such moments to understand them and to truly appreciate how gentle, delicate and caring this seemingly otherwise heavy-handedness really is. It makes one feel a part of, rather than apart from. Inclusive. And better yet, exclusive, because it was all designed and enacted, for you, and you alone.

Yes, many have come before, and many will come after. But this moment in time, amongst the uncountable, and in the unknowable, you as the individual that you are, are acknowledged, and you get to see, experience and understand the tiniest sliver of the unknowable. Don’t get too cocky tho. You’re gonna be slapped back to reality almost as quickly as you left it, but to me that made the whole thing all the more funny. Your results may (and likely will) vary. I personally love absurdity and paradox. The more ridiculous the better. Some folks don’t. I get the feeling The Universe knows this, and they may cater to your own dietary and/or cultural requirements.

^Holy Fuck-Tom Tom^

Your vagina is huge.

My, you sure do have a large vagina.

I want a woman with a big vagina.

Those don't sound quite right, do they?

And to confound even further, and whether you realize it or not, any discussion on “big” is a simultaneous discussion on “small”. Without some opposing context, anything scalar loses all meaning. All is equal, and scale is irrelevant. And let us say you find your lady with the giant vagina…how many unsatisfactory vaginas did you cycle through before finding your big woo woo? Doesn’t the small/big ratio also say something about scale? Anyway, your quest is over.

Q: What does one do at the end of a quest?

A: Rest.

Fucking hell, you find your perfect fanny, and all you can do is bask in your own satisfaction having found it?!?!? Desire dies. There’s nothing left to do. Not even your perfect, massive, vajayjay.

All right, all right, I’ll spring and tell you what I’m really thinking about here, and that is the role that dissatisfaction plays in satisfaction. The role(s) that which is null plays in not null. Opposition. Specifically, I’m thinking about how a place of perfection can exist, sans imperfection. How can one know that they exist in a “perfect” space, if there is nothing which exists to color and contrast that perfection?

Take the place known as “Heaven”, for example. Unless “Hell” is right next door, “Heaven” loses all meaning. In fact, Heaven would be some bland nullspace which, I would think, carries a resonance that prevents it from actually existing. It destroys itself at the moment of its creation because its lacks the very thing it purports to provide…harmony. And if Hell does indeed exist, and its right next door…whew! A bunch of rowdy-assed neighbors is gonna drop the property values in Heaven substantially.

Diminish the meaning of “what Heaven is”. 

In fact, one could probably argue that Heaven and Hell existing simultaneously creates…normalcy? Certainly the normalcy that we know and understand. States of being, times of being, which allow existence to actually exist. I’m not saying that you cannot find your perfect something as I believe that one can. But, then what? Sustain? Maintain? How do you go about doing that? I think I should also mention, you’re not the only seeker in the Universe ya know. Someone else out there may also be seeking the very same thing(s) you were seeking.

Q: What if they find you, in possession of the very things they were seeking?

A: !oh shit!

You gonna share?

Yeah, I thought not.

^Ol’ Dirty Bastard feat. MC Eiht & E-40 ‎– Shimmy Shimmy Ya – Studio Ton Remix (Official Video)^

You know what I’m reminded of when someone starts flashing “gang signs”?

A cop flashing a badge.

Once that “identification” is made, you’ve announced yourself as someone with some kind of authority, you’ve got a someone or something behind you, and you are now free to do whatever in the fuck you want, good or bad, right or wrong.

Just me, but when I see someone wearing gang colors or flashing gang signs or announcing that you’ve got a “street name”, you’re flashing your “creds” just like a cop would. Ain’t no difference between you and any other dickhead out there looking to exploit your position within an architecture to take advantage of those who have no such protections. At the end of the day tho, I guess that’s why we join groups. We get sick of feeling alone and powerless, so we join the very groups who take advantage of the alone and powerless.

Makes sense.

I guess that’s why we wear designer clothes and drive expensive cars and seek to live in exclusive housing, wear expensive makeup, style our hair a certain way, wear jewelry, wear colognes and perfumes, accessorize, etc.. Virtue signaling to let everyone know what tribe we belong to. Kinda funny that we go out of our way to set ourselves apart as being or doing something different, yet we’re really just doing the same shit. Different handbag and shoes maybe, but the same shit.

^Green Velvet – Bigger Than Prince (Hot Since 82 Remix)^

We live with several death clocks constantly ticking, and we, ironically pay them little to no mind.

Death Clock 01: Breathing – this particular Death Clock gets reset every few seconds, but the limit that this particular Death Clock can run is about 6 minutes before you will cease to be you in this Earthly context.

Death Clock 02: Water – this particular Death Clock, for most, gets reset several times per day, but the limit that this particular Death Clock can run is about 3 days/72 hours before you will cease to be you in this Earthly context.

Death Clock 03: Food – this particular Death Clock, again for most, gets reset several times per day, but the limit that this particular Death Clock can run is about 30 to 40 days/720 hours to 960 hours before you will cease to be you in this Earthly context.

Now that you’ve got your head wrapped around those, let us address some of the more abstract and extraneous clocks that are just as real as those previously mentioned.

Death Clock 04: Pressure – we can’t really put a more or less standard type time on this one because death and life are so constant and at the same time finite, but we can say that too much pressure will crush, and too little pressure will discorporate, both resulting a rather expeditious (finite in time) type death.

Death Clock 05: Hope – the clock is related in many ways to DC 04 in that it will utilize pressure to cease the operations of DC 01/DC 02/DC 03, but not so direct as say traveling to the depths of an ocean or venturing outside of our planet’s atmosphere, but the presence of Hope keeps pressure in “The Goldilocks Zone” of “just right”, and the absence of Hope will cause a change in pressure which results in, you guessed it, death. Again, no real way to put a timer on this particular clock but it could be everything from starvation to firearms to asphyxiation to rapid deceleration trauma to engaging in risky/dangerous activities which could hasten death over longer periods to a poison being introduced to tax/pressure systems to shut down, etc., etc..

I could go on and on and list Death Clocks for everything from love to hate to taxes to adultery to walking down the wrong alleyway, but that’s not really the point of the exercise. Actually, there really is no “point” to this exercise other than to point out that death is always and forever, more a part of our lives than we give credit. Death is no some abstract or random chance type something that shows up when you least expect it or even when you most expect it…it’s just kinda…there. Always. Which makes me wonder…

Q: Why do we seem to view life through the lens of death, yet we never pay the lens of death much mind.

A: I'd go further an say that we pay neither life nor death much mind, but that's just me.

I’ve got no answers. I only know that I see death everywhere and in every thing. Doesn’t bother me. Yes, it used to, but eventually I guess I kinda got acclimated to seeing it. Didn’t desensitize me to it either, still stings like a mofo, but yeah I think I’m more acclimated to it now. Probably just a holdover from my youth and inexperience in wondering why I would exist in a world that contains so many pitfalls and so many avenues to death. If nothing else, it’s a metaphor for learning where to step, and where not to step. Maybe even for learning just how tenuous/precarious life actually is. How important balance is/can be. Lots of stuff here than can sustain life, lots of stuff here that can end it. Lots to learn on either side of the isle.

^(HD) Sydney Blu – Give It Up For Me (Original Mix)^

Ya think it’s possible to run out of memory? I get the feeling that I’ve addressed this topic in my writing previously seeing as how I first started contemplating the concept quite sometime back, but the topic has been creeping back into my head as of late and I’ve no idea why. Well, that’s not necessarily true as Texas having it’s own power grid has been a subject of some debate ever since the ice storms of 2021, and the entirety of the United States of America seems to be really upset that the State of Texas has its own power grid that is somewhat separate from the rest of the country. Kinda weird people suddenly getting pissed over this as its not as if Texas one day suddenly had its own power grid.

So you’re likely asking yourself at this point…”dude, what does electricity have to do with memory?” Welp, memory is storage space. As it pertains to computer memory, we’re talking about electrons stored in some medium capable of storing them. Now, I’d like to point out that my thoughts on “running out of memory” are not necessarily talking about running out of resources that can be used in manufacturing memory devices. Silicon is indeed “the biggie”, and sand, and more specifically certain types of sand(s), is/are most definitely running low thanks to construction(s) of all kinds. But the primary concept is reaching a physical limit to where even if there is a medium that should be capable of storing information, it cannot because some previously unknown or unthought about limit has been reached. Some maximum that exists in the firmament and/or ether has been broached or breached, and the laws of physics as we know them, no longer seems to apply. Some “null point” existed out there, we had no idea it was there, but now things that should work…do not.

^sydney blu give it up for me deadmau5 remix^

We can all relate to running out of space. Hell, the current domicile in which I reside? Holy fuck, “my room” is so chock full of shit that I can barely walk in here. I have no place to write, so I haven’t been writing, and even when I do write I have to either sit on the side of the bed with my keyboard on my lap or sit on the floor in a very uncomfortable position which dictates that I’m constantly shifting my bodyweight, readjusting my position, and I gotta stand up every 15 minutes or so or else my legs will fall asleep. Doing anything at all in this room is uncomfortable and/or high-maintenance.

We’re such packrats, that when we do start grabbing, we never fucking stop. It’s only until things are way past the tipping point that we ever stop and say to ourselves…”hey, I might be running out of space!” By then its too fucking late. You were at critical mass WAY the fuck back down the highway, friend. It is with that in mind that I have to wonder as to why accommodations were not made prior to critical mass, why the proper questions were not raised previously, which makes me wonder why there are not people in the world currently pondering the question…”What happens when we run out of memory?”.

Not “if”, “when”. 

Fuck it. If no one else wants to, I’ll do it. I swear, I gotta do everything around here.

^ANNA – Drum Machines Do Have Soul^

I worked an 11 hour shift yesterday, and from the moment I arrived, the vast majority of people I encountered over the course of the day could not shut the fuck up about the Will Smith/Chris Rock thing that transpired at the Oscar’s show. It’s not like they were talking about it, it was as if they had to talk about it. It was as if, suddenly, everything that existed in their lives prior to Sunday night March 27th of 2022 had been put on hold or was no longer relevant in any way.

I don’t watch tv, and even if I did I sure as shit wouldn’t be watching some awards show, so I had to learn about this “event” from my friend across the pond. My first thought upon watching the clip? Holy shit…there is so fucking much wrong with this transaction, and not just and only the obvious. The first being, it showed just how fake television really is. How fake media really is. A “real” something happens, right in the big middle of a totally scripted and orchestrated something, and the real thing looks…fake. It was so out of place that one immediately had to wonder if the whole thing was scripted or if there was some kind of trickery going on. And why wouldn’t it look fake? Our brains have become so programmed to watching scripted things that we try and force ourselves to believe that anything and everything that happens during the course of an event “is part of the act”. Some plot twist or diversion, distraction or misdirection, but still part of the show. That everything is unfolding due to some plan, and everything will be explained/made clear at the end.

Sounds almost like standard Judeo/Christian thinking. 

Everything is unknowable, until such time it is knowable, but even then someone else is going to explain it to you. Someone (or some thing) else will be behind what you know, and when you know it.

^Ozzy Osbourne – I Don’t Know^

Um….duh? Of course they are “scripted roles”. The part of that truth that you don’t want to accept tho?

You, are the script writer.

You elected them. You expect them to behave in certain ways. The office(s) itself/themselves carries/carry an expected decorum, temperament, responsibilities, etc.. You, are the puppetmaster(s). Fucking hell, that’s the whole point of “representative” anything…they are a proxy you. You’re too busy to do the job yourself, so your hire the work out to someone else, and you expect, nay demand, that they dance to your tune. You want them, to be you. It’s like a weird parental type thing where you’re adopting a surrogate child, and you get all bent out of shape when this surrogate does not carry your legacy in the way(s) that you want. They rebel and do what they want/what they think is best for themselves (and, of course they do, because no one likes to be told what to do or how to behave or how to react in a given set of circumstances) and you throw a temper tantrum as a result. Don’t want to live in a world that creates puppets? Then don’t participate in a system that creates a massive number of puppetmasters trying to control a finite number of puppets.

^’Forget’ – Patrick Topping^

This is where folks also potentially miss the mark as it pertains to religion/gods/goddesses. You yourself don’t want to serve, you want to be served. You don’t want to go along with the divine’s plan(s) for your life, you want to order the divine around, make them dance to your tune. Fuck the DJ’s playlist, you’re bombing the request line with what YOU want to hear.

“Gimme this”

“I want that”

“Did you see that weird growth on my foot? Can you do something about that?”

“My neighbor is really pissing me off…eliminate them please.”

"Can you tell me what is right and just regarding this Will Smith/Chris Rock thing?"

You never just chat with the divine about small pleasures, you always and forever, want it all, and you want the divine to give it to you…right fucking NOW! Nevermind ever other person/entity in existence, you are special and the only thing that should matter on the gods’ agenda.

Q: Have you ever been kneeling at the alter at church, praying, and said to God “Sup yo! How has your day been?”

A: Fuck no you haven't.

You’re down there in front of the church wailing and weeping, wrapped up in your own woes and self-pity, asking God to sort your tangled bullshit out whilst simultaneously putting on your public display in front of the entire congregation so as to get them chatting about “Oh my! What’s wrong with so-and-so?! They sure do seem to be in some kind of trouble!” You want me to venture a guess at how God/the gods’ day is going?

It fucking sucks. 

It’s their day off, it’s a lovely day, and every single believer in them has chosen to be inside a gloomy structure and do nothing but wail and weep and piss and moan to the Almighty about how terrible things are. Life is awful, and it’s all God’s fault. BTW, if Sunday (or Saturday) is God’s day off, I get the feelings that prayers will not be received until the following business day. Ever gone on vacation, then when you get back to work, your email inbox is fucking jammed with a week or two’s worth of bullshit waiting for you? I get the feeling this could potentially be what it’s like for God/the gods. When they come back to work after their day off, their inbox is so jammed with petty shit, they have trouble finding the important stuff. Accept it; you are part of the problem.

Hell, you are the problem.
^Pleasurekraft & Green Velvet – Skeleton Key (Format B Remix)^

Do they not teach physiology in school anymore?

Vagina? Um, not trying to split pubic hairs here, but wouldn’t that be “vulva” and not “vagina”? Seems like “showing a little bit of vagina” would be a much more intricate and involved process bordering on a gynecological exam or legs akimbo, whereas showing a little bit of vulva” is rather straightforward.

But, what do I know.

I’m not a biologist, and apparently, one has to be a biologist in order to possess an understanding of biological things.

/shrug
^Sam Cooke – What A Wonderful World (Official Lyric Video)^

And speaking of lady bits, is a woman’s woo woo considered “cooked” if it’s been doused with chemicals and scents and products of all kinds designed to alter “the natural state” of said woo woo?

Was listening to that Ol’ Dirty Bastard tune and got to thinking of the concept of “baby I like it raw.” Well, if the woo woo has received a chemical baking prior to snacking, it ain’t raw. Sorry if you don’t understand where I’m coming from (no pun intended) but in the back of my mind is the lawsuits surrounding women who used talcum powder on their coochie, and eventually developed all kinds of issues as a result. You can read about it if you want.

Talcum Powder Lawsuits

You can even research it yourself further if you so desire.

I’m just thinking about the concept of women so trying to alter “the natural state” of their fanny, that alteration is eventually exactly what happens.

^No Mana & i_o – Bad Things (feat. Fay) [Original Mix]^

You may have noticed that this writing is chronologically backwards.

Hope you enjoyed the lesson in time travel.

No time to explain tho as I gotta go.

cYa | cFa

^Green Velvet & Jay Lumen – It’s All About Me (Original Mix)^

*******

*It’s amazing, Clicky, just how much the D.U.I. Guy looks like my Uncle Dickie, when he was that age… /stubs butt…*

Thanks for stopping by, Dear Reader, we hope you’ve enjoyed your visit and that you’ll be back soon. Until then, have a Song 😉

CLICK5: Shooting The Breeze With Baby Talk…

Extended CLICK5… CLICKB8: Adventures In Remote Viewing – Syncing Mystery On Saturday Night…

Story Time: Spring Fevers & Bearded, Clammy Hands

*Ain’t that the truth, Clicky. How in the fuck are we meant to be April Fooled this year?*

Hello there, Dear Reader! Long time, no speaky 😉

My good friend Cade Fon Apollyon sent me a tweet last night, depicting a weather event at his ‘old stomping ground’…

*He says that’s Tyson’s Corner in Virginia and tornadoes there are extremely rare…*

… Which reminded me of a bunch of tweets that crossed my Twitter feed earlier this week, all saying the same thing…

*Nice example, Clicky, butt that’s knot someone I follow… /lights up and smokes… Say, did you know there’s a 137 reference in that Tweeter’s bio?*

*Just a happy coincidence, then? Okay…*

… And that whole Oscars ‘Slap Heard Around the World’ scene at the start of the week put me in mind of Cade’s short story from Underdog Anthology XIV: Dark Ides of March, published in the Spring of 2021…

*Oh yeah. It even syncs… /drags… with a couple of your recent posts, Clicky… /exhales smoke…*

… So, I asked Cade if I could publish his story, here, at the LoL today, and he said, ‘Sure’…

*Knockout, Clicky, indeed…*

… So, here is ‘Spring Fevers and Bearded, Clammy Hands’ for your entertainment, Dear Reader. Enjoy! ❤

*******

Spring Fevers and Bearded, Clammy Hands

by
Cade F.O.N Apollyon

If one were to read “A Novice’s Guide to Understanding Jealousy”, the first sentence of Chapter 1, Page 1 would almost absolutely have to immediately address the subject of a lack of self-awareness. In fact, I cannot see how the entire book could ever get around talking about anything except the topic of self-awareness and identifying one’s own shortcomings within the framework of this concept.

Jealousy, seems to place the offended party in some sort of vacuum. Like a shell or some sort of defensive posture where only the individual and their own interests matter. Their computational systems, assuming they have any, also seem to go offline.

“Mateo! Hel..loooo?!? Are you even fucking listening to me?”

My neighbor, John, was already agitated when he borderline accosted me in my car upon my arrival home from work. My zoning out in contemplation whilst being accused by my neighbor of having an affair with his wife is unlikely to assuage his irritation.

“My name is Matthew, Juan, and yes, I am very much listening to you.”

“I apologize, Matthew,” John fired back sarcastically. “Now, are you fucking my wife?”

“No, John, I am not. I’m standing here in the middle of my own front yard holding an empty lunch box, quasi-talking to you, really just hoping to go inside at some point and take my shoes off.”

I’d retorted with my usual dry and unemotional sarcasm. I tried not too sound precocious though as this was an extremely delicate and dangerous situation, and the last thing I need at this point is my friend thinking I’m trying to be cleverly deceptive.

“Have you, at any point, from the beginning of creation, to this very day, ever, fucked my wife?”

John was struggling, choosing his words for clarity; an obvious frustration and impatience in his voice.

“Yeah. But I only stuck my dick in halfway so I’m not fucking her nearly as much as I could be. And when one considers that my dick is only six inches long, it could be argued that I’m not fucking her very much at all.”

The look of shock and disbelief on his face reflected that my retort had caught him completely off guard. But as the initial look of surprise left his face, and his brain began to compute my actual words, his face contorted in confusion, began to relax, and I could tell it may have finally broke some ice as John’s default facial express returned. That expression then started to crack into a smile, it was obvious he was trying to restrain it, and he turned away from me briefly in order to, I assume, stymie a giggle. The slight hunch in the back, a hand to the face, and a couple of shoulder twitches were a dead-giveaway.

I’d already answered his initial query as to my ‘fucking his wife’, definitely and without hesitation in the negative. Quite easy to do as I was most certainly not ‘fucking’ his wife. Something very odd was going on here. This had to be one of his stupid, drawn out ‘practical jokes’. Surely some utterly ridiculous punchline, for which I will have to feign a fake laugh, is coming.

“Look John,” I said to his back. I have walked…” I glanced down quickly at the pedometer hanging from my belt to check the distance I had walked at work today; 17.3 miles, holy shit, “…seventeen point three miles today and my feet are feeling every foot of that. I’m going in to put my lunchbox down, take my shoes off, grab a beer, and I’ll be right back out. Do you want one?”

He knows, came a female voice in my head.

I froze. A warm tingling sensation suddenly appeared in my head, and quickly began to run from my crown, down my neck, and into my spine, as another warm and tingly feeling began in my feet and started emanating up my legs.

Great, I thought to myself. That’s all I need at this point…her.

The two opposing tingly feelings continued their creep and met somewhere in my lower back: we were connected now. That warm pulsing tingle of The Connection. We were synced.

Hello Matthew, came the woman’s voice again. I feel The Connection. I needed to speak with you. I needed to let you know that he knows. I needed to speak with you about how best to proceed regarding…

The woman’s voice was cut off as John, apparently having finally regained a composure he was comfortable with, turned back towards me.

“Yeah,” John started as he nodded in agreement. “Yeah, I’ll take a beer if it’s cold Matt. You get your shoes off, and I’ll meet you on your porch in a few. I’m going to go ask Patrice about dinner. Any chance you might wanna pop over? Do you have plans?”

John asking me to join he and his wife for dinner was not unusual. I was, after all, a lonely bachelor. A lonely divorcee. A washed-up burnout who over the past nine years had been fixed up with virtually every single woman John and his wife knew. But dinner tonight did not seem appropriate. I was in no way trying to read John’s intentions regarding this particular invitation as we had too much experience between us for me to read into it as being hostile. But I had to seriously consider it inappropriate under the circumstances.

Jesus, how uncomfortable might that dinner be? I thought to myself.

If you come to dinner, I’ll make you cum, came the woman’s voice again. I’ll cum all over your face Matthew, and you can cum on mine, if you want. It will be nothing but cumming for the both of us if you come to dinner.

Dammit Patrice, can you at least allow me to get my shoes off and grab your husband a beer before I make a decision on dinner?

Sure Matthew. I know my cooking isn’t always that great, but my dessert will make that dark and lonely heart of yours shine like the sun that it actually is. Mmm, I’m getting wet just thinking about having you inside me and seeing your light.

Patrice…

“Matt?” John said, snapping me away from my internal dialogue. “Matt, you’re zoning out again.”

“Sorry John. Been a long day at work and I have an even longer one in store tomorrow. I have a lot of work stuff on my mind,” I said, turning away from my neighbor and heading for the faux safety of my own home.

“Already trying to think of all the stuff I need to do tomorrow. Lemme grab you that beer. About ten minutes.”

I did not glance back to see if John was retreating back to his own property as I neared the relative safety of my own front porch.

Sorry you had a long day. I hope I get a long one tonight, Matthew.

Patrice, I myself would take an explanation of any length as to why your husband is over at my house breaking my balls over allegedly, quote ‘fucking you’, unquote.

I’ll explain in a bit Matt, and it will all make sense. I promise.

As I reached my front door, I tried to put Patrice and her shenanigans out of my head. Just as I began to fumble with my key for the lock, and just as freedom seemed imminent, I heard John call from what sounded like his driveway. I froze, closed my eyes, and tried not to shudder.

“Hey, Matt! Pedometer!” he shouted. “They ought to give those to pedophiles so cops know how many kids they’ve molested!”

I suddenly felt a tinge of fury. My heart knew that I should not be feeling this feeling, but I was. Whatever my neighbor was digging for, and why he was digging for it in me no longer mattered. This asshole has to be begging for a beating, but why he has chosen me to give it to him is a total mystery at this point.

Don’t let him get to you cowboy. You are closer that you know to being free of him forever.

I ignored Patrice’s comment entirely, turned to peek around the corner of my front porch to look over in the direction of the voice. Sure enough, there stood John in his own driveway. Immobile, and looking in my direction with a giant ridiculous smile on his face as if he’d just told the joke of the century and was now eagerly awaiting my guffaws of approval.

“That’s a great idea John,” I said in an absolutely flat tone. “Fantastic in fact. Why don’t you head inside right now and dial 911 and tell them your genius idea. You can tell me all about it when you come back over for your beer.”

The dry and unimpressed nature in my voice appeared to have gotten the message across, as his previously grinning face was now melting into such a pathetic sag that it appeared it may slide off his head.

He turned, looked down and I could tell his face was now twisting with confusion, and began walking dejectedly towards his house.

I turned back towards my front door, inserted my key into the lock, opened it, and stepped inside. Closing the door behind me, I could only think one word…sanctuary.

It may be a sanctuary from John, but not from me. With me, there is no sanctuary Matthew.

I need no sanctuary from you Patrice. You are my sanctuary.

* * *

John and I had become fast ‘friends’ when he and his wife, Patrice, had moved in next door to me a little over nine years ago. ‘Friends’ in the loose sense in that it was quite obvious from the start that John more or less inserted himself into my life whether I wanted him in it or not, and he was the type of fellow that clung to certain others who could provide him with specific things. He had a bombastic way for introducing himself to others, at which point he would size them up for what they could and could not provide.

I never considered him a bad guy, just not exactly a good one. Never seemed to have a thought of his own, which, unfortunately for me and because I was both easily accessible and tolerated his bullshit, just about every crazy idea, weird concept and stupid joke that drifted through John’s transom he would almost certainly parrot to me.

I stood inside my doorway for some time contemplating the nature of my relationship with my neighbors, and wondering what in the hell John was on about. As such, I find myself back at day one of when John and Patrice moved in, and going over every little detail as to how he’s gotten wind of mine and Patrice’s, alleged, affair.

Are you fucking my wife? Who in the hell asks a question like that? He didn’t really seem that peeved or upset. Perhaps the exchange didn’t happen like it does in the movies, and as such, he didn’t know how to react?

You’re contemplating aren’t you Matthew?

Patrice’s voice, in my head again. I’d forgotten we were still actively connected.

Yes Patrice, I am. Can you hear what I’m thinking? Like, the specifics?

No Matt, it’s more of a feeling. When we communicate directly, then yes the information sent along The Connection is very clear. But when you are mumbling internally I get nothing specific. Just maybe a feeling about what it may be regarding.

So, when I jerk off at night, you get no specifics nor details, you simply know I’m masturbating.

Rawr…so saucy Matthew. So aggressive. I like it. And speaking of, what was with that ‘you are my sanctuary Patrice’ nonsense?

For once, Patrice, I guess I just felt I needed to defend myself. The walls were kinda closing in, ya know?

Good on you Matt. That was brilliant. You’ve taken yet another step into…oh wait…John is calling me, needs to talk, he says.

OK, well, I’m going to ground myself and disconnect. I need to get your husband a beer, and I really need to get these fucking shoes off.

Matt, did you really walk seventeen point three miles today?

Yes I did Patrice. It was awful and I’m currently feeling all fifty-five of my years, and then some.

John wants me to come over and talk to you Matt.

What?! You, Patrice? Why you?

He feels that he may have upset you.

He did, Patrice. But that still doesn’t explain why he wants you to come over.

John seems to think that I’ll be able to smooth things over and you’ll come to dinner.

Patrice, I really don’t know if…

Shhhh….Matthew, just, let me come over. I’ll tell John it may take a bit, but I think I can smooth things over.

Patrice, this is weird as hell him sending you over, whom he just accused me of having an affair with. I’m on edge here.

Ground yourself Matt. Grab that beer, and I’ll drink it when I get there.

Patrice wait. Patrice?

“Fuck!” I said aloud.

She’s disconnecting. I could feel the tingly feeling in my back partially unwinding. She was already grounding herself.

I was still standing in the doorway, holding my keys and lunchbox. I felt so alone in the moment. Only recently had I, by some fluke of nature, acquired the ability to speak with anyone, any time, anywhere in the world, and yet at that precise moment I’d never felt more alone.

It didn’t help matters that, for the first six months after discovering my ability, I’d been talking, via thought alone, to a someone who originally told me that they were on the other side of the world. But as it turns out, this distant and seemingly completely harmless someone was actually less than fifty feet away the entire time. Patrice. And boy oh boy, once we discovered who each other actually was, did the tone and topics of the conversations ever change. The small talk and vagaries were gone. She was suddenly a firebrand, passionate, but a rogue, a rebel and downright nasty at times: and I don’t mean just and only sexual stuff either. For the last four months, she had toyed with me and psychologically beaten on me relentlessly. I had no idea what to make of any of it. Still don’t. Perhaps she’ll explain it someday if I can keep myself from tying cinder blocks to my feet and jumping into a lake.

You’re drifting again Matt. You really should ground before some sneaky someone you don’t know tries to connect.

I reached up with the hand holding my key ring, and selected the key that allowed itself to be singled out, as which key I used did not matter. This time it was the key to my one and only padlock.

I don’t even know where in the hell that padlock is, I thought to myself. No idea why I still have the key to it on my key ring.

No response from Patrice, nor anyone else for that matter, doesn’t feel like anyone else is connected nor trying to connect, so now all that remained was for me to close the current connection completely.

I reached out with the key, and touched it to the metal screw holding the face-plate cover to the light switch on the wall. Almost immediately, I could feel the somewhat diminished ball of coursing energy in my back begin to unwind like electrically charged noodles being slurped out via my head and feet, and then vanish completely.

I pulled the key away from the screw; disconnected. With little very little gusto and no thanks given to the key for its additional service, I hung my key ring on the key rack above the light switch, and retreated inward to get my shoes off my aching feet.

* * *

The doorbell rang and my hands suddenly went clammy.

How should I greet her? Should I shake her hand? Just say hello and immediately hand her a beer, while shuffling myself outside so that she does not attempt to come in? Should I go out into my backyard, toss the beer over the roof and into the front yard, and cry ‘My mom says I can’t come out to play right now, but there’s your beer crazy woman! Just like you like it! Shaken and stirred and every other fucking thing!’

It was just now dawning on me that, not only did I not really know my neighbor Patrice, we had never really spoken before. Not at any length, and most certainly never alone. Well, not ‘in person’ anyway. And most of the “remote” stuff was so scattered, unintelligible and seemingly pointless that the fact we’d been speaking almost non-stop for ten months, now too felt more like we’d never spoken at all.

Should I check my breath? Wait a second Matt…this isn’t a date. Relax.

Only now did a calmness fall upon me. The absolute absurdity of being thrown into a tangent over nothing at all. I was rattled over basically, nothing. A married woman is standing at my door, ringing the bell, because her husband, my neighbor, not fifteen minutes ago accused me of having an affair with his wife, the woman in question is now standing at my door, and he now wants her to smooth things over so I’ll come to dinner with them. Simple. I had not a damn thing to worry about. Except…

Patrice and I have not spoken in person about our, less than conventional conversations. Wait, that doesn’t sound very good at all. “Less than conventional’ sounds exactly like what John was just accusing me of.

The doorbell rang again. My chest started to tighten.

Holy hell. It’d never occurred to me that myself and Patrice had not yet talked in person about our abilities. What if…oh my God…what if all this time, I wasn’t actually communicating telepathically with Patrice. What if some malicious asshole with psychic powers has been toying with me this entire time, and passing it off as if I was speaking to a neighbor because of some clue I’ve given away. Some game psychics play to amuse themselves, similar to a cat playing with a mouse.

I felt a very cold chill at the base of my neck, and for the first time in a very long time, I actually felt afraid. My mind was awash and digging through the memory banks for the last time that I’d even seen Patrice, let alone talked to her.

A knock now at the door. They are getting impatient and require a response. Doorbells fail, malfunction and sometimes just go unheard, but not knocks.

Face the music Matt. Grab a beer, this very second, then go answer the door.

“Hey Patrice. How are you?” I attempted to sound as nonchalant as possible as I pushed open the outward-facing glass door and made my way outside.

“Hello Matt. Is that beer for me? Or you.”

I could not tell if she was being playfully ignorant or not, so I just played it as cool as humanly possible for now.

“Why don’t you have a seat on the porch swing, I’ll sit in this chair here opposite you, and we can figure out who this beer is for.”

“Oh, OK, well, I hadn’t planned on staying long, but I guess I can sit for a moment Matt.”

“Whatever you want to do is fine Patrice,” I said while trying not to allow my face to twist with a confused look. “It’s just that I don’t think you’ve ever come over here before, so I guess I just assumed maybe you came to talk a bit, considering the circumstances and recent events.”

Patrice sat on the porch swing opposite me, and once she was seated I chose one of the four porch bar-chairs that were place around a small round table I’d picked up at a garage sale a few years back. The table was small, the chairs uncomfortable and I’d really only purchased the set as decoration as I had no friends to speak of and almost never had guests. For once, the table would come in handy and I placed the unopened can of beer on it.

Hands folded in her lap, Patrice was looking at me almost impatiently as if waiting for me to situate myself. For the first time I noticed that she had very beautiful blue crystalline eyes. I tended not to like blue eyes very much, crystalline blue even less, but in this case they suited her. She was attractive. I snapped out of my study of her form as it suddenly occurred to me that I was in great danger.

My heart was pumping at this point. Not from lust, nor anger, nor even fear nor any other emotion I could think of…this was a feeling of confusion that I’ve never before felt, and it was causing my heart a stress it had never before known. Not even twelve years ago when my wife of eighteen years told me she was through with me and my broken self, did my heart suffer this kind of trauma.

“Matt,” Patrice’s voice snapped me out of my waking coma, “John just told me about what happened earlier, and I must tell you that I am horrified.”

“I admit that I am quite confused as to exactly what just transpired Patrice.”

“Did he really shout out in a very loud voice from across the yard something about pedophiles to you?”

The bottom of the entire Universe just fell out from under me.

“Um, pedophiles?” I was trying to hold it together, but it was now clear that this slimy asshole is playing some kind of twisted game with me. He basically assaults me over adultery with his wife, and he goes home and makes up some bullshit story about a very in poor taste joke, completely omitting the adultery parts? “Yeah Patrice he did, and I guess he was trying to make a joke about the pedometer that I have to wear for work. It wasn’t very funny, was in poor taste, and I admit it upset me. Perhaps more than it should, but I do have to wear this thing every single work day, and to be completely honest and open, his comment is likely going to haunt me for some time for that very reason.”

“Well, I’m sorry that it upset you Matt, but that’s really not my concern nor why I came over,” Patrice said rather flatly.

The entire Universe just exploded. This is the kind of sick twisted games that my ex-wife used to play. Say, anything. Do, anything. Nothing, matters. She, held all the cards, she, was the dealer, and I had to play her games and take whatever she dealt out because I had nothing and no one in all creation, except for her. I was nothing more than a dislodged piece of navel lint in a wind storm.

“Matt, are you okay?” Patrice suddenly sounded exactly like her husband.

“I am contemplating what you’ve said,” I fired back calmly. “Were you expecting me to say something?”

“I guess maybe I expected you to ask me why I came over.”

“You’ve mentioned that you’re aware of something your husband said to me.”

“Yes, but that’s not the real reason I came over.”

“You said that already, Patrice.”

“Matt, are you angry about something?”

The alarm bells were most certainly going off now, full tilt, and this was absolutely turning into a life and death situation.

“Patrice, perhaps you should just tell me what you need since I don’t know you that well, and I’m certainly not a mind-reader.”

Patrice did not really react to my statement, but strangely reached around behind her back, and produced a large, letter-sized envelope. She leaned forward and offered it to me.

“Oh, haha, a mind-reader!” she said in an obviously forced tone, whilst simultaneously urging me with her eyes to take the envelope. “Me and John went to see a mind-reader once, except this one was a hypnotizer. Is that right? Hypnotizer?”

“Hypnotist,” I corrected her as I leaned forward and took the envelope. “I’m quite sure that hypnotists are those who hypnotize people for various reasons.”

A look of relief crossed Patrice’s face as I took the envelope from her hand, and I fell face-first into whatever new game she was now playing.

“Well, me and John went to this show where a hypnotist would pick people from the audience.” After finishing her thought, Patrice raised her hands in an mock envelope-opening type motion, implying that I should open it now, here, in her presence. “Anyway, John of course volunteered us both, and we both got to go up on stage and get hypnotized.”

Only moments before, my fear levels had just about caused my entire existence to seize and stop entirely, but now there was suddenly this strange feeling of…clarity. Perhaps everything leading up to this very moment in time was some kind of test to see if I could in any way handle the horrors that were almost sure to materialize from this envelope’s contents.

I noticed that Patrice was arching her eyebrows as if to hurry me along. I looked for a moment deeply into her eyes, and that gloomy image which was beginning to form of Patrice being John’s soulmate or clone or whatever it was had disappeared. Odd that it continued to rattle on outwardly as I peeled back the flap on the envelope and produced what appeared to be no less than five folded pages.

“John barked like a chicken and clucked like a dog.”

I had only just started to open the letter when it struck me what Patrice had just said.

“He barked like a chicken and clucked like a dog? Don’t you mean that he barked like a dog and clucked like a chicken Patrice?”

“That’s what the hypnotist said Matt. He told John to bark like a chicken and cluck like a dog. I don’t know how John did it, but he did.”

“That’s…frightening, Patrice. I don’t even want to know…”

‘GROUND YOURSELF RIGHT NOW!’

The first line of the first page jumped off the paper and hit me like a lightning bolt. Instinctively I started to reach down and grab one of the metal legs on the small table, but my survival instincts kicked in and I resisted the urge, thinking that this may be a trap of some kind. But almost as quickly as I began to doubt, I remember the odd feelings that I’ve felt during the processes of being grounded, ungrounded and The Connection. Being both an electrician and a semi-amateur radio enthusiast, there are things that have been happening over the past ten months that I can in no way begin to explain.

I looked up from the letter and at Patrice. She gave a small nod, and there was a calmness to her being which provided just enough assurance for me to throw caution to the wind and play along. Knowing that the table’s legs were a poor ground, I reached out and grabbed one anyway and continued to read as Patrice continued to ramble.

“I don’t really remember being hypnotized, but everyone said I was. They said I got trapped in a box that wasn’t there, and I couldn’t get out.”

‘Dear Matthew,

For the time being, please read down only to where it says ‘STOP HERE!’, keep reading until you get there, and I’ll ramble on about hypnotists in the meantime. Also, keep your hand firmly wrapped around that metal leg on the table until we finish here, and please do not begin to wonder internally how I know all of this. I do, and answers will come later.’

“John says that he can remember being hypnotized, and he can remember everything he did, but I don’t remember anything at all,” Patrice continued. “He says he only did what he was told because he knew he was part of the act. But me? He says that I was absolutely terrified and screaming. He said I really honestly thought that I was trapped in a box even though there was no box.”

‘We are both of us in great danger because of our, ‘gifts’. I would ask that you, later at some point this evening, find yourself a proper grounding point, and read the remainder of this letter ONLY when grounded. I will go ahead and tell you that I am a beard. My marriage is an arranged sham so that my husband can collect his inheritance, and myself and John will not be married much longer as he is already arranging the divorce and planning to move to somewhere in Java. I will of course get a piece of his inheritance as payment for services tendered over the past fifteen years of marriage. More on that later though. The Great Magician is awake, and I have reason to believe that The Great Magician has somehow found the both of us…meaning you and I. Does this mean anything to you? I am so very sorry for all of this. Hopefully, the rest of the letter will better explain what I know, and what I don’t. P

STOP HERE!

A quick thumb through the sheets indicated that this letter was approximately eight pages long. Visions of Armageddon suddenly swirled in my head as my mind flashed back to the horrible tales of the end times taught me in church as a youth. But that’s exactly what this moment felt like. I felt like I had just walked out of the sunshine and green grasses onto the burning and bloody fields of Megiddo, and me right in the big middle of the fighting between the warring factions of good and evil.

“Which reminds me, Matt. John did ask me to tell you that he was sorry about his joke he made earlier, but the real reason that I came over was I wanted to know if I could borrow a cup of milk. I’m making John some cornbread for dinner, and I need some milk.”

“Patrice,” I said calmly, looking up from the letter. “Did you know that you can substitute beer for milk in certain baked goods?”

Patrice’s face was aghast. Honestly, aghast and unknowing. I’d hit her with a curve-ball.

“Really?” she said.

I folded the letter and thoughtfully placed it back into the envelope, before sliding the envelope into my shirt pocket as I stood.

“Yeah really really. I have a beer sitting right here, which I am going to give you. I’m going to go inside and get you…how much milk do you need?”

“I only needed one cup of milk. Whole milk if you have it,” she said rather sheepishly.

“Okay Patrice, I’m going to go inside and get you one cup of whole milk, and if you decide that you would like to give the beer a whirl, only use half of a cup of the milk in your cornbread, and use a half of a cup of the beer in substitution for the other half-cup of milk.”

“Will that really work?” Patrice asked disbelievingly. “What…what does this do?

“It gives the cornbread a bit of a different flavor is all. Better in biscuits, but it works with cornbread too. And you’ll have exactly four ounces of beer leftover you can sip on if you want.”

“Sure Matt, I’ll…give that a try. Thank you. Do I need…”

“This beer has already gotten kinda warm,” I said, not letting her finish. “Just make sure you allow it get a little warmer before adding it to the mix. I’ll be right back with your milk.”

I retreated into the house thinking that I had no idea what answers, if any, Patrice’s letter might contain. At this point, it was apparent that her rather substantial looking letter was more likely to contain mystery than clarity. One thing was certain though, I’d had just about enough of being at the mercy of the whims of an assembly of douchebag neighbors and cryptic mystics playing their god games. It was time for me to stop being a leaf in the wind, get serious, and hit the books to start researching this insanity. It was time that I become the storm.

Right after I get Patrice her milk, of course.

*******

*Wait. he tweets out ‘it’s Friday once again’ each week, Clicky… /stubs butt… Doesn’t he?*

*Ah, ya got me…*

We hope you have enjoyed today’s post. If you’d like to read Cade’s story in proper book form, as well as 12 other short stories and a substantial poem from a variety of authors, then Underdog Anthology XIV is available for a staggeringly low price…

*You could get a full set of Underdog Anthologies for well under twenty quid. That’s fantastic value…*

Until next time, Dear Reader, have a Song 😀