West End Love for All the East End Girls…

“So, are we doing this or what?” He asks me for the thirteenth time in the last five minutes. “We need to do this,” he reminds me once again. “We or you need to do this?” I ask barely looking away from my phone. “I’ll slap that thing right out of your hands,” he threatens. “I’m sure you will,” I sigh but I’m not putting away my phone. “Look you need to do this. You are in a rut,” he pauses rethinking his words. “No, you are stuck in some ditch in the middle of nothing town,” he declares. Should have thought harder I think to myself. “Well, I’m not stuck anywhere. I am choosing to be in the middle of nothing town because I want to be,” I let him know. “No one chooses to be in nothing town. Someone chooses it for them or they are there by happenstance,” he tries to recover. “Fun fact I am someone and this is where I have chosen to be,” I say in an abrupt tone signaling I am done with this conversation.

“Okay fine, I need this,” he concedes. “Now will you come with me?” I shake my head no.  “I need a second you know that,” he whines. “I’m not dragging my ass across town. I’m just not,” I proclaim once again. “I’m not shitting where I eat,” he admits. “Never stopped you before. I’m pretty sure your bathroom is right next to the dining area in that trash apartment,” I joke. But then I realize what this is really about. I have the nicer apartment. What a little snake, I think to myself. “Okay, you have me there. Correction I have shit too much where I eat. Is that better,” he smiles trying to get on my good side. “Didn’t we just go out the other night?” I ask deciding on a different way to get out of this other than pointing out I am better off than him. “Yeah, but you are single now. So, we can go out more. Maybe even twice a week,” he suggests. “Twice a week?” I ask my eyes growing wide. “That’s pushing it don’t you think?”

Before I know it I am driving his ass to the other side of town to haunt the usual spots. We don’t come here much anymore and for good reason. He tries to hand me a bottle from under his jacket. “Are you kidding me right now?” I ask pissed off. “Do you have any idea how many cops are staked out on this side of town,” I bark. “That’s what makes it even more fun,” he tells me before taking a swig. I shake my head as he puts the cap back on. “Just a little pre-gaming,” he smirks putting the bottle back in his inside jacket pocket. “You need to learn to find your center without alcohol,” I tell him. “Yes, Master,” he claps his hands together and lowers his head. Not amused I keep on driving and ignoring him. “I’m seeing a lot of ladies that should be having my baby,” he quotes excited behind the glass. If he wasn’t my only friend I wouldn’t hang out with him either.

“No one should be having any of your children ever, Jackson.” That is a fact for a lifetime. “It’s lyrics to a song. I don’t literally want a child, ever,” he rolls his eyes in annoyance at my lack of excitement for this evening. “Could you imagine?” He asks staring out the window. “I mean how does someone like me, like us, not literally carve the child right out of the womb?” He ponders into his reflection. His voice turning cold as it often does at times like these. “Could you imagine how boring it would be to wait for the thing to come out? Then have to actively try to keep it alive,” he shivers. “Plenty of our kind do it all the time,” I remind him. “Yeah, because they don’t know what they are,” he says turning to me. “I take it you have decided?” I ask looking over to him. “Yeah, I think I have,” he returns his gaze to the streets. “Let’s get ourselves a pregnant one,” he grins. His sinister smile reflecting back to him in the rolled up window.

Layne Ambrose

Beyond the End…

“Despite purified air, despite not going out for months, despite no human contact in over a year, and despite a diet balanced out to be everything that my body needs. I have become sick. I have become infected with something I have to silently suffer with. Alone and isolated I lost everything and yet I still managed to pack everything for this exact scenario. I have planned every possible outcome of everything. The architect of my own demise. How could I have been so careless? They warned me long ago but I didn’t listen. I didn’t think it was possible. Chasing darkness into the night. Should have known better. Should have been better than to question the idea of immorality. I dreamed of immorality but what is it really? It is nothing more than infinite knowledge and a never-ending legacy of pain and sorrow. Threw it all away. Should have let the idea of death take over. Would I be human then if I had?

I am well suited for immorality since anything that mattered died a long time ago. I’ve given up on the idea of humanity. Become more like God than I’d like to admit. I am as if I am immortal though only time will tell how long it will last. Time and days are a human idea. Immorality and life are God ideas, but where and what are you when stuck in between the crossroads of God and man? I can create and destroy anything I wish by shaping this reality. Shaping another’s reality. I am my own God and my own savior, but will I also be my own end? The question fills my heart with no answers. The isolation proves theories I thought were only myths. There is no God greater than the sun. There is nothing beyond the stars but more darkness. There is no true meaning of life beyond the end. Not when we can control it ourselves. I’ve unleashed the end of all things to come. Now is the time for me to enjoy the end. For we are our own damn God’s.”

“End of transmission,” the computer states. “But there is no body?” A solider questions. His uniform the same as the rest. “Then we have to assume he is still out there. We must find him. As long as he lives, he holds the power to end it all,” his superior says. “So, it is true then. He is the source. He is the God of all of us?” The young solider questions. “There is no God only the devil. This man is no architect of our creation or our end,” their leader barks. “He is nothing more than a virus. A sickness we have been trained and created to get rid of. We will find him and put a stop to all of this. Now let’s move out,” he orders. 

Valerie Hannigan

A Story Never Told…

“What the hell are you even doing up at this hour?” A voice asks with a yawn. I bang on the door harder and harder. “Ain’t no one want to see you in there. Hell, I see you and I don’t even want to,” the homeless man moans. “Shut up you stupid vagrant. As a matter of fact, someone in there really does want to see me,” I inform him. “Oh, really? That why you have been out here for a better part of an hour messing up my sleep? The only fact I see around here is that no one wants your ass around. So, why don’t you go ahead and give it a rest and I can get some myself. Got an early morning believe it or not. I’m a very busy man,” the homeless man mumbles into his filth ridden pillow.

I stop banging on the door and I’m ready to bang on something else. I raise my fists, “One more word old man and I’ll see to it that you get plenty of rest.” The homeless man giggles. He giggles at me. I can feel my anger and frustration rising. “Don’t go starting trouble when troubles already found you. Take my advice. I didn’t end up here by design,” the man preaches. I start to take the steps down to his garbage bed when a familiar sweet voice takes a hold. “He’s right you know?” Her voice cutting through the commotion. All I wanted from her was an acknowledgement that I was even there. “I’ll ring you in. I guess we need to talk,” she says from the second-floor window. I turn back towards the door.

“Are you sure Miss Kelly?” The vagrant asks. “Of course, she is sure,” I snap at the man. “There you go starting trouble again. I ain’t afraid of you. Honestly, I ain’t got nothing left to lose,” the homeless man smiles a toothless grin before putting up his fists. “Yes, I’m sure Frank, but if I change my mind,” she begins to say. “I’ll be right here miss Kelly,” Frank finishes for her. She smiles and moves away from the window. Moments later I hear the sound of the door buzzing and I head inside. Frank lies back down on his makeshift bed, “Can’t get no peace and quiet. Thoughts this was a good neighborhood. God damn kids with their pointless drama. You want a challenge. Try washing your ass with no water. That right there is a situation.”

I ascend the stairs rapidly. A flight of stairs in an instant. There is much to say and who knows how long to say it. The door is cracked and waiting for me when I get there. I take in a large breath. Be cool Miles. Be cool I tell myself one more time before knocking on the door. She is waiting just on the other side as I enter. “May I ask what is so important you have to disturb me and the whole neighborhood at 3 am?” She starts right at the door way. There are so many things that I want to say. All at once, but only one thing I should say. “I’m sorry.”  

“Sorry for what? What you did or disturbing everyone? Because only one of those things can be fixed with an, I’m sorry,” she says. “I’m sorry for all of it. I’m sorry I’m here so late disturbing you and everyone else. I’m sorry for what I did earlier. I’m sorry for a lot of things,” I say searching for my words. “Yes, you should be,” she informs me watching my reaction. “I’m afraid, your sorry has come too late. Unfortunately, the words are useless at this point and are no longer any good here,” she pauses for a moment to let it sink in. Her eyes trapping the light from the hallway within. Her eyes look different than the times before. Something so different than the times before.

“Kelly please,” I interrupt. “Kelly please what? Forgive you again and again? Damnit Miles you can’t just keep messing up and thinking I will forgive you later for it. You can only play a song so many times before it becomes background noise,” her eyes like fire now. I step closer to her. I let her speak her mind and now I have to try the one move I have left. If I can get her in my arms, I know she will change her mind. I’m greeted by an open hand on my chest, “Not this time Miles. We are done,” she says sternly. “This is the last time I swear,” I reach for the hand on my chest. She quickly moves it away before I can even touch her one last time.

“You said that two times ago and every time before. Let me say this so you understand. I am done and this is the last time I am going to tell you.” She locks eyes with me. “But?” I try to say. I’m at a loss of words. “It’s time for you to leave and I’m not asking. I’m telling you,” she commands with her finger extended towards the stairs. I look her in the eyes one last time before doing as I was told. There comes a time in any battle where winning is losing either way. I put us here and know damn well I’ll only do it again. There is only one thing to do. I turn and walk my new path. I hear the door close behind me and the door’s lock click over as I reach the stairs. “I didn’t mean it,” I say to an empty audience. From behind the door, she breathes a heavy, “I know,” before her held back tears fall to the ground.

I leave the apartment building at the slowest of speeds. Lost in thought. What have I done this time? What have I given up for nothing? Questions I only have excuses for but no answers. I pass by the vagrant known only as Frank. “Out on your ass I see. You ain’t the only one. Join the club as they say,” he lets out a small laugh. The street goes silent as I walk down the block. A coldness washes over me from inside. Where I am to go from here. I really don’t know.

M.T. Billings

Wait and See…

I’m startled awake confused as to where I am and where I should be. I can feel the bang of the door as much as I think I can hear it. “I’m going already. Give it a rest,” I shout but they don’t care. The door rattles with every strike. Must mean something to bang this damn long. I try to get up and at first it seems that I am having the hardest of times. Everything seems out of place in my brain as I. There’s no other way to describe what happens to me next. No way other than I rise up? A ghostly outline of my former self. Neither here nor there or anywhere to be exact. I watch over my lifeless shell. Who I used to be? Who I am now? Who I will be forever? Confusion doesn’t even begin to explain the feelings of everything that is happening. My door bursts open. No more banging. 

The first emergency responder to rush into my tiny studio apartment seems as though he is caught between two places. Nervousness and excitement flashes across his face in a slow motion that plays out in rapid speed. His partner half a step behind him. Their heavy bags land with a thud next to my bed, next to me. What is left of me? One of them picks up the phone next to my vessel’s hand. Says a few words I cannot understand as I once did, and hangs up the phone. The other man searches for a pulse. Finding nothing of course they begin chest compressions. The difference between life and whatever this is, is only a second but I imagine every second counts at this point. I imagine what is left of my time counts for something when a life is on the line. Try as they might the only fight left is the battle within themselves. They aren’t willing to let go. Not like my body has. I’ve made my peace as I watch them fail. As I watch the needle fall from my arm and onto the floor. I’ve made my peace I think though it would seem that I haven’t. A by stander to my own end and a shitty narrator to my new beginning.

If God is real, he is nothing more than a trickster. Proving a point that only the dead could understand. Even if everything feels like a dream or a shitty nightmare played out in my head. Is this real? Is this the high or something else? The two EMTs fight and fight to bring me back. I wonder why I didn’t do the same. Why do they care so much when I didn’t? I want to make them stop. Tell them thank you but I did this, and it is what I deserve. We die, I died, the end. What’s really left to say? A lifeless corpse with shit in his veins. How else was this going to end? Is this the way I wanted it? Sure, why not? Had to happen at some point or another. Death waits for no one or nothing. More so when you play with it like I have. This is what I deserve and they don’t deserve to watch it all fold out. Embracing my new beginning. Embracing what comes next it would appear that this was all only a warning. A second look at what it is that I have done. Something draws me back to my vessel. Tells me to lay back down. Not a thought or an idea the feeling is beyond my understanding to explain. I do what it is I feel I must.

Maybe if I lie back down. Lay perfectly still the two parts will become whole once more? Nothing left to lose any more. I try to recreate the position my body is in on the bed. What comes next is nothing short of a rebirth. The feeling of waking up after a long slumber as I spring back to life. Gasping for air and for the first time in what feels like forever I feel it. I feel it all. The tears flow down my face as I look into their eyes. Euphoric at first and then nothing but pain. Startled and relieved I grab the collar of the EMT closest to me, “Thank you.” Thank you is all I have to say. Thank you for what however we will just have to wait and see.

Valerie Hannigan

I’ve never done drugs nor have I ever been on the verge of death. I don’t know anyone who has almost died or died and then came back. This isn’t a very personal story though I suppose it could be. Because I may not know of anyone who has died and came back. I do know a drug addict or two. We don’t speak. Don’t need that shit around my children or in my life. No one needs that garbage in their lives. Life is never easy and why anyone would want to make it any harder than it already is, is beyond me. People will do what they do though for whatever reason they think they should do it. I’m not above it myself. I’m not better than every other walking asshole on earth. I got my own set of problems that need to be dealt with on a daily basis. Reflection and thinking past the now is the only advice I can give. It is the only thing that works for me. Could I use an escape? A fucking break from the chaos that is my children? I bet their little souls I could. The now. But when the vacation is over? When their soulless bodies are resting in my arms. What new chaos am I facing? How will my life be then? Peaceful.

Got lost in a fantasy there for a second. My life would be shit. Still here, but a little worse. Do it again and again, and what do you think will be left? Everyone wants to run away from their problems. But no matter how far you run they are still going to be right there. Dealing with them, accepting the challenge is the only way to get over them. Not the easiest of solutions. Not what anyone wants to hear. Cheat codes are the best way to play any video game until you’ve rode out the codes for everything they are. Then that game is trash and all you want is something new. The game isn’t what you can do at the end, but what we did to get there. Or something like that…

Sympathetic to Your Needs…

“Am I being recorded?”
“I hope you don’t mind. It is for journalistic purposes. Try to not let it affect you or your responses. Best to think of it not being there.”
“Okay.”
“So you wanted to tell me something about where you work and how it pertains to my story?”
“You won’t publish my name right?”

“Click,” I insert another tape.

“From my perspective, I don’t see why racism in America is even happening. I mean at what point do we move past it and grow as people?”
“I’m not too sure. That is why I am working on this piece. I want to find out what real Americans think about racism.”
“How many real Americans have you interviewed so far?”
“Quite a few. All walks of life, but I want to hear your side of the issue.”

“Click,” I insert another tape.

“I have been doing this a number of years.”
“Seems like it can be difficult talking to people. I’m not sure I could do such a thing.”
“It can be at times. The hardest part is staying objective to the subject at hand. Often find that there is way too much excessive talking. It becomes a distraction.”
“What is that?”
“Oh, this? This is nothing.”

“Click,” I insert another tape.

“Are you even a real reporter?”
“Of course I am.”
The sound of weeping. “Why are you doing this?”

“Click,” I insert another tape.

“You shot her in the fucking face. You sick fuck.”
The sound of rustling. “Just wait and see what I do to you.”
The sound of choking, sounds of a struggle. A faint whisper,” Please… help…”

“Click,” I eject the tape. “How many are there?” I ask. “How many what? Tapes or victims?” My partner asks. “Either,” I say as I put my cigarette out. I leave it resting in the ashes. Burying it with the others. “Hundreds of tapes, but we are still unsure of the number of victims. Been doing this for years. Some of the tapes are legitimate interviews as you heard. Others are as close to being there as you can get. I mean let your imagination run wild.” He stares at me as I light another one. I offer him one from the pack and he declines. “It makes you wonder why? Even after all these years on the force. Still left with the same question,” I reach for another tape. “The answer isn’t there or in any of these tapes,” my partner assures me. “No, but there are facts and facts lead to answers.”

“Do you think that this will make me famous?”
“It has been my experience that anything can bring you attention. But not all attention is good attention. To answer your question though. In this case, it might.” The sound of a power drill coming to life and screams washes over the recording.

M.T. Billings

Merch… Teespring… Books… Amazon… Broken Thoughts… Twitter

Beginning of All Things to End…

“Things went from bad to worse,” he says as they walk down the long corridor. “What do you mean?” One of his colleagues asks. “Most importantly they are being taken to the facility right now to insure there will be a future them,” he says ignoring the question all together. “Doesn’t matter there won’t be,” another colleague responds. They move quickly through the corridor making sure no one sees them. “Sure, maybe not now but twenty or thirty years from now when they have figured it out. It will be the end of the world,” the leader lays out. They arrive at an unmarked door. Looking around he inserts his key card, “Quickly we don’t have much time. The cameras have already alerted them, I’m sure.”

The three of them enter the room. “We need to erase whatever we can,” the leader says. “What are we even really doing here?” One of them asks. They walk through the stacks of tanks. Each one containing what looks to be a fetus. “Trust me they won’t have cloning figured out by then. Cloning doesn’t work now and by the time it does it’ll be two hundred or more years from now. And even by then none of them will be relevant beyond history books,” a colleague states unsure of his own predictions. “Exactly, we need to stop them now. These are all nothing more than failures. But the potential each container contains. This is where it all starts. This is where we have to make our stand,” the leader assures them.

“Your fear of that future is irrelevant. Some other monster will take their place,” one of them proclaims. They begin pulling electrical board after board as the tanks switch to back up power. “We will impact the next fifty years by our actions today. We fucked up already letting them go into hiding. Who knows exactly how much information they were able to collect behind our backs?” The leader admits. “Doesn’t matter they won’t have us when all this is over. The others will find them and do their part. Same as before. This won’t be over but you’re right we can slow it down.”

The lights begin to flash as the backup systems trigger from the disturbance. “We are in the final moments of our chance to do your part. Destroy whatever you can,” the leader orders. They split up and rush through the room pulling board after board. Quickly they pull what they can as they hear the door open and the boots of their oppressors marching through. “Use extreme force,” they hear someone order before they hear the sound of bullets breaking glass. The sounds of screaming and death soon to follow.

The floor becomes saturated in more than just blood as the last one of the resistances takes their final breath. A solider walks over to their dying body. “If you do the devil’s work then you are,” a bullet to the head silences the room. “Sweep the room, recover the bodies, and report back,” the solider orders. The others do as they are told. Dragging the bodies of the dead to the center of the room. The sound of the door opening again fills the room. The sound of footsteps on glass follows.

“Report,” a man in a white coat demands. “All deserters accounted for and terminated. Zero causalities on our side. They were unarmed. Damage unknown. Believed to be minimal,” the solider reports. “Good job. Could have been executed sooner, but good job none the less,” the man in the coat says. “Thank you, sir,” the solider responds. “Now if we can figure out how they were able to bypass their programming?” The man in the white coat questions out loud.

M.T. Billings

What Can We Say…

“The world shatters around me. Falling shards of a broken mirror reflecting all the past actions of my life. Regret is something that can only happen after everything is said and done. How I wish I could take them all back, but I can’t. Each broken shard plunges into me and through all the pain. Through all the despair all I have left is tears and regrets. Open wounds that will never heal and maybe that is for the best. I’ve wasted too much time already on what if. Maybe now is the time to move on from all the pain and anguish. I’m not trying to justify my sins or the things I have done. I am only trying to move on, take credit for the things that I have done. In the past where they should stay. Stealing, robbing, threating, and who knows what else can’t be undone. Maybe it is time I told my tale. Confessed my part in everything that has unfolded in all these years. Maybe it is time.” The cold barrel presses against the back of his head.

Laying in a pool of his own blood the words fade away into nothing. No one leaves this world the way they envision. You either leave willingly shitting yourself until it is your time or you get put down like a dog. Rabid useless monster you never knew you’d become. Turn states evidence. Turn up dead. You signed the contract before it was written. One in the same. Only one of us was stupid enough to try and live. The other as stupid as the day we met. The point is to keep your mouth shut.

“Your debt is paid. You have proved your loyalty,” his voice as grime as the day we were introduced. “What does that mean?” I ask him. “You are free,” he smiles. I stare into his eyes. The gun still heavy in my hands. A weight that I can’t understand. “Like I asked. What does that mean?” He never blinks only stares back at me with those cold dead eyes, “It means that you and I never need to see each other again. Your husband’s debt is paid. We will take care of the rest.” I refuse to look away. Gripping the pistol tighter. My husband’s blood still splattered against my face. “Unless you would care to join him?” He asks me as though the question is really an option. I know as soon as I turn my back, he will kill me. My husband told me everything about this man, this monster. Never trust a monster.

“You going to stand there all night?” he asks me. Slowly I back away from him. Making my way towards the door. I want to speak, but it is only a waste of words. I back into something heavy. It doesn’t move as I step away from it. “You know I could use someone like you. A cold-hearted woman such as yourself,” he states. The heavy figure grabs me from behind “I know I could find a good use for her,” the heavy figure says into my ear. I know better than to struggle. The gun still in my hand, “I want no part of what you are selling.” He finally looks away waving his hand as he does. The figure lets me go. “I think you do,” he states. “I think you are at least curious to what I have to offer you,” he pulls a contract from his jacket pocket.

“You think of me as a monster and you are right. But it goes much deeper than that. I don’t care that your husband went to the authorities. Doesn’t even matter. None of this even matters. You taking my offer or not doesn’t even matter,” he picks up the pen from my husband’s desk. “We both know that it is too late for you to take another path. You’ve already chosen in fact. So, this can end in only one way. Work for me. Replace your weak husband as one of my own,” his eyes light up and smoke pours out of his mouth. “What about my children?” I ask the monster.

“They are already gone. As I stated before you are free. One last parting gift from your dearly departed husband,” he laughs in a cold methodical tone. I raise the weapon at the desk. He stops his laughing and stares me down once again. I fire two bullets into the back of my husband. The anger of all that I lost shaking me to the core. He doesn’t even blink, doesn’t move at the sound of the gun discharging. “Where do you want me to sign,” I sigh.

M.T. Billings

When the devil comes knocking there isn’t much else left to say.

Merch… Teespring… Books… Amazon… Broken Thoughts… Twitter

Do It All Again…

The rain comes down hard as it beats against my cardboard house like a drum. It upsets me at first, but then I remember I wanted to move anyway. Nothing truly upsets me anymore. Nothing outside of the wastefulness of the people that surround me where ever I go. Town after town. City after city. They waste their time all day doing nothing only to come home to more nothing. Though I suppose If it wasn’t for the wastefulness of people, I wouldn’t have the cardboard boxes I like to call home or the cheap cigarettes to smoke when I can. It is such a strange relationship that I have with these others. A necessary evil I suppose. Even if it makes me angry at just how stupid they are.

My neighbors got a TV, but it doesn’t work. Doesn’t bother him much as he stares at the blank screen for hours pretending it’s some show he watched as a child. I don’t miss television much or the movies for that matter. Too many lies sown deep within the bright lights. It’s all just a bunch of made-up drama or stupid comedies about nothing. I miss the sense of family though if I’m being honest with myself. Since I broke away from everything all I have had is time, to be honest with myself. A truly horrifying scenario I live through each and every day. Watching the “world” pass me by. A world where we cast aside everything for nothing at all. I remember the days that I rushed through only to get to the end. Always wanting more sleep. Always wanting something more. I don’t miss that need even if I still have the feeling.

Endless days give away to endless ideas of what life could be. Life has always been the same thing though. An endless nothing without a purpose. I suppose there is no right way to live a life. The words I write like a cave man on the sides of my box begin to bleed. Raining harder and harder upon my home. Though the feelings brought up right now make me feel a bit sad it is all temporary. I don’t miss much about the normal life. The tied down feeling that all of it had is what led me to this. A thousand years ago I would have been an explorer, an honored man.

May have even had my own day of celebration like that asshole Christopher Columbus. My own special day where everyone got the day off. A day for people to celebrate me with a shopping spree or stuffing their faces with as much food that their bodies couldn’t handle. It is all a waste I tell you. All of it. It all comes back to this thought. Even not existing seems like a waste at times. I go on just as they do. Just as we are meant to. When the storm passes, I’ll take what isn’t ruined. Start my search for dry boxes. Start all over again. I guess that’s what the real life is like only with more crap. Keep on wasting time only to do it all again.

M.T. Billings

I like the idea of living in a van or box down by the river, but only if it still gets wifi. I am also going to need AC, a bed, four or five streaming services, running water, some sort of food situation, and access to some money. Everything looks so much better in my head. Far from the point however. We always think we want something more than we really know. The grass is always greener. The grass is always dead if you take the time to look.

Merch… Teespring… Books… Amazon… Broken Thoughts… Twitter

Passions…

“So here we are once again. You with the gun and me with the hostage. Who do you think is going to win this time? Me or you?” The madman with the barrel pressed against the victim’s head ponders out loud. “Things may seem like you’ve got the upper hand, but I’ve got something you don’t,” the half-naked, half blown up, and one hundred percent out of patience hero says. “Oh, and what’s that?” The villain pulls the hammer back on the gun. “A chance.”

“Can you shut that shit off already?” She moans. “How can you even watch this crap?” She asks letting me know she isn’t going to stop without an answer. “Why do you do that? Why do you have to interrupt all of the best parts?” I ask. The sound of me hitting the space bar fills the room. “The best parts? What could have possibly been the best part of a movie that failed to get one star?” She badgers. “I don’t know maybe when he pulls a gun out of nowhere and shots him off the building like in Harder To Die, Than To Live,” I answer. “Wait so you’re telling me the best part of a film is a copycat scene from a film you’ve already seen?” She mocks me. “Well madam it’s not a complete copy since that would be illegal. It will be different to a point though overall the same scene in a sense. Plus, this one didn’t go to theaters and is unrated. Which basically means there will be more blood and the fact that the hostage is a woman means there is a good chance of a topless scene. All of this could add up to a better or worse ending than the “same scene” in another movie,” I explain. “You’ve got to be kidding me, right?” She looks more annoyed than confused. “I didn’t invent the male brain. I was just born with one,” I smile.

She sighs in disgust. “What would you rather watch another movie about two people falling in love after overcoming some stupid obstacle?” I ask her. “Of course, at least they are original,” she says. “Original? Right let’s see the last one we watched was about some couple who fell in love, but then the lady had a dog which just so happens the man is afraid of so, they spend the next hour getting over that. The one before that was about two people too afraid to leave their house though they fall in love over the internet so, they spend the next hour and half getting over that. An hour and a half wondering if they will ever be able to be together through this dire situation that is somehow too impossible to get over. How are either one of those movies not the same?” I question. “That last one won an Oscar by the way so, what do you know?” She says defensively. “How can a movie about nothing get any sort of reward?” I mock. “It got six, but that is beside the point,” she tries to play off. “Nothing happens for almost two hours,” I won’t let the point die. “You try making the hottest actress in Hollywood look ugly and then you tell me you didn’t take a chance,” she rolls her eyes as though I am the ignorant one in this situation. “They put a bump on her nose and she was still hot. They could have lit her head on fire and put her in a full body cast, and she still be hot. Changing one thing about someone is not taking a chance,” I protest. “Neither is watching a movie because there might be a topless scene or more blood,” she protests back. The screen goes black.

“How can you watch this shit?” An angel with giant white wings asks. “What are you talking about? There is so much passion over nothing. How could I the Lord not watch?” A figure of immense light and a voice that could crack the sky asks right back. “I don’t know maybe because there are about seven billion and growing other issues you could address. I mean it is all the same thing. Over and over about nothing at all. Couldn’t there be anything else you could do today? I just don’t get it,” the angel tries to reason. “What’s the point of being a God if you can’t enjoy your own creations?” The question hangs in the air. 

Valerie Hannigan

The Dead Dirty Things…

I can hear the bugs, the insects as they tempt me. Scratching through the hollowed out walls. Begging and pleading for me to bring them more. The sound of their legs scratching against the wall of my skull. They want more. They hunger, they crave the flesh they need. They need more bodies. The dead things that seem to be piling up around me. Now is not the time I want to scream into the night.

But wants and needs were never the same thing. I need this feeling to settle as well. This uneven feeling resting inside my brain. “I hear you,” I release finally. “I hear you,” I begin to weep. Scratching and digging at my own flesh. “Please don’t hurt me. Please,” I beg. As suddenly as it came the tears go away and I know what must be done. “Who though? Who this time?” I ask between the scratches, between the calls for more. The sound of laughter erupting from somewhere within. Silent at first before the fit becomes overwhelming. “You want more? I’ll get you more,” I scream to their never-ending symphony.  

I grab my keys. The time to hunt is now. Time to take a drive and see what we find. Parks, streets, the world littered with throw away dead things. They crave flesh and I crave the blood. Together we live off all the dead dirty things life has to offer. Together we can all live for another day picking through the rot and decay. A smile comes over me. The feeling of relief even if only over a thought. “Collect the dead dirty pretty things. Collect all that life forgot,” I whisper to myself as I stalk through the night.

Valerie Hannigan

Recycling is a very important part of life. We all need to do our part or let it all burn. Trying to persuade anyone to do anything is exhausting. Do it or don’t do it. I’m over pulling my hair out because people can’t stop shoving things up their nose. If it hurts then why are you doing it? Just because your brother does it. Doesn’t mean that you should do it too. Figure it out already. Jesus…