Jake was twelve and his life was great. But that day he wanted to go for a walk with Mandy and play by the river, and he could not.
Her mother had told him Mandy was having her menstrual cramps. He felt sorry for her so he came back with an m&m cookie and climbed the window to give it to her. Mandy cried and then yelled at him.
He was at the river alone, throwing rocks. He knew about the monthly cycle from his sisters, but he did not really know how it worked with the hormones and all that. He could not help but imagine girls were built completely different than boys. They had a blood factory in their stomach and their brains were wired to their hearts. He looked up at the sky and wondered if girls had come to Earth in a spaceship millions of years ago.
Meanwhile, millions of light years away, on the home planet of men, Captain Jet Buckley was preparing to travel to the planet of fembots.
It was a rescue mission.
I was enjoying the art show I paid for. The venue was properly located, the wine and cheeses were excellent, and the art was adequate. The artist, Lucas, was right next to me the whole time like a good little boy.
“And this one, Mr. Delaney, is a very angry piece,” he would say, or “I put a lot of passion into creating this arrangement,” and I was amused by his deference.
But then we got to a piece in the corner. It was a woman sitting astride a dragon or some kind of reptile. She was naked, her lips apart, very erotic, looking straight at the viewer. Her bare breasts were covered with droplets of white liquid. The breasts I knew so well. The face, the hair I knew so fucking well.
“What the fuck is this, Lucas? Huh?” I screamed.
“This is a very…”
“My wife. This is my wife, you fucking piece of shit. What were you thinking about, huh? Fucking her? Did you fucking fuck her? You fucker?”
I stormed out of there, onwards, my mind already set on my top-floor office, to cuddle with my stocks and portfolios. As I was on my way out, I saw Lucas’s plain-looking assistant with her puppy-dog eyes, walking slowly towards him to console him.
Mr. Wiletzky was a very successful man. He had a beautiful wife whom he loved very much and a mistress who made him feel young. He had two sons, Billy and Matt, whom he adored and considered his greatest achievements. Granted, he might have not spent enough time with them and maybe he was not the best role model, but he was still better than his own father.
Mr. Wiletzky was also the CEO of CyberCorp Inc., the company that put Alex Decker’s brain into a high-tech robot body with tactical software and assault weapons. Mt. Wiletzky had the best interest of the public in mind. He wanted modern technology to protect American families. So what if he could make a profit at the same time. The cause was still a worthy one.
As Mr. Wiletzky was lying in a pool of blood on the helicopter pad on top of his plaza, as life was escaping him bit by bit with every breath he took… Mr. Wiletzky… John realized something very fundamental.
He was not the protagonist.
Every schoolchild knows the basics of cosmology. The world exists in the corpse of a dead angel. Everything that is will die and become a spirit. Spirits spend millennia developing to become angels. Eventually, the Age of Reason comes when angels live in harmony for millions of years. Alas, the Age of Brutality must come when angels fight and devour one another until there is only one left. eventually, he also dies, but as his soul leaves his body, it becomes a bright shining God who creates everything that exists.
Now, seldom does a schoolchild ask the following question: how does the Age of Brutality come about? Are angels not highly developed beings with ages upon ages of growth and harmony behind them? True, old angels are, but as the universe grows older, everything that exists must die and grow to become an angel as well. That includes rocks and trees, and planets and suns, and galaxies and black holes. There are empty, mindless things in this universe that exist only to devour and expand. They cause the great war.
Remember this lesson, it will serve you good when the exam comes. Until next time, children.
“Okay, so what’s next?” asked Derek.
Marshal looked at the list, “We have two scenes left. One is called Evil Babies and the other Gay Machines.”
“Let me take a look,” Derek read through the descriptions, frowning a little at the end. “This one is going to be harder. Gay Machines. Let’s start with this one then.”
“Okay, what do you reckon? A twelve?”
“I would say at least three twelves. If they cannot hold it, we will put two together to make one, so we will need six.”
“Right, right, ‘cos there’s three machines.”
“Yeah, and they’re gonna be heavy. I’m thinking we might use two twelves for the spine but then we should also use a steel line to keep them up. And figure out the motion like we did with the Swamp Creature.”
“Hey, Derek, do you think people will figure out how to do computerized special effects eventually?”
“I don’t know about that. But if they do, we will be out of work. Hand me that tape, will ya?”
“Anyway, it was really nice to meet you,” I said, reaching my hand out.
The man shook my hand, “A pleasure,” then he took a business card out of his pocket. “Here, stay in touch.”
I smiled and gave him my card.
At least I think that is how it went. I am sitting in my office with a business card in my hand. I just finished cleaning out my wallet and I am wondering whether it should go on the “keep” or the “dump” pile.
I am not going to call him on business, he is in a completely different line. I could just say hi, how are you doing, but I do not want to and I do not think he wants to. I hesitate for two heartbeats. Later, the business card ends up in the trash along with laundry receipts, a bus ticket (what was I doing on a bus? oh, yeah, I remember) and a candy wrapper. Goodbye, Alex G. Kaufman, Sarango Exports. Goodbye forever.
It was two years since my wife had… died and I was still looking at Sue with longing. She was the kind of girl every guy would fall for, and they all did, including me. She was always out on a date, or a drive, or a ball, or a dinner, or some such thing. Sometimes with me, but I knew I was just one of many.
Not for long, though. I had a plan, you see. I had been telling her that I was an alcoholic trying not to drink and it was getting harder for me. Harder every day since she… died.
Now I had a phone in my hand and I knew what I would say: “Sue, I know it’s not… I just… I have a bottle of whiskey. I… uhm… (maybe start crying here) I miss her so much. Ever since she… died.”
She would try to tell me everything was going to be alright. Tell me to get rid of the whiskey. Tell me she would come over.
Or would she tell me it was my life and I should regain control myself? Or tell me it was good for me to drink? Dammit, now is not the time to turn back. Call her!
I dialed. She was not picking up and it went to voice mail, so I hung up. I pictured her kayaking with some hunk right this moment. God damn, that bitch.
I heard the faucet in the bathroom turn on by itself. I knew it was not water but blood. It happened every night around this time. Ever since my wife… died.
After the art show, we walked six blocks to her apartment. At the end of the journey, she said “Do you want to come in?”
My heart was pounding all the way up the stairs. Our eyes met as she was looking for the keys, she smiled nervously. We shut the door behind us already kissing.
I started unbuttoning her blouse, but she stopped me. She took a step back and finished unbuttoning slowly, looking at me all the time. Then she lay on the floor, face down.
“Will you step on me?” she said. And when I hesitated, she added “Please, I’ll do whatever you want.”
I took a step towards her.
“Don’t take your shoes off,” she said.
“Okay,” I put one foot on her back.
I was careful.
“Your other foot, please.”
I put my other foot on her ass, expecting to feel bones cracking, but the human body is a tough thing to break. She began to tremble and breathe hard. She was almost there.
I was having supper at the hotel restaurant. I noticed a couple, he was a business type in a suit, she was young and sexy. I figured they were about to finish eating and go upstairs to have sex. Or go out before they come back to have sex. Either way, sex was going to happen, I was certain.
I had to prepare slides for the following day and get a good night’s sleep. No sex for me, unless I pay to see girls on TV. Hotel wifi is no good for streaming porn.
I thought about taking my wife to a place like this but I knew it was silly. And besides, we would probably not have sex anyway because she would not like to get the sheets dirty. The staff could make comments when they were cleaning up the next day.
But if we did have supper in the hotel restaurant together, would somebody sit in the corner and look at us with longing?
She had had an okay day at work. Got a little tired but not too bad, had some conflict but not too much, and had some success, but not staggering. Now she was just killing some time and catching up with her favorite cartoon. She was sitting in front of her laptop with headphones on, chuckling.
Then her boyfriend came back. He was having a bad day. He looked at her with disdain which then turned into sadness. She took her headphones off to hear what he had to say.
“Hi honey,” he said and gave her a kiss on the cheek. “Why do they keep me on? I am worthless. I just hope they don’t realize. Or better yet, I hope they do realize, so I can be fired and live in the dumpster, where I belong.”
She just said “Aaawww, honey.”
Then she put her headphones back on, put a blanket over her head and got back to the cartoon. She could not hear the desperate sound of the shower.