Friday, April 30, 2010

Last Call, Last Stand - Part 18

In hindsight I don't know how I got anyone to listen to me.

I didn't really have a long term plan; I was just as confused and frightened as all those rioting bastards that even now were attempting to batter their way in through the strip club's steel doors by ramming it with the grill of the truck. Apparently they had already had some casualties; when that chain broke while they were trying to pull the frame out, it took the trailer hitch with it and brained at least three people. The crowd tottered wide around the still corpses while they bang-bang-banged at the doors. And I remember thinking, there but for the grace of God go I.

I meant it, too. God had always been a hazy nebulous concept with me; frankly Sauron was more real. But I was smart enough to realize that I didn't hold the moral high ground over these stupid fucks; I knew that had I not run into Phebe, and had instead been forced to stare at my own empty fridge for a few days, I would probably be out there among them. The difference between us was one broken key and a whole lot of luck.

I looked to Phebe, at my side, with her breath fogging in the cold. The shadow of the garbage dump shielded her eyes, thank heaven, or I would probably still be rooted on the spot staring. I breathed softly "You ready?"

"I am," she breathed back softly. Her breath on my arm was like a tropical breeze; it was cold and getting colder. I had noticed slush filtered in among the rain. The engine of the truck hummed in the parking lot, then roared. There was a dull, metallic crunch as it banged into the door again. Cesare was behind us at the mouth of the alley, fidgeting nervously. I had him watching the back entrance to the alley to make sure nothing would come from behind.

"We go when the truck backs up all the way," I said. I had known the reinforced frame of the strip club would handle most of the abuse, and I was waiting for them to back up nice and far before I put our plan into action. Phebe had loaded slugs into her shotgun, but mine was still packed with #4 steel buckshot.

We didn't have to wait long; Jon Mackey may not know military strategy, but he knows the thought process of horny undereducated perverts. If a few short runs in the truck couldn't take out the door, why not back up to the end of the parking lot and get some momentum up? And soon it was happening, the mob scattering out of the way as the pickup backed all the way up to the curb, sliding a little in the mushy wet puddles. The eager crowd formed two lanes around it's path to the door, and the engine revved to a tired series of war whoops.

My heart was thundering in time with the storm overhead, while ice cold fingers of rain ran down my back to my waistline. Not just because of the yay either (I had taken an extra couple of bumps for courage) but because I was extremely aware of everything around me. When you do yayo, my friend, you see the finer details that you missed before-the texture of the rust on the dumpster you are pressed against, the mole on Phebe's right forearm that she ought to get looked at, the smell of diesel tainting the rain as the truck revved up. But the faces in the crowd, man, as I stared out into that dark mass of figures illuminated by glaring halogen headlights, and they all looked the same. White, black, yellow, red, brown...all of them looked the same in the glow of those headlights.

Time slowed down to a crawl as the truck's tires started spinning wildly, smoking obscuring red tail lights that looked like a pair of evil eyes. I was aware of Phebe drawing a deep breath and holding it, though I did not do the same-my biology was speeding up even as we spoke. My dick was still hard and the cold was wrapping me in an unbreakable ice cocoon; I was invincible, a sexy shivering god of war with a sawed off shotgun and no regard for human misery, and I was about to do the first good thing I had ever done in my whole dogshit life.

Moments like that carry a high unlike anything I had ever experienced, even through the coke and the adderol and the testosterone. I wonder if the Crusaders were this high? If so, no wonder they beat the hashashayans; I'll take a cokehead and adrenaline junkie instead of a pothead every time. Same physical drawbacks, but the cokeheads are meaner.

"Now," I said simply to Phebe. She rose, one smooth motion, just as the brakelights went dark and the truck burst into motion. The wet barrel of her shotgun tracked the cab of the vehicle as it picked up speed. I heard her exhale a little, then stop...and then the shotgun went off, right by my ear.

In the dark it was hard to tell what happened next. First the headlights spun directly towards us, nearly blinding me. I heard screams, bones snapping, cursing and praying. No tire squeal though-she must have tagged whoever was in that beast. And just as I had hoped (it wasn't really planning, just hoping) it was out of control in the wet, slushy parking lot, and carrying carnage with it. The headlights spun away, and I saw the crowd panicking, moving in all directions, the fear showing in their white, terrified eyes as they scrambled away from their own demise in little dense mobs. Time to step up and do my part.

"HEY, ASSHOLES!" I shouted, stepping out of the alley. The chopped shotgun in my hands was lighter than a feather, lighter than air; it floated up on it's own free will, targeting the black center of the panicked mob. "MOVE OUT!" I fired once, twice, buckshot spewing, people collapsing or scattering in other directions. I wasn't really even aiming the shots; my goal was not to kill them, though I didn't shy away from the fact. Between us, we didn't even have enough ammo to kill them all.

But with the barrels smoking, two fresh shells shoved in the ejector, and the carnage of an over the top vehicle accident already in play, it was a simple matter to make them fear me.

"GET LOST, GO!" I half snarled, half screamed as I waded forward into the mob. The gun went off again and another man fell in front of me, black blood leaking out onto the pavement from the meat lover's pizza that was now his chest. I stepped on his head as I went on, shoving in more shells. "GO, GO! I'LL KILL YOU ALL, I SWEAR TO GOD!" And I meant that too.

From somewhere I saw a man with broken legs start to struggle to his hands and knees, clutching a revolver. I stooped down; there was a jolt in my arm as I drove the butt of the shotgun down on the back of his head. He trembled and lay still, and I turned to face the mob that had mostly scattered out towards the road. "COME ON, FUCKERS!" I said, and I found myself laughing, especially when I saw one of them point a rifle at me and drop instantly as Phebe leaned around the corner and put a slug in him. The others backed away instantly, and I fired my own weapon at them.

The range was too great for a kill shot, maybe 50 feet or so-and that barrel was cut short, man, let me tell you. But I saw them jump back anyway, and I started laughing again, great tornado gails of laughter as I reloaded and walked forward-unhurried, unworried, with my barrels smoking and my dick still damnably hard. "COME ON!" I screamed again, my voice growing hoarse. I heard Phebe's shotgun bark again and another of the mob fell, the others still retreating before us.

I couldn't take it anymore; the excitement, the adrenaline was making me dizzy and I couldn't hold myself back. Still laughing, I charged forward at them, breaking into a run with the shotgun pointed out one handed. "RUN, COWARDS! I'LL FUCK YOU BLOODY YOU WHORESON FUCKFACES!" The fear was gone; in truth I was having a great time. I mashed down the double triggers, sent both barrels into the crowd at close range. They screamed; a few of them shot at me, but I was invincible, motherfucker, I was Jon J. Rambo, and they moved so slow, all I had to do was dance around them, and no bullet touched me. There was a sound like catfood crunching as I gave the first guy in line, an old man with a big knife, a buttstroke to the face. He dropped, legs jerking, and I ripped the pistol out of my cargo pocket. Someone pointed their own shotgun at me, and caught one of Phebe's slugs in the throat for his trouble. The crimson spray dotted my face, but I didn't care; I was pulling the trigger on my .45 as fast as I could and watching dark red flowers sprout around me, a veritable garden of gore.

In hindsight, I suppose it was an absolute miracle that they broke and ran as fast as they did, without hitting me once. But at the time it made perfect sense, and I was so dazed and drug addled that when they all turned as one and bolted up Sweetwater like a pack of terrified lemmings, I had to fight back the urge to chase them with two empty guns and only my raging erection as a weapon. A savage death, surely. But no less than they deserved.

Phebe was behind me; I could hear her footsteps. There was a crunch as she finished someone on the ground. I turned around, still in my daze, and walked over to her confidently. She was nudging another corpse with the barrel of her gun when I grabbed her forcefully by the arm and turned her into me.

I kissed her. I mean, isn't that what the action hero does at the end of the movie? With my face bloody and both of us reeking of the dumpster we had been hiding out in, I kissed her. Her mouth was the only warm thing in the city, the only warm thing in the world, and while the frigid rain fell around us I devoured her without a hint of remorse.

As I pulled back, I saw no disapproval, no scorn in her valium blue eyes; in fact, what had previously been a haggard, terrified expression was suddenly lit up. Any other time, my cynic ass would never have believed it, but damnit, I'm the hero and the hero gets the fucking girl, and all I could do was kiss her again, and feel her shivering arms wrap around me and the trigger guard of her shotgun digging into my back. It was obscene and wrong on every level, but in Jon Mackey's paradigm, everything was as it should be.

But it wasn't time for the credits yet.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Last Call, Last Stand - Part 17

Chapter 7 - Save the Princess, Fuck the World

Of all the fundamental lies we are infected with growing up weird the worst is from TV. At the flickering altar that we offer our placid tapioca brains to, we are told that the hero can accomplish the impossible and (more importantly) that he always gets a girl along the way, usually in about 110 minutes just before the closing credits roll. Since, fundamentally, we are all the main characters in our little stories, with everyone else being sidekicks at best, but more likely just spear carriers, it naturally translates that we can do anything with wit and gumption and a good haircut, and that no matter what we do it always comes with an impossibly hot girl as an accessory.

In the light of reason it is easy to see. But then, with a nice dramatic thunderstorm boiling above our heads and the hazy sun having just vanished below Naptown's ragged skyline, the movie paradigm made sense to me, especially having just come down off the coke high and the more potent high of somehow getting Phebe to follow me here.

Cesare had come too, the stupid fuck. Not that I wanted him there, really-I knew he would be a drag and despite the two addies and the vicadin I had fronted him he had complained the whole way there. But I didn't trust him alone in my apartment. Getting him to tag along had been easy-I told him he wasn't getting a single pill unless he came to back me up. His reaction was the predictable entitlement whining, but there was no way I was going to leave him there where he could get at my stash. It was all I had in the world, the work of decades really, and represented at least 75 percent of my net worth, and I knew that fat bastard would steal it in the heartbeat despite his various pledges of undying friendship over the years. Junkies are like that; my gramma once told me "Jon, love conquers all, except drugs." Old bitch was right, and she would know; she died of lung cancer in 2004. Cesare had left his kids and his wife (who wasn't speaking to him and was possibly the reason he had a black eye) back at my place watching one of the pirated disney dvds I watched when I did acid. I hoped they didn't pick Alice in Wonderland; I had dubbed Cannibal Corpse over part of the soundtrack. They were all apparently deeply in shock; maybe they wouldn't notice. No one mentioned what had happened to the missing kid.

Phebe, on the other hand, took almost no convincing. After I had hooked Cesare up I found her putting together the scary looking black rifle that one of the looters had dropped in her place. "It's a 10/22" she said absently as I walked up to her-as if that meant anything to me. "I was thinking of giving it to your friend if he's coming with us."

I looked over at Cesare, who had just emerged from the bathroom with that flushed "Aaaah" face that can mean either the end of a painful withrdawl sequence or a really massive dump. Possibly both. "I wouldn't," I said.

Her tone lowered, and her gaze sharpened as she looked over my shoulder at him. "You don't trust him?"

"That isn't it." Well, not exactly anyway but I still found myself afraid to give her the full story. "He's not a bad guy, just a fucking idiot. Leave it here with his wife, they might need to protect themselves anyway." I had stuffed the pistol in the pocket of my fresh cargo pants. It wasn't very convenient but it was more secure. And Cristobol's sawn off was resting comfortably in my hands, with a pocketfull of shells in my hoodie. It wasn't much, but it made me feel better. The knife was in it's accustomed place in my belt and was the only part of my equipment that felt organic; I was comfortable with it there.

I had also gathered a larger than usual supply of drugs from my stash; a q of smoke, eight or ten grams of yayo, a few dozen hits of cid, vicadins, addies of course, a little E, and some valiums blues almost against my will. I had no concrete reason for taking it, except as a carrot to lure Cesare along behind me, and a nebulous idea of negotiating my way into the strip club with it. It was secure with my spare magazines and some food and clean water in my shoulder bag.

We were watching people shoot at the locked doors on the tv at the time while that foaming mouthed bible thumper continued ranting about vengeance and damnation and nipple tassels. Foolishness of course. You didn't have to wear nipple tassel's at moxie's; they used nail polish.

I had taken a couple of hard bumps off the web of my hand on the way and popped a discrete adderol. I had expected a short trip-it was only a twenty minute drive if you were smart enough to avoid the outer loop. But walking translates poorly and it was nearly nightfall before we arrived at the strip club. And the damn adderol, plus Phebe's wet tank top, was giving me a vicious hardon that made walking uncomfortable and difficult. They never fucking tell you THAT in the movies. I spent probably the whole transit time hunched over halfway trying to figure out my feelings for her while they were already painfully obvious in my boxers.

It never ceases to amaze me the way men think. There were maybe a hundred men in that mob outside the strip club, and they had been there in the cold and rain for hours at that point, and yet they were still trying to dig there way into the strip club. They couldn't be bothered to find shelter or feed themselves, but they would move heaven and earth to loot some booze and pussy, the only things of value within. A few were backing a truck up to the door and attaching a chain to the frame while the rest shuffled around the parking lot like zombies with their breath fogging and their balls blue, eager to be the first in line. Fuck my gender.

"All right," I said, as the three of us hunkered down behind an overflowing dumpster-trash pickup wasn't exactly on schedule either-listening to the truck's engine splutter and roar. "This is how we're going to do this..."

Sunday, April 25, 2010

From My Myspace Blog - How to Save the World and Keep Your Freedom

A lot of people like to make a lot of noise about "Going Green." And I agree with them in some very important ways. This pestilential mudball is the only one we've got, and we need to steward it wisely. But frankly, all these starry eyed punks and jackass guilt ridden suburban moms are going about it the wrong way, and I'm gonna tell you why.

When I was in elementary school, being infected with the cultural AIDS that is political correctness, we were given a simple mantra of "REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE." ("Four legs good, two legs bad!") We were told that doing this would lessen our environmental impact, and broadly, I agree with the sentiment. But the emphasis is being applied all wrong across the board.

To be fair, these cute idealist punk grrrls and yuppie suburban housewives are getting up off their asses and doing something. But the problem is they apply those big three principles in the wrong fucking order. They click on their ipods to some bullshit folk music, hum along with it while they put on $100 'fair traded' house slippers, take a green bucket full of plastic water bottles down to the curb, and head back inside before a mosquito bites them or they get a sunburn or some shit, trying to remember if they purchased enough carbon credits to offput their emissions.

Look you assholes, you can't buy your way out of a fucked planet, and you shouldn't be able to buy your way out of your guilt. Paying more for environmentally friendly products and sorting through your garbage isn't going to cut it, not even if your sanctimonious coffee shop rants and poorly worded blog entries change everyone's mind at once. You need to REDUCE and REUSE more than you RECYCLE. And that doesn't mean buying the green soap or making a donation to Al Gore's senate fund. It means serious lifestyle changes-you need to consume less, and make what you have count more. Recycling makes you feel good, but even the most generous formulas say that it consumes nearly as much resources as it saves. If done right, green living (and survivalism, for that matter) should save you money in the long run. In this clusterfuck economy, it only makes good sense.

And don't get me started on passing bullshit laws based on pseudoscience that force people into doing things that have no practical effect. Controlling your neighbors isn't the answer; persuading them is. Otherwise making them buy the right dish soap is just a drop in the bucket.

But pointing out the problem is easy. What's the answer?

Self sufficiency, of course.

I'm finding the intersection of survivalism and enviornmentalism to be particularly fascinating. 'Sustainable living' is the new buzzword in the (real) green movement; it is an attempt to get people to provide for themselves with what they have. Surprisingly-or perhaps not-survivalism as it is practiced by the retreat types is geared towards the same effect-making what you have keep you going. Sorry to bust your stereotypes, but survivalism isn't a bunch of pasty ass white men crawling around in the brush with fatigues anymore. If you are serious about surviving the end of the world, you need to be able to provide everything you want locally. It's not about making sure that you die of old age; it's about making sure your kids and grandkids do the same.

Around the country, small communes ('gulches') are popping up everywhere, growing their own food, reloading their own ammo, smoking homegrown weed and fishing at sunset. They don't ask anybody for shit, they don't impose their views on anybody, they sure as hell don't go around inhaling their own smug farts and telling everybody that can't afford a hybrid that they are the problem. They just do their own thing, building a sustainable culture and community impervious to such evils as pollution, totallitarianism, taxation and corporate culture. The challenges are manifest, but so far it seems to be working for them.

Getting a mass of sheep to get off the corporate tit and say 'I'm going to grow my own food, make my own clothes, and lessen my environmental impact by consuming only the resources I need' is damn near impossible. Frankly it's going to take a massive, Captain Trips population reduction to really make it work for everybody. But anyone who is serious about helping the environment-and you should be, until we master planet colonization at least-needs to think about a radical lifestyle change.

Anything else is just jerking off.

Last Call, Last Stand - Part 16

In the end, no one could ever resist Mackey Sr-not even me. He proved it daily, in a constant ritual pissing contest. He was a ragged redneck with a glib tongue and a good coke hookup, and he learned to take both of those and run with them until he succeeded. So I suppose I learned that lesson from him as well. But that day's lesson was of a different nature, philosophy perhaps, although I doubt he ever used the word.

I am surprised to find myself still hating him, even after all these years.

He had taken me to the stump behind the second trailer I sometimes used as a fighting platform for my dandy Mortal Kombat action figures. He chewed his cigar and pontificated, standing tall under the brilliant (valium?) blue skies while fire blazed in the trees around it. I remember a distinct taste of something rotten on the wind, maybe a dead dog or deer upwind somewhere. At this stage I still had to look way up with him.

"Jon boy...I..I know I been hard on ya, son, and I sure as shit don't like them faggot wizard books you are always readin', but I guess I never told ya why." He sucked on the cigar that even then I found ironic in a Freudian way. "It's a hard world, Jon Boy. And ain't no mother fucker that won't stick it to ya if he can. You can be quick, and sly...and I seen it in ya, boy, you got the gift o' gab same as me. But it ain't gonna work every time, and you gotta learn to take it like a man."

He had taken my hand, his own scarred digits gripping my wrist tightly, and was now holding it on the stump. His hammer was out in his other hand. At this point I began to panic; even at that age I could tell a long string of overenthused crack pipe fueled babble from a legitimate philisophical point. It's easy; just wait until it stops making sense. It stopped making sense about the time he lifted the hammer over his head.

"They'll make ya weak, boy, make ya a bitch, if you can't man up and swallow the pain." He paused, and there was a stern silence unbroken even by ambient nature, though the dull roar of terror in my ears prevented me from even putting up a decent struggle. "You know I seen some shit about some Jap monks or somethin, they make you lift a scalding hot kettle with your forearms, just to make a man out of ya. And you gotta know how to burn when your time comes. They'll hurtcha Jon Boy, they'll cutcha good and bloody, but they don't love ya son, and I do." My understanding of his critical lecture disappeared beneath a red vortex of pain that centered on the stump and grew to encompass the whole world. My screams were far away.

"See it? That's your pain, Jon Boy. Seize it, see?" He held up his own spotted, hairy knuckles, showing me all the old scars. Then he jacked it across my face in a swift, single motion. "And stop that Christfuckin' squawkin, boy. You're a man."

I chomped down on the next scream, not because I felt that manly, but because I had just looked at my hand. It was already swelling with blood running between my knuckles, and moving it sent glass shards blazing up and down my nerve endings like hell's angels on Highway 65. My pants were warm; only years later did I deduce that I was pissing myself. All I knew then was that Mackey sr was looking down at my crotch and obviously didn't like what he saw.

"You little pisspants faggot!" he snarled, his eyes glazing with that cracked out goshawk rage, and reached for my other hand which I snatched back. In the same motion I reached up with the good hand and grabbed his screwdriver off his belt. Holding it in a rear grip I jammed the flathead edge right into his inner thigh, eliciting a wheezing grunt of pain.

He staggered back a step while I curled up on the ground and clutched my wounded hand, moaning. He looked down to the screwdriver sticking in his leg, and back at me, and suddenly bellowed a harsh, wheezing laughter. The miracle of crack cocaine enabled him to pull it out smoothly, without flinching. "Well hell, boy-at least you got balls," he said, and that was the end of the subject for him.

That was September 11th, 1993-my 13th birthday.

He took me to the hospital, bought me ice cream and a dirty magazine for lying to the doctor, gave me a real birthday present-a Led Zeppelin cd, and assumed that his lesson of "Man up and take the pain" stuck with me.

We never talked about it again. But if we had, I would have told him the real lesson I learned while "Rainbow in the Dark" blared in my headphones and I waited in the ER for my turn to lie to the Dr, surrounded by welfare chumps and battered wives and junkies hoping to get a good RX by stabbing themselves in the neck. The lesson has nothing to do with taking pain. It wasn't even about how to sell your sons vicadins to some junkies in the waiting room to pay for his birthday present.

No, the lesson I learned in the long grass from Jon Mackey Sr that day was "Every motherfucker wants to fuck you, so fuck first, fuck hard, fuck fast-and don't listen to a fucking thing anyone says about it."

It was easy to apply that lesson in the 2009 flood. The only question was one of aesthetics.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Oh, and one more thing...

Saw this over at my buddy Parabarbarian's and felt I should pass it on.


Nobody censors me, .gov or otherwise.

I might be drawing a stick figure with a beard but damnit, I'm not going to be buffaloed by some smelly jerk with a 15th century morality in this or any other country. You mutha fuckers can come and get me, but remember, it is a foolish mongoose who follows a serpent into it's hole.

Content Fail

I realize that I haven't been posting anything but story updates in a long time. It has occupied a surprising portion of my writing time, aka my "slow night at work" time-which has been in short supply. But man, I've never seriously finished a book before and for some reason I am able to grind on it pretty quickly.

Life is slow here in Babylon, though I never run out of shit to do-or even get caught up on the shit I should be doing.

Gracie has my cellphone and is wandering up and down the hallway saying "Hello, flower? Hello, flower?" over and over. Those are two of her most clear words. It is perfect.

I just smoked a bowl and am watching the Super Mario Bros Super Show on netflix. It's a good combination. I think the theme song is my favorite part. I can't decide if they cut the zelda episode out but left the introduction in, or if I just accidentally hit the skip button on the xbox controller and missed it. The next episode will prove informative.

To make up for a lack of content, here's a Gracie.

Last Call, Last Stand - Part 15

Chapter 6 - Rainbow in the Dark

My dad was the type that wore his machismo like a bullet proof vest; his swinging cockmeat alone was proof of his status as a badass, a genius and a working class hero. For a guy that would later burn to death in a meth related trailer fire, he had a mighty high opinion of himself.

My mother was a non-factor; a late blooming early 80's era flower child, sucked in by the rugged masculine charisma and plentiful drugs of Jon Mackey Senior. I don't remember her; she died when I was 3 or 4 of alcohol poisoning. You'd think, at that age, that I would have remembered her death or even a few details about her, but I don't. I have a picture of her somewhere, smoking a cigarette on the porch outside the front trailer in our yard, with me asleep next to Shitface, our black doberman. I remember Shitface clearly, and even his death-but as for mom, I got nothing.

The landscape of my childhood is a long tomb of mediocrity and deviant sexual exploration. I recall spending at least 90 percent of it alone. While Jon Mackey Sr. went off to the JB Weld plant to work, Jon Mackey Jr. was left in the care of Gramma Mackey. She was probably a fine woman in her prime, but relative to me she was unimportant-she mostly made tuna sandwiches and shat the bed. Between an invalid caretaker and the gorgeous Lovecraftian scenery of Kent, Indiana, (a rickety bridge of bullshit welded together with crack and child pornography-at least until meth caught on around 2003) I suppose it is no wonder that I turned out like I did. And in the end, it was convenient to me to always have an excuse for my behavior.

I was 13 when I realized the fundamental fucked nature of man, and it was the first-and only-lesson my father ever taught me that I truly took to heart. We had been clashing recently, as the lukewarm pink tide of hormones flooded my pock marked system. Jon Jr. was a faggot because he had no aptitude for tools. Jon Jr. was a faggot because he read those faggot fantasy novels all the time. Jon Jr. was a faggot because he wasn't Jon Sr. But when I turned 13 on a crisp and cold fall day in 1993, Jon Sr. was determined to show me how to make it right.

I was out of bed and making scrambled eggs. My clumsy pubescent hands still struggled with cracking the eggs and so I had yolk all over my shirt and pants, but I knew better than to try wearing an apron-Dad was home and he wouldn't stand for that shit. It was Saturday morning, and I was eager to get back to my copy of Dune that I had borrowed from the school library.

You could always hear Mackey Sr. get up; it started with a smoker's cough like a cartoon character, a wet hack-chort-hack-hack that signified that he had lit his first cigar of the day. He smoked those cheap white owls; I think if Gramma hadn't smoked Basic Menthols I could steal, I would have never started smoking, because I couldn't stand the fucking sweet flypaper reek of cheap cigars, and still cannot to this day.

Inevitably afterwards came the bangs and rustles and curses as he hauled himself out of bed and into the same pair of burn marked blue jeans and Dead shirt that he had worn the previous day. It wasn't long before I could hear him shuffling out into the living room to shout at Gramma to turn down the fucking tv and anyway that cocksucker on there was way over his guess for the jet skis on price is right. By that time I shoveled over an extra plate of eggs and hash with ketchup and hot sauce, and was sitting on my end of the table with my headphones in and head down. I had long ago learned it was best to avoid talking with him; none of our thoughts occured on the same plane at all.

He sat down at the table and began eating noisily; I could hear him even through the Ronnie James Dio tape in my walkman. Chancing a look up, I saw his expression was curiously focused, the movements of his fire hardened knuckles less haphazard. He was wearing his tool belt, hammer and screwdriver and other, more arcane bits that I didn't recognise (though I probably would have recognised a crysknife) hanging from his narrow hips. He looked every bit his age today, and there was blood from where he had coughed into his beard.

Still not saying anything, I gathered up the empty place and shoveled them into the sink to wash later, the remains looking oddly like blood and brains. But I heard his rusty voice behind me before I had a chance to scurry back to my room.

"Boy...Jon boy. Come on out here, boy-I got a birthday present for you," he grunted, punctuating with an epic fart that rattled the rickety kitchen chair he was sitting on.

What is that old saying? 'Beware of freaks bearing gifts' I think. No, I'm almost sure that isn't it. But even misquoted, it would have been damned fine advice that day.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Last Call, Last Stand - Part 14

I handled cooking breakfast while Phebe went out to fuck with that water filter some more; apparently it had tipped over in the wind last night and we were low on drinking water. I was glad for the alone time because it gave me the opportunity to burn a doob in the bathroom; I had been getting antsy sitting around sober for so long though her presence mitigated the ache somewhat. My nerve endings were tingling nicely along with the bacon I was cooking over this little propane camp heater that she had busted out of her food kit, looking all clever and professional in a pair of shorts and my Black Sabbath t shirt.

The smell of bacon was making me salivate; it had been a long time since my last meal. When you are a lifestyle drug user (read: junkie) your food intake isn't nearly as important as your drug intake, and so you don't always notice when you miss a couple meals until you get those stabbing pains in your gut and realize that you're running on fumes and gristle. The low blood sugar can give you a head rush, especially if you happen to be smoking dope-it lowers your blood sugar, the source of those infamous "munchies." But it is easy to attribute the head rush to other sources, unless you are a gonzoid psuedo scientist with a hard dick and a GED like Jon Mackey, in which case the coke high, the weed buzz, the adderol body buzz and the hunger dizzy spell are as distinct as tattoos. So I didn't even have to be asked to cook breakfast; once I blazed that joint and stepped out into the dim grey light of my living room I knew I had to eat something; my stomach was talking satanic gibberish like a backwards Led Zeppelin record and the delicate spongy texture of my THC soaked brain, suitably dulled to prevent panic, was floating in a murky precambrian ocean of dizziness. I had taken the last item out of my freezer, sniffed it cautiously-a full package of bacon, just now defrosted and looking succulent and sinful curled up in that clear plastic wrap.

Once, what seems like a million years ago, I had held plastic wrap over my exes face while I fucked her. The image sprang to mind suddenly and I grimaced. Mostly it was the savage stirring of my heart that I remembered, and now in the light of the current situation I could see it was the pale echo of the primal rush, higher than PCP, that I had felt when I stabbed that zit faced kid in the back of his terrified, stupid fucking dome. It was similar to the strange (and erotic) fascination with death as a kid.

I had first discovered it when I was talking to a little buck toothed girl that was asking me to bury her in the sand. I must have been 7 years old at the outside, maybe 8, so a good five or six years from any real drug abuse. My dad had been in the back trailer, which had a reek I will always remember-the high acid brittle reek of charred brillo pads from an ersatz crack pipe. And I was outside in the sand on the edge of our little pond, helping this girl-I think she was my cousin, as if I needed to make the great state of Indiana look any worse-cover herself in sand and remarking offhandedly, but with a charge of sexual power that I still remember all these years and pills later "You know, when people die they bury them."

Maribeth? Rosalee? Annabelle?-I no longer remember, or even care-and I had an interesting summer that year, as we kissed behind sheets on the clothesline and giggled and blushed our way through showing each other our pubic areas, but I never got the crackling brown rush that I did when I was suggesting living interment to her. Some time later we caught a women-in-peril murder movie and acted that out, and that had a similar vein-but the goddamn stingy broad would never let me play murder, she always had her boyfriend show up to let her out of the fucking cage, and I had always allowed it because it seemed to be the dramatic convention.

At the time I didn't think anything was wrong with me, but of course now, in my socks and a fresh pair of jeans and a black hoodie to shut me against the cold, cooking bacon on my coffee table, I could see it. Because it was the same fucking urge, some kind of lizard brain kill-fuck-ravage thing that ensured that despite performing multiple felony murders yesterday I could still get a hardon blazing like the sun while I looked at the pretty girl, and it seemed worse.

"...Mackey, earth to John Mackey," a voice tuned in to my cosmic radio while I traipsed about memory lane. I jumped a bit, still transferring a somewhat soggy bit of bacon from the pan to a paper plate on the table.

I looked up and Phebe was smiling, rain droplets beaded in her hair like tiny jewels on a Hindu goddess. "Sorry," i said somewhat sheepishly and forked another piece over onto the plate. "I was wool gathering a bit."

She sniffed a bit, looked back towards the bathroom. My growling stomach dropped at least six inches; I swear to god I'm surprised it wasn't hanging out my asshole. "What's that smell?"

"Um, spicy bacon," I lied quickly and handed her a plate. "What were you saying before?" She was peering around me towards the shut door of my bathroom, which had a window open but probably still reeked of dope. It was a mistake; I assumed that because I couldn't smell it, she couldn't either-but I was just numb to the smell, and she was no fool.

"Oh, uh, I was asking if that was ready yet," she said, taking a seat on the chair next to the couch and crunching a single piece of the bacon. "I am starving. Anyway I got some bags of mulch propped up around the filter so that should keep them from falling over again tonight." She wiped grease from her chin, an unladylike move that captivated me anyway, and leaned back in the chair. "Not bad."

My gut had recovered a bit again, though I found myself as usual desperately craving a valium. Of all my swirling galaxy of pills, the blues were the rarest and I hated to part with one for no reason-especially when I had to be out and about all day-but god it sounded so good to not give a fuck for awhile. Still with the munchies rooted deep in my bones now I started to gorge on my half of the bacon, washing it down with tepid filtered rainwater. It was no king's feast, but it was a lot better than those stupid fucks out ravaging the city were doing. Phebe kept the shotgun strapped to her back now when she went out.

The lights flickered on again briefly around noon, as the two of us were emptying the full filtered bucket of water into the bathtub that we had recently scrubbed. (I think she found my roach, but if she didn, she didn't say anything-and a lot of people can't tell a roach from a rollie.) It was sweaty, irritating grunt work, hauling the buckets back from where they were filtering down and filling up, then reassembling the whole mess with the now soaked bags of mulch. The water was beginning to make the bags split up the side as the water was absorbed, and they wouldn't last much longer there. We had no idea what we would be doing after that.

"Hey," she said, looking up at the flourescent bathroom light that now buzzed above us. "The lights are on. I'll go set this back up outside, you go see if you can catch anything useful on the tv."

"Yeah, thats likely," I said, and we both shared that warm chuckle we had found ourselves sharing a lot over the past few days. The minute she stepped out I was bent over the back of the toilet cutting up a few bumps; the time limit was too short for any decent lines. I played connect the dots for three minutes, tops, letting the high spots flare up in my battered conciousness with relish. Now suffused with lemon-yellow purpose refined in some south american hellhole and cut fine with baking soda, I stepped into the living room and jammed the button on the TV, my face flushed and hot and my synapses crackling like the bacon and very much alive, unlike the bacon. I found myself wanting some more bacon and so I ignored the banal blue glow of the tv while I scarfed down another greasy mouthful.

Flipping channels soon got me to a working feed, although it wasn't very eventful. Just some guy with a shaky handicam pointed at the...wait, was that the strip club? Holy shit it was, Moxie's Gentleman's club, name after a stripper long ODed, where my bitch ex worked-or had worked. It looked like the parking lot was still full. Still, it was a remarkably dull feed for a news day this exciting and I wondered for a few moments why it was being shown at all-until I remembered that the TV studio WXMJ was right next door, and whoever was filming this shit was just standing on the roof looking over there and ranting in a foam mouthed voice "...and fornicators and sluts and gutter trash and junkies and pedos and queeeeeeeers..." Why do the nutjobs always emphasize queers so much? "They brought this on us! They have brought the pestilence of AIDS, the famine of endless rain, the war of cultural destruction!" The guy was shrieking and I don't understand some of what he next said, while I puffed on a cigarette and pretended like it didn't worry me.

"Fire and sword!" the guy was ranting. "Jehovah guide us to victory, to cleanse the charnel house of sodomite whores, twirling their....nipples..." I guffawed out loud at the way he struggled with 'nipples' the way a feminized eunuch male (remember, Americanus Eunochio) has to struggle with 'cunt' for years after that scarring Women's Studies class. "...Bringing locusts and herpes and lesbian dvds!" Actually that sounded like a great party, just add ecstasy.

The sudden shuck-shuck of a pump shotgun outside killed my scathing social commentary in a rush of frigid blood; suddenly I was on my feet grabbing my own new shotgun and stepping towards the window, face pressed against the bars. I could see Phebe there taking cover behind her own water filter, her stare strong and determined as she faced...three, five figures in the misty rain. The first one stepped out of the rain and I could hear her cursing him. It was a fat guy, with flaccid bitch tits that showed through his cheap silk shirt, a scraggly beard, with a woman and three kids in tow.

"Cesare?" I said, forgetting he couldn't hear me through the window. Just then I heard the thump of Phebe's shotgun butt against the door.

I opened it in a rush, bringing the smell of cool rain and terrified sweat. "Jon," Phebe said coldly, still staring with one hard blue eye at the now frozen Castigliono family, "this guy says he knows you."

"He does," I said, and looked him up and down. His cheeks were hollow and bruised and it was his wife, not his mistress that was at his side. He was missing a kid and even without the rain, he would have looked ready to off himself. They had no weapons. He gave me an eye like a kicked dog as I regarded his family.

"You want to let them in?" she said. That barrel still didn't waver.

"Jon, I need....hooked up...for awhile. They took Eliza." Eliza being the mistress he fucked around with while Lola was at home with the kids. "When we got back our house was burning. I...need, um, some pills man, I'm real sick..." Fucking typical. His kids were rail thin and shivering behind him and all that saggy titted motherfucker could think of was getting some addies in his diseased system.

I thought about it for a long time. But it was Phebe, and the kids, who decided me. "Jon," she said to me, "he has kids, man." She apparently didn't notice the part about the pills, or maybe chose to ignore it.

"Fine," I practically snarled, and tore open the door all the way. They shuffled inside like holocaust victims dripping all over my floor and my chances to get Phebe in the sack...although I wasn't thinking about that of course, despite my exhaustive list of things I would like to do to her that lurked in the back of my mind like graffiti on the bathroom wall.

They stood there stunned for a few seconds, like they hadn't expected help. Their trudge was the trudge of the desperately hopeless, and for a moment I thought that was why they were frozen in place once the stepped inside in the piss yellow light from my reading lamp. But that wasn't it. They were looking at the TV. I followed their gaze, and my cigarette crashed to the carpet in a spray of hot cherry.

Phebe was behind me and was looking over my shoulder. "What are we looking at?"

The camera was still focused squarely on the strip club. I tuned out the delusional lunatics ravings, and watched. And I saw feet-feet and feet and feet, slogging through the ankle deep water towards the entrance of the strip club. It was an army, a hundred motherfuckers at least, and I shuddered thinking of the fate that likely awaited whatever poor bitches were still stuck in there. I had seen it in Chicago, had seen it televised once before, and been fascinated-even aroused enough to feign an interest in Cristal's handbag collection. Now my stomach full of greasy bacon roiled and flopped like a catfish nailed to a tree, and I turned away.

Cesare noticed the look, his hands shaking. "Dude, you know Rachel's there right? I saw her just before I left; I guess the owner is trying to ride it out." Phebe looked up sharply when he said 'rachel'-a fact that gave me hope and make me cringe at the same time.

The feet of the mob marched through the parking lot. I saw axes, ballbats, guns, even one jackass trying to light a molotov in the driving rain. These weren't holy rollers inspired by that fuckup on tv either-one look at their distant gazes and hard set mouths told me what kind of booty they were after in the strip club. I set my jaw, got on my feet, and grabbed a box of shotgun shells from the pile on the kitchen table without asking.

"I've gotta go after her," I said, in a distant coked up fog, almost before I had realized what I was saying. But all I could think of was that mark I had left on the side of her face before she left, and how really, in the darkest part of my heart, I had been imposing her face over that poor dumb cunt in chicago the whole time. And I realized then that it is not enough to run from the ugliness inside ourselves-in order to transform it, it must be confronted. And then something amazing happened-I felt Phebe's hand on my arm, saw her stare up at me couldn't be admiration. Not of Jon Mackey, the human rattlesnake in life's cosmic woodpile.

And yet, very clearly, she said "I'm with you Jon. Whoever she is."

It sounded less world alteringly profound when I sobered up later, with Cesare at my heels with a ballbat and Phebe at my side with her own shotgun, stalking through the alleys knee deep in rainwater while thunder cracked overhead, but by then it was too late to regret.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Last Call, Last Stand - Part 13

Chapter 5 - Hand on the Pump

I don't remember the walk back or how I had ended up in bed. I don't even really remember falling asleep. Had I done a couple more lines or another addy or two I could have kept going easily-but everything that had happened already had sucked the life out of me. I remember leaving the bodega, and then I awakened to breath fogging cold and a foul taste in my mouth, in my bed, with a chopped 12 gauge sitting on the pillow next to me, the scarred wood stock inches from my face. I groaned and swallowed the sour taste in my mouth, staggering unsteadily to my feet.

I was wearing only my damp boxers and a fresh battle dressing over my wound, obvious from the lack of thick crusted blood. You would think that having no idea how I got that way would perturb me, but it happens a lot when you stay fucked up for long periods of time. My alarm clock was blank, a slack LCD face in the darkness, so I had no idea how long I had been out-but I was used to that too. My pants were a soggy denim puddle on the floor; I looked askance at them and somewhat gingerly fished out my cigarettes, lighter and cell phone.

It was only after I had sucked down most of a smooth that I bothered to actually check the time; 8:28pm. I had slept for awhile then. After a swift, superman like change of clothes, I gathered up the bare essentials (knife, shotgun, pistol, cigarettes, shoulder bag, and a fat joint from what would have been Cristobol's sack) and stepped out into the living room. It was graveyard quiet in there and Phebe was sitting on my couch playing solitaire in the green glow of one of those little chemical lightsticks. Her face was drawn and worried, and in the ghastly glow it looked eldritch and alien as well, some crazy H.P. Lovecraft shit. Beside her on the couch was a pink Nalgene bottle.

Triumphantly I tossed a packet of beef jerkey on the coffee table. She jumped a little as her cards scattered willy nilly across my floor. "Care for some jerky?" I said, perhaps too smugly. Immediately afterwards I felt my stomach wrench, thinking of how many dead motherfuckers that stupid packet of jerky represented. I really hoped I could eat it, or the whole fucking thing might have been in vain.

She looked down at it, and then up at me. Her eyes had lost some of their sparkle; whether it was emotional distress or that weird green light I didn't know. She sighed heavily, but tore into the packet of jerky and started chewing on a strip without pleasure. I have to admit, not the reaction I had been expecting-the part where she throws herself against me sobbing her thanks so I could feel her tits up against my chest and stroke her hair comfortingly. In retrospect, I suppose that is a bit unrealistic.

The silence was getting to me; I took a seat on the opposite end of the couch from her. "Sorry I fucked up your game."

"Your deck only has 41 cards," she said, and sighed heavily, her eyes fluttering shut. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I had mostly used the others to cut up lines on the very coffee table she had been playing on, and they tend to disappear after that. I'm not much of a cards guy.

I was on my second cigarette by then; the impending doom was starting to catch up with me. I looked around and pulled a dry hoodie from the pile on the chair next to the couch, shrugging it over my soulders. "When did the power go out again?"

"About an hour ago," she said, and gave me a single sideways glance, her eyes opening again. God, that green glow was killing me-combined with the comedown off coke and adderol it was conjuring unpleasant images of hell and retribution, nothing I wanted to think about right then. I could still feel that zit faced kid twitch when I scrambled his brains with the knife.

"Something's wrong, isn't it?" I volleyed blindly, and apparently struck a mark. She turned away, tried to make it casual-but it was too quick, and the sudden shake of her shoulders showed me exactly what it was. They were ragged breathed sobs, thick with frustration and exaustion and fear, and I could practically taste them in the air like incense, to the point where I could even take a stab at the flavor. Purple Haze. The depths of despair smelled like purple haze.

You might think, as you are reading this, that Jon Mackey doesn't understand women, given the way he has historically treated them like dogshit. I understand why you could think that, believe me-but it isn't true. Women are just like men, without that whole bullshit machismo ideal to try to live up to-instead they subscribe to a different set of (bullshit) social stigmas. In all other respects, our psychological makeup is the same-but the expectations are different.

A man is expected (and can, if pressed) to slaughter hordes of enemies and never cry; a woman can do so just as well (well, better than me) and is allowed to cry, but she has to look good the whole time.

In truth I was just as uncomfortable with the recent spate of killing than she was, though at the time I could never admit it to myself or her. Perhaps I was still in shock...but my hands felt hot whenever I thought of all those soggy corpses bloating in front of the bodega just down the road from me, and I felt like I was being garroted whenever I thought of Cristobol lying still and cold under the Crispy Creme donut cart cover...and yet all I could think to do, my own greed hammering it's message out loud and clear in my crotch, was slide over on the couch and put my arm around her.

Her warmth was like smoking H until just before you want to puke-it filled me and I found suddenly that all the other things I cared about were a million miles away, with a blazing summer sun between me and everything that mattered. I drew her in closer, and she didn't resist, her shoulders quivering as she sobbed again louder. It was toxic, or intoxicating, and though the demon snarled in my (very blue) balls all of a sudden I was arthur pulling the sword from the stone, Conan throwing the evil priest into the sacrificial fire...someone entirely different from Jon Mackey at least.

In retrospect it possibly wasn't even her touch that was making these potent warm waves flood my tattered nerve endings; it might have just been the sensation of being the good guy for once. I had held many crying women over the years, but it was usually part of the ol "Why You Make Me Do That Baby" conversation, and the crying was almost always my fault. This was different. It brought to mind a baby bird that I had held many years ago. Before she was invincible, but now she was fragile, and I could sense an undercurrent of breakage threatening the hard assed, practical facade she had been making this whole time.

"Jesus, Jon, I can't get ahold of my family at all. All the phone towers are out and the landlines are all busy." She curled into me, throwing both of her legs across my lap. Too late I noticed that she had changed into a pair of my boxers. Her legs were very pale and a little rough, but then, I couldn't exactly expect her to be shaving them in the rain.

It had an immediate effect on the blood flow to my brain versus the one to my dick; I think my response was "Gurfluzze su wonka wonka." I don't think my eyes did the cartoon gaga thing where they lept from my skull to a loud horn blat, but then, I wasn't really paying attention to them either.

She went on, not heeding my gibberish-and thank god for that. Tears rolled down her face, framing her mouth in little crystalline tracks that glistened in the ghastly glow of the lightstick. "I called and I called...they are in Fishers, and if anyone is safe it's him, but...I needed to talk about it Jon. I killed those guys...that one guy, the one I shot in the back..." Here her petite body was wracked with a shiver that translated to mine as well. I wondered how she would feel about me altering all of that guy's dentistry for a few packets of jerky.

"Hey," I said, while the monster in my lap snarled through the bars of my zipper, "listen-you did what you had to do." I leaned in closer to her, close enough that I could smell her breath. It was less enchanting than I expected-I think she had been eating something with onions. "None of those fucks had the moral high ground over us, you understand? They take the food, we starve. We get in their way, they fuck us to death with axe handles. It was do or die, babe, and don't you ever forget that." Her lips were quivering as she looked over at me, but the shine in her 12.5mg blue eyes told me I was hitting home. It would have been the perfect time to kiss her...but somehow I didn't. And then something terrible happened-I couldn't think of anything to say. It was like the weight of the dramatic moment was giving me performance anxiety, and I just sat there, posed by her face like a statue, my brain trying to conjure up a witticism. The awkward moment dragged on.

"Fuck those motherfuckers." It took me a moment to realize that she had said it and not me. After a shocked second, we both laughed-a long catharitic machine gun burst of laughter. It swelled up, filled the room, bounced off the walls, and god knows it probably gave whatever neighbors we had left a level 9 case of the willies. Even then, I remember thinking that the Joker and Harley Quinn probably laughed like that a lot.

Not that it made the situation any less funny to me.

Friday, April 16, 2010

And now for an entirely different bit of fiction....

I awoke at dawn when KUTULU spoke to me. I finished a pack of cigarettes while I listened to the thrum of His power. It was a sound like the moon being unscrewed and dropped in a vodka martini. With a twist of lemon and a good, mid-shelf brand of vodka. Grey Goose maybe. I'm not quite sure, I wasn't listening very closely. From the fractured images I slowly piece together a narrative while my crystal stank and smoked black smoke on it's shrine.
Below the red, fecund loam of my grave, my own private host of gods and demons stirred irritably. It has been a long time for them, even in nonlinear equasions. "Shhh, shhh," I urged them, though my lips came apart when I uttered the words. "You've been so patient. So patient. Just a little longer. Enough to juice the body." They rustled, a chittering seethe, or a seething chitter, indicating their displeasure. But I was the Prophet, and they had no choice but to straighten up and march with my linear timetable. Poor bastards; they were mostly cannon fodder anyway.

The fact that I cannot see the stars is hampering my calculations. I can compensate some by listening closely to the tick-tick-tick of certain strange, low frequency ions that radiate from those stars relevant to His cause. However, there are inconsistencies in the mathematics that I cannot account for.

At the highest levels of chaos theory, all strange probabilities become likely.

First I reach for a mind, a fresh sentient life force to take the edge off my fast. The first I sense is heavy with cancers, praying for an end to conciousness. His anguish is hot and sour, but I drink it in greedily. Turgid brown liquid fills my cavities; it swells and expands to the limit of my conciousness. It is not enough for me to rise through this cursed dead damp earth, but I can at least smack my lips and crave further.

The next I sense is purer, a savory cornucopia of pulsing essence-one life draped in another like a burial shroud, adrift in amniotic fluid. It has a refreshing fizz to it-like a newly uncorked champagne, and like champagne it brings a sensation of warmth, of zest. Slowly it stops moving, the spark gone dim. If all the variables are accounted for properly, it will be three days before the mother goes to the doctor to ask why he is so still.

My hands-my good strong hands!-begin to pry at the dirt above me. The insistent chittering grows louder, in anticipation. My work is outside of time; I do not even follow it's progress. Only up, up into the cursed light of YHVH. My erudite master pulses hard in my thoughts, my lungs, my throbbing death cock.

I can taste air now. A little starlight is starting to show through.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Last Call, Last Stand - Part 12

The rain slacked off a bit on my walk back, allowing me to actually enjoy my cigarette. Exhaustion was starting to take it's toll on me; even with chemical enhancements nobody can keep going forever. I had left Phebe to finish struggling with her improvised water filter and slogged off as soon as I had gotten my trade goods in order. The air was bitingly cold now, and I wondered how long we had before the rain started freezing and added more shit to the mound that was already piling up over our heads. The weight of the .45 in my waistband felt good, as the sirens in the distance and the rain washed over me in receding waves. I was beginning to regret never buying a holster though-the fucking hammer was scraping my lower back to shit.

In truth I felt better about the knife, a 9 inch pakistani bowie knife I had bought at a flea market when I was 14. It wasn't the best quality-the steel was notched and spotted with rust, and god knows I wondered about the strength of the handle sometimes-but it had the advantage of being the only weapon I had ever been trained with and successfully used against another human being. It rode on my belt and I found my right hand drifting to it frequently, especially when the sirens were very close.

The two shots that rang out-the flat dull crash of shotgun blasts-almost made me turn around and go back home. But damnit, I had promised Phebe beef jerky from the bodega, and I mean those shots could have come from anywhere, right? The concrete buildings made the sound come from anywhere, though the frigid slug of Akvavit in my gut seemed to say that it had come from one block up, right around the corner at the bodega. I tossed my cigarette down into the gutter with a hiss, and pulled my pistol from my waistband.

My choices were either go back empty handed like a coward to face the girl of my dreams, or go forward and face certain death and possible gang rape. The Jon Mackey from 72 hours ago would have said "Fuck it, theres always more pussy," and really, he would have been right. But knowing that that he would have said that, not to mention my own already battered ego, somehow had my feet moving again towards the corner of the block.

Mackey went a courtin' and he did ride, knife and pistol by his side...

(Also, he might want to lay off the adderol)

I poked my head around the corner of the block first, hugging the brick sides of the dairy queen as I peeked into the street. My stomach lurched at the sight in front of me, grey figures moving through the freezing rain-at least a dozen of them, many visibly armed. They were shouting-in English, I suppose, but it all blended together into a sort of frenzied mob babble that conveyed exactly two thing-fear and anger.

The shotgun blasts had come from Cristobol, who was standing in the doorway with that sawed off over a corpse with a face like ground flank steak, blood and brains rushing towards me down the sidewalk with the rain. "Get back, putas!" he was snarling, banging his machete on the door frame with a series of loud pings. And the crowd, though they were armed and outnumbered him, were retreating, with terror in their eyes. He stood in the open, shouting for them to come and take it, while his shotgun barrels smoked and his machete clanged out a primitive morse code for "Don't fuck with me, assholes" clear as day. I made a note that if a firefight broke out, I could probably take cover behind his giant brass balls.

Like all good things, it was bound to come to an end. I saw him spin around and curse almost before I heard the crack of a rifle round from some coward in the back of the mob. Seeing him stagger back into the doorway gave them courage again, and all twelve people surged forward into the melee, waving knives and clubs and shotguns...even a giant fucking broadsword. Seriously?

More shots were going off by then; the storefront glass shattered with an apocalyptic crash and then they were scrambling forward across the rainy streets, Washington crossing the Deleware, only pissed off and psycho and dying to take Jon Mackey's rightfully entitled beef jerky. That got my blood going (I'm sure the heart that was pounding like a three day bender headache in my chest had nothing to do with it) and I found myself moving forward again, approaching them from the side. Stupid fucks didn't even look at me, they were picking through the glass and looking inside for shit to steal.

Let me reiterate that under no circumstances would I normally assault twelve armed motherfuckers. But that was my beef jerky in there, and more than that, my ticket to winning the first woman I ever actually respected. So sure, it was suicide. But I had the drop on them, and I damn sure wasn't going to go back empty handed and say "April fool's babe-so how about we shack up for awhile?"

Now is a good time for another pearl of wisdom from the Jon Mackey Handbook for Assholes-whenever a man does something stupid, his pecker has a stake, unless he's a eunuch.

There was a guy at the end of the mob, standing there fingering a wood stocked rifle like a jr high prom date and staring inside. He was young, maybe 17 at the outside, spotted with a veritable roadmap of acne along the back of his neck. His hair was slicked back from the rain and he shuffled his feet absently, as if afraid to step inside. Nobody else was even looking back, but I figured that he was the most likely to notice me so I stepped up to him first.

Let me tell you, it is a strange thing to mark a man for death and walk up behind him. He was right at the edge of the shattered window, cringing as more shots zipped around inside-apparently Cristobol had some fight left, and good on him for it-and I just walked forward doing my best solid snake impression holding tight to the knife with my right hand and keeping the pistol loose in my left. I can't really credit my stealth ninja walk with anything-the noise and the rain did all the work for me, and I just put one foot in front of the other until I was right up on him, clipped him hard with the barrel of the .45 so that he staggered to his knees, and drove the knife down hard into the back of his skull.

I remember there was a dull crunch. I couldn't really hear it, but I could feel it (a sudden shock in my arm) and my brain manufactured the sound. He stiffened, started to squeal, and I drove it in further and twisted it, and the poor stupid fuck twitched and his slack, zit spotted face fell to the pavement.

"HEY!" I heard, an unfamiliar voice from my right, and looked up to see one of the mob, the one in black with the broadsword, his arms full of Little Debbie cakes. That was all it took; suddenly they were all looking at me. Fear held dormant by the rush of adrenaline suddenly burst free in my stomach, and I stepped back, leaving the knife in Zitface's skull while I scrambled backwards.

I hadn't realized I was firing until I was empty; the gun had been barking in my hands during my entire backwards scramble and I didn't notice it until it stopped with the slide locked backwards. It was then I could smell the blood and gunpowder, vague and indistinct in the wet air but definitely there. Three or four of them-including the stupid prick with the sword-were laying on the sidewalk practically on top of Zits, curled up like shrimp with gutshots and moaning. Little splashes of water at my side told me I was being fired upon, and once that channel opened up in my hearing I noticed rounds zipping by all around me.

Bravado expended, I kept retreating. There was a culvert on the other side of this bodega, with a six foot ditch in front of it where the water collected. I had often stopped to smoke a joint there away from the watchful eyes of the public. It was a bit of a drop but I figured it would be no problem; of course, I wasn't really thinking of all the water runoff at the time. So as I dived clumsily backwards over the edge of the culvert, windmilling my empty gun in one arm, I recieved quite a surprise when I found myself neck deep in frigid water, shots still zipping overhead and the current tugging desperately at my legs to drag me into the drainage pipe. I swayed unsteadily, hearing rounds crack into the concrete above my head.

My fingers trembled with the cold, and I couldn't get my spare mag out of my wet pocket. I saw a head poke over the edge of the culvert and pointed my empty gun at him, and he ducked back quickly, but I could hear him shout my location in a hoarse voice. I knew I didn't have much time.

As I said before, I often used this place to smoke a doob on my way back. There was a small footpath that led into some guy's garden right behind his small house just behind me; I had always planned that as my quick exit should the pigs show up when I was getting high. I think he used it to throw his trash away. There was a large privacy fence there that would hide me from the view of the mob for a moment. So after a few torturously slow moments of wading through the raging flood of brown water I managed to scramble up the incline and hop this guy's gate, hoping frantically that he wasn't waiting on the back porch with a shotgun to pop me as well.

First thing I did was get out my spare mag and fumble it with numb fingers into the .45, releasing the slide with a cold oiled snap. Did bullets work when they were wet? Or was that some bullshit artifact when they were loaded with loose gunpowder? Either way I was about to find out.

It had been a long time since I really prayed.

I dared a peek over the back of the privacy fence, standing on a bench at the back of the property, which looked abandoned-the windows were all busted out and covered in police tape. There were about five motherfuckers all staring over the culvert with weapons. The douchebag that had spotted me was saying "I saw him duck down right here."

"Piece of shit," I muttered, still thinking of the beef jerky over in the bodega just across the street. I racked my brain for the area's layout, coming up mostly successful. There was a side alley between this guy's house and the next, one that led right back to the street I was on. I decided to move around and blindside them from the other side. I guess I should have run...but at that point, I was so pissed at them for fucking up my chances that the raw gut wrenching terror was subsiding somewhat.

Along the way I walked by a firepit, with a long, hooked fireplace poker resting against it slowly rusting in the rain. I picked it up, hefted it experimentally. It would do.

As I stepped up to the mouth of the narrow alley between the two houses, dripping with water and shivering, I heard a rusty voice from the street. "You aren't done yet, cabrones!" Then I heard two more shotgun blasts, one right after the other, and screams. Then a few more shots. I poked my head out of the alley and saw Cristobol, blood soaking his white t shirt, but standing tall anyway and firing the sawed off again. There was another guy slumped over the culvert dripping pinkish gore into the water below, and the others were scattering rapidly.

No time to strategize now-I raised my pistol and jammed the trigger. I got lucky this time; one of the guys that was running my way caught the round in the right temple. A bright crimson flower blossomed from his skull and he sagged forward bonelessly. His buddy next to him was on top of me in a second-he was running really fast-and he swiped a baseball bat at my head.

I ducked-nobody needs to lecture Jon Mackey on duck and cover; he knows that one well-and my Escrima training took over from there. He had thrown himself way off balance, even stumbling in the direction of his swing-but I didn't. I straightened quickly and swiped a #2 angled strike towards his face. I could hear his teeth crunching in his mouth like a glass breaking inside a sock. His scream was hardly intelligable as he writhed backwards, the bat clattering to the concrete. At point blank I put two in his chest; that shut him up right quick.

You know what they say; never bring a baseball bat to a pistol and fire poker fight. Or at least, I'll be saying that from now on.

The others were running down the street with Cesare shouting after them to come back and fight-but his cries were growing a bit weaker and he was sagging against the door from again. As I approached he was coughing into his fist, and I could see pink flecks flying from his mouth. Oh, shit.

He looked up at me, and managed a grin through his bloody teeth. "You got my mota?"

I looked from him, to the now broken open and looted store, and reached for my shoulder bag. I tossed him a fat sack of Indiana's finest, which he caught with ease despite the wounds. "Let's get inside, man. You look like you need to smoke a bowl."

He coughed a few more times. "Fuckers got me in the lungs. I don't think I'm going to live to smoke it, ese."

I am unaccustomed to remose, and the sudden throat seizing touch of it surprised me. I couldn't think of what to say as he sniffed the bag and started coughing again. "Smells good," he says, grinning. "I'm sorry I won't get to smoke it."

Finally I found my voice. "No, man, you'll smoke it, dude, we'll grab a blunt wrap, you'll smoke a thousand blunts man..." As I babbled I dropped the poker and started to help him inside, put my arm under his, but he shoved me away roughly.

"Stupid pendejo," he said, with surprising fondness. "I took six in the chest, man." Blood was running over his stomach and down into his pants and out his pants leg into the street, blending with the blood from all the other carcasses now littering the area. "Take it...take it back, man. And take whatever from...the store.." He grinned again, his teeth white and bloody. "I'm just...glad to would have kept the deal, meng. You're straight man. All straight"

The wetneses on my face was not just rain when his eyes fluttered shut and he fell. 72 hours ago I wouldn't have cared if this guy lived or died...but now I found myself pulling his body inside and covering it with, of all things, a crispy creme donut cart cover. Looking down at the mound, sticky with blood and glaze, I struggled with emotions I couldn't find a word for-a dawning understanding of the concept of obscene, where I had never really considered it before. Even with my man purse bulging with beef jerky and sundry crap (including two more cartons and some blunt wraps) I just didn't want to leave him there.

"I'm sorry Cristobol," was all I could think of, and with that I would have to be satisfied-I didn't know if the mob was coming back or not. "I wish we could have smoked a blunt together." I stepped out into the rain again, letting the cold water baptise me anew, wash the gore from my clothes, my hair, my sinful carcass...and the new weight of his sawn off twelve gauge that I had taken from the door frame.

Even the new Jon Mackey is no fool.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

My Nephandi & Me - A Scumfuck Bible

I suppose we should start with the story of my Nephandi.


Some (very long) time ago we started roleplaying in the manner that we would become most accustomed to-avatar style. That is to say, we created avatars of ourselves (with badass superpowers) in the alternate universes. World of Darkness was (and is) our most common system, and we have had various incarnations of ourselves throughout. This is not a normal way to game, but we used it as our way of living out our fucked up revenge fantasies and making fun of each other-which in our misanthropic minds, is the purpose of gaming anyway. Anyway, we went through a lot of iterations as our avatars, from the initial foray into a mind numbingly violent coterie of vampires to mixed troupes that would make any self respecting White Wolf ST clamp down on his temples and chase aspirin with Bacardi 151.

It is from one of the mixed troupes, the one we affectionately refer to now as 2.5, (2.0 is the one without all the retcons) that my Nephandi truly came into being.

The Nephandi personify rape and nihilism and corruption; they are the servants of the Wyrm, a sort of 'Well we can't say Cthulhu' kind of deal that is responsible for the world spiraling into an abyss of castrated children and cheap plastic goods. I guess it is easier than blaming ourselves, in the real world, for the same problem. Anyway, the Nephandi are a faction of magick users that are riding that roller coaster into oblivion with both hands in the air and a rock hard dick.

At that point in my life I still spent most of my time seething and hating women and popping yellowjackets because I hadn't really worked my way up to speed yet. I had really begun to master the fine art of manipulating people, especially girls, and had recently lost my virginity to a heroin junkie named Maribelle (I think) in northern california. So this worldview made a lot of sense to me, a giant pack of broken lies cobbled together with hope and fuck juice, and while I played this character (in tabletop and IRC-I often integrated the two campaigns) everything that he said, I believed, because it made sense to me.


At some point later in my life, I had to make a difficult choice. I made that choice, and I am happy with my decision-it has resulted in me becoming the man I am today. But to say that the part of me that seethes with entropy died is a straight lie-it lives. I simply turned away from the sickness in my heart and aquired, slowly, over years, a measure of self respect and decency. And so my Nephandi sort of became my connection to that before time; as I got better, he got worse, until he became the literal avatar of genocide and atrocity on earth.

I, on the other hand, became a fairly nice guy with a taste for threeway sex.


You would have to look hard to see the similarities in us now, although they are there. The gulf between us has widened, but it is still merely the breadth of a single tarnished silver coin. I have moved beyond bitterness and nihilism, but I can still see him there, as I often suspect that he can see me-he is a psychadelic spirit mage, he has stuck his dick through the glory hole in the 4th wall. I do not think he would approve of me, but fuck him. That sick bastard sold his soul for power and it cost him all his friends and any chance at love or belonging. In the end, I think I keep him around just to remind me of that.

I'm sure it isn't just for the mental torture porn. That probably has nothing to do with it.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Last Call, Last Stand Part 11

I've found, in the Stygian social tomb that is the greater drug culture in good ol' Indiana, that only three kinds of people really smoke rollies-stoners, cheap bastards and old wannabe cowboys. Note that none of these categories is mutually exclusive. The stoner has papers, is comfortable rolling joints already, and has no problem with an unfiltered smoke. That distinctive zeppelin shape is their tell-even their cigarettes look kind of like joints, fat but even and twisted at the ends. Cheap bastards are another story-they want a real cigarette, but the prices are too high, so they roll their own. They usually use those rolling machines, even those insertable filters-a straight, neat smoke that almost looks like a real one. And the third category is easy to spot too-they are the only ones that make rolling a cigarette look like a hardass move, like rolling a quarter across your knuckles in a dime western. Their cigarettes usually have that pregnant bulge that comes when you roll one up on the fly while pretending not to be watching it-fat towards the front with a retard taper at the back.

You know how some chinese guys in old kung fu movies can tell your style and your master right away, by watching you throat-chop about a dozen of their henchmen? Jon Mackey is that guy but with cigarettes. Everything I needed to know about Cristobol, I knew by watching him break up tobacco from a pile of cigarette butts and stuff them down in a rolling machine with a scrounged filter. He was in the cheap bastard camp for sure.

Well, okay, not quite everything I needed to know. As I came up to the counter, rain dripping off my goatee, I noticed a notched machete and a sawed off double barrel sitting openly on the counter, right next to where his hands were. He was also smoking inside-a no no due to city ordnances, but something in me told me that the EXISE cops weren't going to be busting any balls today. And thank God for that.

"How much for a carton?" I said. There weren't many cartons left behind him. I wanted to think that there were boxes waiting to be unloaded in the back, but I doubted it. With my damp finger I pointed to a carton of Marlboro smooths up at the top, still unopened.

"Three hundred bucks," he said. He didn't sound happy about it either, but he was breaking up cigarette butts into a rolling machine; I couldn't find it in me to be mad at him. Still, I was given cause to ponder, at that strange moment while I rummaged through my pockets for an empty cigarette pack containing my cash, just how quickly the ol' free market catches up. It was a signifigant chunk of my not unlimited ready cash; I had about four grand in that ubitiquous petty dealer denomination-crumpled twenties. But I'll be damned if I would touch another of those god awful unfiltered rollies I'd been smoking while I watched Phebe sleep.

She had woken up less than an hour ago; I want to say the lack of filters on my cheap rollies was intolerable, but it was really that I couldn't take looking at her any longer. I had shaken her awake-this was just before 6 am and dawn was rising to stare coldly at us through my barred windows-and told her I was going out for cigarettes. I had strapped on a belt with my bowie knife in a sheath and tucked the pistol mexican style in my pants, but in truth nobody bothered me as I slogged three blocks through the rain to get more cigarettes. She hadn't commented, but I could see my own failure in her hurt gaze as I left her groggy and alone. God knows how tired she must have been-but her ass in the air in front of me was driving me just as batfuck crazy as that god awful brown rollie film that lingers on your lips after you smoke one.

"You didn't even flinch," Cristobol said with a grin. He took down the pack, counted my money, and tucked it into his pocket. All things considered, I don't regret not saying a thing when he bypassed the register entirely. "Been a hell of a night, mang." He lit up his own ersatz cigarette, a veritable melting pot of detrius wrapped in white paper and set aflame-much like our fair city. I lit one up as well, tearing into the pack like a virgin ass in prison.

"Supply and demand, man," I replied. Cristobol glanced towards the storefront windows approximately every seven seconds. Funny the things you notice when the adderol is still raking your brain hard with all 951 of it's alertness inducing claws. Taking a deep drag, I considered the machete. The notches were not ritual-they looked like hard use notches, and the black was worn off the blade in a few places. "Guess some people take that price bitching too far."

He sat back on a stool and ashed on the floor; again, I never thought less of him for it. Then again, when you've recently started repenting the lifetimes worth of abuse you have heaped on your fellow man (and woman) I find you aren't as likely to cast stones. That greenhouse glass shreds you to ribbons as its falling. Discretely I popped an atavin; I was going to be crashing out again really soon. Meanwhile, Cristobol leaned back, stretching his legs. "Not yet, but the TV says everybody is..." Here he looked up towards the TV, which was showing the emergency broadcast system. "Well, the tv don't say shit now. Off the air."

My own harsh laughter surprised me; guess the old Jon Mackey never wandered too far. "They got CBS, huh? I wonder how that fat fuck pundit did when theory became fact." Cristobol's return look was blank; I don't think he was following me and in truth I wasn't following myself that well-lack of sleep, stress and a delicate cocktail of uppers and downers was impairing my debonair wit. Then again, why would I waste my debonair wit on a dime store clerk?

He was looking at my pill bottle with some interest. "Gryffa?" he inquired, and I shook my head. I rattled the bottle to indicate it was pills. 'Gryffa' was a rare term for most mexicans I have found-'mota' is much more commonly used, but a lot of south americans use it. Just another little rumination on the sick culture I have immersed myself in-not mexicans, dopers.

"I have a little though-you want to make a trade?" He finished his cigarette at the same time as me; we both dropped the butts into an empty soda can with a hiss.

"Whatcha want?" He gestured to the store, but it was mostly empty.

"Mmmm. Another carton would do-you got more smooths?"

A pause as he turned and looked under the counter. "No-some black labels under here though. Salems."

"Ugh, that's a douche cigarette. What else?"

"Parliment lights? American Spirit Yellows?" Still listening, I groaned at those two choices, lit another of those fucking candy tasting smooths, and took a deep, dry drag. "Um, Kool milds?"

"That'll do," I said. "What do you want for a carton?"

He considered that one for a moment. I took the opportunity to study him. Big motherfucker, at least six feet, with some bad tattoos but not gang or prison tats. About 35, a veterano for sure. Some long pink scars that were a red flag-almost all on the hands and fingers. Getting a little soft around the middle, but Jon Mackey's number one rule when dealing with Mexicans is "Don't fuck with the ones who have machete scars." He was known to me, of course-I came to this bodega a lot; they never asked questions about rolled up bills. I decided I could trust him on his word.

"How 'bout a QP?" he said probingly. I laughed in his face; I could tell a bluff.

"Ain't no weed trucks comin' in either, ese," I said. The smooths were like a crisp mint encased in dry ashes as I sucked it down, so glad for a proper filter that I was setting a record for my own chain smoking.

He backed off that one immediately. "How 'bout an O?"

"An O is more reasonable, but still-even pre flood it would be worth what you're gouging for these motherfucking cartons." Looking around the store, my eye flickered to something in the back corner. "What about the carton, and that right there?" I pointed towards a rack of beef jerkey, still mostly there, all price marked up to forty bucks for a package.

It was Cristobol's turn to laugh at me. I didn't mind; I understood the game we were playing now. Jon Mackey on the field of glorious battle was a joke, but Jon Mackey in the smokey backroom negotiation was motherfucking weapon X. "Shit no, starving motherfuckers all over this city, holmes. Price'll only go up."

"Maybe, but you can't eat money, or smoke it either." I didn't really have an ounce on me-it is a fool that carries that kind of weight for no reason-but I made a production of zipping my shoulderbag up anyway. He had a pretty good poker face, but I could see his eyebrows twitch like he wanted to frown; he was considering it.

"Fuck it," he said finally. He started to hand me the carton, but I declined.

"Let me go get my shit," I said, elation riding like a herd of elephants across my brain. There were probably forty or fifty one pound packs of jerky on that rack; Phebe would be pleased at the addition to our food supply, and perhaps best of all, we could go a little longer without starving-maybe enough enough time for me to really get to know her. Weird, how important that sounded right now.

Cristobol looked over to the windowagain, eyes never still. It looked like he had had an interesting night, all right. As I got up to leave, he didn't offer to shake my hand, and I didn't offer to shake his-my daddy always used to say that between real men, a nod means as much as a handshake. I read once that a handshake started out as a way to make sure a guy didn't go for his gun when you greeted him. But we both had guns and there we were, agreeing on a deal anyway.

The rain dampened my cigarette as I stepped outside and started hoofing it immediately. It sounds lame, but I rehearsed how I was going to tell Phebe about securing the extra food-for one, she didn't know about the whole 'scumbag ho smackin' drug dealer' thing, and for two, I really really really needed to impress her after my, um, lackluster performance last night.

Man, I could practically hear my dad rolling in the aisles over that one.

So she kind of caught me off guard when I saw her outside, still trying to decide between "Hey" and "What's up?"

She was piling a ten gallon bucket on top of another ten gallon bucket, and sealing the middle with some inner tube. She didn't notice me in the driving rain, as I leaned against the rough damp bricks and watched her for a few moments. It was nice; the air was getting bitterly cold and steam was rising from her red face while she struggled to get the inner tube around the buckets.

"Whatcha doin?" I inquired politely, making her jump. One hand was on her glock in that shoulder holster. I noticed the shotgun we'd "salvaged" after our previous little adventure leaning up in the doorway as well.

She relaxed slowly-unsurprising, I'm sure her nerves were as ragged as mine. "Oh. Jon. I'm, uh, rigging up a water filter. Check it out." She tilted the two buckets over some and showed me; there was a small hole at the bottom of the top bucket, with something covering it at the bottom. Water was already gathering in there and trickling down into the bottom bucket. "I couldn't afford a good one, so I just bought some of those replacement filters and kept this around ready to rig up."

Smoke rolled around my face through the rain, though the cigarette was so wet that I really wasn't enjoying it anymore. "Why the inner tube?" I pointed to where the inner tube was rolled up and tightened around the area where the two buckets met.

"Keeps dirty water from getting in through the cracks," she replied, and shivered a bit. It was getting much colder. The reptile part of my brain was drawing my eyes to her hard nipples under that tank top.

"Good thinking I guess. Why now, though?" I was looking elsewhere by now, watching my cigarette butt float down the sidewalk, gently down the stream between my feet. When it was gone I focused on my soggy toes.

She grunted, rolled the four foot tall contraption upright, and turned to face me. "Brown water from the tap-and a sewage smell. They're on the radio advising people not to drink tap water since there are a bunch of busted sewer lines now. So did you get your cigarettes?"

My stomach queased a little at the idea of the mayhem that little development would probably cause, but really I was feeling good about my chances now that I had cigarettes. "Yeah, and I am about to go trade the guy for a few more-and a rack full of beef jerky." Briefly I explained about the inflated prices, Cristobol and the gas station. I left out that I was trading for mota, and she didn't ask-really she was too busy trying to get that monstrosity to stand up in the rain and high wind. As an afterthought, I grabbed a couple spare, um, magazines for my pistol on the way out.

It turned out to be a good idea.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Mall Ninja Confessions

In terms of mall ninja-ry, I have been the worst of offenders. I've touched on my post apocalyptic warlord fantasies before, in that one post where I revealed my stunted cartoon morality. So yeah, that guy you all make fun of with the sexy dream of society scraped together from a pile of busted-ass rubble, just know, that was me. I don't mind being made fun of, though I suspect some folks doth protest too much because it is a little too close to home. But I'm willing to come out and admit it now, I was the choad with the life map like a bad self insertion fanfic, and in those strange days with their strange drugs and their strange sociopath games, I craved the motherfucking apocalypse.

All it was going to take was the apocalypse, and I could thrive-because in my situation (smart but lazy and deeply perverted, with a persecution complex and a mighty fine speed habit) I could never see myself thriving in mainstream society. I mean, when freed from the rule of law, I was the guy who giggled with his buddies about taking over a swatch of territory and ruling it with an iron fist, with sex slaves and big ass bongs smoking like open volcanoes.

I've grown up tremendously since then, though I can't say things about the dream do not persist. I've learned that to even be close to be ready to function in the Mad Max universe, you have to be able to function in this one. I can even kind of mask my deviant tendencies when necessary, though I always think people can sense it in me. (Granted that might be the self important paranoia talking) I've decided that even if I win these post apocalypse skirmishes, I will still end up burying some of my friends.

Now that I am old and mortal I can taste the fear that my anticipation masked before. I look at the world around me, at this massive fucking civil war that might be looming-and close, close as fuck, with the opening shots hanging in the air like bloody constellations-and I make a very sincere prayer on this day.

Lord, give us time. Ten years would be fucking awesome. Five years would be good.

Yes the I-and-I pride has been revealed for what it is, the foolish delusions of an I that was so wounded in I-and-I spirit that all that destruction sounded good in the I head...and I-and-I pray, Jah protect all the I's close to this heart, from the terrible storm that is coming.

And time. The I-and-I need more time.