Short Story: Even Fools

Cracked asphalt rose to plateaus, forming sheer drops to insects too malformed to see their repetition on the massive scales beyond. Humans were no different. Only their scale was. They did all the same foolish things, made all the same foolish mistakes.

Difference was, intellect had kept them alive long enough to thwart death’s equalizing grasp.

Insects didn’t have that advantage, but they were no more in control of that cascade of datum known as Time than Humans, either. Time was ever the dictator. This go-round, it dictated with age went grace.

The elderly were no longer the Olympians. It was the youth. Problem was, in a world of asphalt and suffocated atmo, even the most vibrant soul could not compete. Worst of all, the elder non-competitives were deluding themselves into believing things weren’t as bad as they’d made them.

But they were. And they were only getting worse.

An ant at the apex of one plateau peered over the edge to see another at its base. In deference to the similar scene playing out a hundred miles west, and one more elevated, the man at the base of the cliff wasn’t pumping his antennae in curiosity. He was dead.

Scale mattered, even if size didn’t.

The man that pushed him was staring into the distance, sun still beating on him from its late-noon arc as if nothing’d happened.

But it had.

He’d pushed him. That was supposed to be the end of it but the scream came. Piercing. Shrill. Echoing in the nothingness far longer than he’d have liked or expected. Then, the distant crack. Nothingness again.

Then it was over– supposed to be, anyhow. He slugged the rest of the beer, threw it into the gorge.

That was when it hit him. Later, the Sheriff guessed that was how it happened too. He explained it to a deputy, “Crime of passion.’ People don’t get what it means. Think passion’s all about fucking,” he as much as flopped down as a man with a rod in his spine could.

“What it really means is, ‘people too fuckin’ stupid to look at the bigger picture.’ History’s rife with it. Humans get caught up in the mob mentality, their momentary fury, and fuck things up. Only reason a group can do it’s ‘cause the individual’s capable. Just amplifies it from there.”

The Deputy then asked, “That why you became a Sheriff, Sheriff?”

“Nah, got tired of getting arrested,” He slugged back a shot of coffee. “The problem nowadays, everyone’s afraid to do anything for themselves. Right or wrong.”

The Deputy’s face was small, “Mind if I ask why you kept gettin’ arrested, Sheriff?”

He sparked a joint, “Possession.”

The Deputy laughed.

The night would be quiet, as with all others. Nothing happened at night in the desert. Night was for the warm-blooded, those forced to warm their own for the better of all such as the Sheriff. The next few hours would be spent processing paper-work, filling in forms.

“He ever admit why he did it?” The Deputy’s wife later asked,

Her husband sat beside him on the porch as they puffed their own reefer, “Nope.”

She passed it to him, held her breath. Fireflies floated past in the haze of heat and smoke, drifting upward together with as they puffed deep, let their thoughts drift.

She wasn’t sure how she knew, but she guessed a woman caused it. Nothing turned men against one another faster than women. Usually too, the more the woman, the worse the effect.

“Must’ve been a helluva woman.”

That ponderous introspection had caught her in line at the grocery store. Had it not, she’d never have drifted off, never seen them.

It wasn’t difficult to sniff out the small town three-lane grocer if you were a crook. It was even easier to sniff out the crooks when you used to be one. The place was small, convenient: a path of least resistance for dregs seeking ground.

Marriage to a Deputy had instilled some instincts in her, for instance the ability to spot the two, out of place men in one-oh-four-degree heat wearing flannel over-shirts, rolled caps, and leaning into themselves rather peculiarly. They were loitering. Waiting for badness, she wagered. Lucky really, if they’d been smarter, she might never have seen them.

But she did. They were waiting and by now, so was she. She angled at the cashier, leaned forward as if to set items on the belt. She spoke fast and low, “The two men over there may be about to rob the store. Press the silent alarm and alert your manager. Now. Go!

Her body stiffened. She was instantly feeling under the register. Then, with a terrified attempt at nonchalance, she stiffly speed-walked for the manager’s office. Careful not to appear too out of place she knocked, but forced her way in. A thought to decry the intrusion was waived at the woman’s terrified stiffness.

“I think we’re being robbed!”

“What?”

The shouts came then.

The alert had gone out from the store and the Deputy’s wife’s phone near enough together the threat was obvious. The Sheriff himself had been nearby, and the Deputy not far from him. They were first on-scene, caught the guys mid-draw. The guns went up. Before a minute had passed, it was over.

The confusion never had a chance to give way to chaos.

Later, after taking statements and returning to the station, Sheriff asked the Deputy the cause of the robbery attempt.

“Crime of passion, Sheriff,” the Deputy said. “Couple out-of-towners needed cash to fix the car.”

“Uh-huh. Anything else?”

“Sure. I asked ‘em, “Why not ask someone for help?”

“They say anything?”

“Yeah, sure. “Where we come from you don’t ask, ‘cause you know the answer.”

“Hmm…” The Sheriff retorted.

Later on, the Sheriff relayed the conversation to the two men in holding, adding, “I get it. You’re drifters. Prob’ly running from a past no man can begrudge. So I’m gonna’ give you a choice: leave now, never look back and never come back. Or stay on as deputies, and learn to be real, proper men. Flaws and all.”

“Catch is,” the Sheriff admitted forthrightly, “You show signs of regression, I put you down. Clean from here-on. S’all that matters.”
They eyed one another, shrugged. It was the best deal they’d find– especially given no-one else was offering. They took to it, too– even fools know change is good.

Poetry-Thing Thursday: Made “For You”

You play a good game.
Most would surely miss it.
But there’s no denying,
the heat on the air,
or slight stutter of breath;
that quiet calling,
the closer we get.

You can try to deny it,
fool even yourself,
but I know the truth.
Know it as you do too;
that heat and that lust,
that animal want,
that searching for pleasure,
that you and I share.

It is passion confined,
compressed to singularity,
and no matter our senses,
it will always endure.

We can fight it forever,
die with it alight.
Stay separate to douse it,
but it’s stronger than might.

Last of all,
we could feed it.
Unleash its full force,
on one another,
hope to survive–
to hell with our senses
and the consequences.

No matter our choice,
little may change,
whether we like it or not,
our “I,”
is made,
“for you.”

Poetry-Thing Thursday: The Big Fin

I like the feel,
the push and pull,
of gravity and steel,
with the throttle at full.

The rumble of the engine.
Pulsing heat.
Surge of adrenaline,
coursing head-to-feet.

An amplifier,
cranked up past eleven.
Trembling thunder,
from bass-note heaven.

Slap and the pop,
high and low lows,
take you to the top,
even if the tempo slows.

It’s the terror
of 1 hp, a two-hour raid,
the smell of good weed,
the day you get paid.

It’s what you feel,
deep inside,
reeling,
‘cause of opposing inner-tides.

Exhilaration.
Terror.
Pleasure.
Pain.

All the same.
And so much more.
We play the game.
To rig the score.

‘Cause in the end,
we want to win.
‘Round the bend,
we know no sin.
This life is ours,
forever akin,
to filled hours,
before the big fin.

Poetry-Thing Thursday: My Box

I haven’t left my box,
much at all this year.
Some say it’s a bad thing,
that I live in constant fear.

But the truth is,
my box is really quite large,
when my imagination descends,
and it takes charge.

Some people say that,
my box’s walls are uncouth.
I disagree,
but ’cause I know the truth:

That boxes,
ones both bigs and smalls,
are around us all each day,
most with invisible walls.

I like my box and keep it cool,
or in the winter cozy and warm.
But some still say my box,
does me lots of harm.

But I don’t believe it,
and I think I know why;
just between you and me,
my box has better views of the sky.

And ones of the beyond if I choose,
past the stars and the moon,
the sun and solar system,
to places so far, I can’t return soon.

Cause its out there I’m soaring,
while my hands remain here, writing.
And though my mind’s in the clouds,
it’s my box that keeps me here, safe

from fighting–
from crying,
from sighing,
or even white-lying.
‘Cause my box is like yours,
but different,
for it is ever,
adventure-supplying.

Short story: Hungry

Lily-white skin glowed beneath blue-white LEDs. Chrome and black inflected their tints from fixtures, furniture, appliances. The soft pin of wrists against ceramic tile floor ensured she’d try to resist. She did. With the smallest force manageable. She tested her strength against his, back arching. It wasn’t enough to break the bind. Good. Strong– strong enough, anyway.

Half-shaved, platinum-blonde hair writhed against tile. Nails tensed at his shoulder. His face sank between milk-white breasts streaked green with veins like streams of fallen water. Pink nipples throbbed, hardened atop perfectly round areola: Olympus-Mons duplicates in pink and white on either breast. His face pushed past them at the behest of her slightest touch. Her wrists stayed pinned, slid along slender curves, and the dusting of white-blonde pubic hair. His face sank between warm pink.

Hips bucked. Pelvis twisted: Back. Forth. Back again. The rhythm repeated. The first gasp escaped. It had been trapped too long. In a tower. It’s vengeance was the simple act of existing. The first moan started with a purr. It growled from silence into the back of her throat. Another gasp. It slipped out: soft, light. Her hands tensed. Nails dug deeper. His tongue worked. Her mouth opened, shoulders twitched, hips rocked back. Back. Forth. Repeating. A breath came. Louder. The purring moan crept in. It grew. Shifted. Twisted. A deep groan.

Another slight touch. His body moved automatically. In a moment, he was inside her. He threw his head back. Sucked at the taste of her in his mouth. He pressed against her. A flinch. Resistance faltered. She writhed and twitched. The silken warmth was surpassed only by the ambrosia lingering on his tongue. He was drunk on it. Stupid. She was shuddering, body heaving pleasure.

He managed to open an eye: she was glowing. The lights made her look as he felt. The tile floor stole what it could but couldn’t take enough to remove it. He pumped in rhythm. Her hips guided him. Nothingness enveloped his closed eyes. His strength waned: wanting to cum, incapable of it. On the verge. Ready to. Unable. His breaths shortened. Body shuddered. Part of him wanted to scream joy. Another terror. Something was wrong.

He opened his eyes. Confusion. He was inside her. She was writhing. Cumming. She was warm silk, wet, inviting, making him throb. Beneath was pain. How? It was like surfing waves of euphoria. Cocaine-ecstasy sprays inhaled with each breath. She was glowing. He probably was too.

No. She was glowing. He saw it. It tore his mind apart to look. An eagle-eye view of their sex: She was glowing. He was translucent. Pain pulled at him. Pulled him into her. He screamed. She screamed louder. Hers engulfed his. Darkness ebbed in. His eyes were heavy. His gut light. His head spun. The moans grew. The glow brightened.

She turned bright-white. Shining, like a beacon. It pulsed. Everything glowed. Tints inflected infinitesimally on it: Chrome. Black. Pink– slicked wet or swollen. He began to fade. Little-by-little, he disappeared. His screams were quieter. Hers weren’t. They remained level and loud, piercing the growing emptiness in him. He felt himself disintegrating, swallowed by them. Piece-by-piece, his mind shattered. His body flickered. Flash-bulb strobes emitted from her torso. Streams of light snaked from her mouth, throat, nipples, groin, feeding the glow in her torso.

It strobed. He flickered. Alternating blinks: he was gone. There. Gone. Then, gone for good. She still writhed. Her screams echoed along the walls. The whole kitchen breathed. Out, bowing. In, constricting. In its center, she was a beacon of agonized pleasure. He was gone. Dissolved inside her. It didn’t matter. Her hips thrust. Back arched. One last scream. Body rigid. Tense. It pressed up, out. Something inside the light shifted.

All at once the moment passed. Her body collapsed. Twitches fluttered through limp limbs. The light was gone too, her breath trembling. She inhaled sharply. The room breathed a last time, then settled. Then, nothing. All was still.

She came-to in the middle of the floor. Right where she’d been left. Right where she’d left herself. He was good. Strong. He’d had something of the Nords in him. Good, pure blood. It wasn’t enough. Already the hunger was returning. Soon enough, she’d need another. It was becoming as difficult to maintain her appetite as the deceptions. The bartenders all knew her. They’d all seen her leave with the men. The women before that. Soon enough, she’d have to leave again. Sell her place. Shred her identity. She’d done it before.

The next city would need to be far. She could turn to women again. The cravings would go away for a while. The hunger would be sated. For a while. She’d have to go back to men, eventually. Then, it would return; like always, she’ll have gone through all the women, brought on too much suspicion. She’ll have to resort to men again for a while, until they weren’t enough.

Men were easier: they didn’t think about their comrades disappearing with a beautiful woman then never reappearing again. Even if the woman reappeared, the man didn’t have to. He’d fulfilled his conquest. It was never really them conquering. Not when she was involved. Problem for her was, women were the real source: Love. Innocence. Praying off those was power. Even the other women knew it. But women tracked other women. They worried for them. Cared for them. Chasing the real power meant jumping from city to city, always moving. It was difficult.

Then again, maybe she’d finally set down somewhere for good. Plant roots. Find a way to become obscure enough not to stand out. Somewhere it wasn’t as obvious– where people were as much commodities as anything. Parasite-colonies. That’s what they were, what she needed. Places like Hong Kong, Tokyo, Chicago, Berlin, London. She loved them, but stood out too much.

Trends and fashions would change. One day. She’d become as much a background beauty as any could. Then, she’d make her move. Now, she was too in-style. Too noticeable. It would change. It always had. She’d made it through a thousand years of Human existence. Feeding. Fucking. One in the same for her, for all of them. There were worse ways to go, no doubt. Feeding something like her was an honor by comparison.

At least that’s what she’d convinced herself of. In the end all that mattered was her hunger. Hunger: for flesh. Blood. Heat. Already clawing at her. She pushed up off the floor to redress and head to the bar, hungry.