I wrote this a few weeks ago. It’s a near and dear story for me for personal reasons and I think it appropriately conveys the confusing feelings that each party involved would feel.
Jonathan’s phone dinged once. He
picked it up to see a text from someone that he hadn’t talked to since his
senior year of high school. It said, “do u care if I call you?”
“Sure. But why?” Jonathon asked, pushing himself to his feet. He was sitting next to his mother watching reruns of Family Feud. He walked to the front porch and sat down on the rough fabric of the outdoor loveseat. Kicking his legs up on the pillars that made up the waist high fence surrounding the porch he awaited the call, pondering what it could be.
responded, “I’ll call you in a minute or two,” then he sent another text that
said, “it’s bad news.”
scrolled through his newsfeed while he waited, trying to figure out what
Nicolas wanted to talk to him about, but didn’t want to scare himself by
thinking of the possibilities, so he tried not to let his thoughts wander. What
he knew for sure was that it had nothing to do with Nicolas’ college education
since he had dropped out after one semester and it wouldn’t have to do with
Jon’s brother or parents because otherwise, he would have heard it from someone
else. He continued to scroll through his newsfeed and tried to contain the
anxiety that was tickling his stomach and brain, making his hairs stand tall
and his mouth dry.
u ready?” Nicolas sent.
The second that Jon sent the text, Nicolas was already calling him. Jon held it in his hand and felt the vibrations as he contemplated not answering at all. He took a deep breath and picked up, staying as strong as he could in the uncertain circumstance that he was handed.
what’s up?” Jon said.
about calling so late. I just thought you should know as soon as I found out.”
beat around the bush. What’s up?”
you know CJ Wilkinson?” he asked after a drawn-out pause.
I knew him a little bit. My brother knows him better than I did, but I know
throat constricted and he felt his heart jump. Not only did his brother, Devin,
know CJ, but they were best friends. They met years ago when they were in second
or third grade and they actually hated each other at first, then they got into
a pretty big argument that ended in some punches, but soon after they developed
a mutual respect for each other, that eventually blossomed into the
relationship that they have now. Knowing that the news was bad and about CJ
gave Jon tunnel vision as he braced for it.
about him?” Jon asked, since Nicolas hadn’t said anything for a few seconds.
dead,” Nicolas said.
do you mean?”
happened!” Jon yelled, then hushed his voice so his mom didn’t hear him from
don’t think anyone knows for sure yet, but I’ve heard through the grapevine
that it was suicide.”
you serious?” Jon said in a whisper. “How did you find out?”
don’t feel comfortable saying. The news isn’t out yet, but I heard from someone
else and felt like you had the right to know.”
stayed silent and looked up at the stars that shined with the same brilliance
that they had every night of his life, but they were mocking him tonight. Nicolas
was breathing heavily on the other end of the call, sniffling every few
are you holding up?” Jon asked.
fine I guess,” he said, then sniffled. “I didn’t know him too well either but I
was really close to his family. He was a good guy. He didn’t deserve to go so
know he didn’t. Thanks for letting me know. I know it wasn’t easy telling me
be okay. I just feel bad for his family. I’m going to pray for them after we
get off the phone.”
Jon would make a sarcastic remark about how religion wouldn’t help, but he
didn’t have the heart. He just wanted Nicolas to feel better and hoped that the
prayers really did work. He really hoped that there was something out there
that would make CJ’s family feel better.
for letting me know,” Jon told Nicolas. “I’m gonna let you go. I need to make
Sorry that I only called to give bad news. I wish it could have been for
something a bit happier.”
okay. I’m glad I know.”
don’t tell anyone that I’m the one that told you. I don’t know if the
Wilkinson’s are ready to make the news public.”
won’t. Have as good a night as you can. Give them my prayers.”
sniffled one last time and hung up the phone. Jon leaned back, resting in the
chair. After a few minutes, he stood up and walked back inside, sitting next to
his mom on the couch who was still watching reruns of Family Feud.
was that about?” his mom asked.
said, “It was Nicolas.”
haven’t talked to him in a while, have you?”
It’s been a while.”
did he want? You look as white as a ghost.”
his mom yelled, muting the TV. “What happened?
one knows for sure yet, but Nicolas said it may have been suicide.”
really? He always seemed so happy when he came around.”
thought so too,” Jon said. “I guess he was good at covering it up.”
brother is going to be devastated.”
know. I’m thinking about calling him.”
you want me to do it?”
ignored his mom and sent Devin a text saying, “Hey, can I call you for a
you want me to do it?” Jon’s mom repeated.
I can do it.”
Jon walked back to the porch and sat on the rough fabric of the outdoor loveseat and waited for Devin to respond. Ten minutes later, he responded saying he stepped away but didn’t have long. Jon dialed his number and listened to it ring once, then heard Devin pick up and say, “hello?”
man,” Jon said. “I have some bad news for you. Are you at a place that you can
he laughed as his girlfriend mumbled something that Jon couldn’t hear clearly.
“I mean, how bad can it be?”
you sure you’re in a good place to talk?”
fine. Stop delaying whatever it is that you need to tell me. Out with it.”
CJ’s dead. I heard that it may have been suicide.” The noise died on the other
end of the phone as Devin said something and stepped away from his girlfriend.
“I’m sorry. I know this must be really hard for you.”
was nothing but silence for a minute before I heard Devin clear his throat and
take a breath, then he fell silent again. Jon didn’t know what to say, so he
waited, keeping his head clear so as to not assume anything about what Devin
was feeling or thinking.
progressed, thoughts of how Jon had never experienced this form of grief
flooded his head, and maybe that was why he was so comfortable being the one to
tell him the bad news. Jon thought to his kindergarten friend who passed of
heart complications and to a tragedy that affected his school when he was a
freshman and three seniors drove their car into a lake, unable to escape before
tragedy befell them. He was too young to understand the pain of loss in
kindergarten and was too self-obsessed to understand the loss of the three boys
in high school, since he had never met them.
Time passed and
the stars continued to mock Jon, who was starting to feel his thoughts bombard
his brain. “Should I have been the one to tell him?” he wondered. “Should I
have told him in person? Would it have been better for me to let him find out
through the grapevine when the family was more ready to make the announcement?
Was I acting selfishly by believing he’d handle it better coming from me?” His
thoughts spiraled, but the last one to enter his head was, “Is Devin okay?”
Thanks for letting me know.” Devin hung up without saying another word and Jon
was left alone on the porch with only his thoughts and the mocking stars to
keep him company. He stood up and leaned against the railing on his porch. He
breathed in as deeply as he could and held it in, then when his lungs were
going to burst, he let it out.
door opened behind him. Jon’s mom stood there, staring at her shrunken son with
watery eyes. “Are you okay?” she asked him.
let out another breath as his lungs were going to cave in and said, “Yeah. I’m
you tell Devin?”
did he handle it?”
you want some time alone?”
I’m okay. I’ll be in in a minute.”
She closed the
door slowly and quietly as Jon took one last deep breath. He let the air out
and walked inside, sitting down next to his mom and watched reruns of Family
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Most everything I write is for fun and entertainment for everyone that decides to read it, but sometimes I think it’s important to shine light on important topics. I hope you enjoy, but also understand what’s being communicated here.
Francis Long walked up the
chipped concrete steps to 238 Windshire Street, a house that had more rumors
floating through the neighborhood than any other in the world. People would say
that they heard shrieking children, howling dogs or the construction echoing
through the cool night sky. As an Eagle Scout, Francis discounted each and every
stupid story that he heard, always trying to give people the benefit of the
The man that lived inside the house, Willie Asher, was a known Vietnam War veteran and was held captive alongside the politician Gregory Huang in the Hanoi Hilton. They were known to communicate through tap code, which is a way that many prisoners have communicated through the years. As Huang rose to fame, he recounted discussions that they would have, talking about their families, dream homes and what they hoped to do when they got home from the Hilton, while Asher fell deep into obscurity and forgotten by the public.
Through school, along with the philanthropy that Francis was doing, he was immediately enthralled with his past. He was an ex-naval aviator, shot down by the North Vietnamese and captured in 1971 until he was released in 1973. While in the prison, he was beaten by belts and whips, starved and forced to stay awake for days on end; there are a few accounts of his shoulders being popped out of their sockets, then hung to the ceiling like such for further beatings.
Even though he had been forgotten by the passage of time, he was still a war hero and Francis wanted to be the one that gave him the help and respect that he deserved. Through his research, he learned that most of Asher’s family was either dead or estranged due to arguments or disagreements that escalated until the family members were no longer on speaking terms. When Francis reached out to the family members to get them back in touch with Willie, they told him that it wasn’t worth the time or effort due to “severe mental damage.” That only invigorated Francis, knowing that if anyone could help Willie, it was him.
Most of the house’s windows were broken, and curtains were fluttering behind them. He pushed the button to ring the doorbell but was met with silence. He knocked on the tattered screen door and it opened a bit, closing with a slam as a large gust of wind blew. “Hello?” he yelled, but no one answered. Knocking again, he yelled louder but again, no one answered.
The rumors about the house began six years ago when a little girl went missing around the area. Eight-year-old Olivia Down was walking from her house to her friends and had to pass directly in front of Willie’s. From there, the details get a bit fuzzy because everyone in the town made up their own story. Some said Willie barged out with a rifle and grabbed Olivia, carrying her inside. Others say that she was lured inside with promises of puppies and candy. A few people even go as far as saying he used some paranormal abilities to trick her into walking through the front door. Olivia was never found, and even though police and other investigators searched Willie’s house, the rumors had been spread so much that they became truth in many people’s minds.
With another knock and still no answer, Francis started to walk back down the chipped steps and try again later, when the thought struck him that this man was 73. If his family hadn’t checked in on him in years and he wouldn’t answer the door, he could have met an untimely death. The thought chilled Francis as he turned back to the door, which was lightly swinging open again in the breeze, occasionally clacking closed. One last time, he knocked, but this time he decided to stick his head in and look around.
The house looked abandoned. Shards of glass sat below the open windows and floor boards were warped all around them. In a few places, floor boards and wall paneling were ripped up entirely, revealing the rotten core of the house. To the right of the door was what looked like a family room with a recliner torn to shreds with the foam sticking out. Francis looked closely and thought he saw movement inside. It was either a nest for rats or some other creature that he hoped he wouldn’t meet. There was an entertainment center without anything on it, and each of the drawers was missing, revealing the cleanest looking section of the wall behind it. Multiple light switches were left flipped up, but not a shred of artificial light shined. Francis looked up to see that almost every bulb had been taken from its socket and was nowhere to be seen.
Even though this was the type of place that could be in a horror movie, Francis was undeterred. If Willie was still alive, this man needed serious help. He took in a deep breath and let out a booming “Hello!” that surely Willie would hear if he was around. Then, out of the corner of his eye, he saw movement. He turned to see an elderly man peering around a wall, but the second Francis turned his head, the man retracted.
“Willie? Is that you?” Francis asked with wavering confidence, as the whole situation seemed strange. “My name is Francis Long. I’ve heard a lot about you and wanted to see if you were interested in sitting down over lunch so that I could finally meet you.”
For a second, the man didn’t move, but then he bounced from behind the wall and started moving towards Francis with a light bounce that isn’t expect from someone his age. With a happy smile on his face, he said “hello Francis, it’s nice to meet you.” He held out one hand with the other behind him in a kind of royal way, stopping sternly two paces in front of Francis.
Any fear or confusion that had bubbled inside of Francis quickly dissipated. Willie (Francis assumed it was him even though he hadn’t introduced himself) seemed nice and surprisingly full of pep. He reached out his hand to shake it and was met with a firm grip.
pulled closer unsuspectingly and spun around. With Willie to his back, his arm
was twisted by the hand that he had tried to shake until he was about to
scream. Willie’s second hand lurched up and held a knife to his throat. “Howdja
find me? Who told you I was here?”
“I looked it up
online!” Francis yelled. “I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to surprise you. I’m so
sorry,” he sputtered with tears streaming down his face.
“Whatda we have
here. A coward? Cowards make the best talkers.” Willie pushed Francis forward
and he walked.
At one point,
Francis moved his arm up to the arm holding the knife at his throat to pull it
back, but the second he touched Willie’s arm, Willie pushed the tip of the
blade into his neck and blood trickled down, staining the light brown Eagle
Scout’s uniform. “Move again and I’ll cut’cher throat out.”
throwing out every apology and explanation that he could. He’d say, “I’m sorry
for coming to your house!” and “if you let me go, I’ll leave and never come
back!” and anything else he could muster.
With each string
of words, Willie laughed. “I can’t believe they’d let someone as weak as you on
“The force? What
are you talking about? I’m not part of any force!”
talking from you.” Willie pushed him through a doorway and down a flight of
steps to the basement. The steps looked like they had been eaten by termites
and sawdust was everywhere. When they reached the floor, Francis’ shoes were
filled with water. The unfinished room was flooded by an inch of water. There
was a drain in the center of the room, but it had been clogged with different
debris, like the saw dust from the stairs, along with larger chips of wood, dirt,
screws and nails.
There was a
large cabinet that had been moved beside a massive hole in the wall. A rusted
pickax and shovel laid next to the hole and large piles of dirt and rocks were
next to them. Willie had carved a small hole in the wall out and a menacing
looking wooden contraption was sitting in the middle. With a strong push, he
threw Francis towards the machine and told him to sit in it. After a short argument
that ended with Willie trying to stab Francis, he defeatedly crawled into what
he thought would be his wooden tomb.
To get in,
Francis had to climb onto something that was about waist height and put his arms
and legs into unsanded wooded gutters. When they were in place, Willie strapped
his ankles and wrists in place so tightly that the feeling in his feet and
hands almost instantly vanished. “Howju you like it?”
say anything. He was crying and had given up on pleading his case. He was
thinking back to the conversation that he had with his mom before he left home.
Desperately, he tried to recall if he said he loved her.
“What? You don’t
understand me?” Willie spit in Francis’ face. “I said, how do you like it?”
Francis let out in a scream that would have broken glass if there was any intact
in this dilapidated home.
“Good.” Willie strapped
his neck in place, then walked to a corner of the room and picked up a clamp, screwdriver
and mallet. He placed the clamp around Francis’ right thigh, tightening it as
much as he could by hand before he put the screwdriver through the handle and
pounded it tighter with the mallet, getting two more complete turns. Francis
screamed from the excruciating pain and Willie put a strip of leather in his
mouth. “No one can hear ya down ‘ere. Might as well stop tryin’.” He did the
same thing to Francis’ left leg and the upper part of both his arms.
“Now, lemme ask
ya some questions. Who sent ya here?” Willie said an inch from Francis’ face.
“What are you
talking about?” Francis said in a muffled voice through the leather that Willie
was holding in his mouth.
say a word. He simply smiled and moved to Francis’ right arm, which was spread
out away from his body. At the end of the gutter that the arm was in, he
twisted a small wooden handle that started rotating his arm at the elbow. At
first Francis didn’t understand what was happening, but when his forearm had
turned a little more than 90 degrees, it stopped for a second and searing pain
started up his arm. He bit down on the leather and watched as Willie kept
turning the handle.
Then there was a
Since his upper
arm couldn’t move, his elbow was dislocated, torn from the socket with one quick
movement. His body convulsed when he screamed from pain and gagged from the
sound at the same time. Francis couldn’t compare the pain to anything he had
experienced before, but he imagined it’d be easier to have the entire arm
lopped off at the elbow and cauterized.
back to Francis and starred him in the face, only inches from his tear and
sweat covered brow. “Le’s try this again ya commie bastard. Who sent you here?”
say a word. He was left motionless, distracted by the pain in his ankles and
left wrist, and the numbness in right arm. Willie headbutted him, pushing his
head into the wooden trough that his head lay in. His vision blurred and again,
he tried to plead his case. “No one sent me here. I wanted to see if you needed
help with anything.”
pushed himself up from the contraption and walked to Francis’ right leg. With
fire in his eyes, he was said, “I really don’t like liars,” and started turning
another handle by the leg. Slowly but just like what happened with his arm, his
foot and calf was turned to the right, and after it hit a right angle, there
was resistance and then a sudden pop, sending pain, then a cool numbness
through his body.
“You get two
more tries until I try something else.” Francis couldn’t see what Willie looked
at, but he looked at the entrance to the cave that he was in and feared for the
pickax. “Now, who the fuck sent you here!” He took the leather from Francis’
“I told you, no
one sent me here!” Francis pleaded with all of his remaining strength. “I’m an
Eagle Scout. I learned about you in school and wanted to see if you needed help
with anything around the house! I could help you fix your floor boards or walls,
or even get your groceries or do your laundry! I’ll do anything. I just want to
patiently, letting Francis finish his plea. With the bounce that he had
upstairs, he moved to Francis’ left leg and started turning. Once he got to the
point where the joint was about to be pulled from the socket, he stopped and
looked at his hostage, then he ripped it all the way around, the remaining 270
from the initial pain, but then threw up on himself while feeling the grinding
through his leg. He didn’t know what was grinding, but that only added to his
disgust. He threw up again and then his vision went black for a second. Willie
placed a damp cloth on his forehead to keep him cautious and wiped some of the
vomit from his mouth. “I’m not gonna ask again.”
“I – no one,” he
stuttered, not sure what to do, but knowing he couldn’t risk screwing up again.
“I’m a spy. I was sent to spy on you.”
“Now was that so
hard?” Willie said with a smile. “You get to live for a little while longer
because you cooperated, but next time I come down here, you better tell me
everything you know or it’s over.”
Willie left the
cave and moved the cabinet in front of the hole. Francis was left alone in the
darkness of the cave. He couldn’t move and didn’t want to try, fearing that his
arm or legs would grind like they had before. All he could think of was if he
had told his mom that he loved her, or if they’d find him before Willie came
back. With the rest of his remaining strength, he tapped the fingers of his
left hand on the wooden gutter that was holding it before losing consciousness.
Tap tap, tap tap
Tap tap tap,
Tap tap tap, tap
tap tap tap.
Tap tap tap tap tap,
Tap, tap tap tap
Tap tap tap tap tap,
tap tap tap tap.
Tap tap tap, tap
tap tap tap.
Tap tap tap tap,
tap tap tap tap tap.
Tap tap tap, tap
Tap tap tap, tap
tap tap tap.
Tap tap tap, tap
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My Achilles Heel is my love of writing, but my fear of rejection.
The cold stream covers my feet and ankles flows slowly, like sap from the tree. Each step forward is not one that I take due to my own accord, but rather the sands of time driving my wet, naked feet through the path formed by all those who have predated me. Charon has yet to stop and pick me up on his boat, for he believes that this finite walk is one that I should take, to show me the value and shortness of life, but the scorn that burns through my body is too much to bear.
This river made Achilles as invincible as the concept of life and death, but all I feel is the sharp sand push against my bare feet, never puncturing the skin. My forthright momentum is unobstructed by the pain that I feel, for it is impossible to bleed below the gentle current. My prophecy is one of uncertainty and strain, yet the Trojan army is converging on me as I write this. The archers are young, practiced and thirsty for blood – my blood.
To sheath myself under the water would be the coward’s way forward. Invincibility is only given to those that can’t handle the vulnerability that is presented to them on a silver platter, and I know that these arrows won’t slow me do. Instead, I continue through the sap to my inevitable but uncertain fate, and let the arrows enter my mortal flesh, one after the other.
My body screams out in pain, but it will be temporary and just another test from some greater power that I’ll never understand. The frail, broken skin that once hid me from the outside elements is a pin cushion, and it slowly falls into the water, causing Charon to fish it out like a mere slave. Knowing that the wounds will never heal, my feet take me further into the river Styx, refusing to stop for fear that if they do, they won’t start up again.
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This piece is graphic. It is entirely a work of fiction and does not reflect my view of the world. There is crime, racial terminology and other undesirable viewpoints that were used to reflect the era that this work took place in. It is not meant to offend anyone, so do not read it unless you can take it.
Franklin and Clara Price walked under the flowered archways to the front door, and were then greeted by a lanky, Caucasian fellow. “Welcome to the party,” he said. Franklin noticed that he wasn’t wearing a nametag and assumed that it was the yacht club’s way of showing that he was less than dirt to the patrons. “Would you like me to take your coat, ma’am?”
“No thank you dear,” Clara said.
Franklin handed the keys and a crisp $20 bill to the man. “Park around back if you would.”
“My pleasure,” he said with a smile that, if the sun hit it just right, could light the thick, mink fur that Clara was wearing.
Before Franklin and Clara could step fully into the door, a woman holding a tray of hor d’oeuvres approached. Clara took one and Franklin passed. Caviar and Crème fraîche tartlets were among Clara’s least favorite, as she detested caviar, always telling Franklin that it tasted the same as a saltlick, but Franklin threw it back and swallowed it with a glass of champagne that another of the wait staff had presented; he could have sworn that it was Dom Perignon, but couldn’t decide between that and some cheap knock-off, but he would never say that out loud. He feared that thinking it would be enough for someone like Stephan to scoff, so he finished the glass quickly to push his mind onto the next topic.
“Oh Clara, you look just wonderful darling!” Jasmine Shaw yelled from across the room. In her left hand was a glass of champagne and in her liver was the previous three. “It’s been too long,” she stumbled, “but you haven’t aged a day.”
“Thank you, Jasmine,” Clara smiled, obviously disgusted by the drunkenness, but Jasmine wasn’t sober enough to notice. “I love those pearls! Did Dominic give them to you?”
“You don’t know?” She hiccupped. “That bastard Dom and I separated months ago. Turns out he was sleeping with our maid all along.”
“I’m sorry to-”
“Oh please, don’t pity me.” She held out her hand and showed a 24-karat diamond on a small silver ring. “Apparently all of the extra – hiccup – extra hush money that he was paying the pool boy was enough for him to afford this. With all of the alimony I’m raking in from Dom, I’d say this all worked out for the best.”
Franklin was looking around the room, desperately trying to get away from the conversation at hand. All he could think was that he was impressed at Jasmine’s lack of slurred words and that he would love to take Clara to the bathroom right now and fuck her brains out. Her mink fur was what drew in eyes from around the room, but he couldn’t stop thinking about what she had on underneath; she was sporting a stunning black dress, maybe Prada or Louis Vuitton, but what mattered was that beneath that was nothing but a scrumptious body that was to be devoured after this boring excursion.
“Evenin’ Franklin,” Ronald Hayes said, “I can’t believe you haven’t escaped to the bar yet.” He slipped a glass into my hand. It smelled like his favorite, a 12-year-old Lagavulin on the rocks. The poignant smell burnt his nose hair. He had a bad habit of reaching into the glass and grabbing a piece of ice and sucking it during a conversation. His fingers struggled to find a piece as he chased them around the glass, but then it settled in his right cheek and sipped the tainted beverage.
“Thanks. I don’t know what I was thinking,” he shifted the ice to his left cheek. “These things always remind me how much of a fucking accessory we are.”
“Right? For fuckssake, we make all the money and we’re still the one’s paraded around like we’re no better than cattle, or even the fucking waiters here. They don’t even have nametags, see that?”
“Of course, I did. I’m not surprised. The Griswold’s are one of the only families that seem to own slaves and get away with it. I’m surprised the niggers haven’t burnt this place to the ground in some retaliation yet.”
“Pfffpt, you know Charles probably knocked up one of them bartenders when the Mrs. was off fuckin’ some other idiot. As long as Charles’ whippin’ arm stays strong, this place will, too.”
Franklin and Ronald walked to a bookshelf and pulled the third book from the right on the second shelf from the top. Gears shifted behind the shelf and hundreds of little ticks and clicks resonated through the fake pages. It opened and a gust of wind went in, chilling the hairs on the back of Franklin’s neck.
The bar was padded with brown leather and the seats were red swivel chairs that probably came straight from prohibition. Couches lined the walls and cigar smoke loomed above them. Franklin thought that if a fire started in here, everyone would be dead before they even noticed, asphyxiated by their own vices.
“Another Old Fashioned for me,” Ronald said to the bartender. He looked at her gut while she prepared the drink, “so think?” he whispered to Franklin.
“Na, she’s too skinny for him,” he said, not even pretending to lower his voice. “You know he goes after the one’s that could out eat a bear.”
“Ha! You’re right. He’d probably fuck some queer before he fucked a skinny chick.”
The bartender put the drink on the bar with a smile and turned to wipe an already clean surface. Franklin shifted the half-melted ice cube to the right side of his mouth. The gears of the shelf turned again and in came Reginald Fisch, whose last name suited him well. His ex-wife sued him for everything he was worth after he had an affair with her sister and he practically bent over and let her rape him in the ass; he lost more than most poor men make in a lifetime.
“How the fuck did he even get in here?” Ronald asked. “Don’t they leave shark bait out back for the seagulls?”
“Hey Shark Bait, did the shark finally get bored of taking all your money?” Franklin laughed.
“Fuck you Frank.” Franklin cringed. He hated when people called him Frank. “I got your wife to let me in. She said she wanted someone who could satisfy her.”
“Oh yeah, I’m sure that’s what happened. We’ve all talked to your Tina (his ex-wife) before. What does she call you? Not Reginald or Shark Bait… was it – Ron, help me out.”
“Ya know, I think it was… the pistol? Because you shot once and then were as spent as the money she was taking from you? Or is it two-minute Reg, who on a good day could last about as long as the Wright Brother’s first flight. No, wait, I got a better one! She called you the Ninja, because she didn’t feel a thing by the time you were done.”
“Martini please,” he grunted at the bartender. “Fuck you guys. I try to step out and have a quiet drink and this is what I get instead?”
“I don’t know what else you’d expect from us,” Ronald said. “You were dealt a shit hand when your whore of a mom named you Reginald. It’s not our fault that you’re a fucking joke.”
Reginald downed the whole drink in one sip and asked for another with extra olives. That was his routine. Franklin and Ronald would make fun of him until he was drunk, and then he’d get so drunk that he’d fuck someone in the broom closet, and then they’d have more insults to throw at him next time an event like this came around.
“You know what, keep them coming until I can’t see straight,” Reginald said to the bartender. “You’ll know I can’t see straight when I start hitting on you.” She smiled passively and made the drink, continuing to wash the same spot that she had last time. Reginald turned to Franklin and Ronald and said, “all jokes aside, you’d think Charles would hire some half-decent help. He keeps hiring from ugliest sluts imaginable and then asks why we don’t come by as often as we used to.”
Franklin took a second to think about what Shark Bait had said, but then smirked at the thought of him fucking her in the closet later. If he was lucky, Shark Bait would knock her up, then they wouldn’t even have to get him drunk to make fun of him, they’d just reference his biracial 3/5th of a kid, or the abortion that he had to have. Then again, last time he knocked up some random girl, he decided that it’d be more worth his money to just get her killed than force an abortion. Reginald would always boast about how amazing the help can be when you have an extra ten grand lying around.
Clara and Jasmine walked to the balcony and stepped out. The air was brisk, but the fur shielded her from the frigid breeze. Jasmine was in a sleeveless, Vera Wang dress, but the champagne did enough to protect her from the cold. “Come on dear, I’m telling you that Dominic cheating on me was the best thing that could have happened. I mean, if that hadn’t happened, I’d still be the same, sexually unsatisfied woman as before, with a man that couldn’t care less about me. I mean, with the money that he’s giving me, I’ve been able to pay some attractive young men to do whatever I say. They’re the be – hiccup – st at giving me what I want. If you dangle some loose change in front of them, they’ll drool at the chance to pleasure you.
“If you give them enough, they’ll give you a neck, back and foot rub, and then eat you out like you’re a goddamned ice cream cone.” Clara took a cigarette out of her purse and set it on her lips. She’d been trying to quit for months now, but she thought this wasn’t the time for added stress. The lit tip flared as smoke warmed her whole body from top to bottom. “Can I get one of those from you?”
“I’m all out,” Clara said with smoke pouring through her mouth. She closed the almost full pack of cigarettes and put it back into her white Coach purse, which couldn’t be seen under the fur. Jasmine didn’t say anything about the cigarettes and kept going.
“I once went to this Italian place in New York, I forget what it’s called, but I left a $1,000-dollar tip on a $200-meal, and the waiter ran out to meet me at my car, assuming I had made a mistake. When I told him that I hadn’t, within minutes he was eating my pussy in the back of a cab. When I was done, he went straight back to work and told me to come back any time I wanted to. I went back the next day, this time with a few lines of coke in me and I just about exploded with pleasure.
“Dom would never do that. The best he would do is wait for me to give him head and then fall asleep. Do you know how long I went without an orgasm? Almost thirty years. I was starting to believe they were a myth until I found out how grateful the help can be.”
Clara starred at the crashing waves, letting the cigarette calm her nerves. She turned to look inside just as Reginald went to the bar. Jasmine just kept going, grabbing another glass of champagne from some of the help.
“Just look at him.” She hiccupped. “Can you imagine how angry Dominic would be if I let one of these cups of hot chocolate have their way with me? I’ve never slept with a black man, but I’ve always wondered if what they say about them is true.”
“What do you mean?” Clara asked, not listening and plotting her escape from the conversation.
“You don’t know? Apparently, blacks carry some massive packages, and that’s something that I’ve gone too long without. I want one of these guys to tear me in half.” She hiccupped again. “I’m going to the bathroom. I’m gonna do a line and start working on the help. Charles has impeccable taste in staff.”
Jasmine walked to the only bathroom in the whole club and her eyes beamed when she got a good look at the backside of the man greeting people at the front door. She looked at Clara and stuck her tongue out like a dog. Clara forced a smile, but then turned to the balcony and kept watching the waves flow. She blew smoke out of her mouth and it was swept away immediately. Reaching into her purse, she grabbed another cigarette and lit it. She threw the other off the balcony into the sandy floor below.
“What do you guysss think?” Reginald asked with a slur in his speech. “Do you think I’ll have a chance at Jasmine? I’m sure she could use someone else’s money if she’s gonna keep sleeping around town.”
“Are you fucking kidding me, Shark Bait?” Ronald said. “How can you actually be going after her? She’s been around the block so many times that the owner of every restaurant here knows her name, cup-size and what her pussy tastes like.”
“Is that suspossed to scare me?” he slurred. “Why shouldn’t I know what her pussy tastes like too? All you’re sssaying is that she’ss good in bed.”
“Do whatever the fuck you want,” Ronald said. “Just try not to get AIDS. She’s more diseased than a nigger in Africa.”
“I’m fine.” He paused to think about his next sentence. “I don’t even think you can get AIDS from a woman. Tha’ more of a women issue.”
“Whatever you have to tell yourself.”
“Leave him alone, Ron.” Franklin said. “If we let him go through with it, we might be able to make fun of him for life. And if he does get AIDS, he won’t be our problem anymore. Honestly, I’ve thought about fucking her too. I mean, can you imagine those tits bouncing around as you fuck her in the ass? It’d be hypnotizing. Clara’s great, but sometimes it gets old. She keeps talking about kids, but then cries when she realizes how much it’ll fuck up her pussy.”
“Why don’t you do the smart thing and make her get her tubes tied?” Ronald asked. “She doesn’t want kids, she just thinks she does because that’s the thing to do right now. Can you imagine having a few little shits running around your house? Think about how quickly you’ll have to throw plastic all over your furniture because they can’t stop themselves from shitting all over themselves.”
“I know. I don’t want them. I just want her to get off my back and onto hers.”
Ronald laughed as Reginald stood up and left the bar. He had seven or eight martini’s and it was starting to hit him hard. “Should we go check on him?” Ronald asked.
Franklin threw another ice cube into his mouth. “Now you’re gonna get soft? Just let him go. If he doesn’t show back up in a few minutes then we’ll assume he passed out, face-first right into the toilet. Then we can go save him and we’ll be heroes. But you have to give him mouth-to-mouth if he’s drowning.”
“Why do I have to do it?”
“Because I’m sure as hell not going to.”
“Fuck you. We’ll just let him drown then.”
Clara stomped her second cigarette out and walked back through the party. Everyone around was drunk at this point, so she decided she’d venture down to see what Franklin was up to before Jasmine came back. She passed Reginald as she pulled the book and entered the speakeasy.
“Hey Clara,” Ronald said. “I see that you finally got away from Jasmine.”
“No, she’s actually going to come in here in a minute.”
“Are you fucking kidding me? I was joking but now that idiot is going to ruin our conversation?”
“Maybe we’ll get lucky and Shark Bait is fucking her in the bathroom,” Franklin laughed. “Too bad that’ll still only give us about 2 minutes.”
“Why is he even here?” Clara asked. “I thought he was broke or something.”
“We thought so too,” Ronald said. “I honestly have no idea how he got in here.”
“Whatever. At least we have 2 minutes. Tom Collins please,” she asked the bartender.
They drank their drinks and made fun of the two drunkards who were probably making weird, uncomfortable love to each other, simply because no one else would be able to stand listening to them. The slurred speech was probably more of an aphrodisiac than Jasmine’s tight asshole and worn pussy.
Five minutes passed and Shark Bait still hadn’t come back, and Jasmine was nowhere to be seen. “Maybe we should go check on them,” Clara said.
“Don’t worry about it,” Ronald said. “Maybe he’s just having a hard time getting it up with all of the alcohol in his system. You know that if he comes back from the bathroom boasting about his most recent conquest, that nothing actually happened, then we can make fun of him even more.”
“You’re right,” Franklin said, “but I have to piss. Even if they’re fucking in front of the toilet, I’m still gonna go. Maybe I’ll accidentally miss and get some on Shark Bait’s Rolex.”
“We’ll be here,” Clara said, sipping at her Tom Collins.
Franklin stood up and walked to the back of the bookcase, pulling a lever to open it for him. He passed the staff and countless other people that he had never met before and didn’t care to talk to. He knocked on the bathroom door and no one answered. He tried the lock and it gave, the door cracked open. Inside was Jasmine passed out in front of the sink, and Shark Bait laying in front of the toilet with vomit seeping out of his mouth.
The ice cube shifted in his mouth as he locked the door. Franklin slapped Shark Bait a few times to try to wake him up, but he didn’t give. He wiped vomit that stuck to his hand on Shark Bait’s suit, then turned to Jasmine. Her dress had been hoisted up when she collapsed from the sink, to reveal a perfectly shaven vagina. Her asshole was bleached white and stuck straight up in the air.
Franklin unzipped his pants and grunted as he slid it into her unconscious vagina. She groaned, but it was in neither pleasure or pain. Her brain wouldn’t let her comprehend what was going on, just like everyone else that he’d ever done this too. After his dick was lubricated, he inserted it into her glowing asshole.
After ten minutes, he was done. Franklin zipped his pants back up and washed his hands. He turned to Reginald and set his head in the vomit-filled toilet bowl, then watched as the slow, disgusting bubbles stopped forming. For Jasmine, he reached into her purse and opened a small plastic bag full of cocaine and carefully poured it into her nose. Blood started streaming down her face, and then he felt for a pulse… nothing.
He checked his suit in the mirror and then left the bathroom. He looked around to see if anyone noticed him coming out, but no one seemed any wiser. Clara was waiting outside, wearing her fur and talking to the same man who parked our car for us when we got here, but now it was running and waiting for us.
“Did you have a nice evening, Mr. Price?” the man asked.
“It was just lovely, thank you,” he said.
“My pleasure.” He opened the door for Clara and then for Franklin, and they started driving away.
They sat quietly for a second as they drove away from the yacht club. “Did you have any issues?” Clara asked as she kicked her heels off.
“No. The ipecac kicked in right when I needed it to. He stumbled to the bathroom right when the roofie hit too. I can’t believe he didn’t notice me putting that much shit in his drink. He didn’t even say anything about the taste!”
“I’m not surprised. I’m just happy that Jasmine and her drunk ass is finally taken care of. She annoys the fuck out of me.”
“I know she does.”
“I smoked a little bit to pass the time. Sorry.”
“I can smell it on your coat. We’ll get you a new one.”
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I wrote this with a singular person in mind, but I’m sure it applies to many.
I have no problem if you don’t enjoy my writing. If you find it shallow and undeveloped, that’s your opinion and I’m sure that others feel the same way. No matter what type of constructive criticism you may have, I’m sure you mean no ill will, but I promise you that in this instance, it is only offensive, and here’s why.
I’ll start with one of the thoughts that you made clear many, many times in our discussion. I don’t remember the exact words that you used so all I can do is paraphrase, but you basically said that because I have no experience, I have no merit from where I write. I haven’t tried to kill myself, so my writing isn’t authentically depressed. I’ve never leapt off a bridge head first, so I can’t write as though I have, and I respectfully think that that’s fucking stupid. Saying that I have no experience because I am only 22 is as naïve as if I said that I was as experienced as a ninety-year-old. I may not be the most experience in the traditional sense because I’m not married, have no kids and have only recently started the work force, but implying that I have no experience or not enough is more insane than a flat-earther playing with a pendulum. Experience is experience. You may have had more time on this mortal plain, but I have had a decent amount too. Everyone has different negative experiences, everyone responds to them differently and diminishing someone’s experiences because they’re not yours or because you view them as not valid is the same reason that I write. To help show people that no matter what causes them to feel how they do, it matters, they matter, and people care. If it’s as simple as spraining your toe or downing an entire bottle of Advil, it matters.
Now, I know your intention in the discussion was nothing negative, but it was not a discussion or debate, it was one person telling another that unless their writing has more depth, it wasn’t good. To me, that was not constructive, it felt malicious. My style may not be yours and that’s fine. I hate a lot of writing styles from writers that I respect, but I won’t tell them that their writing is underdeveloped or inexperienced. I will tell them that they’re doing a great job, extending to a certain audience and that they should keep trying to improve their own abilities.
You don’t need to love my writing. You don’t even need to like it or read it. I’m sure that if you are reading this, you think I’m overreacting for not taking the advice that you’ve imposed, or that my naivety and immaturity is responding to criticism poorly. I assure you that it’s not that. I’m okay with criticism. I seek it out. I want to know what people think and how I can get better, but there is an incredible difference in constructive criticism and questioning a writer’s integrity.
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Hello everyone! Sorry for not posting as much on here recently. I’ve really been trying to focus on writing a new book and that’s taking a lot of my time and haven’t been writing as many shorts. Here’s a quick update about what’s going on with me!
As I said, I’m working on a new book. It’s really a huge focus on my depression and anxiety, and I’m using the character of the book to explain some of the thoughts and bodily functions (sweating, biting nails, dry mouth, etc.) that come with it. It’s honestly been a lot of fun, even though it forces me to really look at and confront my own shortcomings due to my brain. It’s a thriller with a lot of twists and turns along the way, and I’m hoping that book three is the one that gets an agents attention.
Along with that, I’ve been trying to focus more on my podcast. I’m hoping that it’s been able to help people through their struggles, and I’ve heard from a few of my soon-to-be-ex-coworkers (for those of you that don’t listen to the podcast, but like the blog, I’m getting laid off) that they find some solace in it. That’s comforting to hear and the kind of thing that makes me excited to record the next episode. I know I’m not alone in depression, since that’s a really common thought from people that have depression, but it doesn’t stop me from feeling it sometimes. It makes me feel like I’m not talking to the void, but instead to people that are working everyday to come to an understanding of how their brain works and how to improve their daily happiness.
In terms of my career, I’m in a bit of a weird spot. I majored in Marketing and have only held a job for about 8 months before getting laid off, so I don’t have a whole hell of a lot of job experience, so finding another job will likely feel like I’m starting from scratch, but I’m sure I’ll be fine. I’m a lot more focused on finding a job that’s more emotionally enjoyable, like something in the mental health field where I can impact people around my community. The hard part about that is, I majored in marketing… not psychology… so finding a job, again, might be harder than I think. With all of that being said, I’m excited to find a new job that I’ll like and am not too worried about the future.
That’s all for now. Hopefully I’ll have some more news for you next time, but for now enjoy the podcast, and if you want the occasional thought from me, follow Acceptable Madness on Instagram and/Facebook. Once I finish my book, I’ll likely write shorts more frequently, but for now, that’s not my main priority. The bright side is I write quickly, so give me another month or so and I’ll be done.
Bye friends! Stay healthy.
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