The Lords of The Dust

The Lords of The Dust

Status: In Progress

Genre: Fantasy

Houses:

Details

Status: In Progress

Genre: Fantasy

Houses:

Summary

The underachiever meets the imperfect girl, discovers that he's an African prince and faces the forces of Darkness for the win....
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Summary

The underachiever meets the imperfect girl, discovers that he's an African prince and faces the forces of Darkness for the win....

Chapter1 (v.1) - Ayyel

Author Chapter Note

Introduction to the main protagonist and his close circle of friends.

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: March 18, 2017

Reads: 56

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: March 18, 2017

A A A

A A A

The alarm on his cell phone went off loudly right next to his ear, abruptly ruining his dream of being in an existence so much better than his reality. How the fuck’d that thing end up right next to my ear? He thought.  It must’ve rolled from his involuntary sleep movements off of his chest where he remembered laying it.

Come to think of it…the last thing he really remembered was masturbating to a pic of a girl he’d been stalking on Facebook for a few months.  He picked her because she was pretty hot, he did smoke with her once, before failing every attempt, to escape the Friend Zone. She sent him to his car with a warm, “here’s what you could have” hug and her work number.

He looked on the floor next to him and there was the crusty towel he’d been using.

 

  I gotta wash that thing today. That shit could stop bullets.  He thought

 

His mattress lay directly on the wood floor of his large room with no box spring or frame underneath it. There wasn’t enough money on his last few paychecks to pick one up after he bought a few subscriptions to gaming sites and upgraded his video card on his computer. He’d grab one in a few weeks or just buy one with a new bedroom come tax time.

He really wasn’t that worried about it. Who cares? There wasn’t anything remotely resembling a sex life that would make him opt for one. Girls didn’t come easy to him and he was fine with that or at least resolved to it as fact. In the rare case that a girl was drunk enough and desperate enough to come home with him, he already cleared it that he could use a roommate’s bed.

Wally lived in a large, five-bedroom house in the sprawling southeast suburbs of Indianapolis, Indiana.  There was new subdivision after subdivision popping up amongst the acres of cornfields and former farmer’s soil at an increasing pace. The older homes sat on the outside edges of the new properties and minded their own business.  He rented a room there for two-hundred and fifty bucks a month, plus utilities. It was shared with three other roommates and the owner of the house

There aren’t many other options when you make less than thirty-thousand dollars a year after taxes working in retail appliance sales.  Economically, he could afford a one bedroom studio apartment in some run-down, shitty neighborhood, but he’d have to deal with the niggers and wetbacks again and that wasn’t going to fucking happen.

Nine-thirty.  Shit. Time to get up

He walked out into the hall looking like an extreme Andy Warhol interpretation of a Millennial slacker.  Wally’s hair was as thick as a horse tail, disheveled and dropped over his thin shoulders.  He was wearing his boxers and a t-shirt that portrayed George W. Bush as Scarface, and a pair of neon green flip flops.  His room was on the 1st level adjacent to the kitchen, which led into the open-concept dining room/living room.  The owner of the home, Rich, had the master bedroom on the second level.  Another roommate, Alison, had a room converted from his office that was also on the second floor.  Rich and Allison both had their own full bathrooms, complete with remodeled showers.

 

 

 

 

After a few years of having the roommates onboard, Rich was able to afford some upgrades to the home and gave everyone a choice.  He and Allison were the cleanest people in the house so it was within character that they choose the new showers, complete with travertine floors and glass inlays.

Wally’s choice initially was to buy an expensive room dehumidifier for his asthma condition, but because of cost, he eventually settled for the laminate wood floors. The dehumidifier was close to two-thousand dollars installed and they each were only allowed eight-hundred in renovations.  Rich would have let him do it by charging him more rent per month, but he was running on lean times so that wasn’t explored. Wally walked into the kitchen and noticed that the windows were already opened and a nice breeze was blowing in and circulating. He loved autumn. It reminded him of when he was a kid with no responsibility, riding his bike through pumpkin patches. He opened the fridge. It was an odd mix of various juices, beer, and water, leftover’s, take-out and Tupperware filled with deserts. Allison wrote her name on all of her dishes while Rich just expected you to know his shit by now.  Wally rarely ate anything outside of a fast-food bag. There was also a strong curry smell today coming out of a dish.

Motherfucking Ishaan.

The third roommate was Ishaan Vihaan.  Ishaan was an eastern Indian graduate school student working at a local bio-medical equipment supplier.  He landed the position after finishing his undergrad at Indiana University in bio-medical engineering. There was no secret that he made more money than anyone in the house including the owner. The amount of money was somewhere between seventy and eighty-five thousand a year and quarterly bonuses. Wally resented Ishaan out of pure hatred and jealousy. He hated his curry. He hated his accent. He hated his stupid, AT&T operator voice. He hated that he made so much money and was saving even more by living there. His room was the last bedroom on the second level right next to the washer and dryer utility room.

He hated everything about him.

Wally took a pitcher filled with orange juice and walked over to the table and sat down after grabbing a McDonald’s plastic cup. Wally was twenty-seven years old. He stood a little over average height and weighed less than average. His arms and legs were underwhelming in size but had a definitive muscular development. The hands were large and thick, with meaty palms and round, pointy knuckles that looked like they would break his skin at any moment.  The face was thin and ordinary. Facial hair popped out like a Chia Pet in random patterns from his neck, surrounding his nose sprouted in an uneven beard.  He drank the juice and looked at his phone again. He checked his status on Facebook to see if there were any likes to his comments.  There were none so far. It was still early though and most of his Facebook friends were already at work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

He put his ear buds in and used his thumb to scroll over his apps. He selected the music player and scanned for something to wake him up. It would have to be loud and angry because he really felt like he could go back to sleep.

Motorhead. Fuck yeah.

The fiery intro to “Eat the Rich” broke into his headphones and into his brain like a sledgehammer through an egg carton.

They say music is the food of love,
Let's see if you are hungry enough,
Take a bite, take another, just like a good boy would,
Get a sweet thing on the side,
Home cooking, homicide,
Side order, could be your daughter,
Fingerlicking good

Come on baby, eat the rich,
Put the bite on the son of a bitch!
Don't mess around, don't give me no switch,
C'mon baby eat the rich!
C'mon baby eat the rich!

Wally thumped the table with his massive hands and played along with the beat of the song. Underneath the table his heel slammed into the floor as he went note for note with the kick drum. It made him feel powerful.

Pure anarchy.

The second verse was coming in when to his absolute horror, Allison walked into the kitchen. She flashed a smile and awkward wave as her eyes took in his look.

Fuck. Fuck, fuck. fuck. Fuck. FUCK!!!  He thought. His stomach froze and the surface of his skin felt like it was nine hundred degrees all in one moment. He lurched over, ripped his ear buds out and killed the air drums.

H-hey Allison! How are you? I didn’t even know you were back. He squealed in a pitch that all but confirmed that he was indeed playing air drums at the kitchen table in his boxers.  Allison picked up on it and chose not to further embarrass him. She quickly changed the subject.

Did you work last night? I came in around 3 or so this morning from Chicago. She said while opening the refrigerator for a quick scan before grabbing her bottled water.  She had short auburn hair with pink highlights, the front arched down over her left eye. They were hazel- greenish eyes, with specks of gold that brewed like fire when she was excited. Her nose and lips were petite and had nearly flawless symmetry with her accented cheekbones.  Allison was a beautiful girl by any standard and a goddess to certain hopeless retail appliance salesmen.  She was a tall woman, over six foot and athletically built. Her butt and legs were solid from 4 years of volleyball at Purdue where she attended on an athletic scholarship.

 

She wore a pair of loose grey sweatpants and her favorite black Purdue hoodie.  Other than a light gloss coating of Chap Stick, she had no makeup on and still looked great. Wally was frozen by his embarrassment and simply nodded. She walked over to the table and made sure to look only at his eyes and not his boxers. She took a swig from her water bottle and waited for his reply.

Wally? Did you work last night? I guess you didn’t hear me come in. She said. “It’s probably because I didn’t bring all my stuff in until this morning. I pretty much came in, stripped, and hopped my ass into bed!”  She laughed. “That was a l-o-n-g drive! My god I was soooooo tired. I kept nodding off. A hot mess man.

He nodded and laughed a bit nervously. ‘I was here, but, I had my headphones on so I didn’t hear anything at all, so yeah... You came home last night? 

I did.

Cool. That’s surprising though, because weren’t you staying with your folks for a week or something? It’s only been a few days, you left on, on….He struggled.

Thursday. I left on Thursday.

Yeah, you left on Thursday and now you’re back today so, yeah I wasn’t expecting to see you back here so soon.  I’m glad your back.

You’re cool with that?

One hundred percent. I’m very cool with that so I just need to get ready for work now if you don’t mind.

Right! Ok, I’m going back to my room and crashing for a while. I’ll watch some Ellen or something.

Wally knew she would leave first so he wouldn’t have to make the walk of shame in his boxers in front of her and he greatly appreciated it. He watched her ass as she walked away and could see even with sweats on that the full might of it was barely contained.

See ya! “Allison said as she faded around the edge of the kitchen and up the stairs to her room.

Wally’s phone notification ringer went off. 

Finally. It was a YouTube comment on a comment that he left on a thread probably at the same time Allison came in last night. He didn’t want to tell her he was listening to music while trolling on a website and beating off. That usually doesn’t impress girls. So he left it out at their fun morning chat while he was in his boxers.

 

Wally knew he’d be late for work if he let himself get absorbed in a YouTube idiot vs idiot war wormhole because it could spiral from one video to the next without much effort. He didn’t want to sit there thinking about what to say because it usually came out pretty lame. He wanted to simmer on it and respond while under the pressure to sell washers and dryers, with warranties at his dead-end job. He wanted his stupid fucking manager, Gary to tell him another life-sucking story about his son’s football team and their chances to win state this year. It was this brewing concoction of madness that would churn him on to release a legendary response.

 

 

 

The drive into work was about twenty-five minutes on a good traffic day and about forty-five on a busy morning. However, it was Saturday so the drive in was pretty easy. There were nothing but a few cars here and there that were in all likelihood, headed into similarly miserable jobs as his. Wally drove a 2002 Ford Focus. It was bright red and had over one-hundred fifty thousand miles on it. He bought the car from a cousin who sold it to him for only five-hundred dollars cash and his PlayStation 3. Wally knew the cousin was going to use the money to smoke meth and then play the games but he didn’t care about that cousin. He just met him for the first time in his entire life only six months before he paid him for the car. He really didn’t give a shit. He needed a car. What’s to talk about?

 

 

The body of the car was relatively clean with scratches here and there, but with no real major flaws or damage. The cockpit interior was grey cloth and plastic trim that had a few cracks in the dashboard, but otherwise in decent shape. There were a few rips in the back seat from the meth head cousin. He used the tiny space for hauling large, uneven belongings to trade to dealers for a few hits.  The roof of the car was also scratched up badly from the drug bartering shipments.  Not that any of the superficial damage was of any real consequence, because Wally was a complete slob. The entire backseat was covered in white fast food bags and empty plastic cups. Plastic lids and various crud and clutter sat in his front seat. It was an inventory of filth that he added new pieces to nearly every day, as he went through a drive-thru, gas stations, or went to Briardale mall.

The outskirts of his subdivision were accessed by two main roads that sat ten miles east of the closest highway on ramps. It was a long, straight stretch that went through the main town and out to the dried up desolation of the mall.

 Briardale Mall was a massive shopping plaza that was fifteen years past its heyday and four years past its last profit. Store after store closed without any new shops coming in and the few that did open were often out-of-state Fourth of July fireworks shops and Halloween costume stores. The Jewish land developer, local Owen Finestein, contributed big money to the race for the state house. His winning candidate, Harold Shoemaker, was a popular man among affluent voters. Harold needed those votes to make way for the new mall that Finestein wanted to build downtown.

A multi-billion dollar, 400,000.00 square foot state-of-the-art shopping center development was erected near the center of Indianapolis. It was named Keystar North, and it immediately made the once mighty Briardale Mall look irrelevant, technologically unremarkable, anemic and antiquated. In the first few months it withstood the competition and held its own. Despite the newness of it all and the beautiful shops that catered to the young crowd at Keystar, its pricey reputation kept mainstream consumers at bay.

Realizing this, the brain trust for the development group that ushered in Keystar began a blitz of ingenious marketing blows that would prove to be fatal to Briardale. They began discounting prices, offering free trips, free food, and brought in local celebrities like the Pacers and Colts for huge fan jams. It’s hard to compete with courtesy pizza, prizes and a free photo shoot with Andrew Luck, where the fan gets to Instagram the moment to all their followers. The investors attended every rally and could be seen clapping and cheering brightly, confident in the fact that they just put a bullet in the head of Briardale.

The mall not only suffered, but so did the surrounding blocks of shops and restaurants. They didn’t close and chose to survive, however their profits were very thin at best. It wasn’t hard to imagine that in a few years’ time, the entire acreage of retail space would be a boarded up skater hang out.  Crime was on the rise citywide because of the economy and lack of jobs. The mall witnessed shooting after shooting and gangs began to loiter and fight during and after business hours. Wally knew of two employees from his job that had their cars broken into and stolen. He didn’t worry about his car very much. For one, it wasn’t remotely giving off the impression that it contained valuables. Secondly, he parked around the back where the two security guards did, so there were eyes and ears on it while he was there.

 

That didn’t mean anything for him on the way to his car at night if somebody wanted to rob him for his weak check. He never carried more than five dollars cash on him and didn’t have to worry about credit or bank cards because he bounced too many checks and was on Experian’s’ check fraud list. Which means NO BANK ACCOUNT.

He pulled into the parking lot of the appliance store and took a few long slurps from his gas station fountain drink. He looked around at the other cars to see who he would be working with that night so he could prepare his mood. He was dressed in black jeans and his long sleeved work shirt complete with badge and title. His hair was tied in a ponytail and his sunglasses were pulled up resting on the top of his head. A few minutes with a razor took off the irrational stubble that normally peppered his young face, making him look a few days past nineteen years old.

Dodge Stratus? Cool. Mark Bender was working. He thought. Honda Civic.  Cool.  Jimmy makes me laugh.  Chevy Malibu. Fuck me. Diego was managing tonight? Wetback piece of shit. He’s always making me take customers to him that I don’t close. Asshole. His awkward

Thoroughly deflated, he got out of his car and made his way towards Bedlam Appliances. It was surely a strange name for an appliance store to have, but it worked for thirty years, so the name must’ve been the good kind of weird. As you walked into the inside, past the double doors, you were greeted by a receptionist and told about the day’s specials. Her name was Billy and she was an attractive girl under certain light and ordinary in others. Her seated position took advantage of the better lighting so she impressed the shoppers instantly.  She was somewhat short, with a thin, slight build and a depressed pair of tiny breasts. Her saving grace from absolute mediocrity was her sharp wit and beguiling nature. Not to mention her hypnotic, electric blue eyes. Not one person disliked Billy or thought ill of her, quite often making her the liaison between feuding personalities, where she was often drawn in as mediator. He had no idea she was working tonight. She must have parked on the side of the store again.

Once the customer was made to feel at home and at ease, Billy would give them the latest ad and instruct them that a “specialist “would find them. The psychology behind that is apparent. People don’t want to be sold therefore the term “sales associate” or “sales person” wasn’t used.

“Relax, take your time. There is nothing good done in any hurry.” She would say.  This was a disarming strategy meant to lower the defenses and put the mind of the customer at ease. If they’d been in the market for even a small period of time they no doubt were subjected to myriad sales tactics. They needed to be softened up for the kill, not steamrolled.

At this point the “specialist” would be picked by the order in which they arrived for their shift that day, and would continue throughout the day, in that same rotation. One could conceivably be pushed out of order if they took another specialists clients, or went to lunch, but it mostly stayed the same. Order of opportunity was something that needed to be strictly adhered to. Otherwise the instinct to survive on the sales floor would produce bitter, cut throat tactics and permeate the atmosphere with tension.

The specialist would casually introduce themselves, bullshit about something relevant picked from a known current event everyone was talking about.

Sports were a good point of conversation, especially in this state, where education was improving, but sports still ruled the world.

 

“How are you today? Good? Very cool. We were all just saying that we can’t believe how far the Colts have gotten this year! “

Something someone was wearing.“Nice kicks! Are those the new LeBrons’?”

A newborn baby. “That’s so special, the bond I can feel between you two already.”

The point was to disarm, distract, entice and make them buy something within the first trip to the store. All the metrics in the retail world for years testified that once a customer leaves the store, car lot, tent, etc., to “think about it” or “measure space” as they would often put, the chances of them buying decreased exponentially.  Therefore it was imperative to strike early and often with the subliminal sales manipulation.

The store was setup with the washers and dryers towards the outer rim of the sales floor, grouped by manufacturer. The other appliances, such as stoves, freezers, kitchen sinks, etc. all made the middle areas of the store.

It was setup brilliantly to funnel the customers in a continuous pattern where they would inevitably see multiple specialists. If they had grown irritated or turned off of one person they would soon have a fresh new face to ask questions of. This was of course part of the setup and if the specialist was off of his game and offended the customer, there was no shame in bringing in someone else and splitting the deal.

Wally walked in and surveyed the scene.

There were two middle-aged fags looking at a washer dryer set, a mom and dad near a stove talking to the new salesgirl Olivia Mendez, and a twenty-something fat chick eyed a huge refrigerator.

That was amusingly fitting. Wally chuckled to himself and went past all the goings on to back of the store, through the dirty metal double doors leading to the warehouse.  He walked past the racks of inventory and nodded to the stock boys.  They were blasting Black Sabbath while they sat at their card table near the dock doors. Wally liked both the guys because they were from his neighborhood and went to school with him.  Taylor Kryzynski and Lars O’Keefe.

He’d smoked weed and got high with them throughout the years since sixth grade. He even vouched for them when they needed the stock job to the owners of the store, telling them how dependable and reliable they were. He didn’t lie. Neither one had ever missed a day or called in sick for two years. Lars was a big, heavily muscled kid with short, blondish-brown hair. He was six-foot, five inches tall and weighed every bit of two-hundred seventy pounds. Taylor was only slightly smaller, with a classically handsome face covered in a dark brown beard. His eyes were deep set and peered at you from underneath thick, bushy eyebrows. The sight of them together was intimidating even to the most secure person.

Animals. Both of them. Polite. Sincere. Intelligent…..But animals nonetheless.

“--Fucks up with you two dipshits?” Wally joked. He walked around them looking for chair. He found one and pulled it up, screeching across the concrete floor.

Fucks up with you? --Did you decide to take a break from sucking cocks and come in to work? Taylor barreled.

“Nah motherfucker, I stopped eating your mom’s pussy when your dad got home and ran out the back. I came into work so I’d have an alibi. You’ll tell your dad I was here won’t you?” Wally smirked and gave them both some pound.

How late you working? Taylor asked. He reached in his pants and pulled out cigarette papers and a bag of tobacco. He put it on the table so Wally could roll one for both of them because he was better at it than all of them.

“I’m supposed to get off at nine, but I’ll probably help close up since Billy’s working late and walk her to her car. He took one of the papers and flattened it out on the table while Taylor eagerly watched in anticipation.

“You fuck? Lars gleamed.

What?

You fuck Billy yet?

Dude, it’s not even about that with her, she’s a cool chick…---I just don’t want her getting robbed tonight is all. Trey-eight is all over this mall, it’s a bad scene right now.

They sho is mayne! Taylor said. Throwing up three fingers on one hand, before switching to holding up eight.

Whoa. Easy you two on the racial shit. You know God don’t like ugly.

Who’s God? Wally snapped. He sprinkled the tobacco evenly across the paper.

Chill out bruh. I’m fuckin around. My sister is dating a brotha in college so I’m practically integrated by association.

Yeah, integrated by ASS – ‘sociation. He’s hittin the back of your sister’s vajayjay with that Mandingo dick.

Yeah, ok whatever. Wally I gotta get some shit done, you finished rolling that?

Wally shook his head and rolled the cigarette perfectly tight.

“Here you be cuz”. He said and held it up. Taylor took it and got up and walked away angry. He lit it, inhaled and exhaled plumes of thick smoke from both sides of his face.  He leaned against a storage rack and looked down at his hands, opening and closing them.

Wally wasn’t worried. Taylor was always getting mad about something said or something insinuated.  It would soon pass and the three of them would be joking again in twenty minutes.

I gotta clock in fellas. He said.

He got up.

 

“Yep.” Said Lars, jumping on a forklift and gunning the throttle. He shot off towards the far end of the huge warehouse.

The break room with the time card machine was located back in the far right corner of the huge warehouse.  Jimmy was on his phone talking secretly to someone whose voice could be heard over his hushed tones. It was a female. Loud and obnoxious. Wally summed up that it was his girlfriend beating him up over something again. Every other day Jimmy would come in and be happy and upbeat about things only to turn into a reclusive, spineless jellyfish during or mostly after her calls.

Wally met the girlfriend, even though right now he couldn’t remember her name. She was exotic and intense. Dark eyes and black hair, with bronze skin and perfect teeth.  Jimmy was a good-looking kid in his own right, but he clearly stepped up a few notches with this girl. Typically couples can make anything work if they really want to, however the girlfriend knew that Jimmy had this complex about her.  He was over compensating the love and affection bit.

Wally punched in and walked out. He couldn’t stomach Jimmy this early in his shift, maybe later after he made a sale he would soften up enough to deal with his mangina problems.

 

The sales floor remained busy throughout the night. Everyone made a little bit of money so the mood was relatively light and playful. Management was happy. When management was happy they let people go home early. Wally was the star of the night. He lucked into a bleeder and made close to six hundred dollars in one night. A bleeder was a customer with no objections whatsoever. If you wanted to sell them a warranty with every appliance they would buy it.

 There was no wrenching them into anything because they just opened their veins and figuratively said “Just take me! Drain me!” That’s exactly what Wally did. Warranties upped the normal ten percent commission to fifteen percent. He sold the bleeder over forty-five hundred dollars in premium washers and dryers, a stove and refrigerator. To top it off as a completely proper lay-down, they even financed it for twelve months, interest free. That sale gave him his third approved financed sale for the night. When he reached ten he would earn a flat fifteen percent on every sale for the rest of the month.

“Good, good job tonight Wally, do you want to go home early” Diego asked. They were both standing at the sales counter watching Lars and Taylor bring out more stock.  Lars was moving a huge, double-door refrigerator to replace the floor model Wally had sold to the bleeders. Taylor was talking shit to him the whole time, teasing him about scratching it. This was the norm for the two giants.

“No, I can stay. I’m supposed to close remember? I’m helping Billy out-

“You want to stay”? Diego looked around to place Billy. She was assisting the only couple in the store. He looked back at Wally and shook his head. “What the fuck is she doing?”

Wally shrugged defensively. “She’s trying to help, I dunno-, it’s good she’s helping. You already let Jimmy go.

I let Jimmy go because I don’t like my sales specialists in the back room talking to their girlfriends and then coming to the floor wiping tears from their face. It’s not a good look. Am I right?

Diego was always asking if he was right. Wally wanted to tell him fuck no he wasn’t right, but in this case he most definitely was.

“He had a good night. Sold what—twenty-five hundred?”

“More or less.” Diego said as if he was unimpressed.

Well….was it more or was it less?

Diego glared at Wally. He understood that he was defending his friend even though he couldn’t understand why. “About twenty-five.” He offered.

Ok—so that’s a good night. Especially for a weekday. He’ll be cool, she’s just a bitch. If you had a chick like that putting you down all the time, you’d be crying too.

“No chance. That’s white boy shit.

Wally tilted his head back and chuckled. “Really? White boy shit huh. That’s golden. I like that. I forgot you beaners beat the fuck out of your women. Keep em in check.

Diego laughed out and shoved Wally hard in the shoulder. He was surprised at how strong he felt for such a slightly built man. His arms were slender and sinewy like braided tree branches.

“Dam Wally! You been lifting? You solid as shit.

Yep. I lift that anaconda every time I go piss.

Go home. Diego said pointing in the direction of the main entrance.

 

Wally, Lars, Tyler and Billy were all collected in the parking lot behind the store, sitting on top of their cars.  They lined them up together in a fanned out pattern. Wally had his Fords’ stereo up loud. The ominous tones of the song Lateralus by Tool played.  A few months back a crack head hooked him up with some JBL 6x9’ speakers for fifty bones. They cranked.  The mid-level frequencies of the guitars were crisp and distinct along with the cymbals and hats. However, they were designed to be paired with a ten inch subwoofer, so the low end bass was lacking and the treble was overpowering. Wally would reach in and adjust the volume throughout the song when the highs were at uncomfortable levels.

 Taylor sat on his burgundy, 2003 Jeep Liberty. Billy smoked her electric cigarette and sat with her legs crossed on her late nineties black, 3-Series BMW. It was in very good shape, with barely a scratch on the body and slightly worn leather seats. Lars was inside the Jeep, smoking his hand-rolled cigarettes that Wally did in-between breaks earlier in the night. He carpooled to work with Tyler while his car was being worked on at a mechanic friends. A couple of weeks ago the clutch started to burn out on his 2009 Ford F-150 and the friend who was unemployed offered to replace it for a few hundred bucks.

Wally rightly joked that they looked like complete idiots shoved up into such a small space.  In their defense, there were few vehicles designed to accommodate five-hundred pounds of humanity in the front cabin, they just happened to choose one of the worst.

The night air was cool and felt refreshing and clean after an evening rain had poured out a few hours earlier. A chilly breeze washed over them unevenly. It had an unpredictable pattern. One minute it was blowing a gentle kiss, the next minute it was whipping up angrily, making it hard to light up.

 

“Man--I really wanted the weekend off. My sister is coming home from overseas and we were gonna go see the new Star Wars shit, then go out to eat and then out to The Blu. I’m shitty. Why is Diego being such a dick about making everybody work on a Saturday? We don’t even have any customers. They all go to Keystar for prizes. We’re just work monkeys to him”. She inhaled her electric cigarette. “He don’t give a fuck.”

“--Well, he’s the manager. His job is to make sure shit is sold. I’m working too”. Said Lars plainly.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah.”  Wally interrupted.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah what? What?”

Come on bro.

Come on what? What?

It doesn’t take Albert Einstein to figure out you don’t care about working this weekend because your car needs a new clutch. You know how I know that? Because I’m not fucking Albert Einstein, but yet, I brilliantly figured that shit out.

I’d say that regardless. Look, we’re all friends since high school, but this isn’t a social club. It’s a business. Businesses need to earn money.

Billy tilted her head to the side and looked at Wally. Her eyes were pointing to the obvious fact that they were out in back jamming to music, with their cars in a near circle, smoking cigarettes.  She laid back on her car and laughed hard.

Really? No shit. I didn’t know that until just now. Lars did you know businesses needed to make money? Fuck dude. ….Why aren’t you the manager? And how the fuck more social could this possibly be?

“A hot tub. A hot tub would be more social”. Taylor said

Hey, I just telling the truth as I always must be the voice of reason.

“There’s no reason for your voice. Shut up.” Billy joked. “Why are you always trying to be one of us and one of them at the same time? Why don’t you choose a side? Are you with management or with us?

“Holy Christ, I’m not trying to be one of them!” He said throwing his hands up. “I’m just giving you their point of view on Saturday.  I mean, am I the only one? Don’t we as a team bonus when the sales boys are lights out?” He said pointing to Wally. “Am I right? So it stands to reason that if we’re all broke as fuck most of the time, I might side with whatever angle means more money. It ain’t complicated.”

“Yeah it is complicated. It’s complicated when some of us want to actually have a motherfucking life outside of convincing absolute strangers that they need new, big, bright and shiny shit. I mean---yeah, I need money worse than anybody, but I got no time to live. I wanna go to school but I can’t fucking go to school working fifty-five hours a week and I can’t not work fifty-five fucking hours a week because I need a place, food and my car.

 

Billy shrugged. “Live in your car”. She smiled at Wally. It was a pretty smile from a girl who wasn’t knock-out beautiful. She didn’t have to be. It made him feel little things inside that he didn’t feel with anyone else, not even Allison. He didn’t really know how to respond, so he shook his head and looked down at his feet.

From nowhere he felt the grimness come over him in a waves, causing spikes of nausea to pierce the walls of his insides. It was a powerful down. There was nothing he could do to resist the swing except remain silent and hope that it would soon pass. The magical nightfall that was chilly and refreshing mere seconds ago, was now The Darkness.  Ominous and sinister. The hairs on his neck began to pick up on things he couldn’t comprehend with his eyes. His eccrine responded to his chemical change with perspiration sheening his forearms.

He walked over and sat in his car so the dome light would relieve him of his sudden distress. He never knew when it would happen this sudden ride into his own head. He had to sit in the light of his car and fixate on the positive emission of energy from a stupid twenty-watt bulb to drown out the dark and bring him back.

Billy looked into his car while she lay on her back. She looked incredibly seductive to him like some type of feral princess. He knew he was still loopy from his mind playing cruel games with his mood. Surely there was no such thing as a feral princess.

“I see everybody’s point ok. So can we just listen to some music and chill out? I’m thinkin my roommate is outta town and we can go to my place after we close? I can cook something on the grill and we can keep this thing rollin.” Said Taylor. He was always the voice of reason when the disparate personalities of the group short-circuited into some kind of argument about a non-argument.  It was a role he didn’t mind especially considering some of the maddening tangential roads they often visited during such an occasion.

Wally got out of his car and felt better. The night was his friend again and the cool air whipped up under his scalp, blowing his mane of hair wildly.

That’s when he saw him.

Wally looked closer and saw the figure approaching from twenty yards out. He tensed up immediately, remembering how many robberies had taken place in their area over the past month. Taylor and Lars saw the person too and were heading towards Wally.

“The fucks that? “Taylor asked. Wally saw the tip of his huge friend’s pistol pointed down at his side, the rest of the weapon was swallowed by his behemoth hand.  Lars also had his semi-automatic in hand, tucked underneath his shirt as they walked closer to the mysterious figure. 

Billy jumped off of the hood of her car and leapt inside of it. She pushed the button to turn her headlights on. She then went from vehicle to vehicle turning the headlights on until they flooded in the direction of the invader. 

 

The parking lot was dimmed enough so that they could only see the outline and shadow of a person, but not the race or features. A voice came out.

“It nice on tonight doh, ain’t it…? “Said the crackhead known locally as Smitty. He came into the light of their vehicles. His gold-toothed smile glinted in the dark from the lights.

“Smitty, you gonna get your head blown the fuck off motherfucker. Don’t do that shit.” Lars said. He took his hand off of his weapon and pulled his shirt over it and let it rest, tucked in below his midsection.

Wally didn’t relax because Smitty’s pupils were as large as the moon and his voice wasn’t steady. He was high. Wally knew that Lars wasn’t lying about blowing the crackhead away. They were all on edge from the robberies and the gang violence that was taking place in their area.

Smitty shuffled his feet in an awkward forward motion and walked into plain view. He was a tall, thin waste of a man. The skin was sweaty and pale and his hair was a mop of tangled filth, knotted up and nappy. His eyes were dead, recessed inside the dark cavity of the outside orbital bone. He was the closest thing to a zombie they had ever seen. The face was covered in a brown patchwork of beard and neck hair.

He shuffled up to Wally and took his hand up to his face and motioned that he wanted to smoke something. Lars crossed his arms and shook his head and said.” You know we don’t do that shit Smitty, go find somewhere else to get that shit.”

“Nah, nah, nah. Heh heh, Nah. No smoke dis like get high nigga, I mean smoke dis like sigg.

“Like sig?”

Like cigarette? You want a smoke Smitty? He asked nodding so Smitty would acknowledge in agreement.

“Yeah, yeh, shit. Sigggg “. Said Smitty. He scratched his mangled beard and neck.  

Fuck. I gotcha man. He said reaching in his pocket and pulling out a fresh rolled cigarette. “Yeah, I gotcha. Why you out this late? Bad shit goin on

Taylor walked back to the vehicles to check on Billy. She sat inside her car using her iPhone to take selfies. He thought to himself that Wally and Lars were good to handle a tweaking crackhead without his assistance. He put his massive hands on her roof and leaned down into her window to see her brown eyes looking up at him. She had her legs up on her dashboard at an angle stretched over to the passenger side.

“You coming out tonight? I mean--, it’s up to you. Wally will be there. He said. He looked over in Wally’s direction. “He’s having a good day. Truth is, I worry about that dude. He ain’t got shit. I mean, none of us got shit, but we got people.

Billy looked at her phone while Taylor was talking. He didn’t know if she even heard him, or cared, or even gave a shit about other people. He just assumed because she was a girl and liked animals that she would like Wally too. In many ways Wally reminded him of something stray that some piece of shit family dumped in the woods.

 

Billy cocked her head to the side and shot Taylor a look that was a mixture of concern and interest.  She didn’t know anything about Wally. He seemed to be a closed book to her most of the time, although he was extremely polite to her when he did talk. This would bare further investigation. There was nothing resembling attraction there, but she never really got him. She swung her legs over and opened her car door. Taylor stood aside as she opened her door and stepped out barefoot onto the cool pavement. She had tattoos of flying angels and fiery dragons on her left heel.

“Check out your ink. You like angels?

What about the dragons?

Uh huh. Them too.

Sure. I like them both, that’s why they’re on my body. You’re a smart one.

Taylor folded his giant arms and waved his cigarette at her. She took it out of his hand and put it to her thin lips. She took a long drag and handed it back to him with her pink lipstick all over it.

He put it in his mouth.

He smacked his lips, tasting. “Bubble-gum? No wait…pink lemonade? He asked.

“BUZZ!!! —wrong answer. You don’t know your lipstick girlfriend

It’s a fucking shame I know. What is it?

Jolly Rancher watermelon.

Jolly Rancher watermelon!! It was on the tip of my tongue! He yelled. His expression heavy with the weight of sarcasm.

Looks like it’s on the tip of your cigarette.

 

Wally and Lars watched Smitty in silence. The crackhead motioned and waved his hands in the air, chatting strange things to himself. The cigarette they gave him was ash in what seemed like three hits from his dried lips. The distant boom of rolling thunder shook the ground underneath them as nature sent out its warning. Lars walked back over and got in his truck to move it to the front of the store.

They would have to shut down their party and start closing the store soon anyway, so the rain didn’t have bad timing. Besides, Smitty needed a bath in the worst way and a thunderstorm was quite possibly the only thing that would clean him.

Smitty pulled his shirt tight and rubbed his arms like he was cold. The rain started to come down in light sprinkles. It wasn’t freezing cold rain, but to a person with little to no healthy resistance, it must have felt like thousands of pricks by ice.

 

Wally walked back to his car and opened the door, reached in and pulled the trunk release lever. He walked to the back of it and began searching inside of a large cardboard box.  He felt the unmistakable presence of eyes watching him and spun around. Billy pulled up in her car, the intensity of her blue electric cigarette matched her eyes.

It stunned him. The thunder cracked again.

“Hey.” She said

Uh. Yeah what up?

It’s about to pour out here, what are you doing? We need to head in.

I’ll be in, just tryin to find something.

Ok. See ya inside homie. She said and drove off around the building, towards the front.

That made him smile. There was something about her that he just understood without her even saying much to him. If she was going out with them he could see what she was like while intoxicated and maybe get her to talk to him even more.

He found it. It was an old jacket he hadn’t worn in a few years that he shoved in the box in case he ran out of gas in the winter. He closed his trunk and walked towards Smitty. He was the only one left in back and light posts were too dim to see clearly more than twenty feet out.

He didn’t see Smitty. He looked around and walked forward searching.

“Smitty. Yo where you at?!!  He yelled.

Stupid crackhead. He thought. He went through the trouble to find him some warm covering and the jackass wonders off. Then he heard a familiar shuffle and looked in the direction of the noise. He took his knife out of his back pocket and opened it up. “Smitty? That you?” He asked. The rain was larger now and began to pour in sheets. Wally was soaked in seconds. His long-sleeve sales shirt was heavy and wet.  The thunder announced its power again and was joined by its ally, lightning as a huge bolt shot across the sky going in multiple arcs. It was a fearsome strobe display that flickered off everything underneath the heavens for miles around. Heaven was angry on this night.

Smitty? What the fuck?

He walked past the furthest light post to see if Smitty was even still in the parking lot. Where was he? Where did he go? He didn’t walk past them towards the store did he? Smitty wasn’t setting them up to rob the store was he? These thoughts raced through Wally’s mind as he tried to trace a path in the darkness. There was no certain or logical walking path for the addict. His movement was as random as his life, distorted by the variables of chemical dependency.

Dejected, Wally closed his knife against his leg and placed it back in his rear pocket. He then turned around and jogged hurriedly back in the opposite direction towards his car. That was enough. If the crackhead is cold then fuck him.  Let him be cold. I tried. He thought. Was his life so bad that even a crackhead literally left him standing in the cold? He felt bad because Smitty had always been funny and He couldn’t believe what he saw next. It made his skin freeze. Inside his car, he could see the glint of the crackheads teeth leering. It was a grotesque smile, ugly and twisted as he sat inside Wally’s car. He could hear his laughter.

I got yo whip mothafuka!! Smitty boomed. His voice filled the ambient space between them with a volume that was surprising coming from his drug ravaged corpse. “Hah hah, heh, he he hee heee!!! He violently shook. His shoulders pinched up as he covered his mouth and pointed a mocking finger at Wally.

He’s in my car!! Wally thought as he stood there frozen. His feet felt like bricks underneath him, his heart pounding like a race horse in his chest. He walked toward the car knowing he was no match for Smitty by himself. Even in his wasted form Smitty was still much larger than Wally and rumor was that in his former life as a living person, Smitty was quite an athlete before his tragedy began. Still Wally pressed forward with full intentions of confronting him. The rain The Darkness returned to him and the night was even more arcane than it was before. The Dark swallowed him in fury as he felt its arms grabbing at him and pinning him in place. My Car!!! He thought. Why are you in my car!! It’s the only thing I own in this world!! The consequences of losing his car sped through his mind at light-speed.

The sequence of hardships that would result from it would begin turning the monstrous gears of hopelessness and despair. If he lost his car, he lost his freedom. He would have to use public transportation. This in turn would alter his schedule such that he wouldn’t work the peak hours day after day, because he would be too tired after the myriad transfers and waiting for buses. His pay would be even less than it is was now and he would lose his room and be out on the street.

All of this flashed before him as Smitty sat inside his car. The Darkness quickly turned to a calm, pulsing, and rage. His heart steadied. His fear subsided and his eyes drained of all emotional content. He was not inside the Darkness. The Darkness was inside of him. He felt his blood rolling inside of his veins to the point of head. The adrenaline of fear was no longer paralyzing him so he began a hurried path toward the addict.

His focus narrowed and his jaw tightened. He reached back into his pocket for the knife and threw it open with a violent flick of his wrist. Somehow the hair became loose and wild over his face in reaction to the torrential rain and winds. The rage sprang his legs to life and he began to increase his speed gradually until he was in a full sprint towards his car.

His steps seemed to barely touch the ground before his feet were back up in the air. The puddles underneath him that formed were stabbed by his gait, splashing his shoes and legs heavy with rain water.  

There were no thoughts, just visions. Visions in his head of him grabbing the door and swinging it open and dealing the crackhead swift punishment for his trespass. He could already feel the weight of the man in his hands as he would throw him about. He could already feel his knife sinking into his flesh over and over, taking his life.

Smitty felt a cringe of fear when from his seat he could see the fast approaching boy, his hair wild and flowing and the gleam of his blade flashing murderously. The sick of death hit his gastro internals and he could taste his own bile.

Death was coming closer and he had to get out of the car.

He shook his head and yelled. “No, NO NO-NO. “ His fingers desperately dug for the door handle with his right hand, breaking one of his long, dirty nails in the process. The trickle of warm blood ran down his finger. “Ouch! Dam”!  He said instinctively putting the finger with the ripped nail in his mouth while trying to open it with his left hand. He threw his left shoulder into the door hard a few times and then a few times more before it popped open, spilling him onto the asphalt.

The sound of Wally approaching was terrifying because the speed was not normal in the mind of the addict. He rolled over onto his knees and stood up in the rain right as the boy was within a few yards of him. The addict yelled. “Hey, hey-hey man! I was just fuckin wit you! Ok, my bad!” He pleaded as the thunder boomed above them.

Wally saw him outside of the car and his perceptive powers began to break through his rage. He saw Smitty with a look of absolute horror on his face, pleading with him and he stopped a mere foot away from him, his knife raised. If he could see himself with his hair covering his face, chest heaving with rage, forearms rippling with violence and the blade, he would understand why Smitty was frightened indeed.

Smitty continued to plead. “I’m sorry man! Listen, I was just messing with you!! Calm the fuck down, you don’t wanna do this!! He screamed.

Wally walked towards Smitty and thrust his hand hard into Smittys midsection with a deep push. Smitty felt his legs give way and fell back to the wet pavement. He screamed and rolled onto his stomach looking for the wound that was just opened up.

He screamed louder now. “Ahhhhh!!!! Oh my God man!! Ahhhhh!!” He cried writhing on his knees.

Wally coldly stepped around him, got into his car and closed the door with a loud thud. He started the engine and sat with his head down. He was soaking wet into his seats and his hair stuck to his face on either side. He looked into his rearview mirror at his face. His pupils were larger than normal, almost dilated looking. He could see the veins stressed on the surface of his forehead. Wally steadied himself and began to calm down. He turned the wheel slowly and pulled away from the outbursts of the dead man.

Smitty was still screaming on his knees with his hands pushed tight in his torso. His manic reaction began to temper when he couldn’t feel any wound. The wetness running down his pants wasn’t his blood, it was the rain pouring in a line from his face down deep into his clothes. Underneath him in the water he saw the jacket Wally just shoved in his torso. He rolled onto his back and cried in the storm with his mouth open wide. Now as a consequence, he was more than disappointed that the boy hadn’t killed him.

What do I do now!? Lord in heaven! He thought. What do I do now?

 

She looked in the mirror at her laugh lines while she creaked her face over and over in fake smiles. Billy was in the restroom inside of the store. Her mother had long deep laugh lines on her face as did her grandmother. If it was worth anything, she came by them honest and would in turn pass them to her daughters. Her phone buzzed on the sink with notifications of likes and social media updates from her numerous friends and family. The text message alert sounded off to the tune of Snoop Doggs “Drop it Like It’s Hot”, making it irresistible for her not to dance a little while she picked it up.

The message said. “Where u @ boo? I’m tryin to hit…hahaha”

She texted with her thumb while putting lipstick on.

Whut? U stooooopid boi. I’m still @ work. + I’m going out 2nite. Cold shower that duurty dick. She smiled brightly. The guy on the other end of the message was someone she met at her cousin Abels bar mitzvah.

“I want you to meet my cousin Billy. Billy, this is Benjamin Prescott Fine. He’s a complete moron and a good guy and I think you should let him take you out. Cousin Abel said.

Billy never gave him her number because her cousin was a terrible judge of character to say the least. The babysitter he interviewed for he and his wife turned out to be a pedophile piece if shit that they discovered while watching the news. The landscaping father and son company he hired to do the grounds at his law firm were actually wanted for embezzlement and identity theft. With that type of luck Benjamin Prescott Fine was probably a terrorist or related to Bernie Madoff. She almost regretted being up late that night on Facebook when he messaged her for her number.

As her step-father put it, “curiosity is the motherfucker of all of life” and she learned its bitter sense of humor over and over in her span. She was curious about this guy and now here he was in her time fabric, weaving his own continuum.

He texted back. “Aww. That hurt. Kewl. I’ll just b alone without u.

Now she was irritated. “Ok, so I’m off here. Call 1-800-I-Need-Help. She put the phone back down and looked in the mirror and lit her laugh lines up with a genuine smile.

 

Wally stood outside with his hands in the hoody he found in his car on. He rapped at the door and put his hands back in the pockets. Hands that were shaking and pulsing with energy in the large pockets of the hoody.  The door key was in the car and he damn well wasn’t going to run back out into that maelstrom for it. He knocked again but this time the knocks shook the heavy doors to their embedded posts. From inside Lars heard it while he was making his final rounds in the warehouse and began to walk up towards the front. He saw Wally outside in the rain and ran up to open the doors for him.

Fuck, sorry dude I was in the back. I don’t know where-?

Wally rushed by him and headed towards the customer restrooms located in the rear of the store next to the management office.

Lars closed the doors and locked them before heading back to the warehouse to finish his duties for the night.

 

His body felt like it was going to explode.

Wally threw the door open to the restroom and paced inside from sink to sink like some kind of animal, his chest heaving with rage. He looked in the mirror and caught a glimpse of light in his eyes in the reflection that was so bright it was blinding.

What the hell!!!? He thought. What the fuck is wrong with me!!?

By its own will, the knife was in his hand. He shot over to the stall that was the closest to him and began to mercilessly stab the roll of toilet paper with insane rage, shredding and ripping it into floating ribbons. He continued deeper into the rage, using the knife to violently puncture one of the metal walls of the stall with powerful overhand stabs. The sound of his metal weapon punching through was like some kind of machine. He turned his attention to the side that he hadn’t destroyed and began to methodically violate it with his knife.

He shoved it in and twisted it, pulled it out and stabbed it in again and repeated this over and over.  His senses were on high and every inch of his skin was alive.  The sound of his heartbeat, the movement of blood in his veins, the opening and closing of the aortic valves played loudly. The lungs seemed to absorb the oxygen directly through his skin.  His breathing was understated and controlled as if his systems were only bemused by his activity instead of labored by it.

He stopped as suddenly as he began, dropping the knife and sinking to his knees, facing the sinks with his head down. His eyes affixed onto the floor, the rain water dripping from his mane, forming a running puddle. He stared motionless into its reflection, trying to find himself in those burning eyes that shone like iridescent lamps.

He put his palms down flat on the floor and stretched his fingers and began flexing them from their constriction. The hands were undamaged from the savagery and felt unattached and distant as if he had no control of them. The finger joint knuckles of his right hand had not one mark or scratch on them from slamming into the metal. There was a warmness to them he started to feel from his behind his lower elbow extending down through the fingertips.

What the hell was this? He thought. What is wrong with me!!?

The sounds of his assault echoed in his troubled head over and over and over, replaying his crescendo of malevolent violence. THUNK!! THUNK!!! THUNK!! RRRRRRIPPPPP!!!

Where did this come from!!!?

He slowly rose, trembling and afraid to look at himself again in the mirrors directly across. He felt the pit of his stomach reacting. It twisted and churned causing him to spit onto the floor. The blood flowed back to his legs and feet now, so he began to walk forward, his head leaning. Wally spat into the sink. He turned the faucet on to wash it down. He felt his glands open up in his neck as the spring of water began to secrete the entire cavity of his mouth. It was a familiar and dreaded feeling. The body was preparing him to vomit as a reaction to his distress.

He stretched his arms out over the bowl, frantically twisted both sink knobs until the pressure was on its highest volume. The vomit burst from his mouth splattering into the swirling sink. The force of it rocked his body with such might that he had to hold onto the sink for support.  

His head was still in a marvelous daze and he felt lighter than air while his body continued to projectile over the sink. He closed his eyes tightly as he rode the sick. It was an awful feeling. He couldn’t remember ever throwing up this strong. It felt like it was coming from not only his mouth but from his eyes and face. Impossible. His mind was fucking him again.  He continued for a few moments more until the feeling passed and his gut steadied.

His body shuddered as his systems began to recover from the shock. He was thankfully calming down and for the first time, began to feel closer to normal.

What is wrong with me!!? His mind screamed in angry demand.

The universe in its arrogance had no response to his plight. His pain and anguish was merely subjective to time and space. As usual, life didn’t seem to care about the little man’s suffering.

He opened his eyes to looking into the sink and realized that the universe indeed did not care about him nor his sanity. Instead of a mixture of tonight’s take-out dinner and his stomach’s constitution, there was simply water in the sink. No smell. No chunks. Nothing but three-to-four cups of uncontaminated, clear water swished and swirled around the running sink, down through the ported drain plate.

No smell? No chunks? What the fuck? His mind tried to process this latest impossibility.

“What-the-fuck!?”  Billie said standing across from him at the bathroom entrance with her pink tennis shoe holding open the bathroom door.

Wally turned and wiped his mouth off of any excess vomit with the sleeve of his right arm. He pulled down on the hoodie, trying to adjust it back in place…trying to look normal.  The pain was still in his gut and the taste of anxiety left him a bitter saccharine that ran from his stomach, all the way to his raw throat.

“Wally? What’s wrong? I heard a bunch of loud noises all the way out by the women’s room! What was that!? It sounded like a fucking train hit this room! She cried as she slowly swung the door open and stepped inside.

“This is awkward.”  He muttered under his breath.

 

Lars slung his backpack over his right shoulder and continued sweeping the employee locker room that was located in the warehouse. It was a thing to behold the giant strapping the purse across the picnic table-sized width of his back. Each strap of the backpack was extended to the last hole and even then he had to put it on one arm at a time. He enjoyed cleaning and sweeping and making things look in place. The jobs that involved anything to do with cleaning all fell to him and Taylor did the administrative closing paperwork. Lars used the time to collect his thoughts and think of his plans to go to Hollywood and work as a bodyguard for the biggest names in the industry.

He didn’t have the military experience or law enforcement background that most personal protection agencies and executive security firms sought.  Lars knew that there was no way to match the experience level of Iraq security veterans so he didn’t waste time attempting to fluff up his resume.  He would never beat them on paper or in interviews when the questions went to experience.  

He was a former Division 1 wrestling champion at Indiana University for three years straight before being infamously expelled for dealing drugs on campus. Like Wally, he didn’t come from anything and had to do something to make money. It started off as necessities like rent money and groceries, cell phone bills etc., before vanity and materialistic bullshit infected his brain.

It started off with better cell phones. Instead of grabbing the best one he could buy, pay cash for it and keep it, he began buying new cell phones every few weeks, which ultimately led to his demise. It’s hard to give a kid like him twenty-thousand dollars a month and not expect him to bling out. The cell phones led to Rolex watches, the watches led to clothes and the clothes led to a brand new Nissan GTR, which was in excess of eighty-thousand dollars. Lars didn’t pay that much for it though, he’d put in an “order” for one to be delivered to him for forty-five cash. Even that didn’t blow his cover because he convinced everyone that his money was coming from his rich, distant family back in Austria. 

The rich family from Austria was brought to life by his very special customers on campus who also happened to be highly advanced tech majors. The tech majors, Lisa Yin and Teddy Wischmeyer were two brilliant and innovative students. Lisa was the web developer and Teddy was the virtualization guru and both of them had competing offers waiting for them after graduation. They both also loved getting high to take the pressure off of studies and to enhance their creative eye. For Lisa, the strains of sativa marijuana were a treasured favorite.

There were the sativa named Super Silver Haze, Durban Poison as her favorites to smoke for energy and vision. Then there was the Indica was for the party or sleeping after a long day. The Indica strains she liked were Big Bang, Afgooey, Blue God, Chocolate Chunk, Cactus, Afghan Skunk, Corleone Kush, and her favorite, Blueberry. Blueberry made her forget the rigors of studying and she always woke up feeling like better, smelling better, everything was just better after a night with Blueberry.

Teddy was an altogether different story as he had no insight or opinion on the many exotic strains with funny names and whether or not they were meant to relax your mind or give you mental energy. It was the one thing in life where he wasn’t overly technical and detailed and well-studied. His interest and need was a self-medicating prescription of the highest organic type.  If he felt especially stressed out about a virtualized infrastructure concept or anything related, he called Lisa, she brought over what she had, he smoked it and life got better. It was that simple.

For the relative small price of free weed, Lars was able to enlist both of them to design the fake website of his Austrian family’s business. They were introduced in a special spotlight in “Everything IU”, the schools online newsletter that was delivered to alumni and current students straight to their tablets, pc and smart phones thought their email subscriptions.

 

He didn’t need it to be spectacular or make him look like he was anything. He just needed it to be the underlying reason that authorities and the uninitiated would see him with expensive things. He needed it to be a rumor that could be looked up online and confirmed. What he didn’t know is that the two tech geeks were in over their heads with the website and needed some other things to make it feel authentic.

They needed real faces and real people to be the family on the website in the pictures since of course they had a picture of Lars on there. In their minds this was a free market economic model of an operation, so they continued that ideology when they enlisted help for some potheads in the drama program. The website would need headshots and a family picture set to the backdrop of a large home and another one in front of the business.

This was something that needed a story and a background in order to pass the smell test by the many inquisitive minds of the school who were paid to be in positions of scrutiny. It wasn’t the fact that there weren’t rich kids that went to Indiana University because there were many. It was more the fact that this particular rich kid wasn’t that rich until his sophomore year and that required explanation.

The actors in the drama class designed a fake green screen background for the home and business shots with help from a few architect stoners.  The uncle was played by a talented drama student in heavy makeup, complete with a large beard and glasses.  His wife, or Lars’ aunt, was played by none other than Lisa Yin herself underneath layers of makeup and prosthetics.  It was an elaborate production that could be appreciated by the CIA, who had engaged in acting ruses meant to manipulate the public since the late fifties and early nineteen sixties.

Life was good for him after the newsletter hit the email subscribers and gave them a brief, but authentic introduction to the family. They managed to create a portrait of a wealthy but charitable family that valued helping their fellow man as much as they valued their Porches. The intimate embrace of the sativa breathed such life into them that it was easy to believe they were indeed real. Professors would pass Lars in the hall and stop the hulking wrestler to encourage him for the upcoming meets.

He was on top of the world. No one could touch him. He was still subject to the brutality of Division One training regimen and had to pull his weight there even more. There was no such thing as a celebrity on the wrestling team. Every man drilled, lifted weights, slammed into mats and tested themselves against each other at the highest level. Many of his teammates knew the real story about him and how he afforded such nice things. They were brothers though and would never ever consider ratting on their own, especially a brother that supplied quality product.

 

Lars allowed himself to become too comfortable and let his guard down. The extra cell phones that he would purchase every time a new one would come out were his undoing. His girlfriend Anna Richards, a chocolate dream of a beauty, called him and told him about a new phone while she was out shopping.

 

“Oh my god Lars, it’s the best phone I’ve ever seen.  You have to get this one. Said Anna

“Really? That tight huh? Lars said while he stood outside in the hall at wrestling practice.

“This shits amazing. It’s on a sale right now where they will waive data fees for the first six months!

“What!? W-where are you?” He screamed in excitement and began pacing the hall.

“Mobile Mart, in Keystar. Baby I can just buy it for you and you can activate that shit tonight”

Lars was ecstatic. This is why he loved Anna because she truly was there for whatever he needed.

“Oh I’m activatin some shit tonight alright…I’m activatin that kitty kat girl….He clowned. Anna said a few sexy words to him and walked over to the displayed phones. The salesperson was completely overmatched by her beauty and tactile mind. Anna knew that by the time she was done with her mission there that she’d most likely be walking out with the phone for free.

 

Lars left his old cell phone in the weight room back on campus after he hurried to meet Anna to activate the new one. It sat on the floor in one of the squat cages until it was discovered the next morning by a 2nd string freshman QB from Evansville who almost stepped on it. The phone was then turned into the lost and found and thrown into the cell phone drawer. Lars of course wasn’t worried about it being lost because he figured he threw it in the box of all his old phones in his team locker. He didn’t think even for a moment that it was floating out in the world or he would have tracked it with the GPS app and retrieved it.

 

 


© Copyright 2017 Shawn Anthony Blackwell. All rights reserved.

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