“You may not always see us, but you must always know we’re there.”
John Kerry doesn’t spend much time at the house on the bend of Vhykus Path, but he does go back one more time before the day ends. He’s bearing five empty backpacks, three of them black by design, one black from soot, and one a dirty yellow. This latter is a child’s backpack with Spongebob Squarepants on it, John couldn’t help but take it along. He was already taking four packs, what could a fifth hurt?
Without thinking about where it will be stored, John Kerry brings five backpacks full of broken wine racks to the church at the back end of Madison Avenue. He and the Sisters Three succeed in not leaving the church for a full week then, during which time a leader is elected so The Center may be officially established and prepared for operation. Both classrooms upstairs are converted into proper storage bays, one for food only and one for drinks only, and both of the classrooms on the ground floor are converted into a makeshift kitchen and the biggest walk-in wardrobe on this side of Shit’s Creek, and that’s saying something. Shit’s Creek is all the way on the other side of town, right by the edge of the crater where Lake Atacama used to be.
The rest of the boxes of donated survival supplies, of which there were quite a few as even with John helping them out, the Sisters Three only did so much work before realizing they were unpacking survival supplies which would never aid in anybody’s survival, along with their supply of wines, were moved bit by bit into the spacious cellar where a balding pot comic once slept through the Rapture just to leave the Garden of Eden and wander off into the desert where he eventually died… but did he die?
Did Howie “Hoots” McGee die out there? Did he return to his shortcut through the ashen wood and lose himself in the gray for old time’s sake? John doesn’t know. The Sisters Three do not know. The Lord Himself does not know, although that’s more due to the fact that there is no Lord Himself. There is a “God,” as in one higher than all the rest of reality, but there are also gods between us and the top. There are some lords, too, and there are also demons and devils. And Masters, can’t forget about the Masters. There’s a whole lot of stuff out there, Jack, but don’t you go lookin’ now. They’ll find you easy enough.
Yes, ladies’n’germs, there’s a whole lot more out there than just us humans and the God Almighty the Sisters Three believe in. They’re not on Earth, not anymore, but they’re surely out there. Somewhere. Probably smelling the flowers so they want to keep on living their immortal lives. John smells the flowers, after all. John smells the flowers every day, and John’s only human as far as he knows; a human being living in The First Stand of New Civilization (the new name of Wuester, New Jersey), but a human nonetheless, and so he smells the flowers every single day, when he wakes up in the morning and when he goes to bed at night; wan’a know what’s weird about it? So does the sky. Every night he goes to sleep and every morning he wakes up and he never once sees the sun rise or set. He’s woken before the light came and knocked out after it went, but there’s no real transition. There’s no warning. It’s dark, and then it becomes light over the period of a couple minutes. Sunset’s the same thing. It’s kind of fascinating how it just happens the way it does, but… it’s nothing like the smell of Howie’s flowers.
‘…for all we know, John, me giving you what I have to give you is the one and only reason God kept me alive.’
“For all we know, Howie,” John yawns one morning after dragging himself out of the lumpy, disarranged bed of child’s clothing he made for himself in the Prayerway, “you’re sleeping better than I am these days.”
John is right, too. Howie is sleeping better than he is; there’s no rest for the wicked, Jack, not until their journey down Cannonball Road takes them to the center of town. Then there’s plenty of rest, plenty of sleep to be had, and all of it good. And somehow, John knows this too.
Yes, John Kerry of the Ashen Wasteland is quite right about Howie “Hoots” McGee, the next great stand-up pot comic coming out of humble Wuester, New Jersey. More right than he could ever know.
Hello Commons, this has been the third subchapter of the last chapter of Flowers, a novel about a man who smokes the last of his pot.
Flowers is part of the Third Spiral, an anthology of sorts called The Here and Now which is comprised of stories told from the various planes of Existence.
Flowers is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.
I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.
If you like Flowers and would like to help support my work, click here and buy an autographed copy of the book (or anything else!) from my store. Alternatively, you can snag a cheaper (and unsigned) copy from Amazon by clicking here.
Be well Commons~