|20.20|21|22|22.2|22.22|22.222|23|24|25|Those Extra Four…|1|2|3|4|Back Cover|
I’m So Sorry
A Man Named Chuck
Chuck stands next to Sigmund’s bed and honestly debates pressing the button.
It would be quick and painless, poof: everything living in North America, and probably every living thing on Earth, considering how the detonation of a North-America-sized bomb would realistically decimate the planet at large, would be burnt to a crisp; nobody would remember the suited man’s rampage today. Nobody would be able to grieve over Jack. Nobody would have to suffer through a world in which Chuck Leary lives and breathes.
It’s always been like this for Chuck, ever since he was born; everybody around Chuck is so afraid of him, so terrified of the fact that he’s alive that they would rather attempt to take him down than let him glow. What is everybody so afraid of, that he’s going to kill them? Nobody ever caught a bullet from Chuck that didn’t deserve it, and nine times out of ten he revives the humans he puts down, even if it’s only to off them again so he can turn them back on. He’s not a bad guy, he’s just very spiritually wealthy, and he understands the true nature of reality – that it’s fluid, that there’s no bad or good, that there just is and no matter what anybody thinks, does, or says, reality will continue to be forever. Nobody understands him, nobody wants to understand him. They all just want to be him, as if he doesn’t do a good enough job of being himself.
Chuck reaches down and…
S U S P E N S E
…grabs his tie, fixing it around his neck and pulling it taught. He then commands the hemi-atomic nanobots to deconstruct the NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST button.
Ever since this week started, this Universe has been saying one thing to Chuck over and over and over again: “Fuck you.” Well fine, then it’s fuck the Universe right back. Chuck doesn’t need to stay here, he can leave. He’ll find a new universe to live in, one where the beings aren’t afraid of somebody who’s objectively better than them in every way possible, a universe that will accept him for who he is: the most human human of all.
But first, there’s a few things he needs to smoke, two notes that need to be left, and one check that needs to be delivered.
Chuck, after leaving a note on Sigmund’s bed (the writing of which made him weep), rides the elevator up to his office and strolls over to Karen’s desk. He was hoping to smoke some Cannabis out of his favorite bong before he left, but Karen never unpacked them. Oh well. The Universe is and it will continue to be, regardless of Chuck’s state of sobriety. His hemibots materialize a piece of paper and a pen and Chuck scrawls a heartfelt note thanking Karen for her undying loyalty and employment over the years, and also confesses that he’s secretly had feelings for her ever since the moment they met at that little library in her hometown.
Then he tears up the paper, eats it, and has the hemibots in his stomach deconstruct the fragments of the note at an atomic level. Then, using the same atoms, they construct a fully loaded joint.
As he burns down the happystick that he just belched up, Chuck writes out a new note for Karen, one thanking her for working at Cape for so long and requesting that, before she goes on to pursue what will be a doubtlessly successful career as an author, she sells off the amphibious motorcycle to the highest bidder and donates the majority of the profits to some charity that helps build prosthetic limbs and pacemakers for cats. Then he walks over to his desk, grabs his computer, and flies out the window.
A few minutes later, the Apex Corporation loses a window and Sean Hymarc catches a computer to the face.
After proving once and for all that his word is worth more than his balls, Chuck flies back to Treering. He lands on the door of the Monta household and then immediately begins to walk awa– no, he has to do this. Nobody else will, it has to be him.
He knocks on the door.
Chuck says, “Fucking you?”
A very disgruntled Chuck Monta sneers sweaty at Chuck Leary and doesn’t say a word.
“This is where you fucking were when I… of course, of fucking course. How goddamned fitting, how cosmically fucking hilarious. This Universe is a fucking dickwad, I swear to fucking… okay, look man. Your son, Jack? I’m so sorry, I’m so fucking sorry, but he died today. He got shot and there’s not even a body left, and I could have saved him, but I went to your place to deliver the check first and you weren’t there. You weren’t fucking there, just like you were never there for Jack and his hippie brother. You were never there for your fucking kids that you abandoned. Jack died because of a man named Chuck today, and… just… fuck you.”
Chuck then backhands Chuck across the face with a check for a number of thirty digits and flies off into the upper layer of Earth’s atmosphere, the one right beneath the junkosphere. He takes one last look at his planet, one final gaze down to the shiny little blip off the east coast of the United States that is his city, and flips the whole world the bird. Then he opens a portal into infinity and dives in, never to be seen again.
Chuck Monta, on the other hand, with thirty digits of dollars in his hand and one less snot-nosed leech to worry about, starts to search around the house for the keys to Daisy’s car. When he finds them, he leaves her a note to call him when she gets back from whatever the fuck she wastes her time doing, hops into her car, and peels out, heading straight for the bank. When he gets home, not to his house but to Daisy’s, Mister Monta steps out of his new monster truck and uses his gilded platinum walking cane to knock on the front door.
After a few minutes, Daisy decides that the knocking she hears isn’t her head pounding, and hobbles her way out of the bed in the guest room to answer the obnoxious asshole who thinks it’s a good idea to wake her from her slumber.
“Chuck? What the fuh…” she begins, rubbing her pounding temples. Jesus, how much did Daisy drink last night? “What are you doing here? And what’s with the… how much did that cane cost?”
If Daisy wasn’t so stricken with her daily hangover, she would have noticed the monster truck. But she is so she doesn’t.
“It doesn’t matter baby, some guy came by and told me that our kid died today, and we got a big ol’ check!” as he waves the voided slip of paper in his ex-wife’s face. “There are thirty zeroes on there, are you seeing this?! I already deposited it into the new joint account I ope–”
“Wait… wait, stop!” Daisy shouts, grabbing hold of her head for dear life. “Did… did you say one of the kids died? Which one?”
“There’s more than one? I don’t remember getting you pregnant after we broke up.”
Daisy sighs, hitting Chuck Monta with a plume of ripe morning breath that could curl the spikes on a Peruvian torch cactus. “Yes, Chuck, I have another son. His name is Jack, I adopted him.”
“Oh yeahhhh, after that liposuction, yeah I’m remembering now. Oh well, so both of our kids are dead. I’m sorry, well I am just so sorry for misspeaking.”
Daisy assumes the look of a mother werewolf on her face and growls, “Oh… well?”
“Yes! Oh well! We have more money than everyone else in the world now, Daisy! Just think of what we can do!”
“Chuck!” Daisy screams, her voice muffled by the shockwave of the backhand slap she dispenses to Mister Monta’s stubbly cheek. “How dare you be so fucking happy right now?! Your fucking kids are… my… my babies are dead!” said through a waterfall of tears that flow over her less-than-appetizing crying face.
To think, she’s cracking up now; just imagine how she’s going to feel when Sam never comes home and she fails to find that gun he was toting earlier in the week.
“Dais’,” Chuck says, putting a sweaty arm around Daisy’s frail shoulder. “He only said one of them was dead, but honestly, I forget the name he said, so it might as well be both of them. Let me explain something to you though. I, am a degenerate motherfucker. You, are a rotten cunt. We were raised by the type of human that would rather throw their children into the gears that power an assembly line than see them grow and become themselves. Together, we are the worst two human beings on the planet; we were bullies growing up, we were terrible in high school, an’ the only reason we still know each other is because I hated you and one of my friends, who is dead now, dared me to marry you out of spite because I fucked his mother. We allowed our marriage to be broken up by money, we live in the same town and never talk; hell, I never once came up here for more than fifteen minutes at a time other than yesterday, and that was only because you were so drunk that you wanted to screw! Fuck the kids, I don’t give a shit about them! And I don’t even try to hide that fact! All we do is get intoxicated to deal with our deep-seated pain and inadvertently make the lives of those around us difficult, whether we want to admit to it or not. As much as it pains me to say it, we ended up just like our parents: terrible, awful, psychotically abusive human beings who probably don’t deserve the life they have, and definitely don’t deserve to have kids.”
“Jesus Chuck, you are a fucking degenerate. How could you say those things about me, about yourself? What the fuck is wrong with you?!”
“EVERYTHING is wrong with me, and you too! I just said it, I laid it all out for you! We’re damaged goods! And you know what? That’s fine, it’s all okay. Now. It was bad in the past because we ha– well, because you had the kids, only one of which had my seed in ‘em. But now, we don’t have kids anymore. So…”
“So…” Daisy continues, catching the wavelength and fuckin’ running with it. “So there’s nothing to be guilty about anymore, no more kids for me to damage even though I’m doing my best. It… it’s like we never had kids in the first place. We can do whatever we want, we can finally face our trauma and heal!”
Daisy and Chuck squeal with each other and embrace in a warm hug. The past is finally dead once and for all; they can move on with their lives guiltless. After forty-something years, they’re free; free of the icy grasp of their parents judging and criticizing their every move, free of being forced to watch the kids they made slowly and surely become worthless monsters because they were subjected to their inherited parenting style… they’re free to stop feeling sorry.
They’re free to finally do better, for themselves and for everyone around them. And that’s all that matters.
Fly on, little birds; your skies await.