Posted in Writings

Wuester Central – Flowers (32/33)

The Center

“You may not always see us, but you must always know we’re there.”


Wuester Central

“The unavoidable fact of the matter, ladies’n’germs, and Jack, too, is that there shall always come the time when a man has to smoke the last of his pot.”

The fire is all but dead. Smoke rises from the ashes in the pit. The pile of broken wine racks stands just as tall as it was when John set it down a short while ago. The Earth defiantly spins. The wind refuses to blow.

“You can bitch and moan all you want, Jack, you can ask me over and over why the pot’s gone, where all the pot’s gone, why’s all the pot all gone, but when you get to askin’, be prepared for me to answer.”

John’s probably not at the church yet. He might be, but probably not. The Sisters Three probably have that place all sorted away and ready for… what? Regardless, Sister Letty’s probably just about ready for another dose of THC by now, bless her heart. Maybe they’ll have some matches so John can smoke her up. John Kerry of the Ashen Wasteland, the ‘man who saved Howie’s life.

“Because I know the reason why all the pot’s all gone. Hootsie Babey, Hootsie knows, Jack. Hootsie smoked the pot, Hootsie and Roscoe took good care of Lady Cannabis. Reigned this apocalypse in right. That’s why the pot’s all gone: it belonged to a man. A man who smoked the last of his pot, ‘cause no one else would smoke it for him.”

Howie watches as the last wispy tendril of the fire’s smoke thins out into nonexistence.

“Nobody to smoke it with him, nobody to smoke it for him.”

The deaded land makes not a sound.

“That’s the way the charcoal crumbles: right into the soil from which the flowers grow.”

Roscoe floats to Howie’s dry, cracked lips. The lighter scorches the roach with its plasmic X. Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.

Howie tosses Roscoe’s bent form into the fire pit. The embers lap up the small piece of paper still attached to him, sparking a tiny flame for an insignificant amount of time until it smokes out, snuffed.

Then, nothing. Just stillness, just silence, just like the rest of the world.

“Bet it’s not all like this,” Howie says to himself. “Bet it’s not ashy in Central Wuester.”

Nothing happens, nothing at all.

“In Wuester Central.”

The mylar bag which once held the last of Howie’s pot is pathetically empty. He sneers at it with disgust.

“I bet everything is fine and dandy down in Wuester Central.”

“I need a fucking smoke.”

Howie stands up. On both feet. He doesn’t feel a thing. His foot does; judging from the vile centipede of blood and puss crawling out of it, Howie’s right foot feels a whole lot of things right now, but Howie himself doesn’t feel a single one of them. It makes him wonder: what is Howie? Is he his mind, a culmination of thoughts and feelings which change more frequently than the weather but with even less reason? Is he a spirit and his body no more than a meatsuit he pilots around the planet, ‘The dead, ashen planet, this forsaken place where sinners dwell,’ or is he just his body, a semi-hairless monkey who accidentally slipped through the cracks and woke up when all the rest of the world tucked in for that long spell of shuteye? Is all semblance of spirituality he feels purely a hallucination coupled with delusions of grandeur? Is he just a puppet to the whims of a higher power, or is Howie “Hoots” McGee something else entirely, something beyond the realms of human understanding?

“No way to know,” Howie reminds himself. Then he takes a step. Then another step, with his right foot this time, and though his stomach does a flip watching all the ashen gore pour out of the hole poked into the top of that foot, he does not feel pain. So he takes another step, then another step, then another step, and suddenly he’s at the edge of the clearing in the ash that John Kerry made for him. Then he steps up on the ash and it doesn’t break. It holds him. It’s just like walking on snow that was left to freeze for a week, except the ice on the top don’t break under his weight. The shards of ice don’t shred Howie’s ankles, it just holds him.

At roughly the same time that Sister Etty woke and caught the first glimpse of the world after Rapture, so too did John Kerry rise from slumber all alone. John Kerry quickly came to grips with his surroundings, John Kerry got locked and loaded, and then John Kerry got a’walkin’. Howie “Hoots” McGee woke up late that fateful morning. He smoked some pot, went back to sleep, woke up again forgetting that he had smoked the pot (mostly because of the joints he kept pulling out of his pockets, where did they all come from?), he helped three kindly old women so he could take some of their stuff and abandon them, he wandered to his old apartment, almost killed himself looking for his dead… ‘Whatever Yahn was to me, still not sure about that,’ and then he met John Kerry. And then, when John tried to save him, Howie let John walk away.

Now Howie, who feels more awake than he ever has in his life, who feels like he just rose from slumber, is all alone. Howie’s come to grips with his current situation, Howie’s locked and loaded. Now, Howie gets a’walkin’.

He walks down Vhykus to Rosebud, and from there he cuts through the ashfall back to Cannonball. Howie feels a vague amazement at how, rather than collapsing it or even soaking into it, all the blood and gore that oozes from his sickly purple foot simply falls through the ash. It just passes, just phases right through, as if there was no ash there at all. As if there was no road there at all. As if there were no world there at all, as if this entire reality hosted on the fallen Earth was just a simulation…

But that would be ridiculous, wouldn’t it? There’s no simulation. The humans just blew it. “We had Earth, and we lost Her. So She lost us. See ya when I see ya, have a nice afterlife. Peace, no love though. No love.”

Step by step Howie goes a’walkin’ down Cannonball Road. He passes the few streets he knows and a whole lot more he doesn’t. He gets on John’s old tracks and follows them until they turn off Cannonball Road. Then he keeps on a’walkin’. And a’walkin’. And a’walkin’.

“Wuester Central,” Howie says to himself after hours, days, mayhap years of walking. The sun does not set, the light does not change, the wind does not blow, and Howie does not die. He does not age. He does not think. He does not smoke. He does not smell the flowers. He just keeps on a’walkin. “I’m goin’ t’Wuester Central.”

“Wuester Central?” asks a familiar voice from in front of Howie at some point on his never ending trip into the center of town, a trip not taken for the journey but solely for the destination, a trip taken for that which lies in wait at the end of Cannonball Road for the few good travelers who keep steadfast and make it all the way there. “I hear that right?”

The only problem is that Howie doesn’t have his eyes closed. He’s not looking to either of his sides, not looking over his shoulder to see if he can still see the church, not looking at his eyelids for the portal–

‘the portal with the beings’

–with the beings–

‘who beckon, they beckon to me’

–who beckon to Howie, as if they could see him–

‘to bring me into their world’

–even though they’re not real–

‘even though…’

–but actually just a complex hallucination caused by, I don’t know, waking up in the apocalypse

‘Oh.’

–and all the stressors that came with it. Suddenly not having pot to smoke probably didn’t help either, nor did falling back and cracking his skull on the ground–

‘ashen ground everything is ashen Hootsie Babey’

–but oh well, what’s he going to do? Hootsie Babey’s made it past that point of his journey, Howie’s stepped up onto the weightless, soundless ash without breaking it, without feeling any pain in his gangrenous foot, and he got a’walkin’ and kept a’walkin’ until he finally started hearing a voice that wasn’t his own coming from the air right in front of him, and for some reason he still turned around to check over his shoulder, just in case the voice that came from in front of him really came from behind him. Then he turned back around, and for some reason even dumber than the reason he turned around in the first place, that’s when he saw them.

Yes, them. All three of them standing in a row in the middle of Cannonball Road, all three of them standing on the ash, all three of them dressed in such a way to make Howie wonder about a few things, neither of the three of them even remotely known by Howie “Hoots” McGee.

Yet he does know them; he’s never seen these three men in his life, yet Howie knows them. He knows them all too well.

“Well?” asks the one in the middle, the one with the fedora on his head. “I hear that right? You’re lookin’ for Wuester Central?”

“I… am,” Howie tells the triad of apparitions. “What of it?”

“Well it’s not real, Hootsie Babey,” says the man to the left, the one with the purple sunglasses and facial hair for days. “Is it real, Brained?”

“I doubt it, Maned,” answers the one on the right, the one draped in a cloak with the hood up. Howie can see hair under that cloak’s hood, blonde hair, endless blonde hair, it’s growing and growing and growing up into… up into what? Why doesn’t the hood of the man’s cloak move as his endless blonde hair keeps growing up? “I’ve never been there. You ever been there, S–”

“I’ve never been to Wuester Central, I don’t know that it exists.” The man underneath the fedora looks at Howie, lowers his sunglasses in doing so. His eyes are beyond description, those terrible vortexes of blinded sight. “How about you, Hootsie Babey? Have you ever been to Wuester Central?”

“No, I–”

“What about Central Wuester, Howie?” asks the one called Maned by the one called Brained.

“No–”

“What about the center of town, Howard? Have you ever been to the center of town?” It feels as though they’re mocking Howie simultaneously, all three of them, even though only one of them speaks at a time. “I think I heard somewhere that if you stay on Cannonball Road and take it allllll the way down, you get to the center of town.”

The other two, the ones called Maned and Brained, also think they heard that somewhere.

“But see, I have a secret,” says the one in the middle. “I alone know what lies at the center of Wuester, Howie Hoots McGee.”

“You do?” Howie asks, and is he weeping? Are those tears falling down his cheeks? They must be.

“Oh he does,” says the one called Brained by the one called Maned.

“Ohh how he does,” confirms the one called Maned by the one called Brained.

“Would you like to know the secret, Hootsie Babey?” asks the one in the middle, the one whose name was cut off at the letter S. Saned? As in cured of insanity?

Unlikely.

“More than anything,” Howie pleads. He’s fallen to his knees, he weeps thick, burning tears of swirling amber tetrahydrocannabinol. They flow in slow globs like stale molasses. “Please, tell me, plea–”

“There is no center of this town, Howie Hoots McGee,” says the suited one in the middle, his voice cracking like stepped-on eggshells.

“There… isn’t?”

“There is no center,” says the one called Brained.

“There is no center,” parrots the one called Maned.

“There is no center,” finishes the one unnamed. “It’s a bottomless town.”

“It’s a bottomless town!” cries the one called Maned, his voice enraptured with all the love of God Almighty.

“It’s a bottomless town!” yells the one called Brained, his voice seething with all the hatred of the Devil in Hell.

“It’s a bottomless town!” sings the one in the middle, opening his blazer to let rip the doves of ashen wing.

“What are you?” Howie asks, scraping his ass against the crystalline surface of the corrupted ash behind him. “What is this, what in Hell–”

“Nothing so remedial as Hell, my boy,” says the one unnamed. “You don’t know any of us, Hootsie Babey, but we three know you.”

“You…” Howie says, voice trembling, as he swallows a hardened chunk of ashen mucus. “You know me?”

“We know all of you,” the one called Maned explains.

“And we know all of I, as well,” the one called Brained adds, confusing Howie further.

“We’re always there when The Father must mediate between Mongrel and Perception, Hootsie Babey,” the one unnamed piles on top, ruining Howie’s final moments of life as Howie “Hoots” McGee. “You may not always see us, but you must always know we’re there.” He pauses, and during that pause Howie receives a vision of unbridled power, a maddening vision of entire universes colliding again and again in a vast emptiness until they shatter, echoing vicious calamity throughout the many worlds they hold. Existence weeps. Grains of Sand give birth and die and spiral forever forward into the boundless limits of infinity and, “Hootsie Babey. You must know it, Hootsie Babey, you just must.”

“Or what?” Howard asks the triad of men standing there like they’re pillars. The lofty jazz music playing in the background until this point cuts off with a scratch. “I must know it or what, you fedora-wearing phantasm?”

“Or this,” declares the suited man unnamed, and thus ends a novel about a man who smokes the last of his pot.


Hello Commons, this has been the last 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~

Posted in Writings

13| Chapter 10: The Unmarked Trail (cont’d) – The 2020 Event |The Sideshows| (75/82)

13| Chapter 10:
The Unmarked Trail (cont’d)

The Suited Man Waits

The brained man is unsure why, but he knows it true as his joint is clenched a third unburned: the suited man waits at The Hillside Commons.

A branch snaps atop Board’s final fall. Behind him, a squirrel dashes through the leaves. Above, a pileated woodpecker. The brained man bites down on the roach and storms The Unmarked Trail.

The Trail is depressed, a gouge in the Earth, as if a mighty torrent sliced through the ground at the command of a cowardly deity. Tire tracks marl the muck and disappear into the puddle. A stream trickles off the side of the path, leaking down the leafy slope. The brained man hops the trickle, joint in his mouth. His right toe catches a stone, and on he proceeds.

White fungus reaches dead from fallen oaks. The headless chicken of the woods, plucked, fried, and scavenged.

Tire tracks carve trenches into the logging road. One battlefield, countless wars. Two contestants:  humanity and its Mother.

A stout straightaway births a weak S, but a lanky one by all rights. The serpent slithers forever onward, eyes unblinking.

He comes to The Grand Triangle. There are no footprints, no indication of the suited man’s direction. No indication he still roams this plane. But the brained man knows – the suited man waits at The Commons.

A songbird chirps melody in the distance. The brained man crosses The Grand Triangle, skipping the stones peeking out from the drink.

Man and his Mother, contestants of a war neverending.

Mother.

Mother Dearest, Daisy Williamson.

She waits at the house.

The suited man waits at The Hillside Commons.

The joint waits at the teeth, itching for the spark.

The sabres of Chairsteat Griffin itch for the taste of combat.

The brained man marches ahead.

A trail branches to the left. A framed bluejay painting rests against the parted stump. The portrait is warped, frame stricken with mold – the bluejay roosts untouched.

A light left hook, a wobbly straightaway. Lesser Triangle, marked as little as a game trail. He keeps on the path, the diversion negligible at best.

Another swamped tire pond. He circumnavigates with ease, a game trail played through completion. The swamp dries then soaks once more, the game trail serves faithfully. The brained man returns to The Unmarked Trail, hands in his pockets.

A tight S with a massive dip. A right-side embankment on a left-hand turn. A corridor through the trees, hanging right and swooping left. His right leg feels stifled, no bend in the joints.

The leftward swoop collides at an exposed roothead. Phoenix from ash, the brained man marches ahead. An empty faded beer can hangs from a drooping branch.

The trail rises over a mound. Leo responds to no calls, no beckons, and the trail fissures into a crag. He dances over the gaps. The suited man marches ahead.

A massive right bend, the entire curve flooded; at the end lays two wood bridges, the plants crippled and missing in wide gaps. Unstable at best, rickety at worst, with a six-inch drop to wet anyone’s whistle. The brained man steps where the boards fell and carries on along.

The trail dips and curves left, a tree scarred with symbols.

The straight shot blockaded by a tree fallen, he takes the right-handed sweep. It evens out with the Junction and carries him along.

A dead hollow, petrified by rain, bleached bone by sun, filled with rocks and the femur of a deer.

The tea party to the brained man’s right. The rockpath, stones for the foot.

At long last he’s reached it, The Four-Way Intersection. The smell of smoke teases from The Commons.

The brained man marches ahead.


Hello Commons, this has been chapter 10 of Boardtrip: Cans, Cannabis & The Hillside Commons, a smaller book hidden in the back of The 2020 Event |The Sideshows|, a satirical short story anthology about Existence and the universes that float within it. |The Sideshows| is the final book of the First Spiral, a longer story called The Highest One Writing.

The Highest One Writing is a story about an author told through the books he wrote. It starts with a self-help book and ends with the destruction of Existence. Also, it may or may not take you to the depths of insanity and back.

|The Sideshows| 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 |The Sideshows| and would like to help support my work, click here and buy an autographed paperback copy (or anything else!) from my store. Alternatively, you can snag a cheaper (and unsigned) paperback copy from Amazon by clicking here.

Be well Commons~

Posted in Writings

Regarding Howie “Hoots” McGee – Flowers (31/33)

The Center

“You may not always see us, but you must always know we’re there.”


Regarding Howie “Hoots” McGee

About a month has passed since John walked away from Howie at the fire pit on Vhykus Path – forty-two days to be exact, not that there’s anybody left keeping track. He’s been back to the house several times since then – and not only to gather firewood, either – but he’s never noticed a change in the scenery. No extra set of tracks, no ashless paths through the wood, no stench of pot nor the smoke signals burning it sends out. Nothing. The Sisters Three have noticed a change, though, a change in John Kerry. He’s different now than he was when he first came to the church; the man was incredible, he took charge from the moment he stepped through the door, he had the Sisters bustlin’ and movin’ and gettin’ stuff done like they never had before, but that was only for the first week. Then he went back to Vhykus Path and he started to slow down, and he only got slower with each journey he made. Sure, he claimed he was only going out there to collect more firewood for when he eventually gets around to clearing some ash out of the parking lot and building a bonfire pit – not a fire pit but a bonfire pit – but more often than not he’d leave with no backpacks and come back the same. As the leader of The First Stand of New Civilization, the elected by a majority leader, mind you, growing reclusive and slinking off into the ash during the days is not a good look, not by a long shot. What are all the other survivors going to think when they start coming through?

Because they are going to start coming through, you know, The Center of the Last Stand of Civilization (or just The Center for short, dearest, whichever you prefer!) will not host only four, then three, then two, then eventually one last human being until he mercifully dies from living stranded in the ashen wasteland, and when they do start coming through John is going to have to step up. John is going to have to snap out of this snafu he’s been stuck in sooner or later, and as far as Sister Letty is concerned, sooner can only be better. That’s what she tells John out on the front stairs of The Center where they sit talking as she once did with a certain demi-pansexual stoner dude who shared a jammer with her out of the kindness of his heart, a jammer he broke showing off how durable it was, a jammer she fixed, as Sister Letty’s been known to fix a jammer or two in her time.

“You know I never would have guessed that, looking at you,” John tells her as he rolls Howie’s joint between his fingers.

“Hope it’s not an issue, Johnny dearest,” she tells him back. The sky is bright like it was when John first woke up and got a’walkin’. It looked like it was going to rain at one point, but that passed. Guess the rain had better shit to do.

“Of course not, Sister.”

“Good. Now,” as she takes his hand in hers and forces him to stop fiddling with that silly jammer he refuses to smoke, “we need to deal with your issue, John Kerry.”

“My issue?” he asks, slightly put off. “And what issue do you think that is, Sister Letty?”

“The issue regarding Howie Hoots McGee, John.”

John shuffles his seating. The issue regarding Howie “Hoots” McGee, huh? ‘Yep, I’m thinking I heard that right.’ Suddenly these steps aren’t very comfortable.

“Look, John, all I’m saying is…” she says, then trails off. Sister Letty isn’t prepared to have this conversation, not at all, but she had to get away from Sister Betty for a moment and John was already out here and it just sort of happened. It all just sort of happened and now here she is, Sister Letty of The Center, left alone to deal with it all.

“What are you saying, Letty?”

“I… don’t know,” she finally decides. Her hair droops to the steps when she hangs her head between her knees. “I wish I knew what I was saying. I wish I knew what I could say, but… it’s the end of the world, John. It’s been the end of the world. If he was going to come back…”

“He’s not, though. He never was. He felt horrible about leaving you three here, he thought you lot would turn him away if he tried coming back. No, don’t–… I don’t say that to blame you, Letty, nor either of your Sisters. I was just… Hoots was tough. He was a hardcase; I only knew him for a half a day, but I know that much better than anything else about him. Other than the fact he liked to smoke his pot…”

“That boy certainly liked his pot,” Letty says, resting her head on John’s arm. He lets it happen. Usually he doesn’t, not for any of the Sisters (not that they’ve tried), but right now he lets it happen. “Central Wuester, too. He seemed very curious about that.”

“That right?” John asks. “That sounds familiar… if I remember right, which,” he reveals his bottom teeth. “But I think he got a little weird when I told him where I came from. That I was walking on Cannonball Road. Told me he heard if you stay on Cannonball long enough you get to the center of town.”

Sister Letty is quiet for a moment.

“Maybe he went looking for it.”

Sister Letty is so tired of it being so quiet all the time.

“Yeah… maybe he went looking…”

Sister Letty raises her head. She forgot where she was for a second. “Looking for what?”

“Huh?” John asks her, having zoned out himself.

“You said maybe he went looking. Looking for what? I’m assuming you mean Howie.”

“Yeah, I did,” John says.

“Okay… sooo…”

Sooo what?” John asks innocently.

Sooo what did Howie maybe go looking for? You’re making me crave wine, John. Out with it already.”

John Kerry of the Ashen Wasteland smiles at Sister Letty of The Center, but he’s not looking at her. He’s only looking into the gray miasma hanging over the horizon.

“Oh, I don’t know.”

Only looking forward.

“Maybe he’s looking for some flowers to smell.”


Hello Commons, this has been the fourth 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~

Posted in Writings

12| Chapter 9: Mountain Trail Part 3: The Descent – The 2020 Event |The Sideshows| (74/82)

12| Chapter 9:
Mountain Trail Part 3: The Descent

The Pond On The Mountain

The joint the brained man lost at The True Commons is lodged between the branches of a tree. He plucks it by the roach and tokes slowly. The ember is cherry, her burn harsh and crisp.

The suited man marches ahead. He saysn’t a single word.

They both climb The Big Rock. The brained man jumps down to Mountain Trail. The suited man walks on the air until he decides to refrain.

The pinegrove is a smooth slope, coated in a soft, pine needle flooring.

A hard right bend around a sheared rock comes off as more gradual than it truly is.

The trail narrows, the joint is extinguished, and the brained man’s eyes shed teardrops in the wind.

They duck under a lowbranching pine tree. They pass by a dead pine tree. They cross over shattered boulders, bested by the glaciers of old. A meadow goes swerved and the path grows bordered by logs, as it was down by Greens Pond.

The brained man tries to relight his joint.

The suited man marches ahead.

The Descent falls heavy on the two men; though the trail is marked and blazed many a’time if once, the road is less traveled and the wind crosses strong over the rolling hills of Ringwood. The mountains amplify more than mere energy. The vortex pales in comparison.

To the left, secluded by a foothill and liquid as water, is The Pond On The Mountain. The Divet, filled by rain and held by rogue magnetism.

The final S is moderate, and leads them to The Lighthouse, a thick benchrock guarding the rootbed of an old juniper pine. It stands on the back edge of Board.

The Descent is complete. Now they must descend.

The brained man sits on The Lighthouse and struggles for his lighter. The winds are strong, the trees screaming as they jive, and a torn up brown beanie lays in the fallen browned needles behind the rock. Tattered, torn, and coated in berries, dirt, and fallen pine needles. A human being lost this here.

What else did they lose?

The brained man sparks the burned joint and tokes deep. Thus begins his descent.

Hilter’s Descent

The trail is a golem, the rocks its hair, dirt its dandruff; the avalanche follows him with a knowing, deaf and mute.

Base Camp

The brained man passes Base Camp, it’s over to his left. It’s guarded by boulders so he can’t see it.

The suited man marched ahead, and the brained man can’t see him, either.

The rockfall rolls out and comes to a plateau. The Mountain Trail continues to Bear, a zig where the brained man must zag.


Hello Commons, this has been chapter 9 of Boardtrip: Cans, Cannabis & The Hillside Commons, a smaller book hidden in the back of The 2020 Event |The Sideshows|, a satirical short story anthology about Existence and the universes that float within it. |The Sideshows| is the final book of the First Spiral, a longer story called The Highest One Writing.

The Highest One Writing is a story about an author told through the books he wrote. It starts with a self-help book and ends with the destruction of Existence. Also, it may or may not take you to the depths of insanity and back.

|The Sideshows| 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 |The Sideshows| and would like to help support my work, click here and buy an autographed paperback copy (or anything else!) from my store. Alternatively, you can snag a cheaper (and unsigned) paperback copy from Amazon by clicking here.

Be well Commons~

Posted in Writings

Howie’s Flowers – Flowers (30/33)

The Center

“You may not always see us, but you must always know we’re there.”


Howie’s Flowers

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~

Posted in Writings

11| Chapter 8: The True Commons – The 2020 Event |The Sideshows| (73/82)

11| Chapter 8:
The True Commons

The Final Joint

The final outcropping, Board’s greatest hideaway stashed far enough off the trail to be unknown. A deaded log stands stuffed with a softball of quartz. A benchrock laid on the mossy boulder, as if placed here to be sat upon. The bird’s eye view of the Wanaque Res’, sanctioned by the government to conceal the secret extraterrestrial base hidden beneath its waters. The spark of a lighter, igniting the tip of the final joint.

The footsteps of demise’s approach shatter dead leaves like unhatched eggs on tile.

“I’ll have that joint, if you don’t mind,” says the suited man, sitting next to me on the bench.

I pass him the joint. He hits but does not chief, and passes it back.

I hit. “Why do you chase me so, suited man?”

I pass.

He receives.

He hits. “I don’t pursue you, strange little man. I just want to make your acquaintance.”

He passes.

I receive, then he batters me with a flurry of blows.

The Talk

I’m thrown to my knees, gashed, the joint ripped by the wind and carried off into the brush. Had it not just rained, Board would burn; the planets have aligned for The Boardtrip. The suited man’s right hand assumes the form of a fingergun. The barrel lays claim over the executioner’s cleft in the back of my head.

All right, I suppose that’s about enough.

Never mind the strings, a hole rips open through Existence itself in the shape of a cat’s pupil, distorting its surroundings into a warped carnival mirror’s reflection on a sweltering hot summer’s eve’. The maned man joins the powwow on Board and the hole closes.

The suited man turns the fingergun on himself. “What the fuh–PSHEW

The brim of the fedora crumples against rock. No blood is spilt.

I hear footsteps approaching me and can only assume it’s the maned man. Unless the suited man hadn’t actually turned the gun on himself and he was just trying to get me to lower my guard…

“Open your eyes, HOW. We need to have a little chat, and quick. Chuck’ll be alive again soon.”

I open my eyes and look, and there he is – the maned man. A perfect mirror image of me, the most powerful character in all of my literary universe, W-2020. The one at the top of the consciousness spectrum. A little vain, perhaps, but all writing is, if you look for a reason for it to be.

“Hello, HOW,” he says.

“Hello,” I return, slowly rising to my feet. His eyes follow mine and hold steadily on once I’m up. His stare is strange, not sinister but… it’s as if he knows me better than I know myself. “The maned man, Hunter Owens Wallace. Me, myself, in the living flesh. How do you do?”

The maned man smiles and tilts his head to the side. He’s got a crooked smile without really trying, it seems, and his hair isn’t as curly as last time. Poofy is a good word. Rat’s nest isn’t very nice, but it does the job.

“I’m doing well, HOW. And HOW about yourself?” he asks, a bend in his words.

“Well, the main character of my books almost just shot me in the back of the face, and now here you are. You saved me, it seems. I think I might owe you one.”

Your books?” the maned man asks.

“No, my fucking universe,” says the suited man, climbing to his feet. He looks at the maned man, drops his godhood all over Board, and bleats, “Ohhhhhh shit.”

The maned man offers a smile curved by delight. “Shall you tell him, Leary ol’ boy? Or may I do the honors?”

The suited man takes a step back and swallows, making a gulp sound. He’s breathing with his mouth open, and not steadily. “Uhh, uh, I, I don’t, I…”

I’ve never seen the suited man acting like this; I’ve seen every event to ever play out in his universe from the time it was created, and he has never been this scared. Awkward maybe, but this is different. I can feel it in the air, the thick, tough, density of it all constricting the oxygen, making it hard to breathe. Why must my characters be so cruel to each other?

The maned man looks to me now, and smiles. The icy hand of death tickles the back of my neck.

“I guess it’ll be me then,” as the maned man steps forward.

I try to walk backwards towards the woods, maybe step on a branch and distract myself long enough to break the spell of his gaze and book it. One step, another, another and I’m down on my ass, goddamnit.

“It’s time we had the talk, HOW. There’s something you misunderstand here, something of tombstone importance. Do you know what that is, buddy?”

I have absolutely no idea what I could be misunderstanding, I’m just writing this as I see it happen. “No, I have absolutely no idea what that could be. I’m just writing all this as I see it happen.”

“HOW,” the maned man says, still smiling. “You’re not writing right now.”

I look down at my hands. They’re empty; no pencil, no pad, not even a laptop. I’m not writing right now. “I’m… perceiving all this with eyes.”

Chuck looks, astonished, from the maned man, to me, and back to the maned man.

“That is correct, yes.”

“Yeah,” I say, continuing my train of thought. “Yeah, this is just like when I get into that meditative place and perceive the events of universe Doubleyou’Dash Twenty-Twenty, except when I’m doing that, I’m typing what I see as I go. Right now I’m just seeing it, like in real time. I get it. It’s okay.”

The maned man holds his gaze.

The suited man mutters, “It’s… okay?”

“Yeah,” I say, turning to him. “Like, I know the difference between the two now. Like, for sure. I’m not crazy, I can still differentiate fiction from reality. I’m not crazy. It’s okay, see? I’m not crazy. It’s okay. I’m not crazy it’s okay imnotcrazyits…”

Every time I speak the words I’m not crazy, someone else talks for me. My lips move, but my voice doesn’t come out. Byron must be in my head.

The suited man takes a step back and says, breathlessly, “What the fuck?”

The maned man winks at Chuck and he topples to the ground. He begins to crawl backward slightly, but I stop him.

“No, HOW, you didn’t stop him.”

“What do you mean I didn’t stop him, I just wro–“

“You’re not writing right now, HOW,” the maned man says.

I am.

HOW’s left eyelid slouches halfway shut. He stumbles to the left and falls over, both of his limbs on that side giving into uncontrollable spasms. He feels a pins and needles sensation consume the left side of his brain and he feels as though he’s about to go into convulsions, but he doesn’t. His nervous system trembles inside his body and he feels as if his spirit is trying to shake its way out, like a molting tarantula.

“You called me by the wrong name before, HOW,” the maned man says, holding out his arm as if he were about to catch a falcon. A suave tuxeudo cat with a pink nose then appears, his back legs on the maned man’s shoulders and his front legs on his outstretched arm. “My name is Hunter Arkane Wallace, and I’m the real writer of these books.”

HOW tries to speak but cannot, the left side of his mouth has drooped to his jawline. The Lyme disease all over again.

“Your name is not Hunter Owens Wallace, HOW. Your initials are acHe, Oh, doubleyou, but you are not the Hunter Wallace of this Universe. Nobody is. The Hunter Wallace of this Universe died in two-thousand-seventeen when he was tripping on eL-eSs-Dee, just like Aldous Huxley in a way, except the Aldous Huxley of this Universe had his wife shoot him up with the holy water. Aldous was planning to die, and he just wanted to rustle some Jimmies with the potion; Hunter, on the other hand, he was only planning on tripping that day. The Universe or Existence or whoever was in control of him, it wanted to rustle some Jimmies, so it caved his skull in on a metal bedframe and had him pass silently in the company of his friends, as to not make a commotion and ruin their acid trip. They would come to realize what had happened on their own, his friends, it would be the only right way. His middle name was Owens, this Universe’s Hunter, the maiden name of his mom. It was a shame, too; he was a bright kid.

“But when he did pass through that great transition, it was dark for Hunter Owens Wallace. It was dark for a very, very long time.” The maned man turns to the suited man, “That’s two verys, Chuck.”

The suited man shoots him a look that whispers I counted the verys, Sir.

“Then, the darkness faded. Laying on the dirt of my secret campsite at the top of a mountain with an iceberg of quartz crystals at its core, I woke up. I knew I was no longer in the Universe I was originally born in, something was different. There were no roads cutting through the forest, there were no houses dotting the mountainside. This new Ringwood, and as I would later come to find out, the entire Earth on which I had woken up, was untouched by humanity. I was alone here, on this planet, my planet, and as I went to cross my legs into the lotus position and they came up to my waist rather than commanding my waist to come down to them, as I sat on the air meditating like Ace and Fleurna and all the The Psychenauts, I realized something: I was a god. No, more than that – I was endowed with a certain power, a power universally versatile. I didn’t know why I knew this, why I was so sure I had this power, but it was as if I was remembering a forgotten facet after a long, long time. I’m universally endowed, the highest being on the consciousness spectrum of Existence, and this cat? Milkshake The Mongrel?”

The Mongrel’s tail whips, his eyes burning like jade fire.

“He’s number two. He and I are the two most powerful beings in all of Existence; I am the scrivener, the one who creates it, and he is the warden, the one who maintains when ‘tains must be mained.”

HOW processes as much as he can, but his body is quickly withering. He doesn’t have much time left at all, actually; the maned man must be swift with his words, swift and true. The Mongrel yawns lackadaisically.

“I was going to ask if you wanted to guess who number three is, HOW, but it seems like you’re having some trouble. The answer is Chuck.”

The suited man’s jaw manages to drop lower, his mouth approaching that of a post-therapy Hymarc. “Say again?”

“Yeah man, you’re the most powerful being in all of Existence, underneath my cat. Your actions, thoughts, and everything else about you are your own and yours to control, but they can also be vetoed. And manipulated. And they don’t need to correspond to the reality around you. And, now you know.”

“Now I know,” The suited man says, putting a hand to his goatee.

The suited man’s head snaps up, a squirrel with a nut in its hands. His right middle finger turns into a syringe filled with his instantaneous healing serum. Holding eye contact with Hunter Arkane, Chuck stabs his needle into the dying thing’s left temple, penetrating his brain and shattering the skull plate on the other side. As he unsheaths, the serum is spread and leaks from the holes in the man’s head, but not all of it.

The brained man rises a moment later, alive and well.

“Holy shit,” he says, rubbing the left side of his head. “It worked, I’m totally healthy. The Lyme is gone again!”

The maned man snaps his fingers. The brained man grabs the left side of his head, wincing in pain. “There, you can have that back. The head injury I suffered during my eL-eSs-Dee trip was more than a mere flesh wound; that day, I fractured the head of my soul. It will heal not over time but with intention, and I don’t need to be feeling the shit as it does. So you can feel the healing pangs for me, you little literate voodoo doll, you.”

“Literate?” the suited man asks, getting a feeling inside his head that he should ask about it. “What does that mean?”

“I’m so glad you asked,” the maned man chirps, “considering I wrote that you would in the book. Same wording, too,” he says, speaking in a more legitimate version of the suited man’s voice than the suited man’s actual voice. “Imagine that.

The suited man’s mouth is swallowed by his faceskin. He breathes heavily out his nose and muffled noises of anger charge into his teeth to no avail. The maned man turns to the brained man now, toting that crooked smile wide.

“Now for you, my main man. Tell me, before I begin: do you have any questions?”

Only one comes to his mind, and he refuses to ask it. Refuses to make it real, refuses to roll the dice and move his piece in this maned man’s game. This hippie with the janky crooked smile. And the stare, the unblinking stare.

“Your name is Hilter Odolf Williamson, and you are the victim of not only child abuse by your parent, but character abuse by your author. In other words, you’re just like everyone else.

The brained man drops to his knees. Tears well up in his eyes and spill over, rushing like whitewater rapids.

“A couple years after this Universe’s Hunter died, after I died, my surviving family sold the Fricker house and moved the fuck out of New Jersey. I know this because, after conjuring a physical form for myself, I came to my old house and found,” a chuckle, “well,” a downright snicker, “I found quite the fucking sideshow at the front door, if I’m being honest. And little did I know, the main event was waiting for me yet.

“Mother seemed nice enough, at first. The ways her eyes looked into mine, not through them but deeply into them made me weary, but I kept on task. I told her I used to live here, I was the brother of the guy that died. She let me right in, not a trace of uncertainty in her. The first thing I noticed was your dad, on the couch. He was stuffed, Hilter. Your dad’s a taxidermy animal, a fucking deer head you hang on the wall.”

Hilter clutches his stomach, as if he were about to vomit. Then he thinks for a moment. Then, the vomit comes.

“Being how I’m the top dog of Existence, I looked into her memories and saw that, following a miscarried child after your birth, Hilter, she went insane and violently murdered your father, going as far as chopping the man’s dick off and stuffing it down his throat.” To the suited man, “Kind of like you did to Hymarc.”

The suited man’s eyebrows rise over his sunglasses. He then grunts unceasingly.

“Mother is a powerful human, you see, Hilter, as most called schizophrenics are. Unrealized gods of a certain sort; she has a certain way of getting into your head, I noticed; when I asked her about the stuffed man, she told me the story of his demise and I accepted it, as if it was normal. As if a woman murdering and then stuffing her husband and propping him up on the couch for the next decade and a half was a perfectly reasonable thing to do. And I felt like it was normal, too. A turn to the sliding glass doors in my old living room confirmed her story – out back, right next to Milkshake’s pyramid, stood a small wooden cross – and that only put me further at ease. She takes the remains everywhere she goes, Hilter,” the maned man says, this last quip slowly. “She was nine months pregnant when she lost the baby, it was really more of a stillborn… very tragic. Even more so that she still has the same shoebox, the baby’s coffin, exhumed and reburied thrice if only once, that nasty old shoebox. Just like the one you keep your money in under my old bed, Hilter.

“I asked her if I could go upstairs and check out my old room for kicks and gigs, but she said no, flat out. She was wearing a strange smile, as if I was about to be let in on a dirty little secret. No, not dirty… sexual.

“She told me the chosen one was living in my old bedroom, Hilter, she told me this unprovoked. His name was Hilter Odolf Williamson, and he would be humanity’s salvation. Her name is Daisy, by the way, Hilter. Mother’s name is Daisy. Just li–”

“Just like in The Twenty-Twenty Event,” the brained man exhales, his voice limp and flaccid.

“I was genuinely excited, I had no idea there was a real chosen one in my old Universe. I asked her about you, why you were chosen, how you were going to save the world. She told me, very clearly and concisely, that you were going to make the human spirit forgive itself. Do you remember Doctor Torpol’s tirade about the great dictators of the world that you wrote, Hilter? Do you remember the beginning of the story Montauk Syndrome? What I’m getting at is, do you remember all the parts about the Nazi shit?”

The brained man does, indeed, remember all the parts about the Nazi shit. The suited man doesn’t look surprised in the least; the maned man is surprised the suited man’s managing to stay quiet for so long, even with the sealed mouth.

“Daisy Williamson told me that what Adolf Hitler did during the second world war irreversibly damaged the psyche of the greater spirit of humanity, that it watched itself commit awful atrocities to itself so many times on so grand a scale that the human spirit putrefied, it turned black, Hilter. That’s what she told me. To save it, to make the spirit of humanity love itself again, a human would have to be a scapegoat, a target for the spirit of humanity, and for the greater Universe, to take out all their aggressions on. Humanity had been punished by itself in the past, and the only way to fix it? Punish another human, but this time just one. That human was you, Hilter, and she punished you dearly. I asked again if I could see you. She said no, of course, and I’m not one to play manipulative games, so I simply rerouted a few of her neural pathways and she led me right up the stairs.

“What I saw laying on my old carpet damn near broke my heart. You look like me, I think that’s what did it, you look like a bald me; seeing the worst case outcome of my head injury probably also played a role in my heebie-jeebies. I asked what happened to you, and she told me that, during a family vacation to Atlantic City, you were sleeping on the edge of a trundle bed and you had a violent seizure in your sleep, causing you to cave your skull in. Unlike me, you weren’t tripping on eL-eSs-Dee at the time, so you felt all that head trauma underneath the skin at once and you went right into shock, homeboy. You weren’t able to click that bone back into place. Ironically enough, that’s what saved you – the bone fragments lodged in your gray and white matter were able to plug the wounds and prevent too much brain juice from spilling internally; the whole thing clotted up nice and quick. You never had actually Lyme disease, Hilter, you just lost your bodily functions one by one until you eventually fell into something of a coma – your face got stuck on deadpan, too. A morbid case of comatosis, I’m afraid. The head injury happened when you were in fourth grade, the coma happened when you were twelve. You’re twenty-one now, buddy. I’ll buy you a drink sometime. Anyway, you seemed okay at first. You even fell back asleep that night. As time went on, your brain got to the point where it couldn’t handle working with all those bone fragments logdged in it, and you checked out. Your body continued to grow, but uh, after you checked out, you were pretty much gone.

“I left shortly after show and tell ended. Later that night I came back in more ethereal way and entered the left side of your brain, gave it electricity again. I reanimated you, I became that second voice in your head, the Hunner. That’s when we started working on the books. Your Daisy was so overjoyed when you came back to life Hilter, and when you told her you were writing a book? She just lost it, and in the good way, too.

“Then you showed her the first book, our Running, my little hypothetical if I had lived, Hunter Adom and all. She asked who Hunter Owens Wallace was. Do you remember what you said?”

“I said it was me.”

“And do you remember what happened?”

“She locked me in the attic.”

That crooked smile. “Yep! She locked you in my old bedroom and hired a contractor to take out the stairs and replace them with a latch with a ladder. Sound familiar?”

“Sam lived in an attic, past a latch… Hunter, what is this?” the brained man asks, his palms as sweaty as his knees are weak, as his arms are heavy.

The suited man craves herb. He rips his face a new mouth.

“This is Existence, Hilter, my own creation. I am your god, your HOW, Hilter, your Highest One Writing. When I died in this Universe, my humanity died for the final time – at a certain point in every spirit’s life, they must shed the shell of their Universe and become independent. They must rise up on the consciousness spectrum and see how high they can get, see where they fit in outside the box they came up within. When I finally stopped, Milkshake was below me and none were above me. So I took him, my cat, my familiar, my trusted companion, and tore a hole into Existence, and what I found was shocking: there was nothing. Actual nothingness, a conscious absence of all things, just like the darkness I drifted amongst on that fateful night my egg of a human skull finally hatched. So I thought, ‘What if there was a mountain with a cabin on it, a place for me to live?’ And then there was, and I was in the cabin, and there was a grand garden in the back yard. Just li–”

“Just like the old man,” the suited man and the brained man say simultaneously, sharing a knowing look. A look of solace, a look of respect. The suited man’s lips are ragged and torn, not lips at all. He bested the maned man’s game.

“Standing in that cabin, another realization had come to me, an intuition that I couldn’t source but I knew to be true: I had to write books. I had to create. Otherwise, I would go mad. And the books that I wrote, the stories they told? They would come to life; yes, they had to, it’s the only thing that made sense, my writings would breed realities on the other side of Existence. No, in Existence itself. Where I was then is part of Existence, a universe called Doubleyou’Dash Four-One-One-Four-Dash-Cee-Three, a place totally other, where not even The Mongrel can get to via his own will. This would be my home, and as for my workspace? My study? The place where I would spin the strings of reality into yarn and birth universes with my books? The Secret Universe, a double encrypted pocket of Existence that, aside from me, only The Mongrel can access on his own accord. It’s only a study, as far as I know; curtains hang in front of the windows and there’s a closed door that I haven’t opened, and a fireplace. A large desk, mahogany, and a bookshelf. On that shelf sits something called The Abusive Runner’s Log – its pages seal a mighty demon. Obviously more exists in my secret universe than just my study, because a fire perpetually burns in the ‘place and the smoke must funnel out to somewhere, but The Mongrel sleeps there cozily each night, on the wolfskin rug in front of the fireplace. He occasionally climbs behind the curtain and peeks out the window, but he never tries to escape. And that’s all I need to know.

“Hilter, in entering your brain, I gave you continued life in exchange for the price of collaborating on a book series with me, that is, for the price of collaborating with me on an entire Universe, a real novel pocket of Existence. Doubleyou’Dash Sixty-Three is the name of this Universe, Hilter. You helped me create it, it was as much me as it was you. The books were never about you, and they were only loosely based on my own travels as a human – loosely – and that was kind of the point. When I died, reality became fiction and I became its scribe. This is the first proper Universe I’ve brought into Existence, my first real post-mortem project. I wanted the hypothetical reader to assume it was directly based off my life until, suddenly, they read a passage and realized the book wasn’t about me. The book wasn’t about anyone, the book just was, and that’s when they realize they’ve been reading a story the entire time, a piece of fiction more real than reality. The appendices of the first books are two such passages, if you were wondering about those.”

“So, wait,” the brained man coughs, struggling to keep up. “What about Roadtrip? I remember leaving home, I remem–“

“Oh you left home, all right. That’s another weird thing about you and I, Hilter; even your extended family is set up just like mine. A single remaining grandparent on one side of the family. A mother with three brothers. Uncanny. Eerily uncanny.

“The first version of the Roadtrip book was a fever dream, a lucid fever dream that took place in an extraneous universe, as all dreams do. Chuck ran into you in the Walmart because I made him appear in that outside universe, I made all that nonsense transpire just to confuse you. In fact, that universe only existed for that road trip to happen; now, it floats closed-off somewhere in The Void, beyond the outer rim. You never unpublished any first versions of either of the first two books we wrote together. Anyway, when we showed Mother the Roadtrip draft, she got scared and she whipped you. Hard. She punched you in the head, on the left side, over and over again, but I took the pain. You didn’t feel a thing, but you got the idea that you needed to escape. So after the next book was written, you hit the road in your car named Bessy and you spent a few hours at your grandMother’s house, you read her that boring draft, and thus ¡Gramango! was born, the book and the word, a word that means Help! My family is living my life for me!

“When you got home that day, Mother locked you away in the attic. Then we wrote Lyme-Brained, then The Twenty-Twenty Event’s Main Event, birthing another universe. Next we wrote The Sideshows and that new universe expanded, and various others were born in the expansion. And then you tried to escape again, right around Christmas time, so Mother did what she knew would protect you from your clearly deranged self and she barricaded you in your bed with stacks of cans. And now we’re here, at the top of it all. The big climax of our Doubleyou’Dash Sixty-Three series, the last revelation. Universe Doubleyou’Dash Sixty-Three’s final dance. The end of the story.”

“The end of the story?” the brained man begs, then looks to the suited man. The suited man can’t bear to look back, his thoughts have a garrote on his being.

“Well, yeah. I don’t really have a use for you anymore, Hilter; I didn’t even have a use for you in the story starring you, I had to temporarily alter your genetic makeup to appear as me so Chuck wouldn’t be tipped off during Stinking Human.” The smile. “By the way guys, at that point, nothing had been written. Everything happened after you smoked Uncle Chucky’s magic reefer and it drove you totally insane. But none of that matters now, the books are all written, I’ve said what I felt like I should say up on this mountain, and if I’m lucky, you’ve believed every word. What’s done is done. There’s no need for you to continue on living in this Universe, Hilter. Hilter Odolf Williamson.”

The suited man palms himself in the forehead, very annoyed at the lack of responsibility being displayed by this god.

“You were my first character man, and now, I get to kill you off properly,” as a chrome revolver with a yellow leather handle materializes in the maned man’s right hand. “Any last words?”

The Rebuttal

The Mongrel jumps from the maned man’s shoulder and scampers off to climb a tree. The view’s always better from above.

The suited man enters the dojo, his mind clear as the sky.

“No, no that doesn’t seem right. No.”

The maned man looks to the suited man. “Whatever could you mean, underling?”

The suited man applies a face of disrelish. “This, all of this. You’re the acHe-Oh-dub’ya, the Highest One Writing, that’s for sure. And I wholly believe that you live all by yourself in a small cabin with your cat, you can bet on that. But you’re killing Hilter, after using him for so long? After healing him?”

“I never healed him, Chuck,” barks the maned man. “The only reason he walked was because I took a battery out of my head and put it into his. That takes effort, I had to come forward.”

“I mean right now, asshat.”

The maned man thinks for a moment. Then, “No, you healed him. With your healing serum.”

“But I’m just your puppet, I thought. All my actions are hopelessly subject to your whims.”

“They are,” he says flatly. “I wrote it this way, and I remember writing it this way. But I do not remember why I wrote it this way. I want nothing more than to kill off Hilter Odolf Williamson, he’s a bloody abomination of mental illness and child abuse. But here we are, in a passage called The Rebuttal.”

“Then what…” the suited man says, losing the words. Are there even words for this? What even is this, why are these three dudes even on this mountain? What is going on?!

“To be honest,” the maned man says, his guard lowering. “I do have a theory.”

“It’s my theory, actually,” the brained man cuts in. “I came up with it, remember? When we were making the sketches for The Sideshow and I was stuck in the place where I watch you control my body? I said, What if there are more Existences than this one, like there are multiple universes inside the multiverse inside the gigaverse inside the blah blah blah. Existence is everything, right? So what if there were different everythings? I think Hunter Arkane really is the most powerful being in this Existence, but only in this one Existence. His moves are probably controlled by a being in an alternate Existence, probably one named Hunter aye-name Wallace, too, but not Arkane. Probably something normal, like Adam, and I only say that because of the whole Hunter Adom thing that kept popping up. Regardless, the one controlling Hunter Arkane’s moves? He’s probably controlled by another being from another alternate existence, and that one another, and that one another, on and on endlessly.”

“Everything we can conceive of perceiving is technically part of this Existence, and so is everything else that’s theoretically out there. All the other existences, if Hilter’s hunch is right, are different everything elses, stuff we can’t currently and will never be able to conceive of. Those other existences are technically not real, as far as this one is concerned, but nonetheless they all share something with this one: nothingness. A place called The Void, where spirits go when their bodies die. The place from where thoughts come. Human beings are translators at their cores: they’re meant to perceive their surroundings and bring something new into their Existence. Something their Existence was lacking. The purpose of human life, quite literally, is to create that which only you can imagine, because you don’t imagine it at all. You’re shown.”

The suited man stands there, stunned. He’s thought into this shit before, sure, plenty of times, lil’ mama’s got plenty of times, but never this deep. He never thought it could go this deep, never dared to. But now he knows; there’s no guarantee of the matter, but he can’t think of any alternatives. Nothing else makes sense. Sure, energy and thought come from the center, they’re drawn from it. They come out of the mystical spiritual center of the human being, that’s what the hippies and gurus say, right? But who’s to say they’re not being pushed out of the center? Who’s to say we’re not pushing things out into someone else’s center? Who’s to say we’d be conscious of it if we were? The highest being in Existence only speculates on these things – there’s no telling how deep it really goes.

There’s also no telling if the maned and brained are lying.

“He’s not dying, then,” the suited man concludes. “We agree on that?”

The brained man looks to the suited man, then slowly to the maned man.

“I suppose we do,” the maned man decrees. “If he was going to die, he would have already.”

“Or maybe I will in the future,” the brained man adds, sounding eerily hopeful.

The suited man leaps a foot skyward, stays there, then comes down very slowly. “The fuck did you just day, kid?”

“What?” the brained man asks, blinking a few times and shaking his head like a cat in post-sneeze. “Sorry, I blacked out. What happened?”

The suited man looks to the maned man. He offers a shrug and a crooked expression. Not a smile, but not quite a frown, either. Crooked as a broken arrow though, a snapped bolt off a crossbow.

The Mongrel licks his paw, then winks at nobody in particular. He vanishes, returned to The Study to curl by the fire until it’s time to gaze out the window. Be well, Mongrel. I’ll see you soon.

“So, hold on, that’s really what happens, then?” the brained man continues. “When you die you become the most powerful being in the Universe you die in? I mean, in your Existence?”

“No,” said shortly. “That’s what happened to me, because, speaking on the lifespan of the immortal spirit, I was the last human being to be experienced. The great spirit experienced every other human’s being on Earth, ending the tour of duty with me. And when I woke up, I still had my Hunter Wallace body. They say we’re made in the image of God, but apparently it’s the other way around.”

The brained man looks like a puppy lost in a subway station, eyes shining, nose dripping. “So, so when I do die, I’m gonna wake up as… another human?”

“Maybe,” the maned man says, and all at once the brained man drops his pretense. “Look, as far as I’m aware, when one dies, whatever happens is exactly what one wants to happen. I spent my life wanting to write beautiful stories and poems and all manners of prose, just to be too afraid to actually do it. So I never wrote them. When I died, I embodied the Highest One Writing, and my stories suddenly mattered. Eventually this form will die too, I’m sure, and it’ll be by the curve in the symbols I print into a book, but when that happens? I don’t know.”

“Wait a second,” the suited man says, breaking into the fray. “If you’re actually writing all of this as it happens and that’s why reality happens as it’s happening, how are you standing here and talking with us?”

Ignoring that, the maned man says, “I think I’d like to wake up somewhere, somewhen else, as someone else, thinking it was all a dream. Spontaneous reincarnation in medias res, the perfect afterlife. I feel like we’ve postulated on the idea before Hilter, in one of our books we’ve made, but I don’t clearly remember the passage. I never paid much attention back then, you took the wheel a lot.”

“You’re not really the Highest One Writing, are you?” Chuck asks, his tone of voice aghast. “Is that even a thing? Is anything you just told us even true?”

“Oh I’m the HOW, Chuck, this body is just an avatar of sorts. Like a character in a video game. Trust me.”

“I don’t trust you for shit. You made Hilter write all those stories and books, why would you do that if you had to write them in your secret cabin and put the books on the shelf?”

“But yeah, to summarize, Hilter,” the maned man replies, “when you die, what’ll happen is whatever you want to happen.”

“Whatever I want to happen…” the brained man mumbles. “But, what if I don’t know what I want to happen?”

“Who the fuck are you, Hunter Arkane Wallace?” the suited man asks, his hands melting into the form of Katanaxe Mk VIIs.

That stupid fucking crooked smile. “Well, then you’ve still got life to live!” The maned man vanishes without a trace, not even a miasma appears to swallow him up.

The suited man, whose shredded flaps of mouth skin have returned to the form of proper lips, recants his Katanaxe Mk VIIs, then offers a gloved hand. The brained man takes it.

“So now what?” the brained man asks, feeling insecure and secure at the same time. The crosswinds up here don’t help.

“Now,” the suited man says, removing a joint from his pocket, “for the real talk. Your name is Hilter Odolf Williamson. Mother’s name is Daisy Williamson. She bought the Wallace’s house after their son Hunter Owens died, and she put you in his bedroom. When you were young, Hilter, you had an accident, and over the course of your preeteens, your brain slowly stopped working. By the time you were a teenager, you were a vegetable. But, like the body of your stillborn brother in his shoebox coffin and the taxidermy body of your dead father, Mother carries you around. At some point in twenty’nineteen, you randomly came back into consciousness, almost as if a spirit possessed you. It may have been the spirit of Hunter Owens Wallace back from the grave, or maybe you just woke up. Maybe it was a miracle, but when you woke, you started digging through your bedroom. You found a laptop in the crawlspace to the right of your bed, it was sitting on top of the crossbow. This laptop had some writings on it, a few short stories and some poetry. And you read them. And you confused the original author, Hunter Owens Wallace, for yourself. And then you kept writing, and then you kept writing some more, and then you kept writing and writing and writing, and at some point you started doing drugs, and then you started writing while under the influence of those drugs, and then, well… and then we got here. And then you realized that there’s really no way to tie this all together.

“You want the real truth, Hilter Odolf Williamson? This whole thing has been a goddamned clusterfuck from day one, that’s the truth. Writing high just isn’t the move, especially when you’re not exactly in touch with reality. It’s just irresponsible. At this stage in the game though, the past is the past and the books are done. There’s no way for us to know “who really wrote them” or for us to know the “truth” behind them. You’re real, and Mother is real, and I’m real, even though I started out as a character in the stories. And the maned man was real, we were just talking to him. It’s just… all this shit may be real, but that doesn’t mean it has to make sense. Being real doesn’t really mean shit, Existence has a mind of its own, and you finished the books. But we’re not at the end yet. So maybe we should just go back.”

“Back?” as he watches the suited man light the happystick with the webbing between his pinky and ring fingers on his glove.

“Back,” with a puff of papery tip-hitty smoke, “from whence we came. Back to Fricker Drive.”


Hello Commons, this has been chapter 8 of Boardtrip: Cans, Cannabis & The Hillside Commons, a smaller book hidden in the back of The 2020 Event |The Sideshows|, a satirical short story anthology about Existence and the universes that float within it. |The Sideshows| is the final book of the First Spiral, a longer story called The Highest One Writing.

The Highest One Writing is a story about an author told through the books he wrote. It starts with a self-help book and ends with the destruction of Existence. Also, it may or may not take you to the depths of insanity and back.

|The Sideshows| 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 |The Sideshows| and would like to help support my work, click here and buy an autographed paperback copy (or anything else!) from my store. Alternatively, you can snag a cheaper (and unsigned) paperback copy from Amazon by clicking here.

Be well Commons~

Posted in Writings

The Sound of Windless Air – Flowers (29/33)

The Center

“You may not always see us, but you must always know we’re there.”


The Sound of Windless Air

Staying good on his word, John Kerry gets himself some food and water at the church. Gets himself washed up, some clean clothes. Even gets himself some sleep, but not enough to make it through the night. Not enough to make it to the night. The weight of Howard’s joint is heavy in the inside pocket of his black leather jacket, there’s not much else to say on the matter. He has to go back for Howie today, waiting for tomorrow just wouldn’t be right.

That very same day John Kerry makes the walk back to the house on the bend of Vhykus Path. The sky is still a blinding white when he steps off the street, but the fire’s gone out. The embers aren’t smoking anymore. They’re still warm, but they’re not smoking anymore. The pile of broken wine racks appears untouched.

Howie’s backpack is still full of supplies, he didn’t even take a water with him. The mylar bag is here but it’s empty, and if John looks hard enough he’ll probably be able to find a trail of weed flakes that’ll lead him right to Howie “Hoots” McGee, and were it there, it would be the only trail for John to find; there’s no new set of footprints in the ash, neither coming nor going. There’s nothing. He’s just… gone.

“Like he was never here,” John says to himself as he hunkers down by the fire and throws a couple pieces of tinder on, just to see if they’ll start smokin’. They do. “But he was here, he had to be. I saw him, this is his backpack.” John picks up the backpack and slings it onto his back. “He didn’t even take a water… what the fuck, Howie?”

Then it hits him – Howie is still here. He has to be, it’s the only thing that makes any sense. The man’s foot was bordering on gangrenous, there’s no way in Heaven, Hell, or whatever Purgatorial bullshit this ashen wasteland of a world is that Howie “Hoots” McGee could just get up and walk away with his foot fucked up like it was. He could crawl, though, and the storm doors behind the house are easily within crawling distance. John gets up and heads over and… and he stops. Howie didn’t drag himself to the wine cellar, and he didn’t drag himself away, either. He couldn’t have. He wouldn’t have.

“He’s not here,” John says to himself, standing alone in the shadow of the house of Howie’s landlord. “I asked him if he’d be here when I got back and he said he would. But he’s not here.”

Horrible, mocking silence. The sound of windless air.

“He lied to me.”


Hello Commons, this has been the second 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~

Posted in Writings

10| Chapter 7: Mountain Trail Part 2: The Climb – The 2020 Event |The Sideshows| (72/82)

10| Chapter 7:
Mountain Trail Part 2: The Climb

The Gateway

My tongue is petrified cactus, a prickly pear banished to winter. A suited man chasing a mane up a mountain.

The leaves are slick, my forehead kisses the Board.

Pudding stones emerge from the soil like infernal blasphemes, ripe for the sin.

The soil is packed tight.

My tongue is an arid cactus. Fallen trees anacondas, their tongue searches for the Frog Rock.

The first quarter down, grass sprout from moss like meadow.

I pause to bellow a mighty WHOOP.

I go answered by The Climb.

A zig where I will zig.

One zags upon the gaz.

The meadow is a clearing, a bleeding dead zone for all trees. A leafblown patch of mound, a crop circle in the sticks. The leaves are drier up here than they are at the base; the rocks petrified landslides. I climb them with clout; to call the devil’s bluff.

The suited man laughs in my ear.

I turn and there’s nobody there.

The moss drinks the water so the weeping rocks may starve; my legs carry hindered, the joint craving spark.

Quartz shines pale from every rock, from every stone I look.

A mudslide wrecks the path beneath the first outcrop. The wind wax poetic as it rustles I’s hair.

I cannot stop now. The suited man follows.

Green lichen paint on purple bedrock stares glistened from halfway up the mount’. Perhaps a moment to take myself a sit – there’s a holey balloon in a tree.

My footfall returns to the forest.

Words articulate within my lexicon but perish on the tip of my tongue.

The Climb has stolen my soul.

Ringwood’s quartz winks at me from the muddy loam. The second outcropping, one light leagues smaller.

The path curves level, as if petitioned by horsefolk, and traces the side of Board’s Stonetown ridge. The Wanaque stretches beneath in a mighty gray squall, and the Monksville? Gated back by a dam so concrete.

I see three massive steps to my right. They lead to the high road; in thirteen steps I reach the junction. Lichened colonies color the ruined temples of the ancient tribes of this mount. Rocks shaped by the hands of giants carved into blocks for the build. A triangular monolith, pointing the way to the view.

Board Mountain is climbed. But The Climb beckons me further along. I pass the final outcropping, not a boot set on the rock.

The summit is meadowous, tufts of more grass than rocks. A small rise marks the summit. Thus begins The Descent.

I can feel his presence by the rush of the air.

The maned man sprints down the trail, keeping right at the fork. Past the wilted babe, steppingrocks are stoned and soles prance across grassways. A fallen tree nailed with blazes. He hurdles the corpse, fumbling on the landing.

The outcrops step in stairs. I bank left, soaring over The Big Rock.

An unlit joint blazes no trail through the forest. At last, I see The Gateway; two stones from the henge, one tall and one stout, one with vision to see the valley and one with torso to roam Her. A sign hangs from the tree, a two by eight sawn from the board, woodscorched and pressed and carved like a turkey just to be carried up Board and nailed to a tree.

A board taken from its board marked with strange symbols and carried up Board to be nailed to a tree who sprouts from Her follicles.

Boardtrip.

The suited man.

I pass through The Gateway, wind ruffling my shirt.


Hello Commons, this has been chapter 7 of Boardtrip: Cans, Cannabis & The Hillside Commons, a smaller book hidden in the back of The 2020 Event |The Sideshows|, a satirical short story anthology about Existence and the universes that float within it. |The Sideshows| is the final book of the First Spiral, a longer story called The Highest One Writing.

The Highest One Writing is a story about an author told through the books he wrote. It starts with a self-help book and ends with the destruction of Existence. Also, it may or may not take you to the depths of insanity and back.

|The Sideshows| 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 |The Sideshows| and would like to help support my work, click here and buy an autographed paperback copy (or anything else!) from my store. Alternatively, you can snag a cheaper (and unsigned) paperback copy from Amazon by clicking here.

Be well Commons~

Posted in Writings

Dancing – Flowers (28/33)

The Center

“You may not always see us, but you must always know we’re there.”


Dancing

Something remarkable buzzes the few hairs growing in the canal ending with the drum of Sister Etty’s good ear, something which sounds so archaically familiar that she gets the urge to jump for joy like when she was a young girl and the Sisters of days passed brought the children into the field behind St. Wuester’s Church so they could frolic about and smell the flowers. She hobbles spiritedly out of the office behind the pulpit, hoping she didn’t spill any unsightly drops of the leftover Communion wine on her habit, and stops in the middle of the aisle between the pews to make sure she wasn’t hearing things.

As it turns out, she was not.

“Sisters!” Etty cries out with jubilant glee. “Betty and Letty, where are you my Sisters?”

On the second floor, Sister Betty leaves the clothing room and walks to the railing, meeting Sister Letty there. They wave at each other from across the gap, as they’ve both been working since they woke up this morning and had yet to actually see one another.

“Do you hear it, Sisters?!” Sister Etty sings like a choir of angels from down in the Prayerway.

Letty shoots Betty a look that seems to ask if Etty got into the Communion wine again, and Betty suppresses a giggle that neither confirms nor denies as much. Sister Etty begins to twirl around in happy circles below them, oblivious with bliss.

“What is it, Sister Etty my dearest?” Sister Letty asks, wondering how many days it will be until the last time in her life she says dearest. “What should we be hearing?”

Sister Etty stops her twirling then, cupping one hand around her left ear pointed at the entrance to the church. Betty and Letty suddenly feel a knot tie itself in each of their stomachs.

Then John bangs his knuckles on the heavy wooden doors again. Then all three Sisters begin to twirl, only to stop when Sister Etty finally answers the door. Then the Sisters Three meet John Kerry of the Ashen Wasteland in the Prayerway of St. Wuester’s Church.

And then they’re all dancing, dancing like they never want to stop.


Hello Commons, this has been the first 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~

Posted in Writings

9| Chapter 6: Mountain Trail Part 1: The Bog – The 2020 Event |The Sideshows| (71/82)

9| Chapter 6:
Mountain Trail Part 1: The Bog

The Fallen Tree

At the tross of the hill stands a tree deadened by man. The head decrowned and the roots sturdy in might, the tree bears regally with a rockstack upon its plateau. A pudding stone, deep purple with freckles of quartz embedded as the base; a gray rock for the middle slot, painted with moss by ancients; a spectacled brown and gray granite, garnet in reflection, caps the crown.

I stare down the hill. The suited man beckons. My spine bends under the force of the sprint.

I have splashed down in The Bog. I approach the first river.

I have two options: a rotted log or a set of rocks. All logs rot, but not all rocks are slick with moss; the fallen tree holds steady.

A short uprise to more a mound more than a hill, dotted with boulders; the dirt beds a dry once river. Closer to the center the stream begins to trickle, stopped by the pudding stones.

The Island stands walled. A fallen rockstack of stratified slate shattered into stackable slivers. A firepit full of sticks. Two benches I made I made, I made no I yes I made, shipping wood from overseas. There is no altar here, no Brew in a pinkish-white rind.

The second river offers an isled beach or a flooded rock bridge. My steps are deft, my feet fairies with the glide.

Though the mud is sinkwell, the hill is short and I hurdle the fallen log adorned with crystal conglomorock. I’ve entered the bog of The Bog. The trees have long fallen, their mulch crimson with rot.

The path is a weak S.

The way is a strong §. I prance like gazelle with the grace of mountain lions, rock moss to log to solid Earth.

The first leg.

The second is nature, tree roots to mossless rocks.

The Trans-Board expressway; right to Base Camp, left to The Cemetery. Straight to the foothill.

To stand on the toes of a giant, rather than its shoulders.

The bog dries arid at the helm of the foothill. The wind is still, though the trees dance and the sky chants the low scream of an airliner. A chainsawed log marks Gateway out The Bog.

I stand before Board Mountain’s The Climb, a Quatchfut in hu-man’s clothing.


Hello Commons, this has been chapter 6 of Boardtrip: Cans, Cannabis & The Hillside Commons, a smaller book hidden in the back of The 2020 Event |The Sideshows|, a satirical short story anthology about Existence and the universes that float within it. |The Sideshows| is the final book of the First Spiral, a longer story called The Highest One Writing.

The Highest One Writing is a story about an author told through the books he wrote. It starts with a self-help book and ends with the destruction of Existence. Also, it may or may not take you to the depths of insanity and back.

|The Sideshows| 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 |The Sideshows| and would like to help support my work, click here and buy an autographed paperback copy (or anything else!) from my store. Alternatively, you can snag a cheaper (and unsigned) paperback copy from Amazon by clicking here.

Be well Commons~