Posted in Writings

The Only Idea – Under the Hood: TIoJK (10/44)

The Preacherman

Think of this facility as a place to be when there’s nowhere else to go.


The Only Idea

Jonathan collapses into his computer chair with his chin digging into his chest and stares blindly at the inside of his eyelids for a moment. The lack of vision intensifies when he brings his hands to his face, then he sees all sorts of colors and sparks when he starts to dig with the heels of his palms. A great pressure builds beneath his brow and it feels as though his eyes are about to burst; he lowers his hands into his lap, defeated.

“I’m exhausted…” Jonathan Knox mumbles, feeling sorry for himself. “Why can’t I just go to bed?”

But Jonathan knows why he can’t go to bed; when he left his warm dark house tonight he had a job to do, he set out to burn the police chief’s house down so he could save an innocent child of an Earthen skin tone, but he failed. He didn’t have a plan, he was going too fast because he got himself all worked up and he didn’t do the job. He just ran away the first chance he got, Jonathan Knox did, and he found himself at a church that wasn’t even a church.

“There was something horrendously wrong with the preacherman. Something not right, something slimy.”

Maybe… or maybe Jonathan Knox is just completely out of his Goddamn mind to the point where he analyzes and overthinks every little detail of his life to an asinine degree, but that’s neither here nor there. When Jonathan Knox left tonight he had a job to do, a job he failed, but that doesn’t mean the work is done. No, DoorKnox is still running, still recording the activity of Daniel Maxwell’s basement, and if Jonathan ever wants to get to bed then he’ll have to do something about all that evidence he’s recorded.

Jonathan saves all the data recorded in DoorKnox’s cache and dumps it into a folder titled Officer Asshole, which is stored in a folder within a folder hidden secretly inside another folder stored deep within his computer’s system files. It’ll take a real sleuth to find all of this audio he’s recorded over the years, Jonathan is sure of that, not that anyone will ever go looking for it; Jonathan’s been listening in on the activities which go on behind the closed doors of Wuester, New Jersey for years now. All the steamy conversations between Professor Nice and the local students who come for extra help, the eulogies delivered by Lady of the Cats as shoebox after shoebox is fed into the furnace in her basement, the screeches of The Dragon Boy as he… well, Jonathan isn’t sure what The Dragon Boy does when nobody is looking, but he sure does get a lot of slender discreetly-packaged packages in the mail; Jonathan has dozens, possibly even hundreds of folders about the goings on of Wuester. Officer Asshole is different than everyone else, though. Officer Asshole is a villain, a real nasty buster, the kind of criminal that only Jonathan Knox can stop because only Jonathan Knox knows about the crime he and his racist Fellers are about to commit together. Jonathan Knox is a dirty little nosy little eavesdropper, Jonathan Knox likes to listen in unseen on what his neighbors are doing in their private life, but he doesn’t do it maliciously. No, Jonathan Knox is totally innocent in his eavesdropping; if anything, he’s just looking out for his fellow townsfolk. He’s just being a good neighbor, Jonathan Knox is, just making sure that nobody is getting into anything they can’t get themselves out of, making sure nobody spends so much time in their own warm darkness that the sunlight hurts their eyes.

But Maxwell is different. Daniel Maxwell spends his time in the cold darkness. Police Chief Daniel Maxwell is a damn dirty cop who wants to murder a child based on their skin color. Daniel Maxwell is Officer Asshole, Daniel Maxwell is a villain, and Daniel Maxwell inadvertently led Jonathan Knox to Campbell, the alleged reverend of the alleged Saint Wuester’s Church which isn’t affiliated with any religion but instead with some organization

“I wonder what Reverend Campbell gets up to behind closed doors,” Jonathan wonders as he rubs his knuckles against his bare cheek. The computer light – blue light, the kind that keeps you up at night, why can’t Jonathan just go to sleep yet? ‘Soon, Jonathan. Soon. We just got’a finish the work for tonight. I’m almost done.’ “There was something wrong about him. Something off. Something slimy and vile and all sorts of terrible. The Preacherman of Madison Avenue… what are you up to, Reverend Neil Campbell? What goes on under the hood of your car?”

Except Reverend Campbell said he didn’t have a car… which only makes him more suspicious.

It’s far too late to go back out tonight, that’s for sure. Jonathan is back home now in the warm darkness of his home, not his house but his home, his warm dark home, and he’s not leaving. He doesn’t even have a plan, and he’s not about to get himself all worked up again. He’s not. Yes, bugging the church’s office seems like a lovely idea, a perfect idea, the only idea, but Jonathan needs a plan for that. Burning down Maxwell’s house seemed like the only idea at the time too, but he went too fast and didn’t have a plan and look how that turned out. Just look how all that turned out, Jonathan Knox, look how all that turned out you stinky failure, get back in the closet where you belo–… it’s happening. I’m getting all worked up.’

Jonathan Knox pulls his hands away from his eyes again but keeps them closed, as the pressure is too great for him to open them. When the pain subsides, Jonathan creates a new folder in his secret stash and names it The Preacherman, then backs up his computer’s files to an external hard drive. While the files are transferring over Jonathan checks in on a few of the other houses that he’s bugged – Ol’ Pearly Whites, Big Bowler and Basket, The November Arteest – and hears nothing, then closes out of DoorKnox for the night.

‘Bout forty minutes later, when the backup is finally complete, Jonathan shuts his computer down. The work is done. Now Jonathan Knox can get some sleep.


Hello Commons, this has been the fourth subchapter of the second chapter of Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox, a novel about a man who likes to eavesdrop on his neighbors.

Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox is the second book in the W-2222 series, a series of books which take place in Universe W-2222.

Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox 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 Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox 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.

If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. Be well Commons~

Posted in Writings

Drafting – Untitled Bigfoot Project (67/224)

Wednesday
Research


Drafting

Minutes turn sluggishly to hours. Albey doesn’t take another book off the shelves, but he does eventually graduate to examining the fiction section of the Logger’s Pond Public Library. It’s at least three times as extensive as the nonfiction section, which Albey thinks is fantastic. What’s less than fantastic is the lackluster selection of Stephen King books available for the borrow, specifically regarding how much their Dark Tower collection leaves to be desired.

At first he presumed the best and figured the books are extremely popular, of course they don’t have all eight volumes available to be borrowed at one time. But then he realized this was Logger’s Pond, a town of folks so illiterate they think eating squirrel is a grand ol’ time, a town so isolated and disconnected from the outside world that the local supermarkets get their produce and meat supplies from farms inside town limits. He came to this realization after asking Victoria to see if they had Wolves of the Calla, which they did not.

“I thought you said you weren’t going to be taking out any books,” she said, not accusatorily.

“A man can change his mind, can’t he?” Albey replied defensively whilst also asserting his opinion that he is, in fact, a man, the perfect opposite to the woman that is Victoria, Tori for short, Vic’ to Albey.

“I guess,” said Victoria, who then proceeded to struggle with the library’s electronic catalog system for him, even though she told this guy that today was her first day and she doesn’t know how to use it. She couldn’t figure it out in a timely manner, which embarrassed her, but then she remembered the paper log and read through it quickly yet carefully, only to tell… Sidney, yeah, that was his name, that no book called Wolves of the Calla had been taken out recently.

“Wait, so you guys just don’t have it?” Albey stammered, his tone bordering on incredulous.

“We just don’t have it, dude,” Victoria answered, wishing her shift would end already.

“But you have the first two books, and the fourth, and the eighth,” Albey continued, unable to understand that the Logger’s Pond Public Library is not a global bastion of literature and knowledge but just a branch of a small town’s corrupt local government that doesn’t even get enough funding to have automatic doors that slide open without a delay (but the mayor has three sportscars, imagine that). “Don’t tell me you’re missing half of the series, that’s damn near criminal.”

Sidney didn’t apologize for swearing in this place where mothers allegedly bring their small and impressionable children to learn how to read, and that struck Victoria as Harringtonish in that particular moment. Thinking back on it now, about nineteenish minutes later, Albey can’t help but agree.

“Guess we’re just not up to your standards, Sidney,” she said with a flat face. “Can I help you with anything else, dude? I have other stuff I have to do, y’know.”

“Oh, uhhhh,” he said blankly, then straightened up with a crooked smile. “Nope. Sorry for buggin’ ya.”

He left her with a smile, and she returned it, but… but it wasn’t a particularly happy smile. Oh well, the past is the past, the now is the now, and now, it’s just about four o’clock. If Albey leaves now he can get home with plenty of time to pack The Pea–… wait, no, The Peace Piece is in pieces, resting peacefully somewhere in the woods behind Albey’s house. Besides, dude’s supposed to be not smoking anymore, and the notetaking is pretty much done with, so… what now?

‘I could get a tour from Harry,’ he suggests to himself, then stifles a laugh. ‘Yet somehow sitting here and doing nothing seems like the better alternative.’

So Sidney sits there and does nothing. Looks over to watch Tori working for a few seconds, looks away before she notices. Scans the bookshelves from afar, pretends not to be disappointed in the lack of the magna relator’s completed magnum opus, which probably plays a very heavy hand in Logger’s Pond being the veritable shithole that it loves to be. Looks at Tori, allowing himself to appreciate the various jiggling parts of her body. Notices another dude sitting at one of the tables writing something on a yellow legal pad, wonders what he’s writing. Looks at Tori – oh shit, she was looking at him this time! He waves, not in an obvious way, just kind of flashes his palm at her… and she doesn’t wave back. But she’s looking right at him, what… oh. There’s just a family of deer moving through the woods right behind the library. He didn’t even notice those windows before, huh.

‘Maybe I’m still a little fuzzy from the head injury.’

But that’s not it. The truth of the matter is that Albey’s completely lucid. Something about suddenly and completely cutting out all of his vices – smoking pot and choking the chicken, that is – has granted him a heightened sense of clarity that he hasn’t felt since… wait, has he ever felt so good? Yeah, without a doubt, back in the prime days of The Hillside Commons when he was a kid and all that mattered was what time Keaton and Carl could come over so they could make up funny rhymes and play in the woods and sneak cooksies when his mom wasn’t looking, not that his mom even cared, but that wasn’t the point. They knew there was no consequences back then, but still they tried to pull one over on old Ashley, and most of the time they succeeded. It wasn’t even the getting away with doing something they weren’t supposed to be doing that was the fun part, it was just doing stuff together. As a team. As The Triad, as Albey the Poet, Iuqon the Mage, and Ram’rl the Unfallen.

Dreamily, his chin digging a dent into his palm, Sidney says to himself, “‘Man, those were the days.” Nobody says anything, nobody so much as looks at the ‘man, because nobody is paying attention to Sidney. He’s not the only one in the Logger’s Pond Public Library at the moment, but he is the only one sitting here doing nothing. When he asked Tori if he could hang out and do work earlier he really did mean he was going to do work, but he’s got, like, a full page of notes written about various bigfoots and a whole filing cabinet of mental notes saved forever about what Tori’s incredible body looks like and how it jiggles when she’s movin’ it right, and boy can that woman ever move it right.

Sidney sighs, then brings his backpack onto his lap to look inside it. There’s the binder, that plain white binder with the tiny smiling face drawn in red sharpie that won’t come off no matter how much spittle-laced tissues he rubs against it. Jocelyn drew the face when he wasn’t paying attention, so for payback he made her smile. Then she made him smile. Then neither of them were smiling, but they were being loud. Very, very loud.

It occurs to Albey that his relationship with that girl was nothing short of an unending porno with almost no sense of pacing in its plot. Words cannot describe how much he misses it, of course, but a word can accurately depict the chance he’ll get into another relationship like it: zero. And that sucks, that sucks a whole lot, but ‘tis what it is.

“It was pretty toxic, honestly,” Albey says into his open backpack from deep within his own mind. “I don’t think I ever learned her last name.”

“Whose last name?”

Albey looks up, quite startled. There’s nobody in his immediate vicinity, and that sure didn’t sound like Tori… is he hearing voices? Here, in the library? Out in the real world like this? He’s not even high, what in the actual–

“I know y’heard me,” says the voice, but where’s it coming from? “Over here, dude.”

Sidney twists towards the windows. It was that other dude, the one writing whatever he might be writing on the yellow legal pad. He stopped writing though, his pen – good god, he’s using a pen to take notes? What if he makes a mistake, does he scribble the letters out? Disgusting – is down and his arms are folded, elbows resting on the table.

“I uh… do I know you?” Sidney asks from across the floor.

“I don’t think so,” chuckles the guy. “But you could. You could also sit there and pretend I never said anything. Most folks do.”

In that moment Sidney feels an odd call to action. Being wrongly described as most folks usually does that to him. He gets up, slings the backpack on one shoulder to look cool just in case Victoria might be watching, and ambles over to sit with the amateur writer guy.

“Howdy,” says this amateur writer guy, extending an open hand. “Name’s Arthur David. Who are you?”

“Arthur David?” Sidney asks, shaking the guy’s hand regardless. ‘Man’s got a firm handshake, Albey admires that in a ‘man. “It’s not often I meet a guy with two first names. I’m Sidney Blake.”

Arthur pauses for a second, as if making sure he heard that right. “Sidney Blake? It’s not often I meet a guy with two first names.”

Albey takes a short moment to contemplate this. Then, “Touché. What’s your real name though?”

Arthur doesn’t say anything, but he does take his hand back. The handshake went on for a while anyway, Sidney’s glad he did it. What Sidney’s not glad about is the way this Arthur character seems to be studying him, nor does he love the seemingly knowing smile that spreads across his face.

“How’d you know?”

“What?”

“You’re right,” says the ‘man with the shoulder-length black hair, hair so straight it appears to have been tamed with a straightener. “Arthur David’s not my real name. How’d you know?”

“I don’t know,” Sidney says, leaning back in his chair to lace his fingers across his stomach. “The way it sounded, I guess. If I told you my name was Albey at first you probably would’ve called me out for bullshitting.”

“Nah,” says the ‘man of the false name, not changing his posture at all. “Albey kind of suits you… wait a second.”

The ‘man scribbles a few words onto his pad, then looks at them, then draws a series of slanty lines connecting the letters. Albey leans forward to see what’s going on.

“What’re you… oh shit, you ain’t bad, Art’.”

Arthur – even though that’s not his name – without being asked to do so and without more than a couple seconds’ pause, cracked the code. Sidney’s THC name – and Keaton’s, and Carl’s (before he was Karl, although it doesn’t really make a difference) – was not thought of randomly but rather constructed by taking the first three letters of his last name, reversing the order, and slapping on the last two letters of his first name. Sidney Blake, alBey.

“You ain’t bad yourself, Albey. That’s clever, it clearly took a bit of thought; can I assume this moniker has more value than a simple nickname?”

“What are you boys getting up to?” asks Victoria, who comes up behind Albey to hug him and rest her breasts on his shoulders, except that doesn’t happen because it wouldn’t fuckin’ happen and Sidney is beginning to legitimately worry about his own depravity.

“You can assume whatever you want, my ‘man,” Albey gives him, leaning back all confident again. “In this case though, you’d be right. I uh… it’s a long story, but I’m writing a novel and Albey is the main character’s name.”

“A long story, you say?” asks the ‘man with the false name. “I got time, if you’re willing to tell it.”

Well… that’s not what Albey thought he was going to say. Did he think the ‘man was going to say something, though? Like, obviously he was going to reply, it would be strange for him to just wordlessly get up, grab his shit, and sprint out of the library as fast as he could, probably launching himself through the sliding glass doors because of the delay in their automatic opening and whatnot… but was Albey expecting a specific answer? No, he supposes he wasn’t. This is the first meaningful social interaction he’s had with someone who he’s not compelled to try to sleep with all day, this is all so foreign.

“Yeah, uh, I mean uh, sure.” He leans in, settling his weight on the table. “So when I was a little kid, me and my… wait, hold on.”

The guy holds on without holding onto anything.

“You said your name wasn’t your name. I mean, uh, you said… you know what I mean.”

“I do indeed,” the ‘man nods without moving his head.

“So what’s your name?”

“Jason Wong,” said without hesitation.

And why didn’t Jason just open with that in the first place? Great question, Sidney, maybe you should ask… because that’s how talking works !!!

Feeling the need to copy this Jason dude’s verbal mannerisms, Sidney comes back with, “Can I assume this moniker has more value than a simple nickname, Jason?”

Jason smiles at Sidney, but it’s not exactly a mirthful smile. It’s more like a Why the fuck did he say my exact words? kind of smile, but the conversation doesn’t die off. “You can assume whatever you want, my man.” Oh no, it only spirals on, and with vigor. “In this case, though, you’d be right. I, too, am writing a novel, but Arthur isn’t the name of my main character. Arthur David is my pen name.”

“Huh, that’s cool,” Sidney says, then gestures to the notepad. “Is that what you’re writing there?”

“Sort of,” says the writer ‘man. “I’m just starting it today, I like to write out a brief synopsis of the main storyline so I can see where the story’s going to go before I hop on and take it there.”

“Brief?” Albey asks. “It looks like you’re on page two hundred.”

It does, too. At least twenty pages are flipped back and folded over the binding at the top of the pad, and judging by how small this dude’s handwriting is, those pages are more black than yellow.

“Yeah, brief,” Jason Wong chuckles. “The novel you said you were writing – it’s your first one, yeah?”

“It is,” Albey says hesitantly. “So?”

So? So that’s awesome, man!” Jason exclaims with a genuinely encouraging smile. “No need to get defensive, my guy.”

“I’m not getting defensive,” Albey says as the drawbridge slams shut.

“No, not at all,” chuckles Jason Wong, writer of the novel. “This is my tenth one I’m working on.” Writer of the novels *. “I’ve been doing this for a while now. I recognize a newbie when I see one.”

“Trust me, I’m not a newbie,” Albey assures him. “I’ve filled up at least, like, ten journals, and they’re all bigger than your legal pad. And I’m only twenty-one; I don’t know how old you are, but…”

“But what?”

Well shit, foiled again. “I don’ow. Maybe I am being defensive.”

“Meh, no biggie,” says Jason Wong, writer of the nine novels. “So you were telling me a long story before?”

“What?” he asks, then remembers. “Oh yeah, right. So when I was a little kid, me and a couple friends would hang out and make up these stories about this fantasy world called The Hillside Commons. It was essentially an endless forest that was lowkey alive, in a way, and we all had characters and we’d go on adventures and shit, it was tight. The stories rhymed, too, I made up the rhymes, and my friends would make music to go along with it. It was a lot of fun. Never wrote any of it down, of course, but it was great. My guy was Albey the Poet, because of the rhyming. He had a sort’a magick quill that would make whatever he wrote come true, but he wasn’t really in control of his writing. He’d get, like, possessed, sort of. He’s more of a conduit than anything else.”

The smile on Jason’s face is brilliant. “That sort’a reminds me of something an author I read talks about. You know Stephen King?”

The explosion of energy inside of Sidney is even more brilliant than Jason’s smiling recognition of Albey’s brilliance. “Dude, I love Stephen King, the Dark Tower is literally–”

‘not literally, literally not literally’

“–my life, like, what?”

“The Dark Tower…? Why does that… oh yeah, his fantasy series,” said in a way that does not honor the tale in the way Albey feels like the tale should be honored. “I’m not into the fantasy thing, I read the first book… what was it… oh yeah, The Gunslinger. Couldn’t really get into it. I’m more into his psychological horror stuff, the more twisted the better. But yeah, he always says in interviews and his author’s notes and stuff that he doesn’t really know where his stories come from, that they just kind of come to him from somewhere else. I feel that on multiple levels.”

“Of the Tower,” Albey says, looking for a reason to not get up and sprint out of here as fast as he can. “You feel that on multiple levels of the Tower, right? That’s what you mean?”

“That’s certainly not what I mean,” says the ‘man, his white smile only making his goatee appear darker. And why, if his hair is black, is his goatee brown? This Jason character is suspect as fuck. “I can tell you’re really passionate about the series though. Maybe I should check it out.”

“You definitely should,” Albey says, frothing at the mouth like a rabid dog. Named Kujo. Which translates to sweet one in the High Speech of Gilead. “It’s incredible, dude, it literally shaped the way I look at fiction writing, and writing in general. It also links together all–… well, most of his books. Some of them are directly connected, like, you know The Stand?”

“I do know The Stand,” says Jason, who leaned back in his chair at some point. “That’s one of my favorites of King’s.”

“Okay, so the characters in the Dark Tower? They literally go into the world of The Stand.”

“The stories intersect, you mean?”

“Uh, no, I don’t… I’m pretty sure they go there after the events of The Stand, I’m not sure though. I haven’t read it. But The Stand isn’t the only one, a bunch of others are related. The Eyes of the Dragon, Black House, Insomnia, one of the novellas from Hearts in Atlantis. It’s really cool. All of King’s books take place in a larger multiverse, it’s honestly really cool and, like, inspiring as hell.”

“Now that I’m familiar with,” says the writer ‘man. “And I agree, it is inspiring as hell. I do that with my books, too. I only have two universes, and I doubt I’m going to make more than that, but they intersect sometimes. I like taking characters that have nothing in common and forcing them to interact, just to see what ridiculous shit comes out of it. Y’know what I mean?”

“Sort’a,” Albey says, although he honestly doesn’t. “Honestly I like stories for the whole story, the characters are just a part of it. I think the plot’s almost more important, to be honest. Y’know what I mean?”

“I do,” Jason says. “To each his own. I find that it’s hard to write a story with the plot as the driving force; usually when I do that it gets kind of… like, not boring, but like… I don’t know. It’s just not the same. I like to make the characters talk to each other. Sometimes I’ll write entire chapters that are just long-form conversations.”

“Ew,” Sidney says reflexively, then widens his eyes to show he didn’t mean to speak unfiltered. “Sorry, I didn’t mean–”

Jason laughs and waves it off. “It’s all good, dude. You’re not going to offend me, I don’t really care what other folks think. Especially when their opinions are piles of hot garbage like yours.”

Well now Sidney doesn’t know what to say.

“I’m joking.” He reaches over and lightly slaps Sidney on the arm. A slap’s never felt so good. “I like you, Sidney. You’ve got a good vibe about you.”

“Yeah?” he asks, trying to not care what this writer ‘man thinks while at the same time caring so much that this writer ‘man thinks highly of him.

“Yeah, man. I want to hear more about this first novel, too. This is probably going to seem like a silly question, but do you have a process down?”

“I do!” Albey bubbles. “I have it broken into five steps: Inspiration, Notetaking, Drafting, Editing, and Publishing. I got the first one down pat and I just about wrapped up the second one today. I’m probably going to start step three tomorrow.”

“Wow, color me impressed,” says the writer ‘man. “Most writers have no idea what they’re doing when they’re just getting started.”

“Well I guess I’m not most writers,” says the ‘man who’s yet to write a book outside of his private journals that nobody reads.

Jason laughs, but says nothing.

A moment passes without words. Albey suddenly feels extremely vulnerable, out of place, and just generally uncomfortable.

“So you said you’re probably going to start writing it tomorrow – what’s the plot of your book?”

“Uhhmm, I don’t really know yet. I figure it’ll come to me as I go, y’know?”

The writer ‘man does not frown then, but his smile’s not quite as strong. “You just about wrapped up taking notes but you don’t know what the plot’s going to be yet?”

“That’s what I said,” Albey confirms. “Why, is that… what are you telling me?”

“Oh no, I don’t… well…” Jason seems to think for a moment. Now normally Sidney wouldn’t give a rat’s ass about what some random human has to say about Sidney’s experimental writing process, but this is a human who’s written nine books. This is a special kind of human, and so Sidney Blake is all ears. “Let me give you some advice: don’t be so quick to start the actual writing. Yes, in order to write a book you must write the book, but going in with a blindfold on and just winging it ain’t the move. Trust me, I wrote my first eight projects without knowing what the fuck I was doing.”

“Woah. Really?”

“Kind’a. Like, I had a general idea of what the stories were go’n’a be about. I had a skeletal outline – that’s what I call it now, because it was bare bones and nothin’ else – but yeah, I just pretty much winged it. Got off track more times than I could count, especially with the first story. I did a whole overarching thing with the first six of my books. Editing was a nightmare, especially with the fourth book.”

“Why’s that?” Albey asks, entranced by this ‘man’s hustle. “Why the fourth one specifically, I mean.”

“The fourth one was a novel, my first novel actually. The other ones were novellas, hardly more than a hundred pages long, give or take thirtyish or so,” with a teetering of his hand. “But the fourth book was a fatboy, totaled over six hundred.”

“Holy shit.”

“The sixth book was over seven hundred, too, but that was a short story anthology so that doesn’t really count. Editing that one was a piece of cake.”

“Oh yeah, seven hundred pages. Sounds real cakey.”

Jason shrugs. “What can I say? Writers got’a write.”

“That we do,” Albey agrees wholeheartedly. “That we do. So what were you–”

“Oh yeah,” Jason picks up. “So the fourth one was really long and got really off track many, many times. Had to do rewrite after rewrite, it was a nightmare. I spent more time editing the damn thing than I did writing it.”

“Isn’t that normal though?”

“Sometimes, I guess” Jason supposes. “In the beginning it was, for me at least. That was mostly because of my mindset though. You said you’re not a newbie writer, right? Something about ten journals?”

“Well, I don’t know how many exactly I’ve filled, but yeah. I write out of habit, it’s a compulsion.”

“It is for me too, now,” Jason explains. “But at first it wasn’t. I used to hate writing, despised it more than anything else in the world. Then I just started writing stories one day and I got kind of addicted to it. I’m a total addict, used to be porn and alcohol, now it’s fiction. Addicts make the best writers, I practically live by that statement. The best writers are not all addicts, but addicts make for some damn good writers, because we can’t stop. We’re just fucked in the head, we need something to do to all the time that can never really be finished so the voices don’t get the better of us. You know what I mean?”

Albey does, but probably not in the way Jason Wong thinks. He nods regardless.

“So anyway, when I randomly started writing I thought it was this divine thing, I thought I was going to write this one book – the fatboy, that is – and I would suddenly become rich and famous, but yet I kept putting it off and doing the smaller projects to build myself up to doing it, because I knew it was going to be big. I thought it was going to be big as in everybody would read it, but I knew it would be big, like, in length. Then by the time I forced myself to do it, I got super stressed out about it because I needed it to be perfect – if I messed up even one word then my dreams wouldn’t come true and I’d never write again and I’d die alone and blah blah blah.” He chuckles in spite of himself. “I think the alcohol and porn and shit had more to do with the lowkey psychosis than me wanting success, but that’s beside the point. So anyway, long story short, I kept bashing my head against a wall trying to break myself a hole to walk through when there was a door right next to me the whole time.”

“You lost me there,” Albey admits.

“Hah, I lost myself a little bit. What I mean is that, as far as writing goes… okay, so creativity is like a muscle, right?”

“Definitely.”

“Okay, so when you’re working out, you need to start somewhere small, right? You don’t go into the gym trying to bench three-fifty off the bat, you’ll get yourself killed. You can only lift what you’re capable of lifting at the time, and when you keep going with it your muscles get bigger and eventually you get to the point where you can lift more and more. Follow me?”

“Right behind ya.”

“It’s the same thing with fiction writing. I had this idea that the first project I put together would be this world-changing, paradigm-shifting thing, and it was in a way, but not the way I thought it was going to be. I wanted to change the life of my readers, but I needed to change my own life first.”

“So… what’s that have to do with the door and the bashing your head against a wall thing?”

“Oh, right. Almost forgot I said that, hah. So the bashing was me going over my first big novel a million times, trying unceasingly to make it perfect, when all I had to do was allow myself to finish it so I could start the next project. That was the door. Using the weight-lifting thing again, it’s like I kept extending my set way past the point of exhaustion, when all I needed to do was call it quits for the day so I could get some rest and come back tomorrow. This making sense?”

“Yeah, actually. Holy shit, dude,” Sidney gushes. “So what’s your process like now compared to what it was when you first started?”

“When I first started I didn’t really have a process, I’d just write and immediately revise what I wrote and then continue it and then freak out because the second part I wrote wasn’t as good as the first part because I didn’t edit it as many times and on and on into misery. Now – and it took a lot to get where I am, I’m one hundred percent self-educated in the way of writing; I made a lot of mistakes to figure this out, so I don’t know if it’s really of any value to you, but now I do it like this: actually, before I say that, what do you use to write?”

“What do you mean?” Albey asks, feeling for the pen and pencil in his pocket.

“I know you said you didn’t start writing the novel yet, but what are you going to use to write it? Like, on the computer?”

“Oh, uhh…” He hadn’t thought of that yet. “I haven’t really thought of that yet. Word, I guess? Or Notepad, because I probably don’t have Word.”

Jason smiles; ah, to be a novice again, so innocent and unaware of the shitstorm a’brewin’. “Okay, I don’t know what your financial situation is–”

“Living in my parents’ attic. I just recently flunked out of college, I’ll have you know. My debt has more figures than the mileage on my car, Jason. I’m living the American dream.”

That rouses such laughter that Jason slaps the table. “Awesome! A’ight, so do yourself a favor and invest fifty bucks into an application called Scrivener. It’s a drafting software, you download it right from their website, and it has everything you need to organize your shit and turn a blank white screen into a manuscript. When I started I used Word and it was a fuckin’ nightmare, trust me. Scrivener makes the entire process so much easier.”

Albey whips out his phone and writes the name of the app into his notes, almost completely sure he’ll never remember to look back at it. “Scrivener, got it. Good lookin’ out.”

“Happy to help. So, my process: I do three drafts. First, second, and final. The first draft is the longest and most labor-intensive; I type the whole thing up in Scrivener from beginning to end, I don’t look back once before it’s done unless I need to reference a detail I put down. Then, when it’s done – oh yeah, I forgot to mention, everybody has a different way of putting a story together. Some do long, uninterrupted parts, some do chapters, some do parts broken up into chapters, some do parts broken up into chapters broken up further into subchapters; I usually stick to chapters broken up into subchapters, and when I’m drafting it I number them. You’ve read Stephen King; you’re familiar with subchapter form, right?”

“Oh yeah, I love that. I thought he was the only one who did it like that.”

Jason doesn’t even try to suppress his smirk. “How many other authors do you read?”

“Literally not a single one.”

“Which will explain that. So, I write my story in subchapter form from beginning to end, and then when it’s done I go through and read each subchapter and give them a name. When all the chapters and subchapters – and parts, if I’m doing a really big one – are named, I copy and paste them into a Word document, but not the normal eight and a half by eleven schtick. I self-publish my stuff through Amazon – oh, speaking of which, do you have an idea of how you’re going to publish your novel?”

“Not a one,” Albey says with misplaced confidence. “I figured I’d worry about that when it was done.”

So innocent, so unaware. Bless his soul. “Good. So what was I… right, so I format a Word document to look like a book and I copy and paste the story into said document, one subchapter at a time, text alignment justified unless it works better aligned center or right or left. It depends on the specific body of text, but usually it’s justified, and I go through and read it one more time, changing whatever I need to change so there aren’t any lines with gigantic gaps of blank space between the words, because that shit is an eyesore and little else.

“And that is the first draft.”

“Holy shit,” Albey says, exhausted on this writer ‘man’s behalf.

“Yeah, I know. So when the first draft is all done I give myself the rest of the day off. I usually just go off in the woods or up a mountain or something and have a fire, decompress. I used to smoke weed – it’s funny, weed was the one thing I never got addicted to, a half a joint put me on my ass every time without fail – but after seven or eight books I realized it just made the editing process harder, so I stopped with the weed.” Jason smiles redly. “Not sure why I told you that, but anyway, the very next day I start the second draft, which is just me reading the manuscript slowly, one word at a time, from beginning to end, changing whatever I see fit. When I’m done making changes, the second draft is done.”

“Wow, that seems a lot more simple than the first draft.”

“It is,” he smiles, “and thank Christ for that. So when the second draft is done, I plug it into Amazon and request a proof copy, which is just a copy of the book with a banner across the front that says Not for Resale or something like that. That usually takes a few days to get printed and shipped and whatnot, so in the meantime I’ll either just relax or start  another project, something shorter. Usually I’ll write out a short story by hand, sometimes I might even draft up a novella, it doesn’t really matter which so long as I completely distance myself from the main project and get it totally out of my head.

“When the proof copy gets delivered, or at some arbitrary point after that when I decide that I’m ready, I take a pencil and I proofread through the physical proof copy, make all my marks and shit, and then make amendments to the digital manuscript one chapter at a time.”

“Why bother with the proof copy? That costs money, right?”

“It does, but it’s not really expensive. I find it helps to read it in a different medium, makes it easier to find any mistakes I might have missed. Not everybody feels that way though, that might just be me.”

“Right on,” Albey says. For the first time in his life since before he left for college, Albey feels like a student. “So what next?”

“After I import all the adjustments into the manuscript, that’s it.”

“That… that’s it?”

“Yeah man. I mean, occasionally I’ll read through the manuscript a fourth time if I feel like I bullshitted my way through the second and third draft, but that happens less often than not. It’s like I said, you can only lift so many weights before you need to take a break. Otherwise, you’ll just hinder yourself. If you can’t bring a project to life in three drafts – or four, if you fucked up the second and third – then any subsequent drafts aren’t going to help. You’re just bashing your head against a wall.” He shrugs. “Better to walk through the door and move on to the next one. In my opinion, at least, but what do I know?”

“I mean, you’ve written nine books, dude. I’ve got’a imagine you know something.”

“Perhaps,” admits Jason Wong. “But perhaps not. All depends on who you ask.”

“Perhaps,” parrots Albey. “Do you have a lot of readers?”

This grants life to a snicker. “Depends on what you mean by a lot. I have a blog with a few hundred followers–”

“I’d define that as a lot,” Albey chimes in, even though it’s clear Jason doesn’t think so.

“Well I appreciate that. The way I see it is, in the beginning, I had none. Now, I have some, and new ones show up all the time. I’m grateful. I wish I could do it full time, but that’s just not in the cards right now.”

“No?” Albey asks, so innocent and unaware. “Why not? You seem really passionate about it.”

“Oh I am, believe you me,” Jason assures him with a suddenly serious look in his eyes. “I just started late in life. I’m closer to forty than I am thirty now, I have a wife and kids to think about on top of all the characters I make up.”

Albey almost falls out of his chair. “You could have fooled me, Christ. I thought you were my age, maybe a couple years older.”

“No sir,” Jason says with a resigned shake of his head. “I wish I started at your age, I might really be somewhere by now.”

“When did you start?”

“Four years ago. My thirty-third birthday, on the day.”

“You wrote nine books in four years?!”

“It might seem like a lot, but it really isn’t. I could have twice as many done by now if I didn’t have to work, but I do. I’m a librarian here, by the way. Today’s my day off so I came in anyway. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?”

“Honestly?” Sidney asks. “It doesn’t sound all that bad. I mean, I don’t have a job or anything, but I’m here today too. We have very different lives, Mister Wong, but yet they both brought us together to sit at this table and have this talk. This is ka, my new friend.”

“Ka, you say,” Jason says with a grin. “Now that I can vibe with. You’re a very interesting young man, Mister Blake.”

“I could, and shall, say the same about you. I kind of can’t believe I met you, like, you just taught me so much.”

“Oh come on, you don’t have to–”

“No, I’m serious. I feel like I actually have a direction to walk in now. Thanks, ‘man. Seriously.”

Albey puts his hand out for a shake, and Jason accepts it. The wheel of ka spins ‘round and ‘round as the wind continues to blow.

“So tell me,” when they both have their hands back. “What’s your next move?”

“My next move,” Albey says, taking a deep breath and releasing it through pursed lips. “My next move is to go home and get some food, because I’m starving. But for the novel, I think I’m going to plan it out a little bit more. Really take my time with it, not rush through. I like your three-draft idea; I don’t know that I’m going follow it exactly but I think I’m go’n’a do something like it.”

“Well that sounds exceptional,” Jason Wong says. “I’d like to read it, when it’s done. Whether before you publish it or after, preferably after, though. Think you’d be cool with that?”

“Definitely!” Albey chirps like a baby bird waiting for its mother to puke up a worm. “I appreciate the hell out of that, Jason. Thanks!”

“Anytime, Sidney. I’m sure we’ll run into each other again, just let me know when it’s ready for purchase. I’m looking forward to it.”

“I definitely will!” as Albey gets up. “Not to cut this off or anything, but I’m really hungry. I’m surprised you haven’t heard my stomach growling.”

“Oh, my hearing is atrocious, bud,” Jason explains with a wink. “I read lips; I’d be fucked otherwise.”

Albey doesn’t know what to say to that, so he doesn’t. He simply outstretches a closed fist, and Jason bumps it with one of his own. And thus two writer ‘mans go their separate ways like intersecting plot lines in a storybook where parallel universes collide.


Hello Commons, this has been the third subchapter of the third chapter of Untitled Bigfoot Project, a novel about a writer who writes a novel about bigfoot.

Untitled Bigfoot Project 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.

Untitled Bigfoot Project 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 Untitled Bigfoot Project 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

Notetaking – Untitled Bigfoot Project (66/224)

*FYI: starting tomorrow, March 8th, the Untitled Bigfoot Project posts will be going up at 9 am EST*


Wednesday
Research


Notetaking

Upon that infinite notepad residing in his brain Albey jots down that it takes a few seconds for the doors to open, but they do eventually open. All he has to do is wait.

‘Well that sounds equivo–’ he begins to think and then stops as his legs do the same. ‘Who in the endless wood is that piece of action?’

The piece of action in question – nice save on the word choice, by the way, even though he didn’t say it aloud – isn’t facing Sidney, so she doesn’t see him stop between the twin metal detectors as if they detected a gun in his pocket. And no, that’s certainly not a gun in his pocket, he’s just happy to see her is all, and good lord does Albey need to venture outside his house more often, what the fuck, ’man?

‘How depraved am I?’

He gets walking again, ignoring the mean sneer from the pudgy fellow pushing a cart of newspapers into a room off in the back of the building while at the same time studying the way his large muffintop droops flabbily over his beltline to obscure the unsightly and frankly embarrassing bulge in his slacks. What is he, thirteen? Is this the first time he’s seen an ass (a perfect ass which is clearly no stranger to the ancient art of squatting) wrapped snugly in black yoga pants like a Christmas present just begging to be torn opened and squeezed?

‘Sidney,’ Sidney scolds himself. ‘You need to chill out.’

In addition to knocking off the weed habit, Albey decided to make things as difficult as possible for himself and give up masturbation and porn and everything else which leaks dopamine into the mind of a hormonal twentysomething with a lack of things to do, but now’s no time to get into all that. There’s never really a time to get into that, he’s just giving himself an excuse to think about sex and what that girl might taste like an–

‘Sidney. Blake.’

Fine. Sidney, hands defensively in his pockets, walks up to the big circular librarian desk and picks up a pamphlet about the cost of not returning library books on time and tries very hard not to sneak a peek at the piece of action’s action as she bends over and picks up the book she just dropped Jesus Christ I’m in a bad way, god help me.’

A few seconds later the action turns around and starts a bit, but not because she caught Albey staring at her. He might be a bit rusty with the whole human-to-human interaction thing, but downright sloppy Sidney Blake is not. She just didn’t hear him walking up is all, as the wheels on that cart the pudgy boy is ferrying from one room to another are squeaking so loudly, more than loudly enough to cover the sound of Albey’s skater shoes licking the carpet like Albey would like to lic–

‘Sidney Fucking Blake!’

“Hiya, can I help you?” asks the piece of action from whom Albey would love some help.

“Hi, I think you just might,” Sidney says, wishing he hadn’t as he sloppily shoves the pamphlet into his back pocket, crumpling it past readability. I think you just might.  It wasn’t that bad, was it? Nah, not as bad as this seconds-long pause though. Good grief, this boy. “I uh, I recently moved back into town and there was no library here when I left. I figure I need a library card or something, right?”

“Perhaps,” she says, then bends over slightly to tap on the low-lying keyboard. ‘Don’t look down her shirt whatever you do oh god I looked oh god she’s so perfect,’ “Uhh… shit. I mean, shoot. Hold on a second.”

She turns and scampers off to a room to Albey’s right – an office, as evidenced by the view through the large two-paned window with chicken wire pressed between the panes for whatever reason – and Albey decidedly does not look to see her ass jiggle. It definitely jiggles, as this girl is clearly no stranger to the ancient art of squatting, and though Albey feels exhausted with himself for thinking these things, he does not watch the piece of action’s action perform its action as she scampers off to the office, and that’s something.

It’s really not much, but it sure is something.

‘I need to take a fuckin’ ice bath.’

The piece of action comes back to the librarian desk not a minute later, walking calmly, confidently, and without jiggle. Sidney is very grateful for this, for battling temptation is a fool’s wager and our boy’s in no position to gamble.

“So, you don’t need a library card if you’re just coming here, but you do need one if you want to take out books.”

They look at each other for a second like two complete strangers who accidentally locked eyes in the subway and now neither of them knows what to do.

“Sooo…” she says after a moment, “are you going to take out any books?”

“Books? Uh, no. Probably not,” Sidney says, setting himself up for something he’s not nearly alpha enough to pull off. “I’m just here to do some research. I can hang out and work here, right?”

“Yeah, of course,” the girl says with a friendly smile. “That’s what libraries are for. What are you studying?”

“Oh uh, no, I’m not–… I’m actually writing a novel about… uh.” He laughs sheepishly at himself, then, “About… bigfoot.”

“You’re writing a novel about bigfoot.”

They look at each other again, neither sure what exactly they’re doing here.

“I am,” Sidney says, catching a wave and putting his hands on the table, “so I guess I should ask you if this fine establishment has any books on the subject.”

“Books about bigfoot,” she says flatly, then shrugs her shoulders (and another part of her – two parts, twins to be precise – that Albey goes to war with himself to not look at, good lord he needs to get out more). “Honestly, not the weirdest thing I’ve heard today. I’ll check the system for you, hold on juuuust a sec’.”

Honey, Sidney Blake is holding on for dear life. Believe that above all else.

“Thanks!” he chirps, hoping she didn’t notice the little crack in his voice. Her grin says she did, but her lack of words says she didn’t, so that’s… something, he guesses. “I’m uh, I’m Sidney by the way.”

“Victoria,” she says whilst struggling to understand the system. “My friends call me Tori though.”

“Yeah? Then what can I call you?”

“Ugh…” she says under her breath, stabbing Albey in the throat with an icicle and spilling blood everywhere. “Sorry, that wasn’t for you, the computer’s being stupid. It’s my first day, I don’t know how this sh–… system works. Le’me go get someone.”

As she goes to get someone, ‘Don’t look at her ass don’t look at her ass don’t look at her lovely heart-shaped ass,’ she stops and turns around to say, “You can call me whatever you want, by the way. Just don’t call me Vicky.”

“What about Vic’, then?” Sidney challenges. Vic’ shoots the boy an almost astonished smile over her shoulder, then goes about getting someone. He pulls out his phone so he doesn’t watch her go.

‘Oh yeah, got all the inspiration I need,’ Sidney thinks to himself, scrolling through his apps to watch all the pretty colors. As he locks his phone and slips it back into his pocket, ‘Let the notetaking begin.’

Tori comes back with the pudgy boy in tow. He’s not a boy, dude’s got to be at least ten years older than Albey is, easy, but he lacks the demeanor of a man… or maybe Albey’s just feeling himself for the first time in a while. Maybe both, maybe neither, but it doesn’t matter, they don’t share an interaction. The pudgy boy – Denny, according to his nametag, and why didn’t Sidney look at Victoria’s nametag? Because it’s pinned on the slope of her left tit, of course, and looking at said tit might come off as rude – mumbles to Tori as he jabs impatiently at various points on the screen. Tori, shuffling her hands, nods as if she understands whilst simultaneously exuding an aura that shouts she doesn’t, but then she suddenly calms down. Denny the Pudge finishes his lesson and hustles back to whatever he was doing, jiggling in all the right places, and suddenly Sidney is alone with a politely smiling Vic’ again.

“Sooo,” she says when the pudgy boy is out of earshot, “he didn’t really help at all, but I think I got you covered.” She reaches for a shelf under the desk, to the very spot her eyes darted the instant before she shrugged off Denny’s harried mumbling, and pulls out a book. “You’re probably go’n’a need to peruse the uh… the nonfiction section, I guess, for other books about bigfoot by yourself, but this one should get you started.”

Sidney takes the book and thanks god he didn’t awkwardly brush her fingers with his. Could you imagine?

“Footing the Bill,” Sidney reads, astounded, “The United States’ Government’s Role in the Mythization and Encroaching Extinction of the American Sasquatch. By Jeff Meldrum.” He gapes at her, unable to believe the reality around him.

“What, is that no good?”

“No, this is, fuckin’… oh, uh, sorry. This is perfect. Thank you, Vic’.”

“No problem, Sid’,” she says, then her eyes dart over his shoulder. “Oh no…”

“Whuh–” as he starts to turn, but he doesn’t finish. Doesn’t need to. Sidney could recognize that voice anywhere.

“Well would you look at this, Vicky decided to show up for work today!” booms Harrington Bogspekti, all fiveish feet of the lad. Sidney decides to turn around anyway. “And,” then Harry gasps, throwing a hand to his chest and planting his feet in faux shock. “My stars, it’s Albey Blake! He lives after all!”

Now, human telepathy almost definitely isn’t a thing, but Albey swears he hears Tori’s voice say, ‘I thought your name was Sidney,’ in his mind, and he duly answers, ‘It is, that’s just an old nickname, I promise.’ He then turns to look at her but she’s on the other side of the circular desk arena thing, mindlessly shuffling papers in hopes that this moment will end.

“Hey Harry,” Sidney says, making his approach. They clasp hands and brohug. “So I finally came to check out the library! You got good timing, ‘man.”

“I’m always right on time Albey, c’m’on. You know me better than that.” He then folds his arms as if he was waiting for something.

“Yeah, I sure do,” and thus begins the silence highlighted by the squeaking of rusty wheels. He holds up his bigfoot book then, saying, “So uh, I got’a–”

So uh,” Harrington mocks, then throws an arm around Sidney’s shoulder and leads him to the big front desk. “Me thinks you owe me an apology, Mister Albey. You too, Miss Vicky. Bring yo’ fine self over here, would’ya?”

Victoria rolls her eyes, but does as she’s asked.

“Vicky, this is my boy Albey. That’s not his real name, of course; his government name is Sidney Blake, but he goes by Albey because he’s a hardened criminal on the run from the law. Albey, this is Vicky, the prettiest brunette this side of the One’One’Five.”

“Huh, look at that. She has brown hair,’ Albey thinks to himself, adding, ‘And hazel eyes. Very nice hazel eyes.’ Then, verbally, “Yeah, we met already. She hooked me up with this book. Speakin’a’which.”

Albey tries to shrug Harrington’s hairless arm off his shoulder but fails miserably.

“She hooked you up, huh? Easy there, Albey, don’t go try’n’a steal my girl on me.”

Victoria looks appalled. Sidney feels exactly how she looks. Harry probably doesn’t feel anything at all, just that bottomless void in the center of his mortal being.

“No I, I uh, I wasn’t–”

“Sure y’were, dude! Just look at her!” Harry says much too loudly. Where’s Denny the Pudge when you need him? “Hell, I don’t know how you couldn’t look at her!”

“Okay, can we not, please?” Victoria asks, desperately wanting to get back to work.

“Sure, we can not all day, princess. Just as soon as you apologize.” Harry turns to Albey, still smiling that toothy, seedy smile. “You too, lover boy. Hell, if y’all both say it at the same time I might even get a good laugh in.”

Albey looks at Vic’, who’s looking right back at him, hey, look at that, and then they both turn back to Harry.

“What do you want us to apologize for?” Albey asks seriously.

Harry, finally taking his arm off Sidney’s shoulder, recoils as if struck. “Uh, well, you both missed my party last week. Or whenever it was. And I cannot lie, I was hurt.”

“Oh shit, I almost forgot about that,” Albey says sincerely, gripping his bigfoot book. “I’m sorry, dude.”

“As you should be,” Harry asserts. “You both missed a wonderful time. I got some acid imported from… from don’t worry about it, and the whole thing evolved into an orgy. It was fuckin’ nuts, literally.

“I’m not sorry,” Tori says, clearly over this whole… whatever this is. “You’re lying, anyway. Denny was there, he told me about it when I came in. He said hardly anybody showed up and it was all dudes. So maybe it was an orgy, after all.”

‘Oh shit,’ Albey thinks, relishing in this smackdown.

“Scathing,” Harry says flatly. “You’re lucky you’re so cute, Vicky. Bet you get told that a lot.”

Tori takes a slow, deep breath. “Is there anything else I can help you with, Mister Bogspekti?”

“I guess I’m not getting that apology, huh?”

“How about you, Albey?” she asks, beaming. “I can call you that, right?”

“Yeah, call me whatever you want,” Albey says with a goofy sort of smile, a smile which inspires Vic’ to titter, a titter which inspires Harry to go slightly red in the face, to regret both inviting Vicky to his party during her interview and granting her the interview in the first place.

“All right, kids, get a fuckin’ room,” as he takes his first steps in storming off. Then he stops, as if he suddenly remembered where he was, and turns back to Albey. “Yo, I almost forgot, c’m’ere. I got’a give you that tour of my newspaper racket. You’re gon’a love this shit, Sid’, it’s the tits.”

Sidney is sure of nothing more than the fact Harry’s newspaper racket is not the tits, mainly because the tits are standing just on the other side of the desk from him, and what’s more they’re attached to a pretty lady! But anyway, “I’m down, but can I come find you a little later? I have some work I got’a do, homie. I love ya, but I didn’t come here just for you. I’m ‘bout’a write a novel.”

“Oh,” Harry says, burying his hands deep into the pockets of his baggy white shorts. He’s wearing a white tee, too, and a gold chain around his neck, and a fuckin’ fisherman’s hat too, of all things, and guess what color that hat is – oh yeah, the pale green of dried algae. “Yeah, sure. Office is just over there.” He gestures to the door Denny pushed the newspaper cart out of when Albey walked in… maybe. He wasn’t paying attention. “You come find me whenever you’re ready.”

“Will do,” Sidney says with a wave. Harry doesn’t wave back – ‘What is this, a fuckin’ beach? Are we in a goddamn wave pool?’ – but he does skulk away, hands venturing ever deeper into his pockets. Albey goes to find himself a table, then turns back towards Vic’. She’s not looking at him, but when he says, “Thanks again, Vic’,” she looks up and hits him with a smile that melts that icicle into a warm trickle that makes him feel all fuzzy inside.

Feeling belligerently inspired all of the sudden, Albey sets off into the Logger’s Pond Public Library to find himself a place to sit. As he opens Foot the Bill, there is but one single thought on his mind: ‘Let the notetaking begin.’

And how the notetaking does begin; Albey doesn’t learn a whole lot about bigfoot from the book Tori found for him, only that there are various species (if you’re inclined to call them that, which Albey is, for though they may not exist in the real world, in the endless wood of The Hillside Commons they are all too real, realer than real in fact, so real that only a Mad Poet can hope to learn their secrets) of the world’s hairiest bipedal cryptid. The speciation of bigfoot varies with the biome in which they’re found, and though Foot the Bill fails to include a rainforest version of a bigfoot, ‘Probably because they figure it’s just a gorilla. Fools,’ it does list five major species. Albey, scrawly madly, takes down the following:

Species of Bigfoot

  1. Sasquatch of the Boreal Forest – Brown hair. Most human-like. Known to use tools, moves nimbly through the trees. Omnivorous.
  2. Skunk Ape of the Marshlands – Orange hair. Borderline amphibious. Smells absolutely wretched, saliva is poisonous. Omnivorous.
  3. Yeti of the Tundric Mountains – White/gray hair. Vicious and unrestrained. Only species with (allegedly bioluminescent) claws. Carnivorous.
  4. Shaggy Man of the Plainlands – Straw-colored hair. Ultimate survivalist. Expert in camouflage, sleep in waterproof huts they weave out of grass. Herbivorous.
  5. Sand Stalker of the Desert – Jet black hair. Subterranean, only come out at night. Extremely intelligent and swift. Carnivorous.

*All species are said to have heightened senses of hearing, sight, and especially smell compared to humans. Essentially bipedal wolves of the Halla/Calla, but ape-like.*

That was all presented in the introduction chapter; the rest of the book is primarily about how the US government raped and pillaged the Native Americans for all they had. You see, the Native Americans had a great lot of folklore about bigfoot (or Sasquatch, for accuracy’s sake) and they saw the cryptid in the light of a deity, almost. They did not worship Sasquatch, but they did respect it as a species, and Albey doesn’t blame them. In the eyes of a human, the only thing better than a human is a human who pushed the envelope of evolution until they were so big, strong, and hairy that they were capable of living out in the forest (or in the marshlands, or in the tundric mountains, or in the plainlands, or in the desert) all by themselves. It’s actually interesting – so many cultures across the world have a mythos with a creature we know as bigfoot playing the leading role, and yet the majority of humans (Sidney firmly included in that majority, don’t worry) believe the apish wild man to be little more than a figment of the overactive imagination. It’s sad, really. It would be worse if bigfoots were real and they raped and pillaged humanity like the US government raped and pillaged the Native Americans and all their culture and whatnot, but, y’know. Still sad.

Sidney skims through the rest of Foot the Bill over the course of about nineteen minutes and finds little else of its information to be noteworthy. He’s tempted to go back up to the desk and chat with Vic’ some more, maybe try to get her number or something, but ultimately decides against it. A young woman doesn’t want a young man who bothers her every time he needs something done, a young woman wants a young man who is totally autonomous, who doesn’t give a damn whether she’s there or not because he has shit to do and he’s going to do it, god damnit… right?

‘Who the fuck knows,’ Albey rationalizes as he scours the dusty-ass nonfiction section for the home of Foot the Bill: The United States’ Government’s Role in the Mythization and Encroaching Extinction of the American Sasquatch. During his sort’a expedition he notices how, contrary to every single book on the shelf, Foot the Bill is missing a little sticker with a bunch of numbers on it, but he pays that no mind. He left Tori on a high note, and doesn’t wish to spoil it. There is such a thing as saying too much.

After four minutes of searching Sidney chances across who else but Denny the Pudge busy bumbling to himself about something or other. He has a cart loaded with books rather than newspapers, and he doesn’t seem to be very happy about it at all. He also doesn’t seem to realize that Albey’s come up behind him, so Albey taps him on the shoulder. Denny jumps three centimeters off the ground.

“You startled me!” he whispers violently before turning around. When he turns around, the look on his mug takes that violence and shoots it up with steroids. And crack rocks. “Oh, it’s you. The long-haired one.”

“My hair’s not that long, ‘man,” Sidney says with a smile, though compared to Denny the Pudge’s coal black buzzcut, maybe it is that long. “Anyway, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you. I got this book from Vic’ up at the fr–”

“Her name is Victoria,” Denny stammers fluently, “and I’ll ask that you pronounce it correctly.”

“Oh, she said I can call her whatever I want. So anyway, I got this book from Vic’ up at the front desk but I can’t find where it’s supposed to go. I was hoping you could help.”

Utter misery in that scowl, the kind of misery that finds company distasteful. “Give me that,” as he snatches the book. “Foot the Bill, eh? What are you, some kind of weirdo? Some kind of cryptozoologist? Very well, fine, all well and good.” He turns the book over and over, bringing his examination one step short of smelling the damn thing, then stops when he notices the spine. “Well of course you can’t find the book’s rightful home, it has yet to be granted a Dewey Decimal number!” Denny the Pudge eyes Albey the Mad Poet with one eye, one eye as stinking as the Skunk Ape of the Marshlands, and then nods to himself. “Fine. Thank you, sir, I will take care of this right away.”

“Anytime,” Albey says to the Pudge’s back as he hastily scurries away. “Hey wait, do you kn–” but he’s gone, lost amongst the shelves. Albey sighs. “Fine, I guess I’m on my own.”

The totally autonomous man, the one who has shit to do and he’s going to do it, god damnit, goes about pilfering through the nonfiction section of the Logger’s Pond Public Library all by his lonesome, and he finds a surprisingly large number of books about bigfoot. Granted, he only finds four – The Essential Guide to Bigfoot, by Ken Gerhard; Willow Creek: The Official Companion Softback to the Major Motion Picture, by Bobcat Goldthwait; Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science, also by Jeff Meldrum; and Bigfoot… It’s Complicated, a misplaced novel by Denver Riggleman, who’s an actual United States Representative, ‘No shit.’ – and none of them tell him anything he doesn’t already know, but still Albey flips through them and gives them a proper skimming. He refreshes himself on the all-encompassing diet of a bigfoot, their propensity for throwing sticks and bashing the heads of their prey in with big rocks, their nesting habits and how they regulate territorial disputes (by bashing each other’s heads in with big rocks), the noises they make (WHOOPs, knocks, all that good stuff), the lovely legend of the forest bride, which is honestly goddamn terrifying when you let yourself really think about it, which Albey doesn’t want to do.

All in all Sidney learns less than he already knew from watching as many corny-ass television programs about bigfoot as he possibly could back when he was growing up, but still, what he learned today will definitely prove useful to him. He’s feeling content with the fact that Albey the Mad Poet is not a woman, because if he was, Sidney would have no choice but to craft a forest bride incident for the book, and that would make him feel… well, honestly, he doesn’t know how he’d feel about it.

‘Maybe I will put a thing about the forest bride into The Face of Fear. Maybe there used to be somebody living in the bigfoot cabin before Albey got there, and maybe it was a woman. Maybe that’s the reason the cabin is empty, because the bigfoots made a bride out of her. We shall certainly see.’

Yikes, he almost shudders just thinking about it. Sidney cannot lie though, not to himself: he’s even more excited now than he was before to get this book started.

After putting his last bigfoot book back on the shelf from whence it came, Albey checks his phone. He’s been here for a solid two hours, not bad. It’s not closing time yet though, not even close, and if Harry catches him leaving without getting a tour first then he’ll absolutely force the tour on him, so uh… might as well face it like it’s fear, right? May as well charge head-on into the fire lest the blaze spread to him.

Right?

Sidney cautiously peeks his head out from behind the bookshelf he’s currently using to hide. He sees Harry sitting in an office yucking it up with some girl who’s hardly even a girl compared to Victoria, as rude and chauvinistic as thinking as much is. Actually, scratch that – Harry is yucking it up with some girl, just a plain ol’ girl; Victoria, standing alone in the center desk absolutely killing her first day as a librarian, is a woman, and nothing short of it.

‘Go’n’a be my woman, too, if I have anything to say about it,’ Albey thinks to himself, having absolutely nothing to say about it.

Harry suddenly turns his head and locks eyes with Sidney. Albey launches himself backwards, landing hard on the thin carpet… but at least he didn’t hit his head again. Although, maybe hitting his head would help him figure out how to court Tori… nnnaaaahhhhhh.

Sidney stands and dusts himself off. Deciding that it’s no time to take a tour of Harry’s bogus newspaper racket, he continues perusing the nonfiction shelves of the Logger’s Pond Public Library, knowing perfectly well that his notetaking is done. Sure, he could plot out his novel a little bit more, but in the sentiment of the great Wordslinger himself: where’s the fun in that?

“It isn’t,” Sidney Blake tells himself, and thus the procrastination commences.


Hello Commons, this has been the second subchapter of the third chapter of Untitled Bigfoot Project, a novel about a writer who writes a novel about bigfoot.

Untitled Bigfoot Project 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.

Untitled Bigfoot Project 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 Untitled Bigfoot Project 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

Particleboard – Under the Hood: TIoJK (9/44)

The Preacherman

Think of this facility as a place to be when there’s nowhere else to go.


Particleboard

Immediately upon stepping inside the building Jonathan knows exactly why the lights were left on. He does not understand the reason, but he knows it all too well: this house is a house, yes, but not a house like all the other houses. This is not a house where mortal men make their home. This building at the end of Madison Avenue is a church, a house of God, and Jonathan is alone inside it.

It isn’t an immaculate building. Plain sheetrock walls painted an inoffensive cream beige. Lights in the white ceiling, baseboard heating crowning the wooden floor, a couple framed pictures of Jesus Christ dotting the walls here and there between the crosses, some of which are Christless. Rows upon rows of old pews built together so whoever sits in them have to share the middle arm rest. One aisle leading up to the tiny stage upon which sits the unstained wooden pulpit. Might not even be made out of wood, might just be particleboard. Jonathan doesn’t want to know.

Behind the pulpit there’s a large crucifix, the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ hanging dead by his wrists because all the others did so much evil that he had to pay their price. Because that’s just how the world works. Jonathan Knox is not a religious man, nor is he sure that God exists, nor does he understand how a God could exist in a world where the good and innocent pay heavily for the crimes of the evil and guilty. Oh yes, Jonathan understands that little facet of reality very well, all too well, and perhaps that understanding is what keeps him on the high fence regarding his belief in God. Perhaps the fact that the good fall for the sins of the evil time and time again without fail is a sign that God is real, that God designs this reality, although without too much intelligence. Perhaps that’s why the dirty cops are going to get away with sacrificing that child to their Rock, because God wants it to happen, and perhaps that’s why Jonathan felt compelled to come to this church tonight. Perhaps God wants Jonathan to understand that bad things have to happen all the time, that there’s no hope in this poisoned world where houses burn down in the night, this world where the only ones who survive are those who cannot hope to properly fend for themselves…

Or maybe Jonathan was brought here to realize that his work is not done. He got all worked up and fled the police chief’s house, but the night is not over. The gas is still in the can. The matches are no longer in his pocket, but that’s only because he took them out and put them in the cup holder. Houses burn down in the night all the time… all Jonathan Knox has to do is start the fire.

But first and foremost there’s the business of all these lights. Jonathan came into this church because he was going to turn the lights off, and how perfectly fitting that would be. Burning down a man’s house is inarguably an evil act, but evil has to happen for this poisoned world to keep spinning. God is supposed to be good, but perhaps that’s just a big facade. It certainly seems that way from where Jonathan is standing. A holy place of worship and holiness decorated with recreations of an innocent man hanging from crossed pieces of wood, nailed miserably through the wrists; there is no goodness in the business of God, no righteousness in his oh so mysterious ways. It’s all a lie, a ruse, a grift under the kindest of lights. Well maybe that’s the problem, maybe the lights are kind to the point of being misleading. There is no goodness left in this world. There was no goodness in it in the first place, churches like this one are just misguided attempts by the foolish to make the world seem like a better place. Well it’s not a better place. It’s not a good place at all. This world is a world in which houses burn down in the night, and even a house of God shouldn’t be any exception… but Jonathan Knox isn’t going to burn down this house. No, he’s only going to turn the lights off. Then someone else could burn it down.

Yeah, then someone else could burn it down. And this time, Jonathan Knox won’t be inside.’

Suddenly Jonathan Knox realizes he started to drool at some point. He wipes the dribble off his bottom lip and dries his shirtsleeve on his pants, then turns and looks about the wall behind him. More gaudily framed pictures of the innocent and damned one along with the thing used to damn him, but no light switches. He looks along the side walls and sees more of the same, then walks down the aisle in the prayerway to check out the pulpit. Maybe there’s a secret light switch inside the lectern.

There isn’t, which surprises Jonathan Knox, because churches always ask for donations from their patrons, especially churches like this one where the facilities are shabby to keep up the appearance of being not so well off when, in reality, the dirty folks in charge are rollin’ in the dough. Sure, the place may look like nothing special, may look like a humble household if ever there were one, but in reality the place is wired up so all the preacherman has to do it press a button and the lights all shut off and the blacktop out front opens up like a mouth to reveal a secret subterranean garage where all the sportscars are stored; hell, the police department probably has a bunch of their cruisers down there too, the government conspiring with the church, what else is new? It’s all a conspiracy, they’re all working together to get Jonathan Knox, they’re all in cahoots and they have all the money in the world to set Jonathan Knox up and finally catch him but they hide it in plain sight, just like the light switch hidden inside the church’s pulpit… except there is no hidden light switch.

Huh. There’s no light switch inside the pulpit, it’s just plain wood. It’s actual wood, too, not particleboard made to look like wood. Just plain ol’ actual wood, exactly as it appears.

Huh.

The wall the gigantic crucifix is hanging on extends out from the back wall, almost as if it was built to conceal a cavity of sorts. Jonathan walks around to the right side of the wall and finds another door. An unlocked door, behind which sits a small, desolate office. A particleboard desk – and it is particleboard, too, Jonathan can tell from the large chip in one of the legs – with a computer sitting on it and a rusty metal chair with a cushion that’s surely sat many asses in its time. No pictures of babyboy Jesus Christ hanging dead from crossed wood on the walls, but there is a light switch. Three light switches, actually. One for the office, obviously, so the other two must be–

The church goes dark, darker than night. Sure, it’s a warm darkness, but that’s only because of the baseboard heating and the insulated walls. There’s no carpet here, this house of God is nothing like Jonathan Knox’s home. Nothing.

Jonathan Knox hits the third light switch, presumes he shut off the outside light, and then leaves the office to stumble blindly through the prayerway and back out to the parking lot. There are no windows in this church, so maybe it’s a little bit like Jonathan’s home, but… but that’s the only way the two are similar.

The ornery old pews let Jonathan know they’re still there by clocking him unforgivingly in the shins after he stumbles down the steps between the pulpit’s platform and the lower floor. He finds his way into the aisle and starts down it, then freezes as the front door creaks open.

“Hello?” a weak voice calls into the dark church. The speaker is a shape, a creature shrouded in black, a long silhouette of darkness which stands out even against the dark night. “Is there someone in here? Please, I… I don’t want any trouble.”

An old creature, by the sound of its voice. Jonathan can take it on, if it comes to that, but he hopes it doesn’t. There’ll be enough blood on his hands when he’s through with Maxwell’s house, but then again what’s one more lamb to the slaughter?

“I’m going to come in,” says the man – it has to be a man, it sounds old and weak and old women speak in a certain crooning way that this fellow does not. “Please, I don’t… if anyone is here please do me no harm, I am a simple man of the cloth.” Then, with a smile Jonathan can hear, “I only wish to let there be light.”

“I’m here, I–… I uh, I am… eh… I’m in here,” Jonathan says, stumbling orally.

“Who’s that now?” says the self-proclaimed man of the cloth as the door swings shut. “I don’t recognize your voice.”

“You wouldn’t,” Jonathan Knox says, then thinks to himself, ‘Nobody would.’

The sound of feet falling softly on the wooden floor. Not a single heel is dragged.

“No, I suppose I’d not,” is chuckled after a moment of dark walking. “I’m sorry it gets so dark in here, whoever you are. I’m looking into getting some windows installed but our funding is a little bit low at present. We recently opened back up.”

Jonathan doesn’t know what to say to that, so he says nothing. He simply shimmies into a row of pews and sits down, then feels thankful he landed on a seat and not an armrest. Goodness, would y’look at that – Jonathan Knox feeling thankful inside of a house of God. This man of the cloth, this preacherman is good… too good.

“Just a moment,” says the preacherman despite the fact that Jonathan didn’t ask how long it would take.

Jonathan hears his feet climb up to the pulpit without kicking into the stairs or denting his shins on anything. It’s almost like he knows exactly where he’s going, like he doesn’t need the light to see, but that doesn’t make any sense. He said they just opened back up, he can’t have been here for long. Who is this suspect preacherman?

The lights flash on. Jonathan’s hands fly to his face to block the beams and the bridge of his glasses digs into his nose. Were the pew he’s sitting on not bolted to the floor, Jonathan Knox would have fallen over backwards.

“There we are. Now, where… ah!”

After fixing his thick-rimmed glasses back into their precise position with both of his hands, Jonathan looks up to the side of the crucifix and sees the preacherman. He’s an old boy done up all nice in his black robes with the little white collar. All gutsied up in his little uniform, just like the Fellers. ‘Just like the cultists.’

“Hello,” says the reverend as he’s coming down the aisle. “I’m Reverend Campbell, but you can call me Neil.”

“Uh, hi,” Jonathan says, staring up at this Reverend Campbell, ‘but I can call him Neil.’ “I’m Jonathan Knox.”

Campbell puts his hand out as if he wants Jonathan Knox to shake it. “Good to meet you, Jon.”

“Jonathan,” Jonathan says as he cautiously takes the reverend’s hand in his. He’s got a firm grip, the reverend, very secure and firm. A handshake very much like that of a man Jonathan Knox once knew. Jonathan stared up at that man, too, but not because he was sat down when they first shook hands. No, Jonathan was just a boy back then. Just a small child, lost and full of hope and delusive beliefs about the world. “It’s not Jon, it’s Jonathan.”

“Jonathan, then,” Reverend Neil Campbell says with a smile. Their hands are still together, shaking. Jonathan very much wants his hand back now, this preacherman’s hand feels slimy. All sorts of wrong and discretely slimy. “Well it’s a pleasure to meet you, Jonathan.”

“Yeah,” Jonathan polites, hastily taking his violated hand back and shoving it into his pocket so it can dry.

The reverend chuckles then, sounding a bit like he walked into a surprise party for someone else. “So, eh… what brings you here to Saint Wuester’s Church tonight, Jonathan? I don’t often get visitors so late in the eve’.”

“The lights were left on,” Jonathan says flatly. “I was coming up the road and everyone else’s house was dark, but your lights were left on. I thought this was a normal house.”

Still smiling, the reverend asks, “So… you came in and shut them off?”

“Lights cost money, Reverend Campbell,” Jonathan recites. “Even closet lights run on electricity. There was nobody in the parking lot, I thought the place was empty. I was just being a good neighbor.” Time to spring it on him. “Speaking of which, just where is your car, Reverend Campbell? What, do you just live here? Is that it? Do you live in this house of God?”

“As a matter of fact, Jonathan, I do,” the preacherman answers calmly. “I have a small dormitory back behind the building.”

Jonathan Knox is at a loss for words, and he shows it. The reverend smiles.

“Are you all right, Jonathan? You seem troubled.”

Heart racing. Pulse beating in his temples. ‘I need to get out of here.’

“You seem a little worked up, if you don’t mind me say–”

“I do!” Jonathan blurts loudly. The sound of his voice echoes slightly against the walls. “I… I’m sorry, Father, I need to get home now.”

Reverend Campbell holds a steady hand up. “Please, Jonathan, I am not a Father. This is a church, yes, but we are not affiliated with any specific religion. I only go by Reverend because… well, to be completely honest with you, we stole it from the clergy.”

“Well I’m sorry Reverend,” Jonathan says sharply as he springs up and sidesteps his way into the aisle, “but I really must be going now.” He gets halfway to the door, then, “Wait, what…”

Reverend Campbell is still smiling when Jonathan turns to face him.

“If you’re not affiliated with any religions, why do you call this place a church? And why do you have so many crucifixions?”

Campbell shrugs suspiciously, his face an aged mask of honesty. “They were already here when we acquired the building, taking them down seemed like it would be a hassle. Especially that big one,” as he hawks a thumb over his shoulder. “As for why we call it a church, well… I suppose we stole that word, too. Think of this facility as a place to be when there’s nowhere else to go.” He spreads his arms in a gesture which certainly has some kind of intention behind it. “You’re more than welcome to stay if you’d like, Mister Knox. I left the lights on for a reason, after all.”

Jonathan Knox’s entire body is suddenly shaking. He doesn’t know what’s going on, he doesn’t know who this Reverend Campbell thinks he’s supposed to be, but he does know one thing: he needs to get the fuck out of this church. This alleged church, that’s not affiliated with any religions yet is decorated on all sides by pictures of Jesus Christ and the cross by which he was hung. It’s too much, it’s all too wrong and slimy and just… it’s just too much.

“Goodnight!” Jonathan shouts over his shoulder as he turns and barrels out of the dirty church, whipping his arms like he was performing a hundred-meter dash.

The front door swings open, then shuts. The hum of a smart car coming drowsily out of a short slumber, the screeching of tires spinning too fast to immediately gain traction. The reverend Neil Campbell looks around like he isn’t sure any of that just happened, then shrugs and mutters something to himself under his breath on his way out.


Hello Commons, this has been the third subchapter of the second chapter of Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox, a novel about a man who likes to eavesdrop on his neighbors.

Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox is the second book in the W-2222 series, a series of books which take place in Universe W-2222.

Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox 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 Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox 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.

If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. Be well Commons~

Posted in Writings

Inspiration – Untitled Bigfoot Project (65/224)

Wednesday
Research


Inspiration

“All right big guy, what’s the word? You comin’ with me or not?”

Albey’s journal, a three subject notebook of college ruled looseleaf with a solid green cover (aside from the blocky white text explaining all that) stares back up at him without saying a word. He decided he should definitely take his pen – it’s always a good idea to carry a pen, a lesson he learned from his old college roommate Nicholas – but the journal is decidedly less necessary.

“Well, the pen’s not technically necessary either,” Sidney reminds himself. “I’ve done all my notetaking in pencil so far, like any rational writer should, so I guess I don’t really need to take the pen.”

The pen comes out of the pocket to be scrutinized by a ‘man with more stubble on the left side of his face than on the right to ultimately be shoved back into the pocket. It’s always a good idea to carry a pen.

“But what about you, Journal?” Sidney asks himself more than he does the green notebook. “What about you?”

Journal, of course, does not give an answer. Not a verbal one, at least; despite its owner’s many assertions to the contrary, the green notebook named Journal does have feelings, and thoughts, and even a consciousness. It’s a very limited form of consciousness compared to beings like Sidney Blake who have a biological body with a brain spinning around inside its skull, but it’s a consciousness nonetheless, and a consciousness Sidney once got the chance to explore back in college. He pretends not to remember now – boy, does he ever pretend to have never experienced this wacky shit – but one night during the Jocelyn subchapter of the college chapter of Sidney’s life, the Jocelyn in question decided it would be funny to spike her beneficial friend’s bowl with something a little more minty than the standard cannabis they’d get from the on-campus dispensary. It didn’t take much, only a small pinch of the stuff, and despite the fact that Albey had no idea he was dealt a joker along with the jacks and queens, he played his hand perfectly. Dude killed the bowl in one big toke, held onto it like a friend with benefits who doesn’t quite understand his role in the arrangement, and then exhaled in pace with his falling back onto the bed. Jocelyn, after wiping the mirthful tears from her bright crystal blue eyes, proceeded to undo Albey’s pants and go about waking him in a way he’ll never be woken up in again for as long as he lives, he’s very sorry to be sure of, but Albey didn’t know it at first. Albey slipped out of his body, you see, as some folks who take a tiny pinch of salvia divinorum to the face often do, and his spirit went barreling through that strange dimension of reality lurking behind what one sees with eyes wide open like a bustling stagehand prancing around behind the scenes whilst the play is going on, and when he finally landed, he touched down in his notebook.

For a brief span of however many moments which felt more like endless eternities passing in cosmic insomnia, Sidney Blake became his journal named Journal. He did not think, he did not feel, and he was only aware as far as knowing he had incarnated into the form of a notebook he had not yet acquired for five dollars and ninety-nine cents from the school’s book store, but it happened. The diviner’s sage slapped Sidney “Albey” Blake across the back of the head so hard he got tossed out of it, hurled through time, and trapped in his notebook in the moment when it sat on the little writer’s desk in his bedroom back home being asked whether or not it was coming with its owner to the local library. And in that moment, he answered Nah.

Then he woke up to muffled giggling around the feeling of hot, slippery suction and forgot all about the out of body experience some folks would literally kill to have for themselves. Until now, that is, but he’ll be damned if he’ll admit it to himself. Thinking he’s being stalked in the woods by a goddamned bigfoot is one thing; thinking a famous author’s magnum opus is the prophecy of his life is one thing; smoking himself into a psychotic break after slugging through a day composed of the above two things and sprinting off into the woods at night is one thing, but believing an herb could make him incarnate as a notebook? Come on, that’s just ridiculous.

“So you’re not coming, then,” Albey decides, hastily scooting back from the desk and springing to his feet. “That’s fine, ‘man, no skin off my sack. Be well, Journal. Long days and pleasant nights.”

He slings his backpack on his back, then takes it back off to make sure he has everything he needs. Plain white binder, check. Manual pencil sharpener with little baggie to store the shavings until he has a fire and he can dispose of them properly, check. Pen and pencil in his pocket, check. Phone in his other pocket, check.

“Yep,” as Sidney slings the backpack back onto his shoulder, “got everything I need. Out the door I go.”

Out the door he goes.

Both of his parents are at work, but that’s neither fortunate nor unfortunate. That’s just kind’a what it is. Ashley and Jeremy were all sorts of worried about their troubled son during the days immediately following the forest episode/incident, but things have mellowed out considerably since then. They haven’t once smelled the aroma of pot smoke (aside from the couple times they went into Sidney’s room to check on him in the middle of the night, but there’s a very noticeable difference between the smell of a fresh powwow and the stink which resides from a session of days past, a difference Ashley and Jeremy Blake know all too well) in their house, nor have they come home to their little poet’s car missing from the driveway. As bass ackwards as it may seem, sometimes all a guy needs is a good clapping to the cranium to straighten him out.

“Yeah, great,” as Sidney hops’n’bops down the front steps to the driveway. “Now all I need is an income, a girlfriend, a place to live, friends… but hey, at least I don’t smoke weed all the time.”

At least Albey doesn’t smoke weed all the time. At least there’s no joy left in the worl–

“Nope. Not even go’n’a go there,” he decrees to himself as he lets his practically empty backpack flop to the passenger seat and climbs in after it. There are many ways to make things real, it seems, BUT, since he’s not even go’n’a go there, Sidney presses the ignition button and allows himself to be pleasantly surprised when the car comes to life. “Wait, what? I thought my parents took the keys so I couldn’t drive!”

Uh-huh, sure. That’s why he went to start the car, right?

As it turns out, Sidney’s parents didn’t sneak into his car which they are still paying for to steal the keys so he couldn’t drive it whilst reeling from his head injury he doesn’t clearly remember the details of. Sidney simply put (read: tossed and slammed) the key fob into the center console on his spastic drive home from The True Commons and totally forgot about it. This whole past week he’s been acting like he was stuck at home; Albey had himself convinced his folks were gaslighting him by refusing to acknowledge his missing keys (he never asked about them, of course, but that’s beside the point), a very out of character move for the elder Blakes but not something their adopted son would put past them. After the little powwow they had in his bedroom the other night, Sidney Blake wouldn’t put anything past Ashley and Jeremy Blake.

But they didn’t steal the keys, they’ve been here the whole time, and Albey was able to use the self-imposed period of house arrest to plan out not only the novel he’s going to write, but also the process he’s to follow in the writing of that novel. Everything worked out just as it needed to, as things always do. Everything happens for a reason after all.

Doubting this last sentiment, Albey backs out of his driveway and starts his crawl towards the top of Sawblade Lane. The seasons are beginning to change in Logger’s Pond and the trees are starting to change right along with ‘em, but only ever so slightly. To an outsider whose GPS had them take a wrong turn into Logger’s Pond for one horrifically unfortunate reason or another, it would look like prime summertime; it takes a seasoned backwoods veteran like one Sidney Blake to notice such a nuance in the leaves of the many trees. There are no browns, no oranges, no reds, and even describing the color as yellow would be overstating it, but not all the leaves are that pure hue of emerald green they were born with in the spring. Some of them have faded slightly, they’ve gone dim in a way, into a specific shade that’s almost green but not quite. It’s so, it’s so… chartreuse.

“Hell yeah,” as Sidney locks his phone and drops it back into the cupholder. “That’s the perfect name for it, too. Just fancy enough to come off as pretentious, I love it.”

Not sure whether he’s being sarcastic or not, Sidney puts his car back into drive and looks both ways before pulling out of the dirt shoulder across from the driveway where all those cops went that day he was taking a highride through town and thought he was going to be pulled over, but his foot doesn’t leave the break.

“What the hell is down there, anyway?” he wonders to himself, scratching the sparse patch of stubble on his right cheek. “I could just go, see for myself. I’ve asked, all I must do is receive.”

But yet he doesn’t, because Sidney knows himself too well to fall for some nonsense like that. He knows this is just an asinine ploy to procrastinate his arriving at the Logger’s Pond Public Library and further put off his transition between step one and step two of his patented novelwriting process.

“I don’t even know why I’m so anxious about it,” as his car climbs up onto the road. “Like, honestly, the inspiration is the hardest part, and I got that shit down like a clown in a storm drain, yo. I’m halfway done with step two, too, so like… what’s the problem, dude?”

Dude doesn’t tell himself what the problem is, and by the time he comes to the end of Sawblade Lane he forgets about his novelwriting anxiety altogether. Now this may sound good, but it’s not. Sometimes getting rid of a bully is a great thing, but sometimes it’s just an omen. Sometimes, the reason a bully decides to grow up and scram is not because (s)he decided to grow up at all, but because an even bigger, even homelier bully came to steal the crown.

Sidney Blake is going to the public library to do some research on bigfoot and finish taking notes in preparation for the novel he’s going to write. To get there, he has to drive up Mane Road all the way to the end where the turnoff for Bogspekti Park is, and that means he has to suffer through the vat of carcinogenic and hideously toxic energy of Logger’s Pond during the day. Logger’s Pond is the apotheosis of backwoods small towns, as Stephen King almost definitely wouldn’t say because a ‘man of his caliber wouldn’t be caught in Logger’s Pond unless he was murdered and buried here where nobody would find the body because such would involve coming here and getting out of the car – now that’s one hell of a thought, Jesus Christ, Sidney – and outsiders are not welcomed.

There’s no faking it, either; the pretense is so real Albey can feel it clotting the blood in his veins. He doesn’t come into town often, as he has everything he needs at home on Sawblade Lane (the two Ws, my good ‘man: weed and wilderness), and thus his car is not one the townsfolk often see driving through. This means that the townsfolk have to blatantly stare at him, you know, to acclimate themselves to this strange vehicle trespassing through their territory. They have to stop what they’re doing, pause mid-stride, even walk off the sidewalk and step so close to the stream of traffic the tips of their Timberland boots get scuffed by the rolling tires to stare at this strange young hoodlum with his shameful sort’a long hair menacingly rolling by in his awful sedan which he probably uses to smuggle drugs and child prostitutes.

“Okay,” as Sidney takes his cell phone into his hand and starts scrolling through his contacts in search of somebody to call. “If I act like they’re not there then maybe they’ll stop staring.”

They won’t, and he knows it, and he’s sure both of his parents are going to come home with stories about some evil gayboy with mud-colored hair that covers his ears lurking around town trying to abduct the eighth graders before they get too old to fit in with the rest of the trafficked goods, but that’s out of Albey’s control. They’re just haters, damn near every single smitten soul cursed to wallow in this towny embodiment of societal entropy and stagnation of the human race is so good at hating that they hate themselves without even knowing it, but there are a select few who rise above, a very small percentage who don’t wake up with the intention of making everybody around them’s lives as utterly miserable as possible, and it just so happens that Sidney is very good pals with the best of the best of ‘em.

Albey’s phone, speaker mode engaged, rings from the little pocket in the armrest on the driver’s side door. It rings again. Rings a third time. Starts to ring a fourth, then goes answered.

“Hello?”

“Keaton! Hey ‘man, what’s good?!”

“Albey the Mad Poet, what a nice surprise. What’s crackin’?”

“Not a whole lot, my ‘man. How are you doin’?”

“I’m doing well, walkin’ home. Just got finished helping my little cousin move some weight at the pet store.”

“There’s a pet store in town?”

“Yeah ‘man, right on Mane Road. She just started working there, said she got the gig as a present for her birthday. Homegirl just turned sixteen last week.”

“Wow, that might be the worst present I’ve ever not received. Was she furious?”

“Nah, not at all. Her folks run a secondhand shop across the street and down a few treks, they wanted her to get some cashier training away from home before they make her a manager. Folks sometimes come through with their dogs, she likes it well enough.”

“Huh, well that’s awesome then. You said you were helping her move some weight?”

“Yeah,” Keaton chuckles, stretching the arm that’s not holding his phone to his ear. “Her bossguy couldn’t come in today and they got a delivery of dog food, like, fifty-pound bags. Tiny little thing couldn’t manage to get them off the ground, so she called me.”

“Damn, that’s freakin’… you’re a good dude, Keaton Quinn. Don’t let anyone tell you different.”

“They don’t! Hey, so what’s goin’ on? I love hearin’ from ya, but what’s the occasion, buddy?”

“Oh uh, I was just coming up Mane and the Loggers were shooting me with all sorts of stinkin’ eyes.” Sidney glances into his rearview mirror and sees the driver behind him picking his fat nose with his middle finger, obviously to flip Sidney off. “I got your text the other day and thought I’d call ya, chat a little bit.”

“Well that’s mighty kind, Sai Blake. I’m glad to hear you decided to leave your house. What are you gettin’ into?”

“Hittin’ the library to do a little research. I decided to write that Tee’acHe’Cee book after all, wouldn’t you know it.”

“No shit!” Keaton says incredulously, garnering stares of shock which melt into Ah, good ol’ Keaton Quinn smiles when the Loggers around him realize who just bleated the shit word in broad daylight. “That’s absolutely fantastic, Sidney. I’m not go’n’a lie, I probably won’t read it, but that’s only because I haven’t touched a book since we got out of high school. I’ll support ya any other way I can, broth’a.”

“Aw shit, Keaton, that’s so cool of you. Listen, you said you were walking home, right? Do you need a ride? I’m just about to pull into the library now but I can turn around real quick.”

“Nah it’s all good, sun’s shining too bright to not bask in the glow. I appreciate you, though.”

“You sure?” as Albey drives in a circle through the library’s tiny parking lot, preventing an especially crotchety librarian from pulling out and going home after a most repugnant morning shift that lasted a half-hour longer than it should have because the new hire decided to show up late for her first day, the nerve of the spoiled little snot-nosed kids of this awful millennial generation, it’s reprehensible, it’s incorrigible, it’s downright heinous!They all deserve to total their cars in automotive accidents and get flattened into screaming bloody pulps on the cold pavement whilst crawling away from the burning wreckage! May God strike down every last one of them with burning bolts of rapturous lightning!! “It’s really no trouble at all.”

“Yeah ‘man, I’m sure. I like walkin’ up The Heights, makes me feel like I can do anything.”

“That’s why I love ya, Keaton. A’ight buddy, I won’t keep ya any longer, I just parked. Y’boy’s got some notetaking to do.”

“That’s my boy. Good talkin’ to ya, Albey.”

“You too, Keaton. Peace, homie.”

“Peace.”

click

“Well that was just downright pleasant.”

Albey slides his cell phone into his pocket, then unbuckles his seatbelt, then turns the sedan off. A rusty gray oldsmobile carrying a miserably old croon who’s waving her fists like she was screaming at her windshield passes so close to Sidney’s back bumper that he fears for the safety of her mirrors, but there is no collision. That’s just how folks in Logger’s Pond are – all bark and no bite. When the croon, ‘Lookin’ a bit like Rhea of the Coos, come to think of it,’ safely escorts herself out of the parking lot, Sidney opens the door and climbs out, hauling his backpack with him.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had a lighter backpack in my life,” as he closes his door with his butt. “What a scam that college bullshit was. Fuck you, Louberg yoU. Fuck you very little.”

For the first time in a long while, Sidney Blake is feeling himself. It feels so good to be alive, baby! The air tastes clean in his nose, the sun feels warm on his skin, and the breeze is just cool enough to pull it all together with a chilling line of gooseflesh sent a’racing down his spine. There are five steps in the novelwriting process and five steps to climb to reach the glass doors of the Logger’s Pond Public Library, and Albey’s got all the inspiration he needs. He bounds to the platform two steps at a time and patiently waits for the glass doors to open in front of him.


Hello Commons, this has been the first subchapter of the third chapter of Untitled Bigfoot Project, a novel about a writer who writes a novel about bigfoot.

Untitled Bigfoot Project 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.

Untitled Bigfoot Project 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 Untitled Bigfoot Project 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

250+ Followers Thank You/Update Post

First and foremost, thank you; you are my hypothetical readers, and I appreciate all of you.

The Hillside Commons recently crossed the 250 followers milestone and Convenient Incidents came to its conclusion yesterday, so I thought I would make a thank you/update post to let y’all know what’s going down on the other side of the screen. And now I’m doing it. And the wind continues to blow.

After putting out Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox however long ago that was, I wrote up a pair of novellas-


Sidebar

I’m not sure if I’ve formally mentioned this yet, but all of my writing takes place within a fictional reality called Existence. Existence is comprised of four Astral Planes, one of which is called The Void. Inside The Void float the infinite universes, and I think y’all know what a universe is.


-which are unconnected to the point that they take place in different Astral Planes. I took one of these novellas to the third draft, the other to the first, but ultimately decided not to publish either of them. It wasn’t an issue of quality or insecurity, I just wrote them more to leap over certain hurdles in my life I was having trouble getting past by myself without banging my knee and toppling over and eating shit in the process, and I felt like making them public wasn’t the move. So the good news: I got over the hurdles without eating shit! The bad news: about 2 months’ worth of fresh content is now sealed in the vault, blind to the light of day. Que sera sera.

That’s not to say I’m sitting around with a thumb in my ass, though. There is a new project in the works; I have no concept of a timeline for this project, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a novel and I’m thinking it’s going to take place in the same universe as Untitled Bigfoot Project, Universe W-428. I also have a bunch of stuff planned for Universe W-2222 (that’s Flowers and Under the Hood), but the W-2222 books are the books I make in between books, you catch my drift? You smell what I’m stepping in, here? You toke what I’m blowin’, bucc?

Either way, that’s what happening. I also wanted to give a huge thank you [read: THANK YOU!!!] to the hypothetical reader who bought a copy of Untitled Bigfoot Project on Amazon however long ago that was, January maybe? Whoever you are, I’m pretty sure you’re the first one from the blog to buy one of my books, which is absolutely a big deal. I hope you’re diggin’ it, and I’d love it if you wrote me a review. I’ve heard those help and I’ll take all the help I can get, as I am 25 and making these books is the only thing I know how to do in life. To everyone else: the floodgates are officially open, you won’t have to be the first! I’m only going to make more books, so you might as well hop on now 😉

Thanks again, hypothetical readers. I appreciate y’all, and I’ll see you again at 500. From this day on, we move forever forward. Be well Commons~

Posted in Writings

Disturbed Clock – Under the Hood: TIoJK (8/44)

The Preacherman

Think of this facility as a place to be when there’s nowhere else to go.


Disturbed Clock

Like the other houses on Madison Avenue, the house at the end of the road has a short driveway; unlike the other houses on Madison Avenue, the house at the end of the road isn’t a house. At least, it doesn’t seem to be a house; most houses don’t have parking lots.

Jonathan Knox pulls into the parking lot and finds a nice spot for himself somewhere in the middle. He turns to face the light shining from above the building’s door and squints, then turns back away from it to scan the area basked in its faint glow. There are no other vehicles in the parking lot tonight. The lot itself is bordered by grass held in place by concrete curbs. There are trees of some sort – maples, perhaps – growing from the grass, but not close enough together to act as a wall. Jonathan turns back to the building and tries not to squint.

“I don’t think anybody’s home,” Jonathan says as his hand subconsciously kills the engine. “They must have left in a rush, whoever they were. Leaving the lights on like that.”

The metal brain under the smart car’s hood ticks like a disturbed clock as it cools ever so slightly against the night. Jonathan pushes the glasses up his nose with one finger. They slide right back down into place.

“I bet they didn’t mean to. Leave the lights on, I mean,” Jonathan says and then clarifies for himself. “Bet they’d be grateful if they came back in the morning and found that someone turned the lights off.”

Not a single hair of stubble tickles Jonathan Knox’s knuckles as he absentmindedly brushes his right cheek.

“Bet they wouldn’t even remember leaving them on.”

Jonathan Knox opens his car door a crack and then grabs himself by the wrist to slam it back shut.

“No! It’s a bad idea, I have no plan! I’m getting myself all worked up over the light and I don’t have a plan, I’m going to goose it up.” He puts his hand on the keys as if he was about to turn his smart car back on and leave the lot, but… but the lights are on. Someone left the lights on. WHY?!  “Maybe they did it on purpose… maybe someone’s in there. Or someones are in there. Maybe…”

Jonathan’s hand finds the doorhandle again.

“Maybe I could just walk up, press my ear to the door… if I hear anything I’ll turn around and leave, easy peasy. I’m not eavesdropping, I’m… I’m a concerned neighbor, is all. Just a concerned neighbor.”

Yes, a concerned neighbor. Who doesn’t live on this street.

“You shouldn’t leave the lights on when you’re not home,” Jonathan explains to nobody as he creeps across the parking lot. “Unless you are home, then it’s okay. But there are no other cars in the parking lot except mine. I’m just go’n’a turn the lights off is all. Easy peasy.”

Jonathan skulks up the steps with his hands buried deeply in his pockets. The back of his neck is level with his shoulders. His breathing is erratic, heart beating like a drum roll. The wooden door is smooth and cold against his ear, but Jonathan doesn’t mind. Jonathan is listening too intently, and he doesn’t hear a thing.

“Nobody’s home,” Jonathan whispers to himself, then licks his lips without meaning to. “I bet they left the door unlocked, too.”

They did indeed, the door pulls right open. No knob to turn, no lever to depress, only a cool metal handle. The door just pulls right open.

Jonathan looks over his shoulder again. The parking lot is still empty aside from his smart car, the disturbed clock still ticking under the hood, but slower now. The metal is cooling off. Straightening up as though he was supposed to be here all along, Jonathan Knox walks into the building.


Hello Commons, this has been the second subchapter of the second chapter of Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox, a novel about a man who likes to eavesdrop on his neighbors.

Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox is the second book in the W-2222 series, a series of books which take place in Universe W-2222.

Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox 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 Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox 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.

If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. Be well Commons~

Posted in Writings

Sept the Ninth – Untitled Bigfoot Project (64/224)

Sept the Ninth

Keeping this one short, because I have a place to be today.

After completely forgetting about it, I remembered that I have a cell phone this morning, and I turned it on. And guess what? There weren’t zero messages. There weren’t 19 either, but there weren’t zero. There were two, one from Harry inviting me to a house party the day I lost my shit (kind’a wish I got that, but glad I missed it all the same) and one from Keaton a few days later saying Harry mentioned he never heard from me and he wanted Keaton to check in.

These texts gave me an idea, Journal: I’m going to go to the library today. Not only will it get me out of my parents’ house, but I’ll be able to surprise Harry and show him that I’m totally fine. Besides, I vaguely remember telling him I’d go to the library so he could give me a tour or whatever, I think he works there or something. Whatever, I’ll find out today!

I already ate my licorice oatmeal and brushed my teeth and showered (first time in about a week, feels so good!!), I just wanted to touch base with you before I left. I’m a little anxious, to be honest, and writing always helps calm me down.

But you already knew that. Oh Journal, what would I do without you?

…                                     …                                    …

Say thankya, good buddy. ‘Preciate ya. Long days and pleasant nights~


Hello Commons, this has been the next journal entry from Untitled Bigfoot Project, a novel about a writer who writes a novel about bigfoot.

Untitled Bigfoot Project 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.

Untitled Bigfoot Project 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 Untitled Bigfoot Project 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

A Procession of Headlights – Under the Hood: TIoJK (7/44)

The Preacherman

Think of this facility as a place to be when there’s nowhere else to go.


A Procession of Headlights

“Get off Cannonball Road, get off Cannonball Road, get off Cannonbal–”

Jonathan jerks the steering wheel with both hands, lifting his smart car up on the left wheels as he bangs a violent left onto the first turn off Cannonball. An eyeless smiley face of skid marks is left in his wake. He shrieks when the right wheels touch back down, then slams on the breaks and comes to a dead stop in the middle of the road. Clinging to the windshield his hot breath becomes fog, then returns to air as the glass releases its hold.

“Okay,” Jonathan says in a gasp as he tears the slimy gloves off his hands. “I’m off Cannonball Road.”

Jonathan Knox has gotten off Cannonball Road. Yes. Now, within just a few fleeting seconds, a procession of headlights capped with flashing red’n’blues will charge down Cannonball headed toward the center of town, but not all the cruisers will make it there. No, there will be one police officer who notices the fresh rubber bonded to the pavement, one officer who looks down the first side street and sees Jonathan’s smart car sitting idly in the middle of the road, loitering there like a school skipper in the parking lot of a supermarket. That one police cruiser will turn and roll slowly towards the mysterious smart car, then another will join in behind it, then another, then all the go-getting police officers who barreled on past this… this Madison Avenue, according to the green street sign basked in the red glow of Jonathan’s taillights, they will all turn around and the entire police force of Wuester, New Jersey will surround Jonathan Knox’s defenseless little smart car in the middle of this sleepy street, all the residents will wake up and trek out to their lawns and stare with wide eyes and gibbering mouths and who else but the local chief of police himself Daniel Maxwell will step out, will trollop over, will knock on Jonathan Knox’s window, will ask for his license and registration and then, just as he’s about to ask Jonathan Knox what he’s doing out here idling in the middle of the street so late at night, he’ll notice the can of gas. And he’ll ask Jonathan what the gasoline is for, because smart cars don’t take gasoline, smart cars are all electric, smart cars have no use for the highly flammable base fluid of the molotov cocktail, and he will ask Jonathan to step out of the car, and Jonathan will because Jonathan doesn’t want to be shot with an audience and as Jonathan is stepping out of his smart car Police Chief Daniel Maxwell, who will have changed into his police blues and out of his red sweater and blue denim pants, The Police Chief of Wuester Daniel Maxwell will hear the rattling of the matches stashed in Jonathan Knox’s pocket, he will grab Jonathan Knox by the back of his sweaty neck and slam him on the grisly pavement, he will put a knee into his back and an elbow on his throat and he’ll get the other officers to step on Jonathan and spit on Jonathan and pummel Jonathan when he’s down, Kick him when he’s down, Fellers; this domestic terrorist slammed the front door of my house, he doesn’t deserve to get back up after the evil he meant to bring unto our good Wuester. Praise Thee, Rock! Praise Thee and fell unto our poisoned town! and then Maxwell will take out his revolver – a five-shooter, with no serial number – and he’ll press the cold barrel into Jonathan’s temple and it’ll feel icy, cold and metal and icy on this blasted March night, and then he’ll ask Jonathan Knox if he has any last words, and just as Jonathan is about to open his mouth to spit out all the blood pooling up in there from being kicked over and over and over when he’s down, Maxwell will pull the trigger. Then, it’ll all go dark, but it won’t be the cold darkness of the night. Not anymore. It’ll be a nice darkness, a warm and tranquil and welcoming darkness. The darkness of Jonathan’s basement, where he should be sitting right now.

But he’s not. Jonathan Knox got himself all worked up, he acted too fast and got himself way too worked up and grabbed a can of gasoline and drove all the way to the bend at the end of Cannonball Road and he was going to burn the chief of police’s house down. So what that the chief of police is going to abduct and sacrifice a child based on the color of that child’s skin? The chief of police isn’t the villain. Jonathan Knox is clearly the villain in this situation, in this life, Jonathan Knox got all worked up, Jonathan Knox went too fast and got ahead of himself and he’s not perfect so he deserves to die. And he will die. In just a few fleeting seconds, Jonathan Knox will finally get what’s been coming to him ever since he was a nosy little dirty little eavesdropper as a kid with the drinking glass on the inside garage door. Jonathan Knox is going to die tonight, and it’ll happen very soon. He just has to wait for the procession of headlights capped in flashing red’n’blues, and then it’ll all be over.

It’ll finally all be over.

And so Jonathan Knox, his face redder than a beet, his cheeks slimy with tears, his entire body trembling like the wimpy little whelp that he’s always been, waits for the unavoidable procession of headlights capped in flashing red’n’blues. And he waits. And he waits.

Finally Jonathan Knox breathes again, realizing he’s not waiting for anything. A fresh batch of tears and sobs escape him then, for Jonathan Knox is having a difficult time tonight, and what’s worse he knows he’s having a difficult time tonight. He knows that things aren’t going according to plan because he had no plan, he got himself all worked up and went too fast and now he’s sitting here in the middle of this side street, in the middle of Madison Avenue in his warm smart car with a can of gasoline and a pocket full of matches and the dirty cops are still going to sacrifice the Earthen child and and an

Jonathan Knox lashes out, striking the center of his steering wheel with a limp fist. The horn does not honk. Jonathan honks instead. The punch hurt his knuckles.

After a few more cycles of… whatever it is that’s going on in Jonathan Knox’s head right now, Jonathan takes a few deep breaths and checks his rearview again. Nothing but the cold darkness of the early spring night and the faint red glow of his taillights. He looks out his window and sees a dark house. Looks out his passenger window and sees another house, just as dark. Up the road there’s a little bit of light spilling into the street.

“Could that be a house too…?” Jonathan asks himself, hands in his lap. He looks around again, sees all the dark houses. “Everyone else is asleep right now, why did those folks leave their lights on?”

It’s none of Jonathan’s business. He already messed up once tonight, he doesn’t need to go and mess up some more… but… but yet he’s so curious. Why did they leave their lights on? It’s so late and all the other houses are so dark, so why does that one have its lights on?

“I could drive up the road,” as he places both hands on the steering wheel. “There’s no harm in that. I have to turn around anyway.”

He does have to turn around anyway; better to go down the road and do it right than make another illegal U-turn. Jonathan Knox is on thin ice with the local law enforcement as it is, best not to test them further. They would forgive him for trying to burn down the chief of police’s house, sure – it’s not like he went through with it – but making another illegal U-turn would be pushing it. Anybody with eyes could see that, even if their glasses had lenses as thick as Jonathan’s.

Slowly, biting his bottom lip gently between his teeth in anticipation, Jonathan Knox lifts his heavy foot from the break pedal. The smart car begins a slow roll down Madison Avenue.


Hello Commons, this has been the first subchapter of the second chapter of Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox, a novel about a man who likes to eavesdrop on his neighbors.

Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox is the second book in the W-2222 series, a series of books which take place in Universe W-2222.

Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox 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 Under the Hood: The Imprisonment of Jonathan Knox 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.

If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. Be well Commons~

Posted in Writings

The Truth – Convenient Incidents (84/84)

Convenient Incidents
The Father

The Truth

Hilter Odolf Williamson wakes up from a sound, dreamless sleep to find his nightstand empty. Before he went to bed last night, he placed the crystal that called to him in the ratty wooden shack on that nightstand, but now it’s gone. And for some reason, he knows exactly where he’ll find it.

“No…” Hilter says to himself as he gets dressed in his best slacks and button-down. “That’s not possible, Hilter. She’s hardly even alive, the woman doesn’t have the strength to get out of bed. I had to hire a hospice nurse for God’s sake, it’s not possible.”

But he knows it is, and so Hilter walks down the road to what used to be the Johnson’s house, the very first house he bought on Fricker Drive, the same house Daisy grew up in, not that Hilter knew that when he bought it – it simply spoke to him, called out to him in a metaphysical sort of way – nor does he know it now. He goes in through the garage and walks through the basement, then pauses at the door to his Mother’s apartment.

“Hilter, do you really believe your catatonic Mother got up in the middle of the night, broke into the one house on this road you happened to be sleeping in – a detail she would never be able to know or guess, regardless of the elevated state of consciousness her schizophrenia allows her to access, because I mentally blocked the information from her and her specifically – and stole that big quartz crystal off your nightstand? Without waking you? Come on Hilter, you must be fucking daft.”

And he almost walks away. But then he doesn’t. Hilter opens the door and sees the crystal lying on his mother’s stomach, slowly rising and falling as she breathes.

“How in the hell did you manage it, you evil woman?” Hilter demands, storming into the gloomy apartment and slamming the door behind him. “How is it even possible?”

Daisy opens her tired eyes, then turns her head slightly to face Hilter. “Hello, my beautiful son.”

“Hello, Mother,” Hilter says through clenched teeth. “Answer my Goddamned question and answer it now. How did you get that rock off my nightstand last night?”

“I… well, I don’t remember, son. I wasn’t carried by my will alone.”

“What?!” Hilter shouts, exasperated.

“It was The Father of Existence, my child. The Father spoke to me last night, for the first time since I was a little girl… The Father told me what I need to do.”

“Oh? And what’s that?! Do you need to murder me like you did my father?! Do you need to have me locked up in an asylum again?! WHAT?!” Hilter screams, veins bursting from his throat.

Daisy only smiles. “I love you, Hilter Odolf, and I’m sorry for everything that’s happened. But I’m not long for this world, and I must ask you to listen.”

A scowl of rage and disgust makes itself perfectly present on Hilter’s face. “Fine. Fine, I’m listening. What do you have to say, you psychotic old witch? And make it quick, before I do you in myself.”

“If that’s how it’s meant to happen, that’s how it will go… but I do not think…” she trails off, then lets the air hang silent. Then, “I must tell you the truth, Hilter.”

“The truth?” Hilter barks. “I know the truth, Mother. You are a psychopath, you are a severely sick schizophrenic woman who decided to murder her husband. You stole the stuffed animals from your son’s bedroom, the only creatures your son had to talk to, the only ones who would listen to him! His Mother wouldn’t listen, his Mother was always too busy speaking to a voice in her head that didn’t even speak back! And his father, his father was always belligerently stressed out about his mentally ill wife, always too busy worrying to pay any attention to his son! The other kids at school made me an outcast because they knew my parents were crazy; I was alone! I was all alone as a child, I grew up and lived out my childhood alone because of you, all I had was my stuffed animals and you even took them from me! And you gutted them like you gutted my father and you stuffed my dead father with the plush from their bellies, and then you started killing pets. And then you started killing wild animals. AND THEN YOU BLAMED IT ALL ON ME!

“I know the truth perfectly well, Mother! The truth is that you are a witch, you are a horrid, abominable human being, you are a Goddamned fucking monstER AND YOU DESERVE TO BURN IN HELL FOR WHAT YOU DID TO ME!” Hilter’s face is beet red, his hands are clenched into fists so tight his nails have pierced the skin of his palms. His arms are both trembling, his breathing is heavy and erratic, his teeth are clenched so tight that his molars are beginning to crack, but yet he is standing his ground. He has not leaped across the room and murdered his Mother, he has not broken her neck with his bare hands, he has not taken the crystal and used it to bash her skull in. Hilter is not like his Mother, Hilter is not a manifestation of pure evil, and so he simply stands there and feels the burn in his throat. And you know what? It feels good, like a long drag from a burning joint.

“There, that is the truth, Mother. I’ve finally said it, it’s all out in the open. Do you have anything to say for yourself?!”

A single tear falls down Daisy Williamson’s face, but she does not shed her tear for her son, nor does she shed her tear for herself. Daisy sheds this sole tear for The Father, for Daisy knows He has seen all that Hilter spoke of, that He was forced to watch it all, that He suffered through it just as much as Hilter did. More than Hilter did, even, for Hilter does not understand reality. Hilter only sees what is right in front of him. It is time for Hilter to learn the truth.

“Hilter…” Daisy says quietly. “You were supposed to have a baby brother, Hilter. When you were very young, your father and I went to the beach, and I lost the child on that beach. His soul was stolen from me by a terrible monster, and I was forced to give birth to his lifeless body six months later. That… that broke me, Hilter. That shattered my mind. Nothing was the same after I lost your brother, Hilter, and everything that I did I did because I lost him. I’m so sorry, Hilter. I’m so sorry for what I’ve done to you… but you must understand, it was not all my fault.”

“It… what?” Hilter sneers. She almost had him, she almost made him feel sorry for her. “It wasn’t your fault?! It was all your fault, you psychotic, deranged… you, you… FUCK YOU!

“Oh, Hilter…” Daisy weeps, the crystal heavy on her chest. “Oh Hilter, oh my son, you cannot imagine the pain He feels for you, Hilter. You cannot begin to know…”

“He?! Who the fuck is he? Are… have you disassociated? Are you here with me, Mother?”

Though she weeps waterfalls, Daisy Williamson manages to smile. “I am here, Hilter, and He is here, too. You now know my truth, Hilter; it is time for you to know the truth.”

“The truth of what?!” Hilter screams at the top of his lungs.

“The truth of reality.”

“The truth of…” Hilter starts, then lowers his head. He takes his glasses off his face and wipes the fog off the lenses with his shirt, then puts them back on, pushing the bridge tight against his nose. Then, Hilter looks up and says, “I know the truth of reality, Mother. I understand it perfectly well. The truth is that everything is conscious, everything vibrates at a certain level on the spectrum of consciousness. The truth is that some humans, humans like you and myself, are schizophrenic, that we select few are quite literally higher than the majority of those around us. We are special, our minds are more powerful. That’s how you so easily got away with killing my father and all those animals, that’s how you were able to convince everybody that it was me and not you. Because you’re psychic, because you can look into the mind of another human being and bend and twist it to your liking.”

Daisy smiles at her son. Her son hates her for that smile.

“It’s the only thing that makes sense! I’m the same way! I’m the world’s greatest expert on the schizophrenia spectrum! I have the disorder, I know firsthand how it works! How else can you explain my success, how else can all the conveniently coinciding incidents that happened to bring me here this morning? How else can you explain the fact that I was brought to that old ratty shack in the woods by the Universe itself, huh Mother?! How else can you explain anything that happens in this fucked up world?!”

Daisy can only smile. “I’m sorry I couldn’t be the one to show you my clubhouse, Hilter.”

The color drops out of Hilter’s face.

“Did you know I grew up in this house? And now I’m going to die here – it all comes around eventually, son. Unless it doesn’t, in which case… in which case it didn’t need to. Your theories are fun to think about Hilter, they’re fun thought experiments to run, but believing them will bring you no further in life. Can I tell you the truth now? The real truth of reality?”

Hilter says nothing; he cannot speak, for he’s too busy trying to understand how his Mother’s voice just changed like that, how she sounds so young and healthy all of the sudden. How her voice is so soothing to his ears.

“The truth of reality, Hilter, is that there is no the truth.” Daisy Williamson, holding the crystal in her hands now, levitates out of her bed, phasing through the blankets that once covered her while, at the same time, keeping her nightgown on. She floats in front of Hilter and stands on the air, meeting him at eye level. “Existence is a living thing, Hilter, and you’re right – some things are more conscious than others – but nothing living inside of Existence lives under its own free will. Everything that happens, everything from the formation of planets down to the thoughts which pop into your head, happens because that’s how Existence needs it to happen. There are no forces above Existence that directly alter Her course of action; well, none that dare to, at least. There are merely forces who help facilitate and guide Her creations as they embark on their wondrous journeys inside of Her. There are three of these outside forces, Hilter, and they are called The Mongrel, who gives life to the others; The Perception, who gives life to the I; and The Father of Existence, who speaks to all who will hear His voice, whether they’re capable of listening or not. And sometimes, my beautiful son, my brilliant Hilter Odolf Williamson, sometimes Existence doesn’t work like that. Sometimes Existence breaks the rules She sets up for Herself, if for no other reason than the fact that She’s capable of doing so. That’s just how Existence is, that’s how She’s always been. And that’s enough; for you, Hilter, and for Existence Herself, that’s enough. And so the wind continues to blow.

“You will never understand Existence, Hilter. You will never understand how consciousness truly works. You will never be able to grasp reality in your hands, Hilter Odolf Williamson, because it is not your purpose to do so.”

Hilter takes a step back, refusing to listen. “No, that’s… that’s bullshit, all of it! I am a psychologist, the world-renown–”

“Human psychology is a pseudoscience, a pattern picked out of the ordered chaos that is reality by the misguided, you arrogant fool,” says Daisy in the voice of The Father. “You are on this Earth to help those in need, those like Scotty Mells and Dallas Hinton and Gill Milligan, whose dream journal you still have yet to read. You’re here for those like the boy Cooper, the one with no last name, a fact you never once questioned during your interactions with him, and yet you question me, the closest thing to what you know as God. You own all the houses on this street so you can give troubled souls like your mother Daisy a safe place to rest so they can heal and move on, so you can talk to them and help their souls level out. That is your purpose; you are special, Hilter Odolf Williamson, but not for the reason you think.”

“Then why?!” Hilter shouts, although he doesn’t choose to do so. He merely feels the heated words fly out of his mouth, and in that moment, Hilter understands that none of his actions are his. None of his actions have ever been his and none of them ever will be his, because there is no him. There is merely Existence and all of Her creations, which are just reflections of Herself. Above Her are The Mongrel, The Perception, and The Father of Existence, and within her are many gears which all churn together, and Hilter Odolf Williamson is but one of those gears. And that’s enough.

“Because Existence decided you should be. Existence Herself decided that you have a very special role to play, my Hilter Odolf Williamson, and you shall play it until Existence Herself dies.”

A feeling of unadulterated bliss and love washes over Hilter Odolf Williamson. He forgets about his past, he forgets about his anger, his confusion, all the perplexingly convenient incidents that have brought him here to his Mother’s apartment in the basement of the first house he brought on Fricker Drive. He realizes where he is: Universe W-63, a special universe where troubled souls go to be incarnated and heal from past trauma so they may move on and spiral anew elsewhere in The Void. A simple universe. Hilter feels good about that. Hilter feels safe, secure with his role here, and when his Mother Daisy falls dead to the cold concrete floor in a heap of broken bones and shattered white quartz, Hilter can only smile, because that’s exactly what was supposed to happen.

Hilter turns around and goes to leave the apartment forever, not worrying about his dead Mother because Existence will sort that out without having Hilter play a part. Then, he hears a voice whispering to him from inside his head. The voice wants Hilter to turn around, and so he does.

Daisy is floating again, but her arms and legs aren’t attached to her body – they’re all linked together, hand to hand, foot to foot, stump to stump in the shape of a circle, a horrifically bloody circle of dismembered limbs embedded with sharp shards of shattered white quartz spinning faster than the tires of the police’s cars on their way to arrest the true murderer of the neighborhood pets. In the middle of the circle is Daisy Williamson’s torso, her legless, armless, headless torso, the nightgown which covers it soaked in blood which leaks onto the spinning wheel of dismembered limbs, and as this wheel of limbs spins ‘round and ‘round, it paints the cinderblock walls, the rafters in the ceiling, the concrete floor, the bed and the wheelchair between it and the wall, the flatlined life support equipment, the cushioned chair for the hospice nurse; the entire basement apartment is painted red with the sacred blood of Daisy Williamson. Her severed head is floating before the center of her torso. Her eyes are sunken in and pitch black. Thick streaks of glowing purple fluid flow down her cheeks and dribble out from her stump of a neck.

“One last thing before you go, Hilter,” Daisy’s severed head says in Her beautiful, loving, elated voice, the voice of The Father of Existence. No, this voice is different – this voice is the voice of Existence Herself.

“What’s that, Mother?” Hilter asks, not at all perturbed by the sight (nor the smell) of his Mother’s actively bleeding and grossly mutilated corpse.

“Existence will eventually end, Hilter. I will die one day.”

Then, in a deep, haunting voice that sounds like it should be speaking backwards, Existence says, “But not until I’m damn well ready. You shall continue to live here on the street called Fricker Drive, and you shall continue to save the souls who are sent to you. You shall forget all you’ve been shown here today, Hilter Odolf Williamson, but you shall hold the understanding in your heart and in the back of your mind. And that shall be enough. For you, Mister Williamson, that shall be enough.

“And the wind shall continue to blow.”


Hello Commons, this has been the last subchapter of the last story from Convenient Incidents, an anthology of fifteen interconnected short stories which revolve around a man by the name of Hilter Odolf Williamson.

Convenient Incidents 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.

Convenient Incidents 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 Convenient Incidents 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~