Posted in Writings

Okay Then. – The 2020 Event |The Main Event| (10/66)

Hello Commons, here is chapter 3.99 of The 2020 Event |The Main Event|, a satirical novel about aliens that do psychedelic drugs and the subjective nature of reality. Please enjoy. See the bottom of this post for more info.


Chapter 3.99
Okay Then.

Twenty Minutes Of Silence

He slowly hovers down until he can feel the Earth’s electrons being exchanged for his own through his uninsulated business shoes.

‘Well fuck,’ the computer voice says, taking on a southern twang while still holding something of a British accent. ‘This them othah side uh’the tracks.’

Chuck’s never been to this corner of New Manhattan before. Hidden deep inside the conglomorock jungle are warehouses that make every single excuse for a warehouse in the Untied States of America (besides that one weird underground one) look like plastic storage bins an upper middle-class family would use to store pool toys in. Not one they would buy in the summer, of course; no, more like one they would buy in September or October when the local discount dollar store is trying to burn as much big summer inventory off as possible.

This warehouse, like most of the warehouses inside of New Manhattan, is special. Bigger on the inside than it appears on the outside on account of the hundred or so sub-plasti’spa’junk levels, each floor is as large and open as a normal warehouse would be. Each floor is also a self-contained facility owned by a different corporation or organization, and each floor may be used for storing anything and everything from lumber to sex slaves, narcotics labs to Cannabis farms, auto shops to dry docks.

And, so long as Karen was being truthful, of course, one floor should be storing an amphibious motorcycle. Chuck’s amphibious motorcycle to be precise, specifically the one that <Insert A Random Satirical Corporation Name That Will Never Pop Up Again> designed, engineered, and built for him without their knowledge.

All things that happen are meant to happen, you see, as they have been since the day that nothing gave birth to everything. Sometimes humans do things without knowing why they do them, only to figure out their own reasoning the future. In this case, <Insert A Random Satirical Corporation Name That Will Never Pop Up Again> found itself in need of a new owner (and a new name) and, as an obvious offering to the Dollaristic demigod that is Chuck Leary, they built an amphibious motorcycle, the very thing Chuck has been searching for ever since the idea popped back into his head years after he originally started wanting it.

He taps a button on the side of his helmet, bringing up a comms line with Karen.

“Hey boss, find your new toy yet?”

“Almost Karen, almost. Your mom find those briefcases full of hundreds that I had buried underneath her trailer yet?”

He hears two clicks, almost as if his Karen the Secretary pressed the mute button to scream, call her mother, scream again, and then unpress the mute button. “No, she has not. What can I do for you?”

“Well, ya see, funny story. This warehouse? It has tens of floors, and they’re all down from here.”

“As does our company.”

My company. But, and this is the funny part, there’s no way in Christ’s crispy, crunchy, crab-riddled crotch hair that I’m going to spend the remainder of my afternoon, and likely evening and night, searching through every floor of this structure. Can you do a scan for me, please?”

Karen is silent for a long, long moment. The practically silent static makes Chuck wish he could be eating something crunchy to drown out the lack of noise.

“Uhm, can you just do a scan, boss? You’re the one with your business suit.”

“Yeah I tried, they have some sort of blocker. My shit won’t penetrate the walls,” Chuck quips back, his mind not even so much as entertaining the idea of commanding the hemibots in the suit to create a scanner.

“I see. Well, here, let me try…”

A few seconds of technological whizzing go bye. Chuck’s soul begins to float out of his body while he waits.

“Okay, yeah the scan isn’t working over here either,” Karen says whilst looking at a beautifully rendered three-dimensional image of the amphibious motorcycle sitting unguarded in the middle of the top floor of the warehouse in question. “You know what though, if I was gonna hide an amphibious motorcycle in a sub-plasti’spa’junk warehouse, I would put it on the bottom floor.”

Silence from Chuck.

“You know, to keep it secure…”

More silence, topped off with a lack of speaking.

“…or at least, one of the bottom floors. In case the bottom one flooded. It’s an amphibious motorcycle and all but, ya know, rust is rust.”

Literally twenty minutes of silence pass, Chuck staring blankly at the warehouse. Finally, he says, “Okay then. I’ll start at the bottom and work my way up, I guess. Thank you Karen.”

Chuck shuts off the comms line as the feet of his power armor enlarge and morph into a drill. Chuck tunnels hundreds of feet below the surface and, with the plasma chainsaw that his arm forms into, cuts a hole into the bottom floor of the warehouse. No less than seven Pygmy women wearing nothing but tiny lampshades as bras run out and start climbing up to the surface through the hole their savior has dug for them.

Meanwhile, peeling pecans out back atop a cracking black-with-white-spray-paint milk crate, perches a middle-aged woman with blue hair cut into a look that screams this sassy aunt wants to speak to your manager NOW, young man. Shortly after the drilling noise fades, she cracks the knuckles on her gigantic, swollen, leathery hands and knocks twice on the flimsy back panel of the warehouse, activating a hidden door made of only slightly corroded sheet metal.


As I said above, The 2020 Event |The Main Event| is a satirical novel about aliens that do psychedelic drugs and the subjective nature of reality. It is also the fourth book of the First Spiral, a longer story called The Highest One Writing.

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

|The Main Event| is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.

I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.

If you like |The Main Event| and would like to help support my work, buy a copy of the book here.

Be well Commons~

Posted in Writings

This Seems Like A Lot, But… – The 2020 Event |The Main Event| (9/66)

Hello Commons, here is chapter 3.66 of The 2020 Event |The Main Event|, a satirical novel about aliens that do psychedelic drugs and the subjective nature of reality. Please enjoy. See the bottom of this post for more info.


Chapter 3.66
This Seems Like A Lot, But…

Six-Mile Run

As soon as his sneaker makes contact with the ground, Coach can feel a low rumble. He looks towards the road in front of the school – not a single vehicle speeding by. After waiting long enough to build the appropriate amount of anticipation, he turns his attention towards the track to see no less than five bubbling adolescent boys, and two that are just slightly fizzing, heading his way.

Jack and Dakota lead their fellow runners in surrounding their coach in a semi-circle, the man’s Achille’s backed against the cool concrete of the bottom stair. With less than five inches between any one of their bright and shiny faces and Coach’s face, the children all greet him in unison. The smell of their dehydrated mouths mixed with a slight twinge of body odor from being kept inside all day pokes its head into Coach’s left nostril.

He doesn’t like it one bit.

Through tightly clenched teeth and a half-smile/half-grimace, the student-sized coach greets his team while slowly nudging them away. He splits the sea of sweaty running shirts and walks down the driveway to the backroad, looking back and forth as if surveying the area.

“Everybody stretched and ready?” Coach calls out, tightening his shoelaces while stretching his leg and back in the same motion. “Y’all got your drinks and such?”

The children are exchanging glances of building intensity with one another. Jack calls back, “Yes sir,” and starts jogging over.

“So I’m thinking, since today was the annual Hoffman Regional High School Annual Anti-Drug Assembly and Knowledge Seminar and all, we’ll race to the top of The Rock and scare away any drug doers or ne’er do wells that are plotting against the school. If any of you beat me there, we’ll just run back and do a quick mile or two as the workout. If I beat all of you there, six-mile run. Deal?”

Before any of the kids even have a chance to counter his offer, Coach takes off sprinting down the road running behind the schools. Jack and Dakota take off right after him, followed by Jaden, Prief, and Dennis fighting through the cloud of dust building behind them. Gino and Gio walk, laughing about how only one of them needs to catch up for everybody to run less.

Hoffman Regional High School

Hoffman Regional High School, the home to many of Coach’s impromptu races, is comprised of two and a half large, square, brick fortresses, with a skybridge connecting them over a river of bumpy and weathered asphalt that surrounds and divides the buildings. The East Wing, originally constructed almost thirty years before the West Wing, has a small structure sticking off it named The Addition, because that’s where all the math classes are taught; the resulting right angle from this extra half-fortress creates a perfect pocket to place a parking lot upon, and place that parking lot they did.

This parking lot leads to a road that runs behind the East Wing, connecting to the tumor-shaped bus parking lot, the breezy driveway between the two schools, and the concrete ramp up to the Hoffman Athletics Plateau before running past the West Wing into the West parking lot, a kidney-shaped lake of freshly-laid pavement that feels almost as soft as the Earth herself when you run on it.

Across this lake is a patch of jungley forest cut by a small trail which climbs a steep hill up to a large boulder that overlooks the parking lot. As far as high school views go it’s not bad, definitely better than that of the skybridge, and students like to go up there to get high off this or that and stare dumbly at the school, wondering just why it is they all flock there every day. Like, it’s not like the government is around to enforce their attendance any– ‘Oh shit!’

Hunting Elephants

Today The Rock is vacant; the kids who were here shooting heroin saw Coach and the running team heading their way and decided to split and wet their needles in the nearby graveyard. When Coach summits The Rock, he kicks away a little baggy of white powder just in time for Jack and Dakota to not see it. They climb up the rock single-file, not even needing to catch their breaths.

“Not bad guys,” Coach says as he walks to the edge, balancing on one foot in the tree pose as he watches the rest of his athletes run, and walk, towards the trail. “Not bad at all. Here’s an idea,” he says in a low voice, as not to be heard by everybody. “Y’all ran, so did those three. So what I want you to do, and I’ll tell them the same thing: run onto Treering Ave and take the first left. You should get there around two-fifty seconds in, okay? Y’all follow?”

Jack and Dakota nod their heads, holding their breath so they don’t miss a single word.

“Then, find a big car and duck behind it. Do not make yourselves visible. Jaden and them will join you; if you need to use multiple cars to adequately hide, do it. Then, just wait for Gino and Gio to run by. Or rather, walk by, that’s probably more accurate. Then, wait like… three hundred more seconds. Then run back, do two miles on the track, and we’ll call it a day.”

Jaden beats Prief and Dennis to the top of the rock, catching only the last five of Coach’s wise words.

“YOOO did you guys beat him up here?!”

Everybody looks at Jaden. “No no no, goodness no, my boy.” Coach smiles, waiting for Dennis and Prief to join them. “See, you guys actually ran here. See that?” as he points over the edge towards the walking dead, still not even halfway across the parking lot, the same parking lot that fills up so quickly in the mornings that teachers resort to fisticuffs whenever students try to take their spots. “That just ain’t it. Y’all are going to hide behind cars down the nearest side street on Treering Ave until the walklings pass you, then you’re coming back and doing a quick two miles. Then you’ll go home, after making sure somebody calls me to confirm that everybody safely got back, because I’ll be waiting for those two at The Beefy Moore. Everybody cool?”

The students, smiles of wonder on their faces, all nod in unison. From above them an osprey watches, looking forward to the day she and her mate will get to raise hatchlings of their own.

“Word. Then get the fuck outta here, they’ll be up here soon!”

The kids get the fuck outta there, taking off down the rocky path that’s littered with more broken shards of glass and carcinogens trapped in cigarette butts than actual pebbles. Jack leads the pack, followed closely by Dakota with Jaden, Dennis, and Prief all in a row behind him. As Jack rounds the brick corner of the Kwik Chek mini-mart and gas station, he sees a very familiar gray Forge Engage SUV parked in the parking lot, just like the one his Mom used to drive. Same license plate and everything, C42OI7.

Jack stops running, attracting strange stares from his teammates like a lit screened-in porch does an army of June beetles on a warm May evening. He slowly walks up to the SUV, letting Dakota guide the pack to the rendezvous spot, and taps on the window. Inside, a hippie-looking dude smiles and waves for a moment before realizing he can open the window.

“Aye bro! What’s good dude, how you doin’?” Sam says, more than happy to run into his younger brother here at the Kwik Chek right behind the high school, of all places. “You guys practicing or something?”

Jack stares at his brother for a couple seconds, saying nothing. Then, “No Sam, we’re hunting elephants. In running clothes. In New Jersey.”

Sam’s eyes grow wide. “REALly now? Well shit man, you guys might need this.”

Sam reaches into the back of his mom’s backup car and pulls out a plastic pump-action BB rifle meant for a ten-year-old, complete with a small box of BBs and a shoulder sling. “Make sure you go for the eyes; these BBs hardly puncture cardboard, let alone an elephant’s leathery hide. Shit’s thicker than the exterior of this car.”

Again, Jack just kind of looks at his brother, saying nothing.

Until, “What were you doing at the assembly this morning? Did you like, shave, or something, since then?”

“Wuzzat?” Sam asks, dissociated from whatever reality Jack’s living in. “I wasn–”

“And what was with those purple contacts? And the… magic tricks? Like, what the hell was that? Like, look, I’ve had a feeling you were gay for a while now, but Sam, you didn’t have to do all that…”

Sam paints an expression of I have no i-fucking-dea what you’re talking about, but I’m just happy to be talking to you on his face. “Jack, look at my eyes. I don’t own purple contacts.”

The BB gun is returned to the back seat. An elephant lives on.

Ignoring him like Sam ignored the gay accusation, Jack says, “Dude, like, four of my classmates came up to me today asking me to get you to show them your magic tricks. What the fuck?”

“That’s good, isn’t it? Making friends and whatnot?”

Jack stares at him, his face longer than that of the horses in Lonny Ghost AD’s joke of a joke earlier.

Sam, the back of his neck starting to tingle, says, “Alllllll righty, look bro. I hardly woke up forty minutes ago, I physically could not have been at your assembly. By the way, which assembly was it today?”

Jack shakes his head in disbelief. “No, you’re… why are you lying to me?”

“I’m not dude, I–”

Jack’s face takes on a tint of red, similar to PrinciPal’s when Sam was so disrespectfully badgering him for doing his damned job this morning. “What are you even doing here, Sam?”

Sam playfully rolls his eyes and takes a sip of his milkshake through the grin he holds for his brother. “I’m waiting for my Canna-guy to come through, what else?”

Before Jack can even explode into a trillion pieces of molten shrapnel, destroying the Engage, the parking lot, and the entire Kwik Chek in a chain reaction that would cause the nearby underground gas tanks to combust and incinerate everything in a fifty-foot radius, Gino and Gio slowly footslog up behind him.

“Yoo Jack and Sam, hay!” Gio says, a dopey smile on his face.

Gino chimes in with a request to learn some of Sam’s magic tricks.

This is followed by an obnoxious, “TOLD YOU!” from Jack.

“Hah,” Sam laughs, stirring his milkshake with his straw. The machine clearly didn’t blend it enough, the entire bottom quarter of this cup is a solid hunk of burnin’ forbidden fudge. “Maybe after you guys finish your run. What’s ol’ Thennie have you guys doin’ today?”

Jack starts walking away, nurturing his walk into a jog before evolving it to a sprint by using a running stone. He blows past the side street in a rage that could fry a turkey.

Without using any oil.

Nahson Getdro

The other three watch him go, impressed by the speed at which Jack shrinks into a tiny little dot, then disappears.

“What’s that about?” Sam asks, sipping his unshaken milkshake. “He’s running faster than I did after I initiated the greatest prank in the school’s history.”

“What are you talking about?” Gino says, pausing the flow of the conversation. “My older brother started the water balloon war in the courtyard. He made me fill the balloons, I had to drink like forty bottles of water.”

“Nothing,” a sip of milkshake. “Let’s just say the school wasn’t always called Hoffman Regional.”

“Huh. Anyway, he’s really fast dude, your brother is great at this sport,” Gio professes, looking up to Sam while standing eye-level with him. “You’re probably really proud of him.”

“I am. But seriously, what are you guys doing? My dude’s gonna be here soon and she won’t like your being here.”

Gino and Gio look at each other in awe; some say never meet your heroes, but they must have some pretty degenerate fuckin’ heroes, tell you what.

“Well, yew see,” Gino starts, cracking his back as he speaks, “Coach Thenure is only our coach for cross country. We’re in spring track now.”

“Ahhh, okay. Makes zero difference, but okay. Soooo…”

“Soooo…” they both say in unison.

“What are you guys running today??” Sam almost yells.

“OH! The Beefy Moore, like six miles. When Coach– hey, do you know Coach?”

“Yeah I know him, he appeared my senior year. I think. Or maybe I met him at one of Jack’s meets… I don’t know. Kinda looks like Einstein if Einstein was a Native American, right?”

Gino giggles to himself. Never before has he held the attention of someone so slightly older than him for such a long period of time. “I never put that together, but totally! But anyway, when he told us what the run was, I was like, This seems like a lot, but okay.”

“No you weren’t!” Gio trumps in. “I was!”

A beat up old Nahson Getdro pulls into the parking lot and rides over the curb, the tiny drop nearly causing the axles of the vehicle to snap. The hood, an entirely different color and material than the rest of the car, has a small drift of smoke flowing out of it, and the driver parks on the other side of the building in that one parking space around the corner that isn’t really a parking space but nobody can get a tow truck back there to tow away the cars that park there so I guess it is a parking space after all. Then, a girl draped in a purple and green drug rug that reaches past her knees gets out and sits lotus style on the hood, using the slight smokescreen to her advantage. She then reaches beneath the burgundy beanie that’s keeping her hair under something that might be described by a paraplegic as control and pulls out what looks like a cigarette, except without the yellow end. She puts the lowercase L in her mouth, flips off Sam, lights her joint, and then sits there waiting.

Ladies and gentlemen, she has arrived.

Sam, the excitement dilating his pupils to the point of appearing Psychedelic, says, “All right guys, that’s my guy, y’all better get a move on,” without making eye contact or even facing the children. Despite protests, Sam gets out of his car and walks towards his dealer and next-door neighbor, the fabulous Miss Harley Wolffe.

Gino and Gio, instead of continuing with their run, walk up to the Kwik Chek and press their faces against the window, peeking inside to see if it’s the older gray lady with three teeth working or if it’s the hot new community college student that moved here from California to avoid the rodent creature uprising. Meanwhile, about a mile down the road, Jack is running so fast he’s beginning to go airborne.


As I said above, The 2020 Event |The Main Event| is a satirical novel about aliens that do psychedelic drugs and the subjective nature of reality. It is also the fourth book of the First Spiral, a longer story called The Highest One Writing.

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

|The Main Event| is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.

I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.

If you like |The Main Event| and would like to help support my work, buy a copy of the book here.

Be well Commons~

Posted in Writings

Oh. – The 2020 Event |The Main Event| (8/66)

Hello Commons, here is chapter 3.33 of The 2020 Event |The Main Event|, a satirical novel about aliens that do psychedelic drugs and the subjective nature of reality. Please enjoy. See the bottom of this post for more info.


Chapter 3.33
Oh.

Master Charles

“As I’ll ever be,” Karen grunts, her attention captured by a notebook scrawled with more scribbles than words.

“Okay, so I look her in the eye and make up some shit about a tracker that’ll broadcast her memories to the public or something, I don’t even know what I said. But Karen, the look on that thing’s face, hua-hahah-hah hah. If one could paint what I saw, it would be worth a million words. I literally had to walk away to keep myself from cracking up.”

As he says that last sentence, Chuck remembers the little family of ducks swimming in the stream. The momma with her babies, trailing them along, swimming them in the opposite direction the stream was flowing so the babies could learn to swim. They keep working, keep paddling their legs, but they always stay in the same place, never really moving. Learning how to move all the while not actually moving… right across the street from the American public high school.

“But did you?” in a gruff whine from the other side of the room.

Sigmund continues, “Did you put one of my trackers on her? Because the memory broadcaster is still in beta phase Chuck, there’s no telling what that could do to a normal human’s psyche. The technology hasn’t reached human trials outside of yourself yet.”

Karen, her eyes as wide as an owl’s when the labyrinthine forest it’s been living in its whole life turns out to be a small enclosure at a zoo, says, “It… what ?

“SO ANYWAY!” Chuck cuts in before anyone has a chance to go anywhere with that, “Yeah it was really funny, she’ll probably never tell anyone she saw me. The school is still a green zone, they have no idea what’s going on.”

“Hrrrmmmm,” Sigmund grunts, rubbing his belly. “Well that’s good. Will you be here for tonight?”

Chuck takes a rip from one of the bongs next to the tea machine on Karen’s desk.

“Well,” he sort of says through five lungfuls of smoked packed into two lungs, “that depends.”

He exhales explicitly in Karen’s direction but she’s deep under the surface of her notebook’s pages, probably hasn’t taken a breath in minutes. So Chuck takes another rip and proceeds to blow smoke rings at her to get her attention. When that doesn’t work, he blows complex four-dimensional geometric smoke structures that fill the entire room with a haze so dense you could grind it, roll it up, and burn one end of it, but no matter how much smoke he blows, Karen does nothing to acknowledge anything Chuck has going for him. The robotic laughter of Chuck’s power armor’s computer snickers maniacally in the back of his mind.

“Yo,” Chuck says, feeling inadequate. “Karen. Any word on that amphibious motorcycle?”

Karen slams her pencil down and sits at attention, breaching the graphite-dirtied surface of her pages. “YES! Oh my god did I not tell you?!” she excitedly exclaims, knowing for a fact that she has not yet shared this information as she got it approximately three minutes before her boss smashed through one of the wall-sized windows, nearly giving her a freaking heart attack just like the last fourteen dozen freaking times he freaking did it.

Chuck imagines there is a chair behind him. He bends his legs in the chair-sitting position and the nanobots in his pants strain to hold his body in said position. “No, you’ve not. I’m listening.”

“I found one boss,” she says, adding, ‘obviously,’ in her mind. She doesn’t necessarily appreciate it when Chuck says obviously out loud when she says something obvious, so she won’t say it either, but nobody controls how Karen thinks. She continues, “I finally found one after literally years of searching.”

“But Karen…” Chuck begins in a low, airy voice, almost with a tremble, “I only asked you to find one a few months ago.”

‘No, you rich, trippy fuck, it was literally one of the first things you had me do,’ she thinks to herself, saying, “Months, years, who’s keeping track? But yeah, I found one, it’s stashed in a warehouse on the other side of the city. I did a scan and I didn’t see any cameras or anything. buh–”

“I don’t care for anything else you or anybody has to say for the next…” Chuck says, scrolling like mad through the URGENT Cape business files displayed on the inside of his sunglasses, “…fifteen minutes.”

He stands up and double taps his tie, causing his power armor to melt out of the silk tie fibres and come into form over his body.

To Sigmund, “I might be back in time. We’ll see. I don’t need to be there, you can do your thing without me.”

Sigmund shrinks a little, his lab coat creaking in time with his slouch. “Yes, I know I can. You just said you wanted to announce the winner the other day.”

Chuck says, “Oh.” The contest was his idea in the first place, announcing the winner would be a cool thing to do.

‘But Master Charles,’ says the power armor’s computer in his head, audible to nobody else, ‘think of how big your dick would feel whilst riding that amphibious motorcycle straight off the ground onto a lake or something. We can go to Lake Wantooki again. You know you got the Want Wantooki Ooki, Master Charles.’

Chuck looks over at Karen but she’s back to work on writing whatever it is she writes all the time, leaving him no choice but to face Sigmund.

“Well, uh…” Chuck begins, looking Sigmund in the eye. “I want this more.”

Chuck then turns around, runs deep into his office and smashes through the wall-window adjacent to the wall-window he already smashed, sending him plummeting out of the forty-second floor of his building.


As I said above, The 2020 Event |The Main Event| is a satirical novel about aliens that do psychedelic drugs and the subjective nature of reality. It is also the fourth book of the First Spiral, a longer story called The Highest One Writing.

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

|The Main Event| is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.

I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.

If you like |The Main Event| and would like to help support my work, buy a copy of the book here.

Be well Commons~

Posted in Writings

Practice Makes Perfect – The 2020 Event |The Main Event| (7/66)

Hello Commons, here is chapter 3 of The 2020 Event |The Main Event|, a satirical novel about aliens that do psychedelic drugs and the subjective nature of reality. Please enjoy. See the bottom of this post for more info.


Chapter 3
Practice Makes Perfect

The Voice In Jack’s Head

‘Ah, so you’re finally here. I’ve been expecting you, y’know. It’s really about time you’ve showed up.’

Jack, who’s been sitting in the unilluminated suspension box for no less than seventy minutes, is a bit confused at this. He’s been existing in this state for what feels like days; he almost forgets what the glow of sunlight feels like, what colors are. He knows that he’s a human, but he can’t picture what a human looks like, how a face is composed, how they manage to walk upright on two legs without toppling over like an especially emaciated and lanky giraffe would if it attempted the stunt. The voice he just heard is also coming from inside his head, which is definitely… different.

“Uhhhh,” he says out loud, startled by how thunderous his own voice sounds inside this cocoon of solitude. “Who are you?”

“NO TALKING!” Missus Logem screams, her voice coming through as a dull roar from the other side of whatever material this veritable tomb is made of.

Jack opens his mouth to apologize but decides against making another noise, lest he further jab at the bear with his stick. ‘It’s okay Jack, it can’t be too much longer. You’re not hearing voices, just hang in there buddy.’

‘I heard that, y’know,’ the other voice says in a whimsical tone. ‘You’re right Jackson Monta, you aren’t crazy. And that’s a damn cryin’ shame. Some claim that you ain’t shit if you’re not some type of crazy. Others say one must be at least a little bit crazy to get somewhere in this treacherous world of ours. Me? I say roll the dice, see what happens. And it just so happens that I’m talking to you now. Howdy.’

Jack is very lucky he didn’t eat a big lunch before the assembly, because it would be ejecting itself in torrents out of both ends of the uninterrupted intestinal tubeway between his cheeks and his other cheeks if he had. He feels his stomach churning, rumbling, tossing, rolling over, wrping itself around his esophagus out of frustration and fear. Sensory deprivation syndrome? Guilt-induced madness? ‘Did I go into a fugue state during that assembly and take so many drugs that I don’t remember?’

The voice in Jack’s head bellows a hearty laugh. ‘Goodness no, my child, you’re much too beta for that. Listen, you can hear me. I can hear you. You can hear you, and I can hear me. All four of us are about to hear this message: and the both of us are about to hear this message: the flying wombat with a cap of mush’ has touched down in the brush.’

Jack doesn’t think nor say any words in his thoughts after that. He just starts counting, reciting his numbers from zero up to one hundred, then one hundred one to two hundred and so on and so forth. When he gets to four hundred twenty, the voice laughs and says, ‘Nice.’

Jack of course stops counting after this, believing he’s somehow lost his mind and that the grip his hands held on the frozen ledge of reality had melted the ice, sending him plummeting deep into the chasm of brain-born voices on a fall that will never stop until he hits rock bottom and starts talking back to the phantasm. This evidently makes the voice sad, because the next time it speaks, it does so in a significantly less jolly tone.

‘Look man, I didn’t mean to make you sad. I just needed to tell you about the suited man and I was trying to be all poetic and weird. I’m a little aut– I mean, artistic. Oof. What’s the difference, right? Anyway, keep your eye out for him, okay? I’ll tune out of you now. Byeee,’ the voice says, drifting off into what sounds like a light case of tinnitus melded with television static. The gray noise drifts off to silence and Jack is alone in his murky blackness once more.

A moment later, the bell tolls.

Jack steps out of the suspension booth, his consciousness dazed by the light; everything looks like he cranked up the saturation in Pictureshop. It feels like years since the last time he stood, the last time his brain translated the photon-based information his eyes are contracted to supply it with. He stands still for a short bout and just takes in the action of the classroom, watching as hardly a quarter of the other booths hatch his fellow classmates. He sees a couple golf stars named Tod and Todd, Plug still draped in his dress-code-breaking custom wifebeater, the D&D club’s dungeon master Zoey Sigfreed, his friend Dakota with whom he runs track and cross country, Billy, whose eyes are beet red, probably from crying, Zane Bucknick; good ol’ Zane Bucknick, I’ll tell ya. Jack wonders to himself if this a lot of students for one suspension session. Did he just get swept up with the crowd? Or is today actually a light day, a day where the real student criminals come out? It’s always the quiet ones you’ve gotta watch, as they say, although the louder ones are obviously better primed to explode.

Jack makes a beeline to the gymnasium, diving underneath the tsunami of students pouring over the bridge, all eager to get to their lockers and pack up their many backpacks, purses, fanny packs and satchels so they can get to the busses before the drivers get impatient and leave in precisely two and a half minutes from right this second.

The Last Rodent

Scurrying amongst the untied shoelaces and rubber soles of these students is the sole surviving escapee of the pack of rats that is now properly educated about drug use; all of his brothers, sisters, cousins, and children were either recaptured or squashed in the auditorium during one of the multiple commotions that overtook the adolescent human population. His name is Squeakers III, and he’s the only rat left.

The last rodent bobs and weaves through the dancing forest of human legs, leaping over untied shoes and occasionally grabbing on to a dangling backpack strap to swing over large distances. Once Squeakers III reaches the end of the bridge, he jumps up into the faux planter and digs into the burgundy woodchips until he finds the secret passageway the original Hoffman High free-running rats built generations ago. It’s filled with spiderwebs, dust, and the souls of dead rats passed, but Squeakers III presses on regardless, wriggling, climbing, and falling his way through the utterly hamster-tubeish passage until he pops out in the school’s weight room, a repurposed autoshop loaded with state-of-the-art workout equipment.

Squeakers III climbs a wall-mounted electrical wire, runs over top the two gigantic garage doors, and then carefully slides down a high-tension wire on the other side, leaving his paws charred from the wire burn. Squeakers III doesn’t feel the pain though; he doesn’t feel much of anything as he touches down and slowly approaches his target. It’s right there in front of him, the way out: a small crack between the cinderblock walls and the doorjamb, a choice custodial oversight that will continue to be overseen for years to come, if not decades. Squeakers III confidently takes his time approaching it, knowing that nothing can stop him. There won’t be any humans in here for minutes – he could probably squeeze in a quick nap if he was so motivated.

A gust of fresh outside air wafts through the crack and slithers its way into his nose, tantalizing Squeakers III’s olfactory bub more than a combination of bad milk and good cheese. The elders of his pack have told legends of rats who successfully escaped, the brave few who bested the school’s rodent detection forces and breached the walls of containment to make a life in the outside world. They all promised to come back for the rest of the rats, but nobody ever has. Squeakers III will be the first; he promised his grandmother so before she died. He held her paw when she went – this is his duty.

Suddenly, Squeakers III is picked up by a thin and bony hand.

“Hey there, little guy. What are you doing in here?” says the human’s mouth, precariously positioned between a bushy mustache and an all-too-aesthetic soul patch. Squeakers III tries to make a commotion and worm his way out of the captor’s hand but it’s no use; he’s been captured, the latest prisoner of a war that will never end because one side doesn’t even know they’re fighting it. Any struggle will just make his ensuing death more painful, and Squeaks knows this, yet he struggles away. These humans, these damned hairless apes… when will their reign of terror end?

The man takes the rat outside and carries him into the woods on the other side of the West Wing’s parking lot. He climbs up on a low rock and releases Squeakers III, then watches with a smile as the little thing disappear into the thicket.

Squeakers III climbs to a tall rock that overlooks the asphalt valley and watches the scraggly human walk back to the school. With a tear in his eye, he thanks the higher being and then bounds into the forest to start anew.

Wilted Roses

The scraggly man, his long and excrutiatingly unkempt Einstyle hair bouncing with every step he takes, rounds the corner of the West building and climbs up to the Hoffman Athletics Plateau. He finds himself a spot on the memorial bench that overlooks the track and places the ankle of his left leg on the knee of his right, sitting in wait for what comes next. Soon after, he notices a frail child coming up the grassy knoll behind him. The student is wearing a nylon white t-shirt and black running shorts, but at first glance he appears shirtless.

“Hey Coach,” Jack chimes, approaching the bench.

“Hello there Jack, I hope you’re doing well today,” says Coach, authoritatively shaking Jack’s hand and putting him at ease. “Do you know where Coach Scoompa is?”

“Uhh yeah, I think he’s in the West Gym.”

“Excellent. Hey, when the rest of the team gets out here, get ‘em together and warm up, two laps on the track. Then circle up and start stretching. I’ll be back before you’re done.”

“You got it, Coach.”

Coach jumps up, clicking his heels in midair like a leprechaun before making his way towards the breezeway between the schools. Luckily the flow of midday traffic has ceased and the driveway is clear of illegally moving vehicles, giving Coach a gratuitously open road to traverse. Down the way, Coach sees none other than Lonny Ghost AD smelling some of the wilted roses that failed to grow out of the bushes planted in the courtyard underneath a dishwasher exhaust valve. Coach waves at Lonny and Lonny notices, quickly blocking his face with his hand and walking away in the opposite direction. Unfortunately for Lonny, the direction opposite Coach is the same direction as the school’s cooking classroom’s exterior brick wall. By the time our AD gets the taste of ancient weathered clay out of his mouth, Coach is inside the West building searching for Scoompa. In retaliation, Lonny Ghost AD ventures into the East building and begins to search for a reason for being there.

All of seven seconds pass before Coach is approached by an old man in a dusty tan policeman-turned-security guard’s outfit with a shining plastic badge slung over his breast pocket. The officer takes a single step back and eyes Coach up and down, optically searching his body for any offensive apparel or possibly concealed weapons of mass destruction.

“Hi there, buddy,” the officer sternly croaks, putting a hand on the stun gun strapped to his left hip. “I’ve never seen you around here before, I’m going to need to see some eye-dee.”

Coach’s brain powerwalks directly into a gray breezeblock wall gilded with cement stained charcoal black. The resulting deadpan expression on his face makes The Shocker’s few remaining hairs stand up on his head, as if the static electricity from the upcoming taser strike was leaking out of the gun and into his body.

Staring down at his pocketless running shorts, Coach starts patting and slapping where the pockets would be on his upper thighs and ass like a Caucasian putting on a hambone knee slap concert. When he’s done with the dance of his ancestor’s conquerors, Coach looks up at the officer, a sturdy foot and a half shorter than himself, and says, “Well would you look at that, these pants don’t have any pockets. I guess I left my eye-dee at home. Sorry, guy.”

The officer, wearing a nametag that says Dinkelbop, puts his other hand on the black grip of the pistol holstered to his right hip. Although he looks like he’s about to bust a macarana hip shake, the gesture comes off as entirely threatening to Coach’s well-being.

“Is that so?” the guard growls, the sheer throaty husk of the vibration sending the soundwave on a trip out an open window in the nearby Custodial Closet turned Teacher’s Lounge. The echo ricochets into the forest, landing in a small mammalian ear and disturbing a rat from its slumber.

War Cry

Squeakers III stretches his legs and darts from the safety of his new burrow, fearing an incoming bobcat or mink attack. From the perch of an old oak tree who’s beginning to lose feeling near his roots, a pregnant freckled osprey watches from a branch, invisible in her shroud of sprouting spring leaves, prepared to strike.

The osprey hasn’t eaten in days. A family of bald eagles moved in on the opposite shore of the reservoir from her a week ago, and grocery shopping has been something of an ordeal ever since; she doesn’t want to point feathers, but it’s not like all the prey suddenly packed up and moved to Topeka. She opens her wings, fans them in a display of her dominance over the rest of creation, raises her shoulders, and leaps, divebombing through the air and shrieking the war cry that spawns the nightmares of thousands of living beings every nightfall. The prey ducks under an exposed tree root and the osprey banks away, flying up to a different branch, one of a tree as limber as she is sturdy.

These events physically can’t happen here one year in the future because this patch of forest will be an extended parking lot with a private driveway running between the high school and the nearby Kwik Chek miniature market. The student body will vote against this massive landscaping project, but the Administration will push it forward anyway, more than happy to pay for it with the then-recent and unrelated cutting of the school’s security cameras and video surveillance classes.

Where Are We Going

Officer Dinkelbop stares at the alleged homeless man in front of him, watching the seventeenth century savage of a man stare blankly into space. When a drop of drool falls off his lip and splatters on the floor, making collateral out of the Officer’s new leather loafers, the line is drawn.

“I said you’ll need to be coming with me now, son,” the rent-a-cop scolds, the grip of his pistol leaving an imprint in his callused and unwashed hands. Then, almost with a smile, “Or are you going to make this difficult for us?”

Coach rapidly shakes his head, bringing himself back to reality and knocking an empty bird’s nest loose out of his hair. It falls to the floor and shatters into dust and small fragments of years-old dry rotted wood. The Officer follows it with his eyes, arching his brows as if he’s surprised when it dusts, keeping the same sturdy scowl he’s been wearing since he pulled one of his wife’s moldy armpit hairs out from between his teeth when he woke up this morning.

“Sorry,” Coach says in a mumble, which Officer Dinkelbop takes as disrespect. “I uh… zoned out for a second, I guess. Where are we going?”

‘Where are we going?’

Those words, that string of phrase…

‘Where are we going?’

They resound inside Dinkelbop’s head, bouncing off the spiky interior walls of his skull’s cavity like a small caliber bullet dancing on titanium.

‘Where are we going?’

Suddenly darkness enshrouds the light. The walls of the building dissolve around the unsuspecting Officer Dinkelbop and a divisive, howling wind tears through the economically viable fabrics his clothes are made of. He’s stranded in the middle of a dense forest, surrounded by a storm of chaos and the annoying pitterless patter of rain splashing on his unprotected face.

“Where are we going?!” someone shouts into the maelstromic mayhem around him. Then, the awful metallic puh-DING of a bullet piercing a helmet. “NNNOOOOOOO!!!”

Gunshots relentlessly bounce back and forth from within the gaps between the trees towering on either side of Dinkelbop; in front of him he can make out a figure, a man crouched down behind a stack of overturned barrels waving his arm. Officer D, carrying his trusty N-16 two-round burst rifle with his initials etched into the grip and a killcount carved into the stock, runs encumbered through the mud and slides behind the cover. If there were any rations left in his general issue backpack that he was wearing this whole time, they’d be completely ruined.

“Eleutorio!” the man shouts, embracing the Officer in a muddy hug. “You’re alive, I can’t believe it! We’re going to make it out!”

At first Dinkelbop doesn’t recognize the man, but then it dawns on him like the rising sun that illuminates the rescue boat heading to the shores of the whatever foreign beach the US army has been instructed to invade today. It’s Queso, the Queso, Dinkelbop’s old bootcamp training buddy. Ah, they were the best of friends; they tore down so, so much pussy in all those towns and villages they paraded through during the Vietnam war. How could this be though? Eleutorio hasn’t seen Queso since… well, since he…

“Dink!” Queso calls, his voice the squeal of a frog underneath the cyclonic blades of this lawnmower of a storm. “Don’t pass out on me amigo, si? ¡Todavía me debes cuarenta dólares por esa prostituta hace una semana, ah hah ha!

Dinkelbop flashes the sly smile of a twentysomething man with a half-baked plan. He ducks down, crouching past Queso to take a grenade from the belt of the fallen American soldier behind the barricade with them. He rips the pin out with his teeth, chucking the pineapple over their cover and into the trees where gunshots seem to be hatching from egg sacs dangling from the tree bark five feet off the ground. The rain stops as the bomb arcs through the air, Eleutorio and Queso sharing the same thought: ‘Woah.’

The explosion is accompanied by an acapella screaming section the Vietcong must have prepared in advance, because it matches the tone of the grenade just perfectly. Then, all combat ceases; either everybody in the jungle had to reload all at once, OR the grenade took its job of scaring up some semblance of passage through this forest to dumbfounding new heights. The pair stand up and look around – not even a waver in a leaf of a fern. Time itself has become a translucent cube of ice.

Queso puts his arm on Dinkelbop’s shoulder. “You did it, jefe! We’re going home, I’m going to see my family again! My wife, my daughter, my new son who was born after we shipped out. Everyone Eleutorio, because of you, my friend. Mi hermano.”

Dinkelbop smiles, his chest feeling warm with the glow of camaraderie and friendship. He bends down to pick up his rifle, flicking away a particularly runny splotch of debris sticking out of the gun’s barrel, and stands back up to see a crazed Vietcong with one missing arm violently stabbing Queso in the neck.

NOOO!!!” Eleutorio screams through the geyser of blood that spouts out into his face, raising his weapon and attempting to tickle the trigger out of being jammed. When that doesn’t work, he leaps at the squinty-eyed assailant, removing his 1911 Colt .420 from his holster and digging a grave into the man’s forehead with the barrel.

“WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO QUESO?? I’LL KILL YOU Y’FUCKIN’ SOULLESS BASTARDO!”

Coach, on the receiving end of Dinkelbop’s saliva-riddled spew of screaming, isn’t quite sure how to react. It’s not necessarily the raving that throws him, or the gun pressed into his head, nor is it the weight of this creature that suddenly tackled him. No, it’s the man’s eyes – those empty pits staring down at him from mere inches away. It’s how lost they are, how deep and dark the blacks are in contrast to the browns; how bottomless, as if the brain behind them is seeing something else, like it was plugged into a different body – no, a different reality – entirely.

After about five more seconds, Coach grows tired of whatever it is that’s going on right now. He simultaneously slaps the gun and the outside of Dinkelbop’s wrist in opposite directions, sending the weapon skidding across the hall. He underestimated how much body weight Dinkelbop was putting behind the firearm though, so when Dinkelbop falls, our skinny runner’s body of a man catches Officer D’s forehead with his own. Their skull plates audibly crack against each other through two very thin layers of skin with a knock to make William Eggshell from the hit series Cracking Bad shiver in his lab coat. Both dip into darkness and lay sprawled out on the floor for more than a couple minutes.

Eleutorio Dinkelbop

Officer Dinkelbop wakes up first.

Struck with a case of short-term amnesia, Dinkelbop swivels his head and tries to figure out what happened. One minute he was talking to this suspected homeless guy, and now he’s on the floor with the vagrant laying out cold beside him. He reaches for his hip and finds that his pistol isn’t there. Panic sweeps over him as his eyes do the floor around him. He locates the piece against the wall, the shape of the thing forming a triangle that makes Eleutorio smile. The recently unretired man stands up and walks over to get a hand on his gun, and as he bends down, his stomach churns and gurgles as if someone removed the stopper from a warehouse’s slop sink. The gatekeeper inside his ass then lets the dogs out, unleashing a cloud of gastrointestinal flatulence so close to having a color that a sliver of his already brown pants is dyed a shade darker. Dinkelbop beds his puppy and slowly stands, giving the disturbed air time to settle out. The worst part: it doesn’t even smell.

When all’s quiet in the Western Wing, Coach wakes back up. The Officer is standing over him, weapon safely holstered, with his arms folded. He doesn’t look mad, not at all; just disappointed. So very disappointed.

“You still haven’t told me what you’re doing in the school, kid,” Officer Dinkelbop says, offering Coach a hand to stand up.

“You haven’t asked,” Coach replies, taking the officer’s hand and pulling himself to his feet. He tucks his wispy, gaunt, afro-ish hair back behind his ears to look clearly at the old man in front of him, taking in how truly weathered he is. “You just demanded that you see some eye-dee, which I don’t have because my pants don’t have any pockets. And,” Coach says, flicking the Officer’s lanyard, “these things are stupid and cost dollars.”

Officer Eleutorio Dinkelbop is not amused by this long-haired homeless rat flicking at his school-issued-and-paid-for red lanyard, thank you very little.

“I’m here to run the kids,” Coach continues, not picking up the hint. “The distance kids on the track team. I think I’ve seen you around here before, but we’ve never met. Name’s Coach; Running Coach.” Coach holds out an open hand to Dinkelbop, who accepts it with a surprised face.

“Eleutorio Dinkelbop. But you can call me Officer Eee if you ever see me around here in the future. Listen,” he says, letting go of Coach’s hand and turning his body away from Coach to look back at him over his shoulder. “You’re going to need a visitor’s pass from the Main Office if you want to stay. It’s the rules. I don’t make ‘em, just follow ‘em and get paid to enforce ‘em. I can escort you there now.”

On the inside, Coach’s eyes roll out of his body and onto the dusty hallway floor. From there, they continue rolling along until their moist, loamy surface picks up so much dirt and grime that Coach can no longer see through them and he grows a new pair of eyes. On the outside, though, Coach smiles and nods along with the dude the school’s Administration pays to carry a gun, mirroring the old man’s microexpressions to return Dinkelbop’s certain shown level of respect.

“A’ight. Lead the way, dawg.”

As the newfound friendship travels towards the Main Office, all the Officer can think is, ‘Why do these goddamned babosos make it so hard for me to keep the order around here?’ a sharp contrast to Coach’s, ‘Why do these goddamned baboons make it so hard for me to do my job around here?’

 They walk outside and cross the driveway, Coach looking over to the track and seeing his team finish their second warm-up lap. The kids shrink to the size of ants by the time Coach and Officer E reach the Main Office’s outside door in the front of the school. A lifted muddy pickup truck drives by the school going much faster than the legal school zone speed limit and Coach’s hair flies everywhere; of all days to forget a hair tie, today just has to be the day.

The Officer notices this and, embarrassed for Coach’s sake, presses the doorbell to move things along. After a few beeps, a raspy sound comes out of the speaker.

“Hello?” in a staticky grovel with a slight uproar going on in the background.

“Hello there, this is Officer Dee. I have that uh, thing you called me about here.” Officer E looks Coach in the eyes – not at the thin, emaciated, wacky wavy inflatable strand flailing hair follicles, but at his eyeballs – and nods, offering him a little smile. He then returns his attention to the box. “I’ve determined he needs a visitor’s pass.”

A moment of silence as the voice in the tiny box contemplates the meaning of all this. Then the door clicks, the box offering not even a growl of validation.

Officer E, after putting on his school-issued gold-rimmed pilot’s sunglasses, opens the door for Coach and motions for him to walk in first, which the young public servant thanks his elder for. As soon as the door seals behind them though, the air inside the building begins to move.

An Ideal Coach

“You know what, Bessy?” says Lonny Ghost AD, walking down the band hallway towards the Main Office with his Secretary, Missus Savahge. “It’s hard for a high school’s Athletic Director to find good coaching staff these days. An ideal coach is somebody who you can treat like your Daddy and they’ll act like it right back – a hard worker who’s never had anything handed to him, whose dedication and perseverance never falters and always leads him to the right answer. A man of age with a youthful face reciprocally matched with a salt’n’pepper hair style, whether it be a beard, mullet, arm and leg hair, what have you. A man who always knows what to say and when to say it, but also how to say it; a man with such a masterful grip on the inflection of his voice that he could yell you to sleep with a bedtime lullaby. A grown man who knows whEN TO SWITCH FROM HIS INSIDE TO OUTSIDE VOICE.”

As he’s saying this last sentence, Lonny Ghost AD realizes that he accidentally started yelling at some point, garnering stares from the color guard flag wavers who flunked out of the matching band and are now holding an afterschool bake sale in the hallways to raise money for their sad, non-athletic, and strictly recreational little club.

“You know Bessy,” Ghost continues once they’ve cleared the confectionary parfum of air-stale breads and store-bought cookies, still in their original Entedmen’s boxes, “back in the good old days, one’s last name matched their career. You make shoes? Great, your name is Alexander Cobbler. A baker? Fine, you go by the name of Drewey Ovenmitts. The one in control of an entire high school’s athletic program? Absolutely, you carry the nomenclature of Lonny Ghost Ay-Dee, Ay-Dee of course standing for Athletic Director,” he explains to Missus Savahge, the Athletic Director’s Secretary that was hired here before he was. “Today, humans just don’t carry this tradition anymore; names get to mean whatever they want to mean. Little Timmy Williamson? He’s not the son of a William, or a Will. Not even a Bill or a Bobby, it’s absolutely ridiculous!”

They round the corner nearest the Main Office and, taking this into account, Lonny continues with, “How is one supposed to be expected to appropriately hire a man for a job in this day and age when that man – or woman, technically – could have a name that doesn’t act as a descriptor of their talents? Today’s world is just backwards, at least as far as Lonny Ghost Ay-Dee sees it. And I see the world in flying colors!”

Lonny Ghost AD stops dead in his tracks when he sees Running Coach, the boy’s hair looking as messy and ungroomed as Rainfort’s mop, standing in the doorway of the Main Office in the custody of the school’s security guard. Just standing there, clogging up the most important bowel in the entirety of the school! Like a dirty volunteer assistant coach is supposed to be inside with the real staff!

The AD is about to approach him and correct this social faux pas when suddenly, Coach turns and waves at him with a smile. Lonny Ghost AD almost literally peels an entire banana and throws it into the wall.

“Ahh, hhhhii there Runster,” Lonny Ghost AD says with a whine before he begins to chuckle. “Run-Man, heh, Running, Run-Man Runster the Running Runster, ah-hehhehheh-heh,” he snickers to himself. Then he notices the school’s new security guard, Officer Dinkelbop, has been staring at him for quite a few seconds now.

“Ah! Hello there, Officer! Your name is… Es… Elu… Eduardo? Yeah,” Lonny Ghost says, confirming this memory of remembering a memory as correct. “Yeah, Eduardo. How are ya?”

Eleutorio,” a pause, “is my name; you’re thinking of my twin brother, sir,” said whilst making over-the-top-of-his-sunglasses eye contact with Lonny Ghost AD. “And I am doing quite well. I was patrolling the halls, you see, and I got a call about this human being. He looked homeless so, be–”

“YEAH!” Lonny Ghost AD then cuts in, using his outside voice. “That’s what it is, he looks homeless! Bessy!”

Bessy Savahge, the Secretary To The Athletic Director, who had zoned out playing a coloring game on her smart phone, stands at attention. “Yes, sir?”

Lonny points to Coach. “He looks homeless! That’s his look, the homeless look. That we were talking about before? Remember?” He nudges her with his elbow a few times, as if trying to nonverbally convey a message. “ReMeMbEr?”

Missus Savahge’s face shrinks down a few sizes and she shoots Lonny Ghost AD a look of bewildered confusion. “No, no I don’t Lonny! I don’t know where you’re getting this hogwash.” She turns to Coach and smiles, “Hello Coach, how’s the team doing?”

Coach smiles back and nods. “We’re doing well, championship coming up this weekend. The kids are excited.” He turns to Officer E and nods at him before continuing with, “Now, as my new friend Eleutorio was saying.”

A patch of body hair on Lonny Ghost AD’s left leg deroots itself and jumps, daintily drifting towards his shoe while bouncing off the interior of his pant leg. He feels every second of it.

“Yes, as I was saying,” Officer E continues, straightening the taser holster on his hip with showmanship. “He looked homeless so, being myself, I approached and attempted to handle the situation. It began to escalate, but…” he trails off.

Eleutorio looks to Running for validation and gets it in the form of a nod, giving him the strength to continue. “It got a little ugly at first, I will not lie, but we came to an understanding. He just needs a visitor’s pass for today, no problemo.”

“Speaking of which,” abruptly from one of the Office cronies, a surprisingly youthful lass named Astrid Brooks, “if he can just fill out this sheet then I can get everything moved along on our end.”

Astrid holds out a clipboard with the sheet clipped to it and a pen that’s attached with what appears to be a shoelace and no less than four different brands of tape. “Or, is there somebody I could call?”

Eleutorio stands aside, giving the stage to Coach. He takes the clipboard and holds the pen in his hand but writes nothing, choosing instead to smile.

Then, “Yeah, you could call Coach Scoompa… OR!” as he turns to face Lonny Ghost AD. “Mister Ghost, can’t you just sign off on my being here?”

Lonny nervously laughs, taking a half step back and rubbing the back of his head just below the budding bald spot.

“Wheeeellllll I don’t, I mean,” he trails off, rapidly looking back and forth between all the faces in front of him. All these staring, overwhelming faces… so many faces, just like… like the barbecue. Sally. Her dad. It, it was just a handshake, he was never meant to smell… and now everyone’s staring at him, watching. They’re always watching. They’ll never stop watching.

“I-I um, I don’t have everybody’s schedules memorized aaaand, I meeaaan, it’s reeeeaaaallly not my responsibility tooooo…”

Lonny had started to slowly walk backwards as he spoke his jibberish, and he is now out of the hearing range of the rest of the group. Unbeknown to him though, Miss Brooks had already called Coach Scoompa, and everybody stopped paying attention to Lonny the minute he started backpedaling. She takes the clipboard and pen back and apologizes, surprised that nobody has yet mentioned to her that Coach has been employed by the school for four years now as a coach of both cross country and track, and that all of this has been entirely unnecessary.

Just as they’re all laughing about the redundancy of it all, Coach Scoompa rounds the corner with steam coming out of his ears like his brain was brewing a hot cup of coffee. He intently ignores Lonny Ghost AD’s presence as he passes him by, Lonny wincing as if he’s about to catch hands. As Coach Scoompa approaches the group, his demeanor entirely changes, giving off a happier and more open aura.

“Hello Missus Savahge, Miss Brooks. Officer,” Scoompa says with a smile, nodding and shaking everybody’s hands individually. “Coach,” Scoompa says before letting go of Coach’s hand, “I heard you were looking for me. Let’s walk and talk, I gotta get to the New Gym.”

Coach looks down at their hands, still locked together in a shake, Scoompa’s feeling almost buttery. “Sure. You’re still holding my hand though, this is kind of weird.”

Scoompa nods. “Agreed, it is.” He drops Coach’s hand like a ravioli into a boiling pot of salted water and turns towards the door. “Shall we?”

Coach wishes the Secretaries a pleasant afternoon and follows Scoompa outside. As the exterior door closes, Astrid motions for Bessie to come into the Office. She looks over at Lonny and sees him curled up in a ball on the ground, mouthing words to himself.

‘Sweet, he’ll be a few minutes,’ she thinks as she walks in.

In a whisper, Astrid asks the AD’s Secretary, “We have a cross country team here?”

Leonard’s Supervisor

Scoompa and Coach walk out into the breezeway and across the driveway, both looking towards the track to see the kids circled up and stretching, only a handful of legs currently touching the ground.

“Nice,” Scoompa says. He then begins stressfully rubbing his eyes. “I tell you man, this shit with Leonard really has to stop.”

“It’s getting that bad, huh?”

“Dude!” he throws his arms up and looks up at the sky with wide eyes. “You have no idea. I just had a meeting with him and Ghost about the cross country program next year. Like, about who’s going to take over and whatnot.”

“And I, the volunteer assistant coach who does all the work and doesn’t get any of the credit or salary or respect, wasn’t invited?” Coach interjects snottily without a hint of surprise. “Shocker.”

“Yeah well, you know. He’s your head coach for the fall, he’s gotta be the one to bring you into that meeting. That’s just how it works here.”

They walk inside, using Scoompa’s Dean-tier keycard to enter. In the foyer, hanging on the wall opposite the staircase leading to the senior lockers, is a display of this month’s Athletes of the Month. Four out of six of the students are cross country runners that Coach had, and still enjoys, the pleasure of coaching.

“I know, this isn’t the first time it’s happened,” as the doors lock shut behind them with a menacing chucc. “Anyway, what about the meeting?”

“Right. So Ghost brings up the fact that Leonard’s Supervisor doesn’t think he’s putting enough energy into his teaching job. He constantly loses homework, intently skips over the Holocaust lesson during the World War Two chapter, forgets to grade tests, stares inappropriately at the boys for too long, falls behind teaching his own curriculum. That he wrote. You know, garden variety Thenure shit. Last year, more than half of his class failed his final. More than half, dude. So Lonny brings up the possibility of handing off the program to you or I so Leonard can focus on his teaching career. Just as I’m about to implore him to give it to you, are you ready?”


As I said above, The 2020 Event |The Main Event| is a satirical novel about aliens that do psychedelic drugs and the subjective nature of reality. It is also the fourth book of the First Spiral, a longer story called The Highest One Writing.

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

|The Main Event| is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.

I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.

If you like |The Main Event| and would like to help support my work, buy a copy of the book here.

Be well Commons~

Posted in Writings

Alone In The Dark – The 2020 Event |The Main Event| (6/66)

Hello Commons, here is chapter 2.5 of The 2020 Event |The Main Event|, a satirical novel about aliens that do psychedelic drugs and the subjective nature of reality. Please enjoy. See the bottom of this post for more info.


Chapter 2.5
Alone In The Dark

Mergansers

An inky blackness alone shrouds his perception. Unbridled, lightless darkness paired with a stiff back and aching limbs, all topped off with the feeling of being stuffed into a space far too small for the body one is currently inhabiting; this, in the current moment, is all of reality.

“Unngghhhhhhhh.”

‘What was that?’ Chuck thinks to himself before realizing it was himself groaning. He tries to move but can’t, it’s as if his body was encased in a form-fitting metal suit of power armor… oh right.

Even through his dope shades, Chuck’s eyes are singed by the sunlight when the helmet melts away from his cranium, giving his fedora a chance to breathe once more. As the remainder of the suit liquifies and returns to his necktie, faint feelings of nausea kick in. The clouds in the sky are actively shapeshifting as they daintily drift overhead, and a particularly sooty gray one seems to be spiraling down to grace Chuck with a kiss to the forehead. His mind goes dumpster diving into a rusty metal bin that’s missing three of its four wheels in search of potential symbolic meanings for this event, but it finds nothing. After a moment, the blaring alarm that Chuck had just assumed was a regular part of his perception shuts off, giving way to what sounds like a teenage girl’s voice.

“Uh… who are… what… how did… um… excuse me, sir?”

Chuck shakily lifts himself out of the twisted metal casket that once held him. He’s sitting in the middle of what appears to be a car breeding ground that surrounds a brick building, the air stinking of rain-splattered tar on a hot day, which is odd because it hasn’t rained in a week and the air is cool and springy. Also, cars on Earth don’t breed, and upon remembering that little detail about his Universe, Chuck realizes he’s stranded in a parking lot, and his “casket” is a lime green Pulvo Boxmobile.

Or at least it was before his suit apparently ran out of energy and he crashed, disappointed, like a meteor with no dinosaurs to kill.

Chuck climbs out of the vibrant wreckage and stands, wobbles a bit, then stands once more. He pushes against his back and cracks one or two vertebrae, feeling the world get all the more squiggly as the freed spinal fluid rushes to and floods his brain. He then turns his attention to the panic-stricken blonde teenager standing next to him with her hands over her likely gaping mouth.

“Sup?” Chuck asks, removing his fedora to fan his face. It’s kinda hot out today, actually.

“Th-th-they told me my cuh–” she pips, then gets cut off by the strange suited creature.

“Speak up chick, I can barely hear you. Wait, hold on.”

Chuck pinches his nose shut and exhales with his mouth closed, popping his eardrums. Suddenly, everything sounds clearer.

“Okay go.”

“Uh. They told me my car alarm was going off. So, I… I came out here and you were… a robot, but… not, and… I’m so confused.”

“Yeah, I bet you are. Listen, if you tell anybody that you saw me here today, the tracking bug I just put on you will crawl into your ear, plug into your brain. and painfully broadcast your deepest and darkest thoughts to the entire world, in multiple languages, via eff-em radio station one hundred-point-three, also known as Why One Hundred around here. Cool?”

The girl says nothing, her face paler than a beached beluga.

“Stellar!”

Chuck looks at the car and notices the gray cloud is actually wafting up from the mangled hood, likely an early warning sign of impending engine combustion. Chuck raises his left hand and aims it at the car. A small hole opens up in his palm, releasing a spray of foam that douses the budding embers of the potential parking lot inferno. He then starts walking towards the nearby road; across this road is a little stream, a babbling brook of sorts, and Chuck can sense the presence of a small family of woodland ducks, mergansers even, swimming against the current.

He wants to pet the baby ducks.

‘Go inside the school Master Charles, Prince of the Fags,’ says the voice of Chuck’s power armor’s computer inside his head. Then, in a voice reminiscent of the late great professional wrestler Beefy Boy Randal Vicious, ‘Get into the closet where you belong!’ and lastly, returning to the power armor’s standard voice, ‘If you would be so kind, sir.’

Chuck freezes and looks back at the girl, still standing there as motionless as a statue. “Hey!” he shouts, “Did your voice just get really manly and like… pan-seared?

“Uh,” she squeaks, giving mice a run for their cheddar, “no…?”

“Didn’t think so,” he calls back, turning around and gaiting back across the parking lot towards the school. As he passes the girl, he quietly says, “Psst. You can tell one human, a friend or something. Make sure they’re the right one though, or, you know, you’ll start thinking frequently. If you smell what I’m steppin’ over. You catch the drift? Feel the vibe, little one?”

Chuck then walks away, not waiting for an answer.

“Wait!” she cries, “How will I know who to tell?”

Chuck spins around and silently yet aggressively points a finger at the girl before going on his way. She watches him walk up the handicapped ramp to the nearest door and attempt to open it but fail, thwarted by the school’s paranoid security system. He then raises his right arm to the keycard sensor, the gauntlet of his power armor forming around it, and makes a fist before decking the sensor right in the detector pad. The door clicks and Chuck throws it open, disappearing into the school, leaving Isabelle with a totaled car and daytime nightmares. She takes out her phone and, with her pointer finger trembling, scrolls through her contacts.

High School

Once inside, Chuck unequips his sunglasses for the first time in literally weeks and takes in the horrors before him. Cinderblock walls covered with rubbery, bumpy paint. Linoleum floors with tiles as big as a dog carrier meant for a manatee decorated with black, white, and green circles which repeat and gyrate in no recognizable pattern. Flat wooden slabs with metal handles, blinking fluorescent glass tubes that buzz so loud their plastic covers are ready to fall to the floor, and around the lights, crumbly ceiling tiles made out of what appears to be the innards of a stale loaf of Irish soda bread. His shoes click and clack as he slowly walks down the hallway, the entire structure spinning on a skewed axis as he ventures deeper into the gullet of this monstrous brick entity. At the end of the hallway is a nexus, a cloverleaf of sorts; to his left, a hallway with a digital clock reading 1:23 jutting out of the wall; to his right, another hallway lined with lockers that seem to be growing and shrinking all on their own, and in front of him? A hallway, this one with fliers and arrows pointing to a door covered in more fliers that say ANTI-DRUG ASSEMBLY TODAY. The nausea leaves Chuck and a cancerous panic grows in its spot.

Chuck went to high school once, a long, long time ago.

Back in the days when teachers were apt to hit kids and the kids were apt to hit back, Chuck spent a fraction of his time in a hoity-toity private school dominated by a dominatrix principal named Madame Splintshot. She wasn’t literally a dominatrix, at least she claimed not to be, but she had a way of looking at a student and driving fear into his or her heart, into the roots of their soul no matter how deeply said soul was buried in the ground of their being. She hired only ex-cons and mercenaries as the teaching staff; as for administrators, she had only her stainless-steel meter stick that she carried on her hip in a sheath made from the tears of her enemies… and leather. The leather was made from human skin, of course, or at least that’s what the playground rumors said. A few of Chuck’s classmates disappeared over the course of his three-and-change-year transition between grade school and college, and each time they did, Madame Splintshot would have a new purse, or a new pair of leather chaps, and one time, a new whip, which she cracked on any student, teacher, parent, law enforcement official or priest that dared enter the sanctum of her schoolhouse in a sad, pitiful attempt to tell her what was what.

Chuck blinks and he’s suddenly there, back in the unanimously unhallowed halls of Huckleberry High, lit only by torches sconced to the crumbling walls. The sound of a whip cracks behind him, sending chills down his spine into his feet, and then right back up. He turns and there she is, wearing a gimp mask and all, with a pissed off neutered pit bull on a chain leash and her meterstick unsheathed. Madame Splintshot looks at Chuck and slowly unzips the mask while the dog talks to him in a voice that would sound more normal if it were saying its words backwards.

“Are you ready, Charles? Are you ready for snacktime ? Daddy’s hungry, you little shit, and white meat is on the menu!”

The dominatrix licks the zipper lips of her gimp mask and takes a step towards poor, defenseless little Charles. His itchy schoolboy uniform and matching slacks are still soaked from being pushed into that puddle when he was seven, which isn’t as horrifying as it seems because nobody will notice that he’s wet himself. He tries to run but his legs won’t move – he’s firmly entranced under the Madame’s spell. She steps towards him again, her sleek, polished leather chaps reflecting the torchlight, giving her legs a glimmering sheen that would drive anybody, straight, gay, incel, or uncel, absolutely crazy with lust. Daddy howls and the torches all simultaneously blow out, the smell of ancient wood smoke nearly suffocating young Charles.

Chuck blinks again and he’s back, alone in the linoleum hallway. Out of the corner of his eye he notices the clock tick from 1:23 to :24. He removes the leather glove from his right hand and bites the fingernail off of his pinkie finger, spitting it onto the ground in front of him before stepping over it and proceeding down the hall to the left. Underneath the clock is a door marked CUSTODIAL CLOSET. Chuck slaps his glove against his knee to dust it off or something, and then puts it back on to grasp the creaky handle and enter the chamber, silently sealing the tomb behind him.

Not even two minutes later, a rogue SMAK officer reaches into a nearby trashcan, carefully angles his fully loaded SR-15 out of its mouth, and feeds it with an empty slushy cup.


As I said above, The 2020 Event |The Main Event| is a satirical novel about aliens that do psychedelic drugs and the subjective nature of reality. It is also the fourth book of the First Spiral, a longer story called The Highest One Writing.

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

|The Main Event| is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.

I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.

If you like |The Main Event| and would like to help support my work, buy a copy of the book here.

Be well Commons~

Featured
Posted in Books

Convenient Incidents

Hello Commons, I’ve written and published another book. This one is called Convenient Incidents, it’s an anthology of fifteen interconnected short stories which revolve around a man by the name of Hilter Odolf Williamson. This is my eighth fiction book overall, the sixth in its series, and the first book of the Third Spiral: The Here and Now, and by the end of this post, I’ll have explained everything.

First, the new book. Convenient Incidents is a collection of fifteen short stories broken into three chapters of five stories each: Fricker Drive, The Incense Salesman, and Convenient Incidents.

  • Fricker Drive starts with a young man who lives with his parents on a backwoods road called Fricker Drive in the town of Treeburg; this young man vanishes, which prompts his family to sell their house to a psychologist named Hilter Odolf Williamson so they can move away. Then, as more of the residents start to disappear, Hilter begins buying up all of the vacant houses on the road for reasons he can’t explain.
  • In The Incense Salesman, a mysterious incense salesman under the alias of Smells connects with random folk from the greater Treeburg area over the internet and sends them free samples of his wares. Something strange happens whenever the incense samples are lit, and when the salesman goes to deliver his last free sample? Something even stranger happens.
  • Finally, in Convenient Incidents, Hilter (who’s begun to notice a few patterns present in the “conveniently coinciding incidents” transpiring around Fricker Drive) starts a general psychotherapy practice out of his many houses. The discussions he has with his patients (all locals who played a role in the strange events) sends him spiraling into his own mind trying to figure out what it all means, why he bought all the houses on Fricker Drive, why he even came to the area in the first place. Then, he finds out.

All of Convenient Incidents can be read for free on my website by clicking here. If you’d like to help support my work, you can buy a paperback copy from Amazon by clicking here. Convenient Incidents is 90,666 words long (which translates to 248 pages) and yeah, now you know.

Next, how my fiction works. Everything I write takes place in a reality called Existence. Existence is made up of a few different astral planes, one of which is called The Void. The Void is where the universes float, the universes are where the planets float, and the planets are… well, you know what planets are. Convenient Incidents is the sixth book in the W-63 series, which means that it takes place in Universe W-63; the first five books of the W-63 series make up the First Spiral, which I’ll get to in a bit, and are not directly related to Convenient Incidents. They are related to it, but not in a strictly linear fashion, which means you don’t have to read the first five books in order to understand and enjoy the sixth; if you did read the first five books you’ll probably notice a few references, such as character and location names, but the story of the first five books and the stories in the sixth are not linked.

Well, they’re technically linked, but in the same way your past life is linked to your current life… makes sense, right?

Lastly, the three spirals. Okay. So the First Spiral is called The Highest One Writing, the Second Spiral is an ongoing story that I’m not revealing the title of until it’s done, and the Third Spiral is called The Here and Now. I’mma put it into a list to explain it.

  • First Spiral: The Highest One Writing
    • A story about a fictional author with the initials of HOW told over the six books that he wrote. Each book is a different kind of book (self-help, poetry, novel, etc.) and to keep it simple, I’ll summarize the story for you like so: Through his writing, our HOW author inadvertently taps into and controls a few different universes parallel to his own. He winds up meeting one of the beings from one of these universes (who he thinks is just a character from his writings), and at the end of everything, the “character” ends up killing the author and his mother and destroying all of Existence.
    • But, the thing is, Existence can’t be destroyed, it can only be reset. So…
  • Second Spiral
    • The grand majority of this is not written yet. I know how the story is going to go; I know how many books it will be, I know the titles of these books, I have plots, characters, locations, and the various universes they’re going to take place in, I have this, that, and the other thing, but aside from the first book, it’s all still in my head. And for now, that’s all right.
    • Here’s what I’ll tell you: the story of the Second Spiral begins shortly after Existence is reborn. Some nonsense will go down over the course of the story, and by the end of it, said nonsense will have been resolved. And that’s that.
  • Third Spiral: The Here and Now
    • Where the First and Second Spirals tell an overarching story, the Third Spiral will (probably) not. After the events of the Second Spiral go down, Existence will be existing. So long as Existence exists, things will happen. So long as things happen, there will be stories to be told and books to be made.
    • Cards on the table, I don’t have any books planned for the Third Spiral in the immediate future. In the distant future, yes, but not in the immediate future. That being said, I didn’t plan on writing Convenient Incidents either, it just kind of happened. So who knows.

Now to bring it all together: Convenient Incidents is the sixth book of W-63 and the first book of the Third Spiral. At the end of W-63 #5, all of reality (and thus Universe W-63) is given a hard reset – reincarnated, in other words. Universe W-63 doesn’t have a role to play in the story of the Second Spiral, so it is reborn as part of the Third Spiral. Convenient Incidents is basically the epilogue of The Highest One Writing, and so the first five books of W-63 are essentially the past life of Convenient Incidents. Makes sense now, right?

No? This is all totally confusing and ridiculous? Well imagine how I feel, all of this shit just comes to me. I go nuts if I don’t write it down and make it into books, so I’mma keep on keepin’ on and the pile will keep on growin’.

What else… oh, so like I said above, you can read Convenient Incidents in its entirety for free on my website right now (I’ll even put another link here). What I didn’t say above: all the books I’ve written can be read for free in their entireties on my website, that’s just how I’m doing it, click here for the list! Also, all of the stories from Convenient Incidents will be posted on the blog to be read by whoever finds the posts, but not until December 12th of this year. This is because WordPress offers a feature that allows you to schedule blog posts ahead of time, and I abuse that feature like a fiend; The Highest One Writing started posting on June 19th and will finish posting on December 11th, then Convenient Incidents will run from the 12th to the 26th, and then the first book of the Second Spiral (The Monksville Chronicles) will start going up on the 27th. TMC should finish its run sometime in March of 2021, and I plan on doing more writing between now and then.

Um… I think that’s all.

I don’t really know what I’m doing here, Commons, but I’m trying my best. For you, for the hypothetical readers, for the stories I tell and the characters those stories are about, I’m trying my best. And I’ll keep on trying. And the wind shall continue to blow.

Be well Commons~

Posted in Writings

A SMAK To The Face – The 2020 Event |The Main Event| (5/66)

Hello Commons, here is chapter 2 of The 2020 Event |The Main Event|, a satirical novel about aliens that do psychedelic drugs and the subjective nature of reality. Please enjoy. See the bottom of this post for more info.


Chapter 2
A SMAK To The Face

Gang Signs

“Oh yeah? Says who?”

Mister PrinciPal’s forehead is bubbling with thick, girthy veins. “Says me, young man! Your Principal!” as his lungs fight for air. “I am your authority and I am entitled to respect! I refuse to be spoken to in any other manner!”

The hippie, who kind of looks like Jesus Hernandez now that he’s on the stage and illuminated by a spotlight, makes a kissy face and winks at the elderly man two back-talks away from a school-ordered anger management class. “Well I guess I’m your worst nightmare Bubba, because I’m not even a student here.”

The crowd of students goes wild – except for Jack Monta, of course, who’s face is as red as Mister PrinciPal’s, albeit for very different reasons. Most of the teachers have left at this point, holding the doors shut from the outside to contain the mob of adolescents trying to escape the sweatbox. The hippie finally made his presence known to Mister PrinciPal, distracting the latter into chasing him in circles around the stage and the first row of seats. Mister, nearing the status of octogenarian, completed a whole lap and a half before his bladder convinced him to stop running.

“You’re… not a student?” PrinciPal mutters as he gasps for air. He makes eye contact with the hippie’s hairy knees, scandalously visible through the holes in his jeans. His face tint fades from a red to a fleshy pink, and one of the seventeen bulging veins sinks back into his forehead. With an excited tremble in his voice, PrinciPal says, “My humblest apologies, I was not aware. Do you happen to have a visitor’s pass, my good man?”

The hippie cocks his head sideways, confused. “Uh… no, my salty dawg. What’s a visitor’s pass?”

PrinciPal’s eyes widen approximately to the size of the hippie’s pupils. He removes a small whistle from his pocket, the mouthpiece dented with toothmarks, and places it between his dentures. All the commotion in the auditorium, the rampaging students attempting to escape, the barricades of teachers, the scrambling Administration, the small pack of rats that escaped from the school’s fashion and perfumery hallway and somehow managed to find their way into the sweaty hellscape that is the anti-drug assembly, everything comes to an icy pause the moment the whistle is blown. The sound that shrills through the air does so at such a high pitch that any dog in a three-mile radius would love to storm into Glauria Wolffe’s upper-class chocolatery and just start eating, but all the students can hear it. The gray child starts bleeding out of his left ear; not even his advanced necromancy practice can get him out of this one. Even the hippie, who has a constant, unyielding ringing in his ears from all the Psychedelics he eats on a daily basis, finds himself on a whole new level of dazed and confused.

PrinciPal lowers the whistle with a denturey, almost vicious smirk on his face and starts to giggle like a husky kindergartner who just got finished throwing a tantrum to get their parents to buy them a chocolate bar at the liquor store. “If you, sir, are not a student, and you do not have a visitor’s pass, well…” His voice suddenly gets low and raspy. “…then that must make you…”

On the catwalk above, Vice Principal Verschwatz drops the tuna melt sandwich in sheer awe. His wrinkly hands grip the railings of the suspended walkway so hard his knuckles turn white. ‘No, Mister, you can’t…’ he thinks to himself, tears running down his cheeks.‘But… but yet you must.’

In an all too dramatic snarl, Mister PrinciPal utters the magic words, “… a school shooter.”

The lights in the auditorium cut out and at least fourteen different girls, seventeen if you count the prepubescent freshmen boys, shriek into the inky blackness like screech owls around Skunksville. The sound of glass shattering echoes through the void, and four long, ropey objects slap the floor around the hippie in unison. The hippie’s purple irises begin to glow as his night vision kicks in, allowing the boy a two-second lead on the eight SMAK officers descending into the auditorium through the skylights via high-tension ropes. They grab the students on the stage, using their earlobes for leverage, and launch them back down into their seats. The school’s private para-militants then surround our tie-dyed mass of unwashed hair in an octagonal circle, their SR-15 rifles aimed directly at his head. The spotlight illuminates the stage and the room freezes.

Mister PrinciPal, suddenly draped in a dirty priest’s outfit, coyly creeps onto the stage and walks a circle around his armed men.

“You see children,” he says to the crowd, “this is what happens. This man, draped in his ridiculous and slightly homoerotic clothing, with his long, unkempt hair and clearly delusional state of mind, is the result of doing drugs.”

PriestiPal then turns to the hippie, smiling not with his mouth but with his eyes, and says, “Tell me, Flower Power; what drugs do you do? If you confess your wrongdoings to me, you can still have the chance to redeem yourself!”

In the crowd, an innocent-looking blonde girl named Isabelle suddenly perks up with interest in what the hippie has to say. She isn’t the only one, either; a good quarter of the auditorium’s student population is paying more attention right now than they have in all their years of attending the public school system, even when it was overseen by the government of the once United States of America. Jack Monta isn’t included in this quarter, of course; he’s busy trying to figure out how to sit on his neck. Or, even better, how to hide inside the auditorium seat altogether. There’s got to be a zipper on the cushion, right? Somewhere in the back?

The hippie smiles back entirely with his mouth, his eyes busy scanning the SMAK officers. They’re tall, looking mighty meaty in their battle-ready bulletproof armor. Thick, fibrous, densely packed on an atomic level, as it were; just one of them would be difficult to move through, to move at all really, but eight of them?

“Well,” the hippie starts in a low voice, taking in silent deep breaths through his nose, “in high school I was a fiend for caffeine and sugar; on the daily I would down at least four of those tallboy cans of Creature Energy concoction by the time we were all stuffed into that stanky cafeteria. When was lunch back then, nine ay-em? Anyway, after I graduated, with flying colors I might add, I took to drinking alcohol to get my kicks, but the taste made my tongue want to shrivel up and decompose into goop, so I put it away. Smoked cancersticks for two months too, didn’t like them either, but shortly after thah–”

“Ah-HEM!” Mister PriestiPal chokes out, dislodging more of that green substance from the craters in his esophagus. The spotlight shrinks and focuses on him, then, “Perhaps you didn’t hear me, young man.” He turns to the crowd and says, “If he even is a man,” before turning back to face the hippie. “I said what drugs do you do. Those aren’t drugs, those are completely socially acceptable stress relievers and energy boosters. Next you’re going to say a prescribed pain pill is a drug, I mean come on. I know it’s hard for your dry rotted brain to keep up, but please, answer the question that I asked you, don’t waste everybody’s valuable time. We only live once, you know.”

The hippie doesn’t hear any of that, as he was busy calculating the ratio of ear hair to scalp hair on Mister’s head. For every follicle topping his dome, there are exactly five and six-sevenths of a hair popping out of his ear canal. Neat.

“Oh, it’s my turn to talk now? Word. Shortly after I exhausted all of my socially acceptable alternatives, I tried smoking Cannabis. I was atop a mountain at midnight, the lights from the Old York City skyline casting a haunting glow into the night sky; I could almost see a single star. A friend named Tyler – in fact, I think his sister is sitting in the crowd today, hey if you are – he and I made quite a habit of burning the bush on the mountain’s top during that summer. Anyway, following that night I began smoking Cannabis every day of my life. Since then I’ve chewed ‘Shrooms, dropped eL-eSs-Dee, trained my brain to excrete Dee-eM-Tee on command… there’s some other stuff too but I won’t say, the aliens only wanted me to talk about so much,” with a flicker of his eyebrows.

Even Jack is propped up on the edge of his seat at this point. The hippie just… he did it, he answered Mister PriestiPal’s question without a hint of shame, without even a dash of regret. Usually if somebody on the receiving end of that question says anything that Mister doesn’t want to hear, they’re rewarded with the opportunity to practice saying it to themselves over and over again in a dark box for a class period. Not this time though; Mister requested and Hippie delivered, with free shipping no less. No signature required.

The teaching staff rush to the front of the auditorium and link their arms, forming a wall, a border between the stage and the seats, save for Doctor Phanny, who’s still up in the booth stuffing popcorn into his tiny mouth with one grubby little butter-coated hand and holding the spotlight steady with the other. Isabelle, sitting one row in front of Jack, turns around and excitedly whispers, “Dude!

Mister PriestiPal is rendered speechless for a moment. His eyes, completely glazed over, are locked on the hippie’s gay, smiling face. Finally he chuckles, the spotlight returning to him.

 “You see, children? You see what happens? This man… this poor, mentally ill boy, he thinks doing drugs is okay. He thinks breaking into a public school’s anti-drug assembly to talk about drugs is okay.He not only thinks that aliens are real, but that they talk to him, that they chose him out of the eight billion humans on this planet to communicate with. He thinks he’s special because he did all these… hueh, all these drugs.”

PriestiPal turns to the crowd, soaking up all that teen attention like a cigarette company did with its TV adverts in the good ol’ days. “Do you see what happens when you trade your life for drug use, guys? This, gang, this is exactly what I and my co-workers here at Hoffman High are trying to teach, nay, are trying to warn you about! This man, this poor, lost soul, is a sick puppy. He’s a farm animal, a horse with a broken leg that just won’t heal fast enough. And me? Well, I’m the responsible farmer, and I’m going to put him down.”

PriestiPal turns back to the hippie, still surrounded by stoic yet slightly impressed gunmen. “Troops? Everyone listening? On my command, deliver this roach eater to the almighty Father above.”

“Wait!” the hippie calls out in a purposely high-pitched voice, hoping to grab PriestiPal’s attention.

It works.

Continuing with his pre-puberty voice, Hippie says, “Before your boys here shoot me and give me the bloody, public execution that I so obviously deserve, may I do a magic trick for the crowd?”

PriestiPal sneers, the power visibly coursing through the bulging veins on his forehead. “Well, what kind of a man would I be to not honor the last wishes of Hell’s newest tenant? Because that’s where you’re going, I hope you realize, you’re going to Hell itself. The Devil will have to construct a whole other ring for you, young man, for all the knuckleheadedness you’ve gotten into in your life.”

Members of both the school’s cross country running team and track long distance team shudder at the mere mention of the K word. Coach Thenure’s salivation gets kicked up a notch; it wasn’t what he thought his legacy would be built around, but it’s still a legacy.

“I know, Mister. Can I call you Mister?”

“Yes, Mister is fine, young man.”

“I know that I’m going to hell, Mister. But I figure, maybe, just maybe, one last act of community service will shorten my stay in those fiery pits. Maybe this magic trick will make up for all that I’ve said by bringing some joy into the hearts of these children instead of the obvious fear and ambivalence I’ve inspired in them thus far.”

In the border wall, Miss Palkokane leans over and whispers to Missus Smily, “You know, I’ve never seen the children so calm and attentive before.”

“I know!” Missus Smily shouwhispers ecstatically, shaking her fists underneath her chin. “Did you get any orders by the way? I have five for us to fill by Friday.”

“Well,” booms Mister PriestiPal, “I’m admittedly not sure what ambivalence means, but it sure sounds right, given the context. Sure, whatever your parents called you on the day you cursed this world with your birth, perform your magic trick. We’re all very excited.”

The visibly seeping armpit stains in PriestiPal’s unwashed white priest’s robes, now soaked dangerously close to transparency levels, are exposed to the crowd when the man waves his arms, signaling the SMAK officers to lower their weapons. All eight of them take a step back, expanding the circle to accommodate a humble human’s final act of redemption. A single bead of sweat drips off PriestiPal’s left earlobe and lands on his shoulder. It proceeds to spill down his back, linking up with his spine and leaving a trail all the way down until it disappears into the forest of knotty gray hair between his ass cheeks.

 “Lovely!” the hippie sings. He rubs his hands together before shaking them out, relaxing his muscles and loosening up the joints. He then throws ninja hand signs at a blurring speed, making the creators of the popular animated show Noruta wet themselves from continents away.

“What?!” PriestiPal yells out. “He’s making gang signs! It was a ruse! Guards, ready your weapons!”

The guards ready their weapons.

Hippie finishes his display with his palms flat against each other, his thumbs pressed against his chin as if he was praying really hard. Mister relaxes for a second, his tension immediately returning when the hippie’s hands move away to reveal a small cancer-free stick protruding from his mouth. He winks at a frozen Mister before turning to the crowd and showing them the stick. With a snap of his fingers, a small flame spouts from the tip of Hippie’s right pointer, ushering a hush over the crowd. He brings the flame to the end of the stick and ignites it, inhaling with a force somewhere between that of a uranium-powered vacuum cleaner and a very motivated bottom-of-the-pyramid cheerleader until the entire thing is reduced to a worm of ash. Then, he exhales a massive cloud of smoke that swallows him whole, giving the auditorium the distinct odor of burnt skunk.

Mister finally breaks from the trance of the magician’s mystic incantation. He shouts, “FIRE!!!” his voice cracking like that of more than half of the freshmen except creakier, as if you were opening the swollen wet basement door in a foreclosed house. It’s actually even more similar to the song the overused door hinges sing when patrons walk into a local watering hole called Chip’s, the very song just heard by a certain ex-professor of biology.

Eight assault rifle magazines are unceremoniously emptied into the looming cloud, the shell casings raining down on the stage like a metallic hailstorm. One moment cacophony, the next, silence. The teachers have all ducked down in cover. The students are hanging on the edges of their seats. Verschwatz is passed out on the catwalk, his face married to the tuna melt, the juices seeping into his craterous face pores. Mister PriestiPal stands with his hands clasped behind his back, staring into the chaos, waiting.

A thud pings from inside the smoke cloud.

Dinosaurs

Across town, the once Professor Kronkle is drinking gin to the thought of humans actually not believing in dinosaurs. He shakes his head before taking one last swig out of the lead crystal whiskey glass and slamming it down on the generous tip he left on the counter for the barkeep, who is disappointingly not a man named Chip. To his right, an elderly man dressed in Rockette dancing garb from the annual Frequency City Music Hall Christmas Celebration Show is passed out on the counter, his dentures slowly falling from his mouth; nothing but a gooey arm of glue holds them in suspension. Kronkle walks outside and leans on the planter that’s dangling for dear life by the windowsill, his body blocking the view of the street from inside the bar. He pulls a crumpled pack of cigarettes out of his pack and puts one in his mouth, then chuckles as he rolls the filter around in his teeth. With his lighter with a picture of a lighter on it, he ignites the cigarette and takes a deep drag.

Mister Shockie

The gunpowder-scented smoke wafts up and clears to reveal… an empty stage, save for the smelted lump of metal projectiles that’s sitting on the stage’s laminated wooden planks. The SMAK officers scream, one of them fainting.

In the crowd, Isabelle Portman feels a tap on her shoulder. She looks to her right and sees the hippie sitting next to her with his right leg craned over his left, a small cup of chicken nuggets held in his hand.

“Hey Iz, tell Tyler I said hi.”

Hippie then turns to Jack, winks at him, and stands up, drawing the cup of nuggets back and launching it at the stage like it was a water balloon filled with piss during that one senior day prank the Administration used as an excuse to ruin the tradition for everybody. The paper cup smacks PriestiPal square in the liver spot on the bald spot spanning the vast majority of his head, almost knocking him unconscious; he turns around just in time to see the hippie dip out the back doors of the auditorium, his raised middle finger and the noise, “Bah-boo!” the last thing to leave the room.

Isabelle spins around and gawks at Jack, her mouth hanging open just waiting to catch a fly. Jack shakes his head, averting his gaze from Isabelle’s crystal blue eyes. She’s about to say something when an oily freshman boy is thrown into her, breaking her chain of thought.

All eight SMAK officers come bumrushing through the crowd, trampling teachers and tossing aside any students unlucky enough to be sitting in their way. They file out of the auditorium and begin a manhunt through the labyrinthine linoleum-floored halls of the high school.

The interior of the auditorium, meanwhile, turns to absolute bedlam. Freshman are being used not only as human shields, but as projectile weapons, the athletes on the spring track throwing team hurling them like javelins at the approaching horde of mad teachers. Saliva, mucus, tears, elbow grease, foot juice, and a plethora of other bodily fluids go flying everywhere; a slight vaporous haze of human excretion begins to float on the already hazy air. The teachers who weren’t steamrolled rush to the exits, snatching the half-handful of students who managed to escape with the SMAK officers by the collars of their shirts and dragging them back inside. Mister Daniels, after taking one last swig, domes a kid with an empty whiskey bottle, ninety horsepower no less. Before long everyone is seated, and some semblance of order returns to the assembly.

Mister PrinciPal, back in his school attire, a white with gray polka-dots button-down shirt tucked into brown slacks with loafers to make your great uncle roll over in his grave, steps back onto the stage. He kicks aside bullet casings as he approaches the podium, taking out another cup of coffee from the interior shelf. He also reaches into his pocket and pulls out a flip phone, taking no less than three uninterrupted minutes to send a text message. Then he taps the microphone a few times, the thumps ricocheting off the walls of the auditorium like pinballs. As he’s finally about to speak, he gets interrupted by Janitor Rainfort walking out on the stage.

Rainfort, today being his first day on the job, is taken aback by the gigantic crowd in front of him. This is the first school he’s ever worked at, and his father, a burly lifelong farmer type who spent so much time outside that the back of his neck was permanently singed a scarlet red color by the time he was twenty-three years old, had him drop out of America’s education system at the prime age of six to work the fields. Assuming that this is a test and that the students are going to judge his janitorial abilities, Rainfort dons his broom and makes a show of sweeping the shells into a pile around the metal lump in the center of the stage, doing so with the efficiency of a master sweeper. PrinciPal stares at him with cold, dead eyes whilst the student body goes absolutely, unstoppably wild.

When the shell casings are all piled up, Rainfort escorts them behind the curtain into a five-gallon pail he uses as a portable garbage can. After doubling back and scooping up the lump, he then carries the bucket out to the hallway and dumps its contents into the actual garbage can, which has wheels on the bottom. A full two minutes later, when PrinciPal’s employee tracking device indicates that Rainfort has returned to the other building, he grips the stand of the microphone.

“So, Billy, would you be so kind as to continue your riveting explanation of that very fashionable shirt you’re wearing today?” accidentally phrased as a question. PrinciPal must be getting tired.

Billy, hidden amongst the sea of slightly traumatized hormone carriers, says nothing. Up in the projector box, Doctor Phanny Tasia begins to have heart palpitations. This is unacceptable, totally out of left field. Why won’t Billy say his lines?! Missus Kriegmiester almost used Doctor Tasia to demonstrate the castration technique that farmers use on piglets for pulling Billy out of his environmental science class every day for the past month; the boy missed tests, quizzes, a succulent leaf dissection lab – the absence really drove a stake into the relationship between Billy and The Krieg. At one point, he was her favorite student; she even offered to let him use her shower last year when a hurricane knocked his electricity out for two months and his body odor overpowered the formaldehyde stank that was coming out of the pregnant sharks and their unborn children that the students dissected in marine biology class. All that sacrifice can’t be for nothing, Doctor Tasia can’t let Billy fall through the cracks like that. He refuses.

Doctor Tasia pulls a small remote out of his pocket and presses the test button. A very small, hardly noticeable collar around Billy’s neck vibrates, causing his heart to skip a beat. Billy’s mind is sent a’spin in anticipation of another visit from Mister Shockie.

‘Please, anything but Mister Shockie.’

He fishes out his index cards and, upon landing them, realizes they were the target of a stray loogie during the commotion with the hippie and the public high school’s armed para-military security force. Billy, dyslexic as it is, is going to have some trouble reading the blurred ink.

Tasia shines a laser pointer down on the index card to get Billy’s attention. Billy notices and instinctively slaps at the dot like a cat would, but then he remembers that he’s a human and he follows the dot to its source, his eyes locking with Tasia’s before noticing the remote being held up for all to see. The sweats begin, Billy’s armpits leaking more than the drinking faucet outside the girl’s locker room in the East Wing of the school, which is exactly twenty-seven years, thirteen months and one day older than the West Wing.

“S-s-s-sss… so the Dee, uh, the Dee stands for Drugs. The Oh… for um…” a whimper, “the Oh stands for Ob-Ob-Obstinance. The… aRe, I mean, the Pee stands for… Perrrseh… Persecution. A-a-a-a-and the eeE stands for… for… I CAN’T DO THIS ANYMORE! I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT DAY IT IS, THE, THE DRAMA TEACHER, H-bluhzzbertabnf.”

Billy is cut off when he suddenly begins to tremble, as if a low-voltage electric shock was triggered to take a tour through his body, starting at his neck and moving down to the rubber soles of his shoes where it would bounce back until it escaped out his ears. How odd.

Fortunately for Billy’s social life, nobody is paying attention to him. The cliquely diverse group is practicing their newly discovered ability of telepathy, the gray child and all his cousins who all live in the same mansion are practicing their necro’ skills on one another, the skateboarders are passing a note back and forth debating whether or not Mister PrinciPal is, in fact, a dinosaur, and the rest of the students are logging precious time on their various social media outlets.

All except for Jack Monta, who’s trying to discretely make a phone call to his older brother without anybody noticing.

Just when Billy’s mouth starts to overflow with foam, the collar disengages, and he’s allowed to gather himself.

Mister PrinciPal gives a nod of approval to Doctor Tasia before returning his gaze to Billy. With one bushy caterpillar of an eyebrow raised, he asks, “What does the eeE stand for, now?”

“The eeE stands for Education, which is what the faculty and Administration of Hoffman Regional High School specialize in. I have a question though,” Billy says, once again going off script. Mister PrinciPal’s seventeenth vein pops back out on his scalp, but Billy continues anyway, the electric shock making him feel some sort of way. “Are we not going to acknowledge what just happened? With the armed guards and the guy with the long hair they fired upon and all that?”

A shard of glass coated in what appears to be the charred remains of a crow falls into the auditorium through the skylight, landing directly on PrinciPal’s head. It doesn’t pierce the skin of his scalp, fortunately for our geriatric grandmaster, but it bounces to the stage and shatters, drawing the attention of all the children trapped in the auditorium.

“That’s right,” Mister PrinciPal answers, “we do specialize in Education here at Hoffman Regional High School. Well, there you have it, kids. Drugs are bad. You must Obstain from using them or else you will be Persecuted to the fullest extent of not only the school, not only the voluntarily enforced law, but of God Himself, in all His bearded and Caucasian glory. If you follow the Education you received here today, students, you will all go very far in life. Always remember: sober livin’ is Dee-Oh-Pee-eeE, play with drugs and you’ll Dee-eye-Eee!”

The lights in the auditorium turn back on and a fuzzy recording of a military bugle plays from the speakers.

Speaking out of rhythm with the tune, PrinciPal continues. “This has been your anti-drug reinforcement for the year, I can’t wait for next year’s assembly! Harbingers, I officially decree your annual Hoffman Regional High School Annual Anti-Drug Assembly and Knowledge Seminar to be over! Everybody has exactly five minutes to get to your fourth block class or else you will get an automatic in-school suspension, no exceptions. We know how you kids like to take your sweet time getting to class after these assemblies, but it won’t be happening today,” said with a healthy dose of finger wagging. “Have a bless-ed day! Get it? Bless-ed, as in education?”

I think they get it PrinciPal, what other choice do they have? Confetti cannons lining the ceiling of the auditorium all pop off at once, raining down little scraps of multicolored paper for Janitor Rainfort to clean up later on in the day. The two Vice Principals, one of whom smells uncannily like uncanned fish and melted cheese, walk down the aisles between the seats with thatch baskets in their hands, asking the students for small donations. The ones who fork over some cash are allowed to leave the auditorium first, getting a two-minute headstart on the race to their next class. The remaining students, or how PrinciPal described them at the last staff meeting, the financially challenged members of the student body, have to wait until the Vice Principals complete their rounds before they can all get up and all try to leave at once, inevitably leading to a traffic jam.

Jack checks his pockets and finds them completely empty, not even a ball of lint inhabits the inverted bunny ears in his pants. Looks like he’ll be running to class; nothing a track long distance runner can’t handle. In front of him he sees Isabelle take a five-dollar bill out of her purse, fold it up and put it into her bra to hide it, his head-brain absolutely spinning at the sight. Then she turns around in her seat and Jack pretends he wasn’t looking.

“So that might have been the best anti-drug-whatever assembly I’ve ever seen. What the hell was Sam doing here? How did he do all that crazy magical stuff, dude?”

“I have no idea. I tried calling him a bunch of times, but he won’t pick up his phone. Maybe the SMAK guys caught him.”

She gives him a strange look. “I hope not! He needs to teach me some of those magic tricks!”

“Yeah, well…” Jack mumbles, looking down at the floor. “I’ve never seen him doing magic tricks at home. It would probably be for the best if he got caught.” He looks up at Isabelle and locks his murky brown puddles of disturbed mud with her pristine sapphires. “You know, so he doesn’t get into any more trouble.”

Isabelle rolls her eyes. “Yeah, I guess. You don’t really want him to get caught though, do you? He’s your brother, Jack.”

“Yeah,” Jack says, his voice devolving into a mumble as his eyes return to the floor. “He sure is.”

Isabelle turns back around and starts gossiping with her friend Kaysie, the pair exchanging shrieking chimp noises until the Vice Principals are done extorting the children.

Surveillance Class

The remaining (and evidently poor) students are funneled out of the auditorium quickly and efficiently by the teaching staff. Each one of the teachers is equipped with an extendable steel-fibre baton, ready to administer a love tap to any student that wants to dillydally around in the auditorium. Jack, never too fond of love nor its various taps, heads immediately to his locker. Conveniently located right outside of the auditorium in the band hallway because of a logistical error that none of the Secretaries wanted to admit fault to, he puts his combination into the lock and goes about retrieving the supplies he’ll need for his next two classes. As he’s opening the flimsy metal door composed more of paint than alloys, he notices Billy opening that one really narrow door in the hallway that nobody’s ever seen opened and walk in, but he pays it very little attention. Only two minutes are left before the suspensions are handed out, and Jack’s class is on the entire opposite side of the school.

As he’s digging, Jack plans out his route for getting to his next class. The skybridge between the two wings will probably be backed up with traffic – it’s a favorite spot for the special education children to get into brutal altercations with their handlers, and the average education students usually like to stop and watch. His only other option would be to take the scenic outdoor route and dodge traffic whilst crossing a paved driveway that’s marked NO VEHICLES PERMITTED by at least thirty signs. There’s a good chance the doors to get inside the West Wing will be locked too, which will hold him up even more.

You see, last year the school’s cafeteria was broken into by a student and all the freshly baked chocolate-with-white-chocolate-chip cookies were stolen before the first lunch period. Not only did the school Administrators immediately stop the production of said cookies, but they took the budget that was supposed to go to the arts program and repurposed it to have an over-the-top security system installed in order to prevent such heinous acts from happening again. All the doors providing entrance into the school now default as locked, requiring a keycard to get inside. None of the students have one of these keycards, of course, and more than half the time the swipe doesn’t work for the teachers. Only the Administration and the Administration-appointed Deans have reliable entrance into the halls of Hoffman High. It’s for the best, obviously, regardless of what the snot-nosed students might think; if they find themselves locked out during the day, it’s probably for a reason.

 Shortly after installation, the students wised up and started to let each other inside, even if they weren’t closely acquainted with one another. In retaliation, Mister PrinciPal got on the school’s daily Morning Show to set the record straight regarding the fiasco: if any student sees a teacher locked out of either of the buildings, they are to immediately open the door for said teacher, even if it means they’ll be late for class, or else they’ll be suspended for a week. If a student is caught letting another student into either of the buildings, however, they will be yanked out of their next class and expelled without a chance of readmittance. It seems harsh, but it’s really not; the students might unknowingly let a school shooter or a drug dealer into the building, after all. Better to be safe than sorry; too much liberty is dangerous without strict security to enable it.

To ensure that all offenders are properly punished, the school’s Administration also opted to install refurbished security cameras, burning the woodshop and autoshop budgets on not only outdated camera technology, but also on an entire four-year curriculum of classes to teach the students how to monitor said cameras. That’s where Jack will be heading next, as soon as he finds his gym bag, and his surveillance textbook, in his locker.

Five of these classes run each day, one for each block, to ensure the cameras are constantly monitored. The class is very difficult to get into, having only twenty open slots rather than the usual forty-eight seats the rest of the classes in the school offer. Luckily for Jack, his Guidance Councilor Monty “The Don” Saulino has connections throughout the school, and he was able to secure him a spot during the fourth block, right after lunch.

The textbook issued to the students lucky enough to get into a surveillance class is just a blank hardcover tome that’s used to keep a handwritten log of the activity captured by the cameras during the day. None of the footage is saved because the school doesn’t have the physical room for the hardware required for that kind of storage space.

I know what you’re thinking: ‘Why not just save it in the cloud?’ Well, the developer of cloud storage technology lives out in New Manhattan, and the software just isn’t available for the majority of the world’s publicly funded institutions. There are rumors that the US government successfully developed a version of it in ‘010, but following the collapse, all Gruncle Fred’s intel was seized by private firms and foreign powers. Fret not – Terry Telascopesaplenny, host of the popular VidTube channel TerryTeam20, is on the case; it’s only a matter of time before old Gruncle Fred’s graverobbers are exposed and brought to justice so private innovation may be made public once more.

Anyway, at long last Jack hooks his copy of the blank text, which is more than three quarters of the way filled at this point in the school year, and reels her in. Each locker is equipped with an interior printer so the Office can automatically send any and all pertinent information in printed form to the students without any accountability for lost information being traced back to the school. This originally resulted in massive amounts of papercuts among the students, but at this stage of the game, the hands of the average cell of the student body are so scarred and callused that paper can’t cut through them anymore. This built-up resistance is convenient for Jack at the present moment, because his gym bag evidently got knocked off the hook it was hanging on this morning, so he has to go scuba diving through roughly half a fathom of paper to find it.

With less than a minute to spare, Jack finds the drawstring sack and drops his textbook inside of it, slinging the bag onto his back with a thud that shifts a couple of his vertebrae an immeasurable number of units out of place. He quietly slams his locker shut and takes off down the hall, heading for the bridge. As he passes by the narrow doorway, he pretends he doesn’t hear the faint sobbing that’s doubtlessly coming from Billy, who will likely have to repeat his Junior year for the fourth time after today’s performance at the anti-drug assembly. Speaking of which, Jack never got a hold of his brother – he pulls out his phone and sends no less than forty text messages at spam-tier speeds, putting his phone back into his pocket without expecting an answer.

Most of the Hoffman Harbingers are already securely in their classrooms when Jack is vaulting up the stairs to the second floor of the East Wing. He bangs a left and crosses the bridge, doing his best to avert his gaze from the handler being pinned down by an autistic student with a larger build than the school’s top varsity wrestler. If he pretends not to see it, he doesn’t have to report it, and the handler probably deserved it anyway. As Jack passes by the faux planter that marks the end of the bridge, he notices a smashed handheld taser and reaffirms his suspicions.

Down the hallway and through another hallway to monitor class he goes, but just as Jack is about to cross over the threshold into the classroom, the bell rings. He freezes – that can’t be, he’s never been late before. The teacher, busy checking his email at his desk, writes out an in-school prescription to be filled during a portion of fifth block and holds it up in the air, waiting for Jack to take it from him. Our boy drags his feet into the room and grabs hold of the slip, his eyes watering as he reads it.

———————————————————————————
On the date of    today    the student named               is to serve an in-school suspension of seventy-five minutes, to be completed during block     5    . If this suspension is not filled, s/he will be assigned to pool cleaning duty during the next thunderstorm.
———————————————————————————

Jack takes his seat between two students who are engaging in a riveting conversation about which of their classmates they want to share a sleepless night with. Jack’s presence seems to dissuade them though, for they stop talking the minute he sits down. ‘They must not like me very much,’ he tells himself as he boots up the computer and writes his name into the suspension slip.

The next eighty minutes of Jack’s life are fairly uneventful. After pressing play and watching nothing happen as the paused feed fast-forwards to catch up with reality, the only activity captured on his monitor is a SMAK officer sneaking off campus, probably to get a slushy from the nearby Kwik Chek. By the time the bell rings and class is dismissed, the officer still has yet to return; Jack pauses the feed and packs his things, noting the SMAK officer’s disappearance in his textbook. He wishes the teacher a good day and is denied acknowledgment in return.

Bambino

Jack checks his phone once he’s out in the hallway – no answer from Sam, how surprising. He walks down a stairwell and has a door opened into his face on the bottom floor by a senior who’s wearing sunglasses that make him look like he’s blind. He isn’t, of course, and the absolute orangutan of a young man spends a good minute bent over laughing at the sprawled-out Jack.

“Watch where you’re going next time freshy-freshman, I’m walkin’ here!” Oran Gu Tan proclaims, slapping the floor with his palms in a show of dominance. “You’re lucky it’s not September, otherwise I’d have to Freshman Initiationate your ass!”

“I’m a junior,” Jack grumbles, wiping a drop of blood from his nose, which he notices is now slightly askew.

“I doubt it!” Oran trumps before bounding up the stairs three steps at a time.

Jack dusts himself off and proceeds to the gymnasium. The hallway is packed with muddy-shoed teenagers, approximately half of which are drenched head to toe in a sweaty odor, the other half sporting a coating of Hatchet body spray, bitter temptation flavor. The Suspendee worms his way through the crowd and walks through the heavy wooden doors of the gymnasium, but Teacherman is nowhere to be found, so Jack walks over to the bottom seat of the oak bleachers and sits down, placing his bag next to him.

“Ayo Jack! Getcha’ass up, boi!”

Jack looks over to see none other than Plug Houkkachuki, the first in the running for the senior superlative of class clown in next year’s yearbook.

Plug’s not actually his first name, nobody really knows what it is; that said, if you need something, Plug is the name you scroll to, by hand, on your uPhone. Alcohol? Talk to plug. Fake ID to buy alcohol yourself? Plug’s the man. Answers to your test next class? You’re the outlet, he’s the Plug. A tutor so you don’t need to cheat on your next Latin exam? lug-Pay. A toy or electronic device of some sort to keep you entertained during your most boring classes? P to the Lug. Drugs? Well, Plug probably knows a guy for that, don’t ask him though. Drugs are bad, remember?

Jack stands, not even two seconds after he sat down, and walks out to the middle of the gymnasium to converse with Plug. He’s wearing silky reflective basketball shorts and what was once a white t-shirt that clashed with a pair of scissors to become a wifebeater. That’s to say, he seems to have already chanced into gym clothes… although, he’s wearing skater shoes, so maybe not. ‘I’ll ask anyway.’

“Hi Plug. Are the locker rooms already open for us?” Jack asks.

“What?” Plug returns, taking a half step back. “No son, this is how I drape myself, pause, on the reg. Get it together Jack, you’re falling to pieces.”

Jack looks to the floor and, thankfully, doesn’t find any pieces of his body piling up below him. “Oh. My bad. What’s up?”

“Oh, well, you know, I was in the–”

Jack flies three feet through the air and crashes on his shoulder, a common symptom of being bodied by a charging football player.

“YOOOOO did you,” fit of laughter, “did you see that kid fly?? Jesus Ache CHRISTMAS it was like a muhfuckin’ reindeer,” fit of laughter with infrequent choking, “oh my Gooooooood!”

Jack, after popping his humerus back into its socket, looks over to see Chad Lambert, Hoffman High’s number one on a good day and number seven on a bad day running back, doubled over laughing with Plug standing next to him looking intentionally unsure about what just happened. Plug walks over and helps Jack up, dusting him off. Jack wants to say something to Chad, but the dude must have smelled the girls from the last class walking out of the locker room because he’s nowhere to be found.

Plug offers, “Well that was… that uh… that happened.”

“Yeah,” Jack says, rubbing his shoulder. “Chad’s a friend, he uh… so what do you want?”

“Well I was in the assembly today, like everyone else, and like everyone else, I wanted to know if I could have Sam’s number so he can teach me some of those magic tricks.”

Over Plug’s shoulder, Jack sees an unarguable thumb of a man with a two-sizes-too-small white nylon collared shirt stretched over his flabby body waddle into the gym. Ah, Coach Bambino of the golf team, at long last. Jack excuses himself from the conversation by saying, “Excuse me,” and walks over to greet his teacher.

“Coach Bambino, I have a suspension, so I won’t be able to stay for class today.”

Bambino closes one of his eyes and stares Jack up and down. “Yeah all right… go get changed, give me fiddy-tree push-ups, get unchanged, and then, you can go.”

Jack stares at him for a few seconds, his mouth hanging just open enough to catch a no-see-um. “Uh… okay.”

Jack turns from the triumphantly smiling Bambino and walks out in the hall to the boy’s locker room, gripping the wobbly handle protruding from the rusty steel door. The handle turns but the door is firmly locked. With a sigh, Jack returns to his teacher, harboring a sandfly who’s expertly hovering in the airspace that lies between the top and bottom jaw of Jack’s slightly open mouth. Poor bastard, Jack doesn’t expect a thing.

“The d-crunch-oor’s locked.”

Jack spits on the floor between himself and the anthropomorphic thumb standing in front of him. He sees half of a fly twitch in the small puddle of mucus and saliva as the rest of its life (and remaining bodily fluids) leak out. Jack feels nothing at all.

“Oh…” Bambino says, also watching the fly squirm. “Uh, fuck it, you win this round. Get out of my gym,” the last sentence said after Bambino already started to walk away. He approaches a small gathering of the more attractive females of Jack’s junior class all smiles and starts making small talk.

Jack goes to retrieve his bag only to realize it now sits atop the bleachers. He thinks about asking Coach Bambino for some help, but then decides the bag will still be there at the end of the day and he can just come and get it later. Bagless, our young hero leaves the gymnasium and traverses the hallways once more.

The Hall Monitor

On the way to the suspension room, Jack is stopped by a hall monitor that towers over him like a… tower. A bulky tower though, not just an average skyscraper. Hoffman High doesn’t have any real hall monitors because the Administration didn’t want to pay to have the sashes or ticket pads made, so they just let the special ed kids make their own sashes with crayons and wander around the halls during class time. It certainly gives the handlers a break, bless their souls.

The special ed kids, being not in these words segregated from the rest of the student population, don’t usually mingle with the rest of the students, but this guy looks strangely familiar to Jack.

“Yew thaw meh beet up da badman in tha sky, dint yew Jakk,” the hall monitor says whilst chewing on his hair.

“Uh, what?” Jack starts.

His memory then kicks in and he realizes that this is Ponsy, the special ed kid he saw on the bridge, the one laying the beatdown on the handler. Upon closer inspection, Jack sees the kid has a light burn mark on the side of his neck, right where the jugular vein would be if his insides were out. Jack wonders how the hall monitor knows his name.

“Oah yew kniw.”

“Can I uh… can I help you, buddy?” Jack asks innocently.

“Hmph!” Ponsy grunts before passing Jack, willing a chill down his spine. Ponsy tries to be kind to the mortals, they don’t make it easy for him though; it’s like they lack a seventh sense or something. How sad it must be.

Jack resumes walking down the hallway, then up a flight of stairs, then down another hallway until he reaches the suspension room. It looks like a normal classroom from the outside, but on the inside, things take a turn – in place of school desks there are these little wooden booths, rather outhouse-like in structure, just wide enough for a desk and chair to fit inside and just tall enough to house a sitting student.

“Kid, you’re late,” wretches the suspension watcher, an ancient reanimated golem by the name of Missus Logem.

Jack checks the clock on the wall and sees that there are still seventy-seven minutes left in the block, making him distinctively not late for his punishment. “Sorry Missus Logem, I’ve never been here before. Where do I sit?”

She gurgles, drawing a large pocket of snot out of her nose and swallowing it whole. Without breaking eye contact.

“Sit in any booth that doesn’t have a student in it. Gosh, do I need to hold ya fricken hand? What is this, kindergarten? What are you, a lost puppy?” She dislodges a small piece of meat that’s been stuck in her teeth since yesterday’s lunch and starts chewing on it. “What is this, beef?” Jack apologizes profusely and finds himself a booth. He opens the splintery wooden door, the light from the classroom’s blinking fluorescent bulbs offering him a glimpse at his desk. It looks to be about fifty years old, the metal basket beneath the chair almost entirely corroded to the point that it’s not even attached anymore. Jack ducks in, wedges himself between the chair and the desk, and shuts the door.


As I said above, The 2020 Event |The Main Event| is a satirical novel about aliens that do psychedelic drugs and the subjective nature of reality. It is also the fourth book of the First Spiral, a longer story called The Highest One Writing.

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

|The Main Event| is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.

I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.

If you like |The Main Event| and would like to help support my work, buy a copy of the book here.

Be well Commons~

Posted in Writings

Code Red – The 2020 Event |The Main Event| (4/66)

Hello Commons, here is chapter 1.5 of The 2020 Event |The Main Event|, a satirical novel about aliens that do psychedelic drugs and the subjective nature of reality. Please enjoy. See the bottom of this post for more info.


Chapter 1.5
Code Red

The Gunman

Suddenly an alarm goes off. The room is flooded with red lights and the monotonous sound of a computerized voice repeating the words CODE RED: INTRUDER ALERT. Alvey Fratto, still in a squatting position atop the desk, is startled enough by the sirens to finally release his bowels. Chuck, sat down on a swivel chair and reading a magazine article about how to tell if your assistant manager is really management material or if he’s just playing you for the paycheck, is rather undisturbed by the commotion.

Alvey buttons his pants and jumps down from the desk, landing directly on his ass and making a squish noise that, even through the blaring security alarm, is fully audible to Chuck’s poor, innocent ears. Alvey runs over to him and rips the magazine out of his hands, putting mere inches of open space between their faces.

“Chuck! What are you even doing?! We’ve gotta to get going!” he shouts, a few globulets of saliva making contact with the lenses of Chuck’s sunglasses.

Little windshield wipers come down from the top frame and whisk away the saliva. Chuck, tempted to make a joke about being in a pinch, looks right past Alvey and smirks. “What took you so long, man? A little stage fright?”

“Chuck Leary! Do you even hear the alarms, Chuck Leary? Do you see the red lights?! Of course it took me time to poop on my boss’s desk Chuck Leary, how could I do something so grotesque with you watching me? How could I do it quickly, Chuck? Chuck Leary?” Alvey grabs hold of the collar of Chuck’s linen shirt and, even though he’s very startled when his hands bend to the fabric rather than the opposite, he keeps on talking. Like a good little boy, like a strong boy. “How could I do it with you watching me, Chuck Leary?”

“I think you mean with him watching you,” Chuck says, his eyes still looking right past Alvey, “because I was reading a magazine.”

“Him? Wha…” Alvey says, trailing off as he turns around and realizes that Chuck isn’t just staring off into space. In fact, he was staring at something the whole time, that something being a someone with a gun pointed directly at Alvey’s head! I’ll tell you what, it’s a good thing that Alvey relieved himself on that desk, because if he hadn’t… never mind.

Alvey feels a tug on the back of his shirt collar and suddenly he’s back in the cubical room, a trail of vapor left in his wake. A suit of power armor somewhat reminiscent of the Marvelous Comics character Steel Man then flies down the hallway and slams the door shut, welding it with a laser before floating back and landing in front of Alvey. The head melts away to reveal Chuck, still wearing his fedora and sunglasses.

Chuck puts his right ring finger underneath Alvey’s shirt collar and effortlessly lifts him two feet off the floor, bringing him to eye level. “Alvey, you got some ‘splainin’ to do to the me right now.”

“Chuck! You removed your own pinky finger! Also, you were wearing a business suit a minute ago and now you’re shooting lasers from the fingertips of a mechanical suit of armor! How am I the one in this situation that has some explaining to do!?”

After a moment of pondering, “Well, you might have a point if we were literally anywhere else right now, but, we’re just not.”

Chuck’s ring finger collapses into his hand and Alvey falls, the ring finger reappearing shortly after the resulting shockwaves going through the building subside.

“I could be back at Cape smoking all the Cannabis, maybe even chewing some ‘Shrooms, properly celebrating my favorite holiday. But no, I decided to be nice and help you out with this little project. Now, it wasn’t me who had a gun pointed at his head, it was you. I’m an inconsequential dipshit in this situation and you know it.”

“Okay, that last part, that I will fully agree with!” huffs Alvey. He gets up and makes a run for a back corner of the room, somehow squeezing himself behind the plaster vase holding the plaster plant that’s secured with plaster to the plaster subfloor. Before Chuck can even laugh at the situational comedy of this, a sizzling sound erupts from behind him. He turns to see the steel door that he spent all that time welding shut melt down into a puddle on the carpet floor, into which steps the man with the gun. He does not look amused.

In an eerily robotic voice, the gunman drones, “You have exactly seven point three-two-nine-one seconds to describe to me why you shouldn’t be terminated.”

Chuck takes this as a disrespectful challenge to his intelligence. He says, “Oh really? Is that how long I have, seven point three-two-nine-one seconds? Where did you even come up with that, li–” and is cut off by the urgent need to duck so the bullet bores a hole in his hat and not his skull.

“What the fuh–”

Another shot goes off and a few strands of hair are sacrificed, rather than Chuck’s left eye.

“Dude, cut it o–”

Interrupted again, the bullet ricocheting off his shoulder and piercing the wall next to a trembling and sweaty-slick Alvey. In one swift motion Chuck raises his left arm, around which a grenade launcher takes form, and bloops no less than four grenades into the hallway before him. These four grenades each release a dense green smokescreen that overtakes the room, but not before the gunman fires a fourth bullet, this one missing Chuck entirely and hitting a sprinkler head on the ceiling.

Chuck blurts out, “A’ight, I call shenanigans!” before his head is swallowed up by the armor once more. He kicks his feet up and engages the propulsion rockets in his boots, sending him blasting towards the front door. Alvey leaps out and grabs on to Chuck at the last moment, which is pretty fortunate for Alvey, because Chuck’s propulsion rockets ignite the green smoke, turning the cubical room into a literal holocaust seconds after they vacate the premises.

For Chuck, on the other hand, Alvey’s being saved is quite the inconvenience. His suit’s autopilot mode is programmed to calculate flight patterns on the spot – as most autopilot modes these days are – the propulsive force and whatever else are entirely based off the pilot’s weight. Alvey Fratto, however, is the mass equivalent of one to three Chuck Learys, depending on the day, and the power armor’s computer just isn’t ready for all that extra variable. What was at first a perfectly calculated beeline out the window of the building and into the sky is now a random series of jagged contrails zigzagging above the city street. From every right veer, a left veer sprouts to correct. From every dip in altitude, there is a burst skyward. The computer can barely handle the pressure.

‘Master Charles, what is happening? I cannot seem to correctly anticipate where we are flying.’

“What the fuck?” Chuck exclaims, narrowly avoiding the corner of the building. “You can talk ?

‘Yes, sir, and might I say you look rather dapper and snackish in that suit. If I weren’t… well, never you mind.’

“Yeahhhh I don’t like that, you’re gonna have to shut the fuck up right quick.”

Alvey, and all his body weight, is dangling by Chuck’s right hip at this point, causing them to fly in a spiral around the gray building with blackish-gray smoke leaking out of the shattered holes which were once held blackish-gray windows. For the first time since the current owner’s hostile takeover, a plume of natural daylight floods into the office, momentarily blinding the gunman who’s very busy extinguishing the blaze as it is. Chuck is stressed, the apparently sentient computer inside of Chuck’s power armor is stressed, the gunman is bummed, and Alvey certainly isn’t having a good time; the vibe is mad low here.

‘Something has to change, Charles,’ the suit drones, ‘because the current flight conditions are unsustainable.’

“I said shut up, ya fuckin’ nerd!” Chuck screams out, causing Alvey a startle.

“I’m not saying anything Chuck!” Alvey shouts back, nearly crying now. “Who are you talking to??”

Bystanders are beginning to gather around the building on the streets below; men, women, children teens, twentysomethings, consumers of all shapes and sizes are herding together, uPhones unpocketed and set to record the action so they can post it later from the comfort of their living room. Alvey notices the New Manhattan-esque bystanders and his skin turns an even paler white, making it look like a fat ghost is trying to take down a flying robot in a business suit; Alvey’s mental image of how he must look to the multiplying onlookers, it, well it just makes his anxiety all that much worse. Again, it is a damn good thing Alvey relieved himself earlier. Cannot stress that enough.

Chuck, however, soaks up the attention like an InstaSponge model – all these extra humans with only partially liquid brains in their heads providing a sudden increase in activity and vibrational energy around him sparks an idea in his head.

Keeping his spiral around the building as taught as possible, Chuck looks towards the sky. The building is crowned with four large red symbols, the leftmost being an A. For those of you who live in a two-dimensional reality, large three-dimensional letter As have a triangular hole in the middle of them, just above the line bridging the gap between the legs. In a distant cavity of Chuck’s version of the human psyche, a bonus points radar goes off like an M-9876 firecracker.

Disengaging the autopilot and silencing his computer, Chuck’s mind directly interfaces with the power armor, and he and Alvey soar skywards. Alvey’s screams only increase with their altitude, but they’re drowned out by the crowd going wild as Chuck sinks the trick shot, his body threading the chokepoint at the top of the gap while Alvey’s bum scrapes against the bridge, pulling his pants back down around his ankles to reveal a dirty pair of tighty-once-whities around his knees. For every up, though, there must be a down, and from the view of the phones of the bystanders, a pimply moon is about to crash into the Earth. When he notices that all the faceless consumers below him can see his exposed boyhood, Alvey loses consciousness completely.

Pulling a sick barrel roll maneuver, Chuck dumps Alvey onto one of the many identical gray cars parked along the perimeter of the building and ascends once more. With the weight stabilized, the computer comes back online stress-free and ready to work. A flight plan is plotted and Chuck finds himself heading north out of Brick City, which is about forty-five-to-ninety degrees off of the location of New Manhattan, as far as he can tell, but sweating the small stuff is lame, so Chuck decides to make up for lost Holiblaze time and activate the suit’s integrated THC dispenser instead. It’s not as good as a joint, but now that he’s done helping Alvey and that terrible gray office was filled with smoke in one way or another, what could a little pregaming hurt before he returns home and fills his own office – his wonderful office – with smoke?

What A Mess

Meanwhile, an emotionally, spiritually and physically broken and battered Alvey slowly opens his eyes. There are bits of glass and metallic paint fragments all over his body, his button-up office shirt is stained with his own blood, his pants are hanging by the belt on a streetlamp, and all he can see are flashing stars. The stars, which are more camera flashes than cosmic balls of fire, dissipate when the crowd of onlookers is dismissed by an old-looking gentleman in a gray business suit with a red tie, the remains of his gray hair banded into a tight ponytail. He’s holding a steaming hot Novabucks coffee in one hand and a white paper pastry bag in the other. His face is slouched into a look that whispers not this again.

“My my, what a mess,” he says to Alvey, looking down on him. “Are you all right, my bulbous friend?”

Alvey lets out a noise that sounds like a guttural groan spliced with an unhealthy level of gurgling.

“Good,” he says, placing the coffee onto Alvey’s bloated belly.

The man snaps his fingers a few times, picks up his beverage, and removes the lid, placing it over Sigmund’s pride and two joys. The gray man then takes a long swig of his brew and calmly walks through what remains of the crowd and into the building. Shortly after, the soot-covered gunman descends from above, balancing on a small gray rectangular… thing, of some sort. Alvey can’t really tell what it is, but through squinting eyes and a slight red tint, he notices the assailant is sporting a disturbing lack of hair.

And scalp.

The rectangle thing folds up into the gunman’s feet as he lands, his boots falling heavily on the cracked concrete sidewalk. “You,” he monotones, gun pressed into Alvey’s disturbingly squishy head, “are coming with me.”


As I said above, The 2020 Event |The Main Event| is a satirical novel about aliens that do psychedelic drugs and the subjective nature of reality. It is also the fourth book of the First Spiral, a longer story called The Highest One Writing.

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

|The Main Event| is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.

I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.

If you like |The Main Event| and would like to help support my work, buy a copy of the book here.

Be well Commons~

Posted in Writings

I Dare You – The 2020 Event |The Main Event| (3/66)

Hello Commons, here is chapter 1 of The 2020 Event |The Main Event|, a satirical novel about aliens that do psychedelic drugs and the subjective nature of reality. Please enjoy. See the bottom of this post for more info.


Chapter 1
I Dare You

Don’t Do Drugs

An old codger-dodger of a Caucasian with more hair poofing out of his drooping ears than he has growing on his scalp walks across the stage and steps up to the podium, a construct of faux ivory with mahogany trim stained to look like Brazilian rosewood. A spotlight shines down from the control booth in the ceiling, illuminating the one up on his stage standing above the rest. He taps the mic a few times before clearing whatever that chunky green stuff is from his throat into a handkerchief, placing the phlegmy cloth back into his inside jacket pocket before he begins. Mister Queue PrinciPal, the Head Principal of this fine educational establishment, takes a long, sweeping look at the mass of youth in front of him, and a big smile stretches across his wrinkly face.

“Good morning children, and happy Monday!”

He waits for a response, but all he gets is the chirp of a cricket which is quickly snuffed out by the boot of an angry gray child with bad teeth. PrinciPal waits a moment to see if the cricket will resume chirping for him, but it does not.

“Well, I can see we’re all very happy to be in school today! Hah hah haaaaaaaaaaaah, only kidding with you, guys and gals. You know, surprisingly enough I was a kid too once, a loooong, long, long – did I mention long? – time ago.”

More awkward silence, this time gleefully broken to pieces by a few yawns, a sniffle, and a courtesy cough from a student who just walked in from the bathroom.

“Back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth…” as he flashes a big smile and clasps his hands together, looking around for any sign of laughter, joy, attentiveness, anything. ‘Come on guys, these jokes are killer!’

Meanwhile, in the back row, a skateboarder and her girlfriend are having an enlightening discussion about how dinosaurs probably didn’t exist because of how easily the fossils could be faked. The biology professor standing guard at the doors, an old man draped in khaki explorer’s garb with streaks of faded purple running through what remains of his spindly gray hair, overhears this discussion. He leaves his letter of resignation on his boss’s desk on his way out of the building.

Clipping his dinosaur tangent, “…I was sitting right where you are, being talked to by a Principal of my own. Although, mine wasn’t quite as nifty and tubular as myself.”

More silence. Two young teachers, hired fresh out of the nearby community college, are standing guard at the doors in the back of the auditorium. Missus Smiley leans in close to Miss Palkokane and asks why their boss bothers with these jokes instead of getting to the point. Palkokane laughs in the form of a puff of air escaping her nose as she tells her coworker that it doesn’t matter because they get paid their two dollars and fifty cents by the hour.

Then, “Ahhh hahahah, so today students, we’re going to talk about a subject that you hopefully aren’t very familiar with: the use of drugs, and why you should never ever ever do them under any circumstances whatsoever!”

Meanwhile, off in the bathroom across the hall, four hippies-in-training are having something of a powwow, passing a burning stick of bush amongst themselves in a counter-clockwise rotation.

Once he’s found the slide clicker (which is more for show than anything else, as Mister doesn’t know how to make a slideshow presentation) “Before I bring all up my slides, does anybody in the audience have any information about drugs they’d like to share?”

Not even the crickets chirp for that one.

“Ah-hem, anybody?

Somebody says Oh shit under their breath before wildly digging through their pockets. A lone boy wearing a shirt with a glow in the dark DOPE logo emblazoned across the front stands up and raises his hand.

“Yes Mister PrinciPal, sir! I have something to say!”

Mister PrinciPal beams a smile that lights up the entire room. “Egg-sellent! And what is your name, young man?”

As he speaks, Mister PrinciPal’s voice wavers up and down like his pointer finger when he shakes it in a tisk-tisky fashion. Without giving the student a chance to speak, he continues with…

“Or, better yet,” the tired strands of his vocal cords grinding together like nails on a chalkboard, “who is it that you represent with that radical shirt of yours,” explicitly phrased as anything but a question. Almost like it was rehearsed.

Almost.

“What, this dusty old thing?” as the boy flicks his left shoulder with his right hand. “I got it from the local DOPE ambassador, h–”

“The DOPE ambassador?” PrinciPal asserts. “Who is that, and what on Earth is DOPE? I hope it’s not something you’re smoking, young man,” and thus begins the finger wagging.

In the second row from the stage, three grams of cocaine that were stuffed with the tissues into a bra this morning are being shared between a group of cliquely-diverse students. Among them are the quarterback of the football team, a captain of the robotics team, the soccer goalie, the head cheerleader, the dungeon master of the D&D club, and that one random kid who hangs around the school during summer vacation riding his bike (you know, the one who doesn’t participate in any afterschool activities once the bell starts ringing). Mister PrinciPal hears the sniffling but assumes the kids are sick with a case of homework fever.

“Smoke DOPE?” Billy recites, “Well that would work about as well as sucking a grapefruit through a straw!”

The cheer captain’s head shoots up and she looks around the auditorium before shrugging and rolling up another single.

“The DOPE ambassador is a police officer in town, except he’s not a normal police officer. His job is to teach us, the children, the future Dollarists of this great untied nation of ours, about the dangers of drugs,” Billy beams through a toothy smile. “And he gets to drive a super gnarly sports car!”

Mister PrinciPal nearly does a backflip out of sheer, unbridled joy. “Well isn’t that funny, I saw that sports car on my way here this morning! And you just happened to wear that nifty shirt for today’s assembly!”

PrinciPal peers out at the crowd of crusty-eyed sacks of raging hormones and self-doubt with a look of satisfaction that rivals the quarterback’s after the grapefruit comment earlier. “These must be signs! The planets are aligning to spread the message of sobriety to you children, I hope you’re all as amazed and excited as I am! Please, random student, continue spreading your good words!”

A moment of silence ensues as the drama student chosen to play Random Student 2 shuffles through a stack of index cards. “Umm… right, so DOPE stands for Drug Ob–”

“Ah, Drugs…” Mister PrinciPal cuts in with a feigned tone of nostalgia, placing extra emphasis on the Dr- syllable. As he goes on describing to the high schoolers of America what drugs are, name-dropping fan favorites such as CAN’Tabis and coPAINe, the long-haired hippie dude with a tie-dye shirt and jeans with holes ripped into the knees hiding behind the curtains is reassured that Mister Queue PrinciPal has never even seen a picture of Cannabis, let alone any narcotics. He probably wouldn’t even know it if he smelled the smoke – scratch that, he literally didn’t know it. Before the assembly started, he walked into the site of the powwow to take a leak and told the five boys to, “Put out your cigga-bogeys,” before singing the chorus to an old Spötley Crüe song, a song none of the students even remotely recognized.

“…and lastly, we come to the most dangerous and downright evil category of drugs, children: the mind-altering substances known as the hal-yew-cinnogins. There are as many varieties of these drugs as there are dangers when it comes to taking them, not to mention the fact that Satan himself scrapes the substances from the bunions on his hooves; not only will hal-yew-cinnogins like weed, pot, acid, marijuana, el-ess-dee and, worse of all, dope, make you catch brain diseases like schizophrenia, but they will also dry rot your diseased brain! Your neurons will catch on fire and burn out if you try the drugs even once, the resulting sizzling causing you to see and hear things that aren’t actually there! Except you’ll think they are there – the horror! I cannot stress the importance of avoiding these drugs enough, children. They’ll also–”

“Let you talk to aliens!!” shouted seemingly from nowhere, catching the Principal more off guard than a varsity golfer who’s forced to participate in gym class. All the students, save for a pale scrawny boy named Jack Monta who pretends not to recognize the voice so hard he scrunches down in his seat, immediately perk up with interest. The whispers begin.

“Aliens? Who said that?”

“Woah, I want to meet the aliens!”

“That sounded like that Monta kid, did his balls just drop?”

“Hey Miss Palkokane, can I buy some crack?”

“Talk to me after school, sweetie.”

Mister PrinciPal breaks out into an uneasy sweat. ‘I’m losing them,’ he thinks to himself while mouthing the words to everyone else. ‘You’re at a nexus, Mister; you can let all of these children fall into a hole of drug abuse patterns, or you can save them with one flawless joke. It’s go time.

“Aliens? Well that seems pretty far out, maybe even in outer space!”

The auditorium has never, in all of history, been more silent than it is right now. The gray child almost feels bad for squishing the cricket, but that would require having emotions… or any basic humanity in general.

‘You did it, PrinciPal. You saved them.’ “So, to recap: drugs are BAD, hmmmmmmmmmmmmm’kay?”

Wow, emphasis on the BAD, and he held the mmm. More power to ya, Queue.

“And. Everyone is going to try to get you to do them. Not anyone in this room. Obviously. Hoffman Regional High is undoubtedly better than that. But out in the real world, everyone and their mother is doing them, and they’re going to try to make you do them too. You HEAR ME? Everyone! Be careful children! Be carEFUL!!!”

White foam bubbles up in the corners of Mister’s mouth.

“The drug addicts are everywhere! Everywhere! They’ll lure you into back alleys and down into the sewers with promises of paper boats and candy that makes you feel good, but you won’t feel good. The only paper boat you’ll get is a paper submarine filled with yucky-smelling green flakes that’ll make you feel okay with dying! Now, please continue spreading your good word, young man!”

Everybody, save for the cliquely diverse party up front who’re knee-deep in titty coke (except for the Robotics captain, who is wrist-deep in cokeless titty) shifts their attention to Random Student 2. As he stands back up, the pure anxiety that is stage fright grips his index cards and scatters them all over the floor. He verbally berates himself inside his own head as he picks them up, just like the drama teacher taught him to do.

“Yes, uhhmmm, where was I… oh right! So the Dee stands for Drugs–”

“Which, may I remind everyone,” Mister PrinciPal cuts in, “are bad. And everyone is going to try to make you do them. Because they are bad humans. Always say no, don’t even think about it.”

Random Student 2 waits a short moment before continuing, the moment cut shorter by the laser beams a’fire out Mister PrinciPal’s eyes. “The Oh stands for Obstinance, whi–”

“Excuse me? What does it stand for?” PrinciPal asks, genuinely confused about the lines that he himself wrote… allegedly.

“Um… ob-obstinance?”

A moment of silence sweeps the auditorium. The drama teacher, watching from the projector box high above the back entrance, is feasting on his fingernails. How could Billy mess up his lines, they went over them at least forty times! This isn’t even his first rodeo, and he’s been pulled out of his classes for weeks to master this performance. Why would he forget now, after all these years?

“What I think you meeeaan,” Mister Principal hisses from the top of his ivory tower, “is abstinence, as in abstaining. Do you know what that means, Bil– eh, I mean, random student two? Er, random student??”

“Well, yeah, we learned about that word in sex ed, buh–”

“IT meanssss…” holding that s like a nun would a ruler in the olden days, “to restrain yourself from doing something, especially something that gives you joy. But that’s just the problem with your generation, isn’t it, kid ?”

Poor Billy/Random Student 2 shrinks down to the size of a liver spot. He keeps looking down to his index cards, but these lines just ain’t in the script.

“Your whole generation is just… just so full of yourselves. You all think that just because you’re young and attractive and have your whole lives ahead of you and because you have parents who love you and actually raise you right,” he pauses and crosses himself, then, “unlike my parents God rest their immortal souls, that you can do whatever you want, that you get to make the rules. It’s all about you feeling good, about you feeling superior, especially when it is clear to everyone in the room that yoU are NOT !

Mister PrinciPal’s voice takes on a slightly raspy hue as he begins yelling, his chapped throat in dire need of some sweet, minty menthol. Unfortunately, the Administration’s stash of cough drops are with Vice Principal Claire, who’s busy trying to figure out how to get his fingers out of one of those old Chinese finger trap games. He’s been stuck for hours now, he has to figure it out eventually… right?

Mister continues, “Whenever any of you sense the littlest bit of resistance from a grown adult, you know, someone with real life experience, someone that doesn’t spend all of their finite life doing homework and playing video games or whatever else you little snots do to occupy the free time we’ve allotted you, you get up on your ivory soapboxes and make all this raucous about how you’re right and we’re wrong because, well, because you’re entitled! Your entire generation is entitled to the point that you would actually rather make up a word than say what you’re supposed to say. Obstinance? Really? What… what do you even have to say for yourself?”

The entire auditorium is as silent as Billy’s house is after his dad slaps the shit out of his mom for not bringing home enough money from the nearby street corner and she runs off, his dad chasing after her in his rusty pickup truck that usually doesn’t start right away. Not even the teachers know what to do at this point, other than trade nervous glances and scratch at the bugs that are obviously crawling underneath their skin.

“Well, yeh shpoiled brat?!” Principal’s floppy lips get so close to the mic that they make contact, causing it to shriek. “What do you have to say fer yerself?!”

The gray child, an avid practitioner of necromancy, reanimates the cricket in order to fill the silence with chirps before snuffing it out again. He repeats this process a few times; a lot of kittens go missing in his neighborhood, there’s not much else to say about him.

With the cricket gone, the assembly is now in Billy’s hands. He did not ask for this role, for the power that was vested in him, nay, thrusted unto him, but none of that matters now. The stone has been cast and the spotlight shines hot from above. He’s not the actor the Hoffman Regional High School Annual Anti-Drug Assembly and Knowledge Seminar needs, but he’s the one it deserves right now.

Steeling himself, he clears his throat and grips his index cards tight in his hands. ‘Just take it from the top, Billy.’

“Th-The Oh stands f-for Obstinance, meaning the trait of um… of being difficult to handle or overck–… overcome. I have never experimented with drugs myself, I’m no fan of uh, of the Devil’s cabbage, Columbian coffee, or the red phosphorous rock candy, b-b-but if you look at an… anyone who does them, you’ll see that they have a very, um… a vf–… a very,” a staggered inhale, a loud exhale, “hard time giving up their habits.”

Billy, just like everybody else in the cramped auditorium that’s quickly turning into an understaffed sweatshop, shifts his attention to Mister PrinciPal. As he stands there, the silence fermenting into a noxious cloud around him, the little hamster in Mister’s brain runs so fast that it gets launched off the wheel. The hippie fellow behind the curtain eats a handful of popcorn that he pulled out of thin air, watching this scene unfold like it was a television drama. He thinks to himself, ‘Your move, Mister.’

Mister PrinciPal thinks to himself the very same thing.

“…Yes, it certainly does.”

Feeling just a wittle bit embarrassed, Mister PrinciPal pulls out a white foam cup filled with coffee and takes a sip. And then a swig. And then he drinks the remaining three quarters of the cup in one gulp, releasing a satisfied and deep-seated, “Ahhhhhhhhhh,” into the uneasy air of his auditorium before placing the empty cup back onto the podium’s interior shelf, next to the soap dispenser.

“Phew, that’s better. I got a little cranky there, but I’m sure none of you noticed. As this random child who happens to be wearing a dope DOPE shirt, see what I did there? was saying, drug habits are very difficult to shake once they get abusive. They stuh–”

PrinciPal is cut off by the sight of a single raised hand in the audience. Do his blurry eyes deceive him? Student participation? If PrinciPal was even remotely capable of getting a boner anymore, he would undoubtedly have one right now. And he would be proud of it. He calls on the brave student, eagerly waiting for the question, comment, and/or concern.

“Yes, I have a question Mister PrinciPal the principal,” says the hippie. He’s managed to worm his way into the audience, tactically positioning himself between two students wearing drug rugs and passing a Jule vapor pen loaded with THC between themselves. You see, camouflage is one of many defense mechanisms of the wild hippie; dude blends right in.

“At what point does a drug habit become abusive?”

Jack Monta recognizes this voice, there’s no faking it now. He defensively slinks down even further in his chair, sitting on his back at this point.

Mister closes his eyes and smiles for a few moments, soaking it all in. “I’m so, so thrilled that you asked, son. Truly. To answer your really, really great question, immediately. Any and every drug habit is abusive; doesn’t matter if it’s your first smoke of a doogie or your seventeenth anniversary of the first time you injected your eyeballs with heroin,” he explains while miming the hypothetical act with astonishing realism. “It’s all the same.”

PrinciPal’s smile is shared by the hippie, but for very different reasons.

Mister continues adminisplaining, “I’m sure you haven’t read up on it, but allow me to mix in some Buddhist philosophy here – that old nonsense is popular with you youngins, I think – to shine light on this enlightenment seminar. You see, Buddhists live their lives guided by the Five Moral Precepts. These are rules, and the fifth one states the following: abstain from intoxicants that tend to cloud the mind. In other words, don’t do drugs. Even the Bood– yes, another question?”

The hippie’s smile widens. “Nah, more of a concern. I’ve read quite a bit of Buddhist philosophy, actually, and those precepts were written a long, long time ago. Back then, alcohol was the prime intoxicant that humans used for the sake of getting intoxicated. Sure, Cannabis, ‘Shrooms and poppies were still around and abound, but they were legitimately used for spiritual and medicinal practices. I read somewhere that Buddhist temples would often have expansive fields of Cannabis growing behind them, the Cannabis being a favorite meditation aid to an unsteady mind. The fifth moral precept was more about avoiding alcohol than anything else because alcohol clouds the mind and is easy to get hooked on. Kinda like caffeine.”

The room grows quiet once more, save for the one kid in the back that yells, “OOOOOHHHHHH,” as if the assembly were a rap battle. He is quickly escorted out by three of the seven members of the math teacher clique.

Mister PrinciPal’s bottom left eyelid starts twitching. He reaches for his coffee cup, hand violently trembling, and brings it to his dry mouth. When nothing comes out, he crushes the cup and drops it to the stage. PrinciPal then, whilst making direct eye contact with the back side of his podium, says the following: “Actually, no, you’re wrong. So wrong. Alcohol and caffeine aren’t drugs any more than nicotine is. They were legal before the government collapsed, so obviously they are safe. You’re wrong. Wrong. What you said is not only fake news, but you probably read it on the stupid internet, too. Wokeipedia can be edited by anybody, actually, so its information doesn’t count. We’re moving on now. Random student, what does the Pee stand for.”

“The Pee stands for Persecution.”

Billy reads the next few lines written on his index card to himself and chooses to not say them aloud. Meanwhile, the drama teacher is having something of a conniption up in the box; life ain’t easy when you live it vicariously.

Billy’s Index Card

Before we go any further, take a quick look at Billy’s index card so you know what lines were supposed to be read:

———————————————————————————

RS2: The P stands for Persecution.
MP: Persecution, eh? That sounds harsh, but not when it comes to drug users. What kind of persecution can these undesirables expect, random student?
RS2: Well, Mr. PrinciPal sir, I would love to say, but I really don’t know. How about you, friend?
RS1: Nope! Like you, friend, I have zero drug-using experience, so rather than just hearing myself talk, like my generation loves to do, I would like to hand it over to somebody who actually has something to say.
MP: Excellent choice of vernacular, random students! Not just anybody can think up words like that, good show. Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I’d like to introduce your favorite and mine, our athletic director, the host with the most mister Lonny Ghost!

———————————————————————————

Lonny Ghost AD

Lurching over his podium, Mister PrinciPal stares Billy down with a mean crease in his thinning gray brow. “No, don’t want to explain what you just said? Typical of you children, so ready to speak but when it comes time to defend what you say, you scatter away like cockroaches. That’s fine, that’s just fine, I have somebody who could better explain the persecution of high school drug users than you could anyway, Billy. Better than you ever could. Drum roll, please!”

As the sole band member sitting alone in the pit starts beating away on his snare drum, luxurious red and gray silk banners listing the school’s athletic achievements drop down from the ceiling on either side of the stage. No less than three spotlights, all manned by the drama teacher Doctor Phanny Tasia posted up in the booth, begin randomly sweeping around the auditorium. Everybody starts talking at once, causing a total uproar and giving some fortunate students a chance to scramble and escape while they won’t be seen doing so.

The escapees are thwarted when the surveillance teacher rides in on a small Zhoomba vacuum cleaner and begins rounding them up with a lasso.

In the midst of the chaos, the hippie slides in and knocks the cocaine out of the hands of the cliquely diverse group of students, handing them each a quarter of a tab of LSD instead. Then, a quiet squeaking noise resounds through the room, grabbing all the activity and holding it against a treadmill running on the highest setting, grinding it to a halt. A large papier-mâché mustache glued to a thin piece of oversized streamer paper is slowly lowered to the stage behind Mister PrinciPal. A hush of anticipation settles over the crowd, and rapidly approaching footsteps can be heard on the stage. PrinciPal, a clown-like smile painted on his face, steps off to the side, giving no further introduction as a beefy manchild sporting a chevron mustache bursts through the veil, hurdling the ‘stache.

“Well hhheeeeyyyyyy everybody, how are we all doin’ today?” whines Lonny Ghost AD, sending a wave of cringe rippling through the crowd. The brave students who were up and about, especially the athletes, all quickly find their seats and pay as much of their attention as they can afford to the hair-lipped man who holds their entire high school sports careers in the palms of his rarely seen and often moist hands. In the back row, Coach Scoompa discretely puts in earplugs, as if they’ll be enough. Sat one row behind him, Coach Thenure can be seen taking detailed notes, his tongue dangling out of his mouth.

“I’ll take your silence as a great!” Lonny Ghost AD booms, more animation put into his body language than in the majority of modern American Saturday morning cartoons. “Who’s ready for a joke?”

Utter silence, more silent than the previous silence. In fact, the room is more silent than all previous silences to ever be observed throughout the history of humankind multiplied by twenty-two, half the number of years Lonny Ghost AD has worked at Hoffman High. Lonny Ghost AD smiles and clasps his hands together in a very PrinciPalish form before proceeding with his punishment.

“SO! A kid walks into a courtroom and approaches the judge. The judge asks him one, why isn’t he in school, and two, hahah, and two, what does he want. The kid, rudely ignoring the judge’s first question, tells the judge he wants a divorce from his parents. The judge asks why and goes into a heartbreaking twenty-minute story about his experience with his parents getting divorced. The kid says no, I want to be divorced from them, they beat me.”

Back behind the curtain, the once annoyed Mister PrinciPal is now barely containing his excitement, the laughter literally bursting through the dam of fingers he’s installed in front of his mouth.

“So the Judge says okay, I’ll put you into custody with your grandparents. You can be spoiled for the rest of your days, just like you obviously want to be. The kid, surprisingly enough, says no, because they beat him even harder. The judge, amused at the idea of the elderly beating on a spry young child, says all right, your aunt and uncle then. But the kid, being the child that he is, protests once more: the aunt and uncle allegedly beat him too. The judge, feeling like his time is being wasted for no reason, says fine, who do you want to live with, then?”

Both the students and faculty alike brace themselves for what will surely be a hammer to the gut of a punchline. Coach Thenure is sitting so close to the edge of his seat that, if he wasn’t wearing a shirt, the hairs growing out of his belly button would be touching the floor. Smily and Palkokane are genuinely confused over the fact that the athletic director, who they’ve never seen until now, is telling jokes at an anti-drug assembly. Missus Kriegmiester is doing deep breathing exercises to prevent The Beast from howling forth. Coach Scoompa attempts the same, but he struggles with it because of the distracting droplets of moisture forming on the back of his neck, courtesy of Coach Thenure’s lovely mouth breathing. All the sports captains are texting their teammates to ensure everyone laughs really loud. The hippie decides to phase out of Existence and dodge this bullet. The narrator wishes he could do the same.

“The Wasson Highschool Gorgons, they never beat anybody!”

A bird flying over the school spontaneously combusts, falling out of the sky in a shower of embers and smoke, its charred corpse slapping against the roof over the auditorium. However, nobody notices this because of the excruciatingly loud faux laughter being projected from the throats of the high school athletes. Between all the colliding wavelengths of chortle, if one listens close enough, they can hear little quips of, “It’s so true!” “Yeah fuck them!” and of course the obligatory, “They’re our rivals!”

Back on the stage, Lonny Ghost AD is soaking it all up like a bowl of rice does to the water inside a cell phone.

Then, all the laughter simultaneously stops.

“Thank you, thank you everybody. I’ll be here all week, literally. Hah!” Again, a handclasp. “So, today’s assembly is about resisting drugs, that’s a pretty groovy topic, right? You know, sober living, sober chilling, sober playing. Pretty cool, gang, pretty cool. But you know what isn’t cool? Other than, of course, using drugs?”

The hippie phases back into reality just in time to hear nobody answer. He looks to his side and notices Jack Monta is sitting right next to him, how convenient. He gives him a little elbow to the side, right below the ribcage, just hard enough to make him jump a little but not enough to make him yelp. Upon landing, Jack looks over and nearly jumps out his seat again, whispering in a hushed voice, “What the hell are you doing here?”

Hippieman just smiles and looks towards the stage.

“The punishment for being caught using them, that’s what,” says Lonny Ghost AD with a sudden and dramatic stiffening of every single muscle in his body and the drop of all inflection from his voice. “Now, I don’t know all the athletes who attend this school because there are so many of you, and who has the time for all that? But, I know that all of you like playing your sports, and I know all of you enjoy exercising that privilege. Do you get it, exercising the privilege? Because sports are a privilege, not a right. Understand, everybody? Do you hear me, loud and crystal clear??”

The entire audience, including the coaches who midnight as teachers, slowly nod their heads. Lonny Ghost AD rolls his eyes.

“Jeez, did a herd of horses just wander into my bar? What’s with all the long faces, guys??”

It takes a second to register, but eventually the quarterback gets the joke. He quickly sends a mass text message and everyone in the auditorium starts cracking up with laughter. Lonny Ghost AD sucks it all up like a vampire with a mouthful of neck before continuing.

“Okay, now I know that everybody enjoys being a part of my Hoffman High sports program; wouldn’t it be a shame if you got kicked out? Because that’s what’ll happen if you get caught using drugs – you’ll be immediately pulled from whatever team you play on. Whether it’s performance enhancers, street drugs, burnout drugs; whether you’re using them at home, in school, in a foreign country where they’re legal; whatever. I will find out, and I will pull you right out of your jersey,” he dictates while grasping the microphone with both hands.

“And that isn’t all,” Mister PrinciPal adds, walking out onto the stage while grasping a microphone in both of his hands. “You’ll also hit a wall.”

“That reminds me, hey Mister!” Lonny Ghost AD asks, locking eyes with his comrade on stage.

“Yes Lonny?” says Mister PrinciPal, returning Lonny’s gaze of longing.

The smile on Lonny Ghost AD’s face threatens to tear his lips down the middle like a guy with a cleft pallet. “What does a fish say when it hits a wall?”

“Well gee,” PrinciPal says, delving deep into thought for more than a few moments. Then, “I don’t know, Lonny. What does a fish say when it hits a wall?”

“It says, oh dam!

Mister PrinciPal bends over and slaps his knee. “Oh Lonny, your humor knows no bounds, just like the extent of our influence over your futures, kids! You see, losing out on your high school sports experience won’t be the only thing that’ll happen to you if we catch you using drugs. You’ll also be suspended, you won’t be allowed to attend your classes, you won’t be able to talk to your classmates, not that they’ll want to talk to you, since you’re a dirty, pathetic drug addict; you won’t be able to participate in clubs, and you won’t be allowed to attend any of our dances!”

“Speaking of dances, how do you make a tissue dance, Mister?”

“Well I don’t know Lonny, how do you make a tissue dance?”

“You put a little boogie in it!” says Lonny Ghost AD whilst Coach Thenure lip syncs the punchline with a twinkle in his eyes. Meanwhile, up in his crow’s nest, Doctor Phanny Tasia notices at least seventeen students pointing finger guns at their heads and lowering their thumbs upon hearing the punchline; he immediately calls the school psychologist. When he finds out there is no school psychologist, he brings up an application on his phone and starts to fill it out.

“Golly,” Billy finally cuts in, nervously unsure of when this back and forth will end, “that sure is a lot of punishment! I guess drugs really aren’t worth it. I–”

“Not so fast, Bobby,” Mister PrinciPal says, cutting him off like the guillotine did King Louie XVI. “That’s only the extent of the school’s contribution to your punishment. We will also contact the local volunteer police departments; you see kids, Hoffman Regional High School has a very close relationship with the chiefs of not only the Wanapo and Jaskell volunteer police departments, but also the Treering volunteer police department as well. Each town has a list, a very detailed list consisting of every single high school student ever caught doing, holding, buying and-slash-or selling drugs. This list contains every offense and the date and time the offender, or more commonly offenders, were caught.”

Lonny Ghost AD puts his hands on his cheeks and makes a face like the Scream portrait by Edvard Munch, rest in pepperonis. Then, in a high-pitched squeal that would make a banshee call in sick, he says, “Shhhheeeeeeeesh, rreeeaaaallllyy? Awwhhh mmaaaannnnn, that sounds rreeeaaaaalllly bad, Mister!”

Mister PrinciPal looks at Lonny Ghost AD out the corner of his eye and nods approvingly. “Not only that, Lonny, but when any drug abuser eventually leaves this magical little tri-town area, their entry, or more commonly entries, knowing the drug-addicted type, will be sent to the volunteer police department of whatever town they move to, even after they graduate. Plus, you’ll serve mandatory time locked inside a cage for being such a waste of space, AND, you – or more likely your parents – will have to make a hefty donation to the police force, or else!”

Lonny Ghost AD’s eyeballs literally pop right out of his skull. “Wwhhhheeelllllll, I guess they deserve it if they want to completely throw their life away by trying drugs, even if it’s just one time.”

“That’s right; trying any drug, doesn’t matter which one, any drug can turn you into an addict after the first time no matter what anybody says. So don’t do drugs guys, you’re all better than that. Now, can we get a round of applause for Lonny Ghost AD!!”

The clapping starts slowly at first, but then the half-drunk gym teacher Mister Daniels stumbles through the audience, megaphone in hand, and starts threatening to make the students duckwalk. This increases the magnitude of the applause ten-fold, as it would in any other high school in the Untied States of America.

With a slight bow and a little dance, Lonny Ghost AD jumps back through the now ripped paper veil before it’s slowly hoisted back up into the ceiling. He then takes off out the auditorium’s back door, sprinting at full speed back to his office in the school’s West Wing. On the way, he stumbles into today’s newest janitor, a man by the name of Jackson Rainfort, and spills the contents of his dirty mop bucket all over the floor. Lonny Ghost AD flashes his silver-tongued smile and continues sprinting away until he finally reaches his office. Luckily enough his Secretary, a Missus Bessy Sahvage, is already prepared with a cough drop, a bottle of lotion, a vintage Boys’ Life magazine, and enough homemade salted corn bits to dry out the swimming pool hidden on the roof of the school. Lonny Ghost AD is home, and safe once more.

Then the phone rings and he almost enters into cardiac arrest.

Tuna Melt

“Now,” back in the foggy auditorium, “why don’t you continue explaining that fancy acronym you’re wearing for us today, Bobby,” again, explicitly phrased in any way but that of a question.

Up above the stage, leaning over the railing of the catwalk, the Vice Principal Frederick Verschwatz stands ready with a tuna melt sandwich, just in case Mister PrinciPal is pushed into code red.


As I said above, The 2020 Event |The Main Event| is a satirical novel about aliens that do psychedelic drugs and the subjective nature of reality. It is also the fourth book of the First Spiral, a longer story called The Highest One Writing.

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

|The Main Event| is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.

I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.

If you like |The Main Event| and would like to help support my work, buy a copy of the book here.

Be well Commons~

Posted in Writings

Shut The Chuck Up – The 2020 Event |The Main Event| (2/66)

Hello Commons, here is chapter 0.5 of The 2020 Event |The Main Event|, a satirical novel about aliens that do psychedelic drugs and the subjective nature of reality. Please enjoy. See the bottom of this post for more info.


Chapter 0.5
Shut The Chuck Up

The Trash Man

“Holy shit…” Chuck whispers to himself, his vision growing foggy as he’s sucked into his own head, “it worked…”

“Huh?” a crouching Alvey whispers back, too busy fiddling with the lock to listen to Chuck, choosing just to hear him instead.

“What?” Chuck says, snapping back to real reality as his prior realization fades cleanly back into the present moment. “Nothing. What’s going on?”

Alvey stops his fiddling and slowly turns his head to serve up an expression of irritated confusion. “What do you mean what’s going on? I explained the entire plan to you on the drive over here. And on the phone yesterday. Please tell me you were listening.”

“Well,” begins Chuck, patting the outside of his suit pockets, “I definitely heard you.” He pulls a lighter out of his pocket and hands it to Alvey before resuming his search. “Hold this for a second, will ya?”

“Oh… well I don’t need this again quite yet, but okay.”

Alvey slips the lighter into his breast pocket’s protector and resumes repeatedly jamming what at one point could be considered a paper clip into the door lock.

Convinced his pockets are empty, Chuck closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. Oxygen isn’t his preferred inhalant, but it will have to do for now. He opens his eyes and looks at the room around him, a cozy yet posh little den adorned with gray carpet, a couple gray couches, some gray artwork done by the late great artist Grey Grayson, framed in gray plaster frames – how full of life, especially with the lights shut off. There’s also a wooden-looking particleboard coffee table with a small collection of Office Life magazines (the Gray Editions, no less) sat next to a faux plant in a gray pot that looks like it’s made of clay but is actually made of plaster. Chuck almost makes a comment, but then Alvey starts mumbling about something.

“What’s that, bud?”

Alvey trembles for a moment then slowly turns his head around again, his neck crackling and popping the entire time. He says nothing.

“Dude you gotta stop doing that, just speak to me.”

Alvey crinkles his nose at Chuck for a moment before deciding to speak. “I can’t get this darn-stinkin’ lock open! They said the locks here suck, they said they could easily be broken into with a scorched-tip paper clip. Well, here I am, Alvey Fratto The Trash Man, trying to unlock the door with the paper clip with the tip that I scorched myself, with my own bare hands, but it isn’t working. It just isn’t working. I try so hard, I don’t understand why it isn’t working. Why does it never work Chuck, WHY?! This entire life is just so, so… dare I say it… so unfair!

‘Alvey Fratto The Trash Man?’ Chuck thinks to himself with one eyebrow raised above the rim of his sunglasses. ‘I thought he said he was an executive here.’

Chuck cautiously takes the paper clip from Alvey’s hand and, after wiping the silky sweat off, gives it an ocular examination. The analysis: it’s definitely a normal paper clip, unbent with one end scorched black. He throws it over his shoulder like the garbage it is and goes about removing his left pinky finger, which does wonders for Alvey’s already intense nausea. Upon twisting the pinky’s base three times, Chuck’s detached finger opens up to reveal a multitude of mechanical multitools, including a skeleton key that’s not even remotely shaped like a skeleton. He hands it to Alvey, who shivers and turns back to his door.

“You’re welcome,” said just audibly enough to be ignored in favor of the satisfying click of an unlocked door.

“Yes! I’m in!” Alvey exclaims, dropping not only Chuck’s pinky but also the whole whispering thing down to the floor as he trots inside.

The digit bounces upon landing, resuming its finger form whilst in the air. Chuck scoops it up and reattaches the crooked thing before following Mister Fratto inside through the gray doorframe. The door, a beautiful solid piece of oak with a snow-capped mountain carved into it, slowly and silently shuts behind them, lightly tapping Chuck on the ass as it does so.

“Alvey, the do–”

“Not now cuck!”

“It’s Chuck, man. Come on, I feel like that was a bit intentional.”

Alvey doesn’t hear him though, the bigman’s already stomp-running his way down the N hallway in a beeline to the door at the end. He then unbends a new paper clip, which immediately assumes a silky coating of hand sweat upon being handled, scorches the end of it with Chuck’s lighter, and begins nonsensically jamming it into the door lock, just like his water cooler crew told him to. This affords Chuck a few moments to look around and figure out where exactly Alvey Fratto The Trash Man has dragged him on this fine, holiest of Holiblazes.

It seems to be an office building of some sort, the main room is dominated by nine particleboard cubicles and lined with windows tinted so dark that one can’t see through them from the inside out. There are hallways marked E, N and W, all branching out from this central space in each of the four cardinal directions (besides South, because that’s how they came in). As he pleasurelessly jaunts down the E hallway, lined with unpainted and unmarked gray metal doors with no handles, Chuck notices the air getting thinner with each step he takes. The hallway seems to grow longer too, the doors warping and taking on a towering stature that makes Chuck feel inadequate. Then he blinks and they’re back to normal, allowing him to feel like a god again.

At the end of the stretching hallway lies a door with a not only a plaque on it, but also a pull handle. Chuck feels the cold of the metal handle through his leather glove and yanks at it, but the door won’t budge. It’s at this point that Chuck decides to read the plaque: ASSISTANT MANAGER’S OFFICE.

‘Yikes.’

Down the W hall is more of the same – at least, that’s how it seems at first glance. The metal doors are painted a slightly different shade of gray than the unpainted E doors, and they all have handles, too. At the end of this hallway is the office of the ASSISTANT TO THE MANAGER of whatever thrilling corporation inhabits this brick and mortar shell. Chuck swallows hard, making an audible gulp sound, and slowly backs his way into the cubicle room with a look of pure mortification plastered on his sunglassed, goateed, and otherwise flabbergasted face.

“Al… uh, Alvey?” Chuck asks out loud, his voice carrying a slight hint of unnervedness. “I don’t like this place, where are we?”

No answer, just the sound of metal being jammed into metal with highlights of dripping liquid puddling on the carpeted floor. Chuck wanders around the perimeter, avoiding peeking inside the cubicles at all costs, lest he sees how the other side lives. Manning the corners of the room are four plaster vases, painted gray and gray but less so, each containing what looks like an exotic and tropical plant. ‘Thank Christ,’ Chuck thinks to himself, but perhaps a moment too soon – upon handling a leaf of one of the plants, he realizes it’s made of plaster as well.

That’s when Chuck notices the walls of the building are literally caving in towards him, trapping him in a small space that will only grow smaller until it’s not a space at all. Slightly panicked, Chuck stumbles backwards and crashes into, and through, the particleboard barrier between open space and office space.

It’s then that he sees it: an empty desk of one of the employees, utterly barren and devoid of all signs of life. It’s loaded with stacks of papers, two printers, three different staplers – which are all out of staples, mind you – a computer from at least twenty years ago, a gray-covered magazine entitled Apex Lifestyle: The Periodical For Peons At The Pinnacle, and the saving grace: a little grayscale poster depicting a cat hanging on a string by a single claw, captioned Hang in there, Baby.

“Alvey where the fuck are we you need to tell me right now,” yells Chuck as he dusts the particles of board off of his suit jacket and empties the brim of his fedora into one of the stapleless staplers. He also notices the walls have stopped stepping to him, this is a plus.

“CHUCK!” screeches Alvey at the top of his overexerted lungs without turning away from the door, “CANNOT YOU SEE THAT I AM TRYING TO CONCENTRATE? JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP!!”

‘You just gonna let him get away with that?’

Unable to help himself, Chuck tiptoes his way behind Alvey and whispers, “Don’t you mean shut the Chuck up?” into his ear.

The resulting clamor wakes the dormant being situated in the coat closet.

Chuck grabs Alvey by the blade of his shoulder and yanks him away from the door, sending the orbular mass of a man airborne for a whole of one second. “Mind your manners, missy,” says the grown skinny man as the grown husky man burns his exposed skin on the rug. Chuck then pulls a pinky detachment maneuver and unlocks the door before getting shoved aside by an excited Alvey.

“Finally… I’m here!” Alvey shouts as he runs into the blinding light coming from within the once locked room. “It is time!”

Through a pair of confused, squinted eyes, our suited man makes out a struggling Alvey attempting to climb aboard an immaculate mahogany desk, utterly stage-like in stature with a wide surface area capable of sitting at least six humans, nine on a good day.

Only three on a bad day though.

Walking inside, a chill goes up Chuck’s spine when his eyes adjust to the light and he sees three rows of swiveling office chairs facing the desk, laid out as if the chamber were the sick love child of a corporation’s board room and a public school’s auditorium. What’s worse, the massive desk only has one chair pulled up behind it, directly in the middle, behind a microphone with such a large pedestal that it could be considered a damn podium. Chuck really wishes he would have thought to pack a fucking joint so he could fill this terrible place with smoke.

Chuck begins to say, “Alvey, what ar–” but immediately cuts himself off when he observes his obtuse friend unbutton his pants and assume a squatting position while still standing on the frankly impressive carved wood desk. A few moments later, on the back wall of the room, the door of the coat closet creaks open to the width of a single human eyeball.


As I said above, The 2020 Event |The Main Event| is a satirical novel about aliens that do psychedelic drugs and the subjective nature of reality. It is also the fourth book of the First Spiral, a longer story called The Highest One Writing.

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

|The Main Event| is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.

I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.

If you like |The Main Event| and would like to help support my work, buy a copy of the book here.

Be well Commons~