Ghosts

There is no good time for anything. No good time to say “I love you”. No good time to say “I don’t love you”. No good time to break up with someone, to ask someone out, to have a baby, to adopt, to marry someone, to have a wedding, to die, to tell someone you want to die, to leave a job or a home. There is no good time to move on with your life. Just as there is no good time to move on from this world.

Just recently I decided to travel back to a place that I hate. Winchester, Virginia. On a mission I have been curious about, but softly avoiding. Get medical testing done. My secondary mission was to visit my family and friends. I missed a few on the latter. The reason I hate going back to the place I was raised is because it’s full of ghosts. The type of entities whose hauntings would invoke insanity. I have many. One ghost in particular I had to visit. Wanted to, actually, because he was a dear friend of mine. I knew him when he was about 7? Maybe 8. Either way, I knew him and his family since the first day they moved up the street from me. My family and I helped his family move into their new house. We would play around the boxes of toys, kitchen supplies, bedroom sets; just forts of cardboard were our playground. I was about 12, I think. I hate the fact that so much of our time together are just ripped up pieces of paper floating through the fog. It’s like my memory doesn’t bother to remember the little joy I had as a child.

I do, however, remember the colorful shields and wooden swords we would fight with in the basement of his parents’ house. One shield was blue with a grey castle, another had a lion imprinted on a red background, and there was a green one. I saw them just last week and even now my memory is slipping. I had sat in the brown, suede, lounge chair of the Ballard’s home. My eyes focusing back and forth from the shields and swords resting atop the mantle of the fireplace to Mrs. Ballard’s eyes as she quickly voiced her concern of me finding a job at the school I dropped out of in order to go back. I visited the Ballards not only to catch up with them but also to check on them. It’s only been two years since the loss of their first and only son, John David. Whenever Mrs. Ballard came across a sentence when she had to mention her son or his passing there would be a pause. As if she was a video that had to buffer. That feeling I understod. I’m currently feeling it with every key stroke.

The Ballards were happy during my visit. Well, I guess I should say more at peace. I wasn’t there two years ago when they had John David’s wake and funeral. My mom told me it was lovely. Many of the town’s residents as well as the students were in attendance. Some people could see it as proof as how small Winchester was. I like to see it as how many lives were impacted by John David and his family. Mr. and Mrs. Ballard chatted with me for about an hour as they gave me an update on their children. Their oldest daughters were in college, but I did get to see and talk with their youngest, Kat. There was shock in my eyes when that five-foot-three, just-barely-went-through-puberty girl hugged me with so much warmth and positivity. Her brunette hair touching her shoulders just like her mother’s. Except, a little more straightened. Last, clear memory I had of Kat was when she was a toddler. It delighted me to hear about her life and how she was supporting her brother’s charity foundation. She was trying to get a support group going at Handley High for kids going through the same thing John David did. I knew right then that she had a bright future ahead of her.

In return I updated them on my current adventures. My writing projects, my search for a writing job, discontinuing college, they were the only loved ones I visited that I didn’t talk about my medical mishaps with. Which was nice. After Mr. and Mrs. Ballard walked me to the front door, I made a request. Mrs. Ballard hugged me after I asked to visit John David’s grave. I had expected to go to the cemetery the next day to pay my respects, but there was no need. I followed Cathy to the front room. I slowly approached the east corner where a tan, lightly warn desk had been. Actually, it might have been a covered piano. Apologies, my memory is actually remarkable. Just in other areas. Definitely not when it comes to visuals. Anyway, I approached a clear vase on top of some tan, lightly warn object. To the right of the vase was a family photo. To the left was a green bag with a furry texture. The yellow laces of the bag were loosened enough to reveal a white box. Mrs. Ballard told me it was biodegradable. She said cremating their son was better for the environment.

So many questions ran through my head before that moment, but after feeling John David’s presence first hand all I thought was, “I hope you’re at peace.” I thought to myself that I had no clue why he would do it. At least, not specifically. I can only understand what it’s like to be in that state. To feel alone amongst the smiles and laughter. To want to leave but always putting it off because deep down there is a whisper of hope. To not having anyone to talk to but the darkness. I know that feeling all too well.

I’ve heard people say that it’s cowardly to commit suicide. That those who did would end up in hell. That those who were brave continued living. Honestly…I’m not sure which is braver. Living in a world you aren’t happy in…or leaving for one you hope you will be. I think you must be pretty damn brave to commit to your ideals despite what others may think or say. What I am sure of is that John David is not in Hell. That kid is way too good to be in a place like that.

I, on the other hand, am destined to go to Hell. I’ve already tasted it with my own soul. I attempted suicide when I was ten years old. It was also my last attempt. I didn’t do it because I was brave, just like I didn’t choose to live because I had suddenly become more courageous. I stayed alive because I saw something, someone who convinced me to live amongst the cave of demonic voices giving convincing rebuttals in favor of the contrary. If you’re not one to believe in magic, you are welcome to believe that I had a hallucination – I was an insomniac – or that I made it up for some psychological reason. I don’t care. I know what I saw that night. I know the conversation I had in the kitchen of my parents’ home during the witching hour. I remember pointing a large knife with a black handle to my heart. The lack of tears running down my face, the voices in my head egging me on as I calculated the perfect angle for the knife to swing into me for a quick death. The cold, white tile floor holding my bare feet in place. The blank stare I held in my eyes during the entire affair. The blanket of despair and dread encompassing the entire house. That night is an image that remains ingrained in my memory. It has always been easier to recall the darkest moments of my life.

January 10th was my first, full day back to Winchester. One of my best friends since middle school, Jose, took me to brunch at a Chinese buffet called China Town. He knows Chinese is my favourite type of cuisine. The combination of simplicity and the delicate handling of ingredients and spices is fascinating as well as delicious. Fried rice might be my last meal, but I’m still deciding. At the restaurant, Jose and I did what friends always do. Talk about relationships, reminisce about the past together, talk about our near futures, express problems we have, joke about each other and our other friends, share tales of our time apart from one another. The usual. A popular topic when it comes to me, in particular, amongst many of my friends is how my love life is going. To many, I’m considered smooth and a bit of a womanizer. I always laugh at such remarks because they could not be more wrong. I’ll admit that at times I can be as silver-tongued as Justin Timberlake, but definitely not a womanizer. I’m more of a Peter Parker when it comes to women. I’m always surprised when a woman likes me. I’m always unsure that it’s true. I am always nervous. When I do hang out with a woman that is interested in me, I always fuck it up in the most idiotic way possible.

In fear of ruining something that makes me so happy, I take my time with relationships. So much, that my friends accuse me of taking too much time. This is the topic Jose and I had landed on. I admitted to him that I take my time, but for a very good reason. Jose continued to stare at me with a questioning glance as he hovered over me. I don’t remember why he was standing right next to me at that moment. I could see through his glasses that his eyes were ready to pounce with a retort against anything I was about to say. He was probably waiting to see if he needed to assist his retort with a slap upside my head. I said to him, “I take my time because I think the woman I date deserves to know about my past. I just think telling them everything at once would be too much and she would get scared of me and leave.” I paused for a moment. “That’s why I don’t tell anyone about my past. Not even friends.” I’m sure Jose saw the disappointment in my eyes so he didn’t hit me. Or the fact that he could’ve just didn’t cross his mind.

Instead, he said, “But you told us.” The “us” he was referring to were Sam, Andrew, and himself.

“Yeah, but that wasn’t until right before I left for college. I knew you guys for years and trusted that you wouldn’t leave me afterwards,” I said. I knew the guys for about 6 years before I told them about my past. they were the first to ever know about that. A couple days later I left for college. No, sorry, Sam knew before the other two.

I told Sam one night during the summer before college as we sat on the hill behind our high school. The moon was full, the grey clouds cascaded through the midnight sky. I told Sam my story in the form of a third person point of view narrative about a lost and depressed boy haunted and tortured by demons every night. Which was true. At the end of the story, the boy stopped his attempt at committing suicide because a mysterious, new voice in his head convinced him not to. But the boy did not live happily ever after. He had gotten rid of his soul and murdered all emotions. The girl he saw that night stayed with him until the boy made real friends and learned how to live life with the emotions he originally wanted nothing to do with.

As I hoped, those three guys continued to be my friends. However, I never did and still don’t expect that behaviour from anyone else. Especially, new friends. I have hope, yes. But I don’t expect anything from anyone. I understand if learning all of this ruins some of my friendships. I’m not doing this for that reason. I also don’t feel obligated to talk about this. I am writing this because I hope that my past, knowledge, experiences, mistakes, learned lessons might help someone else better improve their own life. Whether they be friends, family, or strangers, hopefully talking about my life will help them with their own.

The night I tried to take my own life, the spirit that I spoke to told me this: “I honestly don’t care if you live or die. It’s your choice. You can stab yourself in the heart and die alone now or you can keep living in the hopes that your life will eventually get better.”

I asked the girl, expressionless, monotone, “Is this supposed to be a pep talk?”

“Take it how you want it,” she said.

“What if my life doesn’t get better? What if I’m without friends? What if years from now I’m still not happy?”

“Why do you idolize the characters you watch in cartoons? Or the ones you read in those books? Why do you want to be the superheroes in your comics? Why do you spend all day daydreaming of being one of those characters? Of saving people? Of having a better life? Not giving up on themselves is something they all have in common.” I thought about her multitude of questions. I imagined all of my heroes and all of the characters I wanted to be and asked myself why I liked them so much. And she was right. Whenever I watched or read about them and their adventures, I would always get this feeling of resilience towards my own obstacles. My own villains.

“I…I don’t want to give up. But I’m tired. I hate feeling sad. Hate the voices inside my head. I don’t want them to torture me anymore. I don’t wanna lose control again and become them. I don’t have a reason to live.” Around this point in the conversation, my new silver haired, purple eyed friend sat in one of the black wooden chairs at the dining room table.

She sighed, “So don’t live for yourself.” I had no idea what she meant. “All of your heroes fight for other people. Do that.” I asked her who. “Who do you wanna live for?” She asked as if that was a simple question. I pondered it. Most importantly, I pondered who I was actually capable of helping. It’s not like I was strong, athletic, talented, intelligent. I just had my experience to go on.

“I wanna help the people like me,” I told her.

“Even if it means you’ll be sacrificing your own happiness?”

I nodded. “As long as I can help others be happy, I don’t need to be.” I didn’t feel confident in my answer, but I was committed.

“Okay then,” the girl said as she stood up and walked toward me. “I want you to make me a promise.” What sort of promise could I have possibly made to a girl from another world? Possibly even a hallucination? I just stared at her. She stood five feet in front of me. “Promise me that you’ll never commit suicide, not even attempt it.” I immediately wanted to say no. I wanted to tell her she can get out and never bother me again. Present me would have told her to suck it.

“Fine,” I told her. She leaned in closer to my face. A brilliant, golden aura started to glow around her.

“Promise me,” she said. My grip on the knife loosened and I let out a sigh.

“I promise that I will never attempt to commit suicide…” I paused for a moment. Once my thoughts had buffered, I told her, “…and that I will live my life in order to help others just like me.” The girl gave a smile. I found her odd and not funny in the slightest. But also magnificent. “Are you leaving now?”

“I think I’ll stick with you for a while. Help you out. Clearly you need it.” She wasn’t just referring to the voices still plaguing my mind, but my personality as well. I felt nothing. Wanted to feel nothing. It was easier that way.

Over a year ago I took a nonfiction workshop where I had to write a journal entry about why I wanted to be a writer. One of my first reasons was because I wanted to write stories that would help people learn how to improve their own lives. To inspire others to live out their dreams and to not give up on themselves. That’s true especially with this story. But I’m not being totally selfless here. I write stories and am choosing to be more open about my past because it helps me remember my roots and the lessons I have learned along the way. I keep telling my friends that looking back at your past and accepting it is how you can move toward the future, but I might as well just be talking to the wind. As Professor Josh Wilson told me, “show rather than tell.” So here I am.

I am definitely not the same kid I was back then, but that kid is still a part of me and I can’t ignore him or reject him any longer. He was a ghost nobody loved nor payed attention to. He was invisible to everyone unless needed. His imagination gave him insomnia, hallucinations, and tortured him almost every night. But no one could hear his hollow screams. Now, I am more or less in control of my imagination. I have people who care about me, I understand my emotions and how to deal with them, and I enjoy my life. I’m still kinda a ghost, I’ve made terrible choices in my life that will haunt me forever, but I am happy. I’m glad I didn’t kill myself twelve years ago because, let’s be honest, my sickle cell is gonna kill me by the time I’m 45 anyway. I feel like I have a soul again, however tainted it may be, but it’s mine. And I will live with it until the day I can finally rest in peace. Until then I have to keep my oath to death.

Thanks for reading chapter 1 of my new autobiographical series. I will post more in order to explain…myself, I guess. I’ll go into more detail about my past life, the lessons I’ve learned, the people who have impacted my life, my family, friends, relationships, and my misadventures. If you have any questions about me, my life, and anything in this post, just email me or something. ‘Till next time.

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Happy Halloween! A Haunting Romance

Happy Halloween, gang! I’m gonna keep this short and sweet, so come see if I have some tricks or treats. I have a screenplay here about finding romance at a Halloween party. If you don’t like reading screenplays then uh well, I’m not sure. Just read it carefully? Look up how? It’s pretty straightforward, though. Okay have fun!

Roses are Violet

Eliasaph Maze Anderson

INT. HOUSE – EVENING

TAI (25) walks through the Halloween decorated house, in search for MAX (25). As Tai traverses through a crowd of people dancing in front of the entrance, he bumps into a girl dressed in a Star Trek uniform. The STAR TREK WOMAN (24) stops dancing.

STAR TREK WOMAN

Oh, hey, my bad. I was dancing a little too hard.

TAI

No. It’s my fault. The only person capable of doing the Monster Mash too hard is Frankenstein’s monster.

Tai salutes the woman and starts to walk away.

STAR TREK WOMAN

Hold on. I… haven’t guessed your costume yet.

Tai looks himself up and down. Pair of jeans, Chucks, a plain blue t-shirt, and a hooded jacket. He looks at the woman with one eye brow raised.

TAI

Uh huh… welp, I’ll give you one guess, Scotty.

A guy dressed as a greaser bumps into Tai as he dances pass. Tai slowly steps out of the flow of disharmonious hip thrusters. the talkative girl followed suit.

STAR TREK WOMAN

You know your stuff, I’m impressed. However, I’m having a hard time placing that hat.

Tai’s eyes look up to the ceiling. He pats the top of his cap.

TAI

It’s from a guy who loves to eat. It’s stupid. You wouldn’t know it.

He shrugs. The woman nods slowly with one hand cupping her chin.

STAR TREK WOMAN

Try me. No one loves food as much as I do.

TAI

Jughead’s hat from Archie comics?

STAR TREK WOMAN

Ahh I see.

TAI

Yep.

STAR TREK WOMAN

That’s unique.

TAI

I could say the same.

The woman fixes her long, brunette hair and smiles.

STAR TREK WOMAN

I’m Heather, by the way. Pleased to meet ya. Or you can call me Chief Engineer Heather.

TAI

Heather, beautiful name. I’m Tai.

Heather and Tai linger in silence for a moment.

TAI

And… I need to find my friends before they start leaving haunting messages on my phone. Maybe…I’ll see you later?

HEATHER

Oh. Yeah, sure. Maybe later.

TAI

Wicked.

Tai winks at Heather as he walks through a crowd of costumed party-ers.

INT. HOUSE – LIVING ROOM

Tai waltzes into the living room. His eyes scan for a ginger with a giant “R” on his sweater vest. Max waves his hand as if waving the golden ticket.

MAX

Over hear, man! What took you so long?!

Tai took the open seat on the couch next to a woman wearing a leather jacket.

TAI

I had to close the shop, you lazy ass. It would’ve been easier if you stayed and helped.

Max shrugged.

MAX

Sorry, bro. I had errands to run, I told you.

TAI

You came straight here, didn’t yo-

MAX

I was the fifth person through the door.

Tai furrows his brows and narrows his eyes.

TAI

Why is that?

Max holds up an orange gift bag. The kind you would see at a child’s birthday party.

MAX

Goody bags, man. Goody bags. There are nudes of the chick that’s hosting this party. Can you believe there’s a photo of twenty-two-year-old boobs?

Max nods his head in satisfaction. His eyes closed.

Tai slaps his palm to his forehead.

The LEATHER JACKET (25) woman between them shook her head from Max to Tai.

LEATHER JACKET

So you two are partners? Like partners partners or paaartners partners?

The woman mimes that she is sucking on a dick.

TAI

We run a cafe togeth–wait, I’m sorry, who are you?

Tai shakes his head in disbelief of the situation.

LEATHER JACKET

Oh. You two own Daydream Cafe. Cool. I can believe if Archie here was gay, but Jughead…nope. Don’t see it.

The woman proceeds to pull a cigarette out of a twelve pack with her mouth and lights it.

MAX

Did you not just hear that I have nudes in this bag?

LEATHER JACKET

I did hear that the girl’s boyfriend also made nudes of himself to put in those bags.

TAI

This chick’s smoking in the house and your biggest concern is that she thinks your gay? Also. Who are you?

The woman shifts her body towards Tai. She brushes her right leg against his left and lays her leg on the couch.

Max makes a face as if he just saw his parents having sex. He shuffles through the contents in the bag and color quickly drains from his face. Max slumps his head back and slivers a little ways down the couch.

The mystery woman wafts her chocolate curled hair away from her face.

Tai breaks his stare at the woman to witness Max’s soul rise out of his chest as if he was a Looney Tunes character. Tai reaches over and softly guides the spirit back into its body. Tai readjusts himself on the couch as Max slowly sits back up. The woman blows smoke into Tai’s face.

Tai coughs dryly and fans around his face.

LEATHER JACKET

Star Trek has come past here three times and never fails to linger on you.

The trio rotate their heads to the dance floor. Heather and another girl beside her quickly advert their eyes.

TAI

Her name’s Heather. Just met her.

MAX

You two gonna “look for ghosts” together like Fred and Daphne?

TAI

I was thinking of asking her out.

Leather Jacket chuckles and blows another puff of smoke into the air.

LEATHER JACKET

Good luck with that.

Tai and Max scoot closer to the woman. Both of their faces widen with intrigue. The woman crosses her legs.

She taps her cigarette on her knee and let the ash rain to the carpeted floor. Tai rolls his eyes.

LEATHER JACKET

You’d have an easier time dating me.

TAI

I don’t date smokers.

LEATHER JACKET

Clearly, you haven’t dated anyone interesting.

MAX

She can ride my star ship anytime.

Max nods his head toward Heather. The woman subtly shakes her head.

LEATHER JACKET

She’s the type of girl to dress up more than just on Halloween.

Tai pauses for a moment. reprocessing the woman’s words. Then he gets up and walks toward the dance floor. Max and the mystery woman look to each other. Then promptly follow suit.

INT. HOUSE – KITCHEN

Tai finds Heather at the counter, sifting through the drink selection. Heather pulls out a bottle of Jim Bean.

TAI

Go hard or go home type of woman, huh?

Heather turns to face Tai with a small jump.

HEATHER

Oh, hey. I was hoping to see you again.

Tai looks at her with a quizzical look. Heather laughs.

HEATHER

What’s with the face?

TAI

Oh uh nothing. Just um wondering if you’re gonna mix that with coke or something.

With notice of her shot glass, Heather laughs again and proceeds to down the whiskey.

She pours another glass and steps close enough to Tai that the magnetism between their hips heats up so much Tai pulls up the sleeves to his jacket.

HEATHER

Go hard or go home, right?

At the kitchen entrance, the mystery woman sighs fog. She shows her phone to Max and he holds in a gasp. After a breath, Max smiles, shakes his head, and points to Tai and Heather.

Tai gulps down the whiskey and kisses Heather.

Color drains from Max’s face and he mouths the word “fuck.”

Leather jacket moves her cigarette in front of max’s view. He takes a puff.

INT. HOUSE – DANCE FLOOR

TAI

Wow. The fact that you can keep up with half of my TV references is pretty wicked.

HEATHER

I love film. I watch more TV shows, but I’ve seen plenty of movies.

The duo dance, bodies close, as they laugh about each other’s interests.

Heather kisses Tai and leads him to the front of the house and up a flight of stairs. INT. HOUSE – SECOND FLOOR

Tai and Heather mix tongues as they rub up against a wall. Tai stops to check one of the room doors. It opens to an empty bedroom. Tai holds the door open.

TAI

Ladies first.

Heather walks into the room and turns to Tai. She points her index finger at him and curls it back to her. Slowly repeats the motion. Tai steps forward when a jerk pulls him down the hall.

Max takes Tai’s arm around his and charges toward the stairs.

TAI

Max, you motherfuck-

MAX

Hi pretty lady, bye pretty lady, need to borrow him for a sec!

Max shouts as he diligently speed walks away.

Heather steps out the room and blankly stares as Tai descends the stairs.

 

INT. HOUSE – LIVING ROOM

Max swings Tai into the arm of the couch.

The mystery woman waves at him.

Tai sighs.

MAX

This is for your own good. She’s bad news.

TAI

She’s awesome, we have plenty in common, and I hate you.

LEATHER JACKET

Like Rogue-touching-you-without-her-gloves on bad.

TAI

X-Men?

MAX

She has a boyfriend, bro. Like- Max does a bodybuilder pose and puffs up his cheeks.

LEATHER JACKET

The only real Captain America tonight.

TAI

Had. She broke up with him a week ago.

Tai turns to his new mystery friend.

TAI(CONT’D)

Are you even speaking English?

The woman lights another cigarette and motions for Tai to take it. Tai raises an eyebrow and cocks his head slightly to one side. The woman retreats her hand and takes a puff.

HEATHER

What happened to you?

Heather walks from the dancing crowd to Tai’s side.

TAI

Ask these two.

Tai waves his thumb from the woman to Max.

MAX

Heya. I’m Max. But you can just call me the best-looking guy here.

Max winks. The mystery woman blows smoke in Heather’s direction and waves.

LEATHER JACKET

I’m VIOLET.

Tai and Max slowly turn to Violet. Mouths agape.

A loud slam is heard from the front of the house. Emerging from the flames of dancers, a tall, muscular man (26) in a Captain America shirt steps into the living room.

HEATHER

ADRIAN? Why are you here?

ADRIAN

To win you back, babe.

Tai glances from Max to Violet.

TAI

Captain America?

Violet shakes her pack of cigarettes to Tai. He puts one between his lips.

Violet takes out her lighter and holds it under the tip of the cig until Tai takes a puff.

HEATHER

Adrian, we’re done. Besides, I’m with Tai tonight.

Heather wraps her arms around Tai’s arm.

MAX

Did she say “tonight?” She just said “tonight.”

Max leans into Tai’s ear.

MAX (WHISPERING)

Dude, I don’t know if you caught that, but she just said “tonight.”

Tai sighs as smoke tackles the air.

ADRIAN

This scrawny loser? He’s nobody!

MAX

Hey! He makes great coffee!

TAI

How…the hell…does that help the situation?!

MAX

You ever see his art?! He can make swans in a cappuccino! I bet you can’t even spell that! Don’t worry, bro, I’m helping.

Adrian tightens his fist and his face starts to glow red.

TAI

Max! Stop helping! Does this look like helping to you?!

MAX

…And he’s not as handsome as I am, but he does alright! Oh. Yeah, I’ll stop now.

Tai motions for Heather to move away.

Violet rests her lighter and a cigarette in the palm of Tai’s hand.

VIOLET

These will help.

Violet winks at Tai and walks off.

Tai studies the purple rose on the face of the lighter. His mouth slowly forms an O shape and his eye lids relax. Tai looks behind him only to find Mario characters, pro boxers, and a girl dressed as a sexualized Pikachu form a ring in order to watch the big fight unfolding before them.

MAX

I’ll cheer you on, bro!

Tai finds Max on the other side of the living room. Max pokes his head above the arm of a chair. Tai squints and shakes his head.

ADRIAN

So you made out with my girl?

Adrian cracks his knuckles. Tai releases a puff toward Adrian.

TAI

How long do you kiss someone before you consider it making out?

Adrian lets out a yell and charges toward Tai.

TAI

God fucking damm-

EXT. COFFEE SHOP – AFTERNOON

Tai sits next to a woman (24) with chocolate curled hair as she cries into the palm of her hands. He extends a small cup of coffee in front of her face. A chocolate chip cookie rests on top of the lid.

TAI

It’s not ice cream, but it should relieve some pain.

The woman looks up at the cup and rubs her eyes. She wipes her hands on her cut-up, skinny jeans. Blotches of purple eye shadow are left behind.

The SAD WOMAN looks to Tai. He gives a pearly-white smile. The woman takes the cup, sips the coffee, and takes a bite out of the cookie.

SAD WOMAN

How much do I owe you?

Tai looks behind him to a small building with a sign that reads “Daydream Cafe” on top.

TAI

Nothing. Just stop crying in front of my café.

SAD WOMAN

I’m sorry.

TAI

Shit happens. We’ve all been there.

SAD WOMAN

Really?! Has everyone broke up with a guy that they loved for three years even though he mostly abused them verbally?!

TAI

It may be explicit to women, but they aren’t the only ones with “daddy issues.”

The woman tried to speak, but all she could do was chuckle amidst her tears. After some time, she takes another sip of coffee.

SAD WOMAN

Well, I do appreciate the pick-me-up, but I don’t think this will relieve my stress. Do you have anything stronger in there?

The two turn back to the café.

The woman watches as Tai’s eyes roll under his eyebrows.

TAI

I may have some spirits in there but getting drunk is usually a terrible way to get through… whatever this is.

He digs into his pockets and presents the woman with a lighter and half a pack of cigarettes. The woman gazes at the purple rose on the lighter.

TAI(CONT’D)

Smoking isn’t much better than drinking, but it’s calming and doesn’t cause you to blackout if you have too many. Just try to not get addicted, alright?

The woman tries to light the cigarette between her lips, but only sparks fly.

SAD WOMAN

Uhhhh why is this broken?

Tai laughs.

TAI

It’s not broken, you just need the magic touch.

Tai wraps his hand around hers and the lighter and flicks the flint wheel. The ignited flame causes the tip of the cigarette to wither and crumble.

The woman takes a deep breath, her eyes closed, she exhales  smog into the air. She turns to Tai.

SAD WOMAN

Thank you for…

She rotates her head to the café to watch Tai become swallowed up by the door. The sign on the door read “Happy Halloween.”

INT. HOUSE – LIVING ROOM

MAX

Yo, Tai. You don’t need mouth to mouth do you? ‘Cause you’re shit outta luck, man.

Tai slowly opens his eyes. He winces as he does so and touches his right eye.

TAI (WINCING)

Fuck. That was a bad idea.

Max and the rest of the house are sideways. Tai’s hand scruffs the carpet.

He rolls over and picks himself up. With Max’s help, Tai plops onto the couch.

TAI

I won, right?

Max laughs.

MAX

Dude. He punched you over the couch and you rolled onto the floor, unconscious. It was the sickest thing I have ever seen!

Tai surveys the house. It’s quiet. Most of the party has gone on except for a few ghosts still getting drinks or making out on one of the chairs or on the staircase.

MAX

You’ve been out for five minutes.

TAI

Is Heather with Captain America?

MAX

No. She found a Tony Stark.

TAI

God dammit. I’m an idiot.

MAX

I tried to warn ya, man. Besides, I thought Violet was hotter anyway.

Max speaks mostly to himself now.

MAX (MUMBLING)

I wish she stuck around so I could get her number.

TAI

I remember her.

MAX

Yeah, she was with us most of the night, how could you forget? Did you get amnesia with that punch?

TAI

You know you’re an idiot, right? I met her last year but forgot.

MAX

How do you forget a hottie like that?! That’s fucked up, bro. You sure you’re not into guys? Just a little bit?

TAI

She looked different, okay? I didn’t recognize her. Plus, I didn’t think I’d ever see her again.

Tai shakes his head and checks the time on his phone.

1:00am.

Tai eased off the couch and stumbled out the front door.

EXT. HOUSE – EVENING

Tai finds a bench outside and takes a seat. The street light behind him shines a spotlight.

Tai ruffles through his pockets and pulls out a silver lighter and a crumpled cigarette.

The lighter has a purple rose on it.

He sighs.

With the slightly straight cig in his mouth, he flicks the lighter. It doesn’t light.

After a minute, Tai tosses the lighter away. It makes a clunk sound with the pavement and then the soft ruffling of grass is heard. Tai slumps his head to his knees, his shoulders rest on his thighs.

A pair of black heels appear next to his chucks. A soft, warm hand picks up his and a cold metal object is placed in it. Tai looks up at his hand and discovers the lighter.

He follows the other hand to the mystery owner.

Violet and Tai lock eyes.

Violet shakes a new, open pack of cigarettes. Tai takes one and places it in his mouth. Violet, her hand wrapped around Tai’s, flicks the flint wheel and guides Tai’s hand under the cigarette.

Tai takes a deep breath in and blows smoke up to the full moon. Tai looks back at his hand, up at Violet, and smirks. Violet retreats her hand with color popping in her cheeks.

TAI

So. Still wanna have that date?

Violet smirks back.

VIOLET

I don’t date smokers.

TAI

Clearly, it’s time we both dated someone interesting.

FADE OUT

Level Up! Complicated Lives: Revamped!

And so, I’m back from the grave. Many have asked, “When are you gonna write something new?” “What are you working on?” “You still doing your blog?” “Spider-Maze? What kinda name is that?” Well, it’s quite elementary my dear interrogators, the answer is simply “I have no fucking clue.” And I say that with a nervous laugh because that’s how honest I am. Except…for the Spider-Maze question. I started calling myself that because like Spider-Man I live a complicated life. Even a friend told me just last night that I’ve a shitty year. I wanted to argue with him, but he wasn’t all that wrong. Not saying the entire year has been shitty. There have been some good moments, some bad, some Pokémon, and some have been groovy as smoothies! It’s just that there has been a multitude of shitty moments. Events actually. Not fun. But the title of my autobiography is The Shitty Times, The Good Times, The Pokétimes, and the Groovy Smoothies for good reason. Anyway, back to the whole “Spider-Maze” thing. Not only has my life felt like that of Peter Parker’s, but I have been reading so many Spider-Man comics these past few months that one day I just introduced myself to someone as their friendly neighborhood Spider-Maze. My mind works in clever ways, I know. So I just decided to keep it. I introduced myself as The Doctor once and the girl I was talking to believed me for about 5 seconds. Needless to say, I feel that my new self-proclaimed title will catch on. And what I also hope will catch on is my writing focus. I wanna write so many things this summer and don’t have much time to accomplish that. I first wanna start out with a short story, I’ve been working on for a couple months now. A story I have written before, but have revamped with all of the writing skills and elements I have learned since the first time I wrote it. To put into geek terms, I have leveled up and want to test out my new writing skills with something familiar. Welp, that’s the end of my monologue and, as always, stay groovy as smoothies, friends.

P.S. I wanna give a shout out and thank you to Sam Sanchez for consulting on this story and validating the legality of certain criminal actions of the characters in this piece.

 

Complicated Lives: Revamped

By

Eliasaph Maze Anderson

 

This is a story of a dumbass. His name is Ezra Best. He lives in a nice two-bedroom apartment in Seattle, Washington. It has the usual apartment furnishings of the 21st century. An island style, granite kitchen connected to a living room furnished with a black microfiber sofa, a dinner table for four, and a TV. All the walls are painted with this kind of tinted sky blue instead of the generic white. This complex is a bit on the fancy side. It’s pricey that’s for sure. “What veggies do you want for dinner, Sammy?” Ezra asked as he lowered the temperature of the rice on the stove. “We have broccoli, cream corn, zucchini, and…” he trailed off because when he turned around from the fridge he found Sam holding his cat right in front of his face.

“Pet Captain Meow Meow,” Sam said with a huge smile on his face. For the record, her name was not Captain Meow Meow. Sam was one of Ezra’s best friends and had been his roommate for almost a year now. He’s a 23-year-old, blonde dork. And…a dumbass. He looked like an intelligent guy, which he was, but he also looked like one of those guys that you can tell was fully capable of leading a four-hour conversation with you about Pokémon before needing a drink of water. Ezra stared at Sam and his cat with narrow eyes. He turned Sam around and inched him out of the kitchen. “But kitty,” said Sam in a disappointed tone.

“I’m cooking dinner, Sammy, I’m not petting your cat.” Ezra started the cream corn. As they waited for dinner, Sam refilled his cat’s food bowl and Ezra took a seat at the dinner table. “Have you seen Kumo? I haven’t seen him since I’ve been home.”

“Oh, I got someone to walk him because he seemed sad being inside the house while we were at work,” he said as he took a seat at the table. Sam had an uneasy smile. Like he did something he shouldn’t have.

“Who did you get to walk Kumo?”

“Just one of the neighbors,” Sam chuckled and backed up into his chair. Ever since Sam and Ezra were kids, Sam couldn’t keep up a lie or a secret for too long. Backing away with a chuckle was how people could tell if he did something stupid.

Ezra leaned towards him. “Sam. Which neighbor?” There was only one neighbor they had that Ezra had a problem with and for good reason. Sam turned his head to the side, but constantly looked back towards Ezra. “You didn’t.” Sam shrugged his shoulders. “You can’t be serious. You actually let her walk-”

“Hey guys,” pronounced a woman at the front door. She had glimmering black hair that went to her shoulders and flowed as smoothly as a river. She wore a red tank top featuring Snoopy and Woodstock, black skinny jeans with small tears, and a pair of red Toms. Her tattoos were intricate. One of a majestic bird could be seen on her right arm while a dream catcher rested on the underside of her left arm. She walked through the door with a Husky the size of a couch cushion; which was trying to shake off its leash. “Okay, Kumo, I’ll take it off just give me a minute.” As soon as she did, Kumo ran over to Ezra and leaped up to kiss his face. Francine moved into the two-bedroom apartment right across from the guys two months ago. She was still looking for a roommate but did pretty well on her own. Mostly because she always came over to the guys’ place and ate all of their food.

“Hey, Francine.” Sam and Ezra greeted simultaneously. Ezra’s grudged welcome balanced out Sam’s elated one.

“What did you do to my dog?” Ezra said.

“Why do you think I did something? Look. Kumo is perfectly fine and loved going on a walk with me. Isn’t that right, buddy?” She stroked the Husky’s back as she sat at the table.

“Because you have a habit of doing idiotic stuff and I’m making sure you didn’t make my dog an unwilling accomplice to one of your schemes.” Ezra’s voice rose.

“Are you still mad about last week?! I said I was sorry like twenty times!” Fran said.

“You think that makes up for it?! We’re just lucky Nick pulled us over instead of some other officer!” Ezra exclaimed.

“Exactly! It’s not like it was put on record!” She retorted in a louder voice.

“We still spent the night in jail!” He retaliated. Ezra usually kept a level head and remained calm, however, Francine was one of those few people who made him loose his cool.

“Okay guys. I think we should just calm down. It’s time to eat dinner anyway,” Sam pronounced from the kitchen. During the argument, he had backed away into the kitchen to check on the food. Francine and Ezra got up and helped Sam set the table. As they started eating, Sam asked, “How was your day, Ez?” He was trying to get rid of the residual tension in the room as if Francine and Ezra were partners bickering at a counseling session.

Ezra tried to focus on Sam and push his problem with Francine to the back of his mind. “It was pretty good. I repaired a few cars that didn’t have any major damages, so they were fairly easy to fix. It was just some engine problems or a leaking gas pipe. There was one car that had a busted heater hose, so that took longer took fix, but I had help. And there was this ninja motorcycle that had crappy suspensions, so that took a few hours to fix, but yea, my day went pretty well.” He proceeded to scarf down more food.

“What was wrong with the suspension?” Sam asked. He was very curious in Ezra’s work because he received his degree in computer science and didn’t know much about the mechanics of vehicles. He also enjoyed any distraction he could get from his own work. It took a second for Ez to finish swallowing his food, so he could give a reply.

“It was very loose and squeaked every time the weight on it shifted. Clearly the owner was dumb enough to buy it in such a dangerous state or the bike was wrecked by someone. I was never told how it happened, but I really didn’t care as long as I got it fixed.” Francine abruptly spoke out as Sam was about to say something,

“You have a motorcycle, don’t you?!” She seemed really excited even though she’s known about Ezra’s motorcycle for weeks.

“Yep. Ez got it from his girlfriend,” Sam explained. As soon as he said that, Ezra gave him a stern look.

“I thought you said you didn’t have a girlfriend?” Francine was very intrigued now. She, as well as Sam, loved meddling in Ezra’s love life, however, he always shrugged them off whenever they wanted to talk about it. He sat back in his seat and sighed.

“You know I don’t have a girlfriend. I got that bike from my ex as a birthday present last year.” He was annoyed now, but there was nothing much he could do about it. They were curious about his life. Especially Sam. To him, meddling with Ezra’s love life was not enough. However, Ezra was not very forthcoming about his past. He hated talking about it. There were many depressing memories that he would rather not even think about.

“Wow. You two must have ended it on a good note, huh? I wish one of my ex’s continued to send me gifts after we broke up. Why’d she break up with you anyway?” Ezra gave her a look that he gave many of his friends at one point in time. The “You’re an idiot look”. His eyes narrowed into a glare and he tilted his head slightly. Sam started to laugh when he saw Ezra give Francine that look.

“Why do you automatically assume she broke up with me? You know what? Don’t answer that. She just gave me the bike as a farewell present or something.” Francine was about to say something else, but Ezra spaced out and was engulfed by a particular memory.

The memory was a bit of a blur. Like a TV channel that fizzes out while you’re watching a show. Ezra was walking out of a house, colored with numerous shades of brown, to the adjacent garage. The sun was shining brilliantly as it scorched the dry air. He slowly walked past the gravel yard into the garage to find a black Dyna Glide with a golden tribal print. On the headlight was an envelope with Ezra’s name on it. The handwriting was so beautiful that it was clearly from a woman. He opened the envelope to find a letter. Ezra’s eyes scanned over the parchment, “I want you to have her as a good luck charm. I love this bike and I know it would be better if you kept her. I love you with all my heart, happy birthday.” At the bottom of the letter was written: Love you, Natalie Moon. Ezra stared at the bike for a few seconds and then suddenly turned around. At that moment, he could hear Francine’s voice.

“Ez. Yo, Ezra, are you still with us? Did you listen to a word I just said?” Francine kept calling him as he slowly came back to reality. Sam started to shake his arm.

“Yea I’m fine,” he said as he removed Sam’s arm. “I just spaced out for a moment.” He turned to Francine. “And no, I didn’t hear anything you just said.” He went back to eating his meal.

“I said that you shouldn’t worry about her. If she wasn’t into you that much, then she’s not worth your time. People come and go, it happens. You should go try looking for another girl. Who knows, you might find ‘the one’.” Francine’s voice lowered in decibels as she spoke. She knew firsthand what it was like having people you trust walk out on you. She realized how sad Ezra was over this and wanted to help him move on, but she knew he wasn’t close to ready to do that. Ezra remained silent.

Sam pitched in, “that’s a great idea. Ez you should go meet some girls, maybe get a few numbers.” Sam nudged his friend. Ezra laid back in his seat, looked at Sam, and reverted his eyes to Francine.

“Yeah, I don’t think I’ll have any luck finding ‘the one’ anytime in the near future.” Ezra said. Sam, excitedly, jumped into Ezra’s eyesight.

“Not if you have me as a wingman. I’ll help you find the right one.” Sam smiled in a way that seemed almost devious.

“Coming from the guy who spent last Saturday night cuddling his cat while watching ‘Frozen’. Again.” Ezra smirked.

“Umm, excuse me, but Butterscotch loves it when I hug her,” Sam said as he picked his cat off the floor, “and I recall you watching the movie, too.” Sam stroked Butterscotch’s fur with his cheek.

“I only watched it with you because it was the only way to get you to watch ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’. I wouldn’t willingly watch ‘Frozen’, ever, let alone the sing-a-long version. Listening to you try and harmonize with Idina Menzel is like hearing Kanye West speak. What comes out of your mouth is so sad, that I can’t help but laugh.” Francine was trying not to laugh herself.

“Ez, you’re just jealous that I’m a better singer than you. And your stupid ninja turtle movie wasn’t even that great,” Sam retaliated. Ezra became wide eyed and placed his hand on his chest like he was having a heart attack.

“First of all, the hell you are. And second, don’t dis one of my favorite 90’s movies, ya jerk.”

“Okay, Ez, I’ll let you indulge yourself in your delusions for now, but you’ll have to accept the truth someday.” Sam laughed as Ezra glared at him.

“Alright, guys, we’ve gotten too far off topic. Let’s go to a bar and pick up some girls. It will be fun.” Francine stood as if she was a superhero bettering the lives of two single men. She was so excited by her own idea.

“You say that like that’s an easy thing to do. Do you know us? That argument alone should tell you how easy it is for us to get a girl’s number.” Ezra found the idea of him and Sam getting lucky that night absurd.

“It’s okay, Ez, she’s new.” Sam assured him. Ezra nodded in agreement.

“C’mon. With me as your wingman, you’ll both be scoring. Just imagine all the women we can get if we work together.” Francine tilted her head and gazed at the ceiling.

“What the hell is she doing?” Ezra whispered to Sam. They both searched the ceiling. Francine slowly recomposed herself.

“Hello?” Francine shook her head slightly. “Haven’t you guys heard of having a daydream moment?” Fran crossed her arms. “I thought guys as weird as you two would do something wacky like that.”

The boys nodded their heads in understanding of their friend’s weird gesture. “We used to. When Arthur was still a relevant show on PBS.” Said Ezra.

“Fran, I’ve got a question. Didn’t you mean to say wing-woman instead of wingman?” Sam asked.

“Oh, good question, I was wondering that myself. Most women nowadays prefer being called wing-lady or something odd like that. I’m all for feminism, but don’t care for unnecessary political correctness.” Said Ezra. Francine sat back down at the table.

“The term is completely unnecessary. Women pretend to helpful when they really just wanna have fun sabotaging guys while getting their drinks get paid for.” The boys laughed ecstatically.

“Wow,” said Ezra. Their laughter lasted for a few moments until Sam had come to a realization.

“Fran, why do you want us to help you get girls, anyway?” Sam asked. “You do so well by yourself.”

“Yea, we see a new girl do the walk of shame out of your apartment every morning.” Ezra chimed in. “Sam and I even started rating which walkout was the best. Most of the women come out strutting down the hall like models on a runway or like they just finished a business deal.”

“Some of them even dressed the part,” Sam added. “However, some walk out all hung over and trip down the hall, it’s pretty funny.”

“Oh yea, remember the one from last Thursday?” Ezra chuckled.

“With the one high heel and the bride of Frankenstein afro?” Said Sam.

“Yep.” They were both trying to hold it in, but neither of them could contain their cries of amusement. “That’s the one!” Ezra had his arms stretched out and mimicked the walk of Frankenstein’s monster.

“I don’t see what’s so funny. The last woman I saw walk out of your place was, Butterscotch. And she walked right into my apartment.” Fran said over the boys’ laughter. She didn’t know why she was being so defensive. She couldn’t care less about those women, but she realized how much she needed them. Not them exactly, but what they provided.

“No need to get hostile, Fran, we’re just joking,” Ezra said.

“Yea, sorry, but it was just too funny.” Sam said as he chuckled.

“I know, I didn’t mean to act like a bitch,” said Francine.

“It’s ok, we’re used to it,” said Ezra. Sam didn’t want to but laughed at the remark.

“What is that supposed to mean?” Said Fran. She stared Ezra down.

“I’m pretty sure you know what it means.” Ezra said as he matched Francine’s stare.

“Alright, settle down,” Sam said as he rose from his seat. “Ezra was just joking. Right?”

“Uh huh.” Ezra replied without diverting his eyes from Francine’s glare.

“See? Let’s leave it at that,” Said Sam. He picked up the plates from the table and walked off into the kitchen. “I don’t know what’s been going on with you two lately, if you just haven’t been eating breakfast or something, but you should work it out.” Francine and Ezra lowered their eyes. The tension within them dissipated and they sat back down in their chairs. The only sounds left in the room were the running water in the kitchen, the clanging of dishes, and Kumo’s paws shuffling as he readjusted his napping position beside Ezra.

“How about a movie?” Sam suggested after a brief moment of silence.

“Sure. Let’s watch Star Wars,” Fran announced.

“Ok. What else should we watch?” said Sam.

“Its nine o’clock and you want to watch two movies? Don’t you have work in the morning?” Ezra said. He was glad Sam wanted to have a movie night. Sam’s always so committed to his work that he never has time for anything else. However, tonight, Sam was trying to do anything to avoid his work. Even though he loved his job the amount of assignments he had to complete stressed him out.

“I do, but I got a lot done today, so I can relax a bit.” Sam reassured his friend.

“Alright, if you guys want, we’ll watch episodes seven and eight.” Ezra knew if his friend was over worked, he wasn’t going to stop the guy from relaxing a little. Sam and Francine agreed. As Ezra looked for the movies, the other two took comfort on the couch.

“So, what did happen to you both last week that you have to do community service tomorrow?” Sam said. Francine and Ezra looked at each other and back to Sam.

“Nothing for you to worry about, it was dumb,” Francine said.

“Yeah, nothing too crazy,” added Ezra. Sam nodded slowly.

“Uh huh. And what happened has nothing to do with you two fighting all the time?” Sam said. Francine stroked Kumo’s fur while Ezra took the first movie out of its case. “As I recall, you two were arrested for running a red light?”

“Yep. I told you that when I walked through the door.” Ezra spoke with an exasperated tone, “While you called every place I hang out at, asking where I was…”

“…I was concerned…” Sam said as he broke eye contact. And then reconnecting eyes, he asked, “How’d you not see that the light was red? You’re a careful driver.”

Ezra inserted the movie into the playstation and stood up. “I was distracted.” He glanced at Francine. She glanced at Ezra and bit the corner of her lip as she returned her attention to Kumo licking her hand.”

“You get arrested for running a red light?” Sam continued, “A ticket sure, but arrested?”

“Racism?” Ezra shrugged.

“You said Nick pulled you over.”

“Yes. And Nick still has a job to do.” Ezra contemplated for a second before continuing, “It’s not like if one of our friends worked at Gamestop they would just gave me free games. Nick can’t just not give me ticket or arrest me if I break the law.”

Sam mulled over Ezra’s analogy. “Why didn’t you just tell him it was your birthday?” He smiled.

“How?” Ezra’s voice rose. He paused and let out a sigh. “How does that possibly change anything? ‘Oh, hey Nick. Today’s my birthday, so could you just, you know, not arrest me for being a criminal tonight? Thanks, man, I greatly appreciate it.’ You can’t just do that a drive off willy nilly.”

“Willy nilly?” Francine asked, reverting her attention back to the conversation.

Ezra pointed towards her, “don’t you even start.” Butterscotch purred at Ezra from beside his foot. Only adding to the boiling pot. Ezra quickly shifted his head to the floor, “Don’t you start either!”

“You gotta start thinking about these things, Ez, if you wanna stay out of jail. Play the system a little bit.” Sam said. He clicked a button the TV remote.

Ezra’s hands transitioned from holding his shaking head to opening up their palms to the ceiling. Like watching a flaming flower bloom. “What are you talking abou-” Ezra started to ask, but Sam shushed him.

“The movie’s starting.” Sam had lost interest in his conversation with Ezra. Ezra gave a soft rawr behind pursed lips. An imitation of a cat holding in a purr. Remember when I said only a few people made Ezra lose his temper?

*************

            Five minutes into Episode Eight of Star Wars, Sam fell asleep on Ezra’s shoulder. Kumo’s breathing could be heard as he slept on the floor in front of the couch. Francine reached over Sam to poke the top of Ezra’s head. He turned towards her and whispered, “What’s up?”

“Why don’t you want to tell Sam what happened?” Fran said. Ezra sighed.

“Sam loves his friendships more than anything else in the world. As you can tell, he’s a bit clingy.”

“You two do seem like a married couple,” Fran said.

“He has a big heart. A golden one. Anyway, I may not be fond of you, but he certainly is. If he found out about what happened, he’d be devastated. Probably wouldn’t want to be friends with you anymore.”

“I understand. Let’s not ruin what we’ve got goin’ here,” said Fran.

We don’t have anything,” Ezra replied.

“You’ll warm up to me,” Francine smiled. Ezra rolled his eyes.

“Once you start paying for groceries, sure. Or eat at your own place,” said Ezra. “Just don’t do anything to get us into more trouble, alright? Sam and I have been through too much already.”

“You’re not the only ones,” Francine mumbled. Her smile faded a bit.

**************

So, here’s what happened between Ezra and Francine. Ezra agreed to drive Francine to a friend’s house, so she could drop off a suitcase full of clothes. However, the night was not as simple as either of them had intended it to be.

*************

            “The light’s green,” Francine said. Ezra pressed on the gas. “Did you hear me?”

“Sorry, what did you say?” Ez took a quick glance towards the passenger seat.

“The light. Is green.” Ezra rolled his eyes at Francine’s comment.

“Very funny. I meant the other thing,” said Ezra.

“I said it’s okay to still be heartbroken after a year. You loved her, I get it. It takes time to acknowledge and accept that you won’t be getting back together. For some it’s a year, for others…maybe about a month.” Francine bit a corner of her lip. Her phone vibrated in the cupholder. She reached for it, reading the message.

“I never said I was heartbroken, I just – I don’t feel like dating right now,” Ezra replied. He took a right onto Queen Anne Avenue. “Do you mind skipping this song? I’m not really feelin’ “Hooked on a Feeling.” Fran continued staring at her cell.

“Feeling’s are your problem. You mull over them too much. Learn to enjoy life at face value.” Francine continued to text as she spoke. The car slowed to a stop at an intersection.

“Fran, could you skip- you’re not even paying attention.” Ezra narrowed his eyes at Francine. “And you wonder why I only talk to Sam about those feelings I apparently mull over too much.”

“You know, that special someone is out there for you, don’t stop searching.” Fran put her phone back into the cupholder and returned her focus to the streets of Seattle. With the all so rare Starbucks on her right and the Mezcaleria Oaxaca fading past Ezra’s window.

“Sure, if you believe in that sorta thing,” said Ezra. “Do I Wanna Know” by Arctic Monkeys began to play. Fran looked to Ezra with glossy eyes, but his focus was on the road.

“I do. And I bet you do too,” Fran said softly. Almost to herself.

The speakers sing, “If this feeling flows both ways?”

“Once upon a time, maybe,” Ezra shrugged.

“Baby we both know,” trails off in the background.

Francine slowly leaned over the console. “That the nights were mainly made…” She cupped his head in her hands. Their faces inched closer to one another. Eyes locked. They could feel each other’s lips separated by what seemed like a canyon when it was just by a hair. “Been wondering if your heart’s still open…” Francine glanced out the windshield. “The light’s red!” Ezra pulled away from Francine, eyes as wild as a child afraid of heights on a rollercoaster he swerved around a car crossing his lane. No other vehicles dared to step into Ezra’s path. He sped through the light. “I’m sorry to interrupt,” is sung through the silence. The song continues, “…I’m constantly on the cusp-”

“Holy shit! Why the fuck did you do that?! Are you trying to get us killed?!” Ezra combed his hands through his curly hair. “You know we could’ve died, right?!” Ezra turned to Francine for an answer.

“Fuck. I wasn’t expecting that.” Francine stared out onto the road for a moment before facing Ezra. “Well, it could’ve been worse.” She gave a weak smile. Suddenly, flashing red and blue lights appeared behind them. Ezra smacked his head against the top of the steering wheel.

“God dammit. I just can’t catch a break,” Ezra mumbled. He pulled over in front of The Thai Kitchen restaurant. Nick appeared at his window. Ezra rolled the window down.

“Hey, Nick. Sorry about the red light. I was distracted.” Ezra said.

“Hey, Ez.” Nick greeted. “Everyone alright?”

“Yeah,” Ezra started to speak, but Francine abruptly spoke out.

“More than fine, officer. We’re just enjoying our cruise.” Francine spoke quickly. Both guys looked at Francine bewildered.

“Anyway,” Ezra continued, “We’re ok, just rattled. I should’ve been paying attention. How much is the ticket going to cost me?”

“I’ll let it slide this time but be more careful, said Nick. “In a city like Seattle, many accidents end up with someone in a body bag.” Nick looked around the car. He saw the suit case in the back seat partly unzipped. “No Sam?” He asked as he squinted his eyes to the back of the car. Francine blinked from Nick to the back seat.

“Nah, he’s busy working,” Ezra replied. Nick noticed a suspicious plastic bag with a white substance peeking from the suitcase.

“Hey. I’m gonna need you both to step out of the car,” Nick said. He moved back from the door. Complying, Ezra and Francine stepped out into the breezy night air. “Could you take the suitcase out for me?”

“Yeah…sure.” Ezra said. He had no idea why Nick wanted to see the suitcase. Nick witnessed Francine’s worried face. Ezra grabbed the suitcase and noticed the same thing Nick had. He opened it up. His eyes slowly grew in circumference. He rose from the seat, glaring straight towards Francine. “What did you do?” Francine was about to speak but dropped her head instead. You could see her bite the corner of her lip before her hair veiled her face. The car cuts the silence wants again as it sings, “Do I wanna know?”

*************

            Ezra and Francine continued to watch Star Wars with the thought that that night would be the most of their worries. Unfortunately, that night would be the start of their complicated lives.

 

 

 

 

 

Stay Tuned

So I know I haven’t written anything in a while and that is for good reason. Many good reasons actually. Within the past few months I’ve had to deal with seizures, surgery, adjusting to a new job, minor crises, and slap a slab of spoiled, stress inducing probably not kosher meat called school with it all and one would say that these past few months have been more chaotic than normal for me. For the record, that is precisely what I am saying. So, I’ve been MIA from more than just my blog. And unfortunately, I will be for a tad bit longer while I sort some things out and decide on which story I’d like to publish next. In the meantime, I have one very special birthday poem for my readers. Stay groovy, gang.

When You Wanna Write
By
Eliasaph Maze Anderson

When you wanna write, but you got nowhere to go
Nothing is fueling your flow
Got no motivation
What an abomination
You’re letting down your entire nation

Wait, that’s me
When you can’t write, you can’t see
And when I’m down I get myself high
My spirit rides the wind like a kaleidoscope kite
But I don’t need to smoke.

There are better ways to walk amongst the clouds without the dope
So, don’t assume I’m just another writer with a wonderland inside my mind
Because I am
But having an addiction to cope with the system isn’t necessary
I broke the system and had it cope around my true self, not the canary
Found the mute button on that chatty raven pulling my strings
In this realm I’m no prince, I’m king

That revolution was not televised
My demon’s still around so I don’t let people gaze into my eyes

My shadow’s as curious as I am
In the worst way
He opens the doors you keep chained up
Doors that open just a crack and send tremors through your pores

We’re on certain terms though
He will aid in my flow
As long as my dreams are a free zone
So sometimes I don’t sleep.
And I wanna write, but the stress of college and my reaper blood keeps eroding me
Trying to consume my existence like Venom and Carnage
I know I’m close to a level up, but I wanna eject this cartridge

It’s just so much

And I wanna write.
And soon I will.
I need more time to calm my soul from a lightning storm back to a static feel

 

 

 

 

The Amazing Spider-Maze Will Return

Madre

Happy Mother’s Day! Today is a day that I would like to express my appreciation to all the women in my life who have been mother figures to me and who I have had the pleasure of knowing. Most importantly, I’d like to express my appreciation to my mother. She has always been there for me and always will be. I love my mother and I may not always say so or show it, but I do. I am very lucky to have my mom around and there will never be a day that I don’t need or want her guidance.

Madre

            There lives a boy who travels a lot. Always on an adventure. He goes by many names, but the one that always resonates in his mind is the name, Little Red Boy. Only one person calls the boy by this name and that’s how it should be. His madre gave him that name even before he could remember. The little red boy loves his mother so much, there are no words to completely describe it. When the boy looks back on his life, he remembers the days when he would wake up in the morning for school and watch T.V. with his madre. She’d also prepare him breakfast whenever she could. If not a bowl of cereal or some scrambled eggs, then she would at least make him his favorite cup of tea or cup of hot chocolate in the winter.

The little red boy obtained his love for movies, musicals, and books from his madre. Even when she was utterly exhausted, she’d take the time to read him a story at bed time, or watch a movie on a late Saturday night. His madre would wait outside every morning to watch him get on the bus for school. Whenever he was sick, she did everything in her power to keep him from feeling the pain he suffered from. And when he had to spend hours in the hospital, she stayed with him to keep him comfortable and to teach him all he needed to know, so when the day came that he needed to do it alone, he wouldn’t be scared. The boy hated hospitals, but when his mother was by his bedside, he felt safe. He could rest in peace. The boy learned so much from his madre. He learned about life, about history, other cultures, authors, musicians, artists, other countries, religion, how to live, how to love, how to live the way that makes him happy, and so much more.

The little red boy’s mother is the most amazing woman he knows. She is strong in every sense of the word. A strong heart, mind, body, and will. The boy loved that his madre was as fierce as she was. Everyone knew not to mess with her. It made him happy because it meant he never had to worry about her. She is like Cleopatra. Queen of her kingdom. She rules it with an iron fist and a heart of gold. She takes care of all of her loved ones with no exceptions. No matter how much her family may piss her off, she will be there for them when they need her. She is like Mother Teresa in that way. She’ll even take in those who are not her family and treat them like so. No matter how little her and her family have to offer. The boy’s madre is like a star. Her beauty and brilliance is unmatched and unwavering. She has traveled great lengths and has been through so much in her life, however, she continues to get up every day and liver her life. Not only for her children, her husband, her family, but for herself. People may find her love strange because of how blunt and brutal she may seem, she is so out of love. She would not bother to be honest with those she did not love. The little red boy grew to adapt that same quality to his madre’s dismay. However, he loved that quality. While others will listen to her out of fear or the sense of necessity. He listens out of respect and wanting. And those who truly know her would do the same.

The little red boy has received so much from his madre. His love for music, books, movies, Pokémon, classics, culture, traveling, musicals, art, Disney, cooking and much more. He has received so much wisdom from her and always puts it to good use. There is no lesson she has taught him that he does not remember. Unlike other children, the boy’s mother did not give him everything and anything he wanted. And he did not care. He had her love and her company, and that’s all he needed. Even during his travels, that’s all he desires when he is reminded of her. And not a day goes by when he isn’t. The boy often times feels that he is not fit to be her son because of all the mistakes he makes and the life he tries to lead. He does his best despite his madre’s prestige and high expectations. She is a goddess among normal people. The boy even thought that she was a vampire because of her tendency to sleep all day and work all night. Either way, she was immortal. Still is.

The little red boy has become the man that he is today because of his madre. He lives the way he wants and the way he feels is right because his madre lets him. That’s the life she wanted for him, though it may make her mad or worried. Deep down she is proud of him and the boy knows that. When the boy finally returns home, he will make sure to watch at least one movie or T.V. show with his madre. Just like always.

 

 

Complicated Lives

Happy Saturday, everyone! I am proud to announce that I finally finished the first chapter in a new series I’ve been working on called Complicated Lives. Before I get to the story, I should give some background info. For those who have read my last post know what makes someone’s life complicated. It’s not when you have a bunch of crap going on in your life or when life isn’t going your way. A complicated life is when you deal with the hardships of your own life as well as help others live their lives. My parents do it, I do it, and during my travels, I have met numerous people who do or have done the same. You may think that having a complicated life is a fairly common thing, but then you’d be wrong. It’s quite the opposite, actually.

There’s a lesson that I learned from the hit T.V. show, Girl Meets World. It’s a great show, it’s on Netflix, you should watch it. They taught people the secret of life, which is that people change people. What does this mean? It means that your life is affected by the people you surround yourself with. Your knowledge and happiness comes from those people. Many people will tell you that’s not how life should be, that you should affect your own life and generate your own happiness, but the that’s the truth. Believe it or not there is a deeper meaning to that. A hidden secret to the secret of life that I also learned from Girl Meets World. That lesson is ‘what us does for them.’ “Us” are the ones who are blessed with a stable life. The people who can wake up from their warm beds in the morning and eat pancakes with their family. “Them” are the people who are not that fortunate. No, this is not entirely about money. Money only plays a small role in this lesson. I come from a family with little money. There was never a year that we did not struggle, but my parents did the best they could to shield me and my siblings from that fact. All we knew that our parents were struggling and we didn’t know the why until we grew older. Even though we struggled, we were still happy. Even now, my family struggles with money, but we are still able to find happiness in our lives. My family is part of the “us” because we are blessed and fortunate to have loving people in our lives and we help “them.” We have kindness that we share with others. That’s something many people take for granted.

I created this story for those who know both these secrets and live their lives by them whether they realize it or not. My story is about 3 best friends who struggle to live their complicate lives after college. I hope that this will be one of my greatest stories, so any comments I can get are greatly appreciated.

Complicated Lives

By

Eliasaph Anderson

Chapter 1

            This is a story of a dumbass. His name is Ezra Best. He lives in a nice two bedroom apartment in Seattle, Washington. It has the usual apartment furnishings of the 21st century. An island style, granite kitchen connected to a living room furnished with a black microfiber sofa, a dinner table for four, and a TV. All the walls are painted with this kind of tinted sky blue instead of the generic white. This complex is a bit on the fancy side. It’s pricey that’s for sure. “What veggies do you want for dinner, Sammy?” Ezra asked as he lowered the temperature of the rice on the stove. “We have broccoli, cream corn, zucchini, and…” he trailed off because when he turned around from the fridge he found Sam holding his stupid cat right in front of his face.

“Pet Captain Meow Meow,” he announced with a huge smile on his face. For the record, her name was not Captain Meow Meow. Sam was one of Ezra’s best friends and had been his roommate for almost a year now. He’s a 23 year old, blonde dork. And also…a dumbass. He looked like an intelligent man, which he was, but he also looked like one of those guys that you can tell was fully capable of leading a four hour conversation with you about Pokémon before needing a drink of water. Ezra stared at both of them with this questionable look. He turned Sam around and inched him out of the kitchen. “But kitty,” said Sam in a disappointed tone.

“I’m cooking dinner, Sammy, I’m not rubbing your cat.” Ezra said in a monotone voice while he started the cream corn. As they waited for dinner, Sam refilled his cat’s food bowl and Ezra took a seat at the dinner table. “Sam, have you seen Kumo? I haven’t seen him since I’ve been home.”

“Oh, I got someone to walk him because he seemed sad being inside the house while we were at work,” he said as he took a seat at the table. He had an uneasy smile like he did something he shouldn’t have.

“Who did you get to walk Kumo?”

“Just one of the neighbors,” Sam chuckled and backed up into his chair. Ever since Sam and Ezra were kids, he couldn’t keep up a lie or a secret for too long. Backing away with a chuckle was how people could tell if he did something stupid. Ezra leaned towards him.

“Sam. Which neighbor?” There was only one neighbor they had that Ezra had a problem with and for good reason. “Sam, you didn’t.” Sam shrugged his shoulders. “You can’t be serious. You actually let her walk-”

“Hey guys,” pronounced a woman’s voice. She had glimmering black hair that went to her shoulders and flowed as smoothly as a river. She wore a red tank top featuring Snoopy and Woodstock, black skinny jeans with small tears, and a pair of red Toms. Her tattoos were intricate. One of a majestic bird could be seen on her right arm with a date underneath while a dream catcher rested on the underside of her left arm. She walked through the door with a Husky the size of a couch cushion, which was trying to shake off its leash. “Okay, Kumo, I’ll take it off just give me a minute.” As soon as she did, Kumo ran down the hall and jumped onto Ezra’s lap. Francine moved into the two bedroom apartment right across from the guys two months ago. She was still looking for a roommate, but did pretty well on her own. Mostly because she always came over to the guys’ place and ate all of their food.

“Hey, Francine.” Sam and Ezra greeted simultaneously.

“What did you do to my dog?” Ezra accused.

“Why do you think I did something? Look. Kumo is perfectly fine and loved going on a walk with me. Isn’t that right, buddy?” She petted him as she sat at the table.

“Because you have a habit of doing stupid stuff and I’m making sure you didn’t do anything terrible with Kumo.”

“Are you still mad about last week? I said I was sorry like twenty times.”

“Well, it wasn’t enough. I won’t forgive you so quickly for something so stupid. You’re just lucky Nick pulled us over instead of some other officer and we got off with a warning.” Ezra exclaimed.

“Exactly. It’s not like it was put on record.” She retorted in a louder voice.

“We still spent the night in jail!” He retaliated, raising his voice slightly higher, but not fully yelling. Ezra usually kept a level head and remained calm, however, Francine was one of those few people who made him loose his cool.

“Okay guys. I think we should just calm down. It’s time to eat dinner anyway,” Sam pronounced from the kitchen. During the argument, he had backed away into the kitchen to check on the food. Francine and Ezra got up and helped Sam set the table so they could eat. As they started eating, Sam asked, “How was your day, Ez?” He was trying to get rid of the residual tension in the room like Francine and Ezra were partners bickering at a counseling session.

Ezra tried to focus on Sam and push his problem with Francine to the back of his mind. “It was pretty good. I repaired a few cars that didn’t have any major damages, so they were fairly easy to fix. It was just some engine problems or a leaking gas pipe. There was one car that had a busted heater hose, so that took longer took fix, but I had help. And there was this ninja motorcycle that had crappy suspensions, so that took a few hours to fix, but yea, my day went pretty well.” He proceeded to scarf down more food.

“What was wrong with the suspensions?” Sam asked. He was very curious in Ezra’s work because he received his degree in computer science and didn’t know much about the mechanics of vehicles. He also enjoyed any distraction he could get from his own work. It took a second for Ez to finish swallowing his food so he could give a reply.

“It was very loose and squeaked every time the weight on it shifted. Clearly the owner was dumb enough to buy it in such a dangerous state or the bike was wrecked by someone. I was never told how it happened, but I really didn’t care as long as I got it fixed.” Francine abruptly spoke out as Sam was about to say something,

“You have a motorcycle, don’t you?!” She seemed really excited even though she’s known about Ezra’s motorcycle for weeks.

“Yep. Ez got it from his girlfriend,” Sam explained. As soon as he said that, Ezra gave him a stern look.

“I thought you said you didn’t have a girlfriend?” Francine was very intrigued now. She, as well as Sam, loved meddling in Ezra’s love life, however, he always shrugged them off whenever they wanted to talk about it. He sat back in his seat and sighed.

“I don’t have a girlfriend. I got that bike from my ex as a birthday present last year.” He was definitely annoyed now, but there was nothing much he could do about it. They were curious about his life. Especially Sam. And it’s not like he had been very forthcoming about his past. He hated talking about it. There were many depressing memories that he would rather not even think about.

“Wow. You two must have ended it on a good note, huh? I wish one of my ex’s continued to send me gifts after we broke up. Why’d she break up with you anyway?” Ezra gave her a look that he gave many of his friends at one point in time. The “You’re an idiot look”. His eyes narrowed into a glare and he tilted his head slightly. Sam started to laugh when he saw Ezra give Francine that look.

“Why do you automatically assume she broke up with me? And no, we didn’t end it on a good note, but she just gave me the bike anyway. Like a farewell present or something.” Francine was about to say something else, but Ezra spaced out and was engulfed by a particular memory.

The flashback was a bit of a blur. Like a TV channel that fizzes out while you’re watching a show. Ezra was walking out of a house, which was covered with numerous shades of brown, to the adjacent garage. The sun was shining brilliantly as it scorched the dry air. He slowly walked past the gravel yard into the garage to find a black Dyna Glide with a golden tribal print. On the headlight was an envelope with Ezra’s name on it. The handwriting was so beautiful that it was clearly from a woman. He opened up the envelope to find a letter. Because the memory kept fizzing out, all that could be read was, “I want you to have her as a good luck charm. I love this bike and I know it would be better if you kept her and fixed her up more because I know that you have the talent to do so. I love you with all my heart, happy birthday.” At the bottom of the letter was written: Love you, Natalie Moon. Ezra stared at the bike for a few seconds and then suddenly turned around. At that moment, he could hear Francine’s voice.

“Ez. Yo, Ezra, are you still with us? Did you listen to a word I just said?” Francine kept calling him as he slowly came back to reality. Sam started to shake his arm.

“Yea I’m fine,” he said as he removed Sam’s arm. I just spaced out for a moment.” He turned to Francine. “And no, I didn’t hear anything you just said.” He went back to eating his meal.

“I said that you shouldn’t worry about her. If she wasn’t into you that much then she’s not worth your time. People come and go, it happens. You should go try looking for another girl. Who knows, you might find ‘the one’.” Francine was actually concerned now. She knew firsthand what it was like having people you trust walk out on you. She realized how sad Ezra was over this and wanted to help him move on, but he was not ready for it. He remained silent.

Sam pitched in, “that’s a great idea. Ez you should go meet some girls, maybe get a few numbers.” Ezra was unsurprised how delighted Sam was with this idea.

“Coming from the guy who spent last Saturday night cuddling his cat while watching ‘Frozen’. Again.” Ezra smirked.

“Umm, excuse me, but Butterscotch loves it when I hug her,” he said as he picked his cat off the floor, “and I recall you watching the movie, too.” Sam stroked Buttersnap’s fur.

“I only watched it with you because it was the only way to get you to watch ‘TMNT 2’. I wouldn’t willingly watch ‘Frozen’, ever, let alone the sing-a-long version. Listening to you try and harmonize with Idina Menzel is like hearing Kanye West speak. What comes out of your mouth is so sad, that you can’t help but laugh.” Francine was trying not to laugh herself.

“Ez, you’re just jealous that I’m a better singer than you. And your stupid ninja turtle movie wasn’t even that great,” Sam retaliated. Ezra became wide eyed and placed his hand on his chest like he was having a heart attack.

“First of all, the hell you are, and second, don’t dis Green Arrow’s first blockbuster movie. It was amazing and did way better than the first one.”

“Okay, Ez, I’ll let you indulge yourself in your delusions for now, but you’ll have to accept the truth someday.” Sam laughed as Ezra glared at him.

“Alright, guys, we’ve gotten too far off topic. Let’s go to a bar and pick up some girls. It will be fun.” Francine seemed so proud of herself. She was so excited by her own idea.

“You say that like that’s an easy thing to do. Do you know us? That argument alone should tell you how easily it is for us to get a girl’s number.” Ezra found the idea of him and Sam getting lucky that night absurd.

“It’s okay, Ez, she’s new.” Sam assured him. Ezra nodded in agreement.

“C’mon. With me as your wingman, you’ll both be scoring. Just imagine all the women we can get if we work together.” Francine stood up and gazed at the ceiling.

“What the hell is she doing?” Ezra whispered to Sam. They both searched the ceiling. Francine looked puzzled.

“I’m having a daydream moment. Do you guys not do that here?”

The boys nodded their heads in understanding of their friend’s weird gesture. “Oh we do, we just haven’t done it in a while. When’s the last time we did one of those, Sam?”

“I’m pretty sure it was last Christmas.”

“Ah, good times.” Ezra reminisced.

“Yea, that was an eventful Christmas. We should bring back daydream moments.”

“Great idea. Maybe next week.” Francine didn’t know what to say or do.

“Fran, I’ve got a question. Didn’t you mean to say wing-woman instead of wingman?” Sam asked.

“Oh, good question, I was wondering that myself. Most women nowadays prefer being called wing-lady or something odd like that.” Said Ezra. Francine sat back down at the table.

“That’s what feminists like to call themselves to show that they can help guys get dates, but really they just fuck shit up.” Francine’s explanation made the boys laugh ecstatically.

“Burn!” Ezra announced. All of their laughter lasted for a few moments until Sam had come to a realization.

“Fran, why do you want us to help you get girls, anyway?” Sam asked. “You do so well by yourself.”

“Yea, we see a new girl do the walk of shame out of your apartment every morning.” Ezra chimed in. “Sam and I even started rating which one was the best. Most of the women come out strutting down the hall like models on a runway or like they just finished a business deal.”

“Some of them even dressed the part,” Sam added. “However, some walk out all hung over and trip down the hall, it’s pretty funny.”

“Oh yea, remember the one from last Thursday?” Ezra chuckled.

“With the one high heel and the Mrs. Frankenstein afro?”

“Yep.” They were both trying to hold it in, but neither of them could contain there laughter. “That’s the one!” Ezra had his arms stretched out and mimicked the walk of Frankenstein’s monster.

“I don’t see what’s so funny. The last woman I saw walk out of your place was, Buttersnap. And she walked right into my apartment.” Fran said over the boys’ laughter. She didn’t know why she was being so defensive. She couldn’t care less about those women, but she realized how much she needed them. Not them exactly, but what they provided.

“No need to get hostile, Fran, we’re just joking,” Ezra said.

“Yea, sorry, but it was just too funny to pass up.” Sam said as he chuckled.

“I know, I didn’t mean to act like a bitch,” Francine apologized.

“It’s ok, we’re used to it.” Sam laughed at Ezra’s comment. Ezra looked at his watch and started cleaning up the table. “It’s getting pretty late and I don’t feel like going anywhere, so we’ll go out with you some other time, I promise.”

“You two aren’t ready, I understand. So, what do you guys want to do tonight?” Francine asked. They all looked at each other.

“How about a movie?” Sam suggested after a brief moment of silence.

“Sure. Let’s watch Star Wars,” Fran announced.

“Ok. What else should we watch?”

“Sam, its nine o’clock and you want to watch two movies? Don’t you have work to do tomorrow?” Ezra was very confused. He was glad Sam wanted to have a movie night, but Sam’s always so committed to his work that he never wants to make time for anything else. However, tonight, Sam was trying to do anything to avoid his work. He loved his job, however, the amount of assignments he had to complete stressed him out.

“I do, but I got a lot done today, so I can relax a bit.” Sam reassured his friend. He was lying and Ezra knew it.

“Alright, if you guys want, we’ll watch episodes seven and eight.” Ezra knew if his friend was over worked, he wasn’t going to stop the guy from relaxing a little. Sam and Francine agreed. As Ezra looked for the movies, the other two took comfort on the couch.

“…Ok, I just want to know? Do you guys think I’m a slut?” Asked Fran. She didn’t want to let things go. The guys looked at her. And at each other. And then looked away as they uttered words Fran couldn’t hear. “C’mon, you can tell me. I promise I won’t get mad,” she pleaded. Sam and Ezra looked at each other and back at her and shook their heads.

“Nope,” Sam said.

“No, just easy.” Ezra replied in a hushed voice.

“What did you say?” Fran said a bit too loudly than she intended.

“Hey. Don’t yell at me, I was just repeating what Sam said the other day.” Ezra had his hands raised in fear with one of them pointed towards Sam. Fran stared at Sam with narrowed eyes.

“Woah. Ez was the one who said you were a nympho,” Sam said. He started to laugh.

“You said what?!”

“That was not what I said. I said that you were probably a weirdo. Sam’s half deaf, he most likely misheard me. Like always.” Ezra tried really hard to defend himself, but no one was buying his crap. He looked at Kumo resting on the floor by the couch. “You believe me, buddy. Right?” Kumo lifted his head and stared at him for a second and laid he head back down. “Thanks, bro. You truly make me believe in the whole ‘man’s best friend’ saying,” Ezra said sarcastically. Kumo gave a soft bark as if to say, “You’re welcome.” “You suck.” Francine and Sam laughed.

“No, Ezra, you suck. And you’re a dumbass. Who argues with a dog?” Fran couldn’t stop laughing.

“Clearly, I do, so you both can just shut up.”

“You sounded like a five year old,” Sam said while Ezra took a seat on the couch.

“You’re a five year old,” Ez retaliated. He scowled and puffed out his cheeks like a toddler who had to share the toy he was playing with. The movie started to play.

“If you ask me, I think you’re both children,” Francine added.

“We didn’t ask,” the boys said simultaneously. They all laughed at the coincidence. They continued cracking jokes as they watched their movies. Neither of them wanted the night to end. They knew that once it did, they’d have to face reality. And reality sucked.

Volt and Ash Part 2

It’s been a while, but I’ve finally finished another story to share. Ha…llelujah. Go ahead, somebody from the crowd give me an “amen!” And don’t worry, it’s now culturally acceptable for white people to do it too. Mostly. It depends. Anyway, I’m not the religious sort so church is not my cup of tea, though, I do applaud those goodhearted human beings that do and will reward you with a break from whatever deity you wake up so early to pray to and a healthy dose of comic book fan fiction created by your friendly neighborhood writer. Sit back, relax, and enjoy.

A New Dawn:

Volt and Ash

Part 2

Austin started to adjust to his situation the more he ate his burger. He spoke very little since the ride over to S.T.A.R. Labs. He ended up embarrassing himself when he bombarded Batman, Wonder Woman, and Green Arrow with questions. He asked them how they got their powers, how they operated missions, if they were going to the Watchtower, and if he was going to meet the Flash. Maze wasn’t able to stop him from ranting because Maze passed out hard after a few minutes on the jet. When he fell asleep, everyone got worried because his body started to absorb the electricity from the jet. Austin could have sworn that Batman was about to attack his friend, so he lightly blasted Maze with smoke until Maze woke up. Austin informed his friend of what happened and Maze apologized with a laugh.

From that point on, Austin spoke carefully and made sure not to do anything that might piss off his idols. Maze on the other hand wasn’t concerned in the slightest. If he was, he did a great job not showing it. Austin was also too tired to want to do anything but sleep. After having a recorded interrogation with Black Canary for an hour and waiting even longer in a cold cafeteria for the Justice League to decide what to do with him, sleep was all he could think about. He stared at his cell phone. Lifeless. Probably filled with messages from his girlfriend and his family.

Maze watched Austin as he chowed down his second burger. He loved In-N-Out burgers. So simple, yet so deliciously perfect. Unlike his situation. Attending college to get an engineering degree with a crap ton of debt and loans to pay for was complicated enough. Now he had to deal with the world of super heroes and villains. Even though he hated his situation and just wanted to go back to his apartment and sleep for a whole day, he also felt oddly excited. He had always dreamed of getting powers and being a hero. He finally had the power to make a difference in the world. To save lives. Unfortunately, becoming a hero was not as easy as he would have liked. After almost getting beaten up by Batman because he did something he wasn’t aware of or even control, going through an annoying interrogation that was recorded for some reason, and having to wait for what seemed like eternity in the coldest room ever with some of the young heroes from earlier guarding the exits.

Maze finished his fries and picked up Austin’s phone. He slowly pumped it with electricity until the battery on the screen turned green. He then proceeded to do the same to his own phone. “It’s four in the morning. Wake them up and let them know you’re safe before they report you missing.” Maze got up and stretched. He was preparing for any hero who finally decided to confiscate their cellphones.

“Thanks, bud.” Austin smiled as he tried calling Selene. “Nice to see that you’ve got your strength back. All you needed was a nap and some food, huh?”

“Well, that and sucking the power from a jet, causing it to almost crash, perked me up a bit, too. I don’t know about you, but I’m gonna play with my powers while we wait.” Maze started to lift a table with his electricity.

“Nah, I’m good, I’m too tired to do anything else today. Just don’t destroy anything, you’re in enough trouble already.”

“I unknowingly threaten to bring down one plane and everyone wants to throw a fit. I don’t think we can stress enough how new these abilities are.” He tried blasting the ground to hover in the air, but didn’t get enough height.

“Are you trying to fly?” Austin asked as he set down his phone. He couldn’t reach anyone.

“Yea, I’ve always wanted to fly. I just don’t know how to do it with these powers.”

“Let me try.” Austin stood up and gathered smoke into his arms. He blasted the floor and soared into the air. “Woah, this is fucking great!” Austin hovered across the cafeteria as Maze looked on in amazement. Austin lowered to the ground right in front of his pal and was filled with excitement. “That was insane! Did you see that?!” He made sporadic movements as if he was trying to pump out even more excitement.

“That was totally awesome. I’m disappointed that I can’t do it, but that was cool, either way.” Maze couldn’t help but laugh at his friend.

“I guess it’s just not one of your abilities, bud. You could do what Static Shock did and use a disc to fly around. Like a trash can lid.”

“Yea, but I don’t want to copy someone else. That’s not cool.”

“Yea I feel ya. What else do you want to try?”

“I thought you were tired?”

“I was, but I’m jonesing now.” At that moment, Black Canary walked into the room and the boys went silent.

“Nice to see that you’re making yourselves comfortable,” She said as she walked towards them. “I have some news for you guys.” Maze and Austin turned to each other and talked some things over before turning back to their jailer.

“No offense, Black Canary, but if the news isn’t about us getting a hot shower and some sleep, we’re not interested,” Maze declared.

“I understand. We will get you properly arranged soon, but first, we need to go over some important information that has to do with your new abilities.” The boys gave each other questionable glances and silently agreed on what to say next.

“Okay, we’ll listen, however, what did you mean when you said you’d get us ‘properly arranged’?” Austin asked. The boys had an inkling of what their host meant and hoped that wouldn’t be her answer.

“The League has decided to keep you boys here for a few days in order to run some tests. We think that the mist you two were effected by activated your meta-genes, causing you to develop super human traits. Unfortunately, we can’t be sure without running tests and then we can see how else the mist may have affected your body chemistry.”

“And then can we go home?” The duo asked simultaneously. They stared at each other in shock. Canary was also stunned. She recollected herself and sighed,

“I’m not sure. It depends on the results of your testing.” The duo knew they had no choice, so they agreed. However, they both knew there was more that Canary wasn’t telling them.

“We’ll do the tests as long as you are completely honest with us, we’re in our twenties. We can handle it.” Maze hated when people beat around the bush. He wanted people to just say what they wanted to say straight out. “And you can start by telling us how many days we’ll be here, exactly.”

Unlike Austin, Maze had trouble staying asleep in their not-so-comfy hospital beds. He despised hospitals. All his life he had to stay in one cold, sickly building after another. Now he wasn’t even in a hospital and still had to sleep in one of those uncomfortable beds. He would’ve complained about there being hospital beds in a lab facility if he hadn’t already done it days ago. Maze decided to talk a walk around S.T.A.R. Labs. Because his clothes were torn up too much to ever wear again, he had to settle for wearing clothes bought by Black Canary. At least she got the clothes he requested. A pair of blue jeans, a new black and blue jacket, even a new blue beanie. He thought the lightning bolt t-shirt was a little much, but he had no choice. It was better than wearing those stupid white jumpsuits with the yellow S.T.A.R. Labs logo on it.

Actually, the entire facility was white. The walls, the floors, the furniture. Like someone went out of their way to prove how uncreative they were. Austin told him that maybe the person who built the place was being creative by having everything in white, but Maze couldn’t accept that. That was pure bullshit. As pure as the whiteness of the halls. Whomever cleans this place should get a serious raise, Maze thought. He had reached the roof. The nicest part of the building, for sure. A wooden deck with yellow lawn chairs and a quaint yellow table to eat at. There was even a random white couch. This was the oddest area of the whole property. As if someone else found the original layout absurd and said, “screw this,” and placed this here.

It was nine in the morning and the sun was already blazing over San Francisco. Maze gazed at the colorful city landscape when he announced, “it’s useless sneaking up on me. I saw you before you came outside.” Maze didn’t bother looking back.

“So you improved your electroreception. Great job.” Canary took a seat at the table. She wasn’t dressed in uniform. Instead she wore yellow capris, a blue blouse, and heels. The only black item she wore were her sunglasses. The light of the sun reflected off her blonde hair into Maze’s eyes.

“I was tired of people getting the jump on me. I improved more than that, though. You’ll find my results from the last five days pretty shocking.” Maze smirked.

“It doesn’t seem like your jokes have improved,” Canary smiled back.

“Ouch. That was uncalled for.” Maze took a seat. “What’s with the normalcy? I didn’t think heroes got a day off.”

“We do sometimes. Being super all the time can be stressful, believe me.”

“There you are, bud. I thought you snuck off to the city aga- oh hey, Canary, I didn’t recognize you. You look good.” Austin stopped talking before he made things even more awkward. Maze’s head hang in disappointment. The two of them worked real hard to keep their ventures into the city under wraps, but they could say goodbye to that now.

“Nice to see you Austin. And don’t worry, I’ve known about your trips for a while.”

“You have? How?” Austin wasn’t the only one stunned. Maze couldn’t believe it either.

“Articles about a vigilante duo beating up robbers and stopping a gang war aren’t common in San Francisco.” Canary set a copy of the San Francisco Chronicle on the table. The headline read, “Hooded Metas Blowup Gang War.” Maze started laughing.

“Hell yea, man! We made the news!” Austin read through the article.

“What I want to know is why you had to blow up half a block of the Mission District and how you did it when there weren’t any explosives present.” Canary had the demeanor of a cop conducting an interrogation.

“Well, that’s kinda hard to explain,” Maze answered. “You see, we sorta, accidentally, combined our powers, causing a huge blast. It didn’t kill anyone, but it did destroy much of the street we were on and injured a bunch of gang members. Which also made them easier to capture, so that was a plus.”

“At least we weren’t on Mark Zuckerberg’s street or we would’ve destroyed his mansion.” Austin added. Maze glared at him.

“That’s not helpful, bro.” Canary just shook it off.

“Okay, clearly you both need more training, but I am here thank you nonetheless. You two single handedly crippled the power structure of three gangs and halted their underground drug trade.”

“Does that mean we don’t have to stay here another week and can finally go home?” Austin asked as his face lit up.

“Sorry, Austin, but no. Instead I’m here to give you the day off and taking you both on a field trip.” The guys looked at each other with uncertainty. “Oh, and while we’re in public, call me Dinah. Dinah Lance.”

Dinah drove the duo from the Financial District to the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins hotel in Nob Hill. It was a fairly large and elegant old bricked hotel. Top of the line. The duo followed Dinah to a room on the seventh floor. After a short pause in the hall, the trio were greeted by a man in business attire. A gray haired man wearing a gray suit greeted, “Hello, Dinah. I assume these are the boys you told me about.” He shook both of their hands as they walked in a rather spacious suite. A one bed living space with a living room set with a couch and two chairs all matching the tan and light brown color scheme. “It’s nice to finally meet you two, my name is Lucius Fox. And I believe you have already met my colleague.” He gestured to a blonde boy about the same age as Maze and Austin in a green hoodie with a single orange line across it. He pushed his glasses up his nose and said,

“I’m Richie Foley. You guys met me back in Phoenix when I was Gear.” He smiled at them. The boys had no words. What the hell is going on? Austin thought. This was not his idea of a day off. Finally, Maze replied,

“Is the secret identity rule not a strict nowadays?” Everyone besides Austin just laughed at the question. Austin tried to figure out why they were brought there.

“It’s nice to meet you both. I’m Austin Parslow and this is my friend, Maze.” They both waved at their hosts. “Could you tell us what we’re doing here?” Dinah stepped in.

“Lucius is CEO of Wayne Enterprises and supplies the League with much of our technology. Richie here, also known as Gear, has the power of super-intelligence and creates many gadgets to help with the hero business.” The duo nodded their heads. They still didn’t know what any of that meant.

“Okay…” said Austin. Canary picked up on their confusion.

“In other words, if you and Maze are going to continue playing hero with your powers, you might as well look the part and equipped for potential dangers.” Austin and Maze’s eyes widened.

“Does that mean?” Maze asked. They all approached a sheet at the back of the room.

“Fellas, I present to you your very own super hero costumes!” Richie and Lucius unveiled two full bodied manikins. One had a black suit paired with dark blue boots, a leather, hooded jacket, a blue eye mask, and blue, fingerless gloves. Two blue lightning streaks ran up each side of the torso of the tight, short sleeve suit and down the arms. The same design appeared on the jacket, also black with a blue hood. On the suit’s chest was a blue V-shaped lightning bolt in a static circle. The same insignia was found on the dark blue utility belt, except in black. The second manikin had a red and gray outfit. A red mask and fingerless gloves as well as a tight, short sleeve suit. The pattern on the torso were gray flames that turned red at the tip. The rest of it was red. A hooded vest had the same design, but the hood was also grey. The outfit was completed with dark gray paints, dark red boots, and chains wrapped around both arms. Austin and Maze were so shocked, they had to take it all in for a moment.

“Holy shit! Those are our suits!?” Austin didn’t take long enjoying his moment of silence.

“I can die happy right after I try that on,” Maze rejoiced. Lucius starting explaining the details of both suits.

“Like many of current heroes’ costumes, these costumes are made out of triple-weave Kevlar-lined material that can withstand standard gunfire and most sword strikes.”

“Did he just say ‘most’?” Maze interrupted.

“And ‘standard gunfire’,” Austin added. Mr. Fox continued.

“They are also lined with Nomex-reinforced fabric which makes them fire-resistant. You’re masks, vest, and jacket are made of the same material, but not as much Kevlar. And both pairs of boots are steel-toed. You will find several accessories attached. For Austin, we have two shatterproof polymer chain whips that can attach to your person as you see fit. And for Maze, we have a utility belt with a few gadgets made by Richie to accompany your unique abilities.”

“This is so awesome. Thank you all so much.” Maze and Austin’s wildest dream was finally coming true.

“What’s with the static V on Maze’s suit?” Austin asked.

“That is his symbol. It stands for Volt. It’s your hero persona. And yours is Ash. I came up with them myself.” Richie smiled, eagerly waiting for a response on the names.

“Those are cool, but a bit too simple,” Maze replied. “If you’d give us a moment.” Austin and Maze turned around and started whispering ideas. Their expression changed from delight to disappointment to confusion and disgust over the span of two minutes. They finally turned back to the others with pride.

“We’ve decided,” Austin proclaimed, “we will be known as Volttech and Steampunk.”

End of Part 2