nine

( the next two sections aren’t finished. They helped me work out of some writer’s block,t hough, so I’m leaving them in.)

He finished his meal, and set down his glass. The merlot went well with the broiled meat. He looked around the apartment with satisfied eyes. It had been a good hunt.

She had suspected something when he had knocked on her door, but opened it a crack, chain still in place, when he had said, “FBI!” and held a badge up to the peephole in the doorway.

“Yes? Is everything all right?” she’d asked.

“Ma’am, there’s been a bomb scare, and we’re clearing the building.” He’d put on his matter-of fact voice so she’d trust him right away. Add just the right note of authority and most people did what you told them to.

She’d still hesitated a bit.

“Your neighbors are already clearing out.” He stood back one short step from the door, holding out his arm as if to direct her gaze to all the other non-existant people in the hallway.

That was her undoing. Most people would swear that they wouldn’t bow to peer pressure, but most people did. If all her neighbors were heading out, then of course, so should she. She undid the chain to look into the hallway and check his facts. He was grabbing her wrist and pushing her and himself into the apartment faster than she could even scream.

He had her down on the ground, chloroform soaked washcloth over her mouth and nose, and knocked out before she made too much of a fuss. It was almost too easy; he was almost disappointed. Not too disappointed, since he’d spent the better part of a week working this on, learning where she lived, learning her routine, making sure she was alone. Checking on her every couple of hours, watching her from across the street, from a tree outside her window, from the bagel shop across from her office.

She was sublime once she woke up. He’d had to hit her a couple of times when she tried to scream, but she learned quickly. He liked intelligent women. They usually settled right down to business when they figured out it hurt less.

Her green eyes, framed by her long straight black hair, brimmed with tears when she’d figured out that she was going to die. When she knew, deep down, that these were the last moments of her life. She’d pleaded with him, cried while he held her, gently. She even apologized to him, at the very last, for hurting him with her emotions. “I’m sorry,” she’d said. Over and over while she leaked her lifeblood into the bathtub drain, the pulse of her heart pushing it out getting weaker and weaker until, finally, she lay still. Her eyes stared up at him, unseeing, yet still leaking tears. Her naked body, emptied of animation and life, began to arouse him.

He transformed. His glory filled him with an extreme love. Choosing the ultimate sacrifice, He gave of himself, emptying his semen deep into her lifeless body, in atonement for her sins. Allowing her to partake of His greatness and love. There was no higher gift from such as himself.

As he cut her into small portions, fried up portions of her body as His one and only sacrament, and poured the wine, He sighed with contentment. He was a God, and it was Good.

—-
Sarah sat in the laundromat. The triple load washers cost more, but she liked them. They cut down the number of times she had to move clothing in and out of the regular washing machines. She stared across the room, pass a small group of homeless men and women who had come in out of the cold to watch a football game on the television.

it was the middle of the day, and a warmer winter day in Anchorage. The sun was low in the sky, but fierce nonetheless. Sarah hunched down into her one and only jacket, as people came in and out of the laundromat, letting in the cold, November air. The odd mix of luandry soap, unwashed clothing, and cigarettes pervaded the room. Shoving her hands deeper into her pockets, Sarah eyed the young single mother folding clothes while her toddler wandered up and down the aisles of machinery.

It has got to suck, she thought, to be single and a mom. Not that she knew this girl’s story. maybe she was a rich heiress who just happened to be in a laundromat because it made her feel “closer to the people.” Sarah didn’t even laugh that much at her own joke. It was too depressing.

Her extra curricular activities were starting to wear on her. She wasn’t able to focus at work, either at the care facility or at the coffee shop. She’d finally quit her weekly job, to Peter’s chagrin. He’d stopped talking to her at home and at the coffee shop job. As if she had to meet his moral standards.

She had enough money to by a damn washer/dryer twice over. But she was afraid to do it.

Peter heard noise from the front room of the apartment. It was 2:07 am, according to his crappy night stand clock. He got up, slowly, to investigate.

He grabbed a bat, and peered around the hallway corner into the living room. His breathing slowed as he saw Sarah, maneuvering a large box into the living room. She held it like it was empty, but it was a bit big to get through the door without some trouble.

“Sarah? What are you doing with that box?” he asked, confused with just-woke-up syndrome.

“Oh, hey, Pete,” Sarah answered. They’d not said a whole lot to each other since the big fight, and she seemed pretty shy right now, too.

“I got us a washer. The dryer’s downstairs.” He must’ve looked at her funny because she added, “I PAID for it, dammit.”

Not wanting to fight over where the money to pay for it came from, he just stared. “Uhh. Um. Do you need any…help?” As if.

“No, I’m good.” Sarah set the large, washer-sized box down on the floor with a little bump. IT felt like a washing machine had just hit the floor, all right. Sarah gently tore the top off of the box, and threw it to the side.

“I don’t know if I’m ever gonna get used to that,” Peter said as Sarah lifted the washer out of the box as if it weighed as much as the box alone.

“Ok, Peter, where do we want it? I”m tired of going to the laundromat.” She looked around the apartment.

“Well, there’s the spot by the front closet there. There’s a plug. But the couch –”

Sara had thought one step ahead of him, set the washer down, grabbed the couch and moved it aside, and put the washer down in it’s place. She then moved the couch across the room with a little shove, where it slammed into the wall a bit hard. The sound was louder than it shoudl have been in a small apartment at two ay em.

(end of unfinished-work-out-the-writer’s-bock section)
—-

He stood in the aisleway, waiting for the stewardess to finish passing out drinks to the seats in front of her. Then he could slip by and use the restroom. He settled his earbud headphones farther into his ears, the cool electronica trance music pulsing and washing over him. It was a short wait, and he was able to move through to the restroom.

Once inside, he pulled out his keychain. On it was a auto open fob, one that came with a new car. He pried it apart and took out a small packet of fine grade cocaine. Cut with nothing, this cocaine was powdery; flakey, even. He poured a tiny bit on the metal sink’s counter, and took a plastic pen from his pocket. Unscrewing the pen top, he took out the ink tube, which had been sliced just above the ink line.

He put the packet back in the key fob, and placed his keys back in his pocket. They weren’t keys to anything he actually owned; he could tarsh them at a moment’s notice.

He lowered his face toward the small powdery pile on the metal countertop, placing the ink straw into his right nostril. He pinched his entire nose shut, trapping the straw in his right nostril, while simultaneously shutting the left. He turned his head and exhaled gently from his mouth, then returned his focus and his straw to the cocaine.

In one smooth inhale, he pulled in half of the substance in a long, gentle pull of air into his lungs. The music pulsing in his ears grew ice cold, full of clarity and precision. His nasal passages numbed instantly, cool and easy. No burning with coke this pure.

He spent a moment breathing in the bathroom air, allowing the trance beat to wash over him in its digital perfection. He then began again, on the right, to complete the synergy and balance of two halves.

He repeated the ritual in mirror reverse: straw to left nostril, pinch nose, exhale away from small pile, gently but persistently inhale through straw. Savor the icy numbness.

H allowed himself a small sigh of satisfaction as he washed and dried the straw and replaced it within the cheap plastic bic pen.

Charles Middleton. Traveling to meet his parents as they got off the tour bus at the end of a leisurely Princess cruise of the Inside Passage of Alaska.

They had always wanted to go to Alaska, and Charles was finally secure enough in his job that he could both pay for the cruise and spend time away from work to meet them at the end of it. He’d had some loose ends to tie up in LA, during the actual cruise dates, which kept him from joining the actual boat ride itself. Not that he minded, since he really didn’t like his parents all that much to begin with.

He loved them, in his own strange way (as his mother said), but they had been too involved in their own life issues to have offered him much during the years he needed their guidance and support the most. They’d been able to patch things up with both he and his sister once they became adults, but the damage went much deeper than any of them was willing to admit to.

Sitting back down in the plush first class seat (he always used the coach restroom for his cocaine runs), Charles felt the drug sing in his brain. He was closest to godhood when doing coke, other than when he actually attained it. He actually used the cocaine to keep himself from losing control of the transformation. A little taste now and then kept him up straight and flying right. It paid to be too careful. You couldn’t just become the Glory on an airplane to Anchorage. It would stun them all and cause the plane to crash. That would be too rude. He wasn’t a mass murderer, after all.

—-

Sarah was tired. She’d been up all night again.

She fingered teh resignation letter, folded in the pocket of her favorite work carharts. Today was the day. As soon as Judy showed up, Sarah would give her the letter.

Not like she needed a job, anymore. The cash she got (stole, a small part of her said) from around town in ever widening circles, and from a more high-end type of business, was more than enough to pay rent, buy food, and even rent an occasional movie to play on the new DVD player she “got” from the pawn shop on Tudor Road. She preferred pawn shops, since they already played on the misery of human beings. It was like stealing from the rich to pay the poor. The poor being, namely, herself.

She just dind’t need a paycheck anymore, and the schedule was grueling. She was getting into better shape, she thought, her arms and stomach beginning to lessen. But the lack of sleep was getting to her. She had begun talking to herself on the bus ride to and from work, people looking at her as if she were just another one of the bus crazies.

She had sent her dad her last paycheck, hoping it and the note she attached would provoke SOME sort of response. It didn’t. The note said, “Here dad. Put $100 on red for me.” He was surely gambling the money she’d sent along to him. But she still hoped for his love, even still.

Sarah helped Mrs. Jenkins get ready for the day, ignoring her chatter about good help, poor service, and how her “Daisy was ever so much better than you, my dear.”

It was ten in the morning, and Judy Barton, supervisor for the grunts like Sarah, would be in any moment. No fundraisers today for Judy, according to Lisa, the ward clerk who knew everyone’s schedule, usually before they themselves did.

Sarah liked Judy well enough. She was kind in an off hand, brusque sort of a way. She meant well and seemed to actually care how “her clients” were treated. Sarah knew that Judy Barton, supervisor, would be upset at the resignation, but not too upset. Oh, she’d make a show of sadness and upset, only to come back with another show of encouragement for Sarah to pursue her new job with gusto. But honestly, it was easy to find people to work for crap wages with some of the least valued members of the community, the crazy elderly.

Sarah had even prepped a story about going to work at the Press, a small independent newspaper in town, as part of a journalism degree at UAA. Judy didn’t need to know that Sarah had all but quit going to classes months ago.

Mrs. Jenkins let Sarah help her into the wheelchair and fussed at an old-lady hat Sarah propped on her curly, blue short-cut hairdo. She nattered on about going to the opera with Mr Jenkins, god rest his soul, etc. etc.

Unlike many of the nursing assistants on this floor, Sarah usually took the time to listen to the stories. They could be very entertaining and fun, if she was in the right mood. But today, she was more preoccupied than she had been in a while. Not only about talking to Judy Barton, but about her weird ass powers, as well.

And, there she was. Judy walked through the nursing station, right to her office, waving hellos to one and all. Sarah waited a few more minutes, pushing Mrs. Jenkins into the rec room and settling her there with her beads and dental floss (do we want to make a pretty necklace today, Ms. Jenkins?” said the occupational therapist in a syrupy sweet voice).

Sarah pulled out the letter, smothed it a bit on her stomach, and then went to Judy’s open door. Sarah knocked, and went in when she heard, “come on in!”

“Hi Judy, how are you?” she asked.

“I’m good, Sarah, thanks. What can I do for you? Everything ok?” Judy stopped shuffling papers on her desk to look up at her employee.

“Well,” began Sarah, “I found a job and it’s more in line with my degree, and it’s at the Press, and I’m leaving.” The last came out in a rush.

“Oh, shit, Sarah, you’re leaving?” Judy’s face became a mask of concern.

“Well, um, yeah,” said Sarah.

“I always knew you’d move on, you’re much to smart to stay here, but…” Judy paused. “…I guess I didn’t think it would be so soon.”

Sarah handed over her wrinkled, seamed print-out letter of resignation. “I’m–I’m sorry, Judy.”

“Oh, hell, Sarah, it’s ok. I wish you all the best.” Judy’s face went from concerned and upset to encouraging and bright in a matter of seconds. “I’m sure you’ll have a good time at your new job. You’ll be great at it.”

If you only knew, thought Sarah.

“Thanks, Judy. my last day will be two weeks form now, if that’s ok?” Sarah asked, hoping her boss would let her get out of it.

“Oh, no problem! I’ll need you to train your replacement of course, if we can find someone before you go.” So much for sympathy.

“Fine by me,” said Sarah with an enthusiasm she did NOT feel. As if she could train anyone how to lift Mrs. Jenkins with one hand and the wheelchair with the other.

It was odd how she kept from hurting her clients, actually. When she touched them, it was as if her powers didn’t exist. When she ripped open windows, or bent metal bars, or pulled apart brick walls, it felt no different than opening a box with post office tape on it, or a particularly stubborn christmas present. Yet she didn’t tear flesh, or break bones when she helped clients like Mrs. Jenkins into and out of their wheelchairs and beds, to and from their shower chairs and dinner tables.

Her senses, besides the weird eyesight thing, all felt normal. Touching things that she should be tearing through or breaking were as normal as usual. Occasionally, of course, she made mistakes.

One time, shed grabbed quickly at a dresser drawer while helping Mr. Tewes get dressed. She had ended up shoving the drawer right through the pasteboard dresser and into the wall itself, with a big splintery sound that thank god no one had heard. She’d covered for it, of course. After all, Mr. Tewes was in the third stage of dementia, and was hard of hearing to boot. He hardly even noticed, smiling vaguely at the door opposite his bed. Sarah had pulled the drawer back out of the wall, pushed the dresser closer to the wall to cover the hole, and continued as if nothing happened. The sizable dent was still there–she slid the dresser out from time to time and checked. Showed you how often Mr. Tewes was getting his clothes from that drawer.

But as long as she was mindful, nothing wierd like that happened. Her appetite remained normal, unless she ran fast or ripped open some pawn shop’s “security” bars. She even got hungry just looking through the very same walls she would eventually go through, while looking for a good score.

It was like there was a switch in her brain. ON, and she could lift washer/dryers with no trouble. OFF, and she was as normal as she could be (aside form the fact that she always knew that there WAS a switch).

Sarah made the appropriate polite noises and left Judy’s office. She made herself stay calm, and think of the money she had hidden at home. She finished out her shift, moving people, feeding them, taking them to the toilet, sometimes changing their Depends. She couldn’t help but feel, though, through all the normalcy, how very different she truly was.

—–

“Look, Sarah, I’m sorry.” Peter looked at her sincerely. “I don’t mean to tell you what to do or how to live.”

Sarah looked at Peter with some confusion. “What?”

“I”m sorry for giving you shit the other day. I’m a pretty poor excuse for a friend.”

“Oh, that.” Sarah smiled tiredly. “Yeah. I mean, no. Umm. Thanks for the apology, I mean. I’m so tired, sorry.”

Peter wondered what she was up all night doing. Maybe it was time to find out.

“I was kind of wondering…” he trailed off.

Sarah looked at him, more confusion apparent.

“Maybe I could come along. You know, on one of your trips out at night.” He blushed, cursing the ease with which his face betrayed his true thoughts.

“Huh?” she said, still not quite connecting.

“Well, I thought that maybe you could use some…help, I guess.”

“Peter,” she interrupted, “I can see through walls, run faster than a race car, and break open brick walls. I can lift cars if I put my mind to it, and you think I need help?”

“I know I know I know.” Peter broke in, “but maybe a lookout. Someone to make sure you’re not disturbed, or something like that. To watch for people who might see you.”

Sarah’s face softened, but she wasn’t put off that easily. “What about,” she said, “the fact that what I do is illegal. Immoral. Not what Spiderman would condone.”

Peter had the wherewithal to keep blushing. “Yeah, about that. I guess maybe I was…wrong to judge you so quickly.”

“Peter?” she asked.

“Well, you were sending money to your dad. He needs it. Like sending money to Monique. You were right. I’m no one to judge. If I could do half the things you can, i’d probably take some for myself.” Even Peter didn’t quite believe himself, but she seemed willing to let it go.

“Allright. Fine. You can come with me tomorrow night. I want to get some more cash for rent, and then take a break while I finish out my last two weeks at the care facility. Make sure you dress warm.”

“Thank you, Sarah, I really appreciate it. I’m kind of, kind of excited. I’ll make sure no one sees us, I promise.”

She laughed. “I don’t think you can do THAT, Peter, but you can warn me if something funky happens. That would be great help.” She paused.

“Peter,” she said, “what about you? Do you need some money? I can grab a little more, you know. It’s not like they’ll mind any more than they already do.”

Peter paused, waiting till he found his voice. “That’s really sweet of you to ask, Sarah, but no. I’m ok. Just having a roomate that pays the rent and utilities on time is enough to keep me going. Thanks.” He looked away so she couldn’t see the shame in his eyes. He’d really thought about saying yes, until his mouth actually said no.

“Ok, Peter, I won’t ask again. thanks for being cool about it.” She seemed to notice his awkwardness, though,a nd grabbed her coat and hat. “I gotta run, k? I’ll see you later?”

“Right on, see ya,” he said, sitting quietly with his thoughts as she left.

He believed her when she had told him that she didn’t take too much at a time. In fact, the daily paper’s online archives said as much. They couldn’t reconcile why the “ANC burglar” would break walls with heavy equipment and then only take a small amount of money or food. They blamed the homeless, as always. Like some homeless guy got a hold of heavy construction equipment. It was still a puzzle to them, and, he figured, the police. He knew Sarah wore gloves at night, because it was so cold. He figured she left them on, so as not to leave any fingerprints. Not that she’d be in their databases anyway. It seemed he was the only one with the missing puzzle pieces.

He’d toyed with the idea of turning her in, for her own good, he thought. He quickly avoided even thinking that again; he didn’t do that to people he cared about. Especially not to people he had a crush on. Yes, he was infatuated with his roommate. And still young enough to find it embarrassing.

Sure, she wasn’t what his shallower acquaintances would call “hot,” but he found her beautiful. The way her eyes shone when she was passionately talking about something she cared about. The way she casually brushed away a wayward chunk of curls from out of her face. How the curls just fell back in place, anyway, regardless. The way she kept her hands in her pockets when walking. The beauty of her hands when she finally took them out of her pockets.

He shook himself form the reverie, realizing that he had it bad. Not that knowing it helped in any meaningful way. At least he’d be able to spend more time with her, in two days. He had little visions of leaping to her rescue, at least by warning her of danger at every turn. He’d wanted to protect her from the first time he met her.

She’d come over to the apartment, answering his ad on craigslist for a roommate. She’d seemed so hesitant, so frail and fragile that his protector instinct took over. He fell all over himself touring her around the apartment, showing her what room would be hers and explaining when the utilities and rent were due. Tripping over his tongue like a schoolboy. Blushing like a bad case of snowburn on his cheeks.

He must’ve convinced her, because she said that she’d take it and then went downstairs to grab three plastic trash bags full of clothes and tow suitcases full of who knows what. She’d struggled up the steps iwth each bag in turn, and he met her half way, taking her heavy load from her, feeling every inch the protector.

He blinked when he saw the check from the joint account that she wrote her first month’s rent on. Two names, one a guy, one hers. He didn’t ask, but was grateful later when she mentioned that she just had had a bad break up. Not that he was grateful for her pain, but for her availability. Guys were just like that. Peter was a sensitive, loving guy, but he wasn’t all THAT different from your average joe.

Shaking himself again to stop daydreaming, he grabbed his only coat, his keys, and headed out the door. He was meeting a buddy at Organic Oasis for open mic night. Maybe grab abeer and a sandwich. It was the only place he could be an unabashed vegetarian and no one gave him shit for it, especially in this hunter/fisher red state. He’d tried Burger King once, since they offered a veggie burger, but the smell of meat had been so overwhelming when he went inside to order, that he left within five minutes.

Peter Novicki locked the door behind him, pulled on his hat, and started walking. His breath streamed out behind him and his boots crunched the dry snow underfoot.

This entry was posted in nanowrimo, writing. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

  • Categories

  • Archives