Plaster of Heather

Triggers: capitivity

Amanda was a normal girl. She was wearing long black pantyhose and blue flats. Her hair was pink and fluffed. A black dress with red frilly piping was hung on the door, where it had been for three weeks. She was waiting for an occasion. Amanda wiped clean, 1 square. Neat as always. If she had a girlfriend, her girlfriend might be proud. She sighed and washed her hands. As she got the thirty second mark of brushing her teeth she she had an epiphany and looked up.

“Are you my girlfriend?”

“Well honey…”

Heather had a blank expression and a lot of patience in her face. She had time to learn patience. Blond straight hair dripped towards the floor. Her dull blue eyes were wide open, awake for the first time in days.

“You generally do not install your girlfriend in the bathroom ceiling.”

“The humidity keeps the mucus cocoon alive and capable of supporting you.”

“This is also not generally a normal caveat of a relationship.”

“So if I took you down, would you be my girlfriend.”

“Well I was your girlfriend before you literally stole EVERYTHING from me.”

“Like but why leave the person, if you’re going to take someone for all the worth, why leave the cuddly part.”

“The cuddly part glued to the ceiling.”

“Are you going to be my girlfriend or not?”

“Wined or dined in an expensive restaraunt vs being a booger in a crazy lady’s bathroom? Hmm.”

“Stop speaking in riddles. Yeah, I know but like we could go to Bazabeaux. I mean its not as cool as living in my bathroom but there’s pizza.”

“GET ME DOWN YOU FUCKING IDIOT.”

Amanda ran downstairs to get a spatula. Returning with the spatula and a step ladder, with what was obviously some manner of routine, she climbed up shoved the spatula behind Heather’s and applied a small amount of pressure. The stuff broke like plaster full of shards and dust. First came the apples up front and for a second freefall then the peaches in the back bounced ever so slightly on the ground. Heather’s prison cushioned the fall making more dust. Heather coughed

“Are you hurt?”

“I’m going to bathe now. Retrieve my black dress. If you pawned my black dress, skin yourself and tan me a black dress.”

A shower, a zipping and a walk down the stairs later, Heather reached a glass door opening to a very quiet neighborhood. As she clacked down the sidewalk, she turned to find that she had been inside a very black Queen Anne in a very new planned community. Her Subaru Forester was sitting in the driveway.

“I’ve managed to get 5 mpg over the sticker.”

Amanda was right next to her like a bamf and there was a faint smell of sulfur. Heather reckoned that number was under the burden of multiple kidnapped victims. And for a second she cursed herself for enabling a witch by allowing the witch to steal her station wagon. But no proof. Nope. Pizza now. The back seats were folded down though. LALALA

There was a phone book, cushioning a history book on the driver’s seat and the steering wheel was angled downwards. Heather politely took shotgun, still perhaps in a dream state. Maybe dreams just never stop and there’s no need to face obtuse realities. Yet it wasn’t cold when last Heather had sat in her car and a glance would suggest over a hundred miles had been put on to the odometer. Daylight was behind the skyline when they managed to get downtown. It took half an hour to be seated. It took 20 to get food. Heather wished there was a calendar to go with the clock.

“You’re not touching your lobster nonsense.”

“How long was I out.”

“Oh 5 years.”

Heather was pretty sure she could just punch her. As if she had found a shortcut past anger and right to reprisal.

“I’m 31”

Amanda looked up from the sausage and peperoni pizza she bought in an actual sit down pizzeria.

“You’re 26”

“I remember my birthdate for god sake.”

“Its kinda irrelevant though, you’re not getting older.”

The dream was subsiding.

“I’m a toy aren’t I?”

“Is that bad?”

It was quiet. Heather ate a slice every ten minutes and when the hour was done there was no pizza.

“I wish the check would get here.”

Amanda pulled out a beautiful amber heart shaped jewel dangeling from a silver chain.

“I could put him in this necklace.”

Heather didn’t feel her heart move at all despite the fact that she punched Amanda hard enough to break that little round nose.

“Do what you want, I’m going home.”

Heather took the keys and walked out. The sausage took another half hour, mainly out of cowardice. Then Amanda went poof and Amanda was in the second story of her house.

Heather was sitting on top the step ladder in the bathroom.

“Okay your some sort of Greek god, I get it. I’m screwed. Just how do we do this though?”

“You can sleep in my bed with me”

“That’s a twin and also no.”

“You can sleep inside this Barbie bed I keep in a converse box.”

“You can sleep on the couch.”

But Amanda was already wondering who she should put in the shoebox.

 

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16 Updates Whadda You Get

The day began with a chime. Juan imagined a sunrise as the orange gels tinted the fluorescent lights. From the cot on the checkered floor, he viewed the magnificent chrome toilet. In the far corner there was a shower. Juan took a hearty whiff of himself and shrugged. Past the sink mirror and toilet, past the door, was his office. There was a desk, a chair a computer, and a hole in the checkered tiles where wires spilled into the computer. Home again, home again.

“We bought 500 liters of Man Mix that can be pumped into this bathroom. So you should be okay until next month.”

Nitrogen, oxygen, argon and marketing all in bright orange tanks that you can refill at gas stations across the galaxy. Man Mix was the “Life support with guaranteed MAXIMUM virility”. Supposedly, it had increased oxygen. However, intermittently, there were recalls where they had declined to distribute oxygen in every tank. They didn’t make 500 liter tanks and deep space doesn’t necessarily get recalls. So Juan had worries.

“Come in”

The EVA had wheels, probably a 10 horsepower engine. Dzheff was a squishy salamander thing piloting a big black ball with a periscope for a head. It’s pronounced Jeff but the russians made first contact with the calamahapa and humanity is not as intellectually curious as it aspires to be. That’s not their actual name either. But Jeff is Jeff or at least close enough.

“Sometimes I wake up and I just kinda hope that this’ll be the day the universe gets lazy with the fx. Just a dude with bumps on his head, thats all I want.”

“Bigotry aside, I’m sorry to disappoint.”

Juan stood up and stared into the mirror above the sink, pouring antiseptic on the hands. There was a little gray that wasn’t there last time.

“You shouldn’t have to put bigotry aside. That’s the job of the bigot. You’ve been as good a host as I could hope for.”

“Employer.”

There was an update waiting. It looked good. The PA started.

“Reminder: you are all inside of me and I’m into it but I feel weird.”

“Okay Jeff, you gotta be straight with me. If I push this update, is it kinkshaming?”

La Muerte en el Indoro

Sometimes you can hear the water. Sometimes its all you can hear, as if you are trapped inside the atmosphere: the single inhabitant of a ceramic planet. It was Gloria and the tardigrades forever in the closest bathroom to C++. Two o’clock was Speech and she could go. And it wouldn’t hurt but she was playing pretend.

Gloria was a software developer, except software developers didn’t go to school. A software developer would have initiative and already know this. They’d have friends and networks and they’d have projects. And they would have done this ten years ago. And they would have been better.

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

She cradled herself.

“It’s okay. I don’t need it.”

The voice sounded deep and lyrical. Gloria opened the door. For a moment she couldn’t see anything. Then something, like eyes focusing on rain that was invisible. It wasn’t a rain though, it was a skeleton standing in the front of the only sink. There was a standing skeleton and then there was the chance of being judged for not washing your hands. Gloria stood in line.

“Could you be a dear and turn on the faucet?”

Gloria turned on the faucet. The skeleton managed to push the soap dispenser. As they lathered, their hands became more and more visible. They had long thin fingers and petite palms.

“Am I dead?”

“Well I am anyways.”

“Are you Death?”

“Why would Death have a skeleton? I’m Melissa.”

Gloria felt hair touch her face as Melissa turned to grab a paper towel. They noticed Gloria staring.

“I usually use a 15 second rule. Otherwise staring is definitely rude.”

“Can I get accommodations? I’m only pretty sure I’m not dead.”

“Not ADA applicable. Which is really unfair because I have a lot of accessibility problems. My C++ teacher only barely notices I exists. I’m so behind”

“Do you want to be study partners?”

And this is how you make friends children.

Blood of My Blood, Flesh of My Stool

Plop. Then a slow annoyed hiss. It opened it’s eyes for a second and focused on Michael. The teeth were long white porcelain carpentry nails and it already rearing back preparing to lunge. Michaed slammed the lever. The sloppy stitching between the thumb and the finger on his right flushing hand reminded him to move quickly and efficiently. A mechanical pencil and composition notebook were retrieved from a cabinet under the vanity

“October 21st, 9:15pm the child seemed malevolent and angry. One flush.

9:15pm, 5 minutes drift towards midnight since October 10th. 20 minutes towards noon since August. There was no pattern, no logic. There was just a man shitting angry animals. But Micheal drew the lines connected the dots and saw the shapes. He had to. His documentation and the little charts he made was his bible. If was not normal, he was at the very least regular.

An old black smear sat between the shower and toilet. That was August 2nd and it was painful. Basically, it was a black hand with the mouth in the middle and purple little talons. That boy was fast and angry but there’s a hand sledge between the toilet wand and the plunger. That one had to be placed in the waste basket. Most of them flushed and just in case they weren’t dead the pipe lead to a septic tank. The septic tank was cleaned by well trusted confidantes. The nearest neighbor was an acre away and urban sprawl had Michael was eyeing new real estate. You don’t want someone to hear you scream. You don’t want to be legal precedent. You sure as hell don’t want to be scientific discovery.

Back at his bed he took off the jump boots he wore like slippers. 9:30 would give him 11 hours. 9 to 5. Eat, shit, sleep, repeat. Time enough to wake up, shower and make breakfast, pack lunch. His daughter had managed to cocoon herself on the other side. Nightmares again. Perhaps Kindergarten was taking its toll.

Bless January.

 

Good Neighbors Say Bless You

It’s not a necessity. It’s throwing pepper over the shoulder. It’s a braid of garlic right next to the doorway. It is perhaps a defecation but mostly its an ass being water cooled for five minutes: a meditation per chance to poop. In the two minute mark of this revery, something opened the front door, hacked and snarled. Comedy suggests, this is when you hear plonk but no time for nirvana now. There’s an sks in the corner that has a flash hider just long enough to hold toilet paper.

She stands and closes the lid and puts the 1 ply on top while pulling her lounge pants up. From the linen closet she retrieves and loads 10 from a stripper clip of russian short. She closes the door and fixes her bayonet because why the fuck not. She cautiously walks up the two steps out the garage and into the kitchen. Long fluorescent tubes buzz overhead, lighting an island of chipped and chiseled marble and mismatched appliances. This was no stainless place. There was still blue dye staining the sink and the dishes.

She moved into the dining room. On the not shaker dining room table her HP with the 15 inch screen chugged away at… facebook, just facebook. Her rifle was not shouldered, this was casual mode. Very casual, with a knife. And a gun. A knife gun. Breathe in. Breathe out. Shoulder.

Both doors were wide open. There was a 2.5 meter biped with a thick black fur on the top slowly thinning at the belly and obviously shedding legs. There was peppering on the snout but very clean, very bleached huge canines. A pair of jorts equal to John Cena’s were daisy dukes upon his frame. You could see the phablet tucked in the right pocket. There was a rubber band full of letters sitting on the table. A hankie was in his left claw.

“God damn it Tim. Knock.”

He pointed to the plywood. He pointed to the glass. He curls his slightly less wolfy right hand into a fist. Stephanie stood the rifle against the bookshelf between Skyfall and Soulplane. She did this in order to have hands free for talking.

“Then use the doorbell Tim. Next time.”

She slouched into the sofa displacing a throw pillow, a newspaper and a bunch of junk mail. There was a naked bulb dangling from the ceiling, the ceiling fan was still. A white flat extension cord snaked under the bookshelf powering the tv.

“Text me?”

On the stool between the sofa and the television, her iphone was charging. It chirped with another notification.

“Get a better neighbor Tim, this one is an idiot.”

He made a patting motion. She nodded. His palmed made a slow motion dribble on her koolaid hair, fingers extended well past where a baseball cap would have ended. He shrugged and walked away. She tossed a bag of oregano at him. No really. He caught it deftly. There would be a mason jar of marinara later. Then an oil change in exchange. Quid pro quo, mas o menos.

Going in the Dark

          I heard a slight scrape that wasn’t a shoe. It wasn’t a shoe because I turned around and I couldn’t see anyone. My hand left my pocket, my heart sank back down, my paranoia went into remission. Magical thinking is better than hypertension. The sun was setting and I was cutting through an alley because some lessons have to be learned over and over again.
           Soon, it would be obvious that I was alone, alone except for all those other things. My towers were gone and the houses were about to disappear. I was leaving every stray window that could possibly give me guidance. Crossing into the industrial park and the only light I had was the one I held.
          Like the rest of Dis, Little Lagos didn’t mean to be here. It inherited factories and mostly ignored them. In the middle was a warehouse and that seemed like as good a place as any to put a club and so they made a banner and Solomon’s was born. Under the banner was a pair of double doors and a bouncer. The bouncer’s name was Usman and he seemed to like my tits. I thought his were a little too sinewy but I was just reading his name tag. I found myself at an almost plastic orange table marked 10, deeply with a knife. As I relaxed into a wicker bottom Mexican restaurant refugee my waiter found me and proceeded to ram itself into my chair’s back legs.
          “Drink?”
          “Robitussin, on the rocks.”
          “No Robitussin. Well drink?”
          In Little Lagos, this bar especially, the wells aren’t fit to drink from.
          “Cough syrup, any?”
          “No cough syrup. Well drink?”
          “Any booze that I recognize at all?”
          “Well drink.”
          “I don’t recognize that as booze.”
          My waiter was silent save for the servos. In front of me was a wall with sound behind it. There was a man sitting in a stool watching a door. A woman passed me and walked to the door, where she traded a cigar for a stamp on her hand. An uncaring computer boomed Unchained Melody as it shuffled through an eclectic haphazard playlist.
          “Well drink?”
          “Sure kid.”
          The little fire hazard dashed off back into employee’s only land looking for a drink that would shame a bootlegger. I wondered how many touches from a soldering iron that little guy had left before he was just gone. How many appliances was he? We’re big on recycling in Little Lagos. That’s why I was planning on eating chips; prepacked unopened grease.
          “Chop?”
          The robot had returned with my… drink. It looked flammable.
          “Chop? Chips.”
          “No potatoes.”
          “Crisps, crisps. Sorry.”
          “What kind?”
          “BBQ.”
          I retrieved a monte cristo from my coat and dropped it on garçon’s head. Seeing as though I come to alcohol for the venom I didn’t mind. I heard a scraping on the ground, it was another chair.
          “Do you mind?”
          “Yes but go ahead.”
          He had a thick mustache, skin like cocoa powder, and a chemical marvel of a pompadour. As he sat across the table he draped his jacket on the seat’s back. He was maybe a little too thin but I wasn’t all that picky.
          “I’m Billy D.”
          You can do that in Dis, I’ve met Tom Cruise twice.
          “How new are you?”
          “Dropped in a few…”
          “Yeah, I don’t know either.” There are clocks and calendars, but where to start was a matter of contention. “What did you do you Billy D?”
          “Don’t you mean what do I do?”
          “You scavenge and you take odd jobs.”
          “I do?”
          “But what did you do?”
          Billy grabbed a few strands of his hair and then moved his hand down to his lip petting his mustache.
          “A model?” I guessed.
          “Heh. A hairdresser. You?”
          “Government.”
          “What, CIA?”
          “Smaller.”
          “So boring.”
          “Yeah.”
          More pause followed and then a lighter appeared. It was followed shortly by a nice box of Newports: yellowed but not ruined. I thought for a moment he had found an intact pack. If he was about to smoke that, I’d have mugged him right there. The flap flew back revealing neat black cigarettes with red seams. They were Dis made, but very nice.
          “You want one?”
          I never had that habit but I was tempted.
          “No.”
          He took a long drag and began coughing profusely.
          “Not tobacco.”
          He quickly crushed it on the table and I could smell one of my habits lifting towards the roof. Shame.
          “So, you’re doing well enough to actually smoke smokes?”
          “Hair still gotta get did don’t it?”
          I was pretty sure there was a leaf in my hair and it had been there for a year, however long ago that was.
          “Sure.”
          “So anyways, is it an off night or what?”
          “No, it’s still hopping back there.”
          “Back where?”
          I pointed towards the door guarded by a stool.
          “Costs Cuba’s finest but you get a stamp and it’s good all night.”
          “Do I want a stamp?”
          “Underneath, above or…” I waved off the science. “There’s a sound you can’t hear. It’s happy, it just turns you on like a switch. It doesn’t carry past the wall.”
          “So why aren’t you in there?”
          “I did something stupid once and I got myself in trouble. Don’t leave before the music stops.”
          “So you’re okay?”
          “Follow your bliss Lando.”
          With that he left and I suddenly didn’t want to chop, I just wanted to leave. Usman almost protested but I walked past. My little light and I walked towards home. Leaves scuttled and plastic bags whistled and one pair of keds patted the ground. I was in the dark and making my way. Then my light caught a knife.
          I saw a svelte man in tight blue jeans with long flowing blond hair holding a fillet knife. He saw a portly small frizzy ginger with a weird gun. Our eyes met but those little sparks never came, neither did the knife.
          But, somewhere the music was still playing. More the shame.

Long After the Plunge

          Words trickle and drip down the sink. Letter, periods, whole damn sentences get stuck in the traps, junction and lord forbid the sewer pipe. Plumbers have been known to become wordsmiths out of sheer immersion in the stuff. It’s not uncommon for a journeyman to be covered head to toe with it: poems on his hand, face smattered with awfully stupid philosophy, and an amateur novel just sprayed all over him. No matter how hard you clean you can still smell the literacy, just a little bit.
          Paul’s been a plumber for 20 years and a literati for 15. He’s got a new novel and he’s shopping it around but nobody’s biting. Roots still creep and drains still clog, so he’s not afraid of going hungry. Marla Oglesby of 212 Rivolli Blv has a problem with her drain. Her problem is she had decided to drop a perfectly good sentence down a s pipe. Careless, but she’s old. Paul tucked it into his bag           He tries to get her to switch to copper and she doesn’t. No one buys copper, it cost too much and isn’t better enough for your average jerk to switchover. The difference is, pvc was never built to hold your soul like copper was. Sure it’ll take your waste and water but those parts of you that are less tangible? Well, they’ll just drip into your crawlspaces and then you’ll end up leaving a part of you that you thought discarded. The next home owners definitely won’t want it.
          He walks out the backdoor. There’s nothing to be done for Ms. Oglesby. She’ll just keep on in her way until she meets the grave. Most people do. Paul secretly hopes he’s not part of that majority. The van starts on the second time and he’s off the clock. Home is where the heart is, which is why he doesn’t feel the need to hide the wire and the pipes. One story, one basement; it’s his cave now and it all works just fine.
          Immediately, he delves into the basement with that sack of dirty language. Heavy wash, regular amount of detergent, it’ll come up clean. There’s a light clamped to an old pipe above an old poker table that’s been overburdened since it’s acquisition. There’s a few sentences in various states of development:

The avowed protestants quietly worshiped their lord and savior Jesus Christ.
The girls were teases, everyone and Michael knew this. His blade was sharp, his mind keen.
I love you.

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