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Phantom Vol. 1

Phantom is the story, told by a narrator behind the wheel of a car, about a Phantom made out of loneliness by a Mad Lady. His unusual adventures begin when he becomes part of someone’s art collection against his will. 
Each folder entry seems to be composed of two parts: the narrator’s own journal entry and the story of the Phantom. The pages were lost and scattered over time and are just now beginning to be discovered. Volume 1 has been assembled in the same order in which the pages have been found to this point.

Unthinkable Cramps | Decaying George -n- Doors

George is dying. Of this he is convinced. Some force spurs him off the couch in search of his toolbox. He doesn’t know yet what the purpose of this action is. A part of him thinks he’s broke. If he just has the right tool, then he can fix himself. 

But George was never good at finding things in the house. Diane was always moving things. Even if that wasn’t true George blamed her for it anyway. She’s not home to ask where the toolbox is. So George opens a closet that contains everything they’ll Never need. 

As he rummages through the relics he’s aware of the stoppage of time. All the old items bombarding his brain punish him with nostalgia. He travels back in his memories away from a body that’s dying. Just a past that doesn’t exist. An illusion he’s more than happy to entertain. A yearning for better times that can never be fulfilled, leaving him with a loneliness that wraps around his soul like a vine. He realizes he’ll miss this about being human. 

He forgets all about this the second he scrapes his hand on a metal object. He pulls the object out. His toolbox. It holds the key. He dumps the contents on the floor. Another urge overtakes George. He grabs a screwdriver and begins unscrewing the closet door. 

After removing the closet door, George eyes up the rest of the doors around him like a man possessed. 

The bathroom door comes down. His bedroom door comes down. Even the kitchen cabinets and the oven door don’t make it out alive. When George finishes removing the basement door he marches through the house making sure there’s no door left standing. Except there is. He stands in front of it, examining it. He can’t for the life of him recall what the door leads to. There’s something familiar about it. But he’s certain he’s never seen it before. He wonders who put it there. There’s hesitation about removing it. His curiosity overcomes him and he grabs the knob. It doesn’t turn. It’s locked. 

George goes to his toolbox and returns to the locked door with a tiny screwdriver. He slides it in the keyhole and unlocks the door. 

He opens the door to a room his eyes don’t remember. It’s dark. There’s smells his nose can’t decipher. His eyes begin to adjust to the darkness. Posters of bands he’s never heard of. LED lights of every color of the spectrum. Empty water bottles. Clothes. Lots of clothes. A TV paused on a youtube video. 

Voice: “OH. MY. GOD. Can’t you knock?”

George: “…”

Voice: “Hello?”

George: “You look just like — Lady Griddlebone is that you?”

Lady Griddlebone: “Uh…yeah, dad. It’s me. Are you like high or something? Because kinda weird…”

George: “You look so different. It’s been years. When did you return?”

Lady Griddlebone: “Yeaaaah.”

George: “We spent years searching for you when you ran away. I…don’t understand. Where did you go?”

Lady Griddlebone: “I’ve just been in my room.”

George doesn’t know how to make his brain comprehend this information. His body demands action. He unscrews her door. 

“Can you close my door?”

“I need to take it. Sorry.” 

George spots her closet door and removes that too. 

“Seriously? What did I do? Why are you taking my doors away? None of my friends’ parents take their doors!”

“I just thought you should know…I’m dying. Maybe six months to live. So if you want to talk about—“

“Okay. I’m gonna watch my show now.” 

She unpauses her show and laughter erupts from deep in her belly. George hears and feels this across several lifetimes.

Diane enters the house where the front door used to be. She sees the pile of doors in the living room. She removes her tinfoil hat and hangs it on the hat rack. 

George sees the look of frustration growing on her face. 

“Why do we have so many doors in this house, Diane? Did you know about this? They’re everywhere.”

“Yes. They came with the house, George.”

“Typical.”

“Why are they not where they were this morning when I left? 

“How would I know? My guess is I don’t want my soul trapped by anything if it tries to escape my body. Did you know Lady Griddlebone was in her bedroom this whole time?”

“Are you kidding me? The one spot we never looked.”

“I know. I was so happy to finally —“

“Lady Griddlebone! Come do these dishes!” 

*** ** *** **

For table of contents or to start from the beginning of Unthinkable Cramps click here, right here and nowhere else.

Unthinkable Cramps | Sasha & Yoyo*One-Armed Lady Bandit

Star vomit wakes Sasha from a deep sleep. She pulls the dreams from her tangled hair. It’s the same one over and over. It’s been like this for a while now. The same dreams every sleep. 

Sasha catches a rare glimpse of Yoyo’s face at rest. A featureless, melting countenance sleeping against a tree trunk. Her face glitches and blurs. Sasha grabs her mask and hides under it. Her golden pupils meet Yoyo’s eyes as they return to the world. 

Yoyo runs her hand through Sasha’s hair, examining it. 

Yoyo: That dream again?

Sasha: Yeah. I think she was painting this time.

Yoyo: Ya think? That’s all she did this time. Five hours of watching her trying to paint trees. 

Sasha: There was something sort of peaceful about it. It seemed calming. Maybe I could be a painter.

Yoyo: It looked awful. Don’t waste your time on that. In case you forgot we unleashed a bunch of mutant creatures on Unthinkable Cramps.

Sasha: Can’t we just alert the neighborhood watches and the dog catcher?

Yoyo: We have to keep moving. Stay on our toes. There’s the old mining spot we can search for dynamite to break into that vault.

Sasha: You wanna go back to the Shapeshifting Factory? I just want to go home. I’m tired. There’s a weird lady haunting our dreams. And I’m missing an arm.

Yoyo: You’re really going to complain at a time like this? We’re about to be so rich and you’re what…worried about an arm? 

Sasha: Crazy. I know.

Yoyo: You need to just accept what is. Okay? And move on. You’re the One-Armed Lady Bandit now. 

Sasha: I don’t know if that’s who I want to be. I don’t know if any of this was who I wanted —

Yoyo: Identity is a fluid thing. Ever changing. Never fixed. Just an illusion to ground you into your humanness. So why not choose an awesome one. And a one-armed andit is a pretty awesome one. 

Yoyo picks up her rifle and mounts the poisonous horse. 

Sasha: Maybe I want to choose to be a painter. 

Yoyo extends her hand, offering it to Sasha. Sasha grabs it and Yoyo pulls her onto the horse. 

As the sun begins to rise they arrive on horseback at an abandoned mining facility. Tumbleweeds and snowflakes greet them at the border. Yoyo spots a large rectangular machine in the distance. 

Yoyo: I know what will cheer you up. 

Yoyo steers the horse over to the machine. An oversized vending machine. Filled not with chips and candy. But with…

Sasha: Spare parts? A vending machine of spare parts?

Sasha reads the sign posted on the machine. But Yoyo is quick to correct her.

Yoyo: A vending machine of spare parts. Human edition. You missed the parenthesis. 

They hop off the horse and gaze into the machine. Sasha’s stare bounces back and forth between her reflection and the various human parts to choose from. Clavicles. Rusted spines. Refurbished knuckles. All were at one time or another the best option for workers mutilated in mining explosions and other accidents. 

Sasha slides a dollar bill into the slot. It takes it. Then spits it back out. She tries to straighten it out with one hand, but fails. Yoyo reaches into her pocket and pulls out a crisp dollar bill. Sasha raises an eyebrow. The machine accepts her perfect currency. 

Yoyo: Big decision. Make it a good one. Remember it’s only an identity. 

Sasha pushes the button and her new arm unravels from the machine’s coils. 

She fixes her new arm in place. It’s longer than her own arm. The skin tone is darker. Even multi-colored. It appears older. Weathered from the storms of life that show in the wrinkles. Tattoos. Primitive. From a prison. Or a navy ship. Of Japanese dragons. Anchors. Pin up girls. The most beautiful arm she could ever imagine. 

No longer the One-Armed Lady Bandit.

Yoyo: You look like a Pukemonster.

*** ** *** **

For table of contents or to start from the beginning of Unthinkable Cramps click here, right here and nowhere else.

Overheard in Woods

VOICE 1
Plenty of possibilities here for all of you to discuss what we should kill.
VOICE 2
We shouldn’t do the killing thing. Let’s do the loving thing, man.
VOICE 1
You’re high. You would say that.
VOICE 2
Yeah I totally would. I did. I said it. What’d I say again?
VOICE 1
They can’t all stay. There’s simply too many. I ran through all the possible scenarios and what I say is true.
VOICE 2
Let’s just say what you say you is true —
VOICE 1
I just did.
VOICE 2
And that being said we could design a play to decide what to do. Yeah. A play. Love plays. Oliver. That was dope.
VOICE 1
Does anyone have any ideas that aren’t stupid?
VOICE 2
I do.
VOICE 1
Ugh. What is it?
VOICE 2
We could design a play to decide what —
VOICE 1
No! Why on earth? Why would we — we’re not putting on a play.
VOICE 2
Why not? You’re missing out. Have you ever been in a play?
VOICE 1
Of course you don’t understand no.
VOICE 2
It’s like finding you’re purpose. You’re part of a team like the Apollo crew. Or like the Rocky crew.
VOICE 1
We don’t need a team to kill. We just have to decide somehow what to kill here.
VOICE 2
So I got an idea for that.
VOICE 1
If you say a play…
VOICE 2
Check this out. Even better. A ritual.
VOICE 1
I don’t wanna perform any sort of–
VOICE 2
Hear this brain in action.
(pause)
VOICE 1
Okay.
VOICE 2
Do you hear it?
VOICE 1
Hear what?
VOICE 2
My brain. Listen closely.
VOICE 1
I’m gonna smash your brain. Tell me what that sounds like. Get over here.
VOICE 2
Okay. No. Don’t do that! I got it. I had to wait for the brain goblins to process the thoughts into words that I can use.
VOICE 1
And?
VOICE 2
A ritual will help us to make the correct decision because we’ll be choosing based off of the universe’s guidance, man.
VOICE 1
The universe is going to guide us?
VOICE 2
Yeah. I guess. I mean it made sense in my brain before I said it. I trust it though. I believe in…me.
VOICE 1
I suppose if we let the universe decide for us that would remove any guilt we have for feeling responsible.
VOICE 2
Dude, I haven’t been responsible for anything in like a long time.
VOICE 1
A quick ritual it is then. Nothing fancy. Some words. Some actions. Some death.
VOICE 2
As part of the ritual though. So it’s like unavoidable.
VOICE 1
I’ll play the role of the father figure. You can play —
VOICE 2
I wanted to play the father figure.
VOICE 1
But you’re a girl. Don’t you wanna be the virgin or —
VOICE 2
Not a virgin.
VOICE 1
Yeah. Okay.
VOICE 2
I’m the father figure. You can be the holy ghost who doesn’t do shit but is praised anyway.
VOICE 1
Then why don’t you be the holy ghost?
VOICE 2
I want power. I wanna destroy shit.
VOICE 1
What kind of ritual do you think we’re doing?
VOICE 2
A murder ritual right? Let’s do it!
VOICE 1
This is more of a sacrifice chosen by the universe. We’re doing it this way to avoid responsibility. Remember?
VOICE 2
Whatever, dude. I’m high, but like I’m not high.
VOICE 1
That only makes sense to you because you’re high.
VOICE 2
We should do a scene where I drool.
VOICE 1
Okay. So I’m the holy ghost apparently. That makes you the father. I have a feeling I’m gonna regret this.
VOICE 2
Oh yeah. Me too.
VOICE 1
I’ll start I guess by annoucing myself. That seems reasonable.
VOICE 2
Hurry up.
VOICE 1
I am the holy ghost. The universe will guide the hands of the father to assist in your sacrifice to me in exchange for good fortune.
VOICE 2
Good fortune? That’s kinda vague. Fortunes are always crappy. What about jet skis or something?
VOICE 1
Forget this. This isn’t working.
VOICE 2
No. We just need robes and beards and stuff.
VOICE 1
This is silly. We’re just fooling around now.
VOICE 2
Put on this blanket and act bearded. I’ll wear this tarp.
VOICE 1
Huh. I feel esoteric. Maybe there’s something to this.
VOICE 2
Change your hair. Let’s shave the middle part.
VOICE 1
What? Why the middle?
VOICE 2
I don’t want to. But if we want to let God in we have to shave the middle.
VOICE 1
That makes sense actually.
VOICE 2
Yeah. That looks sweet. Look at me.
VOICE 1
We’re gonna do this.
VOICE 2
Zip.
VOICE 1
Zop.
VOICE 2
Someone ate the children! My soul is ruined. Why have I come to this road in my life? How do I bring jet skis into my life to make up for the sadness of my eaten children!
VOICE 1
Yes! So glad someone finally asked for my assistance. Spin four times in tune with the planet. One for each season.
VOICE 2
Oh my. Whose voice is that I hear?
VOICE 1
It is I the holy ghost.
VOICE 2
I can hardly believe it. Show yourself to me this instant!
VOICE 1
Behold! It is I in the flesh. See me with your mortal eyes.
VOICE 2
This is — it must be — a trick of the light.
VOICE 1
It is no trick. I am here now to guide —
VOICE 2
Blasphemy! That’s not even a real robe you’re wearing. What is that a blanket?
VOICE 1
A blanket? What this was —
VOICE 2
How dare you come into my house

Unthinkable Cramps | Ria.Jerry the Monk

It’s dark outside. The sky remains a dark blue. Ria runs through the woods trying to find the trail she lost. She picks it up and sees a familiar face sitting in the middle of the path. She recognizes the top of his bald head even in the dark. He still has 73 candles sticking out of it from his birthday celebration a week ago. 

Ria: Hey, Jerry. You handsome piece of shit. What are you doing?

Jerry the Monk: I’m using mind control.

As Ria approaches she notices Jerry’s focus is on a piece of cake sitting on the floor. She reaches into her pocket. Grabs a handful of something and shoves them in her mouth. 

Ria: Mind control? On a slice of cake?

Jerry the Monk: No. On myself. I’m trying not to eat it. 

Ria: Just eat the cake, Jerry. 

Jerry the Monk: I don’t know how to tell you this, Ria. But I’m fat.

Ria: No. No. You just have a working monk’s body. 

Jerry the Monk: That’s nice of you to say. This cake is the most tempting thing I’ve faced in years. 

Ria looks at the cake. Ants remove crumbs and march back to their colony. She pops another handful of something in her mouth and chews.

Ria: Jerry, that thing is covered in ants. 

Jerry the Monk: My mind control techniques failed to work on them. Please don’t think I didn’t try. They were too powerful. The ants. Not my mind control. 

Ria: It’s like what are they making ants out of nowadays? Ya know?

Jerry presses his finger into an ant. Its eyes fall from its head. Guts paint the cake. Tiny ant blood soaks into the dirt. Murder. 

Jerry the Monk: Looks like the same stuff they’ve always been made out of.

Ria: Whoa, Jer. Should you be doing harm? That’s not very Buddhist of you.

Ria laughs, reaches in her pocket and tosses something in her mouth. Jerry laughs like a monk.

Jerry the Monk: I know it’s none of my business, but are you eating drugs?

Ria: That’s a real bullshit question, Jerry. Do I look like a damn junkie to you? Just kidding. I do have junkie eyes. But no these aren’t drugs. They’re just magnets.

Jerry the Monk: They’re not sweet like cake are they?

Ria: Depends on your tastebuds. I read in Electromagnetic Telecommunications Weekly that by consuming mass quantities of magnets you can penetrate forcefields.

Jerry the Monk: That doesn’t cause terrible indigestion?

Ria: Nope. So far so —

Ria buckles over in pain and collapses next to Jerry. Jerry grabs her and lifts her head.

Jerry the Monk: Ria, are you okay?

Ria leans on Jerry’s shoulder and burps in his ear. Magnetic waves buried deep in Ria’s stomach travel through Jerry’s ear canal and into his brain. 

Jerry slaps the sides of his head in shock. The skin on his forehead opens up to reveal a third eye. The eye grows wide and searches its new world. Its focus lasers in on the ant corpse. An escalator protrudes from the eye, extending to the ant. A construction crew with halos descend on the escalator. Blood returns from the soil. Guts are scraped from the cake. Eyes are reinstalled. An ant is reconstructed. 

The construction crew surround the ant shell and perform a ritual. 

Chanting. 

Drumming.

Strange brews. 

Lightning. 

Life. 

Ria: Hey, Jer.

Jerry the Monk: Yeah.

Ria: I think you’re trying too hard.

*** ** *** **

For table of contents or to start from the beginning of Unthinkable Cramps click here, right here and nowhere else.

Unthinkable Cramps | Special Announcements!

Demon and apparition pickup! Don’t miss out. This Saturday only. And another Saturday a few months from now. But that’s it. Except for another Saturday at a randomly selected time to be announced randomly to allow you plenty of time to prepare. So make sure any unwanted demons, ghosts, poltergeists, angels or other spirits are placed at the curb no earlier than 7am Saturday and no later than 7:05am Saturday. Spirits spanning more than six dimensions will be ridiculed and left behind. Poltergeists must be bundled securely with a 3,000 year old hex. Any spirits affecting electronic devices or appliances must be interrogated by Detectives Murky and Sanchez before discarding. 

– – — — – –

We don’t like to point fingers, except for our own. But we think you did this. And, uh, yeah. That’s cool, man. We think it’s rad and all that you swapped one of our washing machines with something that just spits out money all day, but it like doesn’t wash anything. I guess we’re giving out money or something. We never went to business school. I mean I didn’t, but I think Lester rode some pretty gnarly waves near one once. If anyone knows anyone that wants to get this money off our hands and give us our washing machine back because we didn’t—I don’t think—okay we might’ve done this ourselves it turns out. There’s like a chance, a small chance we were a little high and had an idea. Sometimes these things happen when you open a laundromat/weed dispensary. If I remember correctly Lester said something about wanting a Twix bar. And then I wanted one. And we both wanted one. And then we got one and then we wanted all of the Twix bars. And Lester said something about how we need a lot of money to buy all the Twix in the world. So I probably said something cool about a machine that spits out money. But I don’t know if all that happened then or just now in my mind. Anyway, come get this money machine and also all these Twix bars. If you don’t see us, just look up because we’re probably really high. Sincerely, your dudes at Suds and Buds.

– – — — – –

It’s here! The Sour Lady of Thunder Festival all week long at St. Lucipher’s Church grounds. Come for the one-armed archery tournament and stay until the paramedics arrive. Plenty of food and fun for everyone so long as you supply it. A special beer garden for adults to grow their own beer or (if you’re a child who sneaks in) to grow your own beard. Whatever you do make sure you stay for the fireworks of this year’s battle of cats versus dogs. You won’t want to miss this epic showdown as the two compete for complete control of the afterworld. Cat men and dog ladies come out and show your support! Just know you’re doomed no matter what happens. They’ve lost their minds. Most of them are carrying switchblades. I wasn’t supposed to tell anyone, but they’re even slicking back their fur. These are dark times. And they’re about to get even darker. Live music! Did we tell you about the live music?

*** ** *** **

For table of contents or to start from the beginning of Unthinkable Cramps click here, right here and nowhere else.

Overheard on Mountaintop

VOICE 1

Reading the meter this early in the afternoon? Think that’s a wise decision, killer?

VOICE 2

I’ve made a lot of dubious decisions but this one takes  the cake I must say. So yes I think this to be a most wise display of my brain faculties at play.

VOICE 1

Didn’t need all that mush coming from your mouth a simple uh huh or some other easily translatable sounds would have sufficed. Either way I question such early readings. The day is barely upon us. 

VOICE 2

The sun has been up in our sky for thirty four hours. This isn’t a trick this is reality here in this dimension. Nothing I can do about it. But hardly believe it’s too early.

VOICE 1

Suit yourself. I’m having none of it. I will pretend I see nothing and move on with my business as perhaps I should have to begin with.

VOICE 2

I’m glad you’ve come to your senses and concluded to leave me be  to my own devices. I am that which behaves best when you go away.

VOICE 1

In that case I would like to stay and see that you don’t behave your best. Maybe my boredom will be cured by your insane actions if they expose themselves. 

VOICE 2

Hardly. On the contrary I’m able to contain my emotions and actions quite well. As you know I graduated from the school of controlled human abilities at the head of my class. They even named a pencil sharpener after me.

VOICE 1

Sounds as though you acquired a bit of fame out there in that world. It would be a shame to let it go to your head. Become unhinged as though a mad man had taken over your being. 

VOICE 2

Don’t count on it. I underwent thorough training before the pencil sharpener was officially given my title. Proper preparations were prepared properly to prepare me for a world of potential pitfalls pertaining to pencil sharpening pen names. 

VOICE 1

One can only hope for your sake that your training holds up. For me I know your descent into madness is upon us. It’s a slow unravel but one in which I will gladly take the time to await for my own satisfaction.

VOICE 2

This meter indicates everything is suited well and needless to say you’re waiting will be in vain.

VOICE 1

However you must recognize that a part of you is unable to read even the most intricate of lines on the meter.

VOICE 2

Certainly I can recognize my own limitations but by no means does that suggest that this meter is even for a slight moment beyond my comprehension. 

VOICE 1

I don’t mean to question your level of comprehension but you may be exhibiting signs of overconfidence for you believe that the parts of the meter which you fail to decipher are of relative to no importance. When on the contrary they’re the most telling and the reason why I’m still here.

VOICE 2

Do you think I need you here? I don’t need you. I would be much more pleased if you’re kind was no longer here. Perhaps if it no longer existed at all. Joy would overcome me and, well, I wouldn’t want you to see that.

VOICE 1

I fear no man’s joy. I simply relish in their misery more. Such as I do yours.

VOICE 2

You are mistaken for thinking me a miserable being. Watch as I jump with festive feelings of friendliness and fun. Would a man filled with despair jump as I have and clink his heels together in mid-air? I think–

VOICE 1

Indeed he would if he was putting on airs and wanted to portray a side of him inauthentic at best. A mask of cheap plastic that fools nobody. You must think me an idiot with a capital V.

VOICE 2

I think no such thing. Because, mostly, it’s too hard. 

VOICE 1

I don’t wish to say it. But…that’s what she said.

VOICE 2

If you don’t mind I’d rather not solve any riddles at the moment.

VOICE 1

As we’ve seen you’re very bad at it at best.

VOICE 2

I suppose you reference the meter again. It’s been deciphered at max capacity. Any further inquiry into the readings will by no means have an impact on the greater reading. Which I think we can both agree states that, although low, my human potential still remains aflame and better days are assured.

VOICE 1

Only a a wasted effort when you speak. Better days are not a thing of existence. You believe many lies.

VOICE 2

This is hardly a lie. To suggest that I believe many —

VOICE 1

I don’t suggest I state — 

VOICE 2

You yourself lie by saying such things and I will have no–

VOICE 1

Your human potential was but a flicker when this conversation began. If you could do a proper meter reading you would have spotted this instantly. 

VOICE 2

You say this only because you’re potential is draining dangerously low. 

VOICE 1

I do realize we sit atop a mountain right now but do you not see what’s behind you?

VOICE 2

I have no care for what’s behind me. The future is my only concern. A future of better days which are assured. 

VOICE 1

As I’ve stated that notion is quite a fantastical one. If you care to just take a gander —

VOICE 2

You can’t come up here and try to fool me in to thinking you can do a full meter reading that says I’m dangerously low. You must be out of —

VOICE 1

Turn around and see for yourself.

VOICE 2

I will look if only to prove you wrong. I’m not looking because you’re insisting on it, but only to end this silly argument after which you will leave me in peace.

VOICE 1

I will do exactly that.

VOICE 2

Now. What is it you want me to —

VOICE 1

Does it make sense now?

VOICE 2

It seems to go all the way down the mountain. But what is this strange and otherworldly ooze?

VOICE 1

You’ve left a trail of human potential behind you. It was afterall how I was able to find you. 

VOICE 2

That can’t be true. All of that? Out of me?

VOICE 1

It is true. I slipped many times in it up this mountain. I cursed the man it belonged to every time. I must admit I was quite curious to see in real time a human’s potential coming to an end in real time. 

VOICE 2

This is not what you’re seeing. Even if it was. I’m no spectacle. A man still has rights even if he’s leaking potential.

VOICE 1

Do you still feel better days are assured for you?

VOICE 2

Of course I do. This. Whatever this is. Is temporary. I’m going to do something to prove this is true even though I don’t need to.

VOICE 1

How will you prove it? What will you do?

VOICE 2

Well I don’t know yet.

VOICE 1

And when will you begin proving it?

VOICE 2

I’ll prove it…well as soon as I decide what I’ll do then at that moment I will prove it of course. 

Unthinkable Cramps | Mac, Nova & The New Guy

Mac stands by the water cooler. The final minutes of his break. He breathes as if cherishing every breath of these final moments of freedom. He stares at something out the window in the distance. Nova approaches and slaps him on the back. 

Nova: What’s up, buddy? Your hologram is tight. You sure were a lively looker when you started here.

Nova pours a cup of water and stares in the cooler, mesmerized. 

Mac: Yeah. I guess. Did you turn it off when you were done?

Nova: Yes. Of course I turned it off. Don’t worry. What do you think I’m some sort of asshole?

Mac: I just don’t like—last time Marcus left it on and I don’t like going back and seeing myself like that. 

Nova: Well it’s turned off dude. So you can relax. Stare into this water cooler with me. There’s some weird shit going on in here. A whole damn universe. 

Mac: That house has been on fire forever. 

Nova: Nice. Now you’re getting it. 

Mac: What? No. Out there. 

Mac points out the window. Nova follows his finger to a burning house. The flames appear frozen in time. 

Nova: Either I’m really high or…nope I’m really high. 

Mac: It’s been like that for days now. No one’s bothered doing anything about it.

Nova: I think it’s beautiful. This town could use a little fancy art. 

Their boss, a featureless white blob in a suit, shoves himself between them. He’s dragging a man by a chain around his neck. 

Boss: You two. I’d like you to meet your new coworker.

Mac and Nova take a deep sigh and turn to greet their new coworker. 

Boss: Five minutes and it’s back to work.

The boss leaves and the new employee extends his hand.

Geronimo: Hi. I’m Geronimo. Nice to meet you. And you. Both of you. Lady and gentleman. I’m so excited. I always wanted to work here. What’s it like? You guys…I mean guys and gals must love it here. I’ve heard so much about this place. Is it —

Nova: Whoa. Easy there…Geronimo. Um…first of all: hate that energy. I mean read the room, buddy. Second of all: No. Why are you here?

Geronimo: According to my psychic medium friend she says I’m here to bring peace and love as the reincarnation of Stella the pig. 

Nova turns to Mac.

Nova: I figured it out. This is a mental institution. I knew it. I’m the only normal one stuck in this place with a bunch of loonies. Geronimo, you do drugs. Yeah?

Mac: I’m sorry. Did you say you used to be a pig?

Nova: Come on, Mac Baby. You can’t see it? Look at that nose. Turn around, Geron. Let’s see that pig ass. Let me hear you squeal.

Geronimo: Stella was worshipped in ancient Mesopotamia. She was thought to bring love and prosperity to all her followers. They held festivals in her honor every lunar cycle. I know it sounds weird, but I feel her in me all the time.

Nova: That’s not weird at all. I still feel pigs I was with inside me too. Maybe we have some stuff in common after all.

Mac: I think what Nova was asking was, why are you here? As in this office? 

Nova: I mean after that answer do you really care?

Mac: It’s just…someone like you. Maybe…you shouldn’t…rather…you don’t belong here. There’s still hope for you. Run now while you can.

Geronimo: More like run to my desk so I can hurry up and work. I visited this place six months ago and knew I had to be a part of this exhibit. 

Mac: But there’s no open desks for you to run to.

Geronimo: Right there. There will be. That’s what the white blob said.

Geronimo points to the cubicle next to Mac and Nova’s. 

Nova: Oh no! Carlos! My Carlos! My Carlos! Nova’s coming. Everything’ll be okay.

She turns to Geronimo.

Nova: I don’t know what you are. But you need to stay away. Here I come, Carlos!

Nova speeds off to Carlos. 

Geronimo: Well, she seems nice. 

Mac watches Nova console Carlos and his fading body at his desk. His body becoming more and more translucent. Mac shakes his head in disappointment. 

Geronimo: So what do I do with this chain? Do I get to keep it? Is there a chain room everyone hangs them in? It is pretty cool. I like it. Feels nice. Little heavy, but at least they’re not cheap around here. Oh my god. Is it a new thing? Are you jealous? Should I go ask the white blob if it’s a new thing? I can see if I can get you one. Or do you just want mine? 

*** ** *** **

For table of contents or to start from the beginning of Unthinkable Cramps click here, right here and nowhere else.

Overheard Airline Pilot Convo

                               VOICE 1
                     Tell me how that's important at a
                     time like this?

                               VOICE 2
                     As if I could say words right now
                     that would justify this whole
                     situation to someone like you.

                               VOICE 1
                     Someone like me?

                               VOICE 2
                     Yeah someone like you. Someone like
                     -

                               VOICE 1
                     Like someone who's gonna kick your
                     ass.

                               VOICE 2
                     Like an alien from another star
                     system altogether.

                               VOICE 1
                     I have drugs in my body.

                               VOICE 2
                     Is that why you're so annoying?

                               VOICE 1
                     Oh excuse me?

                               VOICE 2
                     I'm kidding. A joke. Like Steve
                     Martin. 

                               VOICE 1
                     Steve Martin doesn't have to tell
                     people when he's joking. 

                               VOICE 2
                     That's the drugs talking.

                               VOICE 1
                     The drugs. Me. What's the
                     difference? 

                               VOICE 2
                     You're not you when you're riddled
                     with whatever you're on.

                               VOICE 1
                     Very astute of you. I am beyond
                     human when I'm high. Which is quite
                     the appeal of drugs.

                               VOICE 2
                     You need a haircut. 

                               VOICE 1
                     You need a haircut.

                               VOICE 2
                     Don't get mad. I'm just saying it
                     might make you feel better. Might
                     not need to get high so much.

                               VOICE 1
                     It might make me feel? No thank
                     you.

                               VOICE 2
                     This guy I follow on twitter said
                     doing things like working out,
                     buying new clothes getting a
                     haircut remind you of your
                     humanness and like make you respect
                     that and you start to feel grateful
                     and happy.

                               VOICE 1
                     Is this your clever way of trying
                     to get drugs out of me by making me
                     puke? 

                               VOICE 2
                     No.

                               VOICE 1
                     Not a real question.

                               VOICE 2
                     You're high how would you know?

                               VOICE 1
                     Got lil goblin voices telling me so
                     in my head. 

                               VOICE 2
                     I hope you're joking right now.

                               VOICE 1
                     You tell me, Steve Martin.

                               VOICE 2
                     I have scissors. I can totally cut
                     your hair.

                               VOICE 1
                     So you think I get high because I
                     have low self esteem like I don't
                     value myself enough? 

                               VOICE 2
                     In so many words. Yeah.

                               VOICE 1
                     And manipulating the length of my
                     hair will change that? Have you
                     presented these findings to a
                     scientific journal for review?

                               VOICE 2
                     I told you it's a guy I follow on
                     twitter. He's like a genius or
                     whatever. 

                               VOICE 1
                     I guess people believe whatever's
                     in a twitter bio.

                               VOICE 2
                     People believe the truth. He
                     doesn't even need to put it in his
                     bio because everything he writes
                     reflects his pure genius.

                               VOICE 1
                     But is it in his bio?

                               VOICE 2
                     Whatever. Let me just cut your
                     bangs.

                               VOICE 1
                     I don't have bangs. Get away from
                     me with those scissors.

                               VOICE 2
                     They'll understand. Tell them you
                     were high.

                               VOICE 1
                     Who? Tell who?

                               VOICE 2
                     Whoever you've been talking to this
                     whole time. 

                               VOICE 1
                     You. You want me to tell you? Are
                     you sure you're not the one--

                               VOICE 2
                     On drugs. 

                               VOICE 1
                     I can finish my own sentences. I'm
                     all grown up. We're not like a duo
                     performing for vaudeville. This
                     isn't like a thing, okay? I'm just
                     trapped in here with you.

                               VOICE 2
                     That's a lie. You're on some other
                     planet as I've mentioned earlier.
                     I'm on this little place called
                     earth trying to anchor you down so
                     you don't fly off into the void for
                     -

                               VOICE 1
                     All eternity. And yet it's the only
                     place that feels like home.

                               VOICE 2
                     Earth could feel like home if you
                     let me cut those bangs.

                               VOICE 1
                     I don't trust you with scissors.
                     How do I know you won't slip and
                     cut my heart out?

                               VOICE 2
                     You just have to trust that I read
                     an article and that if anything bad
                     happens I have krazy glue. 

                               VOICE 1
                     Can I sniff it? 

                               VOICE 2
                     Is that a real question? 

                               VOICE 1
                     Of course it's a real--

                               VOICE 2
                     Because the other one wasn't. If I
                     was in your head right now--

                               VOICE 1
                     You're not in my head right now.

                               VOICE 2
                     But if I was. Would I know that's a
                     real question?

                               VOICE 1
                     Would you know if you were in my
                     head?

                               VOICE 2
                     Would you know? 

                               VOICE 1
                     Uh yeah. I would fucking know. If
                     it suddenly got too crowded in
                     there I would be the first to know.

                               VOICE 2
                     Too crowded how?

                               VOICE 1
                     Like more than one voice too
                     crowded.

                               VOICE 2
                     What if that one voice was always
                     someone else's voice? Say my voice.

                               VOICE 1
                     I'd say you're fucking high. Not
                     me. 

                               VOICE 2
                     For all you know. The voice you've
                     grown so used to has been me. And
                     whatever voice you think is yours
                     is actually the imposter. 

                               VOICE 1
                     Impossible theory. Also I told you
                     I would be the first to know if it
                     was too crowded up in this steel
                     trap of my mind. 

                               VOICE 2
                     The doors to our minds are always
                     open. Not so much a steel trap as
                     it is a straw hut.

                               VOICE 1
                     You gonna lecture me about
                     something containing a metaphor
                     about a big bad wolf?

                               VOICE 2
                     I can't really explain it like the
                     guy on twitter did.

                               VOICE 1
                     Cause he's a genius.

                               VOICE 2
                     He is. 

                               VOICE 1
                     So none of that was you?

                               VOICE 2
                     What you mean?

                               VOICE 1
                     Like here I am thinking this is the
                     most interesting you've ever been.
                     Nutty as hell but interesting.
                     Turns out it wasn't really you.

                               VOICE 2
                     But it was me. It came from my
                     mouth. 

                               VOICE 1
                     Yeah but that twitter dude was in
                     your head. His voice not yours. 

                               VOICE 2
                     I wouldn't really say--

                               VOICE 1
                     Listen, I won't hold it against
                     you. 

                               VOICE 2
                     Hold what against me?

                               VOICE 1
                     Being interesting. I'll strike it
                     from the record.