Guru

TONY ESPINO GURU V1.1 ORIGINAL DRAFT 6/5/15

INT. HOSPITAL ROOM – DAY

A spiritual GURU is lying in a hospital bed dying. His two
most faithful devotees, ELROY and OLIVE, are by his side.

GURU
These are my final moments. You two
have been the most faithful of all
my followers.

ELROY
You’ve taught us so much.

OLIVE
I didn’t know how to live until I
met you.

GURU
I must leave this Earth soon. But
it is up to you to carry on my
teachings so that new minds may
continue to blossom.

ELROY
Of course, holy one.

OLIVE
Anything for our beloved Guru.

GURU
In the drawer next to me is my
autobiography. I would like it
released after my death.

OLIVE
That’s amazing.

GURU
However, the end is incomplete.
Finish what I have started. Write
my ending.

ELROY
We would love to.

OLIVE
It would be an amazing honor.

GURU
Most importantly make sure you
include my final words.

ELROY
We promise.

GURU
These words are what will end my
life’s story. And shall be the last
thing I’m remembered by. My final
message and the most important one
of all.

OLIVE
We will write them word for word.
Promise.

GURU
I must be going now. Peace and
love. Peace and love.

Guru quickly passes out.

OLIVE
No!

ELROY
It was so sudden. I guess we have
to write down his final words.

Elroy removes a large notebook from the drawer. He tries to
write but can’t stop shaking.

ELROY (CONT’D)
I can’t even write. I’m shaking too
much.

OLIVE
Here, let me do it.

Elroy tries to hand the notebook to Olive, but accidentally
drops it on the Guru’s crotch.

GURU
Ow! My fucking nuts!

The Guru dies. His heart monitor flatlines and begins
beeping. Olive picks up the notebook and looks at Elroy.

OLIVE
We did make a promise.

BLACKOUT.

Drive-in

TONY ESPINO DRIVE-IN V1.1 ORIGINAL DRAFT 6/10/15

INT. CAR – NIGHT

ELROY and BETSY sit in the car watching a movie at the drive
in.

BETSY
Thanks for bringing me to the drive
in. But this movie is so scary,
Elroy.

ELROY
I love it when you’re scared, baby.

BETSY
It’s Betsy. And I don’t understand
why you like it when I’m scared.

ELROY
It turns me on, baby. Your fear
smells so good.

BETSY
It’s not polite to go around
sniffing people’s fear, Elroy.

ELROY
Can’t help it. Smells so good.

He gets close to her and begins smelling her.

BETSY
Not so close now, Elroy. You’re
making me nervous.

ELROY
Don’t be nervous, baby. Let Elroy
relax you.

He tries to touch her face, but she moves.

BETSY
I don’t like being touched when I’m
in fear mode. It’s fight or flight
and there’s nowhere to run.

ELROY
Ooooh an adrenaline junkie. I can
smell my own kind.

Elroy tries to tickle her.

BETSY
No. Stop. I don’t like this, Elroy.

ELROY
Baby, you know you–

He begins sniffing the air.

ELROY (CONT’D)
Your fear smells different.

BETSY
I farted, Elroy.

ELROY
You…farted? But why?

BETSY
I was nervous. And you tickled me.
And when someone tickles me when
I’m nervous I feel threatened. And
when I’m threatened I–

ELROY
Don’t say it. My ears they can’t
take it, Betsy.

BETSY
You called me Betsy! You did it!
I’m not baby anymore!

ELROY
That’s right. Baby would never put
me in a corner with toxic fumes.

BETSY
I thought you were different. I
thought you were a MAN, Elroy! A
man who can smell lady farts and
enjoy it! But I guess I was wrong.

ELROY
I guess so.

BETSY
So now what?

ELROY
Now…you go ahead and head home.
I’ll stay locked in here with this
demon you unleashed. If I survive,
I survive. Then maybe when the dust
settles we can be friends.

BETSY
And if you don’t make it?

ELROY
Then it was OK knowing you…Betsy.

Elroy begins sniffing the air.

ELROY (CONT’D)
You smell that?

BETSY
You were freaking me out when you
were giving that speech back there.
I’m sorry.

Elroy begins gagging.

ELROY
Just go! Get out! Save yourself!

BLACKOUT.

New Car

TONY ESPINO NEW CAR V1.1 ORIGINAL DRAFT 6/1/15

INT. CAR DEALERSHIP – DAY

A hip car SALESMAN is sitting at a desk across from OLIVE and
her very unhip MOM.

SALESMAN
Well, Olive I think you’re going to
be pretty happy with your new whip.

OLIVE
I think so too.

SALESMAN
It’s a fast one. Watch out, ma.

MOM
She’s the one who needs to watch
out. I’m taking it for a spin when
she’s sleeping.

OLIVE
Uh…no you aren’t. I’ll hide the
keys.

MOM
You’re not going to let momma
drive?

OLIVE
No. Just relax, mom.

SALESMAN
Come on. You’re not going to let
mom take the new whip for a drive?

OLIVE
I don’t think so.

MOM
(to Salesman)
You know how it is. Mom’s not cool
enough to drive. So what’s covered
under warranty on this uh…on the
WHIP?

SALESMAN
On the what?

MOM
(awkardly)
On the uh…WHIP.

SALESMAN
Oh, the new whip has a killer
warranty. Don’t worry about it.

OLIVE
Thanks. Come on, mom. Let’s go.

MOM
Wait just a minute. What about
insurance?

OLIVE
What about it?

MOM
(to salesman)
Do I need to call before we go and
put insurance on the new WHIP?

SALESMAN
I’m sorry. Insurance on what?

MOM
(awkwardly)
Her new…ya know…her new WHIP.

OLIVE
(agitated)
Mom, seriously?

MOM
Need insurance.

SALESMAN
Right on. Listen to ma. She’s
pretty cool. Definitely can’t leave
without insuring the new whip.

MOM
Yeah see I’m cool. And cool me is
about to dial on a cellular phone.

She calls on her phone.

MOM (CONT’D)
(on phone)
Hi Loretta. I’m calling to add some
insurance to my daughter’s new
WHIP.

OLIVE
Oh my God. This is so embarrassing.

MOM
(to salesman)
She’s saying they don’t insure
WHIPS.

SALESMAN
Try a car.

MOM
(on phone)
I’m sorry. It’s a car WHIP.

SALESMAN
Got a pretty funny mom here, Olive.

Olive gets up and storms out.

MOM
(to salesman)
She’s too embarrassed to ask, but
can you show her where the wipers
are? She’s not as familiar as we
are with these new car WHIPS.

BLACKOUT.

Quicksand

TONY ESPINO QUICKSAND V1.1 ORIGINAL DRAFT 5/28/15

EXT. WOODS – DAY

OLIVE and BETSY are walking through the woods.

BETSY
I have no idea how we lost your
mom. She was right behind us.

Olive checks her cellphone.

OLIVE
She just texted me. She’s stuck in
quicksand.

BETSY
What did she say?

OLIVE
“I’m stuck in quicksand.”

BETSY
Stuck? Sounds fishy. If I’m not
mistaken doesn’t this quicksand she
speaks of make one sink?

OLIVE
What are you getting at, Betsy?

BETSY
Well, if she’s sinking then she’s
not stuck. How do we know someone
didn’t abduct her and take her
phone?

OLIVE
We don’t.

BETSY
There’s going to be a ransom text
coming. I can feel it.

OLIVE
Maybe she just used the wrong word.
I’m sure she meant to type sinking
but auto correct typed stuck.

BETSY
Don’t be so naive, Olive! Your mom
is probably being held at knife
point.
By morning her organs will have
been harvested and sold to some
Serbian gangster with an unironic
mustache.

OLIVE
Mustache or not we should probably
go find her.

BETSY
Could be a trap. We might be
walking into anything. Spiders,
wasp nest, QUICKSAND.

Olive looks at her phone.

OLIVE
She’s not going to make it.

BETSY
What did she say?

OLIVE
“I’m not going to make it.”

BETSY
Her abducter wants us to hurry. He
can’t wait to lure us in. Probably
has a lot of kidnapping
appointments to get to.

Olive checks her phone again.

OLIVE
She just sent me a picture.

BETSY
Is she in quicksand?

OLIVE
It’s a dick.

BETSY
Your mom has a dick?

OLIVE
She just sent another one. And
another one. She just sent me like
nine dicks.

BETSY
Nine total dicks? No wonder they
want to harvest her organs.

OLIVE
Wait. She’s typing.
(beat)
“Tell them I said goodbye and I’ll
miss them.”

BETSY
What does that mean?

OLIVE
That’s what she wrote. Those were
her last words.

BETSY
He killed her. He killed her and
sent you nine dicks to rub it in.

OLIVE
These must be all the dicks she’s
been sleeping with. But how will I
identify them to pass on her final
message?

BETSY
Let me see.

Olive shows Betsy the pics.

BETSY (CONT’D)
Lucas?! Dick two belongs to Lucas,
Olive.

OLIVE
What about the others?

BETSY
I don’t know. But what I do know is
that Lucas and apparently eight
other people with dicks kidnapped
your mom.

OLIVE
I should call the cops.

BETSY
You should, but first you should
send me those pics. Just as backup,
ya know?

OLIVE
Right…backup. For identification
not something else.

BLACKOUT

Testing

TONY ESPINO TESTING V1.1 ORIGINAL DRAFT 5/27/15

INT. CLASSROOM – DAY

BETSY sits at her desk staring blankly at her test. OTTO sits
behind her. MR. COOPER sits at his desk.

BETSY
Brain you need to start working.
What’s your deal?

She taps her head.

BETSY (CONT’D)
Anyone home? I need some answers.

OTTO
Can you be quiet. I’m trying to ace
this exam.

BETSY
And I’m trying to talk to my brain
you big dummy.

OTTO
You can’t even talk to your brain.

BETSY
I’ll talk to my brain if I want to
talk to my brain.

MR. COOPER
Hush humans. Testing in progress.
No mouth moving.

OTTO
Betsy’s trying to talk to her
brain, Mr. Cooper.

MR. COOPER
Betsy, no talking or I’m going to
punch you in the face.

BETSY
What? Why? That seems so violent.

MR. COOPER
I’m just joking. But no talking or
I’ll slit your Achilles tendon when
you step out of bed.

BETSY
What?

MR. COOPER
Jokes. Shhh…

OTTO
Mr. Cooper gonna cut you, Betsy.
Stab stab stab to the back of your
ankle.

BETSY
Shut up, Otto. You’re stupid. I
can’t hear my brain talk.

Betsy looks up and Mr. Cooper has his face up to hers.

MR. COOPER
Whoosh…whoosh…whoosh. That’s
the sound brain waves make crashing
against the shore of your skull.
Did you hear that noise?

BETSY
I don’t think I–

MR. COOPER
Whoosh…whoosh…whoosh.

OTTO
Mr. Cooper’s gonna drown you,
Betsy. Gurgle gurgle gurgle.

MR. COOPER
Think of your consciousness as the
moon having an effect on the waves
in your brain. And it’s high tide,
Betsy. It’s high tide.

OTTO
How does he know you’re on your
period?

BETSY
Piss off, Otto.

MR. COOPER
Time to woman up on this test.
Here’s the answer to number one:
Whoosh…whoosh…whoosh. Write
that down.

BETSY
Write down…your mouth noises?

Mr. Cooper grabs her hand and tries forcing her to write. She
fights back and pulls her hand free.

MR. COOPER
Just do it!

BETSY
Excuse me?!

MR. COOPER
Joking. Come on! I bet Steve Martin
never has to tell anyone he’s just
joking.

BETSY
I’m going to try to finish this
test now.

MR. COOPER
That test is a joke. You don’t have
to take that.

BETSY
You’re saying our final exam is a
joke? I’m pretty sure that this
isn’t a joke.

MR. COOPER
Well…that’s not. I mean that is a
real test. I’m just trying to
loosen up. Got a big stand up gig
at an open mic tonight.

BETSY
Loosen up by threatening to stab
me? You need to stop or I’m going
to report you to the principal.

MR. COOPER
Fine. Comedy is subjective I get
it.

Mr. Cooper returns to his desk.

OTTO
Damn! Mr. Cooper got served by some
girl on her period!

MR. COOPER
Otto, no talking or I’m going to
punch you in the face.

BLACKOUT.

Pets

TONY ESPINO PETS V1.1 ORIGINAL DRAFT 6/9/15

INT. – BETSY’S BEDROOM – DAY

BETSY is sitting at her computer, OTTO is on the other side
of the room.

BETSY
Oh man, Otto. You gotta come check
this out.

Otto begins walking toward her and stubs his toe on a rock
that goes flying.

OTTO
Ow! My toe!

BETSY
Oh no! What did you do? That was my
pet rock.

OTTO
Your pet destroyed my toe.

Betsy picks up her rock and looks at it.

BETSY
Ruined.

She holds it up to Otto’s face.

BETSY (CONT’D)
Tell Sadie you’re sorry.

OTTO
No! Sadie should apologize for
hurting my toe.

BETSY
That would be like punching
someone’s baby in the face and
asking the baby to apologize for
hurting your fist.

OTTO
(reluctant)
Whatever. I’m sorry, Sadie.
(surprised)
Oh look pizza poppers.

He grabs a pizza popper off the desk and eats it.

BETSY
Careful. They’re really hot.

Otto spits it out and grabs a container of water off the desk
and drinks it.

BETSY (CONT’D)
Those were my sea monkeys!

OTTO
What?! Why would ya let me drink
sea monkeys?!

BETSY
Those were my pets!

OTTO
They’re in my stomach.

BETSY
Get ’em out.

OTTO
How?

BETSY
Stick your finger down your throat.

Otto tries sticking his finger down his throat but fails.

OTTO
I can’t do it! My fingers taste
like gasoline.

BETSY
Why?

OTTO
I don’t know!

He picks up a massager off the desk and jams it in his mouth.

BETSY
What are you doing?

OTTO
I’m getting your sea monkeys.

BETSY
With my pet vibrator?

Otto spits it out.

OTTO
(shocked)
Your pet vibrator?

BETSY
Yes! I got it from a shelter. It’s
a rescue.

OTTO
I’m going to be sick.

BETSY
It’s not like I used it yet so
relax.

OTTO
(relieved)
OK. Close call.

BETSY
It was just sitting on the bathroom
floor at the woman’s shelter.

Otto begins to run off.

BETSY (CONT’D)
Which is crazy ’cause they’re so
expensive–

OTTO
Sea monkeys will be in the toilet!

BETSY
Don’t flush!

BLACKOUT.

Emberlynn

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“I’m useless. Not even obsolete. At least if I were obsolete then that would mean at some point I was actually useful. That I served some sort of purpose, but failed to evolve. I have no ability to achieve anything. It’s taken me a long time to reach this sad realization, but I guess the sooner I accept it maybe the less I’ll disappoint myself. My only destiny is failure, that’s the only thing I’m certain of. It appears the universe has already made that decision, but I really wish it would have consulted me on giving me the opportunity to become obsolete first.”
“Are you complaining again?”
“It’s just that nothing comes out of my shitty brain when I want it to. I can’t make it do anything. It’s stuck on fuck off. I didn’t even know that was a real mode till I tried using it. My words and thoughts have no impact or meaning on anyone or anything. I’m a purposeless lump of flesh and bones. Whatever I say or do will matter to no one. I’m useless. It seems like I haven’t even been born yet.”
“Well, how about you try pulling your dick out of me? Maybe you exiting my vaginal cavity will resemble being born. If it makes you happy we can both scream and cry afterwards while you’re covered in blood. ”
“What the fuck? You didn’t tell me you were on your period!”
“Whatever. I tried to. You were too busy complaining.”
“Ugh. This is the shittiest first date ever.”

And that was how I first met Emberlynn Day. What a majestic name that is, unlike Stone Verlee. That name makes me want to puke whenever I say it. My mom was going to name me Carl, but it turns out a Carl raped her when she was young. That’s probably a true story. The part about the rape not about being named Carl. I suppose she assumed my name should match the coldness of her heart. You can see why I hate the name. It’s a lot to explain every time I introduce myself. But Emberlynn never asked for an explanation. Although she may have when I wasn’t paying attention. Those things seemed to have happened quite often. She used to say the craziest things like, “Stone, get out of your head and come back down to Earth.”
She was a crazy one alright. I mean I tried my best to keep her sane. I sure do miss her. Not a day goes by I don’t dream of her. Sometimes I swear I even see her staring back at me in my reflection. Maybe I am crazy after all. I’ve sadly lost track of how long she’s been gone. Not gone as in gone to the other side of life, but just gone. I walk the streets every night looking for her wondering if she would still recognize me. Sometimes I see her. In café windows, in cars driving by, in hippies who smell like a mix of pot and patchouli wearing their sun dresses. However, none of these quite match the image of her burned in my memory. They come close, but never so close as to completely banish the loneliness.
Emberlynn’s biggest fear was being lonely. She was afraid she would start believing all the crazy voices in her head. The ones that as she put it, “make me feel like a monster from Pluto.” I never knew if that was a bad thing or not. Either way, I enjoyed dating a monster from Pluto. I remember when that monster and I were on vacation in Europe and we got stuck at the airport due to an exploding volcano. She told me how she would love, to one day, live inside a volcano and start her own colony. They would start their own civilization off the grid and be the first to encounter alien life forms. Emberlynn’s fascination with aliens convinced her that they played an integral role in forming the Earth’s history. She insisted that extraterrestrials assisted in the construction of many timeless wonders such as: The Pyramids, Stonehenge, the Grand Canyon, even the famous Rocky Balboa scripts I-IV. Had she thrown Rocky V into that mix, then for sure I would have known she were insane.
I checked the classifieds many times but couldn’t find any reasonable volcanoes to occupy. Instead we settled for a one bedroom apartment in the city. The walls were all brick and covered in steel pipes. Not an ounce of carpet anywhere. Just the way I like it. Emberlynn hated it. The cold floor felt like death creeping in every morning, which is funny since the landlord informed us that the previous tenant, a girl in her early twenties, decided to drown herself in an acid bath after a botched plastic surgery procedure. She assured us we would have a new shower and bath installed within a few weeks. After being blown off by the landlord, we eventually came to peace with bathing in a death tub.
I would wake up some nights to Emberlynn staring at nothing. Eyes wide open and never blinking as she sat upright in bed. When I would mention this to her she would look at me with a puzzled face as though I were the one staring into space in the middle of the night. After a while I suppose I got used to her bizarre awakenings. As long as she wasn’t possessed by some disfigured twenty something year old ghost, I didn’t feel like I was in any personal jeopardy. Now, looking back I should have been more concerned for her well-being. I guess I really did spend too much time in my head. Maybe it was just nightmares keeping her up at night. Bad dreams from the stories we heard about that deformed girl. Little did I know then that Emberlynn was listening to someone or something.
She would ask me after falling silent in mid conversation, “Should I go?”
“Go where?” I would ask.
That’s where the conversation would end. I don’t remember being inside her head where the rest of the conversation took place, but again I could be wrong. The experience of being inside another person’s mind may have been so overwhelming that my subconscious blocked it out simply to allow me the pleasure of my day-to-day existence without going mad. Or, most likely, she just went insane. I can’t help but feel that she was somewhere else when she went crazy. Somewhere far away from the both of us. After some time she stopped asking me if I thought she should go, and instead, began telling me that they were demanding her presence. Any inquiry into these statements led to Emberlynn changing the subject or ignoring me all together. Then, she was gone. I awoke one morning to an apartment that was much colder than normal. Her absence pissed all over me before I could even open my eyes. There was no note. I couldn’t stop returning to the death tub to stare at it. I continued staring at that tub waiting for it to confess to the awful crime that it committed, but there was no confession. Death tubs, I learned, are excellent at keeping secrets. I watched the hours tick away pacing around the apartment awaiting her return. The mental exhaustion of trying to imagine her whereabouts sent me back to bed defeated.
As soon as my head hit the pillow I heard her voice. “They’re waiting for us. Inside. Follow me to the sacred mountain.”
I was asleep when she whispered that in my ear. After doing some research, I located the sacred mountain. An upside down volcano in Bugarach, France was my destination. I guess I thought she would be waiting for me when I arrived, and we would laugh about the preposterous nature of the whole thing. Boy, was I naïve. I arrived at the tiny village at the foot of the mountain where I met a shop owner named Jean who immediately recognized I wasn’t a local. Since Bugarach’s population is a mere 200-300 people it makes it easy to spot an outsider such as myself. Fortunately for me, Jean spoke English that he picked up from his years in college studying abroad. Exactly what she looked like, he never did mention. We talked for a while and I told him about Emberlynn and why I had flown all the way to France. I’m sure he thought I was strange, but he was kind enough to keep me in his company for several hours. As he was preparing to close his shop for the night he asked me if I had a place to stay.
“I don’t know. I haven’t thought about that,” I told him.
“Well, I have a spare room back at the house that you’re welcome to. It will be getting dark soon making that mountain a bit more dangerous to climb,” he said. “Better you get a good night’s rest and head up in the morning.”
It was hard to argue with his logic so I accepted his invitation and followed him back to his house where his wife had dinner waiting. Over dinner Jean explained to me the mystique surrounding the sacred mountain. Nothing unusual, just some people who come from around the world and wait at the peak of the mountain for extraterrestrials to take them out of this world and return them to their “home”.
“These aliens,” Jean said, “are believed to inhabit the inside of the mountain. At midnight tonight those people on the mountain top believe the aliens will come out of the mountain and bring them salvation.”
I asked where they would get such an idea. He explained that they all claim an alien godhead in the sky sends them messages in their sleep and directs them to the sacred mountain. I don’t understand how Emberlynn knew about this mysterious place, but I also don’t believe for a minute that some alien god was communicating with her. Jean said he’d witnessed hundreds of people hiking up the mountain over the past several weeks. He handed me some photos he took of hikers.
“It’s slow around here in the winter. These guys, at least, make it a little interesting,” he said.
He was right. These people sure were interesting. Some were climbing up the mountain with their arms crossed in the shape of an X. Some dressed in all white while others were completely naked carrying some sort of orb and a golden ring that dangled by a long thread.
“They’ve been performing strange rituals up there,” Jean said. “Take great caution climbing the peak in the morning.”
Following breakfast, Jean and his wife dropped me off at the base of the mountain and wished me luck. I thanked them for their hospitality and began my hike to the top. The trail was much easier to navigate than I had anticipated. I couldn’t wait to reach the top and reunite with Emberlynn. After two and a half hours I finally arrived at the peak. It was quiet, in fact, a little too quiet for a place that attracted hundreds of people from around the globe. Emberlynn wasn’t there to greet me, nor was anyone else. In all four directions of the mountain top laid hexagrams of burnt candles. Shattered orbs surrounded by blood soaked fabrics sat in the center of each hexagram. I shouted Emberlynn’s name, and a moment later it came back to me. I was heartbroken and confused screaming her name and listening to my hollow echo mock me as I fell apart atop the sacred mountain. I became sick to my stomach and vomited as I turned my back on the mountain and began my descent.
I couldn’t help but feel like I was abandoning Emberlynn with each step I took toward the base. Nothing added up for me. At some point the only reasonable explanation that I chose to accept was that the entire thing was a hoax. And me its biggest victim. I returned home, angry at myself, angry at Emberlynn, and angry at childish pranks. I considered moving out of the apartment, but I stayed knowing that eventually Emberlynn would return home.
Now, the days and weeks come and go and I sit alone complaining to myself in our cold apartment. I walk around in her slippers and try to mimic her voice to keep from being lonely. It may sound sad and pathetic. You would be right. I am a sad, pathetic, waste of flesh. I’m filled with nothing but useless organs that are better suited for someone with a healthy, untainted mind who’s capable of evolving into a superior, loving being that can contribute something, anything, to this world since I certainly can not. I’m not sure how many more surgeries it will take, but, at least, each day is a little easier to get out of bed knowing I look more and more like Emberlynn.

The Fragmented Stranger of The Slaughterhouse Awakening

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The Fragmented Stranger of The Slaughterhouse Awakening

I

Life. This was it. Dragon Bordello was walking the city’s spine when his head fell off. For a moment, the busy sidewalk of pedestrians stood naked before the street. Dragon’s head tumbled onto the sidewalk and rolled through clouds of dust before coming to a stop. He watched as his body continued walking without a head down Labyrinth Street; just a rag amongst the spine. Dragon looked up at the soles of a thousand limbs stepping over his head. A flower, or a lady with high heels, was dangerously close to stepping on him when Winter, Red Winter, stopped to turn around. The pale, white skinned lady with blue eye shadow and hair redder than the magic sun, turned to face the man calling after her.
“Miss! You dropped this!” The man rushed toward her clutching a button in his hand.
Red Winter thanked the man and turned back in the direction she was heading. She opened her hand to look at the button, then lifted up her shirt and placed the button back on her stomach.
“I feel your pain,” Dragon Bordello said to her.
Red Winter aligned a look down at Dragon’s head. He carried hallowed stars for eyes as if he had lost something close to him. She reached down to Dragon’s loneliness and grabbed his left ear with her right hand and kissed the dangling planet. “Who are you?” she asked.
“I’m really just a head. I am for the common time.”
Red Winter stopped a cab with her mini skirt and slithered into the backseat with Dragon’s head. Paper raindrops softly began kissing the driver’s windshield. The door shut.
“Where to?” asked the driver.
“My place,” Red Winter replied.
She held Dragon’s head in her lap stroking his hair as she gazed out the window. The clouds had swallowed the sea and were washing away the Earth with its forceful rain. Red Winter took her hand from Dragon’s hair and held it to her nose. The smell of his hair rushed through her universe, opening a window releasing endorphins that blindly tumbled down to her arousal box.
The driver pulled up next to an apartment and Red Winter placed Dragon’s head under her shirt and exited the cab. She was trying to protect him from the weather as she removed her heels and ran inside her apartment. From the dark, a burning candle on a corner table gave off a soft glow. Blankets, far too old to protect the moods of the apartment, were piled on the sofa and armchairs. A maze of gardening books were stacked on the floor creating a nature trail for would-be travelers.
Red Winter stood in the doorway with her clothes soaked. Removing Dragon Bordello’s head from underneath her shirt, water began dripping onto her black and white colored cat who eagerly began rubbing against her legs. “Hey girl. Did you miss me?”
“Keep that thing away,” Dragon said.
“That thing is Purriah Carey. Don’t worry, she won’t bother you.” Red Winter set Dragon’s head down on the back of the couch. She brought him a glass of water with a straw and sat it on the table. “I’m going to get changed,” she said, her voice burning too like the candle and trailing off as she walked toward the bedroom. “I suppose you can just stay here for the night. I don’t really mind.”
The cat had jumped on the table and stuck its nose in the glass of water. Beyond the glass, there sparkled Red’s mini life in the bedroom mirror. Her wet clothes were slowly being removed from her body. Dragon Bordello watched as she unzipped her mini skirt and squirmed out of it. He stared in awe at the naked reflection in the mirror; the glass of used tender whore. Hidden drops of rain shimmered across her bare flesh. Dragon’s eyes were temporarily blinded by Purriah Carey splashing water out of the cup. When his vision cleared Red was sitting on a chaise lounge. Her legs were spread wide open and resting against a nearby dresser. She bit into her bottom lip with charm and stared into the mirror at Dragon’s eyes. Her hand slid between her legs as she began pleasuring herself in Dragon’s gaze. Purriah Carey knocked over the glass of water and paced back and forth. She finally decided to plop down and settle in for a nap on top of Dragon’s head. Removed from Red Winter’s moans of desire, Dragon’s world faded to black.

II

Death. It’s always cold. The curved cattle corral was packed with one animal staring at the hind quarters of the one in front of it so as to prevent them from seeing what happens next. One after another they quietly entered the slaughterhouse where 300 volts of electricity to the back of the head left them incapacitated. Once unconscious, they were hung upside down by their hind legs and sent down the processing line where Red Winter awaited them with a knife. One animal. Its last breath. After cutting their carotid artery and jugular, she allowed gravity to finish draining the blood from their soon to be lifeless bodies. This process, when experienced for the first time, was described as cutting the angel’s eyes.
Murder causes hunger and Red Winter was starving as she sat down in the lunch room. Hicks, her coworker, sat across from her fetching the crumbs from her sandwich with his index finger. He licked his finger clean and sucked on it in an attempt to seduce her. Sunburn trickled off his beard into his bowl of soup.
“Human decay, why do you exist?” asked Francine who was sitting on the counter with a cigarette in her mouth staring in disgust at Hicks. Red Winter rolled her eyes, themselves convicted many times of seduction, and continued eating.
Hicks slurped his soup and complimented Red Winter’s dark, sensual eyes. She gave  him a quick smile and returned to her sandwich.
“What?” Hicks asked.
“You’re a creep,” Francine said ashing her cigarette in the sink.
“Ignore her,” Hicks said as he reached across the table to hold Red Winter’s hand. “Will you marry me?”
Francine jumped off the counter and drove a steak knife into the table next to Hicks’ hand. She wasted a gaze on his face that, with all sincerity, told him to fuck off.
The door flew open and Stanley, the shift supervisor, walked in with the shadow of a headless man.
“This is the break room,” said Stanley to the headless man.      Stanley scanned over the paper attached to his clipboard and looked up at Red Winter.
“Red, this is a new employee. Today’s his first day. He’s gonna be taking your place on the line. I’m moving you to head and foot.” There was nothing Red Winter disdained more than the colorless alleys of head and foot removal. “Francine,” Stanley continued, “you’ll be on skinning detail. If you need help with the down pullers I’m sure Hicks here can lend you a hand.” The door shut behind Dragon’s body as he exited the break room behind Stanley.
Francine pulled the knife out of the table and said to Hicks, “That freak almost makes you look normal.”
Red Winter was looking in her compact mirror applying lipstick. She tightened her ponytail, hung like a monument to her gushing beauty, and adjusted her bra when Francine realized what she was up to.
“That look. That look,” Francine said. “Today’s guy?”
Red slid her chair out and stood up. “What? He’s cute,” she replied causing Hicks to stop eating and slump down in his chair. His soup and a sediment of his affection had turned to leather.

Cattle throats, one after another, gone. Dragon’s most recent victim was being sent down the line with blood gushing from its jugular. The hooks holding the cattle’s hind legs began to shake and rattle on the line. The persistence of the sound was uncommon and drew Red Winter’s attention. She looked up to see the muscles twitching in the cattle’s legs. When the twitching ceased Red watched its stomach rise and fall back down. Its legs began jolting, trying to free itself from the hooks. The cattle’s spastic floundering commanded the attention of everyone on the line. Its mouth opened letting out a gurgled moo. Even in the absence of circulating blood, life still chose to return to this corpse. Born again was that which spoke with no logical explanation. With every subsequent cattle Dragon took a knife to, they each reacted in the same manner miraculously coming back from the dead. Slaughterhouse weeds. The hooks were rattling and echoing absurdly throughout the slaughterhouse due to reborn cattle seeking their freedom.
Sensing a reasonable amount of undead, Stanley rushed over and quickly pulled Dragon off the line. Red Winter watched from a distance as Stanley handed Dragon a bucket full of cleaning supplies and ushered him into the bathroom. It was unrealistic, not to mention bad for the slaughtering business, to allow him to remain on the processing line.
Red Winter took advantage of the chaos on the processing line and snuck into the bathroom. Dragon’s arms were elbow deep in the toilet before he stood up covered in a reeking yellow slime. In life people see and people dream, now Red Winter would look for the value in one who did neither. Red Winter kicked the bucket of cleaning supplies across the bathroom floor and removed her pants. She yanked Dragon’s pants off of his body and pushed him onto the toilet. Her eyes rolled into the back of her head as she straddled his legs and forced Dragon inside her body. His headless body was her long sought after fantasy. Under no condition would it be plausible for her to analyze his thoughts or fancies.

III

The slaughterhouse walls were surrounded by the media from multiple news outlets. News had spread of a headless miracle worker and reporters were banging down the doors racing to be the first to break the story. One female reporter standing outside the building looked into her camera and said, “This slaughterhouse behind me may soon be out of business due to cattle returning from the dead by the hands of a mysterious headless man. Not much is known at the moment such as why he would bring them back to life. Several other questions are also unanswered at the moment. Is this a political statement? Was he hired from someone on the outside in an attempt to have this slaughterhouse shut down? Is this a hoax? Or is this mystery man actually capable of performing miracles and bringing the dead back to life? And most importantly, who is he? Stay tuned as we uncover the answers to what is currently being regarded as, the slaughterhouse awakening.”
Over the next several hours, Dragon’s head watched the television waiting for reporters to gain access to the headless man inside the slaughterhouse. Red Winter came home and gave a calm, detailed report to Dragon’s head of her sexual encounter with his body. She watched the anger boil over in his eyes, and with her sweet, gentle voice said, “Something about being in control really turns me on.” Quietly she continued, “Without me you’ll never return to your body. I control that now. I guess we have some decisions to make here, don’t we?”
“I should slap you,” said Dragon’s head.
Red Winter relaxed in a worn out armchair and covered herself with a blanket. “You can’t. And you should really behave if you ever want to see your body again.”
“Please. I don’t know how much longer I can bear the pain and loneliness of being separated from myself. I feel like I’m losing my whole identity. Every trace of what makes me, me.” Sadness was washing away the anger in his face with tears of despair. “You need to bring me to my body,” he pleaded. “This can’t wait.”
Red Winter began curling up under the blanket searching for a comfortable position. With a yawn and a tone that disregarded the immediacy of the situation and his solitude, she explained, “Maybe you just need to be rid of that part of you now. Your body discarded you. Maybe that happened for a reason. You should no longer concern yourself with such silly things like a body anymore, my dear.”
“I don’t think you understand what it’s like,” Dragon said, his voice trembling, “to want to sleep your life away to experience a world in which you aren’t helpless.” His time spent dreaming to escape his helplessness was only matched by his time spent imagining his own demise. He wore out many thousand great cliffs inside his head plunging to his death.
“I’m doing you a favor,” Red Winter said as she turned her words to the corner table to blow out a candle and gently shut her eyes. “You should be thankful that there’s anything to feel in the abyss. Even if it is only helplessness.”

Red Winter’s discreet encounters in the bathroom with Dragon’s body continued. She even found herself co-hosting a unique event alongside Dragon’s body. It was by far the one event which brought the most media attention to Dragon’s body, and saw his popularity expand across an entire nation. It began with the long, curving line outside the slaughterhouse. The line once reserved for the herd of ignorant cattle was overcrowded with humans. Many of whom were holding in their arms a small animal that ceased to make a sound or move. Stiff, cold, and dead they laid in their owner’s arms. A quarter mile away, a white sign hammered into the roadside with the sun beaming upon it read, “Dead Pets Brought To Life. Headless Mystery Man Performs Miracles.” This garnered the attention of not just those who recently lost a fluffy beloved one, but curious locals out to investigate whether or not there was an authentic miracle worker living amongst them. Their doubts were soon put to rest as the dead continued to rise with no explanation. The slaughterhouse was transformed into a carnival with Red Winter shouting into a megaphone, “Step right up! Watch your dead pet come to life!” Many entered the slaughterhouse not knowing what to expect and left believing in a new divine being. News spread like wildfire when these new converts rushed to any reporter with a microphone and camera.
Quotes quickly found their way to newspapers and television screens from coast to coast. They all agreed that this headless man must be more than human; however, another interesting discovery was revealed when discussing his lack of a head. “There was something – growing,” observed one female spectator. Yet another confused member of the audience echoed a similar observation, “There was a very distinct difference in his appearance by the end of the night. His neck. It was growing something.” Reporters ran with the story and tempted the public with news of the headless miracle man’s new head. Everyone, from the mayor to the workers in the sausage factory, gave their thoughts on how the head would look once fully manifested. Some were wildly throwing their predictions around while others based their predictions on the single photo that had made it into the press. It was the clearest depiction of that lump of flesh sprouting from its neck revealing skin that was hairless and tight with brown veins protruding through the skull. Also visible were signs showing the top half of the eyes breaking the surface of the neck. Anticipation built for the first ever interview of the nameless miracle man. Soon he would speak, and the world would be watching.
Dragon’s head began to feel obsolete with the news of another head growing from his body. Not only had he lost any chance of reclaiming his body, but also the fame that accompanied it . It was clear by now that his body was becoming the most revered figure in recent history, and it would be another head that would receive the nod of recognition from a world hungry to worship those who may grant immortality. All that was left of Dragon were these torturous thoughts that made him scream. His scream and his loneliness stretched over the course of several days, until Red Winter stormed through the front door in a panic with her makeup smeared and blood dripping from her face. With trembling hands, she picked Dragon’s head up by his hair and dropped him into her purse. “Shut up,” she said through clenched teeth. Her purse banged against the door frame as she exited her apartment in a hurry.

IV

Moments before Red Winter had rushed into her apartment to retrieve Dragon’s head, she was in a slaughterhouse waiting for the show to begin. The show was to begin with an announcement. Red Winter had earned the right to unveil the headless miracle man’s new head. Thousands were scheduled to be in attendance that night to finally put a face to the miracle man, and to witness the first human corpse brought back from the dead. Prior to the event, while the slaughterhouse still remained empty, Dragon’s body was in the bathroom awaiting Red Winter’s arrival. When she did arrive, he extended a bouquet of flowers to her in a show of devotion.
Red Winter with her delicate voice asked, “For me?” After accepting the flowers she said, “You love me. Don’t you?”
Dragon confirmed by nodding his new head.
“That’s so sweet of you,” she said with a near whisper, “but I absolutely despise flowers and your feelings for me.” Red Winter shoved the flowers in the trash can and, showing no emotion at all, said, “I liked you better without a head.”
She stood behind Dragon, staring over his shoulder into the mirror. “Look at you,” she said. “You have to live with this grotesque thing growing out of you now. You’re a mishap. Just a disgusting little monster.” She placed her hand on his head, feeling it as if to see if it were actually real. He pulled away from her. “You’re my little monster now,” she assured him with her sweet, calming tone.
Dragon stared at Red Winter in the mirror and smashed the back of his head into her nose. After removing her hands from her nose and seeing them smothered in her own blood, she grabbed the back of Dragon’s head and put his new face through the mirror. He swung his arm around, landing the back of his fist on Red Winter’s cheek. He wrapped his hands around her neck and began to squeeze. Red Winter managed to free herself with kicks and send Dragon’s body stumbling backwards. His head crashed against the toilet. He collapsed onto the ground and didn’t move. A thin crack appeared down the middle of his bald skull. Even if he did regain consciousness, Red Winter knew she couldn’t unveil this beaten and battered head to the world. She left Dragon’s body on the bathroom floor when she fled to her apartment to retrieve Dragon’s head that was still screaming the moment she arrived.

V

Red Winter closed the bathroom door behind her and removed Dragon’s head from her purse and sat it on the counter. “I screwed up. I need to get you back on your body,” she said.
Dragon’s head was speechless at the sight of his body and the head attached to it, but he did manage to mutter a simple, “You should hurry.”
Red Winter stood over Dragon’s body and pulled on his head with all her might. She drove her foot into his chest for more leverage as she continued to pull. What sounded like fabric being torn in two was Dragon’s head being removed from his body. She placed the head in her purse and reattached the head on the counter to Dragon’s body.
He stood up and stared at himself in a broken shard of glass, “I feel different,” he said with a hint of bewilderment.
Red Winter placed a hood over his head and whispered in his ear, “It’s time to make history.” She grabbed her purse and escorted Dragon out to the thousands waiting in the slaughterhouse.
While climbing the stairs to the platform where the miracle would be performed, memories began flashing through Dragon’s mind that he didn’t recognize. At the top of the platform, Red Winter stopped next to a steel table which held the corpse of a dead man. Underneath the hood, Dragon was reliving the memories his body had acquired in his absence. The last memory he experienced, before the hood was removed, was of Red Winter calling him a monster and smashing the mirror with his face. As the hood came off she was the first thing he saw. He tried to look past her and observe his new surroundings. The slaughterhouse was lit up by a display of candles and lanterns better suited for a funeral parlor. Thousands filled the room but made not a sound. Once they were done gawking at Dragon, they began to whisper amongst themselves. “He looks so…average,” one onlooker noticed. Another doubted his authenticity stating, “There’s no way that’s him.” And yet another expected a far more fantastic exhibit to be displayed that evening, noting, “He looks just like us.” One member from the crowded audience yelled up to the platform, “What’s your name?”
Confident that his name would forever be remembered throughout history, he shouted, “Dragon Bordello!”
The crowd began chanting his name as Red Winter placed the knife in his hand, and with her bruised cheek said, “Don’t you mess this up.”
She faced the audience and spoke into a microphone, “After tonight you will all be able to attest to the miraculous powers of Dragon Bordello as you experience the first human body to ever be brought back from the dead.” Excitement spread through the crowd stirring up cheers for what would be an historical event. Red Winter turned to Dragon and asked, “Who is this lucky person you’re bringing back from the dead tonight?”
She held the microphone to his face and as the audience awaited the identity of the dead man on the table, Dragon said with a mouthful of vengeance, “You.”
Before Red Winter could offer a reaction, Dragon had already ran the blade of his knife across her throat. He stood behind her holding her head back while the blood from her throat sprayed the platform. Thousands watched not knowing what to expect, but simply waiting for a miracle. The muscles in Red Winter’s legs began to twitch. Dragon dropped her to the platform where her body laid motionless after knocking over her purse and spilling the secrets that hid inside. As the crowd waited for Red Winter’s body to return from the dead, they stared in horror at the head rolling across the platform. Dragon attempted to chase after it. The audience fell silent and doubts again rose about the nature of this “miracle man”. When the head came to a stop, the audience members were convinced they had seen that bald head with brownish veins popping through its flesh once before. Lanterns turned to torches and chants of, “Impostor” echoed throughout the slaughterhouse.
The angry mob of spectators chased Dragon out of the building and into the night. The hunt continued down endless streets that reached the countryside where they spotted him fleeing into the safety of a new darkness in an overgrown cornfield. Dragon hoped that the thickness and disorienting nature of the field would deter them from following after him. This proved to be the case as they positioned themselves along the perimeter of the cornfield screaming for his head. Terrifying voices riding through the darkness of the night haunted Dragon as he stood frozen in the middle of the field. There was no escape from their crackling taunts surrounding him. There would be no fame for Dragon Bordello. No recognition for miracles performed prior to the evening’s terrible turn of events. He thought about what could have been had Red Winter returned from the dead. He realized he was never meant to feel the warm embrace of a society in which he felt so alone, just as he realized Red Winter was never meant to experience the unthinkable depths of immortality. Looking around now at the flames burning the very cornfield he stood in the middle of, he was, at least, relieved to die with his body. He waited; a stranger on the avenue of death with nothing but vistas of deadly light to bring him peace.