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. 

Unthinkable Cramps | Diane and Sheila

Diane sits on her roof in the glow of the full moon, charging herself like a crystal. Through her bedroom window climbs her neighbor, Sheila, who plops down beside her. Diane hands her a tinfoil hat and they each fit one on their head. 

Sheila: We’re not gonna blow off the roof in this wind are we?

Diane: It’s fine. Just aim for the bushes.

Sheila: Ya know George looks really good for a dying man. 

Diane: My thoughts exactly.

Sheila: Even his skin looks amazing. 

Diane: And if you’re dying do you really need to talk about it every five seconds?

Sheila: Seems a bit excessive. I would like to think if I was dying I’d mention it once. 

Diane: No need to beat someone over the head with it. I get it. You’re not gonna exist anymore. What do you want me to do about it?

Sheila:  What are you supposed to save him? Look everyone, it’s Diane the Jesus!

Diane: Watch me perform a miracle and make my husband shut up. 

Sheila: I’m sorry. I should probably stop being mean to George. He is dying and all.

Diane: But is he? Something is wrong with him, but I don’t know if it’s death that’s crept inside him. 

Sheila: You think it’s them?

Sheila motions to the house across the street. A house that had been abandoned for years and now suddenly is occupied by a mysterious host. A host who still hadn’t addressed the overgrown lawn or the gutters falling from the roof when a commotion in the detached garage next to the house drew Diane and Sheila’s attention weeks earlier. Now as they sit on the roof and watch through an empty paper towel roll they see rainbow lights illuminate the garage windows accompanied by odd sound effects. 

Diane: George was fine until they moved in. 

Sheila: Everyone was fine until they moved in. Even Biohazard Bertha has been sweeping up the fortunes under the fortune tree without any protective gear. Almost like she has a death wish. 

Diane: That’s why I haven’t ruled out mind control yet. 

Diane takes out a cigar and lights it. 

Diane: They’re up to something nefarious over there. No normal person has rainbow lights shining in their garage at this hour. Red? Blue? Green? Sure. By themselves. But altogether. A whole damn rainbow, Sheila? They’re probably building a monster over there for all we know. I’ve seen Frankenstein. 

Sheila: Are they mad scientists? Are they CIA agents? Some secret government agency no one’s ever heard of? Spies? Should we go knock?

Diane passes the cigar to Sheila. A loud blast comes from the garage. 

Sheila: Was that a car backfiring?

Diane: Or a gunshot. 

The lights in the garage dim and grow bright again. Then the garage and house go completely dark as if someone turned off the circuit breaker. Diane and Sheila peer through their cardboard telescopes again. Three figures in dark suits step out of the garage one after another. Each moving like a shadow of the other. All appear identical in size and shape. They walk to the side of the house and open the doors to the basement. Their motions mirror each other as they approach the steps and descend underground. 

Sheila: They’re all like carbon copies of each other.

Sheila hands Diane the cigar. She watches through a puff of smoke as a shorter, rounder figure emerges from the garage and dashes toward the open basement. It seems to be wearing a long trench coat of some sort. The movements are less graceful than the previous figures to go down. It fumbles as it tries to lower itself on the steps before finally regaining its footing. It reaches for the doors and looks to see if anyone is watching before rapidly shutting them. 

Diane: Who the hell was that? 

Sheila: Do you think they saw us?

Diane: That last hobbit to go down that hole looked concerned that we would. But why?

Sheila: Maybe they’re that person’s subjects that they’re watching over.

Diane: Or that they created. They could be hiding them in the basement.

Sheila: Clones? You think there’s a mini cloning facility going on over there?

Diane: I think it’s possible. I think they’re doing all types of human experiments. 

Diane hands Sheila the cigar. 

Sheila: That would explain why Bertha hasn’t been herself. And that means…

Diane: It would explain why George thinks he’s dying. 

Sheila: He’s not dying is he?

Diane: He’s just set to expire. But he can’t tell the difference. 

Sheila: So that means the real Bertha and the real George…

Diane: Are in there. Somewhere. 

A gust of wind swooshes over them. 

Sheila: Ow! Ow! 

Sheila starts patting her shirt frantically.

Diane: What’s the matter? Keep it down.

Sheila: Ashes just flew down my shirt. It burns. 

Diane pulls on Sheila’s collar and blows down her shirt. She snatches the cigar from her.

Diane: Amateur. Come on. Let’s go. 

Diane gestures to the open window and helps Sheila through as she takes a final puff off the cigar.

*** ** *** **

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

U.C. | Sasha & Yoyo in the Shapeshifting Factory

Sasha and Yoyo sneak through the corridors of the shapeshifting factory on the first floor that houses many strange creatures in prison-like cells. Each one a mad experiment designed by madder men. In one cell a donkey with explosive urine. In another the torso of a man attached to a rotating sphere of energy capable of sucking up objects and sending them into an astral void. 

Sasha watches a cloud collapse to the cold, cell floor and have a seizure. Branches stretch out from its core and reach for her. She jumps back and asks, “What are we robbing from this place exactly?”

“All these creations are products for this company.” Yoyo says. “Imagine a bizarre boutique for terrorists looking to think outside the box.”

“So you knew this place creates and supplies weapons for terrorists and you were just not going to tell me that until we got here?”

“Yeah. Whatever. Listen don’t start complaining about how you hate this job again. There’s a vault of cash somewhere in the basement. Believe it or not they don’t sell to as many terrorists as you think. Most still prefer old, traditional methods. So chill.”

An elevator door rings. They hide behind a corner and wait for two scientists to exit before sneaking into the elevator behind them. Yoyo pushes the button for the basement. The doors close.

“Why do you know so much about terrorists again?”

Yoyo waits for the elevator to move. “The bulk of this company’s money comes from rich people overseas. The kind of people my kids resent me for not being. Psychopaths looking to own the latest exotic pet so their children have something interesting to post on social media. My stupid kids follow all those idiots online. That’s the only reason I know about this place.”

The elevator beeps. 

Sasha unholsters the revolvers on her chest. “Here we go. Let’s make this quick.”

The last thing the guards see before bullets pierce their skulls are the golden pupils beneath Sasha’s mask and Yoyo’s scrambling blur of a face. 

They drag a guard’s corpse to a locked door and use his eye for entrance. The door opens up to the smell of engine oil and hot air. A large, steel machine with an opening emitting flames hums on the factory floor. It consumes whatever items it needs for its creation and spits out the rest. The floor is a mess of human and animal remains tangled around electrical wires that are soaked in radioactive chemicals. 

Yoyo smashes the window to a control room with the butt of her rifle. Sasha climbs through as Yoyo stands guard. Sasha shoots through a door leading to an office.

“You see anything?” Yoyo asks.

Sasha stands in front of a massive vault, clearly impervious to bullets. “We need explosives.”

Yoyo rushes over to assess the situation. “What are those buttons for over there on the wall?”

Sasha smashes various buttons that look like they shouldn’t be smashed, setting off alarms. 

“What are the odds that’s a dinner bell?” Sasha asks. 

“I just asked what they were for. I didn’t tell you to push them all.”

“I was taking initiative.”

The sound of angry guards ready to unleash violence forces Sasha and Yoyo to abandon the vault. As they reenter the factory floor a wall of a dozen armed men block the exit. One of them yells, fire! Bullets fly back and forth and the two sides fall into a weird rhythmic pattern like a deadly drum circle with the shapeshifting machine providing a steady tempo.  Even though they’re trying to kill one another, on a deeper subconscious level they’re still driven to create together. Man’s need to communicate and express the beauty of the soul even with his enemy. 

“Die motherfuckers!” Yoyo demands. 

More guards file onto the factory floor. The machine glows and emits a bright green light. A horse appears inside the beam. It trots around the floor narrowly dodging bullets. 

“Come on,” Yoyo says. “We’re going horseback riding.”

Sasha and Yoyo jump on the horse. Yoyo takes the reins and quickly discovers the horse contains a deadly poison. They advance on the armed wall and shoot their way through with bullets and venom. Yoyo steers the horse up a flight of stairs, trampling any guards that get in the way. 

When they reach the first floor they’re greeted by chaos in the corridors. 

“Oh no! See what happens when you try to take initiative?” Yoyo says.

The cages have been opened. The monsters are pissing bombs and swallowing each other into their voids. 

The horse gallops toward the exit and spits venom at a giraffe standing in their way. Its front leg melts, dropping it to its knees. The horse jumps over its back and out the door. The giraffe follows after them on three legs. Its eyes turn black and direct two laser beams in the horse’s direction. As the horse reaches the road the laser beam reaches its target and dismembers Sasha’s left arm. 

Yoyo yells at the horse to run faster. She hears Sasha shouting about something. Once she suspects they’re in the clear she slows the horse down.

Yoyo lets out a deep sigh, bracing herself for what comes next. Keeping her gaze focused on the horizon she reluctantly asks Sasha, “What are you complaining about now?”

*** ** *** **

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

Unthinkable Cramps | Murky.Dinner

Detective Hank Murky sits at the dinner table dripping blood into his meatloaf. His wife, Daisy, watches him as if waiting for a response. On both sides his twin 11 year old daughters, Emily and Rosinda, shout at him with excitement. Murky disappears behind his eyes. Their Golden Retriever, Pitbull, begs by his side. 

Emily’s face blurs when she speaks as if her movements are too fast for reality to keep up with. Murky wipes the blood from his eyes, but Emily’s face continues to blur. He can’t hear a word she says, because he’s listening to something else. A separate voice. One inside his head. He thinks it’s his own, but he can’t be certain. What if the voice he had grown used to in his head which he thought to be his own was really an imposter? A perfect imitation, he wonders. 

Daisy flings mashed potatoes at Murky’s head. A cacophony of noise crashes into him. One voice cutting through the rest.

Daisy: Hank! Hank! What the hell?

Murky: What the hell what?

Daisy: For twenty five minutes you’ve sat there not saying a word or moving a muscle.

Murky: I’m a cop, Daze. A real bloody cop. I do weird shit sometimes.

Daisy: More so than usual lately. I’m just gonna come out and ask you. Are you having an…an. Are you having an affordable dinner before you come home every night? Is that why you aren’t eating?

Murky: It’s not like that, okay?

Daisy: Then what is it? Your daughters were telling you all about their wrestling and karate tournaments and you weren’t even listening. 

Murky: I guess I tried.

Daisy: You tried?

Murky: Her face—the Emily’s face. It was—what did she do to it?

Daisy: I let her play with my makeup.

Murky: Does it—her face looks like a wind machine is blowing her skin off. Look at her. 

Murky looks where Emily was sitting and sees an empty seat. He looks around the table and neither of the twins are there.

Murky: Where—she was right there. 

He bends down and looks under the table. Pitbull licks the blood off his face.

Daisy: Hank, are you feeling okay?

Murky: I just can’t stop thinking about this case, ya know? It’s really eating at me. Dammit, she was sitting right there a minute ago.

Daisy: It’s fine. It’s probably the government agent people recalibrating the reality projectors. They warned us this might happen.

Murky: Warned who? When? 

Daisy: It was in this week’s special announcements. Did you not read the special announcements this week, Hank? You always read the special announcements.

Murky: No, I didn’t read the special announcements. I’ve been dealing with a town full of people talking to their damn appliances. 

Daisy: That’s what this is about?

Murky: I need to get to the bottom of it.

Daisy; Right.

Murky: You know how many coffee machines I had to pry away from elderly people this week and quote unquote interrogate with my shotgun? More than I would like. 

Daisy: Copping ain’t easy, hun.

Murky stands up and hands his bloody meatloaf to Pitbull who devours it. 

Daisy: Do you wanna tuck the kids in before you get in the shower?

Murky: Shower? I’m not washing my disgusting man skin right now. I’m locking myself in the garage to work on this case.

Daisy: We don’t have a garage.

Murky: Why do I even live here? Do we have a basement?

Daisy: Hank, you know we don’t have a basement.

Murky: Do I? Because I don’t remember that being one of my cases. I don’t recall investigating whether this house has a basement or not. 

Daisy: We have a crawlspace. 

Murky: Was that so hard, Daze? Thank you. 

Daisy: So are you going to tuck in the girls now?

Murky: Well I was planning on locking myself in the crawlspace and just, ya know, solving the biggest mystery man has ever known. But sure I’ll tuck the girls in. Because that’s real important. Blurry ass faces that I can’t even see. 

Daisy: You know what? Don’t bother.

Murky: No. I’m sure it will be just as exciting as getting to the bottom of why people are promising their bones to their dishwasher. 

Daisy: It won’t be. So just go do your copping. I’ll tuck them in. 

Murky: And where exactly is this crawlspace you speak of?

Murky stomps the kitchen floor. Walks a few paces and stomps again. He continues stomping the kitchen floor trying to get to the crawlspace. 

Daisy rolls her eyes and walks away. She can still hear the echo of his stomps as she approaches her daughters’ room. 

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

Unthinkable Cramps | Ria.Remote Viewing

_Ria_… 

              \ Earlier | Pre-Rehab / 

Yurts, broken down Winnebagos and storage containers transformed into living quarters threaten to be swallowed up by thousands of acres of pine trees. 

A mixed group of physicists, yogis, monks, occultists, and mountaineers form this tiny group isolated from the rest of society. The location is intentional. An area of the forest floor with highly conductive soil allowing electricity to flow through and be stored like a massive battery. 

Ria sits in a clearing with four ageless monks. Jerry the Monk passes her a joint. The instructor, known as Entity 1, continues their session of remote viewing. 

Entity 1: Not for the faint of heart nor for the minds shuttered like condemned buildings this practice like all others here at the compound is for skillful mastery of our spiritual energy. As we manipulate our auras you will notice slight changes to your physical body over time. If done incorrectly such changes will not be slight but, on the contrary, quite extreme. Don’t be alarmed if you experience endless horrors roaming through the corridors within your body of flesh upon your return. 

Ria: I’m feeling a little alarmed already. Maybe I shouldn’t—maybe I can help dissect the giant? 

Entity 1: I assume you have credentials in fields such as biology, anatomy, anthropology, giantology, or any other type of ology that would be of assistance to the crew?

Ria: I dissected a frog with a cinderblock once. 

Jerry the Monk: I like your style. 

Entity 1: Ria, on your back. Eyes closed. Everyone else: Emit frequencies and focus. 

The monks spread open their chests and chant. A silver wind blows in from the east cooling Ria’s soul to sub-zero temperatures. She cries, but tears don’t emerge. Her mind is a maze of memories and dreams. She can’t seem to distinguish if she’s awake and aware or asleep and aware. 

My cheeks are numb, she thinks as she sways back and forth in a tree swing. She doesn’t remember her house burning down, but she stares at the charred remains as the goes back and forth. 

Ria pokes around in a dark basement. Water drips from somewhere. Her heart sends tremors through her body. It stops and she thinks she’s dying. 

I’ll be so agitated if these idiots let me die, she thinks. They probably won’t even try to bring me back to life. They’ll take one look at my hair and decide I’m better off dead. It looks like shit. Why do I always think bangs are a good idea? They’re never a good idea. They never do what they’re supposed to do. I bet there’s a special place in hell for people who die with — 

Ria opens her eyes. A new set of eyes in her ethereal body. She sees the monks below her contorting their faces. Her ears hear no sounds. She sees Entity 1 tugging on a virtual lasso around Ria’s body. She cringes at the sight of her bangs but is brought back to the present when she realizes she’s floating on a river of radio waves. The river flows from the minds of the monks to an energy tower located on the border of the compound. 

The river lets her off gently inside the tower. Treetops as far as her eyes can see. Barely she can make out the arms of Entity 1 waving to her from the clearing. Off to her right lab coats carry a giant’s heart into an old shed marked with a sign that reads: Miss Mystery an Institute for Studies Beyond Reality.

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

Unthinkable Cramps | Special Announcements!

* * * Special Announcements! * * *

It’s a cold loneliness that burrows deep into the bones icing any sort of action and smothering any emotion besides those attributed with despair. The moments pass too quickly any other time. In a relatively “normal” state time blitzes past and there’s always an underlining uneasiness of the present slipping away too quickly before you can fully immerse yourself into it. This is usually followed by a reflection on how fast the time elapsed and wondering where we were during it. How we could have possibly missed all the seconds passing by. The old “where did the time go” nonsense that never seems to straighten us up, but just leaving us more concerned every time we have this revelation. Now, however, the time doesn’t pass. The fear of it passing without my knowledge is now replaced with the fear of being so firmly grounded in the present consumed with a dull boredom sentencing me to death. I am your memories. I am your emptiness. I am the words you can’t find. I am nothing. BTW I belong to a group of people who are actively recruiting members for our family. We’ve scheduled a departure from this physical plane in the upcoming months and would love for you to join us. For more info we’ll be lecturing next Thurs. at the Church Underground on the corner of Palm and Nail at 9pm. See you there!

– —- —

There will be a lag in time as we recalibrate the reality projectors. WARNING: MOMENTS WILL BE LOST. Expect words to stick like glue, faces to blur, and glitchy gestures made in good faith to cause brief hallucinations. Possible gaps in reality are also to be expected. In such cases events may lose all logical sense. There’s a good chance you may even recall knowing someone you never met before. Don’t be surprised if you experience a never-ending rest for approximately three seconds. We want to apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you. We really do want to apologize. Honestly we do. But we can’t. Because we feel this is for your benefit as we do our best to give you, the people, a sense of belonging to this puzzle that’s falling apart. Sincerely, the government agent people of Unthinkable Cramps. Peace.

– —- —

Harvesting party and you’re invited! It’s been a beautiful season and the fields are in full bloom ready for picking. Help us in a fun-filled day of festivities as we pluck fresh soul pods and gather them for their new homes. The grassy hills will be behind us as we cross them on our way to tidy up the cemetery from overabundance of bodies. Is there a law against this you may think as we dig up sleepy graves, and I can assure you that I really don’t know the answer. But we do have spectacular music playing as we wish these souls well, urging them into their rotten shells. Regrets? You’ll have them if you miss this semi-spiritually rewarding activity. Fun for the whole family!

– —- —

Flying joy from the chest of a young lady standing in town square is upsetting many elderly folks. I speak as an elderly folk. She’s so loud I can barely hear my coffee machine talk to me. What if it rains? She’s not wearing a jacket. I’m not buying her tissues if she catches a cold. On top of that I can’t even walk outside without practically slipping in puddles of love and good intentions. At our age we can’t recover from slipping in something like that. Down we go for the count. Who’s raising these kids nowadays anyway? Don’t they teach them not to rub their excitement for the future in the face of those who barely have one left? Shall I sit here and think of brighter days gone by as she strikes chords of nostalgia within my bones? Bones I promised my coffee maker. How? How can I be expected to stay in my youth? To stay in her youth? It is sad beyond all conceiving. So please someone come and scoot her away before loneliness becomes my permanent address. 

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