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. 

*** ** *** **

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


              \ 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.

*** ** *** **

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. 

*** ** *** **

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

Unthinkable Cramps | Mac & Nova

A large cubicle sits inside another cubicle and inside this sits an office of many cubicles. Misery sits at each desk staring at their faded dreams in dark computer screens. They type, but words don’t appear on the monitor. Letters? Yes. But words? No. 

It’s a sight to behold. These workers in their natural habitat like this. They’re known as the last of the office workers. Is it in art exhibit or the actual thing? No one is quite sure. But people line up anyway for daily guided tours. There’s one coming through now. A crowd of onlookers flood into the interior cubicle, and one wonders if the red velvet rope containing them is enough to hold them back if things get out of control again. If Mac Mann seems concerned you wouldn’t know it as he’s lost in thought highlighting a block of letters on his screen with a marker. 

Elizabeth The Tour Guide: Here’s one of the more productive workers on display. His name is Mac Mann. Can anyone guess what his nickname is? 

Onlooker 1: Ummm…Pac Man, maybe?

Elizabeth: Aw shucks! So close. Mac Mann’s coworkers call him Pac Mac. Makes sense when you think about it. Mac. Pac. They rhyme. 

Nova Olsen snorts a line of something off her keyboard. Probably dishwashing detergent. She swipes everything off her desk in one swift motion of her arm and leans over into the cubicle in front of her.  

Nova Olsen: Hey. Psst. Mac Mann. Macky Mac. Macster, babe. Macalicious, Macmeister, Mac Money, Mac, Mann, Nac Mann, Oac Mann,  Pa…what else could I call you? I guess that’s it. 

Mac Mann is on the phone with someone important.

Mac Mann: I’m really busy.

Nova Olsen: Wanna switch for lunch? Come on. We’re switching at lunch. I haven’t sat with you in forever. I’m tired of getting stuck with Lyle. How could they both be so lifeless, ya know? It doesn’t matter if you don’t know. I gotta get back to work if you’re all done here. Thanks for switching with me. You’re the best. 

Mac Mann hangs up the receiver. 

Mac Mann: Dammit. I have a deadly virus.

Elizabeth The Tour Guide: Oh, this is great. Everyone pay attention! This is one of the more interesting scenes. Mac Mann has a deadly virus. This will surely affect his performance. Will he get it fixed in time? Will it spread to his coworkers? Will he have to reboot? 

A siren rings. Lunch. 

Mac and Nova switch seats. Nova reaches under the desk and presses a button. A hologram appears beside her. 

Elizabeth The Tour Guide: Yes. Oh what fun watching them enjoy this brief moment of reprieve from their daily tasks. You will notice each employee has a hologram in their likeness portraying them when they first began this job. Fresh. Full of life. Fully human. Notice the contrast between their holograms and their current selves. What a disaster they’ve become. Isn’t it fascinating? How beaten down and withered the bodies have become. How rotten and pathetic their souls. It really is a work of art like no other. 

Nova bites into a ham sandwich and sits closer to Mac’s hologram. Her shoulders drop. Her face relaxes. Loneliness is swept away for just this moment. 

Onlooker 2: (Shouts to Nova) What are you doing?! 

Elizabeth The Tour Guide: Please. No shouting at the exhibits. 

Nova Olsen: We’re trying to feel something! 

Elizabeth The Tour Guide: I can answer that. They’re trying to feel something. Company like we feel now with each other. The presence of other human beings. The feeling of not being alone. The holograms are a closer representation of that than their physical counterparts. And so this is primarily the only thing keeping them docile and preventing them from escaping their exhibits. Really cool stuff! Be sure to get a 12 inch plush of your favorite worker’s hologram in our gift shop.

*** ** *** **

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

Unthinkable Cramps | Diane & Decaying George

There he is. 


Decaying George. The middle-aged dopey dude standing in the middle of his living room like a lost puppy. He studies his reflection from multiple angles in the mirror of his cellphone, searching for something that’s not there. 

This is just another thing he does that agitates Diane while she tries to patiently fold tinfoil hats on the couch. She wants to say something, but she catches herself. She wants to tell him how he’s forced her to lower her expectations of what her life could be, how she’s only stayed with him for over thirty years because she liked the way he smelled and he doesn’t smell that way anymore, how every night she has to quietly vomit into a bucket next to her bed because he’s complaining about something and her stomach tells her “this isn’t for you anymore”, but she’s learned to cope so this voice goes unheard. She doesn’t try too hard to find the perfect words to address George’s current unwelcome behavior. She’ll make a bit of an effort. To convince herself she’s trying. Something subtle so it won’t cause an argument, but not too subtle where she feels like she’s not communicating. 

Diane: You’re so dramatic, George.

George (dumbfounded): I don’t understand. I thought I was healthy. 

Diane: Looks can be deceiving.

George: I look healthy. Don’t I?

Diane: What do you want me to say? Yeah?

George’s reflection bounces off the cracked, dirty black surface of his cellphone. 

George: I feel healthy. I can touch my toes. Don’t even have to bend my knees. 

Diane: I don’t know what to tell you.

George: Why me? Why good ol’ George?

Diane: Yeah. Why you? That’s a good question. Why is everything about you?

George(oblivious): I know. Why is everything about me? There’s other people in the world. Why am I the only one ever affected?

Diane: It’s six months. Big deal. That’s plenty of time. I mean how long do you really need to live anyway? 

George: Forever. I need forever, Diane. 

Diane: Stop being greedy, George. 

George: I’m not ready to say goodbye to all this just yet.

Diane glances around the room.

Diane: All what?

George: You know…this. The house and stuff.

Diane: You don’t want to die because you like our house?

George: What’s wrong with our house?

Diane: It’s nothing to live for. That’s for starters. 

George: I like what I like. 

Diane: There’s more to life than this house, George. 

George: Like what?

Diane: You tell me. Aren’t you supposed to awaken to all the beauty in the world when faced with your own mortality? Suddenly discover the meaning of life? Isn’t that how dying works?

George: I don’t know. (beat) I can call the doctor back. 

The sound of the doorbell interrupts the potential bonding that was bound to happen at any moment with this heartfelt conversation. Diane opens the door without first peeking through the curtains. But she figures anything that isn’t named George is welcomed into her house. Unfortunately now she’s trapped by two old ladies convincing her she needs to buy their low-energy portals for the home.

It’s sundown by the time the gritty ladies get around to offering their budget friendly space-saving portal designed for storing one’s bulky dustpan and broom. This thrills Diane. If she can shove a dustpan and broom in there then why not George, she thinks. The look of growing satisfaction in her eyes bothers George on a level he doesn’t understand. This translates into George and Diane arguing over whether they have room for such a space-saving contraption or not. The pipes in the house shift and yawn as they settle in for the night. The persistent ladies put on coffee and wait for the arguing to stop before eventually seeing themselves to the guest room to spend the night, waking up with a new strategic sales approach. 

George wakes up. 

Remembers he’s dying. 

Looks in the mirror. 


Diane wakes up. 

Remembers George is dying. 

Puts on make up. 

Imagines a life not in Unthinkable Cramps. 

*** ** *** **

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

Unthinkable Cramps | Sasha & Yoyo

The wolf drone follows the trail of leaking potential through dead leaves, across a ravine and beyond ancient ritual grounds. 

Sasha and Yoyo stand in a pile of old fortunes under the canopy of a dying fortune tree. A fortune drifts off a branch landing on a ruby gemstone on Sasha’s mask right between her golden pupils. 

Sasha opens her future. “Your true calling is waiting just around the corner.” 

Yoyo looks up, waiting. “Hello? This thing broke?” She kicks the tree sending shards of bark flying, causing the trunk to turn deep red in pain. 

“Why couldn’t it just tell me what my true calling is?”

“This is your true calling, Sasha.” Yoyo’s face scrambles and turns into another featureless blur. 

“I hope not. There’s gotta be more to life than forcefully borrowing money from strangers. Or maybe not.”

“This is what we’re good at. Don’t overthink it.” 

“I just get the nagging feeling that I’m wasting my potential.”

“What makes you say that?”

“I don’t know. I guess this trail of potential that I’ve been leaking…” Sasha gestures to the trail behind her. The wolf drone sniffs at the trail then stares them down and howls a high-pitched dial tone. 

Before Yoyo can grab her rifle Sasha short-circuits the drone with six bullets to the motherboard. She blows the smoke off both revolvers and holsters them on her chest. 

“Who would hire a private investigator to follow us?”

“My mother,” says Sasha. “I’ve been ignoring her calls for months. She just wants an audience to feel bad for her while she complains about her blood pressure and her victory garden. It’s too exhausting. This is why I don’t have kids. For fear they’ll treat me the same way I treat her.”

Yoyo removes her hand from her rifle. “All I can tell you is before I had kids I would’ve beaten you to the draw on that drone.”

“So kids suck. Got it.”

“You might like them. Some people actually like their kids.”

“Not you?”

“This is gonna sound like a hot take, but not really. They seem to be somewhat unevolved as far as I can tell.”

“Maybe that’s why I hate this job, because I don’t have kids to hate instead.”

“And there’s the real secret. Have kids so terrible that work feels like a damn vacation. It works. You don’t see me waxing all philosophical about the meaning of life and all that nonsense. I’m just happy to get away.”

“Get away from…”

“From being reminded that I’m a shitty parent.”

“Great. Now you’re complaining too? Not that I was complaining or anything. I don’t do that.”

“I’m just being real. Out here is where I belong. You too. Forget your potential. You don’t need that. This is who we are.”

A fortune lands on Yoyo’s shoulder. 

“It’s about time,” she says opening it in a hurry. “A binary beast follows you through forests of fortune.” Yoyo gazes up the spine of the tree. “Really? Anyone can predict the future once it’s happened!” 

They leave their fortunes in the swamp of other abandoned predictions and continue through the forest trails. Days and weeks vanish in the time it takes to hurl themselves over a fallen tree. The missing time serves as a reminder to Sasha. But a reminder for what, she wonders. 

“I got this urge,” Sasha says. “And I don’t mean to like die all at once, but to like be done with this life and to be living another version of it. Or at least find a way to do something meaningful with this one. I feel like I’m stuck in a really boring tv series that won’t end. Now I’m not whining or complaining or anything, but sometimes like right now or when I’m alone at night or when I wake up or when I’m around people or when I’m shooting wolf drone investigators in their motherboards that my mom sent after me it sorta feels like I’m wasting this one opportunity at being here. I guess what I’m trying to say is, my body feels like a wasteland of gunk and terrifying thought bubbles. Like I don’t know how to live or…is this depression or something?”

“You’re probably just bored or whatever. But that’s about to change.”

Yoyo’s face scrambles again before switching to another indecipherable blur. 

Sasha and Yoyo step out of the forest into a vast field. 

“Come on, Yoyo,” Sasha says. She gazes across the lone empty road dividing the field at their next target. “Can’t tell me this shit’s not getting monotonous.”

“Are you kidding?” Yoyo looks at Sasha with blurry amazement. “What would you rather be a scientist and cure cancer or something?”

“I mean…I hadn’t thought about it—“

“You need to stop dreaming. Wake up! This is your life. We’re gonna go in and rob this shapeshifting factory blind. It’s going to be amazing. And you’re going to deal with it.” 

Dark smoke and darker screams billow from the roof of the shapeshifting factory. On the side of the building a man rummages through the dumpster fishing out discarded spare parts belonging to animals and humans. Looking over both shoulders he rushes over and tosses them in the back of a van. 

Somewhere around the corner and lightyears away a mother sits in defeat as a representative from an investigating firm informs her that their best wolf drone has suddenly gone offline. 

*** ** *** ** ***

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

Unthinkable Cramps | Murky & Sanchez

An unmarked Ford Granada cruises the empty streets of Unthinkable Cramps, alternating between paved and dirt. Smoke clouds the windshield. For a moment it reverses back into Hank Murky’s cigarette. The cigarette regains its former state from moments ago when he lit it. Blood drips from the steering wheel. Blood always drips from the steering wheel. 

A phone rings in the passenger’s seat. Sanchez uncrosses their legs, pulls out the phone, looks at the number. Silences it. Stares at it half confused/half pissed. Murky watches Sanchez’s puzzled look. The sun highlights their small nose and narrow jawline. Too pretty for this line of work, Murky thinks. Dispatch radios in disrupting Murky’s deep philosophical ponderings about the nature of man. 

“We got a ten, double O, 3, 9, Hector, 12, FDR, spam, 3,7,9,2, bam bam, 66, bubba, A2 to H6, checkmate.”

Sanchez pulls out a manual of police codes from the glovebox and fumbles frantically through the pages.

Murky grabs the radio. “Copy that.”

“You copied that?”

“It’s a talker.”

A woman with over seven decades experience in Unthinkable Cramps converses with her toaster when the door yells. She looks at the refrigerator.

“Surprised you don’t have something to say too.”

The door thumps and yells again. “Miss Benton, it’s Detective Murky! Can you open up?”

“I guess that would be alright,” she says to the toaster. “I won’t be using them.” 

The door shouts again. “Miss Benton, Detective Murky here! It would appear my partner is about to put their foot through your door if you don’t open!”

The front door stops yelling and flies off the hinges. Sanchez screams as they march over the fallen door. Murky watches them and thinks, “They’re too barbaric for this line of work.” He follows Sanchez to the kitchen.

Murky: Miss Benton. Step away from the toaster. It’s coming with us.

Miss Benton: Oh. But I’ll be so lonely. You’re getting blood everywhere. Oh my look at that. You’ve got blood all over you.

Murky: It’s fine. I’m always this way. It’s my job. Now I’ll just take that toaster.

Miss Benton: Here take this instead. 

She reaches in a cabinet and hands Murky a chainsaw. 

Murky: Is the chainsaw also talking to you?

A phone rings. Sanchez pulls it out of their pocket. Silences it. Grumbles. 

Murky: What is it?

Sanchez: It’s nothing.

Murky: You can answer it.

Sanchez: Rather not. It’s my biological father. Haven’t heard from him since I was four.

Murky: Maybe it’s important.

Sanchez: Doubt it.

Murky: Maybe he wants to give you money.

Sanchez: Well he can leave a message. Third time he’s called today. Won’t leave a message.

Murky: Miss Benton, was the toaster speaking to you before the visitors arrived?

Miss Benton: No. Just started talking today. I told my neighbor and he says I’m crazy. You know what they say, all the great people…wait…no. What is it? There’s a saying that goes with that somewhere. Have you seen it? You should look for it. I probably put it in my medicine cabinet when I was taking my pills. Did you need to take a bath?

Murky: I don’t bathe. I’m self-cleaning. 

Miss Benton: Listen, I told my neighbor if I’m crazy maybe I’m a crazy genius. Like Einstein. Did you know he was crazy? That’s why he had that hair he had. I always thought I was like him. We’re both Aries you know. 

Sanchez: You’re not crazy. Or a genius.

Miss Benton: Well I’ll have you know Mr. Toast Toast thinks I’m quite brilliant. 

Sanchez: Ma’am, anyone who’s encountered the visitors has been chatting like low level morons with their appliances. Not just you. But so far it’s old folks like you with not much to live for.

Miss Benton: I’ll have you know I have plenty to live for. Every morning I make dance movies for my TikTok students. Once you leave here I’m going to slip into —”

Murky unplugs the toaster and hands it to Sanchez.

Sanchez: We gotta take Mr. Toast Toast in for interrogation, lady.

Miss Benton: No. No. Please. I told him he could have my bones. Here take this instead.

She reaches behind the refrigerator and hands Murky a shotgun.

Murky: Has the shotgun also been talking to you, Miss Benton?

Miss Benton: Oh come on now. Don’t be silly. 

A warehouse. The Granada speeds into the empty parking lot with fuzzy dice swinging from the rearview. 

Murky and Sanchez walk to the rear of the car. 

“This almost makes up for missing my daughter’s wrestling match today.” Murky drools over Miss Benton’s shotgun as he fondles it with his bloody hands.

Sanchez pops the trunk. It’s littered with dozens of small appliances. They grab the toaster. 

Murky takes a few steps back. “Hold it up, Sanchez.”

Sanchez props the toaster on their head.

Murky takes aim. 

And fires. 

*** ** *** ** ***

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