August 29, 2010

Drone Wars: Goodnight, Goodblood



If it were up to Tammy Mori, she wouldn't have been caught dead in a place like that.  Such polite company was not her scene.  She was more comfortable trolling the streets around the airport for victims.  Only, it wasn't up to her.  The convoluted charade was some kind of test -- about that she was reasonably sure -- although what she was supposed to do, or how she was supposed to react to these phantoms that stood before her, she didn't have the first clue. 

The woman who threw the party was called Goodblood.  Tammy Mori had never met her before.  How could she possibly have?  Goodblood was not the kind of person who wheeled her luggage around alone in empty streets and parking lots, lost, because she had taken the wrong shuttle bus to the wrong car rental company, and had no other choice but to hoof the desolate mile or two to where she was supposed to go.  People like Goodblood had no idea about the anonymous denizens of the outer-lying airport subculture.  Far from it.  People like her lived in shiny glass palaces, high above the streets, and sipped their morning coffee and evening wine aware only of the silver jetliners that seemed to them to hang silent and motionless in the twilight and dusk skies, like some kind of late industrial ornament hung from the clouds for no other purpose than to provide them aesthetic pleasure.

The apartment was huge and spacious with floor to ceiling windows on two sides.  "People like Goodblood," Tammy Mori quietly whispered to herself as she looked out over the expanse of hotels and apartment towers that ran up and down the boulevard, followed the flight path of the airplanes that took off and landed behind them, and marveled at the constant stream of traffic that swarmed in every direction, "are blissfully unaware of the danger that lurks directly below them, a world populated with menacing creatures, bloodthirsty creatures, creatures like me." 

"Isn't everything nature?" a young man in a freshly pressed blazer approached her from across the room.

"Numbers and letters, too?" Tammy Mori turned to face him. 

"We are nature, so isn't whatever we create also nature?" he elaborated.

"How about my mobile electronic device?" she reluctantly got in the spirit of the conversation.

"That, too," he pressed closer to her.

"Doesn't leave much out, does it?" she held her ground.

"Only, me," he pressed closer.

"Hmm," she considered for a moment and looked him directly in his electric green eyes.  Her answer was cool.  "No, that's where I have to draw the line." 

Tammy Mori said it as good-naturedly as it was possible for her to muster, and casually raised her drink glass to meet his.  Under different circumstances she might have taken him back to her garage, allowed him to have his way with her before she tortured and killed him, but there wasn't anything normal about him or anyone else at the party.  The girl in the black wig with the severe bangs, and the leather, powder blue pantsuit with the wide retro lapels scanned the room.  There was something strange about the guests.  Their eyes, like the young man's, she noticed, also seemed to glow with an unnatural intensity, as if they had been surreptitiously swapped out for some kind of beveled crystal lighted from within. 

"The world never looked this real," she muttered to herself, and adjusted her stylish high-tech glasses.  Brightly colored artificial looking figures surrounded her.  The people she saw projected in front of her were at a fancy dinner party in a beautiful high-rise apartment near the airport.  She moved among the apparitions with a newfound sense of suspicion, mildly annoyed at the growing tightness in her stomach, and a doom-filled sense that the intensity of the pictures she saw masked a hidden universe, the contours of which she could not imagine, as if she was a somnambulist whose sense of dread among these strangers that closed in around her with their glowing cut-glass eyes was nothing but a bad dream, and if she could only awaken she would, to her horror, find herself in reality perched on a thin ledge suspended precariously fifty stories off the ground. 

Whether she was really at that moment tightrope-walking between the spire needles of two skyscrapers, prostrate in a pit with spiders and snakes crawling and slithering over her body, buried alive, or suffering some other far more hellish fate, it mattered less to her than the solace she took from not really being among all these well mannered, happy party goers who seemed to play at their roles so gracelessly, as if all their pearls and fancy dress were only costumes worn by swine far more deadly and sinister than herself.  She smiled at the young man who had engaged her in conversation confident that he did not really see her.  His leer was directed at another ghostly form within whose diaphanous body Tammy Mori was only a temporary visitor, and it didn't matter if the best she could do was to manage an awkward sway and lilt as she carefully perambulated around the room like the pendulum of a broken old clock, no better than some poor paraplegic young woman who had in her childhood lost the use of her legs to disease.  As far as Tammy Mori was concerned, the other guests, with all their bizarre twitches and quirks, were no more convincing than her.  

An older, scrubbed-clean, pink-faced man at the other end of the open apartment was the first to snap out of grid.  Out of the blue, for seemingly no reason at all, he began strangling the equally distinguished looking gentleman who stood across from him.  Everyone else stood perfectly still.  Not one among them intervened.  They just stood by quietly and watched as the older man squeezed the life out of the other fellow.  Two by two, to Tammy Mori's astonishment, a similar scene was repeated throughout the room.  After one person had killed another, they turned on a third and fourth and fifth.  Various implements were used.  Some party goers stabbed each other with dinner knives, a woman beat a man to death with a fire iron, and all the while the disembodied girl with the black wig and severe bangs watched as the fiery crystal eyes of these maniacs glowed unblinking in their sockets. 

Goodblood was the last to go.  All the others had already turned on each other.  There wasn't anyone left to kill her.  Tammy Mori was the sole witness to Goodblood's dramatic change in color.  The face of the hostess turned beet red, and swelled to the point of obscuring her features.  Tammy Mori continued to watch in stunned disbelief as Goodblood stabbed herself in the eye with a dinner fork, spit up a mouthful of food and drink, and slid from her chair at the head of the table down to the granite floor, like a side of frozen beef dropped from a meat hook.

The girl with the black wig and severe bangs had seen enough.  "Goodnight, Goodblood," she exhaled, lay back exhausted and delirious in her specially designed seat, removed her stylish high-tech glasses, and let them drop to the ground. 

"We're losing her," Dr. Fenster's assistant yelled from the control room of the newly retrofitted wing at the insane asylum.  "Quick.  Turn the training module off!  She's having some kind of fantasy delusion response to the stereoscopic lenses.  She's talking nonsense -- claims she's a skank serial killer who fucked her husband to death -- keeps repeating the phrase 'Goodnight, Goodblood' -- thinks she's about to fall off the ledge of a high rise and plunge face first to her death onto the cold, hard concrete sidewalk fifty stories below."

The test grader stood in the frame of the door and scratched his head, perplexed.  "You won't believe this, Doc," he said and held out a computer printout to the misshapen, corpulent man to show as proof.

"I'll be darned," Dr. Fenster sang out.  "A perfect score!" he celebrated, and added: "I do believe we have another ideal candidate for scholarship at Fortean College."


-- Daniel Mendel-Black, copyright 2010

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August 26, 2010

Drone Wars: Ties that Bind



            Excitement for Sam Spikone was driving over the speed limit late at night and shooting holes in roadside signs with his dad's old Colt.  Up 'till that point, the most exhilarating thing in his life was the new cyber-sword he had purchased the week before. He and the gang, he bragged, had once slummed it in the urban ghetto with a paintball gun.  They had nailed some homeless street people, but they had never burned anyone alive.  There were limits.  There was this one screw up juvenile delinquent he remembered from his youth who liked to set bullfrogs on fire, but that kid, he insisted, was sick in the head.

            "People like to be chemically altered," he said after he took a feeble hit of crystal off the tinfoil pipe and handed it back to the young woman in the black wig with the severe bangs. 

            "No shit," Tammy Mori coughed.

            The kid loved taking her from behind.  Her small, skinny ass and shaved pussy made his cock look huge.  She was like some beautiful creature that had crawled out from a sewer.  The girl was kinky.  He knew she was weird, but it wasn't until she invited him over to see how she had fixed up her garage that he seriously understood how weird she really was.  The place kind of resembled what he imagined a sterile station at a meat rendering plant might look like.  If he wasn't sure he was way out in the burbs, he might have thought he had taken a wrong turn on some school trip to the metropolitan city morgue.  The place was that creepy, like someone had tiled over an insane asylum rubber room. 

            "What's this?" he picked something up off the floor and handed it to her.

            "A knuckle bone," she answered nonchalantly, and carelessly threw it into the garbage. 

            Tammy Mori couldn't remember when or where she had met Sam Spikone.  It was as if he simply appeared one day out of the blue, like whoever or whatever, for reasons she couldn't begin to fathom, decided her role as a serial killer skank was not nearly cruel enough, and what she really needed was a bumbling pimple-faced sidekick with an adolescent sex-drive to add an extra measure of torture to her already intolerable existence.  No matter how forcefully she pointed out to the kid how suspicious the heat was of the unexplained disappearances of so many families at the upscale gated community in such a short period of time, how it was just a matter of days before they dispensed with their mild mannered questions, and came down hard on her, all Sam Spikone could think of was how all the winches and other equipment in her garage presented him with unprecedented potential for bizarre, sadomasochistic sex.

            Girls always wanted to let their hair hang down low in front of their face when they gave you head, as if the mystique added to the sensorial experience, he groused.  They always wanted to turn out the lights when you made love to them.  After he saw her garage, Sam Spikone thought maybe Tammy Mori would take a different perspective, like maybe, unlike the other girls he had bedded, the fact she liked to watch her victims under the cold light of bright bulbs was an indication she understood how important the visual component was to male sexuality. 

            Despite the fact she knew it was pure folly, or maybe it was precisely because she knew what a bad idea it was -- she couldn't decide -- Tammy Mori let the idiot kid have his brutal, misogynist way with her.  At least that was what she led him to believe.  Truth to tell, the kid didn't possess a spark of deviate imagination.  Like everyone else, after he stumbled around aimlessly with the ropes, it became abundantly clear it was left to her to tell him exactly what he was expected to do.  The young woman needed to tell him to bind her breasts as hard as he could, and to shake him from his awkward resistance, she was forced to shame him into whipping her by verbally attacking his fragile manhood.  It wasn't like she was asking him to burn her alive.  The object was only to get him to douse some gasoline over a dumb dog she grabbed off the street earlier in the day, and torch the damn mutt.  Shit, she thought, suspended belly down by her arms and legs with his pencil thin, little dick in her mouth, and a large mechanical dildo pounding her ass, when she was his age she would have jumped at an opportunity like that, you wouldn't have had to ask her twice. 

She was all along only playing a part, she confided to the schoolteacher neighbor who cut her down afterwards, and loosened the ropes from her wrists and ankles.  Others might judge her badly, she conceded, but she insisted it was only the role she was assigned.  How, she wondered, was it possible for anyone to moralize her character, if they enjoyed, from the start, parts that were ethically superior to hers.  Was it her fault that she was assigned the role of a deranged hussy?  She was sure she could have played a pastor's wife, a nurse, or Girl Scout equally well, was she called on to do so.  Her only prerogative was to make her character resonate.  The bottom line was that, no matter what the part, she was an actor, and her job was to take whatever came her way and convince an audience she wasn't faking it.  Whether she was cast as a serial killer or as a lovable grandmother, she was not only supposed to make herself come off as believable, her job description demanded she make herself sympathetic. 

            "It's pretty clear this Sam Spikone fellow worked her over pretty well," the high school geometry teacher confided to his wife.  "The guy has her thinking she's in some kind of movie or something, and she was only following his direction, like he had brainwashed her into believing she was in some Hollywood film and he was the producer.  She keeps saying how it was all his idea and how she was only given a copy of her lines, the studio never gave her a full script, and she has no idea what the story is all about, or how her scenes fit in with the larger narrative arc.  This was her big break, she insists.  Her only aim, she says, was to nail her lines.  In her fragile state of mind, I can't believe she was capable of masterminding such a terrible trail of bloody murders.  The Sam Spikone character," he pointed out, "strikes me as a much more likely candidate for the maniac killer you are looking for.  I mean look at her," he implored his wife, the district assistant prosecutor, "the experience has practically unraveled her."

            Outside the garage it was like every black and white from every municipality within radio distance was called in.  Their whirly-bird lights made it look like a traveling carnival had set up shop at the end of the block. 

            "I only have one question for her," she told her husband.  The assistant district prosecutor kneeled down in front of the naked, trembling young woman and snapped her briefcase open.  "Just so you understand, I represent the law, and you are currently a suspect in a string of recent local murders," she told the young lady.  "We've identified the bodies of most of the victims," she showed Tammy Mori a sheath of photographs, maybe forty thick all told, "but there is still one body we can't account for."  The assistant prosecutor pulled out a glossy print from the top of the stack.  "There is one victim we can't match with anyone from the neighborhood.  Do you recognize him?" she asked the young woman in the black wig with the severe bangs, and showed her the picture. 

            "Oh, him," Tammy Mori's face hardened.  "Sure, I know him.  I'm his mail order bride.  He's my no good husband."


-- Daniel Mendel-Black, copyright 2010

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