October 31, 2010

Drone Wars: Leg-Fucker

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            One time when Sam Spikone was much younger, after his father wished him goodnight and turned out the lights one of his parent's friends had, as a lark, remained behind in his bedroom.  Now, while he listened to the frightened screams of his fellow classmates pulled from their warm beds during the older student's rampage, he remembered seeing her standing off to the side in her black dress next to his closet before the room went completely dark, remembered how he had clutched his non-allergenic pillow tightly to his chest, how the fear grew up inside him with every clumsy step she took toward his bed.  Before the icy cold fingers of the senior class members closed around his throat and ankles, he remembered how he lashed out in sheer panic when the woman finally fell on him with a drunken thud, how violently he had kicked at her, as if he was fighting for dear life. 

            The raid by the older students on the freshmen dorms was unprecedented in its ferocity.  They came right after midnight, about an hour after lights-out, right after everyone in the basement dorms had fallen asleep, and mercilessly assailed the younger kids with blood curdling shouts and cries.  Students were dragged out of their beds into the cold night air without any explanation.  With nothing else on but what they had worn to bed, the new conscripts were forcefully marched out back behind the Interan Corporate Campus to a clearing in the woods, and made to huddle in front of a large brown boulder dug up by glaciers thousands of years ago.  The rock was left in the middle of the field after the ice flows had melted and retreated back to the polar caps. 

            Flashlight beams moved manically from face to face as if the older students were looking for someone in particular.  The night was unusually windy and the junior conscripts could do no better than cross their arms over their shuddering bodies to try, as best they could, to stave off the cold.  A blinding shaft of light fell on Sam Spikone's face, and his head was roughly gripped and sharply twisted to the side so that another senior who stood back from the others could see him better.  "Him!" the voice harshly indicated.  "Bring him over here."  A person or persons he could not recognize pulled him from the rock by his hair and dog collar, and pushed him down hard on the bramble and fallen twigs. 

All of the older students except for Tammy Mori wore, over their faces, black, nylon, stocking masks that distorted their features.  As soon as he spit the dirt and leaves from his mouth, and realized before whom he was thrown, he prostrated himself at her feet, and grasped her around the ankles of her lace-up, black, leather boots -- the same ones she had worn for the striptease peepshow earlier that afternoon.  He held them tightly to his face and begged, "Take me as your obedient servant," without the slightest regard for his personal dignity, or the malevolence of the others who stood over him.  There was nothing, he whimpered, he wouldn't do for her.  If she would only leash him up, he would gladly bark at the junior conscripts against the rock, he would hiss and growl, lunge at them, and even bite them if she commanded it.  Her riding crop slashed him across the backside.  A couple of the other older students tried to pry him away from her, but he refused to let go.  Even after his eyes welled up with tears from the pain of the sharp kicks he received in his ribs, he continued his senseless groveling unabated.  It took a hard blow to the back of his head with the handle of a flashlight to finally shut him up. 

When they tried to roll him over, he fought back even harder as if he was a small animal trapped in the hollow of a dead tree trunk by a pack of starved wolves or coyotes.  Even after one of the older boys poured out a can of beer on his head he refused to let go of Tammy Mori's leg.  "What a freak," one of the disgusted older students kicked him between his legs.  "The sick, little twerp is pitching a tent -- the leg-fucker has a boner!" he ridiculed.  "The reason he's fighting back so hard is because he doesn't want us to see he's messed the crotch of his tidy-whiteys."  The kid kicked him in the balls again, harder the second time, and groaned, "'Think I'm gonna be sick." 

            In the morning Sam Spikone gingerly mopped the corridor outside the cafeteria careful not to turn too quickly in either direction and aggravate the pain in his side, back, and head.  His face was scratched and bruised, and he had a large purple contusion where someone had hit him in the eye with a blunt instrument.  The janitor had found him locked in the basement storage cage, crusted over in his own blood.  After he made a spectacle of himself at Tammy Mori's feet, the older students had worked him over pretty well.  He squeezed out his cotton string mop in the yellow plastic bucket at his work-study job, swished it over the floor of the hallway with a sloppy back-and-forth motion, aware that he was, at best, only pushing the wet dirt around the linoleum tile covered floor, every blow from the evening before still fresh in his mind.  They had mercilessly beaten him in front of the other junior conscripts.  As an example, the freshmen were told, of what could happen to them if they weren't careful.  One of the senior students, he was pretty sure was Buddy Alexander, had told him to stop spying on Tammy Mori through her window at night.  Had told him to keep his creepy, perverted self in check or it would be much worse for him the next time.  The next time they wouldn't hesitate to cut his throat, tie him upside down to a tree branch by his legs, and let him bleed out like a stuck pig. 

As he tried to rid the plaque-like dirt from the floor at the base of the shuttered snack shack, an overwhelming sense of helplessness overcame him.  He wanted nothing better than to get them back somehow, to prove to Tammy Mori he was a worthy slave, worthy of any and all scorn and mistreatment she might deign to bestow upon him, but what recourse did he have, what could he do against a bully the likes of Buddy Alexander?  There wasn't anyone he could turn to.  Who was he going to take his complaint to, anyway, the campus police -- the only university institution that frightened him worse than the professors, staff, and other students?  None of the counselors they sent him to seemed all too reliable.  For all he knew the school psychiatrist (what a joke) or his faculty advisor would sooner throw him out of their offices than take up his cause, and unbeknownst to him, the whole sordid business was actually all part of the good doctor's study plan.  For all he knew it was integral to the completion of the syllabus for the seniors to intimidate and petrify the first-term students as best they could. 

 

-- Daniel Mendel-Black, copyright 2010



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October 23, 2010

Drone Wars: Peepshow

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            Throughout the striptease, Tammy Mori could plainly see she had her work cut out for her.  Every once in a while Buddy Alexander would catch himself about to nod off, and push himself back up against the headboard to signal his undiminished enthusiasm, but it was pretty obvious to her that he could barely keep his eyes open.  She tried to coax him into the mood, even as her conviction that she could somehow arouse him or any other man, regardless of their diminished capacity, faded as fast as he did.  She posed as alluringly as she could at the foot of the bed in a pair of black patent leather women's motorcycle boots that went up to her knees, with nothing else on her pink, wiry body but a pair of matching black panties, and bra, and crawled up onto the mattress so that her warm, scented torso hovered over his face. 

Despite her efforts, nothing but the weakest show of approval issued from the young man.  It was hopeless.  Even the snort of blow she gave him didn't have any significant effect.  When he touched her she almost felt like she was some barnyard animal he carelessly patted on the back, or petted, like she was a hog, or an old goat.  The addict jackass was completely spent.  There wasn't anything left for her to do, but to fix his pillow under his head, make him as comfortable as possible, change into her nightgown and turn the lights out.  Her planned performance for the little weirdo peeping Tom who stood outside her window would have to wait 'till the next day. 

"The creep was there again last night," she informed Buddy Alexander in the morning when he finally opened his eyes.  He had the kind of hangover that makes one seriously weigh the potential relief of drilling a hole in one's head against the possible brain damage, and the months of recovery it would take for the wound to heal.  "I thought you agreed we should put on a little show for the pervert," she needled him, upset at having missed such a golden opportunity.  "How would you feel if a skinny cretin with a dog collar and girl's makeup on spied on you through your window at night?  You can beat the shit out of him afterwards.  'Let him get his sick kicks.'  Isn't that what you said after the party?  He could stand out there in the cold and bawl his eyes out, if he wanted to.  Maybe then he would get the message.  Wasn't that what we decided?  To give the sad fuck the full, unexpurgated, uncensored picture." 

            Was it because Sam Spikone was different from the other students at Fortean College that Tammy Mori was so hell bent on carrying out her scheme?  Besides her not very subtle ploy to get him back in the sack, Buddy Alexander had a sneaking suspicion she got some instinctive pleasure from tormenting the frail kid in this way, like she also realized the poor twerp didn't have the same insane, homicidal, sadistic, cold-blooded killer inside him the other students did, and didn't really belong in the Interan program.  Like she sensed he was a masochist.  Brute force wouldn't deter him, he might actually enjoy it, and the desire to make him watch the two of them going at it hot-and-heavy came from some kind of primal female drive, gone awry, of hurting the kid in some fundamental way his restricted, pedestrian mind couldn't protect himself from, in the most basic, time-honored effort to weed the weakling out from the pack. 

The whole affair struck Buddy Alexander as absurd.  He rummaged through her cupboards and freezer in search of a little hair-of-the-dog remedy for his pain.  Why she couldn't simply pull her shades closed at night, and ignore the underclassman escaped him.  However inconceivable the rational, there was definitely some reason the kid hadn't already washed out of the institution.  Someone sure as hell wanted him to stick around. 

            Then again, what did he know?  Maybe Buddy Alexander read too much into her motives, and, rather than cast any light on them, his conjectures had only led him into a prickly thicket of thorny, primeval, mental weeds, nothing but a fantasy projection of his own composition that bore no relevance to anything other than his addled state of mind?  How well did he know Tammy Mori, anyway?  Definitely not well enough, he acknowledged to himself, to guess at her secret yearnings with any kind of acute insight.  Maybe there was nothing more to her plot than that she was an old-fashioned exhibitionist, and there was no greater mystery behind her scheme to make love to him in front of Sam Spikone than there was in the thrill most everyone gets, at some point or another in their life, from public sex.  There was this other guy at the head of his class who told him how he got off on watching boys masturbate, but when it was time to choke his own monkey, he only liked to do it in front of little girls.  Maybe Tammy Mori just liked to have a captive audience? 

While she did whatever it was she did in the bathroom, Buddy Alexander dumped the contents of her handbag on the couch.  He wasn't sure what to expect when Tammy Mori cracked open the door and emerged from the toilet.  Would she be a Catholic schoolgirl in a red and green plaid skirt?  Would she be a demure librarian-like coed with horn-rimmed glasses, the hair of her black wig pulled back tightly in a ponytail?  Which personality would she don today?  He poked through her belongings in search of her stash, to no avail.  The possibilities of her costume choice were endlessly enticing.  Although the one scenario he did not account for was the one in which she came out in her black underwear and leather boots, the same as she had on the night before, only this time with a vinyl brimmed police hat, and a nightstick dildo.

            "He's back," she practically squealed with excitement above the seated Buddy Alexander, the heeled foot of one boot raised onto the couch so that his head was only inches away from her naked inner thigh.  "I instant messaged him to come over after class, I would have a surprise for him, I wanted to show him something special, I wrote in the note."  She waved her little vile of white powder in front of his nose, and pulled it back when he reached up to grab it out of her hand.  "You promised," she reminded him of their bargain the night before last, squatted down next to the coffee table about to cut a couple of lines each for them on the smooth glass top.  "Don't you dare back out on me now," she cautioned him, even more frisky than usual. 

            The white noise they played round-the-clock on the college radio station had up 'till then struck Sam Spikone as relatively innocuous.  Out back of Tammy Mori's dorm room he adjusted his earplugs.  For some reason, the wall-of-sound hailstorm of samples and feedback sounded more dissonant to him than usual.  Was it always so cacophonous, and he hadn't noticed before?  With his face pressed up against her window, so he could better see what was going on at the far end of the living room, he tried to decide whether the music was intended to drive the listener crazy, or whether one had to be soft in the head to listen to it in the first place.  Like maybe it was a way to gauge the mental stability of the student body, in an effort to distinguish those disturbed by the echoed voices and sound fragments from those who found the discord soothing and hypnotic, those who believed they could hear coded messages hidden between the aural assault of reverberations and shrieks from those who didn't hear anything but wave upon wave of modulated, electronic, sonic effects. 

 

-- Daniel Mendel-Black, copyright 2010



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October 17, 2010

Drone Wars: Talking Tammy

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            No matter how hard he scrubbed, Sam Spikone couldn't get the makeup off his face.  He slept poorly after the party, intermittently awakened by fitful dreams.  The prospect of Tammy Mori and Buddy Alexander together drove him to distraction.  His first impulse was not to want to know if the two of them were with each other.  After all it wasn't any of his business, but he just couldn't let it go so easily.  His unconscious mind plagued him with reminders of the two of them embraced in her bed, enveloped by her sheets, the caress of his hands on the smooth skin of her waist and hips. 

            It was still dark outside when he left his dorm to go to his morning class at the Tetragon practice facility.  Outside, the air was chilly.  Frost blanketed the grass, and iced over car windshields.  He zipped up his green surplus army jacket, remembered he still had his dog collar on, he had forgotten to take it off after the party, and decided to hell with it, he would leave it on.  So what if everyone else thought of him as a dog.  Not one among them was above everyone else.  Every single one of them had to answer to some higher authority, even the government scientist. 

Tammy Mori's dormitory edged up against the Interan Corporate Campus.  Sam Spikone resisted the urge to go round and look into her window for as long as he could, but not knowing whether or not she and Buddy Alexander had spent the night together was going to gnaw at him all day, so why not find out one way or the other, once and for all put the whole issue to rest?  Round back of her building he peered inside her window, but it was too dark to see anything inside.  There was no way for him to tell whether she was in there quietly asleep, alone, or if Buddy Alexander was in there with her.  Worst of all, there was another possibility he had considered while he was sleepless and wide awake in the pre-dawn hours: that she wasn't in there at all, and neither was he, because she hadn't gone back to her room after all, like she said she would, and had instead gone over to his place to wait for him after the party, to kiss and make up. 

            In one of his dreams from the night before, he had pressed his face up against the glass of her window just as he did now.  The only difference was that an early snow fell softly.  There were some other incongruous passages that hadn't made much sense to him.  He remembered how he had knelt over an old mattress discarded on a field of grass, and for some reason had pulled a corner back.  The way the dead grass was crushed and yellowed underneath.  How all the worms and other primordial looking bugs wiggled around in the moldering vegetation.  There was a fire in the cemetery behind the dormitory.  In the dream, Tammy Mori took him by the hand.  They sat on the damp, wet mattress together.  He remembered how they watched the falling snowflakes melt in the smoldering flames.  How incredibly beautiful she looked in the refracted prism of snow and firelight.  They were in a clearing behind a row of run down, abandoned, clapboard houses, he recalled, in a patchy field beyond which rose a small tree covered knoll.  As Sam Spikone's warm breath condensed on the cold glass surface of her window, he remembered how they danced together among the naked branches, and fallen trunks, beneath the towering park lamps that shone brightly overhead.  How the tall streetlights along the campus drive looked like forgotten oracles that waited patiently throughout the eons for someone to come along and ask them to reveal the secrets of the universe. 

            The sun was coming up.  He hadn't been entirely honest with himself.  There was more to the dreams.  Soon the early morning joggers would be out.  Students would crawl out of their beds to prepare for the day.  Faculty would start to show up.  Food service employs and facilities types would punch in.  If he didn't leave for class soon, someone might see him there, suspiciously lurking about in the courtyard outside the building.  He pulled his face away from her window, pushed the collar of his coat up around his ears, and slid his hands into his side pockets. 

Besides the mattress, dumped as if by students out on a drug and alcohol fueled binge, and the fire in the cemetery, there had also been, tacked to the side of one of the abandoned houses by the field, a row of staggered, discarded shoes and sneakers that tracked diagonally across the shingled wall to the roof, as if to trace the footsteps of some gravity-defying, supernatural hobo who had passed that way before.  A number of pigeons had crooned on top of the ramshackle house.  They had flown away in a flutter when he hoisted himself over the lip of the roof.  Otherwise, there hadn't been much else up there besides a weather beaten red, plastic ball and a child's doll.  In his dream, Sam Spikone had picked up the doll.  She was covered in soot, and looked like she must have been up there quite a while.  When he had brushed her off and examined her more closely he remembered how the icy snowflakes stuck to her clothes, face and mouth.  

In the back row of the large amphitheater-style, half-bowl-shaped lecture hall, he pulled his doodle-covered notebook out from his coat, and laid it on the small foldout desktop.  The rest of the dream had pretty much gone the way he initially recalled it.  He had washed and washed his face over and over again, but the makeup and indelible ink had never entirely come off.  He had tossed and turned in his bed, and unable to sleep, had gone to see if Tammy Mori was alone in her dorm.  All of that was really the way it happened.  They had even danced over hill and dale together in the light snow under the eternal glow of the orphic street lamps, the only two people in the world who knew the powers of illumination the lamps really possessed. 

The professor lectured on the prevalence of triangles, and other invisible geometric site lines in certain pictures, particularly the reoccurrence of the Star of David motif.  Sam Spikone listened with disinterest as the man indicated instances where the Jewish sign, and other alchemist, anti-Christian, occult symbols, like the twinned ax of the androgen hermaphrodite, most often derived from Kabalah, were commonly found embedded in the diagrams and art of pathological sociopaths, like serial killers, mass murderers, and revolutionary, leftist political ideologues. 

The part of the dream that most radically diverged from his original recollection was how it had ended.  Tammy Mori had looked every inch as beautiful as she had looked naked and bound in her garage.  In fact, she had never looked more beautiful to him than she had in the soft snowfall.  The part he had so conveniently put out of his mind was what happened when he tried to put his arm around her.  He had indeed, in the awkward teenage passion of the moment, attempted to embrace her with every intention of kissing each and every snowflake off her face.  It was then he had felt the cord that protruded from the back of her dress.  He remembered how radiant she looked under the electric buzz of the security floodlights when he pulled on her string.  How her animated voice announced: "Hi, my name is Talking Tammy."  In his dream he cautiously pulled the string again.  He remembered how the second time she pledged without reservation: "Hello, my name is Talking Tammy... and I want to be your friend!"

 

-- Daniel Mendel-Black, copyright 2010



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October 13, 2010

Drone Wars: Love Triangle

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            New recruits to the program were fitted with choke collars and dragged from their basement dorms.  Buddy Alexander cruelly pulled Sam Spikone into the first floor woman's bathroom by a thin leather leash, and offered him as a slave to the ladies gathered around the mirror.  One of the female students lifted her short skirt to reveal her garters, shoved his face into the crotch of her panties and, to the merriment of her friends, ordered: "Lick it like a dog!"  At the sight of the nude young man on all fours with his pink tongue out, the other girls erupted into a sonorous chorus of feminine laughter. 

            After Buddy Alexander helped himself to a couple of lines of speed the girls had laid out on the granite countertop of the sink, he playfully groped two of the more buxom young women and, taking turns between the two, sloppily kissed each on the mouth.  A third in a revealing outfit pushed him into a stall, while another hungrily unzipped the fly of his pants.  Sam Spikone was left in the trusty hands of a pair of beautiful twin sisters who seemed to take great pleasure from his desperate pleas for tender mercy, as they zealously whipped him with a thick golden buckled red leather belt about his naked haunches, back and ass. 

            "'Found some playmates?" Buddy Alexander whistled with approval when he saw the four girls Tammy Mori sensually danced with in the lounge.  A slowly spinning party ball cast off colored light in all directions.  Other than that, it was practically pitch black in the common room.  Cyan, magenta, and cobalt shadows moved slowly against a wall like poorly registered three-color prints.  It was hard for him to make out faces amidst the throng of partygoers.  A new recruit -- he had no way of knowing which -- stood on a flipped over nickel plated tin bucket with nothing on but a pointed canvas hood-like tarp that covered his face and upper body.  Further on, he knew others suffered more severe insults and degradations at the hands of their masters, although he couldn't quite make out what they were.  Buddy Alexander looked around to see what terrible fate had befallen Sam Spikone while he was otherwise preoccupied in the lady's room, and was pleased to find that the beautiful twins had him pinned down while one of their friends pinched the young man's nose closed and poured liquor into his mouth every time he gasped for air. 

            To Tammy Mori, her training partner of the last few days seemed distant and preoccupied, like maybe Buddy Alexander was somewhere else, far off, and the music he heard didn't have the same soulful rhythm she and her shapely new friends danced to.  Like maybe he was at another party among other people she couldn't imagine, the Tammy Mori he winked at was another Tammy Mori, maybe not her at all, maybe another woman altogether on another planet in a distant galaxy, and the music he heard was the loud, thumping electronic beat of a discotheque at the far end of the universe.  After their intimate tryst in the Tetragon's inverted city, she expected...  The young woman in the black wig with severe bangs shook her head.  She wasn't exactly sure what she figured would happen afterwards.  Only that he wouldn't show more interest in the other girls she danced with than he did in her. 

            "You never look at me like that," she accused him. 

            "Like what?"

            "The way you look at them."

            Did Tammy Mori think she was at a cotillion?  Did she think she was at a Mexican sweet fifteen party?  Sometimes Buddy Alexander didn't know which alter ego of Tammy Mori's he was dealing with.  Didn't she have the first clue of what was going on around her?  Didn't she see the group of kids at the Halloween party that were using a car battery to electrocute one of the bound and gagged recruits right behind her, or the drunken young coed who urinated in the face of another naked and harnessed young boy?  Didn't she notice how, over the course of the evening, the more mundane torments and persecutions of the new conscripts gave way to meaner, increasingly perverted afflictions?  Several young men forced one naked boy to watch as they raped his girlfriend.  Another bunch of senior students, lead by a petit woman, gleefully cheered as they watched one of their dog-collard slaves sodomized by another. 

As far as he could make out, the two of them were in the center ring of hell -- supposedly occupied, according to the invite flyer, by Satan's hairy genitals.  The notion that Tammy Mori wanted him to pay closer attention to her didn't exactly square with the theme of the costume party.  Nonetheless, Buddy Alexander grabbed her by her silk nurse's neck scarf and pulled her towards him in a meager, yet entirely earnest attempt at atonement and reconciliation. 

            "Don't touch me," she pushed him away, unaffected by his transparent gesture.  "You can be so sweet," she said curtly, "but sometimes I just don't understand what gets into you.  You don't fool me for a second," she complained.  "It's like some fairy-tale ogre takes physical possession of your body, and you become like some kind of unhinged, inhuman beast." 

            Before the identical twins got bored with him, and left Sam Spikone leashed to the claw-footed wooden leg of a rustic old oak billiard table, they made him up with lipstick and eyeliner.  It was getting hard to tell the new recruits from the rest of the students.  He crouched huddled and shivering under the cowhide basket of the side pocket, like an ugly transvestite tart used up and spent after a bunch of neighborhood gang-bangers out on a weekend bender had pulled a train on him, or like he'd been passed around the jailhouse in exchange for cigarettes during a prison riot, the word 'cocksucker' emblazoned on his chest and forehead in indelible marker, and watched the exchange between Tammy Mori and Buddy Alexander with peculiar interest.

Everyone aside from the two of them seemed engaged in some unholy carnal act of sexual debauchery, but there was more to it than the fact that they were probably the only couple left at the party who still had their costumes on.  Sam Spikone watched the team members argue with perverse glee.  He was still in love with Tammy Mori, and any discord between the two of them was like a cool balm that soothed the sting of his ruin and misfortune.  What the hell did she see in Buddy Alexander, anyway?  Alone together in the basement utility room before the party, the senior student might only have intended to incense him with his bravura play-by-play of the pimp-drug-dealer's sleep attack on the young woman's unconscious body: how he drugged her, soiled and defiled her.  The older student might only have intended to pulverize him with his vulgar insinuations: how her pimp fondled her breasts and vagina, ran his tongue over her naked skin, and fucked her in every orifice conceivable, not once or twice, but over and over again, until she was nothing more than an open sore.  Sam Spikone understood it was only 'guy talk', the way boys, even by way of a backhanded complement, are always trying to knock each other down a peg, but he also knew it wasn't all fun and games.  There was something off about the way Buddy Alexander enjoyed quoting the fictional drug dealer as having said "Even the ugliest girl looks good with a cock in her mouth," a crude quality about the young man in the pimp costume Tammy Mori couldn't quite see, or didn't want to see, something only he could protect her from, if only he wasn't naked, painted to look like some cartoon transsexual villainess, and strapped to a thick wooden table leg, like some kind of sick, homoerotic fantasy of a masochist, street trash, throwaway dreg. 

"I'm going back to my dorm," Tammy Mori bluntly informed Buddy Alexander on her way out.  In a last ditch attempt to salvage the situation, he offered her a ride back to her place, but she had no intention of waiting for him or anybody else.  Her pretty new friends told her not to walk back all alone in the dark -- it was too dangerous, they politely cautioned -- but she insisted she had to go right away.  After she warmly kissed them goodbye, and promised to call them in the morning, she made her way downstairs to the coatroom, which wasn't really a coatroom at all, but the bedroom of one of the students who threw the party. 

The interior was decorated with psychedelic black light posters.  Two couples were in the room.  One shared a joint together.  They slowly took drags and caressed each other, while the other twosome openly engaged in oral sex.  Their gender was uncertain.  The skinny redhead gave his or her guy head, impervious to Tammy Mori's annoyed presence, even though the young woman in the nurse's outfit had to dig through the pile for quite a while before she found her favorite powder blue leather jacket at the bottom. 

 

-- Daniel Mendel-Black, copyright 2010



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Drone Wars: Game On! (first chapter)

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            From the moment the ball was snapped, everyone else seemed to move in slow motion, as if everyone on the opposing team was an animatronic dummy, like Buddy Alexander was lined up against a bunch of dusty mechanical figures salvaged from the original Disney Pirates of the Caribbean ride. 

A huge window in the zone of the defense opened up on the left side.  He felt his arm go back, then snap forward as he released the ball, watched it spiral through the air in the direction of his wide open tight end, saw that there was no one from the opposing team anywhere near the kid, dropped on his knees, and pumped his fists as his teammate scampered into the end-zone untouched. 

It was like he had discovered a fatal flaw in the other teams game plan.  The play repeated itself in his head.  Every time he went to that same spot on the field, it broke all the way for a score.  All he had to do was fake a run to the right and the whole backside of the defense opened up.  Nothing more complicated than a simple bootleg would do the trick.  All he had to do was release a receiver into the flat at the opposite end of the field, and, every time, without fail they were left totally uncovered and alone.  There was no way the opposing team could adjust in time.  He was reminded of how his alcoholic math teacher had left the classroom to tipple during the midterm, and forgot that the answer sheet to the multiple-choice exam was still on his lectern.  Like a cheat who didn't want to get caught, Buddy Alexander had purposefully answered some of the questions wrong, thrown in a few mistakes to make his near perfect score look less suspicious, more plausible.  When it became obvious to him he could run the exact same play over and over again, and virtually score at will every time, he decided he would throw in the odd bad play, and a couple of times he might simply throw the ball away to avoid an easy touchdown.  He was worried someone else besides himself might notice that there was something very wrong with the other team's players, like they were board pieces, and only seemed capable of moving in one direction at any given time -- laterally. 

After each scoring drive the clock should have reset, and the points should have come off the board, yet the score accumulated nonetheless.  To anyone else it should have looked like the game was stuck in some kind of locked groove, but the hometown fans didn't seem to mind at all.  The crowd cheered just as loudly after every successive score as they had done the time before, as if they too were caught up in the time warp, as if it was the identical cheer that roared from their throats each and every time the play repeated itself, and they too had no idea that they were stuck in the same rut as the players on the field.  Buddy Alexander couldn't help but feel like the game was digitally frozen, and if he didn't do something quickly someone among them would snap out of the endlessly repeated cycle -- maybe an announcer, a vendor, one of the cheerleaders, or one of their parents -- discover the problem, and reboot the program. 

What if he got away with it?  What would it be like after the third or fourth time they scored with the same, exact play?  After a while the thrill would have to wear thin, wouldn't it?  What would replace it?  Would he grow disaffected?  At first, he guessed it would start to feel like he was detached from his body, a floating timeworn spirit who watched the game from above.  It would probably start to seem to him like he was simply going through the motions, he wouldn't bother to watch himself drop back in the pocket, anymore, maybe turn his attention to the circling gulls, or simply let his mind wander unfettered, his attention only drawn back to the field by the referee's shrill whistle in time to see the man's arms stiffly lifted up above his head to indicate another touchdown.  For a while, at any rate, it might prove pleasant, like an endless string of sunny Sundays spent at a golf course without a care in the world save for his swing.  How long would it take before he began to tire of it, before he became restless, and wished for another diversion, before it started to feel like weeds were growing up around his brain, and he became desperate for some preoccupation or another, anything really, to interrupt the deadly monotony of such a poorly conceived entreaty once granted?  After a while, wouldn't the fulfilled wish start to feel more like a curse? 

The referee blew his whistle and wound his arm to indicate the game clock was restarted.  Buddy Alexander lined up behind the center to run the play again.  Cleats dug into the turf.  Larger boys grunted as they made contact and tried to gain leverage over each other.  As predicted, he experienced a sense of disassociation as the line surged to the right, and he reached out his empty hand to his halfback.  In a way, he almost hoped the opposing team's defensive end hadn't bitten on the bootleg, hadn't overplayed his position, like he had already done twice before, and would be there waiting when he turned the other way to throw the ball to his backside receiver.  It would have come as a sort of relief to him if the kid was covered the way he was supposed to be, but that's not what happened.  Everything went exactly like it had during the previous possession.  There wasn't a single player from the opposing team anywhere near the tight end.  The kid was halfway down the field before the Mountain High team realized how badly they were burnt by the misdirection. 

Another three-and-out possession for the visiting squad followed by what?  Buddy Alexander barked out the snap count.  Was it going to be another six points on the board for his team, or would time speed back up to normal, the lucky streak finally broken?  He was almost happy when he felt the linebacker's helmet spear him in the chest as he released the ball, fairly giddy when he saw the ball tipped by the taped fingers of the nose tackle, enough to send it high and wide of its intended target, and in the general direction of the free safety who looked like he had a clear shot at a sure interception.  There was no way his wide out should have caught the ball.  The player wasn't even supposed to be anywhere near that part of the field, no way the defending player shouldn't have easily been able to pull the floating-duck down, but that's not the way it happened.  Buddy Alexander sat up, and pulled a tuft of sod out from his face guard.  The good news was that everything around him happened in real time.  The bad news for the visiting team was that his lucky streak was still unbroken.  The botched play didn't change the outcome one bit.  They scored on the first first-down of their fourth possession just like they had on the prior three. 

 

-- Daniel Mendel-Black, copyright 2010



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