I sat on the old brown leather couch and tried not to move, as the poor thing creaked and squealed with the slightest twitch. I’d never been to Peter’s apartment before; it was the kind of place that girls ‘like me’ didn’t frequent. Peter was more…dirty than that. As in with filth, not just pervy.
I could hear him in the kitchen talking to his roommate, sharing a recipe for butter noodles or splitting up a bag of potato chips, who fucking knew. When I’d met the roommate, he winked at me and told me to call him ‘Vegas’ for some ungodly reason. Vegas was fifty if he was a day. I had no idea what his real name was, but I didn’t really care to know.
I still don’t know why I agreed to go home with Peter that night. Maybe because it felt like an adventure. Maybe because it felt new and different. Maybe just because he was a dirty old man who may or may not have more than enough drugs for both of us.
I shuddered, and the crusty old couch echoed my sentiments.
I remembered the camping trip my father took me on when I was ten. The one where we found a body in the desert, his intestines pulled from a hole in his stomach and tied to the branch of a creosote bush. I’m pretty sure that was the day that I changed from a normal kid with normal potential to something fortunately rarer, something darker.
But back to Peter. He had cheap whiskey, but he had expensive coke. I’m fine either way, but Peter wasn’t. We retired to his bedroom as Vegas retired to his own, and commenced to getting shitfaced. Peter didn’t even finish the whiskey, from a bottle shaped like a human skull, before passing out. More of a gentleman than I’d expected, though: he didn’t even try to cop a feel once he got me in his bedroom. He actually just wanted to talk.
I don’t care about talking, but I’ll listen to you if that’s what you want, if what you’ve got is good enough for me. Anyway, I said Peter was an old man, but I guess he was thirty or so. Not really old in the grand scale of things, but he’d been rode hard and put up wet, so ‘old man’ suited him.
I listened to him snore for about five minutes before I gathered up all the coke and the money that I’d seen stashed in his underwear drawer, of all places. Jeez, Peter, can’t you be a tiny bit original? I shrugged, not really caring.
I listened at the door for any noises that might tell me what Vegas was doing and whether or not he was going to prevent me making a clean getaway. When I couldn’t hear anything, I opened the door and gently closed it behind me. I snagged my jacket from the back of the couch on my way to the front door, and that’s when the yelling started.
I jumped, fearing the worst, but it turned out to be your everyday smidgen of domestic violence in the apartment down the hall. None of my business. Two flights of stairs and I was clean gone, free to live another night doing whatever the fuck I wanted.
Natalie peered around the corner, wondering how much longer she would have to wait before the bird’s murky song echoed through the halls and set her free.
The wizard colonel in charge of the palace was unaware of her existence, and that was the only thing saving her ass right now. Natalie crossed her fingers that he wouldn’t find out about her before it was too late.
The first notes trickled through the corridor, and Natalie blew her advantage by stepping out at just the right moment, right into the path of Wizard-Colonel Larkspur. Their eyes met, and as he raised an eyebrow, the fear in her expression made him realize that this was a person he needed to know more about.
“Seize her!” he commanded, and the first three guards behind him grabbed Natalie by her arms and waist before she could turn and run in a desperate bid for freedom. “Bring her to me.”
The guards somehow managed to march Natalie the four feet between them, and the wizard colonel reached out a finger and tipped her chip up so he could look deep into her eyes. The puzzlement cleared from his face in an instant, to be replaced by a loathing that even the guards behind him could feel. Natalie cringed at the hurtful gaze, fearing the worst was about to happen.
“Take her to the dungeon at once!” His voice trembled the slightest bit on the last word, and Natalie was the only one who caught it. Her heart lifted anew with fresh hope, and she cooperated with the guards tugging her along.
She looked back over her shoulder just once, and her timing was perfect enough to catch Larkspur mid-shudder.
Natalie began to smile as she stood a little straighter. Maybe things weren’t as bad as they seemed after all.
Kevin looked back over his shoulder, just once, as he ran down the empty street. The drone was still back there, following him. He cursed his luck; why did this have to be the one day that not a single person wanted to be out enjoying the sunshine on Fourth Street? Any other day this place would be thronged with people.
He felt like a fool for choosing the path he had, and nearly wasted running energy to facepalm himself as he remembered that the boat races were this afternoon. Of course no one was on Fourth! You couldn’t get any farther from the river and still be downtown.
Kevin huffed and puffed and tried to urge a tiny bit more speed from his worn tennies. He couldn’t check for it any more without slowing down or risking a dangerous fall, but he imagined the drone inching closer and closer, nipping at his heels, as it were. A silent tear ran down his face. If he got caught, the scandal would annihilate his reputation.
The daylight was creeping from the cracks and crevices of the still neighborhood, and Kevin let the loaf of bread slip from his fingers and into the clutches of the grocery manager’s drone. Entropy slithered upward another notch, and Kevin’s family would go hungry tonight.
Rochester’s gamble looked like it was going to pay off; the girl was walking toward the alley where she would, with any luck, meet her doom. He peered at the screen intently, waiting on the edge of his seat, without the slightest tinge of remorse to mar his heartless soul.
The girl stopped, and so did Rochester’s heart. She cocked her head to the side, as though listening to someone who wasn’t there. He ground his teeth in frustration as he watched her kneel to pluck a daisy from a crack in the sidewalk. That’s just so like her, he thought. Never keeping on task when there’s a bit of fuzz to distract her.
Rochester breath whistled in and out between the heavy hairs lining his nostrils as he played the waiting game. Will she or won’t she? Come on already!
He lashed out, kicking a filing cabinet into the wall as she stood back up and turned around. Rochester’s sweaty hamfists pummeled the desk, and the slip of a girl went on about her day, thoughts of butterflies and flowers babbling through her brain, never knowing how close she had come to dismemberment.
Day 5: List five places you want to visit.
- Angkor Wat
- Machu Picchu
Day 6: Five ways to win your heart.
- Be smart
- Be charming
- Be funny
- Be cute
- Be Ian
Day 7: List ten songs that you’re loving right now.
- Gold Dust Woman, Fleetwood Mac has been stuck in my head for days. Maybe weeks.
- Chains which is apparently Nick Jonas. Had to google that one. Also stuck in my head a lot.
- This is super hard. I don’t really listen to new songs, so it’s the same songs, year after year after year. With the occasional mall music thrown in. So I guess eight more of my favorite songs? Burden in My Hand, Soundgarden
- Gold Dust, Flux Pavilion
- Ghosts N Stuff, deadmau5
- Panama, Van Halen
- Fighter, Christina Aguilera
- Long Time, Boston
- Sex Type Thing, Stone Temple Pilots
- Pepper, Butthole Surfers
Day 8: Share something you struggle with.
Overextending myself. I say yes a lot; not nearly as much as I used to, but it’s something that I’ve struggled with for years. I hate to disappoint anyone–I hate to disappoint anyone else. I spent a lot of time trying to save the world before I realized that I was wasting my time.
It’s not that I was necessarily wasting my time by helping others out or by volunteering to stay late at work or by taking on a new project. I was wasting my time by spending it doing things I didn’t really want to do just because I thought I should do them.
And after some major life upheavals, I’ve almost gotten to a point where I don’t cringe inside to say no. Sometimes.
Take NaNoWriMo, for example. A few months ago I got an email telling me that my area could use a coordinator, or whatever the job’s called. I know I can’t do that, so I pointed it out to a friend of mine who’s even shyer and more introverted than I am. He told me I should do it, and a few years ago, I would have signed right on up and hated myself for it. But I didn’t! I thought about it, sure, but I decided against it again, just as I had when I first read the email.
But I still do it to myself; I take on more than I can handle. Look at my sidebar. Do you think I’ve read any classics this year besides Lolita? Nope, sure haven’t. And I didn’t even write a post about Lolita. By the way, I finally fixed the link on that image, if anyone wants to have a look. Signups closed in like February, but there’s a section on Forgotten Classics if you need some reading materials.
So yeah; still a struggle, but something I’m working on. A happy ending of sorts, maybe?
Day 9: Post some words of wisdom that speak to you.
I love this:
“You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.”
Presented by a blogger who I don’t keep up with nearly as much as I should, because she’s amazing.
In case no one’s noticed, I’ve sort of been buddy-buddying it up with these blog prompts from The Blog Propellant. I can’t help myself. This gal comes up with some good ones. And it’s been doing me tons of good to get to writing some good, meaty posts, instead of the here and there, skin and bones filler I usually end up using for half the month when I sign up for NaBloPoMo. Well, I think it’s cool, anyway.
I had a moment earlier this afternoon as I was cutting Ian’s hair. I even said it out loud: this is why barbers do it. It was like I had a glimpse into what it would be like to do that all day, every day. Fulfilling is a word that comes to mind, something I’d never thought of before when it comes to barbering, and one of my best friends in school is a barber, as are her parents, who own their shops. Fulfilling because hair is important in the same way that fashion and makeup are important, as a means of self-expression. Cutting someones hair helps them be themselves, although possibly somewhat less here, in a military community with a large percentage of mandated hairstyles covering the heads walking on the streets.
Have you ever thanked someone for a good deed they did in your dream? I know it’s cliche to be mad at someone for something they did in a dream; I’m guilty of it myself. It’s hard to turn the emotion off as soon as you wake up, especially if that person is sleeping right next to you. I had a dream a few weeks ago in which Ian wouldn’t let me do heroin. I was pretty angry in the dream, but awake, it sounded like a fairly decent decision for him to make. Last night a friend of mine did CPR and saved someone’s life in a dream. I don’t know if he even knows CPR, but I forgot to Facebook him a thanks for being a good guy in my subconscious.
I watched the movie Tracks earlier this evening, based on the book by Robyn Davidson about her camel-assisted trek across the Australian desert. I actually liked the movie better than the book, although I appreciate the depth the book goes into about 1970s social mores in Australia. Also, camels are so gross. Anyway, decent movie.