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Below are the 17 most recent journal entries recorded in Fire F. Effect's LiveJournal:

Friday, March 5th, 2004
10:31 am
pierce pressed his forehead flat against the cold window of the school bus. the brown grass, newly emerged from snow, stretched out stark against the dark gray sky. pierce initially thought the grass was more of a yellow color - but then categorically placed it as brown after realizing that it was not quite as yellow as the lines zipping past along black pavement of the highway, or the yellow of the school bus, or the yellow of his dreaded rain slicker his mom insisted he wear on the field trip to the planetarium.

the only thing pierce liked about field trips was that his mom spruced up his usual dull lunch, consisting of a sandwich and apple, with a flashy can of pop wrapped in tinfoil and an hostess cupcake. he could feel the cold of the can pressing against his leg on the seat next to him. the sensation combined with the cold of the glass on his forehead made him feel like he had to pee. however strategically he couldn't do anything about it because the brown paper bag was the only thing separating him from his dreaded enemy and seat partner mindy greenfarb.

"ew, pierce your forehead is greasing up the window! don't you know that you have to, like, wash your face in the morning?!"

just keep looking out the window pierce reassured himself, and she will eventually stop talking to you.

"ew, molly look! pierce is greasing up the window! why do i have to sit next to pierce? mrs. jacoby help! ew!"

the bus changed lanes and the land seemed to be pulling out from under him. a van came along side the bus just long enough for pierce to read the words "JOLIET STATE PRISON" printed in big black letters before it passed and zipped ahead. pierce was sure that he would like those men more than mindy, and that if they were on the bus they'd probably strangle her with her own pony tail.

in the corner of his mind he could hear her talking to anyone that would listen. decidedly his playing it cool tactic was not working.

with his breath pierce fogged up a patch of the window and using his index finger he wrote the word MINDY in capital letters.

"ew, pierce why are you writing my name on the window?!"

pierce turned and looked at her and with dramatic flair made a circle with a slash through her name as if to say NO MINDY before turning back to look at the chicago skyline suddenly coming into view. mindy got quiet and things were looking up.
Thursday, September 20th, 2001
9:59 pm
Fuck, he thought. My shoes are messed. Wait a second, what was he doing worrying about his shoes?

They had emerged from a grate in the sidewalk, and looking around, Alex saw no one. It had gotten a lot darker too than when they had gone underground... too dark for a sunset. "Storm's coming," he said absentmindedly as he pulled himself out of the hole the grate was covering. Tim followed suit, heaving himself up and rolling onto the sidewalk opposite Alex. He was breathing hard, Alex noticed, which was strange as it didn't seem like this guy was out of shape. A little bit of a hard-up suit maybe, but if a trudge through a dank tunnel and up a short ladder didn't get his own cigarette-smoking ass in a huff, this guy had no right. "You okay man?" he asked.

"I'm fucking fine," he muttered. Alex shrugged. This guy could take his attitude and sit here with it for all he cared. He scanned the area for a cab, found none, and started walking towards a bigger main street a block away. "Where you going?" Tim asked.

"Liquor store, then home," Alex answered, not turning around.

"Hey... hey! Don't you ever LOOK at the people when you talk to 'em?"

Alex stopped. "I dunno. You don't seem to warrant the required effort I to acomplish that." He still hadn't turned around.

He waited a few second then continued on towards the next block. He rolled his eyes as he heard footsteps running up to catch up with him. "Look, I'm uh, sorry, you know, if I came off as kind of an ass. I'm just not used to..."

"...used to getting thrown out of el trains? You think that's old hat for me or something?" Alex retorted. He hadn't noticed it, but his steps were quickening. "Why are you following me? Go home! You got one, ain't you?"

"Well yeah, sure I do..." Tim said trailing off. Alex had reached the corner and was hailing the one cab he saw. Where are all the cabs, he wondered. </i>It's just after rush hour, they should be around</i>. A big dollop of rain landed squarely on his nose as the cab approached, and he could feel the frequency start to increase. It was going to be a heavy storm.

He opened the door and stepped inside. "Broadway & Sheridan," he barked at the driver. "Well what?!" he said turning to Tim. "Happy? I'm fucking looking at you!"

He stared Tim down intently. He was good at stares. Stares made people back down. They made him seem hard. But as the rain began to fall faster and faster, the image of a geeky suit standing there covering his head with a newspaper made him laugh. "Jesus christ," he muttered to himself. "Citron?"

"What?" Tim asked, a confused look crossing his face.

"Citron! The goddamn vodka. Do you drink Citron?" Tim nodded slowly. "Well get in already... there aren't any cabs around."

"You sure?" Tim asked.

Alex sighed. "Get in. There's nothing more depressing than a sad, rain-smelly human."
Wednesday, August 8th, 2001
4:08 pm
(this might be just too many tie-ins to work, but fuck it.)
on june 21st 1988 val bit through a quarter. she was exiting the florida turnpike stuck in tollbooth traffic jingling the 40cent offering to the man when she got a horrible pain in her uterus. a grip-the-wheel-it�s-all-over-kind-of-pain� even though she hadn�t seen caroline in over 10 years, she knew that her twin sister had given birth. the baby was all tangled in cords and ropes of snot and blood. her name would be angel. angel bring me a drink angel bring me a beer angel be mommies little angel and don�t bother your new daddy while i go to work. but she would never say angel in the context of aren�t you an ___, just like their mother never paid her daughters that same respect. it was a mothering patronizing brush off... the go fetch of momspeak. why parents are unaware that children know exactly what�s going on, val would never know. but what did it matter? 10 years have passed and val can't be bothered with children today, she has to take too many pills.

will would always get on ass about those pills. are you taking your pills? when is your appointment scheduled? can i give you a ride to the doctor? and so on and so on. why did he have to be like that? why couldn't he let her die in peace? it was becoming clear he couldn't leave her alone, that he was like a puppy; warm and loyal and trusting by her side. val would think about the night he'd talk in his sleep, saying things that made her want to eat him alive... things like "for you only bluebells will do" and "i never knew it would be so good." sometimes making love was more than either one could bear. she would have to stare at the telephone or think of her schedule. anything to delay the impact of reality.

val's cold green eyes were the surveying sort, the kind that could freeze grapes right on the vine. she knew angel had them too. caroline sent her a picture on her second birthday. val was not surprised. she knew this little girl despite the fact they had never met. she had power compacted into her eyes that would most likely be confused with brattiness, especially with caroline raising her. and the power made val fall into a trance. it was almost otherworldly� like the first time she ever saw the old guitarist hanging at the art institute. she had to stop and stare, not thinking of earthly things, but of that realm just beyond where there are no words.

when will asked about her pills, val telepathically sprouted an icicle on his spine with her cold green eyes. it wasn't that she appreciate him, or love him - she loved him intensely. more accurately she loved him so much that she began putting distance between them. she couldn't have her true love falling for an ill woman, she wouldn't let it happen. instead she focused on her photography. she bought a new red coat and matching red shoes. anything that said stop. and when that wasn't enough, one day she closed the gates. she simply cut the string. he sent her notes in bottles and tossed them through open windows, picked flowers and spread the petals on her stairway, he wrote poems, he tried everything. one night, when all else had failed and he knew she wasn�t going to give in, he sat on the floor outside of her apartment and cried and wailed and screamed like a baby � occasionally pounding his fists. she sat on the other side of course, breathing in hair and spit and coughing along with him - but never opened the door. when the police came they grabbed will by the collar. val had a swollen red face of salt that matched his. the police asked her if she knew him, and she said "i am a stranger to this man." the policemen didn't have quick enough brains to register that she hadn't said "this man is a stranger," so they though it nothing out of the ordinary. will responded with �i am dead.� which police interpreted as �you are dead� and promptly tossed him out on the pavement.

two years have passed, val takes her pills and stares at potted violets and wonders if will will ever come back.
Tuesday, August 7th, 2001
1:20 am
�This party�s fucking lame,� Tim muttered as he threw his beer cup into a corner. �Why�d you drag me here anyway? It�s full of kids,� he said, waving his arm.

��mmm, yeah,� Steph answered. She was looking around, unsure of what they were doing here. She shook her head. �I thought it was just going to be us with Sasha, and probably Will. I didn�t know it was going to be a bash or anything.�

�Pfft, look around. I may have come if it were just those two, but look at us � we�re standing in the middle of a high school beer party.� He grunted as a girl in a tube top and jeans danced behind him, knocking him off balance. �Jesus!� he said, turning to look behind him. Her bellybutton danced in a hypnotic fashion, just above the waist of her 501�s. �That girl cannot be over 16,� he said. �We�re leaving.�

Steph rolled her eyes. �Come on, it�s not that bad. Just give it a��

��I�ve had enough of this shit. I feel like a goddamn chaperone, and I�m taking off right now,� Tim said. He nodded his head towards the door.

�Fine, fine,� Steph answered, a little exasperated. �Just let me find Sasha and Will, at least to say hello once.� Tim frowned, but shrugged. Steph knew he was protesting, but that he at least agreed to saying goodbye to the hosts.

She started pushing her way through the sweaty, writhing crowd of teenagers, heading to the back of the apartment where the fire escape was. No doubt those two were on top, either escaping the teenage crowd or doing one of their strange rituals. Or probably both, now that she thought about it. She was fiercely protective of them both, but their relationship, at least to her, was not quite normal. Then again, what did she know about normalcy in a relationship? Will in his psych games he played, taunting death, while Sasha fully, willingly participated was just as torturous as the constant, silent images in her head of Tim and her getting more serious with each other. Sure, her idea was more common, but it was just as unrealistic as Will�s desire to kill himself in front of Sasha.

She found the window in the back and climbed out onto the fire escape. The cool, drier air of the night outside was a refreshing change from the smoky, pulsating interior. She began climbing the wrought iron stairs to the roof, Tim silently behind her. She knew he was as concerned about Will and Sasha as she was, but he�d never admit it. That chiseled, handsome face wasn�t just a fascade; it was a mirror of his persona. Stubborn, a little rugged, and very attractive� but defensive, and not always forthcoming with information.

�Where are those two?� she heard him mutter. �I�ve got to work tomorrow morning��

She was about to tell him that it�d take only a minute more � she was about to throw heave herself onto the roof�s edge and onto the top � when someone literally jumped over her and onto the tiny space of the fire escape section she had just been standing on. She gasped, almost losing her balance, and she cut her right index finger on the rough roof floor as she slipped a little. Behind her, she heard Tim get shoved into the wall with a small �oof� as the person rattled down the fire escape. �Shit!� she yelled. �Who the hell was that?�

�Will!� she heard Sasha scream as she ran towards the fire escape. �Will, wait! Oh my God, Steph, are you okay?� she said, finally noticing Steph crawl over the edge. She landed in a heap, slightly dusty, and breathing a little faster
than normal.

�Yeah, I�m okay,� Steph huffed. �What was that all about?�

Sasha straightened up and scrunched up her face. �Nothing important,� she said, trying to make it sound as if this was the usual turn of events.

�Sure, just like everyday,� Steph said quietly. �I think that�uh, well you and Will are�� she paused and leaned up against the roof wall as Tim threw himself over to their side. He gave her a skeptical look. Don�t even bother trying to figure it out, he said in one quick facial expression. Steph looked down and sighed. ��uh, yeah, well, it was a decent party. Thanks for inviting us.�
Saturday, June 2nd, 2001
12:54 am
"dude, get down from there!" one of the girls finally stammered as will was walking along the edge of the roof. the party was in full swing and no one felt like being bothered with death tonight.

taking a drag off of her cigarette sasha said in her husky voice "he knows what he's doing." she exhaled quickly in a thick straight line before flicking it off the side of the building. she started walking towards him. "right will?"

he wasn't paying attention or making eye contact with anyone. he was mumbling something about rotting fruit with remorse.

the rest of the kids weren't paying much real attention to him anyway, talking amongst themselves. "don't people who walk on ledges usually hold out their arms? like for balance? you know, like a tightrope walkers and shit?"

"it's cold."

"yuck what's on my shoe."

"if he wants to jump he should just do it and save us the waiting."

"ha! good one!"

this perked sasha's attention and she turned back to the kids holding cups of beer. red solo cups like the kind brought to picnics.

"get the fuck off of my roof." sasha growled. they stumbled to their feet mildly annoyed but more afraid. "do i stutter?! fuck off!" the started making their way down the fire escape.

she proceeded to where will had been pacing toe to heel for the past half-hour. she straddled the ledge of the roof directly in his path. will teetered a bit but finally spoke for the first time all night.

"do you know what eats me up?" he said gaining his solid footing before pivoting a 180 and going back the other way.

she took this to be the cue, hopped down and walked around in his sight again.

"the way that shit has gone down. in the past. it's like a loop that plays over and over and over. history repeats itself. we become our parents. our ancestry becomes our future. the shit replays itself over and over and over and -"

sasha jumped up on the ledge, catlike. "and?"

he anticipated her move, pivoted and started walking back the other way. "you're afraid of me. i know it."

sasha smiled to herself and got down off the ledge. "if i were afraid of you why would i be up here? you're strong you could just toss me off the side."

"maybe i will." there was nothing sinister in his voice, in fact it was an awkward sort of tenderness. sasha didn't say anything, she just waited. "ive done terrible things. terrible." he teetered as he went to pivot. she could see a glint of a tear on his cheek reflected in the streetlamp. for a moment she actually thought he might fall and her heart leapt. but he didn't. now he was just standing staring out into the street. for some reason this made her more nervous than if he would have been doing some sort of wild tap dance routine.

"i've done terrible things."

"so have i." sasha said quickly with a certain insistence. "so has everyone."

"you're not hearing me on this, why aren't you hearing me on this!? you of all people should be hearing me on this!" he threw his beer over the side with a brute force. there was a long silence.

sasha walked up carefully behind him, her nose meeting him at the back of his waist. she put her palm against his calf. the hair there was soft and made her sentimental.

"DON'T FUCKING TOUCH ME!" and started moving his leg out of her grasp. he managed to kick her right in the ribs with the heel of his doc.

"will come down from there right now!" sasha screamed in panic ignoring the pain as it spread like fire.

"stop talking like my mother, you're supposed to know better than that!"

"will... will... god." she was having trouble getting her breath. "okay. i'm going to go sit down now, have your distance." this seemed to appease him. the party going on below her was loud. she feared the cops would come. the commotion would certainly set him off. and she refused to let her friend jump to his death and land on a fucking cop car. that would be just too moronic.

will was one of three people in this world that understood her. having him upset like this threw her out of whack... the fact that an hour earlier she had hit the 9 beer mark wasn't helping the situation either. she put her thumb through a hole in her shirt... ratty old t-shirt of serge's... that dumb lug.

with her head sort of spinning she sat there for a long while keeping an eye on will and getting her breath back. after a good 10 minutes she spoke. "do you want to come down now? i won't think any less of you if you do. and then we'll sit over here all quiet-like or we can talk about what ever is on your mind."

"you don't know me at all," he said with a gritty intensity that wounded her more than any kick to the gut.

without registering what she was doing sasha ran to the ledge, grabbed him around the waist and pulled him back off the ledge with all her might. his head cracked against the blacktop and groaned, disoriented. she straddled him and pinned his shoulders against the blacktop.

"don't you ever say that!" she slapped him so hard her hand stung. the ferocity of her own action scared her. she thought of people who could single-handedly lift cars off of pinned victims when prompted. will looked up at her, blinking, trying to bring her face into focus. all he saw was her crazy black curls flying above her head silouhetted against the street light.

"don't pull this shit with me will. i'm like your goddamned sister!"

"are you crying?" he asked blinking, things spinning and not making much sense.

"are you?" she said breathing heavy.

"oh god... oh god..." and now he was crying. sobbing, to be exact. the kind of messy sobbing that is unbearable for all involved. twisted up red-faced snot running sobbing. "i've done terrible terrible things."

"what have you done? tell me. tell me." sasha was trying to hold his face still but it was slippery and hot like a live animal part.

"i can't tell you. i can't tell you!" and with that he broke away from her grasp, tossing her easily to the side. he ran down to the fire escape and by the time sasha was able to make it to her feet, will was running. he knocked over a garbage can as he ducked down the alley. the sound of metal clattering the ground was too much to bear.
Wednesday, May 30th, 2001
8:43 pm
What the hell was he thinking? Five more minutes on the train and he would've been fine, it would've picked up, he could've been well on his way home. 10 more minutes and he would've been all comfortable whipping up some sort of dinner, a casserole maybe. And 40 minutes later, he could be watching the evening news, ignoring the shit his day had descended into. But no. He had to be adventurous. He had to exercise the streak of wildness in him, be the oh-so-cliched rebel.

What bullshit this all was, he thought. And it might get me killed.

The tunnel was even darker that he had originally thought, if that was possible, and he could barely see the weirdo in front of him who was trying to feel his way through the darkness to an exit. Except this weird kid was laughing, as if he was having the time of his life. Tim, on the other hand, was the furthest he could possibly be from laughing. Jesus Christ, he thought. One slip on this tiny, 2 foot, dirty-ass cement platform and I'd probably fry myself, and this kid's laughing?

"Come on, there's got to be an exit around here somewhere!" the guy in front of him said, and Tim could sense that this guy was smiling. Jesus.

Tim figured it'd be best if they kept talking, so at the very least, he could sense where the guy was in relation to himself. "Uh.. what's your name?" he asked.

"Alex," the guy answered back, nonchalantly. As if crawling through dark subway tunnels was status quo for him. "Yours?"

"Tim," he answered. "So, hmm, why'd you light up in the train?"

"I wanted a smoke, and it didn't seem like we were going anywhere," Alex said.

"You're not allowed to smoke on the trains."

"Oh really? I didn't know that," Alex answered sarcastically. "Like those 50 people who tossed me out of the train didn't remind me."

"You didn't have to agitate them. If you would've put it out, they would've stopped harassing you," Tim said.

"Trust me," Alex said. "I'd rather be out here smoking than one more second in there with those... people. All uptight and shit. Who cares, right? Is one bit of cigarette smoke going to kill you? Is it going to damage your oh-so-white bleached teeth? Fuck them. They deserve to sit in that hole, stewing in their sweat."

The smell of the subway tunnel was disgusting. Tim imagined piss. Piss and dampness.

"So why'd you come with me?" Alex asked.

Good question, Tim thought. He thought of dinner again. But he spit out an answer for Alex, who seemed to be waiting for one. "I don't know. Restless. Bored maybe."

"If you're bored, you go for a walk. You don't jump out of train cars."

"Look, I don't know. I just did. And I think I'm beginning to regret it," Tim answered back. He tried to shoot Alex an evil look, but he wasn't turning around, and besides, it was too dark to see it.

Alex snorted. "You're welcome to go back."

They fell into silence. The only thing Tim heard was the slow shuffling of their feet, making sure they wouldn't fall off into the track pit. That stupid piss smell was getting to him. The walls were dusty and slimy at the same time, but he had to keep a finger on them to make sure he was walking against the wall. He looked back and couldn't see the train.

Suddenly, Alex stopped. Tim bumped into him with a grunt. "Why'd you..."

"We're here," he interrupted. At first Tim couldn't make out anything, but then he realized that to his left was an emergency exit. It was metallic, and badly rusting. "Come on," Alex signalled as he shoved the door open. The large door groaned slowly open as a few rusted pieces fell off the sides, and they began walking up the dark stairwell.
Monday, May 21st, 2001
1:54 am
Okay, so I WILL post... been so goddamn busy with work and end of semester shit and getting my travel plans in order and visiting relatives for weddings and AAARRGHHH! It'll be here soon enough.
Saturday, May 5th, 2001
2:51 am
serge was busy knocking his forehead and shins against pointy corners. why did he have to cause such a commotion just as they had been getting hot.

�are you okay in there?� mona asked half-heartedly.

�da!� there was the sound of breakables smashing down into the sink.

oh for crying out loud, will you forget about the frickin coke or whatever it is and get your hot russian ass in here?! �are you sure?�

there were more sounds of rummaging and rifling and awful stumbling sounds from the bathroom. mona peeled off her sweaty tank top, dropped her baggy shorts and hopped on the bed. she lay there naked. waiting.
I've got the moves baby, you got the motion. If we got together we'd be causing a commotion. yeah, madonna, the operative word being if... if he�d ever get his ass out of the goddamned bathroom!

bored with the ceiling she turned her gaze to the nightstand. overflowing ashtray, beer bottles with butts swimming, gum wrappers, a picture of him and his twin sister at some sort of family barbecue. mona couldn�t resist picking it up to examine closer. sasha had very dark eyes. piercingly so. serge�s eyes were dark, but sloped and somehow goofy. her eyes moved across this woman�s face, the defined eyebrows, the high cheekbones, the long curly black hair. mona twisted a strand of her straight red hair self-consciously. she felt so girlish and 18, compared to her dark beauty. could that much life really happen to a person in 6 years? and he had mentioned he had a twin, but he didn�t reveal just how much alike they looked.

serge emerged from the other room, silouhetted in the doorway. she put the picture face down and let her hair that had been a moment ago too red and too straight fall back on the pillow. the shape of him was so strong, very different from the manic persona that had been smashing about a few minutes earlier... and very very different from the boys she had met so far in college. she supposed that�s why she saught him out earlier that night in the club. he made his way towards the bed like a tiger, trailing his thick palm along the wall for support.

she couldn�t wait for him to get to the bed. it had been a whole evening of flirting and tucking her hair behind her ears, it was time to get down to business... she sprang to her knees on the edge of the bed and let him wrap his huge arms around her. in that moment she felt a flash of nervousness, as if he planned to over take her... but as he threw her on the bed, she caught his goofy eyes smiling hungrily at her.

�i�m fucking wrecked� he said in his thick accent.

�yeah, me too,� she lied pressing herself against him. the beer she had nursed earlier had long worn off. she wanted to live her entire life in his muggy dirty room, dirtying herself in the smell of cigarettes and alcohol and sweat and summer. she never wanted to sit in a pristine class room studying william blake ever again. she wanted a rough tongue of a foreign land in her ear. the toil of a nation digging for life between her thighs. she wondered where her classmates were at that precise moment. if they were sitting in some coffeehouse discussing mayakovsky. oh if only they knew she was with the real thing � and that he was making her a real woman.

�oh serge you�re such a man.� she sighed. she tried to imitate the moans she had heard in the movies.

she felt something thick enter her... when she looked down and realized it was only the tip of his thumb, the dreamlike idea of the girls back on campus faded quickly into a stark moment of clarity. a gutteral moan hung in the air, but she was more surprised at the sound she let out than he was. where did that come from?!

�shut up, your mouth will cheat your pussy.�

the streetlight was shining in her eyes. she tried to move but she was pinned to the spot. she felt him sliding it in further. her face was hot, she tried to hide her face behind her forearm. he took it away and pinned it above her head. a wrapper of sorts was stuck to the back of her left leg. she could smell his body odor. in that instant she realized something of great importance. she had no idea what the hell she was doing.
Friday, May 4th, 2001
6:39 pm
Alex shrugged. He knew all about these people. They saw the colored hair, the plain black tshirt under a dusty work shirt, jeans that were comfortably worn, a pair of black, steel toed shoes, and a backpack with a pin of a picture of Britney Spears with a line through it. They knew nothing about him, but of course, they didn't need to know anything about him. I mean shit, there it was, his whole life story in his clothing. He talked about to his parents as a kid, no, his mother! His dad had left when he was five, no doubt. He had been a slacker in high school and had barely graduated, after having done nothing productive for the four years he was there. He didn't even think of going to college, right? Kids like this just ignore college and success and work on my car when it breaks down. Where was he going now? No doubt on the way to meet his drug dealer. Or maybe he was a drug dealer! Yeah! That was it! He was a drug dealer, and he was going to screw with my kid's head when he finally hit first grade.

Alex stared at all of them and smirked. They were so mindless in their perfectly pressed oxfords and khakis, their briefcases and Targus laptop covers, their Palms safely tucked in their shirt pockets, the women's Marshall Field coffee carriers safely stowed in genuine leather Coach purses. And to these people, somehow, one harmless act had elevated him to the status of public enemy #1. They were shouting at him, but it just sounded like pretentious, uninformed noise. He wasn't guilty, and he knew it. They were guilty. Guilty of ignorance and blindness.

That tiny little part of his brain nagged at him to defend himself, to stand his ground. Internally, he laughed and stepped on the thought, squashing it into nothingness. That would be worse than exercise in futility.

He turned around, stepped into the welcoming darkness, and tossed the now burned out butt back into the crowd while a girl screamed as it slolwy arc'd towards her face.
Thursday, May 3rd, 2001
12:28 pm
will turned the corner and came face to face with his greatest fear. his mother was standing waiting for the bus, tugging up her pantyhose. before he could back away unnoticed, she sensed him with her cancerous third eye, turned and gasped so hard she started coughing, "BILLY!!! billy boy! my william!" she trotted over, her arms thickly reaching out to embrace him. he leaned against the building, which was cool against the back of his suit coat. the coughing began to overtake her. she rummaged in her purse for a cough drop. will glanced down at the sidewalk, he didn't want to see
all the embarrassing things that might be in that purse. all the pills and wrinkled up kleenex. he focused his attention on a pink neon poster duct taped to the concrete. turn your life around! lose pounds in 30 days!

"oh it's so great to run into you! and of all places at the bus stop!" she looked at him with these sugar disc eyes wide and white... so much white showing. isn't there a thing about horses and fear and the whites of their eyes showing? she stood there with her arms nearly twitching, aching for him. finally she just picked an imaginary speck of dust from his collar. always smile for billy. "so... how are your classes going?"

"mmmph... fine." he dug his shoe at the corner of the poster, trying to get it up.

"i was just thinking about you last night. someone called me and said buenos tardes!"

"why would someone say that?" he said blankly, as he adjusted his bag. it was getting heavy on his shoulder.

"i don't know..." she stammered. the fact that she said the words 'buenos tardes' in such a ridiculous accent made him sick. he honestly felt his body rotting into sick decay just from looking at her. like one of those documentaries about fruit, where they fast forward the camera so you see the plum shrivel into a moldy mound of dead.

"who do you know that would call to say buenos tardes?"

"i... i thought of you... because of your spanish classes."

"who was it?" he sneered with more venom than he intended. "who called you and said buenos tardes?!"

"val" she said quickly, throwing her hands up in her flighty manner. she fumbled for a cigarette in the purse.

the name hung in the air taking a hold of will by his eyelids. he felt like he might fall forward. his mother's left cheek was twitching. "val
called you to say buenos tardes?!" he felt his eyes blinking a lot. "why would she do that?! "

"why? she called because she had a few moments where she didn't know what else to do with herself." she was still rummaging around, but not finding anything to pull out. her bag of tricks weren't working.

will felt his stomach getting all twisted up. the bile and juices of his whole 26 years of life rising from the innerwalls and smashing together. "don't fuck with me mom," he said in desperation, beginning to tug at the hair on the back of his head and turning in a circle. his hair was short for summer, too short to actually get a hold of anything long enough to pull on. control. must get control. "val didn't call you last night! "

"yes she called to tell me about the reception. the wedding reception, and how i'll have to stay over night at the hotel, and at the end of the conversation she said buenos tardes!"

"MOM!" will bellowed feeling the doberman in him barrel out with gnashing teeth. he reached out quickly and snatched the purse from her fumbling hands and threw it to the ground in one violent motion. things spilled and clattered down the sidewalk. his mother jumped, obviously startled. the leash snapped hard, the sound of leather cracking. water formed in her eyes, and she took a few short breaths, not knowing whether to clamor for her belongings or fall to her knees and throw her arms around his legs.

the bus pulled up to the curb and will began to run. every inch of his body began to shriek. it didn't matter how much his mother called out his name, how much she screamed and cried and crawled and made a scene, she could never catch him. she could never bring val back. under each hard and heavy footfall he imagined his mother's soft pale face getting smashed to death.
1:15 am
Steph sat on the black iron fire escape just outside her bedroom window in a light blue nightie, watching the smoke from her cigarette trace an almost invisible path upwards towards the stars, while her ashes fell earthward, hitting the ground 3 floors below. Her back was pushed up against the brick building, and she had her knees against her chest, not because it was cold, but because she just needed to feel skin against herself, even if it just her own. She wrapped her arms around her legs and sat in a tight ball, looking out over the quiet space between her building and the identical one across the alley. She wasn't worried about being so close to naked outside so late at night... it was a quiet night. Morning really, around 3; but she could never sleep until at least 3:30 or 4. Besides, she liked being out here, alone, in the cool darkness, while most of the city lay dormant around her. There were no radios blaring, no flashing TV's in the windows, and no neighbors chatting and yelling for their kids running around the neighborhood. It was just her, a pack of Camel Menthol Lights, the cool, starry night, and her own arms comforting her as best as they could. She stared softly at the the smoke again, tilting her head ever so slightly, and wondered what it would be like to just slowly drift effortlessly upwards into the ether. In spite of herself, she smiled, and even if the upward curvuture of her lips were tempered with well experienced melancholy, she was as content as she could be. She wasn't completely content, but then again, who is?

Her mind drifted... Tim was out there, somewhere. Where exactly...? It didn't matter, not to her anyway... or at least, that's what she thought. She thought of reaching in the window and picking up the portable phone, ringing Tim in the middle of the night, but she caught herself before her arms even started moving. Tim needed rest. He always needed rest.

She hugged her legs closer to her body. The iron fire escape felt light but solid beneath her, the individual bars slowly pushing themselves into her soft feet. But Steph didn't even notice the indentations slowly forming in her heel. She was concentrating... she didn't want to waste any of her deliberate breaths, any of the lazy puffs from the cigarette. She savored each drawn out moment and let her head softly fall back, her soft, shoulder length light brown hair slowly falling over her shoulders like a waterfall, letting the moonlight slowly spread across her face. She drank in the widening nighttime sky, full in the understanding that the two of them - she and the dark, vast expanse above her - were the only ones that mattered.
Wednesday, May 2nd, 2001
9:42 pm
carolines woke from her nap in a sudden learch, as if her eyes were taking a huge gasp for air. angel! she cried out before she realized she had been dreaming. a silhouetted man against a blindingly bright background... walking slowly in a steady pace. she watched him a while before she realized he was coming towards her. she couldnt move, her feet and mouth clenched firmly in place he made his way steadily approaching. just before his face became visible she woke.

the sun was really hot now, roasting her tenderized flesh in an afternoon blaze. sweat was beading up, uncomfortably collecting on her upper lip. she reached beside her mechanically for her drink, but it wasnt there. odd. swinging her heavy legs over the side of the chair, she could feel a prickly heat on the tops of her thighs. damnit fucking sunburn fucking wednesdays.

she didnt bother to bring in her chair. when her feet hit the pavement she seemed to wake a little more, doing a quick dance on the balls of her feet. opening the back door of the apartment complex she felt her pupils contract... nothing was clear in the stairway. man its fucking dark in here. but she knew the steps by memory. 14 steps to the second floor, each one enjoyably cool carpeted against her scorched feet. she tried to press each foot as flat as possible. as she was becoming more and more awake, her inner monologue started running at full speed oh god what time is it am i late is there time for a shower have to drop angel at leticias... her eyes were fully adjusted as she swung open the unlocked heavy door. she looked immediately to the vcr clock. 12:04 12:04 12:04 blink blink blink.
4:47 pm
Tim was stuck on the train. This wasn't a just a delay, or an obstruction, or even a screw up. He was stuck, and he knew it. The battery powered emergency lights had been activated in the tunnel, and train itself was almost totally pitch black. The nervous chatter of the passengers seemed to actually be muffled by the permeating darkness.

It didn't help that it was a rush hour train packed to the walls with people exhausted from their mindless jobs, wishing they were at home getting ready for dinner, and not standing with a bunch of strangers in a shrinking metallic box. Tim realized he needed an an event to hit, an update, a commotion, something to happen... but the conductor at the far front of the train couldn't even issue verbal warnings over the dead PA system. The crowd shifted a little, and he was jostled up against the door. He looked out the window of the door and came face to face with a huge ad for Tide detergent. The large red detergent bottle was being deftly swung over the women in the ad's head, ready to attack a pile of no doubt horribly soiled clothing at her feet. He started to read the caption. "Bring your stains to..."

He was jostled again before he could finish. The crowd shifted the opposite direction, and he had to twist around to avoid staring straight into someone else's face. He ended up literally breathing down a slightly shorter man's neck. Tim tried to move his backpack around a little, but the crowd wouldn't allow for any movement. He sighed and looked down at a huge mole on the back of the man's neck in front of him. Did this guy know it was there? Did he know it looked cancerous and sickening, especially with those little tufts of hair poking up from the skin and through the dark blemish? It took all of Tim's effort not to try and scrape it off with a fingernail.

Suddenly he heard a disembodied voice yell, "Someone open the fucking doors! We're not going to be moving anytime soon!". Tim crained his neck to get a look at the man yelling, but there were too many people between them to get a good look. He turned back to the door and looked up at the round, red, manual emergency exit lever. He wondered how many times this thing had actually been used. "Come on! Open up!" the guy yelled again. "Walk down the fucking platform on the side - I ain't getting stuck on this metallic coffin."

"Shut up," he heard another voice yell. "We have know idea what's going on!"

"I'd rather walk out there then get stuck in here with you!" the first voice bellowed back. "Open the doors!"

Tim shrugged. The tiny access platform on the sides of the dirty subway walls were barely wide enough for one person to navigate under the lamps, let alone during a blackout. Getting caught outside the train when electricity was restored could almost guarantee a deathwish. And one false step meant stepping on the third rail and frying your brains out. Then again, it was getting hot as fuck inside the car, the crowd was stifling, and there was no sign of a let up anytime soon. And he didn't care if that annoying asshole wanted out. One less prick on the planet.

He was about to yank the lever down to open the doors, when he heard a click and sniffed the air... Camel lights. Someone in the middle of the car had lit a cigarette, which, on CTA property (especially in train cars) is this insane fine of $500 that went straight to the mayor's pocket. He strained to look, but he couldn't see this person either, and instead only saw a lazy tail of smoke float it's way to the top of the train car.

People in the car started to moan. "Put that cigarette out!" "This isn't a damn bar!" "Smoking's dirty!" "I'll report you to the CTA!" "I'm trying to BREATHE here thank you very much!" The person with the cigarette apparently didn't give a shit, because Tim saw another plume of smoke emerge from the crowd in that general area., followed by more moaning and disparaging remarks. Finally, the first guy, the one who wanted the door's open in the first place, spoke up. "I saw we toss the smoker out the door!" he said. A murmur of agreement seemed to flow throughout the car.

Tim couldn't believe this. Had he just walked into a chapter of Lord of the Flies? These idiots were just going to heave a passenger out into the dark undergruond subway system for smoking? He didn't believe it until a number of people started pushing forwards a young man with short brown hair, cropped, with a burning cigarette in his right hand. It took a few minutes and a lot of shoving, but eventually the guy (who couldn't have been more than 20) was standing next to Tim at the door. He glanced over at Tim, which made him uncomfortable. Was he supposed to say something? "Want a piece of gum...?" Tim offered half-heartedly. The other guy just laughed and turned back to the door.

"Yank that lever open!" yelled the man again from the back. Tim stood there, raising an arm towards the lever, but still looking at the stranger who didn't look scared or nervous or worried that he'd be ejected from the relative safety of the train into the dark and dingy maze of subway tunnels.. "Well, pull it!" the disembodied voice yelled from somewhere behind him.

Tim looked up at the handle, then back at the stranger again, his hand on the lever slowly getting tighter.
Thursday, April 26th, 2001
5:36 pm
caroline bit down on the tip of her cigarette as she dragged the lawn chair out into the bright patch of grass. she wanted to get some sun before her shift at the restaurant. she hated working wednesdays. fucking randall would be working the kitchen and that did not make for a good time. fucking randall... fucking wednesdays.

getting the chair into the right position was always a struggle let alone when she happened to be nursing last nights hang over. but she refused to put out her cigarette prematurely, even if it would have helped along the process. she stood motionless after a point and just gave it one last shake letting it fall into position... she settled into the plastic, letting the straps press into her back and thighs... staring down at her stomache she spied the stretchmarks, those blasted old reminders that she had given birth... she traced them with her finger, feeling nothing. where was that damn brat anyway.

sheilding her eyes she called towards the open windows angel?! angel!! are you in the house!? bring mommy a drink will you?!

the sun was good... it felt good to just zone out... focus on the brightness behind your eyelids. she didnt have to admit she was a 30 year old mother of a 12 year old... she didn't have to think about the fact in four hours she'd be taking orders in a polyester waitress uniform with worn down sneakers doing nothing to stop the ache that spreads. she didnt have to think about anything that wasnt pleasant. anything that wasnt sunshine and daffodils and yellow string bikinis...

angel are you deaf?! bring me my damned drink!
4:03 pm
That stupid little girl (she couldn't have been more than 12) had ruined his entire day. Up until this moment, he hadn't had a problem with today. Wednesday. Humpday. The most boring and mundane day of the week. It lacked the angst of Monday, the anticipation of Friday, and it sat perched at the top of the weekly hill, unsure if it was ready to fall, or just collapse and take a nap. It might've even been considered a somewhat GOOD day, what with Sasha calling him and apologizing for the ugliness of the past few days, and Will saying that he wouldn't be around for a few days... some business trip to Ontario or some shit like that, he couldn't remember.

So when he stepped into the grocery store late in the afternoon just to grab a new loaf of wheat bread from the bakery, he was expecting his day to continue to move along relatively smoothly. He sure as hell didn't expect some crazy, hell spawned bitch girl to be running around and wrecking havoc by launching personal feminine hygiene products atop the tampon display case in aisle nine, or diving through the perfectly flavored granola bits in aisle 2's Granola Heaven section, like it was some sort of all-natural ball pit. He heard and saw the mayhem as he entered the store, but his eyes barely even rolled in annoyance. He just whirled around and briskly headed to the bakery, thankfully in the exact opposite direction of Granola Heaven. It didn't matter though.

The bakery section was somewhat busy, and he stopped in his tracks. He immediately felt out of place next to all these older, middle aged married women with their saccharine babies, and the even older women in their brightly printed mu-mus made him feel like an intruder. He shook his head, walked up to the counter, and snagged a number from the bright red machine. The little green triangular piece of paper read "31". He looked up at the matching red digital sign behind the counter - 24. He sighed and wandered to the back of the bakery, glancing into various shopping baskest that he passed. Hot Pockets? Lady, he thought as he eyed her up and down, you need some spinach. He continued to walk. 12 two liters of Coke? he frowned as he peered into another cart. You'll be pissing that all month! He stood over by some loaves of french bread, and he looked over his right shoulder to see another woman reading a novel entitled, "Endings of Adoration". The illustration on the front had a woman wearing an impossibly long, flowing pink dress, as rose petals fell from above from an unknown source (had God decided she was worthy of a petal shower? He could think of a better shower to give her), and her heaving breasts were gently supported by a man's tan, muscular arm, no doubt exceedingly handsome. He couldn't actually TELL if he was handsome, as the charater was wearing a simple cloth black mask. He hoped that it was to cover a broken cleft, or maybe some teeth that had been knocked out in a previous fight over a similar girl.

He wanted to grab that novel and smack that woman on the side of the face with it.

Bzzzz. The red digital display inched up to 25. "Twenny-faave!" yelled a baker, probably in his mid 30's also. His face was sprinkled with flour, and he had the starched whites slightly messed up from a chocolate stain on his right hand, and some unkown red spots sprinkled across the left side. He was the perineal baker, complete with friendly, southern twang. How annoying. A woman started to approach the counter, obviously excited that it was finally her turn.

But before she could make it to the counter, there was a commotion to the right, just beyond the bakery, coming from the main fruit section of the grocery store. Suddenly, the little girl appeared, slightly worse for wear. Her light blond hair was disheveled, her small, barely four foot, five inch frame was heaving from running all over the store, and the Gap jeans she wore had some scuff marks in various spots. They made Gap jeans for kids? he wondered, but before he could continue, she suddenly screamed out in a piercing tone, "You're all ugly!" The entire bakery became quiet, and all eyes, all mu-mus, turned to her. Her dark eyes swirled with intensity, and she as her head panned across the room, everyone leaned back just a tiny bit, as if she had physically pushed them away from her. When her eyes fell on him, she paused, just for a second, and a tiny smirk emerged from the corners of her mouth. It was gone in an instant, though, and raised his eyebrow... Did I just see that?

It didn't matter. She bolted towards the tall, glass counter. She ran up to the counter, spit at the window containing the glazed hams, roasted turkey breast cuts, and cheese plates, then used the shelves lining the counter to bound up, closer to the top. She crushed numerous loaves in the process (goddamnit, she's stepping on the wheat! he thought), then, when she couldn't go any higher using the shelves, she jumped up and hurled her entire body over the counter. She crashed into one of the dumbfounded bakers, and he went sprawling backwards, falling into a rack of tins holding some freshly baked muffins. They flew everywhere and hit the ground with a series of soft plop sounds. The baker groaned and shook his head, and the other one ran over. "Where's your mother little girl?" he demanded as he helped his friend up.

She stood up and brushed some crumbs off her legs. And suddenly, she screamed again in that piercing voice, "Boobies! Boobies, boobies, boobies, boobies, boobies!" The girl's face was all squeezed into a fit of rage, and her voice was like rocks hitting everyone's faces in the bakery: people looked away, looked down, and wondered, what was going on.

The baker was losing his patience, and he turned back to the girl. "Where are your parents, little girl!?" he barked at her, his face turning bright red. She quickly turned around and stared straight into the eyes of the man that was easily two feet taller than her. Despite himself, however, he started backing up. She started to approach him slowly, and as she moved forward, she nonchalantly picked up one of the muffins that had fallen on the floor... a banana nut muffin apparently. "What, um...do you need?" the baker stammered, more than a little nervous. He began to raise his left arm and use it as a shield in case she... she what?

But she stopped, and slowly turned again to face the crowd on the other side of the counter. She looked straight down as if in deep thought. He could've sworn he could hear her breathing, it was so quiet in the area. No one was moving. There were no sounds except for the faint muzak version of "I Want Your Sex". Various women were gripping their cart handles so hard that their knuckles were turning purple. A few of the old ladies had eyes that were open so wide that he thought they might actually pop out. And the bakers on the other side of the counter were crammed in a corner, unmoving, as if it was a vicious robber who held a gun in his hand, not some 12 year old girl with a muffin. Nothing moved. And finally, after what seemed like an eternity, she kept her head down, but slowly rolled her eyes up, so that they her face radiated malevolence in those dark pupils, as her gaze washed over her audience.

"I...hate...all of you," she said quietly, but with more gravity than most of the adults in the room could probably manage. She snapped her head forward, leaned back, and then threw the muffin forward in a large arc above everyone's head. The entire room remained fixated on the slowly floating muffin, leaving a small trail of crumbs through the air. And right as it hit its apex and hung above suspended above the room, it all went stopped - the lights went out, the muzak stopped, and everyone was enveloped in darkness as the blackout hit the store.
2:47 pm

Bridget and I have decided to keep it closed for awhile until we get comfy with this whole idea (sounds like we're getting married, haw haw haw haw haw haw huh?)... anyway, no one else for now! Sorry, suckas!
3:12 am
We just wanted something unprentious, simple, and entertaining... er, at least to us (and it's IOHO that the typical fiction communities are a little too obsessive and full of love-art-myself syndrome). It'll no doubt be pretty bad at times, but that's a given - the hope is that eventually a few cool pieces fall out. Funny, I envisioned this first entry to be long and babbling, but it's anything but that. Eh, simplicity over doting is key.

If ya wanna join, email me and I'll give you the det's and rules (and there are some simple rules you have to follow to make the progressions smooth).

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