The Dogs of Main Street
Chris slid the picture across the bar and looked at me with cold and calculating eyes.
“It’s happening, Rip,” he said. “There’s no other way.”
The picture showed Melissa coming out of the Bootlegger bar on Main St, looking behind her, waving to her friends. Her smile so natural, and real. Her brown hair blowing in the early fall wind.
“I-I-I can’t.” I said. “Jesus, Chris.”
He sighed, sucking the air deep into lungs, before interlocking his fingers and placing his elbows on the table.
“You remember Randy Geary?” Chris asked. Of course, I remembered him.
“That’s how this game started, man. He killed my pit bull, Angel, my best girl. He went around slaughtering dogs in town for how long, Rip? Three, four months, and what did the city cops do? They never caught him. They never fucking caught him. We figured it out in two days, Rip. Two days.” He waved his index and middle finger inches away from my face.
“Yeah, we did, man. We did.” I was still staring at the picture. Her face. God, she was beautiful.
“All we did was figure out where the dogs were being killed, and knowing Annandale like we do, we set up in our old high school dugout, remember? Frankie wouldn’t shut up about how he lost his virginity there to Polly Anderson. Jesus, that girl got around.”
Chris laughed, that big psychotic hyena laugh.
“We caught him walking down Wellington, man. Boom. Just like that, we got him and the Main Street Dogs were born.”
I didn’t answer.
“Yeah” I was still staring at the picture. Chris grabbed it, sighed, and stuffed it into the front pocket of his leather jacket. “Earth to Rip, hello, Earth to Rip.”
“Yeah, man. The dogs.”
“Wearing those masks, man. That was therapy, you know? My mah went to therapy after the old man hightailed it. She said it helped, but all he did was supply her with her own big pharma factory, ya know? Did he ever actually help, or just say, wow, you’re really messed up, miss, here, take all these pills, and you’ll feel better?”
He paused and looked at me. He stared at me the way my father used to when he was angry, demanding an answer to a rhetorical question.
I hated it. He’d say, Rip, are you stupid? And I’d look at him in silence, trying to hold the tears back with sheer will. But he would wait for an answer. He would never just let it go. If I said no, he would scream, Well then why are you acting like it? If I said yes, he would think I was being a smartass. Either way, when he was in that mood, all you could do was pray that time would speed up. And you’d still be around when it reached its destination.
Chris was looking at me the same way, and it was making me feel sick.
“I love her, man. I love this girl.” I finally said, my voice cracking like a prepubescent boy; and I looked at the half-drunk pint of draught to my left. Watching the suds float to the top effortlessly, wishing I could shed my skin, and go live in the glass. Floating. Rising above the bottom. Elevating
“The girl won’t die, brother. She won’t even know you had anything to do with it. She won’t be any the wiser, Rip. You have my word.” His brown eyes looked less psychotic, almost human, compassionate. But that’s what made him so dangerous.
I’d seen him change from cold to compassionate when Rory Macdonald had his way with his sixteen-year-old cousin, or when Damien Wells hit a kid with his car, high on methamphetamines, and look how it turned out for them.
Sure, they deserved it. They did, but now he was grouping Melissa in with these lowlifes. Thinking that she was guilty, simply by association. By blood. Like that was something a person could control.
She didn’t kill anyone, or mess around with a minor, but to Chris she represented something that he hated. The society within a society.
A rich family. The heiress to Roy & Son’s. A nice big home out by Killarney Lake with acres of land and money to burn. A family of dishonest socialites, drowning in a liquidated gold mine, putting people on the streets that had no business being there.
“She’s not like them. She’s not.”
He smiled at me and slowly shook his head from side to side. I felt like a child, begging for a snack. Just one more. This will be the last one, I promise, and looking in the eyes of my folks, who knew damn well that I wasn’t getting what I wanted. Beg and barter, and lay down on the ground, their eyes would say. Our minds were made up a long time ago, boy. Chris’s eyes said the same thing. Almost like he pitied me. Almost.
“It doesn’t matter anyway, Rip. It has to happen. The greedy bastard could stand some humility, and a lesson on ethics, man. It won’t even hurt his bank account, and it’ll keep us above ground, right? Listen, I’ll take her to the cottage and call her old man. He might give us what he wants right away. Then it’ll be quick, and you can live happily ever after with the lawyer’s daughter. Okay?”
He paused, staring into my eyes. Reading them and understanding that I was going to try something. I was going to get Melissa out of this town. I had to.
“Don’t do anything stupid, Rip. Don’t try to take off like you’re a character from a goddamn Springsteen song, alright? Just don’t do it. Let her go out to the bar tonight, have a good time, drink a few drinks, eye fuck a few sweaty morons, and when she leaves, and cuts through Bridge road, instead of taking the main drag, we’ll snatch her up quick, no one gets hurt. Okay?”
I shook my head slowly from side to side. Trying to wake up. Please, be a dream, I thought. Please, let me wake up in bed with Melissa softly snoring in the comforting darkness of my apartment. Please. I promise, I’ll never put that stupid mask on again.
Chris massaged his forehead, feeling stressed out, trying to contain his anger, much like my father.
“Rip, I’ll kill her, and you. I’ll kill you both if you screw this up. If you just keep your mouth shut, you’ll have deep deep pockets, man. Just keep your mouth shut, and your payday will be grand. I guarantee it.”
“F-f-fine.” I stuttered, seeing no other way out of the trap that I built myself, the day I decided to let this man into my life.“Then I’m done. Melissa and I are getting out of town. I’m throwing the stupid mask in the garbage. No more vigilante shit. I’m done. I’m goddamn DONE!” I screamed that last word. The few bar patrons momentarily turned in their seats to see what was going on, and Chris waved them off.
“He’s okay, he’s just on the rag.” He said, a few of the drunks laughed.
I left and walked back to my place as a soft rain began to fall from the sky. My hand reached out and let the water drop on the lines of my palm. I wondered what a fortune teller would think that meant. Maybe that the floodgates had opened, and my world was coming to an end.
Melissa was coming out of the apartment as soon as I started walking on the cracked concrete slabs. She was all dolled up. She was different; I thought. She wasn’t like them. Melissa loved me, and didn’t care about the class difference. This woman walked out of my slumlord villa like she couldn’t have been any more at home. Because this was her home. She was my home.
“Hey, baby.” She said, “How was your day?”
I stared at her. Picturing her gagged and bound and knowing that it was either that or we were dead. Simple as that. Two options. Non-negotiable.
“I love you, Mel,” I said. “I love you so much”
“I love you, too, even though you’re acting kind of weird.”
“Sorry.” I placed my hands gently on her cheeks and tried to hold it all back as I kissed her. I held onto that kiss as long as I could, before she backed off.
“See you tonight, and we’ll pick up where we left off.” She winked, and she was gone.
All’s Well That Ends Well
His femme pro temps was a femme fatale, she,
Who worked his worth until worthless was he;
Said she in a tone that baited seductively,
"I'll pay you back in love if you will wait here for me."
He remained, you see, for that enchantress, his she,
And bided his time for that temptress, did he;
But the calendar pages turned unrelentingly,
His years sans wages compounding cumulatively.
Then lo! and behold, the villainess returned fundless,
Having taken and lost his hard-earned abundance.
And she asked for some more, if you can believe it,
So he reached in his pocket, therefore, to retrieve it.
He was crumpled and wizened but all the more wiser
Pretended to fawn, but did, he, despise her;
He found the papers under legal purview
And retrieved, did he for her, the bill that was due.
She grumbled and seethed and reached in her purse
Too humbled, was he, to ride in a hearse
She thought she had trumped him, but he outgunned her, moribundly
And now he's made it all back with a comeback GoFundMe.
Riddle Reaper This
Never had a a clear answer for this one. Let's take another crack Prosers!
Forget me not for I am coming and woe to those that don’t prepare.
Your strength and wit will not suffice to save you from my mighty snare.
If you persist I may abide you and thus make you stronger yet.
But be forewarned cause if I find you, you will rue the day we met.
What am I?
pencil shavings pushed
by youthful breath
huffing and puffing
with the effort
lips only half aware
of the words
"is the worst."
all the pressure
of reinventing yourself
to be something better
and then being forced
to put those abstracts
by a sixth grade
on political correctness
she watches him
with bloodshot eyes,
kept up by her husband
long into the night
as he tried in vain
to prompt desire
from her hips.
her new year's resolution
but no one else
could know that.
except, maybe, for the
man down the road
who she'd been
seeing in the dark
for a month.
he would never tire
of watching the stars
but she longed
for him in the sunlight.
the tip of the pencil
ground down into
left only with
and graphite dust
shadows grow darker
in the schoolyard,
the english teacher knows
that her secret means more
when she's behind her desk
than it does
when she's in her bed
(or someone else's).
the boy knows
that pressures grow larger
throbbing in the background
until his fingers shake
just trying to form
the letter "o"
for his new year's resolution
is to speak,
maybe for the first time
in his life
about what he thinks,
what someone else things.
and his pressure
threatens to overtake him
while the teacher's secret
threatens her just the same
and when she leans over
"carter, you know better,"
the words only half
belonging to her
by a misplaced sense of duty
and a splash
with an a."
he wants to scream.
my pencil broke,
and this is what
was left behind
in its wake,
to my rage.
but instead he looks up
"i bet even your
can't satisfy you."
and she is
crumbled into dust
by a middle school brat
by the force
of her own
she would never
and the universe watched
its orchestrated chaos
turned upward with glee
and moved on
to its next
We always talk about the rollercoaster but never the line. The feet-hurting, yawn-inducing yawn to get to the crescendo that will make life worth doing. This year was the line. I don't remember much of anything of this year except that I had a mental breakdown and that I had to go to a mental hospital. The result has been a hellish three months of trying to get back to some form of normalcy. Even sitting and writing this feels like standing in an 85 minute wait line on a balmy summer day at an amusement park. This year ended with a bang and I am hoping the finish will be better than where I am right now.
By the lake
Nature was showing off that day. The sky was bluer than a Robin's egg with nary a cloud to mar it. The lake was a brilliant mirror of the sky, the sun, the trees whose leaves rustled softly in the warm breeze. Birdsong filled the air. The ground was soft and warm beneath her back.
The hands around her neck were not.
"Please, stop," she wheezed.
"No talking, " he responded.
"Please, I'm sorry..."
"Of course you are. Now. Too late," he said in a singsong-y voice at odds with his size. Well, and with his actions one might say.
He squeezed until she stopped moving.
Then he sat back against a tree and listened to the birdsong and watched the dragonflies flit across the lake.
Natural Synthetic Beef Product
"This is a natural synthetic beef product created by Newmeat labs," read Daniel. The product was called Zeus's beef, and it had a picture of a cartoonish Zeus on it. Zeus's beef was probably easier to advertise than natural synthetic beef product created. The other products at the sample booth had similar markings. Moccus's had the marking "This is a natural synthetic pork product created by Newmeat labs." Mercury's feather friends had "This is a natural synthetic chicken product created by Newmeat labs." Daniel was still in line for the free samples, the best part of coming to this store, and the most recent patch was still heating up. The booth paddler, an older hispanic woman, was talking nonstop about the health benefits of lab grown meats versus soy or tofu made products. "The protein is higher and the taste is just amazing. You can get different types of meatballs, sausages, hotdogs, and burgers and of these new types and each one has a different percentage of fat."
The peddler, who had just been talking about the available percentages of fat that you could get for every one of the many different synthetic meat products(fat free, 1%, 2%, 10%, 15%, 20% and 30%) when an older white woman infront of raised her hand, the only way to get the peddler's attention. "What about the harm to the poor animals? The soy and tofu brands always seem to mention those.
The peddler congratulated her. "That is a great question," she said as she took a deep breath and checked on the cooking sausages. "It is true that each one of our products oringally came from a living animal. Some of multiple different animals, but each of these animals are now living in the heaven of Newmeat labs animals zoo and sanctuary. Some, like Zeus, the bull who gave the needed material for Newmeats labs's original synthetic beef, has passed away at the sanctuary, but their descendants continue to live a life luxury." She spoke like she was reciting it from memory. When she was done, she smiled, she must have been happy that she was done with the word spell and that she did not mess up. "The protein is also higher and the taste is just amazing. Anyone of Newmeats labs can go with anyone of thousands of dishes. For breakfast, lunch, or dinner."She also gustered towards to some travel pamphlets for the animal sanctuary. They were titled with bright red and green letters that said "A sanctuary that explores mankinds relationship to eatable animals. To eat or not to eat." The sanctuary was located in southren california on the other said of the country.
The older white lady in her pink summer dress and her red shoes grabbed a few boxes of the chicken burgers and hotdogs. Some of the beef ones too, but she still waited for her free sample.
While he waited, Daniel remembered his dad speaking about about vegatianism became a lot less popular when Newmeat labs started up with Zeus as its mascot. It must have been 20 years ago. Things must have been weird back then. The oven beeped. The maple fat free natural synthetic beef product sausages were done.
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