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All Tomorrow's Nows - a short story

ALL TOMORROW’S NOWS

 

written by mary fewko

 

This story is a work of fiction. The characters and events in this story are fictitious. Similarities to real people, alive or dead, are coincidental.

 

Copyright © 2014 by Mary Fewko

Shakespir Edition 2016

 

ALL TOMORROW’S NOWS was first published

in four parts, in 2014 by CANTO Magazine,

based in Rochester, New York;

featuring Emily Brasley as editor

& Najia Zayed as creative director.

 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED ®

 

 

In the manager’s office of Occam’s Blues sat Randy Slacks, the bar’s bouncer, with its prominent boss Monsieur Menti. After caging his domesticated python, Menti sat at his desk, eyes resisting his routine circus deportment. He struggled to lecture Randy Slacks, the muscular hired gun. “I wish there were easier ways to say this, Randy.”

“I’m fired, right?” He said, roughly unsurprised, but largely guessing.

“That’s why,” Menti was sidetracked, “I took the snake out. It seemed to lighten the mood, right? She’s gorgeous!”

“You took the python out to lighten up my termination?” Now Randy was surprised.

“Randy,” Menti sighed, “America’s economy is congested like… well… a lot of bars ration to some notch, mostly by watering down the margaritas, alas, Occam’s Blues is on the verge of pure fiscal ruin…”

“If I’m fired, can I just leave?”

“Randy… how did you know?

“I overheard you looking into the mechanical attendant, from that Taiwanese robotics company.”

“It is an android, my dearest Randy.” From the Greek ‘andr,’ referring to ‘man,’ and with the suffix ‘oid’ signifying similitude; it would seem at this point in history, subsequent to the success of automated cashiers, and receptionists, a robotic bouncer was the easiest way for a liquidated bar to cut costs. Androids, precisely, were designed to resemble humans, unlike cyborgs, those pesky artsy people with engineered livers or nipples. “The android prototypes passed with flying colors, Randy!”

“Replaced by a queer android? Christ, Menti…” Randy didn’t seem to care about any attainment Occam’s Blues might soon rake in. “You know how loyal I’ve been?”

Menti stared at the python, with its fully automatic tongue, “you show up to work stoned most of the time, Randy.”

“I don’t know how pot is still illegal! Those drinks you sell are unhealthier vices.”

“I don’t know why Americans call it pot, an immensely unattractive name, I must say. Cannabis clock-ins notwithstanding, you spend more time flirting with female patrons, and allowing underage patrons in, Randy. I personally don’t see how America has sustained such a ridiculous drinking age for so long, alas, I can’t allow them in, or I risk losing my liquor license, and my business. Even last night, you let a sixteen-year-old enter, Randy, and you slapped her juvenile ass!”

“Menti, excuse my French, but this is some bullshit!” Randy Slacks got up, prepared to exit Occam’s Blues for the last time.

“That’s not French, Randy, but please, don’t let this ruin our friendship! The android bouncer’s are de riguer now. You’d do the same for your business. Don’t forget, you have lots of bar tab credit, I can combine it into your last paycheck…”

“Oh, the hell you won’t,” Randy examined the python, measuring the striking tongue, “I’ll be spending the night putting it to good use.”

Not far from Occam’s Blues was an apartment complex and one tenant, several levels tall, was waking up late in the evening. She turned on one of the stove’s burners, heating her teakettle.

“I just, I decided I’d go back to school right? I was looking at the community college downtown, I visited it, and I just want a good life, and I’m so positive I have meningitis, I know it; you know how those college kids are. They…” her soliloquy had stretched to a practiced decibel.

Chelsea Panicum looked up, holding her breathe, teasing her very pulse, “I’m so positive someone gave me the meningitis infection, I can tell from these fevers, these pounding headaches, and sensitivity to light, ah god, I’m feeling it now,” currently few lights were on in her living room, “I think delirium is setting in.” Chelsea paused, she used her left heel to step on her right big toe, “I know delirium is setting in, I’m just,” Chelsea paused again, tormenting her respiratory system, engaging in palpitations like a drinking game, “ah, fuck! The delirium, it’s setting in.” The teakettle had reached a boiling point, and so had Chelsea’s life. “The delirium, it set in hours ago, death is coming! Do you want me to die!?” She shouted, eyes closed, awaiting crocodile tears, the whole time only two goldfish were present to ignore her cry for relief, and considering her neglect in feeding them, they’d never swim for help. She never visited any college. She made her black tea, added loads of sugar, and began to practice reciting her meningitic warning signs.

Chelsea sat at her computer, disoriented in the foul detangling for the unspoiled symptom, the obscure syndrome nobody could disallow her. She was so lost, spending all her nights like this; had one lie in the past spun a web comprised of dysphoria? Were militant parents the trigger in her phobia to admitting mistakes? Chelsea’s past was ambiguous, like the vague prodromes she repeatedly described to her primary care physician. She logged on to some health forum account, where she, and various hypochondriacs, jaded know-it-alls, and adrift web-surfers floated to now and again. There was a message for her.

[email protected]@rvin: hey panacea seeker, did Marvel Rose Hospital screen you yet?

XXpanacea_seekerXX: hey, about the hereditary conditions? They said they couldn’t. Bastards! Letting me jeopardize my very life! They’re putting the ‘hell’ in ‘health.’

[email protected]@rvin: Seems strange, I mean, I shouldn’t tell you this, but I know you’re recovering from that ovarian cyst rupture, damn, and to think you got this shitty luck, at risk for Huntington’s disease, but they definitely have that genomic equipment at Marvel Rose. They could sequence your DNA, and see if you’re at risk! I don’t know why it’s so hush-hush; I uncovered the info from my brother, he works there. Doctor Harry Karpet.

Chelsea’s eyes inundated to an erythrocyte red. Had months of bribing and moral harassment burgeoned fruitful knowledge? She started swallowing cigarette butts, and practiced her system of counterfeit coughs.

The night was young. As young as Randy’s official time unemployed. As young as the buttcheeks Randy’s hand groped formerly. “I’m a good person! Menti had no right to fire me!”

“I’m not used to this, and I don’t want to admit it,” Charles Leer, a regular at the bar counter had spoke, “but with that robot over there, I don’t feel the least bit safe. Or byte safe? Hah!” Charles pointed towards the android bouncer, already on-the-clock. It was given a simpleton look, short synthetic hair, a nonchalant tan, black security shirt, gray jeans.

Randy found himself tilting his whisky glass, quizzical as to how long he’d keep up with a career such as bouncing. Some fields you don’t consider seeing the fate of mechanical substitution. “What happens when someone needs to be thrown out?”

“There’s a rumor,” Charles treasured whirling the gossip wheel, “those metal men have all kinds of weapons built in the torso region. Not like it needs real guts or all that shit, that’s where the arsenal is.”

“What kind of arsenal?”

“Well,” Leer leered over his shoulder, “you never heard it from me,” it seemed nobody ever heard anything from Charles, “there’s a prototype spray gadget fabricated in, I think it runs up to the wrists. Hah! Listen to me, calling what that fucker has ‘wrists.’ Yeah. Some speculate it’s a condensed form of the Ebola virus. Can you imagine? Squirting Ebola at someone over rowdiness? It makes sense, from a conniving outlook. Bars have become the only place to ease the mind, contemplate foreign policies; obviously, it’s all a ploy to keep us quiet. Want to be a dissident? Taste the fever!”

“I doubt that’s true,” Randy seemed uninterested in conspiracy theories. “But Jesus, Ebola?” Randy chugged his fifth or sixth drink, ordering another, “Death is… strange.”

“Strange?” Charles engaged. “Strange like a wallflower?”

“I used to think about this a lot. I had to, given my line of work. If I ever needed to take someone down, a real rabble-rouser, going too far, getting too drunk, trying to be a cowboy in front of his girlfriend, what if an accidental punch was too much? I mean, he’d probably deserve it, but if he really ended up dying? And you ever notice how people look once they die?”

“They look like they’re sleeping. Like at open-casket funerals.”

“Exactly! Death from the outside seems so peaceful, so cozy. Consider hair. If you pet a cat, the coat of it is dead. You know it’s dead, because if you cut the fur, there aren’t any nerves or muscles within, causing that pussy to caterwaul. That’s death! Its fur is death, and so is our hair, and nails. Death, it’s so soft, gentle to touch yet needs a brutal fist to bring us there. I wonder…”

 

Chelsea Panicum stopped to visit a neighbor three floors down. It was none other than Charlotte A. Gucci, the adorable octogenarian visited often by Chelsea. “Hello, my sweetheart!” Chelsea came inside, and assisted Charlotte in finding a seat in the living room.

Beyond the psoriasis and osteoporosis, Charlotte felt great.

“I’m giving up the medication,” Charlotte began, insinuating to her glaucomatous treatment. “The side effects, they’re just too much. You reach an age, where so much falls separately, and those doctors behave as if it’s their Christian duty to reconstruct you like a Lego set. I’m glad some things were fixed, but eventually, everything dies, and what’s the point in trying to fix it all? Then what? The loss of sight was mild when they spotted it for me. I’m glad I was able to see as long as I did, but maybe… maybe a few years without seeing might change some things for me. Maybe I’ll hear people better,” meanwhile she heard Chelsea picking up lifeless cozy hair in the kitchen from the floor, and locking it in a bag with a zipper. She would then slip into the bathroom, and collect urine residue from Charlotte’s toilet slipping, this being the tenth time this week Chelsea would pour Charlotte’s urine into a vial labeled ‘Panicum.’

“Hear better, you say?”

“Why not? I’ve got teenage grandkids; they’re bound to have boundless problems. If I had to guess, without vision, hearing becomes the sense you rely on most. So naturally, I’ll really hear the emotions, really understand their problems. It is one thing to look at the world, but to truly listen to the world, with all its laughter, its screaming… this is reality, in a sense, so why not embrace it? Blind people can still dance right?” Charlotte smiled wily. She refused to take old age serious. To her death was distant from nastier things in the world.

“I never thought about that. You ever consider smoking weed for your glaucoma? I have some. For the record, I need it. I have to stimulate my appetite. Plus I have fibromyalgia. I really don’t know why god hates me so much.”

“I’ve got my special remedies for a calm immune system.” A jubilant mien was cryptic with years of impenetrability and research. “I suppose I could dance myself until I have a stroke.” Charlotte was becoming wise to Chelsea’s genomic hacking.

“A stroke? Jesus! Mary! Joseph! What could be worse than dying from a stroke?”

“Having a stroke and surviving? I mean, you’re young, you might not have seen close friends suffer from them, but I have. I’ve always felt this way about living though. You live towards the top of the building, all those middle-aged white people, talking about how everyday is beautiful, well, yeah, for them, with their money and stable jobs, and air conditioning, water filters, it probably is. What about others in tough poverty regions or under harsher governments, or those born with terrible health problems? It’s not beautiful for them, and it’s sad to think about the real reasons their living conditions become that way. People here become dreamy while people out there become dreamless. I’ve always been more concerned with the quality of life over being alive in general. I guess with my illnesses, they’re just not as tough as me. Ha!”

“I need surgery. Those fucking doctors keep rejecting me! That’s inhuman!”

“It is, honey, but why do you need surgery? You never seem to elaborate…”

“I just need it. I know what the problems are. They’re non-diagnosable, but I can feel deep within, a trouble. A rotten trouble, and still these doctors think they know more just because they’re good at memorizing things.” In this time, genomic hacking was by no means a federal issue. Most still couldn’t talk practically and adapt to the snooping habits of the ‘Nixonian’ Security Agency. Many felt it wouldn’t make a difference to change their habits with technology. Nevertheless, the exposure of the prism surveillance program exhausted attitudes on administrative trust. Most saw it coming. What about our biology? Why is it that so few seemed uneasy that our DNA was being mapped, or sold, or what? Indeed it wasn’t recorded in paper notebooks. If our body’s formation was charted, and uploaded to a computer, then was it possible the watchmen could see our literal genetic makeup, as well as what viruses minimally will do us in, as well as what porn sites we wank to? Should we be OK with that? Could they then find even more inferior traits all before a future baby is developed, or even before the baby’s first smile? A Lindbergh culture, full of parents repulsed over their child’s inferiority; an idea scarier than the average horror film…

 

One might question the type of porn Randy Slacks visited. Above the increasingly tipsy drinker was a TV displaying a soccer tournament among miniature robots. “Christ on the cross,” he said, swirling his finger into his whisky glass. “Look at that thing by the door!” Randy readdressed Charles’ attention to the android, nicknamed Alcolista.

Although an android, manlike in appearance, the overall construction was a slight delusion. The ears and nose were all for show. The eyes contained no artificial corneas or retinas; they were simple aesthetics that ogled the Indian students getting drunk off financial aid, or the Irish and Turkish men trying to impress anything with a vagina. One would hope Menti’s lady python didn’t escape…

The vestibular system gave Alcolista a connoisseur’s sense of balance, and the synthetic muscles became his locomotives for movement. The series of motors transferred electrical energy into mobility. Robots were already manufacturing cars, but by this point had reached a variety of uses. With belligerence on the rise in bars, and schizophrenia leaking everywhere in the Milky Way, some positions seemed too dangerous for humans to work. Randy Slacks personally would have told whoever decided that to fuck off.

“I recall this one time,” the bar counter was filling up, and Randy saw this the appropriate moment for story embellishments, “this homo from San Fag-cisco or something, maybe even Seattle, but he thought he could dress in drag, ugh! I don’t know why men still do that, and hand me an older male’s ID, and I’d just be willy-dick-suckin’-nilly about it, since he was out ‘en femme’ and all that. Nah! He was probably seventeen? I mean, I don’t blame him, if I were gay I’d drink myself to suicide, but in Occam’s Blues? Not on my bouncing watch!”

The bar tender was cleaning a glass, “yeah, I recall that. Rumor has it that it was Menti’s boyfriend. But who cares if two guys like each other?”

“But at seventeen?” Randy posed with cultivated outrage.

“Menti isn’t that old. And it’s not like his boyfriend was seven. Of course that’d be wrong. But older teens are always thinking about sex, and now it’s incriminating for them to express it. So long as it’s consensual, who cares?”

“Pedophiles should be taken out back and shot to death. Maybe if the Nazis only killed perverts and homos, World War Two would have been a different story. A fairytale, maybe? Ha! There’s still time to convince al Qaida.”

“What would shooting them solve? What does shooting anyone solve?” The bartender didn’t want to argue.

“What about Alcolista? You think he has a sexuality?” Cue Charles Leer.

“Well,” Randy loosened his shoulders, “first: it is an ‘it,’ not a ‘he.’ Second: I can’t imagine what the hell kind of fluid would make metal dick’s vein throb. Petroleum? WD-40? Something unlike blood, unnatural, this world is getting way too unnatural.”

“Maybe the bar bouncing industry is just getting more competitive, Randy. You just got to up your game. It happens everywhere, overpopulated planet, therefore jobs become more cutthroat.”

Randy, encircled by delicate neon lights, eyed Alcolista with vicious disapproval, his eyes squinted harder and harder, “yeah, I wonder, how would you cut an android’s throat? What would you even use?” He felt his sadistic opprobrium sprout, as his bar tab credit, and his stability shriveled…

 

Chelsea, in all her bewildered splendor, applied purple eyeshadow entitled, ‘mah-sahg-ah-m(n)e(e),’ then contoured with a black shade called, ‘Congo Clubbing,’ to materialize the superlative battered eye. She was leaving her apartment, but decided to check her mail in the lobby first.

A rickety finger gutted the envelop like salmon, revealing a letter from a Leukemia fundraiser she received funds from. The letter spoke of fraudulence, indictment, righteous reprehensibility, all terms she was not unaccustomed to hearing. As she left she saw at the door something strange. It looked like a man, but with the spasms of either an anxiety sufferer or, my word, something… robotic?

“Have a pleasant night, Ms. Panicum.” It spoke articulately. A heartfelt voice, but Chelsea noticed that his right hand’s fingers were drumming on the left wrist, perhaps Morse code? Or was something under the sleeve, in the veins of FBI contraptions? Did facial recognition software of some sort whisper Chelsea’s name? She had no clue. She bolted down the street to catch the late-nite bus. She never spent time going out, getting drunk on weekends at parties, or reading magazines at cafes, or applying to colleges. Could someone fathom the girl who saw emergency rooms as discothèques? Spending weekends with surgeons over DJs? Having fun with cough syrup over… well… He! He!

 

Less romanticized languages might be more literal, or ideally emotionalized. The word, ‘robot’ comes from the Czech, ‘robota,’ meaning ‘forced labor.’ Intuitively speaking, any wise creature should recognize that this means slavery.

Sigh… It would appear that ancient and appalling aspiration is still asleep, deep in the Homo sapiens drama. Owning someone… automobiles, computers, cellphones, vending machines! Those weren’t good enough. They had to be brought to a capability considered ‘someone.’ Is this why robotics were so appealing? That at one point in the future, machines would work for all men, women, those in between, or non-identifying? Should gender still exist when machines, absent to Ds and Vs, are proliferated ubiquitously? So if utopia, ‘not’ + ‘place’ can be envisioned –(and ain’t it so that utopia would NOT be THIS place? No good terminally sick climate)– would a hammock in every backyard be that utopic postcard? Would there be cocktails in every fist? Those who can’t drink anymore, given proxy livers from an android built purposely to let humans bypass poison yet enjoy being drunk? Everynite treated like New Year’s Eve? Every living person as happy as possible!

 

(What does it take to be happy in such an entropic world? Do rich kids end up double-dealing out of unsatisfied actualities that money, in the end, didn’t make them happy? Do compulsive lies simply come from an imagination diseased with rabies? Non-realities foaming at the lips… It’s not like love will get us anywhere! Happiness comes from within… reach of a bar!)

 

Would this ‘utopia’ nonsense occur due to robots being the only ‘things’ getting their ‘hands’ ‘dirty?’ The real issue is gratitude. Did you personally thank your coffeemaker this morning? What if machines became even brighter, and engrossed in topics like ethics and history? How long until the androids start reading Malcolm X and watching Civil War documentaries?

“PAPA NEEDS HIS PAPAYAS!” Shouted a high society drinker, trying to impress his coworkers about his recent trip to Cuba. It was that glorious hour bars experienced every weekend: calm liquor smiles, late-nite raconteurs released from their paperback birdcages, or fences made from liquid-crystal display monitors; each voice with the proper anecdote, or the occasionally uncool stratagem: all in the name and dice-throw of laughter, of eminence credit, of having a good time. Many were sitting at the bar. The tranquil blue lights were hazy yet edifying. Laughs on the verge of pig snorts erupted. “No wonder they’re called ‘the fruit of the angels!’ Talk about gagging! Baw’w‘h ha! ha! ha!

Randy began, “no point in trying to save the planet, just prolonging the inescapable. Nature is dead, and I guess we don’t need the bitch anymore. What with all these fuckin’ ‘Andys’ guarding our bars, probably guarding the president now, too.” Randy in his inebriated thoughts began to imagine Mother Nature’s arms reaching out from the earth, like dead trees in winter, millions of frail fingers branching out in the atmosphere. “Burned at a magma stake, pulled apart and buried all over, and the deforestation companies keep cutting down her seasonal resurrection.” Randy was segueing into pipedreams of moving to a warmer state, beating up mouthy teenagers, stealing from Menti’s safe, a variety of other thoughts that seemed to flood to his mind. “Life is just a simulacra now. All these atoms are pixels on god’s computer screen. And god is probably some pimple-faced punk with no manners, no muscles, a hentai stash, a gluten allergy…”

Several minutes passed by when, “Hey, Randy!” Charles was getting giddy drunk, and a lot of college students were showing up, “tell everyone about the time you stopped that terrible gunman!”

“Glad you asked!” Randy felt relieved that Charles read his text message to bring up the topic, “Oh, jeez, it was horrifying, and I was so valiant, and yet, it’s all such a blur.”

“I believe there was a news story published about the incident,” said Alcolista who then reached behind the counter to grab an emergency medical kit for a bar goer who had a sudden nosebleed from snorting some crushed pills in the bathroom. Randy was shocked to see how effortless the android’s movements were.

“Yeah, well they and you weren’t there, Gundam breath . Anyways! I’m standing by the jukebox. I think Journey was playing, so I naturally was feeling pumped. In walks this nigg- UM,” Randy reached behind his head, noticing a black customer nearby, “this, um, this TALL guy. Yeah, tall, and uh, he had an Uzi in his hands, not even behind the belt, out in the open, and I knew, oh, like shit I knew, he had to be taken down. Risked my life in a swift tackle to the ground.” Everybody started clapping, smiling with amusement at the heroic nobleman’s tale.

“Interesting.” Alcolista started, relieving the amateur drug user, “the story published online about your herculean response is different. I’m reading it right now… and yeah… he actually had a squirt gun, it turned out.”

The whole crowd started laughing, while Randy tried to hide behind his cocktail glass. He whispered to himself, “Yeah, well who knows what nasty thing was in that squirt gun…”

“Listen, Randy,” Charles had taken him to one of the bar’s corners, near the bathrooms. On the wall hung vinyl records of Ryuichi Sakamoto and the Wu-tang Clan, whilst the jukebox was playing ‘I have been in you’ by Frank Zappa. “Let’s take a break from the booze, yeah?” He pulled out a joint. Randy leered at Mr. Leer’s typical weekend contraband. “Like ol’ times, yeah?”

Emergency rooms are not unaccustomed to hypochondriacs. It only took a few WebMD searches for one to think they’ve got tetanus, HPV, a UTI, and a whole cabinet full of ailments that could be first checked by primary care doctors. Chelsea’s claim was a hasty and stern bulge of her throat’s lymph nodes. It was to the point where she could barely talk, and demanded a CAT scan to see what was causing such a marker of impending doom. And her black eye? Your guess was as good as the Doc’s…

Moment’s past by and the Marvel Rose staff member led her to a special doctor’s office. Panicum herself requested to see Dr. Harry Karpet. He entered the dismally decorated office.

“Chelsea?” A soft smile, one that said I’m-not-judging-you-and-your-insane-conclusions. “How are you holding up?”

“Near death, doc! I need surgery big time,” Chelsea sprayed herself with water, rendering quasi-sweat preceding Karpet’s entry.

“I was told. I understand you brought your own hair and urine samples. You know we can manage that procedure ourselves, right? Where are you even getting the vials? I mean, you should know, this is the,” he checked his clipboard, “my oh my, ninth time this month in the ER.”

“Stop wasting my time. I’m going to die. I need medicine, or a transplant, or something!”

The doctor pulled a one-eighty, “don’t you think this has gone on long enough?”

Chelsea put her hands near her bellybutton, one hand slipping down under her shorty shorts, “What about these killer cramps? They’ve gone on long enough, that’s for sure!”

“You have no such cramps.” The doctor tried to hold back any unshakable annoyance, but he saw a woman who chewed through cherished time for the entire hospital. “Are you aware that four young girls were in a car crash earlier tonight? One of the girls was texting and driving, all of them were seniors, and it’s possible none of them will survive and graduate. Meanwhile you’re here parading an everlasting menstrual episode.”

Chelsea’s eyes looked damp, “how did you know about my menorrhagia!?

 

Randy Slacks was in Charles Leer’s Toyota Prius getting stoned.

“I recall this one girl,” Randy was getting randy. “She was stunning. Got out of her taxi, pulled right up to the curb. Her dress was lavish, those cacao legs, the work of black magic. No pun intended.” Charles burst into laughter, coughing out loads of marijuana smoke. “She came up to the entrance, her ego must have paid for the cab fare, because she refused to unlock with my eyes, assuming I’d never check the ID. No, no, no. Not a bitch in the world gets past Randy Slacks, no matter how drop-dead sexy they are.”

“You didn’t let her sneak in?”

Randy was upset Leer was interrupting his magnificent tale. “I turned her away. It was strange. The night was humid. She probably had no panties on, too. She covered both her eyes with the palms of those gentle coffee hands, walked into the middle of the road, and just stood there. I roared, ‘get out of the road!’ but she just stood there, slowly swaying her body, blinded, unaware of all traffic.”

“What happened?” Charles had eyes redder than Occam’s Blues’ financial reports.

A riotous snicker burst out from Randy, “I let her in.”

“I always knew you did that. I mean, thirty percent of the chicks in that place are younger than twenty-one, no doubt. Plus, when you’re really wasted, you usually brag about it.”

“I just recall those cinnamon legs, off to the races, so grateful for this hip bar bouncer. They always are. Now they have to deal with some oversized toaster oven. Shit, I wanted to fuck that girl so throbbin’ hard…”

“Uh,” Charles looked slightly concerned, and with the marijuana’s sensitizing qualities, slightly freaked out…

 

Over the years, the artificial light harvesting marijuana in basements and closets was thought to have had an adverse reaction on the plant, delivering irregular quantities of tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol. The former, THC, can be responsible for the ‘high’ sensations, the benign to mild to exploding-bollocks hallucinations. It could be genetically altered, to have a better high. Thus, you became dopest seller.

CBD, the latter, can increase natural cannabinoid levels in the brain, leading to increased feelings of happiness, anxiolytic evenings, and an impression that everything is sidesplitting. For a long enough time, the levels were in a proper balance, but in recent years THC has blistered past CBD, leading the drug to be more like minor-league trips rather than adequate feelings to give retail workers confidence they’re not wasting their fucking life.

Acid, for the record, is not for everyone. Consequently, if some marijuana has reached a level of brief LSD-like visions, those participants are destined for thought-loops of discomfort and freak-outs for hours, for even those who can tolerate acid probably shouldn’t drop it every single night.

Many positive benefits were revealed in research regarding marijuana’s alleviation for HIV and cancer patients. It was published that chronic pot smokers showed decreased activity in the thalamus region, which transmits sensory information and behaves as an epicenter for pain perception. Could thalamic dwindling result in slashed awareness of the pain caused by cancer? There are positive benefits but for every pro, there is a con artist behind the corner. In weed’s case, it’s the negative age-old claim of the affected corpora striata, ensuing memories unable to pinpoint when exactly you started talking about your cat putting its paw in the toaster and nearly detonating… Might that memory laxation have more to do with the slowed sense of time for stoners? That grooved cutback of the corpus striatum could be groovy…

With the right dosage, in the right setting, marijuana eliminated packs of memories, good and bad, and gave instead a footing of feelings. Randy could recall feeling good during make-out sessions, or feeling deranged (at least now he will) watching YouTube rants. We don’t recall the scenes, or specific times of night, or the streets that got us there, or the girl’s first name and her bra size, but we recall our feelings, and the feelings are all that mattered. What feels right in the end? What decisions can be overridden by deficient gut instincts and with thoroughly understood feelings? Will an age of only feeling, never thinking, redeem humankind? Don’t forgot, the con artist is somewhere, hiding, even behind the feelings. ‘They’ always have your best interests in ‘mind.’ Don’t kid yourself…

 

“Can I ask you something Ms. Panicum?”

Chelsea’s health felt detained by medical serpents. They refused to listen to her feelings, the things deep down inside telling her something is wrong in life. Suchlike was wrong, it manifested through the check-ups of her wellbeing. “What, Karpet?”

“Your hair samples and urine sample revealed some serious problems.”

“I need help! Please, save me!”

“Well,” Doctor Karpet wanted to scream ‘yes’, shadowing a punch to her nose, “for certain issues, possibly. Opium was present in your system, and small amounts of amphetamine, a drug habit comparable to jäger bombs. Also, you have an old, old body, Chelsea. Which clearly tells us, this is not your hair, and this is not your pee.”

She covered her eyes; “I think I may be at risk for Huntington’s disease. My grandfather may have passed it down to mama, situating me at a serious possibility for it.”

“Your medical history shows no record of that, Chelsea. You are not at risk. To bring in false DNA like this though, you understand that I have to phone the,”

“You…” a slight tightening of her anus, toes, even she was unsure of this next coercion, “you have the equipment to scan my genome. I know you do. And yet you let me risk one day waking up to shambling out of bed, with speech problems, I mean, don’t you people have hearts? I’m sure you have X-rays to verify if you do or don’t! But you probably refute having those tools as well!” Eyes white like bone. She was panting slightly, and the doctor was close to having a breakdown. He contemplated throwing water in her face, just to watch her deceptive injury wash away.

The doctor had seen patients like this formerly, though Panicum supported an encumbrance all her own. Was there some dormant impulse only aroused when surrounded by antiseptic fragrances, and an eyesore of inoffensive clothing? Did signing a foothill of paperwork make her wet? Nobody could learn what trigger-happy synapses were plunking her into such disturbing gambits. Mythomania is the sharp anterior, but it’d be too naïve to simulate she’s lying because she’s bored. Science, itself, is remarkable, but fails miserably at investigating the deepest prongs of human thoughts. Something happened to Chelsea, that lead her to think she needs the holiest of humans, doctors, to exorcise her psychosomatic demon. Did people behave this way prior to the twentieth century? There was the old saying, ‘may you live in interesting times.’ It’s dubbed more of a curse than proverb.

Chelsea noticed on a clipboard by the sink, some medical term starting with the letter ‘M.’ She reached for it, though, ready to breakdown, pulled back, and moaned, “why are you keeping all these secrets from me! Shouldn’t I be wearing a hospital gown anyways?” She started stripping in front of the doctor.

“Chelsea, please stop undressing. You are not going under the knife tonight.”

“I haven’t eaten in twenty-four hours, because I kind of feel there’s some issue with my stomach. If you need to send a camera down my throat…”

“Chelsea, listen, I need you,”

“What was that ‘M’ word on that clipboard!? Melatonin? Melanin? Melanoma!? Christ, is it the un-cancer-like cancer?” The doctor couldn’t bear such traumatic eyes, so full of lies, yet a sincere emotion was bribing them.

The doctor left to speak privately with the last three nurses in the last month to deal with Chelsea Panicum. The infirmary zone was indistinctly lit, and the four huddled attentively like mad athletes planning their next match. Chelsea’s insanity was an entire team itself.

Speaking slowly, “Moon-chows-on-sin-drum. The inconsistent symptoms, readiness to undergo surgery, constant arguing with staff in the hospital.” Doctor Karpet said.

“It’s not some offshoot term for hypochondriacs gone mad, right?” Said nurse one.

“The last place a hypochondriac wants to be is a hospital. They’re afraid of germs, whereas Chelsea really believes some undeveloped syndrome is slowly subverting her body.”

“Is it like those lawsuit pricks? Suing over the heat of coffee, all that?” Said nurse two.

“No. Those can be serious injuries, but what makes someone malinger is more to do with unkind drives, some urge to get a paycheck and take it easy. I’m not too familiar with them to be honest. But some feign their sickness, all for the effort of a sick day. She doesn’t want money, she wants to be sedated and cut open.”

“Is it possible her parents were overly authoritarian? To the point where if she made the slightest mistake, a severe punishment came, so any mistake or issue now pops up as a massive lie?” said Nurse two.

“Maybe she’s just a selfish bitch? I mean, she lied about having cancer to an employer, even after the tests came back negative.” Nurse three was now yawning.

“Is she safe in there all alone?” Said nurse one.

“We left her with an android guard. Can’t have her reaching in for contaminated needles. It is possible,” the doctor took out an e-cig, “that some emotional, or even sexual episode of abuse initiated this problem for her.”

“You think some fucker touched her little girl private parts?” Said nurse three.

“Sexual abuse? I mean,” Nurse one placed her hands on her hip, “creepy feelings aside, people still risk that with all the surveillance around? How is that problem not dealt with yet in the twenty-first century? Adults still do that horrible stuff?”

 

“Hi, Randy!” Look who it was: cheery pastel-eyed Clarissa Pole, at the bar counter. She was smiling in the face of one stoned Randy Slacks, the same guy who helped her find a fake ID. He eyed her petite physique, those undeveloped breasts, “Did that photographer give you back my portraits yet? I want to use them in the yearbook before I graduate!”

“Oh, uh,” he stumbled into snorting, “he mailed them to me recently. I don’t know why he bothered with snail mail, could of emailed me them. I’m sure you’re gorgeous in them, honey. Hey, why were you and your friends taking selfies with that stupid mechanical bouncer? You don’t think it’s cool, right?” His feelings were overflowing. It would appear the man of steel that took his job was powerful enough to kill the forbidden boner Clarissa had always given Randy.

He is epic!” She said, showing the snapshots to Randy. Alcolista seemed engaged, strangely. Randy stood up, time felt split in half this stoned instant.

The idea of robotics was not new. Trek back to renaissance times, the ultimate thinker: Leonardo da Vinci. The first known inventor of a humanoid robot, and though likely crude in that age of subatomic Venetian thrift shopping, the idea of artificial intelligence spanned centuries.

“Tequila, please!” Randy needed something to lower his approaching freak-out. Though an expert smoker Randy was, nobody could master the mind’s tarot deck; every hallucination was a card yet presumed. He downed his shot, and looked around, a mild hallucination occurred, as well as the invisible hand of slowness. Staccato neon photons skipped about like quantum dancers.

Newton saw time as absolute, the master clock that ticked away behind the universe’s curtains. For astronauts, time seemed to move faster, with the subtraction of a gravitational pull. Yet getting ‘high’ seemed to drag time through the mud. Is time just some calendrical estimator? How does it estimate the various interpretations when examined under an herbal lens or from telescopes in space pointed down at our pale blue planet?

In Randy’s trip he visited Greenwich, England in 1884, at the earth’s zero longitude. Oddly enough, a full-grown Albert Einstein was there, smoking his pipe, though Albert was officially born a few years previous to this date. Could his body then be that adolescent age, but piloting the timeworn skin Randy was more familiar with? Oh, you Germans! What with your smoking babies, asparagus festivals, your lederhosen…

Einstein envisioned time as a dimension, which gave way to his groundbreaking work on the space-time continuum: the fourth dimension. As Randy tried to walk through the former Royal Observatory, massive vibrations ricocheted all over the ambiance, compelling Randy into a stance like a soldier. Could Einstein’s observation be seen as a series of ‘nows’ littered within infinity? How hard will it be to holiday in the past? Could you likewise taste pastries baked in the future? But then it isn’t the past, and there won’t be a future! Is this the forever now?

A psychotropic can alter the mind, no doubt as sensory withdrawal. A mixture of men and women can’t handle the paradigm swing; Randy being one, yet he was so convinced he could, the poor bastard. He was now kowtowing to hardcore deliria. It happens all over. A group of men passing pot around, and one, unsure, thinks a little won’t hurt, and is suddenly pacing unstoppably. What’s wrong, lil’ homie, did you think they’d laugh at you if ya declined that chillum handed your way?

Time was unfolding to Randy. He began to smell roses so exquisite, from centuries previous, before words like herbicide or pesticide existed. The walls around him dusted in shimmering nebulae frescos, from space powder originating millions of years from now, groomed henceforth as wallpaper. What on earth was in that weed, Randy? Kief? Salvia? Mescaline?

While Slacks’ consciousness orbited a chaotic space-time, his memory brought him to an impoverished kitchen, in a rather wealthy neighborhood. Various items, from this klutzy recalling, were misplaced: bananas replacing dinner knives, avocados replacing antique grenades, eggplants replacing light bulbs -screwed in lamps, emitting purplish light- What is this we see? It’s Randy’s mother at age sixteen. She is pregnant and crying. Randy stiltedly ambled nearer and nearer, only to hear clearer and clearer her discontent at this ‘dream-killing’ pregnancy test. Randy’s mama, also via crimson eyes, is quite attractive. Randy observed a mother who wasn’t hateful, but lacked love for herself, thus had no motherly love to spread. Randy sensed an urge to win her over, impress even. Did this feeling to persuade her into loving Randy mutate into seduction? Did this household need more healthy food and less defense antiques? Enough of these painful Oedipal memories! Randy fell to the floor, breaking through it and crashing into beautiful times.

Every superb moment through a strange and confused lifetime brought to one allocated now. Randy created his own chain of nows, with cheeks blemished from his first kiss circa decades lingering numb, and with a stomach full of his favorite nacho grande dish from a Mexican restaurant that went out business many yesteryears since, and that moment of being hired at Occam’s Blues! Over and over again, Randy is hired, never once fired, just hired and every few seconds promoted, then hired again! Moments before the economy destroyed his kindness, moments before some strange family complication gave him his ill-fated complex. ‘Nows’ before all the terrible news and the mistakes. Only the excellent moments in this now: employment, graduation, his twenty-first birthday! Oh, Albert! Your theory of time! It’s too good to be true! It’s too beautiful for a world predestined for entropy! But please, let the feelings loiter just a few hours slower! The feelings of ‘nows’ nobody wants to finish! The moments after pain, the moments before his dog will die seven months from now, moments before his best friend’s heart attack in two years. Moments after all the dismal, and the confusing! Moments before the fruitless, the unproductive! Only the pure immortal nows! No shame, no unemployment, just endless stoner laughter!

Randy was floating in the air, arms spread out wide. On his face was a smile he never imagined having. Employment! Liquor shots! Over and over and over again…

 

Meanwhile a young lady was getting sick over and over and over again… “Alright, Chelsea, let’s say we run a quick test to,” Doctor Karpet was entering the office when he noticed an eviscerated android lying on the floor. What resembled a squirt gun had been taken out, one that contained a very concentrated form of the Ebola virus. Chelsea Panicum had the nozzle shoved up her left nostril. “What… what the fuck are you doing, Chelsea?”

“I. Need. Help. My. Body. Is. Dying.” She wasn’t bluffing. Here was a young girl who was so convinced by her own lies for attention that she was holding her own life hostage. When in fact the demands were that her dying body be saved? ‘May you live in interesting times,’ indeed!

“Chelsea… I’m going to guess you know what’s inside that, yeah?” Chelsea had a brief flashback to her computer activity:

XXpanacea_seekerXX: is there anything else striking you learned about Marvel Rose? Maybe staff members stealing drugs from suburbia kids who had panic attacks?

[email protected]@rvin: Ha! Ha! Well, you know about all these ‘android guards’ appearing all over the country?

XXpanacea_seekerXX: My pharmacist mentioned it. They had a few come to the drive-thru when I arrived. Strange. Are the hospital models any different?

[email protected]@rvin: A designer had leaked out one of its defense mechanisms, some kind of Ebola squirt gun. I think WHO has made advancements with the virus, and not let other scientists in on it, or banned publishing of any filovirus updates. Some reporter went gonzo, saw a zoo with African Green monkeys being studied, near the Taiwanese robotic center. The patients are being misled! Why on earth would such a deadly disease be allowed in hospitals!? What could they be planning?

Randy’s beloved ‘nows’ had perished, shrunken up, and croaked, making way for unpredictable ‘heres’ and dangerous ‘thens’ or, with the passing of Mary Jane’s therapy, nights abundant with… oh, Christ… paranoia…

“That fucking ‘andy’ keeps staring at me.” Randy felt uneasy, in a pub he so often defended. “Why are the new guards so lifeless? Why the fuck would an android need a buzz cut haircut?” It reminded Randy of the police. “You think it can smell the pot?”

Tain’t that how it goes? You hoped the drinks and the drugs would kill the bad memories, but soon enough you can’t recall the good ones? Randy was doomed to focus on the negative, being jobless by means of robots. It would seem his pestering hub made his troubles impaired, sullying his mint recollection. How long before his mind forgot how to keep the heart beating? Charles was nearly passed out, “does it have a nose? Shit if I should know.”

He saw Alcolista, amid coming and going drunkards, collecting beer bottles here, and wine glasses there. Occasionally, a red laser, as seen at register terminals, would flurry across the glassware. Was this android collecting some kind of information? Perhaps… DNA? Was this all in Randy Slacks’ head?

“I bet it can. I bet it’s signaling some police precinct right the fuck now! They’re planning a sting, soon as I pull into my driveway, some fuckface cop tells me it’s a routine pullover, and oh, how FUCKING convenient! Somebody framed you by placing kiddie porn in your house, Randy! Fuck. I can’t go home. I need to stay here.”

“Stay in Menti’s office? He doesn’t come in on Sundays…”

Images of snake tongues sniffing the air, overlapped with android limbs scanning the atmosphere had burst into Randy’s brain. “Fuck!!” Randy was losing it, and the phantasmagorias of older, devilish human ancestry, juxtaposed with future human cybernetic progress were surely the nail in his polluted rationality. Reptiles of the past? Androids of the future? Why can’t the hardworking humans of the now come back? Randy was sweating like a whitie in Sri Lanka. “Where are those nows?” He said aloud, and was hysterical for a reply.

 

“You are going to save my life, or I will tell the world about your genomic mapping technology you deny sick people, and I will tell about the whitewashing of deadly African viruses into hospitals all over America. Don’t fucking test me! My death alone will spread the truth. Unless you cover it up! Christ! Everybody covers everything up! I can’t take it! Nobody tells the truth!” Chelsea’s eyes shut so hard, her teeth clenched to the point of induced cavities. She was in pain beyond medical manuals.

Doctor Karpet eyed her carefully. Any wrong response now would surely bring doom.

 

“So, there I was,” Randy was back to his bragging bigheaded habit, “pitted against a Puerto Ri- AH, um, a, ummm, PRADA reekin’ son of a bitch.” It would seem Randy Slacks never learned to censor his prejudicial tongue. The crowd seemed slightly interested, though pity was a main ingredient in their attention. “He pulled a knife, expected, but mankind hasn’t carved a knife that can pierce my muscles. But I decided I’d pull my own knife out to show it off, ya know. He approached me, we tossed and turned, I was able to pin the spi- AH, the uh, the SPITEFUL son of a bitch to the gravel. I saved a lot of lives that night. Even though the fucker cut me.” Randy felt superior among the crowd.

“A news story published at that time,” Alcolista was near the bar counter, grabbing expensive vodka to pour over the wounds of a bar patron who’d injured their foot, “reported that you had cut yourself on your own knife. And that the gentleman only had a pencil on him. He was a blogger investigating the rise of crime in French bars in America.”

Amongst the degrading laughter followed by the busted self-importance, Randy leaned over to Charles, “the fucker wasn’t even there! I’ve had enough. Charles. Call up the crew.”

Charles responded with wicked joy on his LED mopped face.

 

“Chelsea…” Karpet was scared, he dedicated his life to a profession of saving lives, to helping people rebuild their futures: the future… the scariest of all nows, “I’ve got a son… it’s past his bedtime. If you spray that content out we’ll both die. A lot of people will die. Where will the sick people go when the hospital becomes a cemetery? Please. Put it down. You can go back to your home, enjoy your night, I can go home, see my son. Please.”

Chelsea let her heart beat for a few nows, “what if I agree to stash the Ebola squirt gun somewhere only you and I know? And then I leave?”

 

A group of rough, mean-spirited noblemen –all ex-bouncers– each recently fired from the surge in ‘andy’ occupation, dragged Alcolista by the firewall hairs into the empty kitchen of Occam’s Blues, moments past and Charles, then followed by Randy, both with cigarettes, entered the dark room. Behold an angle, akin to film noir, where an open door’s white shape upon the floor is suddenly invaded by a jagged man’s slow presence.

“I have to return to my position! Menti is counting on me!”

Randy, with light brushes on his cheek from fingernails, “counting on what? Are you saving the payroll? Collecting gene data? Making his omelets?”

“Please! Let me go!” Alcolista was never programed for fear, though online searches could give him a picture of the proper reaction.

“Hold ‘em tight.” Randy pulled out a menacing bong. “You know, pot can really fuck with you sometimes. It’s a sensitizer, whether or not people want to admit it. If you’re in a bad mood, or a scared mood, it’ll only amplify those feelings. Do you know what feelings are, robo-cunt?” Randy administered the marijuana into the android’s system. “Don’t you belong here, with the fryers and the fridges?”

“No! I do not want to try this!” The android strained to oppose being held down and forced to get high, but failed, and resulted into a massive paranoid freak-out, followed by a brutal assault from skillets and saucepans.

 

Chelsea Panicum left Marvel Rose Hospital, hiding the Ebola squirt gun under her tank top. She eventually reached the parking garage, in all its multi-leveled abject signage attempts. There was an android bodyguard near the ticket window. It had one wrist brought to the ear, with a chin aiming skyward. A series of bar codes scanned across the eyes, information was being transmitted via languages Chelsea and the wide-ranging public couldn’t find a Rosetta Stone for.

 

‘Nows’ and ‘heres’ went by and Randy’s fantasy trance at the bar counter of Alcolista getting beaten up and smoked up had finished. Around him, people were still laughing at his overstressed tale about the knife fight. The truth was Randy had no friends who’d come at his mere call, and even Randy himself didn’t want to assault Alcolista now as badly as he initially thought; he was slightly relieved nobody came. Maybe we all needed numerous nows to grow and change. Could it be wise to wait a few nows before shouting or calling or texting something in the heat of the moment? Should we examine closely what we want to say to see if there truly was meaning behind it? No doubt urges linked with violent dynasties?

Not just for hateful remarks, it can be congruently tragic to say loving things when one doesn’t truly mean them…

“Randy, what were you just daydreaming about?” Charles asked.

“Oh,” he felt guilty suddenly, “just something childish.”

“Oooh, I know you! Always makin’ those nasty jokes!” Charles raised a cocktail glass. Randy saw his reflection in the coated bar counter. That topic was hard for him to discuss at times. It started as jokes, the pedophilic comedy, but at one point Randy found himself enjoying the images that occupied the humor. Randy wanted to seek out help then, but felt the stigma attached would ruin him. He could never admit it, even to therapists guarding his privacy. He knew it was wrong, but why then was his mind wired for wrongness? What was he to do? He never wanted the urges, he knew better, but the unknown compulsions always popped back up, no matter how firmly he struggled to resist. Would he have been better off living in ancient Greek nows? Might there be a future when psychological problems are easily fixed and solved as opposed to being erased?

“I’m going back home,” he said forlornly.

Randy considered giving Alcolista the cold Slacks shoulder, but dismissed the idea. Randy, like many Americans, prided himself on being a son of a bitch. Being willfully rude would only earn him an empty funeral, where people thought, ‘gee! It’s a shame he wasted his one chance at life being an asshole.’ Randy was crusted with malice, but was not at heart, au contraire; he even feared holding a grudge. There was always the chance of never patching things up. Him and a friend might have a petty fight with subsequent estrangement and silence. But what if him or the friend unexpectedly died? Was holding a grudge that important over never getting a chance to reconcile? These were emotions he normally reserved for humans, but were they suddenly expanding to things he once reckoned inorganic? Alas, he was a man. He had to be strict, and threatening, and could never cry when he needed to, not even at that friend’s funeral; a sad, hopeless ‘now’ that will be.

“Do you… do you think about time, robot? Like thoroughly or maybe scientifically?” He asked Alcolista, fighting through the awkward surface.

The android’s face made a joking expression, “all the time.”

 

Chelsea approached the road drenched in sweat when a bus nearly struck her. Chelsea gasped and panicked. “My god! Do you know how sick I am? Can’t you see my face? You think I gave myself this black eye!?”

Almost all the windows were popped open. Nobody seemed to give a shit about Chelsea or her shiner. The sweat was causing the applied discoloration to trickle. Out of despair, she smeared the makeup in her eyes, and rambled back into the road. The general crowds saw her wretched pupils: each bus-rider, streetwalker, and hospital staff members smoking outdoors, altogether showed faces of disgust over concern. They evoked aversion and rejected altruism. “How can you all just ignore a sick person? So this is society now!”

“You’re not sick, honey,” an elder woman was walking by; it was none other than Charlotte A. Gucci. Her face heavy with years of sought out salvation, never for her, just the ones in the deepest trouble. She was requested at Marvel Rose regarding her urine and hair samples. “Is it death, honey?”

Chelsea Panicum suddenly couldn’t remember where she dropped her Ebola squirt gun. In the distance police sirens wailed. “What the fuck do you know? You can’t even see anymore!”

“I don’t need to see your problems to know they are not health related. I can hear them. And they’re coming from something in your core. Something in your past! Or possibly… something that’ll happen in the future?”

Branching off the Marvel Rose building was the Shelling Cancer Center. Chelsea saw sick kids and adults leaving, heads bald from chemotherapy, hands full of toys from donations, but all smiles were absent. “Chelsea,” suddenly Charlotte’s words grew shriller, remarkably with the growing sirens, “BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR!

It could be possible this young lady was too restless for the inevitable. Perhaps by walking that dreadful edge we call life, she aimed to glance over and catch a glimpse of death. But would it be contagious? Could death spread like rumors or herpes? Was she so convinced that by dancing with her health, some clinical enlightenment, by routes of sedation and ambulances, would be administered and help her overcome a fear of something only humans are cursed to anticipate? Rain clouds were forming. The police were seconds from arriving, and Chelsea began running away. They’d probably catch her tonight. She could never get away with what she did. Hostage situations never work out well, for either party involved. Regarding this hospital visit, the only syndrome Chelsea Panicum qualified for was Stockholm.

If you listen closely, with blind eyes like Charlotte’s, you may hear the agony within others. Some –in the lead veins of glorious Spartans– rant of their fearlessness of death; yet those same personalities may pace about, parallel to detained felons planning a jailbreak. Is the topic they bring up just for reassurance? Or is their heroism spot-on, and they’re merely attempting to break out of life’s prison?

…Assault? Aggression? Molestation? Addiction? Deception? So many actions and behaviors can seize our motives, later turning liberation cries into samizdat oral transmissions by means of whispers during sleep or email drafts never sent or sins fudged in confessionals. They downright defeat the loving feelings, turning reality into a tangled chronicle… Why do these impulses hijack our lives (never mind the how or when)? There are those who are prideful of the awful choices they make, but what of those who struggle to contest? Randy never wanted his warped sexuality; Chelsea never wanted a life built by uncontrolled lies, with some warped addiction for attention… or was she cursed with anxiety over loneliness? Was death to her the extreme régime of feeling lonely?

The slender whizzing of cars speeding into the night accompanied the strolling Randy Slacks. He felt that grand feeling, of learning so much about yourself, having dug your fingers in the subconscious as a sack of grains. A frantic girl approached him.

“Sir, please help me! I uh,” what was Chelsea to say, she could lie so often when no trouble was afoot, and yet when it was, “these doctors are after me. I’m sick, and I couldn’t pay my medical bills, now they’re gonna sic these thugs on me. Thugs in uniforms!”

Randy felt growing relief; employment! One last chance to be a bodyguard? “Well… I’m in the security business, honey. I mean I could help you out. Do you live in the ‘hood or something?”

The two started rambling away and talking with each other. Randy had pulled out a joint, “you want some?”

“I can’t. Pot gives me seizures. That’s why I was at the hospital earlier….”

“What’s your name?”

“Chelsea Panicum.”

Panty cum? Randy thought, trembling, what kind of name is that? “How old are you?”

“I’ll be eighteen in a few months…”


All Tomorrow's Nows - a short story

  • ISBN: 9781370273263
  • Author: Mary Fewko
  • Published: 2016-11-03 18:05:08
  • Words: 9786
All Tomorrow's Nows - a short story All Tomorrow's Nows - a short story