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Comes Around

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ISBN: 9781370601790

Other works by this author:

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p<{color:#000;}. Nor Gloom of Night

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p<{color:#000;}. Good Boy

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p<{color:#000;}. Blowing Bubbles

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p<{color:#000;}. Scavenger

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p<{color:#000;}. It Happened One Wednesday

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p<{color:#000;}. Hevun’s Rebel

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p<{color:#000;}. Hevun’s Ambassador

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p<{color:#000;}. Hevun’s Gate

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p<{color:#000;}. One Year of Instants

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p<{color:#000;}. Interview Inside a Terrarium

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p<{color:#000;}. The Amity Incident

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p<{color:#000;}. One Leap year of Instants

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p<{color:#000;}. Better

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p<{color:#000;}. One Year of Instants (2015)

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p<{color:#000;}. I Wish, I Wish

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p<{color:#000;}. One Leap Year of Instants (2016)

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p<{color:#000;}. Kung Fu Zombies

All these titles available at Shakespir.

For further information, check out C M Weller.com or InterNutter.org.

Here is a church. Here is a steeple. They’re both on fire because they happen to be in the way. In the way of purity. In the way of progress. And, most importantly to Harold Outterrige, in the way of his plans for a multi-story mega-mall and gambling casino that would be exclusively for the well-to-do.

None of the alleged people who lived in this dingy, dirtwater, downtrodden neighbourhood would set foot in it. Not unless they were cleaning the toilets or bussing the tables, as was their place.

Harold smiled to himself as he watched the live video feed from the people he’d hired to do the job. He would never dirty his hands with work like this. Or, for that matter, much work at all. He told people what he wanted done and it happened. He wanted the poor neighbourhood gentrified by his money, and that church was in the way.

He could easily drive out the rest of the undesirables. Pricing them out of their own homes. But the church was a keystone to the alleged community they had.

A man on fire stumbled out of the church on fire. Harold was not alarmed. He was not shocked. He knew that the priest would not leave the church. He’d seen his men try to beat the resistance out of him before finally pouring petrol on him, on his church, and arranging an ‘accident’ to happen.

“Make sure he dies,” said Harold.

The man with the camera followed the priest. Focused on the man’s last agonies. And, when the fires extinguished themselves, checked for a pulse.

It was then that the priest gasped his last words. “As you sow, you shall also reap…”

It was the first time that Harold Outterrige actually heard a death rattle. He had killed thousands, in one way or another, but this was the first time he saw and heard another human die. He didn’t even flinch. In his mind, the priest wasn’t human. Neither were the members of his parish.

“Get out of there,” ordered Harold. “The police should be arriving in an hour or two.” He knew that for a fact. The police were not from the neighbourhood, and had similar reasons as Harold to just… not care about the neighbourhood and the… ‘individuals’… who lived there.

If you called that ‘living’.

The entire neighbourhood was rife with the wrong kinds of people. Better that the whole thing be purged from the earth. Harold would never say it out loud, but he would feel better if all those types just vanished from the sight of real humans like himself. They should never be seen. Just creep into places to clean the toilets and then slink back into whatever hole they existed in. There weren’t enough prisons in the world for_those types_.

Harold left his high tower and took the elevator down to where his car and his chauffeur should have been waiting.

Instead, there was one of_those types_. A man from the terrorist countries. Obviously homeless. All he wore was a simple, cotton kaftan and wear-worn sandals. His hair and beard was long. His skin was too dark. His eyes, if Harold had cared to look, were far too piercing. As if they saw all the universe and appreciated the joke.

“Spare a dollar for a good cause, sir?” said the man.

Harold said some words that no respectable person would repeat. Things about the stranger’s heritage, and his unlikely bedroom practices. He went on to detail about how people like_those types_ were secretly oppressing good people like himself and that he didn’t have to put up with it.

Before Harold’s security team could pounce, the stranger said, “That which you give is all you shall get.”

Harold told his laggard security team to, “Teach that [SLUR EXPUNGED] a lesson he won’t forget.” Then he forgot about the man, and the church, and the fire. Because he had a good scotch in the back of his car. And he could tune into the news that he owned and hear all the good things he believed about himself.

He didn’t remember much else about that night.

But he would remember what happened next.

Harold woke up on a mattress in a cold and dismal flat he shared amongst four people including himself and, apparently, a dog or three. There was a screaming baby and he was only wearing underpants that had seen better days. Possibly in a previous century.

The adult woman on the bed was his wife, but… before she’d had any work done. The other two people on the bed were his children. His daughter and his son. All huddled under a threadbare blanket and the dogs.

“What the hell?” said Harold.

Pauche awoke. “Honey, I know. But the Davisons pay half the rent. We gotta put up with their baby for a while.”

There was no curtain on the window, and he could see the neighbourhood. He knew this neighbourhood. It was where he planned to have an emporium that sold gold-plated, designer sunglasses to the good people. In the middle of the shopping resort that he had planned for this dump.

Pauche had no memory of Harold’s previous life. He quickly concluded that he didn’t want to wind up imprisoned for a mental episode and possibly shot. He also knew what the police in this area were like. They were rewarded for shooting first and getting paid holidays later.

So he kept his fears to himself and got on with his first day in a new world. The house was bare. No carpets. No curtains beyond thin bedsheets Everything they had was in those huge, woven plastic, plaid bags that belonged to the homeless people who were too classy to put everything they owned in garbage bags or shopping trolleys. Permanent marker had names on each bag.

Harold extracted himself from the pile of family and dogs, and investigated the bag with his name on it.

Pauche, also wriggling out from underneath her family, yawned and stretched. “Remember you have that interview, today. You’re good suit’s underneath the grey one.”

The good suit deserved to be burned. If the EPA wasn’t going to be on his ass for doing so. At least it was black and neat enough to pass a summary inspection. But it was a polyester-cotton blend. The tie was pure polyester. And the white shirt was some thin piece of crap straight out of a Walmart.

Nevertheless, it was all he had, so he grabbed it all and headed for the bathroom.

“Where are you going?” asked Junior.

“To take a shower,” said Harold.

“You can’t take a shower with the water we have,” objected Pauche.

Harold ignored her and entered the bathroom anyway. This was a four-bedroom house, and there was a family in each bedroom. There was a fifth family living in the living room. Harold turned on the shower and almost vomited. Raw sewerage, or something that looked and smelled a lot like it, fountained out of the showerhead.

It was a miracle that he didn’t get any of that filth on him. Pauche entered with a stack of baby wipes. “It’s easy to forget. The last place we stayed in had the good water. Let me help you?”

He had to wash with baby wipes. Humiliating. He had to brush his teeth with the help of bottled water and a plastic cup from some fast food chain. It was faded and starting to decay. Cheap plastic for an expensive prize that would likely break apart and release thousands of toxins in the process.

But it was all they had.

There was only cereal, and no milk. The fridge was old and also decaying. And half full of bottled water. Five families huddled about in the kitchen. Eating plain, no-brand cereal without any sign of enjoyment.

All of them looked like good, honest people. All of them looked like him and his family.

There was not enough cereal to fill his stomach. Not enough for his kids. Well. He had a job interview, today. He was guaranteed to get a job. And from there, he could make it back to the top. Just like he’d done it before. The only real difference was that he didn’t have a small loan from his father to back it up. He knew that his natural brilliance would win in the end.

There was a cop car outside his house when he left. There were no cars for him to drive to his interview. He, and the other four families, all walked half a mile to the bus stop. All followed by the cop car.

Which had two of_those types_ in it.

The buses were full of good people, even driven by good people. The fare he had to pay was almost all of his money that he had. That would change. He knew it. No matter where they put him, he would rise to the top, as was his destiny.

All the police in the city were those types. All the people in offices were those types. There were more good people like him in the calls cubicles and piloting the floor buffers. And, just to be certain of his standing, he went over the resume that his wife had provided. Not nearly the amount of successes life he knew. His father’s small loan was not there. Nor was his terms in the most elite schools.

And, even more insulting, he was applying for a janitor’s job. He needed the money. Obviously. He needed some kind of start to gain back what he had lost.

The administrative assistant was one of those types. As was his potential boss. Harold almost got hives from shaking that filthy hand. He kept his usual rhetoric to himself, selling himself as the best possible light to the type in the expensive suit on the wrong side of the desk.

But Harold was practiced at being polite and genial on the face of things. He knew the right questions to ask, and how to seem like a good fellow to someone who might otherwise have reasons to hate him.

“Thank you. We’ll call you,” said the type.

Which was Managerese for, “We’re never going to call you.” He needed that job. He needed any kind of job. Well. He wasn’t too proud to flip burgers. Harold went to fifteen separate fast food places and attempted to apply. The types who were all the managers told him that they weren’t hiring. He almost missed the types also trying to apply getting the job application forms.

Which made him angry. It was the fifteenth place in which he snapped. He got rowdy. He almost got violent…

But he did get shot.

Harold felt only five of the fifty bullets that entered his body, and they burned like fire. All he knew was pain as he sank down to the polished linoleum.

Have you learned? asked a voice.

Learned what? he thought.

Harold woke up on a mattress in a cold and dismal flat he shared amongst four people including himself and, apparently, a dog or three. There was a screaming baby and he was only wearing underpants that had seen better days. Possibly in a previous century.

He struggled out of bed and grabbed the baby wipes. If it was the same day, or another day, he didn’t know. Pauche didn’t remind him of the interview, but reminded him that it was his first day at his job.

It wasn’t a paying job, not really. It was Work For Welfare. In which he was thrust into a cheap, polyester safety vest on top of his cheap, polyester suit. Picking up garbage in formal wear. People driving by threw their half-finished drinks at him.

A team of four types in police uniform made certain that he didn’t even think of aiming his spiked stick at any passing car.

All for five bucks an hour. Less if he wanted to ‘rent’ a set of overalls from the people in charge.

Screw that. He needed to have money to spend money to make money.

When he got home, Junior was sick. Diamante, his daughter, was feverish. These kids needed to go to the hospital. And none of the public transport ran after six. They had two options. Call for an ambulance, or walk the fifteen miles to the nearest clinic that was open at all hours.

Pauche screamed at him not to call 911. He ignored her. They couldn’t expect these kids to walk for fifteen miles…

There were no sirens. Just a SWAT team that burst in with flash-bangs and killed everything that moved. Including him.

Have you learned? asked the voice.

Learned what? he thought.

Harold woke up on a mattress in a cold and dismal flat he shared amongst four people including himself and, apparently, a dog or three. There was a screaming baby and he was only wearing underpants that had seen better days. Possibly in a previous century.

He extracted himself and looked out the window. The cop car was just pulling up outside. Today, according to Pauche, was the day he was working at some lucrative company. In his polyester suit. Which he got to by public transport. Packed into a little tin can with hundreds of others who could also not afford to use deoderant or cologne.

He filed into cubicle hell and maintained his script into the headset. He was allegedly getting minimum wage for this, but his paycheque had deductions that he knew were BS. The corporate health fund, for instance, would not cover anything. He’d set up hundreds like it in all of the corporations that he owned in the other life.

Nevertheless, he took it to a cheque cashing fraudster because he had no other options and he needed the money that day. And after getting a few cheap bulk foods, he was on the last bus to his neighbourhood. Just enough money to get to and from work for the rest of the week. The cops followed him from the bus stop and shot him as he approached his door.

Have you learned?

Who are you?

I am a teacher. Have you learned?

What is there to learn? I keep getting killed!

Harold woke up on a mattress in a cold and dismal flat he shared amongst four people including himself and, apparently, a dog or three. There was a screaming baby and he was only wearing underpants that had seen better days. Possibly in a previous century.

Someone bashed the front door down. Harold reflexively grabbed his wife and kids, and one of the dogs. The police didn’t want him, they hauled off the family that was living in the third bedroom. Terrorists, they said.

And one of them said that they needed to improve things in this house or Child Services would have to come by and take the kids away to a better home.

The remaining four families had to have a meeting to decide how they were going to replace the broken front door. People in this neighbourhood spent most of their time stealing what little anyone else had from each other.

Harold didn’t want to think about how much it would cost to replace the clothing they had, and volunteered the door from the room his family shared if someone else would add the doorknob.

He had three jobs to perform in, and all of them were menial and all of them payed shit per hour. None of them gave him enough to get ahead on. And all he heard from anyone if he complained was, “Just work harder.”

He had three dead-end jobs. Four on Thursdays. Two on the weekends. No public holidays off. No overtime pay. And all his jobs were part time so he didn’t have any kind of social security. He literally couldn’t afford to take a sick day.

He couldn’t afford to get sick.

This was the hardest he had worked in his memory. He was exhausted after every grinding day, and spent every ride to his house listening to how good people like him were lazy ingrates who never appreciated what decent people gave them.

After about the fifth time hearing it, he thought, What were we given, apart from the short end of the stick?

It was the first time he heard the voice while he was technically alive. Are you learning, now?

He still didn’t know what the hell the voice was talking about.

His pay from his meagre jobs were not enough to cover the bills, buy food, and look after his family. They were eating dog food because it was cheap. And his son was sick.

Very sick.

They couldn’t afford to take him to the hospital. They couldn’t just let him die. The nearest free clinic was in a neighbouring state because it was also a Planned Parenthood establishment. Good and decent people actively fought any place that supported abortions, because every life conceived had the right to be born.

And yet, people like he had used to be didn’t support welfare queens living it up because they had a dozen babies by twenty fathers.

All they had was no-brand aspirin and expensively bottled water because the taps dispensed raw sewerage. And whatever prayers to a deaf god that they could summon.

Everything was easier when he thought God was on his side. And why wouldn’t he? He’d had everything. God had had to be on his side. Now that it was gone, he had to wonder if God actually picked favourites at all.

Close to midnight, Junior was as hot as a kettle. They had to act. Harold wrapped Junior up in a blanket and went straight to the cops who were keeping an eye on the house they shared with four other families. Maybe it was the tears in his eyes. Maybe it was the fact that he was carrying a child and not anything that could be mistaken for a weapon.

Either way, he didn’t get shot by the types in the car. They called an ambulance that actually arrived in less than an hour. Harold didn’t think about how much the hospital was going to bill him. He just wanted his son to live.

It took forever. He had to leave his son in triage, with his wife watching over him, just so he could return to work.

It was in the middle of cleaning toilets that the realisation came to him. He could declare bankruptcy. Salvage what little he could and start over.

But, as he would find out, it wasn’t that easy. For him, in his unfamiliar status as working poor, he had his gross income totalled and found allegedly sufficient to pay his debts. The lawyer handling his case worked in a cubicle hell, and wore a cheap suit similar to Howard’s. And didn’t look him in the eye at all.

“I’m sorry,” he apologised to the thick column in the middle of the cubicle. “You have five jobs and sufficient gross weekly pay to be garnished at ten percent of all your wages.”

“Wait,” objected Harold. “All those jobs are part-time. You did full-time calculations.”

“I’m sorry, but those are the rules. I can’t help you.”

Harold slouched out of the offices trying to do math in his head. If he started skipping meals, maybe he could have enough with Pauche’s cheques to feed his children and the dog. But then, since she was his wife, they would be garnishing her wages at ten percent, too. They’d even get her money if they divorced but continued to live together.

Who the hell came up with these byzantine and punishing laws, anyway?

You did, said the voice of his dreams. In your other life.

But… that was to stop freeloaders and welfare queens. Not good people.

Over the next month, he went hungry so that his kids could eat. Stole food off of leftovers from tables he bussed, making sure that nobody was looking when he did it. Snatched food from garbage bins as he emptied them at malls he was cleaning.

He caught some variant of a social disease. And the doctors billed him extravagantly. Which meant more debt. And no help. And no food stamps because the government health assessor declared him fit for work despite the irreversible and debilitating symptoms.

Harold ended up on the streets while his wife and children wound up in a shelter. Begging for money with only a piece of cardboard between himself and the cold concrete of the streets.

A man who was like him in his other life walked by. Spat on him and yelled, “Get a job!” Just like he used to do. The only difference now was the colour of their skins.

Harold passed out coughing.

Have you learned?

Dead again, huh?

Almost. This lesson is over. Have you learned?

I learned that I was right all along, he ‘said’. Every problem in the world is caused by Those Types!

The voice in the darkness was silent for a long time. I have made everything you have said in your other life true. It is the world as you saw it, with people like you at the mercy of the Other. You do not learn.

Liar, ‘said’ Harold. You’re a liar and a cheat and nothing in this life you keep making me live is right.

You are not right, said the voice. The lessons will continue until you learn.

Harold woke up on a mattress in a cold and dismal flat he shared amongst four people including himself and, apparently, a dog or three. There was a screaming baby and he was only wearing underpants that had seen better days. Possibly in a previous century.

He would continue doing that for a very long time. Because Harold Outterige was the kind of person who preferred ignorance and would defend it to the death. And so he would. Infinitely.

END.

[]Thank you for reading this book!

I hope you enjoyed reading Comes Around, I would love to hear your thoughts about it. I would also like to thank [@maya-serena](http://maya-serena.tumblr.com) for their Beta-work and volunteering to translate this story into Spanish.

If you are interested in sampling some of my other books, or to get my contact details and let me know what you thought, please visit my website at:

www.CMWeller.com

The cover art for this work is an amalgam of stock photos from CanStockPhoto and the artists Dimol, Sutichak, and Finton Prado, as well as images from 123rf and the artists Filip Filipovic, and Svetlana Babinka. Thank you so much for your hard work.

As an indie author, word of mouth is everything, so if you enjoyed my book, or even if you didn’t but you can think of someone who would, I would be ever so grateful of you can tell some friends about me, make a post on your blog, or social media website to let folks know.

Thanks once again!

C.M. Weller.

[]About the author.

C. M. Weller has decided to keep their full identity a secret until such time as one of their works becomes a bestseller. They share a house in Burpengary East with two children and a spouse who sometimes thinks they’re insane.

Unfortunately, this author has managed to avoid doing all the things that make author bios interesting reading. Sorry.

This writer is allergic to almost all forms of alcohol (long story), too asthmatic to indulge in tobacco, and in possession of a body chemistry that makes the more interesting drugs problematic at best. Thusly, their chief addiction is their own imagination.

C. M. Weller has heard all about getting a life, but has been too busy to arrange one.

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p<{color:#000;}. Website: www.CMWeller.com

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p<{color:#000;}. Facebook: authorcmweller

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p<{color:#000;}. Twitter: [@InterNutter](https://twitter.com/InterNutter)

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p<{color:#000;}. Tumblr: internutter.tumblr.com

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p<{color:#000;}. Blog: www.internutter.org

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p<{color:#000;}. Medium: [InterNutter](https://medium.com/InterNutter)

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p<{color:#000;}. Patreon: cmweller


Comes Around

  • ISBN: 9781370601790
  • Author: C M Weller
  • Published: 2017-10-04 10:46:58
  • Words: 4150
Comes Around Comes Around