A half-done story

I’m too busy writing this book to do anything here. But here’s a piece I was originally going to try to put somewhere in the book, but it doesn’t fit, and it isn’t done. But it’s still amusing.

BROADWAY TRANSFER TO THE R. MANHATTAN-BOUND N TRAIN, 36TH AVENUE WILL BE NEXT. STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING DOORS.

He jammed the needle deep into my forearm, the pain of the steel burning his flesh. With the rubber strap around his arm, the end pulled tight in his teeth, he pushed the plunger of the 3cc syringe and shot Ampakine CX614 deep into his blood system. The cold fluid pulsed up the vein, toward the deep recesses of his mind, to the AMPA receptors in the syapses of his brain. The up-modulation would enhance the amplitude and duration of postsynaptic current. That would increase neurotrophic expression in hippocampal and cortical nerves; memory expansion, thought amplification. All from something he bought from a Mexican drugstore internet site.

The 5/8″ single-use needle quickly vanished into a paper envelope, stuffed into a backpack on the floor of the train, along with the glass pharmacy bottle. Nobody sees nothing. He leaned against the thick plexiglass window of the train, looking through the etched scratchitti to the view of Long Island City below, the endless sea of taxicab repair places and industrial warehouses. Perfect place to stash a dead body, he thought. He felt nauseous from the shot, but it could have been the ugly yellow and brown paintjob inside the subway car, too.

36th AVENUE TRANSFER TO THE R. MANHATTAN-BOUND N TRAIN, 39TH AVENUE WILL BE NEXT. STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING DOORS.

Voices rang in his head, asleep or awake. He closed his eyes and waited for the drugs to erode through his mind. Before this, he tried an endless array of barbituates, CNS depressants, benzodiazepines, alcohol, Ativan, anything to knock the messages from his head. But still, they pulled at everything he did, thoughts that he couldn’t consciously remember, but that permeated his unconscious mind and his dreams so much, he couldn’t sleep withouth waking up screaming, with a butcherknife to his throat.

Now the strategy was to remember everything, so he could walk through the phobia, the trauma, and contact the spirits in order to exorcise them. He wanted back every unconscious thought brought back to him so he could confront it, deal with it, know about it and somehow work around it. He found a shrink inethical enough to not throw him in an iron room for 72 hours no questions asked, who seemed smart enough to help him with his plan. His insurance had a good drug plan, and the shrink got a mighty kickback from Roche if he gave out the right scripts, so he was more than willing to hang some paper for him.

He listened to his own pulse, the heartbeat carrying the evil mojo in his blood to his head. But every screech from the train, from the tracks below threatened to be the return of a lost soul out to kill him.

39th AVENUE TRANSFER TO THE R. MANHATTAN-BOUND N TRAIN, QUEENSBORO PLAZA WILL BE NEXT. STAND CLEAR OF THE DOORS.

When he was four, he lived next to an annoying kid that ate a lot of glue and pissed his pants during music hour once at school, a fate of the kind that would bring enough shame that he’s probably end up sucking dick for crack twenty years down the road. By the fate of simple location, he ended up spending a lot of time with this neighbor, burying toy soldiers in the back yard and trying to kill squirrels with single-pump BB guns. He tried to avoid actually being seen around this kid at school, though, for reasons he didn’t understand at the time.

Once when they were walking to school, the two got held up at a train crossing. He told his neighbor that it would be neat if he put his hands on the steel wheel of the parked Conrail train. The train’s air brake released and 400 tons lurched forward, slicing the kid’s hands off like a soggy grapefruit in a finely sharpened guillotine. When the kid fell on the ground handless and shooting blood in the air, he ran home and hid under his bed instead of calling the authorities. An hour later, the kid had exsanguinated, died, and the boys in blue threatened to haul him away to jail and charge him with murder. His dad somehow convinced them it was all an accident, then proceeded to beat the living shit out of him for sixty days and sixty nights straight, so much that he had to go to a chiropractor for soreness in his whipping soldier.

And now, thirty years later, he suddenly remembered it all. That handless kid was back from the dead to fuck him in the ass, Steven King-style. And you don’t get a reacharound if the dude has no hands.

QUEENSBORO PLAZA LAST STOP IN QUEENS TRANSFER TO THE R AND 7 TRAIN ACROSS THE PLATFORM. MANHATTAN-BOUND N TRAIN, LEXINGTON AVENUE WILL BE NEXT. STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING DOORS.

B-2s over the valley of fire

Yes, I’m alive. I have not been writing here for three reasons. The last in the list is that I’ve been sick for a few days, and sleeping in.

The next reason is that when I wasn’t sick and sleeping in, I’ve been working on book #3. The first draft of the first third is done, and I’ve been going over that on paper while I’ve been pushing around the outline of the next third. It’s going well, and that’s all I’ll say at this point. Once I am over this bug, I will get back on my schedule of waking up at 6:30, taking a shower, and then writing until 9:30. It works well, except that it would be a lot easier if I didn’t go to work and kept writing past 9:30.

And I went to Vegas. I actually was in Henderson, at Sunset Station, for Sarah’s family reunion. We did get to the strip once, to shop at Caesars. (Oddly enough, we saw Pete Rose there, signing autographs.) But the base of operations was just out of town, and that worked out fine. We spent a lot of time with a lot of family, watched the superbowl, gambled a bit, ate a lot, and had a good time. Sunset Station is also in this strip mall suburbia, with a big mall and a bunch of big-box stores scattered everywhere. I forgot to bring my full-spectrum light, and found that when I didn’t use it and spent all day in a casino, I crashed horribly. So I spent an hour or two each morning walking through parking lots and in laps around the casino, getting lots of sun and a little exercise.

Another thing we did that was fun was go to the Valley of Fire. It’s a huge park about 50 miles from Vegas, and a lot of it looks like the surface of Mars. There are red sandstone formations everywhere, and a lot of desert scrub land. I got a lot of neat pictures there, and we also saw them shooting a commercial for the new Porsche; when we were entering, six of the new cars came out, in formation. Also, when we left, we stopped at this truck stop that was also a fireworks warehouse and sold cheap cigs and other trucker necessities. It was hilarious to read all of the manly and jingoistic names on the giant explosives, like “RED WHITE AND BLUE GLORY” or “THE DEADLY PUMA” or “SHAKE AND BAKE” or whatever. (Okay, not the last one.)

Oh, and on the drive back, I saw a B-2 stealth bomber for the first time. It was heading toward Nellis and totally looked like a UFO.

(Pictures of everything [but not the bomber] are here. No captions – I have no time.)

BTW, John Sheppard’s book Small Town Punk has been released and is out. I got my copy while I was gone, and I’m re-reading it. The new version has been edited a ton, and is missing the old ending, but still, go check it out.