Thursday, February 08, 2007

Peace Out

Brandon was floating in a sea of blood, literally. He swam desparately, looking for a life raft or a shoreline. But wave after wave of frothy blood crashed down over him. His vision was blurred and he sputtered for breath. Brandon knew he would drown.

A fin appeared in the distance, then disappeared as Brandon slid into a trough. It reappeared again when he reached the next crest. It was pointed directly at him.

A shark, and from the looks of it a big one, sped towards him. There was nothing Brandon could do. When it was only a yard off, there was a great splash as it launched itself like a dolphin out of the churning bloody sea. Based on its trajectory, it would land directly on Brandon.

The movement of the world suddenly slowed. The waves moved like syrup, and gravity only pulled downward half as fast as normal. Brandon looked around in confusion, then back up, expecting to see a mouth with several rows of teeth bearing down on him. Instead, he saw a disembodied face. It was the face of the convenience store clerk.

The clerk had a hole in his face where an eye should be, and through it Brandon saw the clouds passing overhead. The face began to laugh evilly, ridiculously so. Like a mad scientist or 007 villain, the clerk cackled. Brandon was not so much frightened as annoyed. He wished the clerk would stop.

The idiotic laughter continued. Brandon floated in a blood ocean wishing he could stab the clerk again, in a throat that wasn't visible, in hopes of shutting him up. But as he watched he noticed the face slowly change. The laughter changed, too, as it went on.

Brandon realized that the face now belonged to Dr. Tyler, and the laughter was a phone ringing.

The answering machine beeped as Brandon groggily opened his eyes heavy with sleep. He wiped crusty dried blood out of the corners as he woke up. He looked around the bathroom, and then down at the bath tub he was lounging in. A red ring circled the drain.

The answering machine beeped again. "Yo dude! Pick up the goddamn phone!" the voice of Tom, somewhat distorted, shouted from the machine in the other room. There was a pause. "So, uh, Brandon? I was reading the paper just now and I read an article about how some guy with spikes all over his body murdered a gas station clerk last night. And I got to thinking, that can't be the guy that I know who has spikes all over his body. Can it?" Brandon picked at a long scab over a self-inflicted gash on his inner thigh until it began to ooze blood. He leaned back and stretched out in the basin. Tom's voice continued, "That can't be the guy with spikes that I know that showed up at my apartment last night when I wasn't there, stole my clothes, then scared the piss out of me when I saw him standing in my living room at two in the morning looking like Satan himself shat him out. That can't be the guy that bummed money off of me to go get some snacks, and then came back thirty minutes later acting normal - well, as normal as a guy with spikes all over his body could possibly be.

"No, it couldn't be the same guy, could it? No, I think that guy would have mentioned to me that he fucking killed someone while he was at the goddamn Seven-Eleven! What. The. Fuck."

"So," Tom's voice went on, "if you like happen to run into that guy, the other guy with spikes all over his body, will you tell him to get the fuck out of my house? Seriously, dude. You're my friend and all, but if you're not out of my house by the time I get off work, I'm gonna call the cops. Sorry, dude, that's just the way it is." There was a short, uncomfortable pause. "Peace out." Brandon heard the receiver rustle into the cradle on the other end of the line. The answering machine beeped again. Brandon stirred and began to get up from his bathtub bed.

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