|The ShanMonster Writing Machine Returns
||[May. 5th, 2015|11:46 pm]
I took suggestions under consideration. This is a work in progress. Enjoy...
My Daddy was a magus. That's what Momma told me, at least. I never got to meet him, so I have to take her word on the whole thing. She met him at a psychic festival, years ago, had a fling, and then whoopsy. There I was, nine months later. She said it was all foretold, and she knew he'd knock her up as soon as she laid eyes upon him. She has the sight and all. It's what let her know I'd be a late bloomer.
And I am a late bloomer. I'm fifteen now, and still not a drop of womb blood has yet to stain my knickers. I'm ok with that. Really, I am. Momma has had The Talk with me, but as you have already figured out, my Talk bore little resemblance to the one you had. You see, my Talk was less about “and then you bloom into womanhood” and more of “and then you bloom into sorcery.” Who'd have thought such a basic biological function would be so blooming momentous?
Momma claims I have the sight, too, but I was never so sure about that. Sometimes her predictions are off. But she says that I'm going to be more powerful than her, and because of my Daddy's magical ways, my bloodline is strong and my latent abilities have yet to emerge. When I asked her when I'd suddenly develop these powers she's so sure of, she claims it'll begin at menarche, or once I lose my virginity, whichever comes first. Either of those could do the trick, but I know which order I prefer. I have no desire to accomplish both simultaneously. That's too many momentous occasions all piled up for my liking.
All this blather is just me setting you up for the crazy thing that happened to me just yesterday. I was bored, and instead of going to the mall with Lupe, Marcia, and Diego like usual, I decided on a whim to wander around the east end of town. I found a weird little shop tucked in between a video game shop and a discount hip hop clothing outlet. I'd never noticed it before, but I have no idea how I could have missed it. The windows were dirty, and there was some seriously weird shit on display. I saw a mannequin wearing a witch's hat, a straight-jacket, cowboy boots, and no pants. It was holding a Rubik's cube in one hand and a ball peen hammer in the other. This was strange enough to make me look more closely. The place was called Bizarroland, and I thought that maybe it was a consignment shop. I couldn't quite figure it out. The door was propped open with a prosthetic leg wearing a fishnet stocking. I shrugged and walked in. The place was a hoarder's paradise. Shelves creaked under the weight of books, circuit boards, power tools, stacks of newspapers, and children's toys. I saw a ventriloquist dummy leaned up against a butt plug the size of a gallon milk jug. The dummy seemed surprised. Silk roses and curly drinking straws jutted out from a broken bicycle pump. The place smelled of dust, mildew, and clean linen bathroom deodorizer. I ducked when a canary flew at me and perched on a musket hanging in the gun rack by the door.
I stood there, blinking and gaping, overwhelmed by what appeared to be a good cross selection of everything in existence. A voice intruded upon my sensory overload. “You there. Girly.”
I looked. An ancient person was hobbling over toward me with a walker. There wasn't room to use a walker, but they used it nonetheless. They knocked piles of junk/treasure over in their wake. They were wearing a lurid green polyester leisure suit with enormous lapels and what appeared to be a championship WWE belt. I could feel my mouth opening and closing, but no words were coming out. I did not know what to say.
“Girly. I have something for you.”
My mouth finally become operational. “For me?”
“You don't see anyone else in here, do you?”
“No...” I went to say “sir,” then “ma'am,” but then said neither because I had no idea which this person might be. “N-no.”
“Then, by process of elimination, it must be you, girly.”
By this point, this person of advanced age and peculiar fashion sense was standing right in front of me, so close I could smell their breath: orange Tic Tacs. They rummaged in a McDonald's bag which dangled from their walker and pulled out a small, bright red plastic barrel. I looked at it.
“Take it,” they said. They held it out with swollen, rheumatic knuckles. Their hand was shaking, and I could hear something moving inside the barrel.
“I, uh. I was just browsing?” I tried to back away and stumbled on a small anvil. I caught my balance by grabbing onto a coat tree. The shopkeep stepped closer and their walker knocked over a sack of carrots. Again, the little red barrel was held out to me.
“Take it, girly. It's been waiting for you.”
Feeling rather foolish, I reached out and accepted the plastic barrel.
The green-garbed ancient cackled just like you might expect a cartoon witch to cackle, then turned around and hobbled deeper into the bowels of the store. A long piece of toilet paper was stuck to their shoe.
I ran faster than I've ever run before. I nearly ran in front of the 7C bus, but just managed not to get hit. I turned right on 23rd Avenue and ran and ran until I was in my schoolyard. I have no idea why I ran to school (normally I did my best to get away from boring classes), but I did. I collapsed on the front step and sagged there, sucking wind with great gusto. When my heart had stopped pounding in my ears and my breathing was approaching normal, I looked down into my hand. I was still holding the plastic barrel.
I shook it. It rattled. I opened it. Inside, I saw a bunch of blue plastic monkeys, their arms all in a tangle. I blinked again, then dumped them onto the concrete, looking inside the barrel. There was nothing else. It was just a barrel of monkeys. Why on earth would I be given a barrel of monkeys?
I reached down to scoop them up, and no sooner had I touched one then I suddenly had a vision of a beige SUV swerving slowly off to the shoulder, hitting a cyclist, then racing away leaving bicycle and bicyclist spread out unevenly in the lane.
My hand yanked away from the monkey, and the vision cleared. I felt a dull ache in my lower back.
I looked around, but the street was empty. The whole area was pretty empty, except for the thump-thump-thump of someone practicing in the basketball court.
I reached back down tentatively, nudging the monkey with my index finger. Once again, I saw the SUV (license plate CZN-524) swerve into the cyclist. I looked away from the impact and saw a street sign: McCabe Ave. and
Dorsey St. My back ached more, and my guts started to hurt. I didn't feel so good. I stopped touching the monkey, and once again, the vision dissipated.
Nonplussed. That was the word for what I was feeling. I just sat there for a good ten minutes or so staring at a pile of plastic monkeys. Anyone walking by would have thought I was tripping balls, and I was beginning to wonder if maybe someone had slipped me something. Momma had told me about how she used to do windowpane acid when she was my age, but I'd never touched the stuff myself...or had I? I looked at the outside of the red plastic barrel for signs of any sort of tampering. It looked fine. Then again, maybe I was just hallucinating that it looked fine.
I gazed around me, looking for anything that might be a hallucination. I didn't see any wiggling colours. There were no dinosaurs in the sky, although one cloud looked a little bit like Santa Claus licking an ice cream cone. I certainly didn't see any paisley or dancing pink elephants. I drummed my fingers on the step, and then I thought of something. I reached inside my satchel and pulled out a mechanical pencil. I poked the monkey with it.
I pulled out my gym shorts (I really should've thrown them in the wash already, but whatever), wrapped my hand in them, and touched the monkey.
I kept my hand wrapped, and this way, scooped all the monkeys back into their barrel. I closed the barrel, and then I walked home.
Everything seemed artificially normal. Birds sang. Cars beeped. A panhandler asked me for change. Some asshole yelled “Nice tits!” at me. I caught a bus and managed to avoid sitting in the pee seat. I got off at my stop and walked the two blocks to my house. The neighbour's cat Wilkie pretended to ignore me all while escorting me to my door. Normal. Everything was normal.
Everything except what had already happened. Everything except that Bizarroland barrel of monkeys.
The car was gone and Momma wasn't home. She was probably at a Phish concert. I vaguely remembered her mentioning something about it. They were her favourite band, and ever since they started doing festivals again, she books vacation time just to follow them around. I set the barrel of monkeys on the desk, booted up the computer, and did a search for Bizarroland. I couldn't find anything relevant: just some artist's website. It had nothing to do with the weird shop.
Next, I searched for “barrel of monkeys.” Nothing. It was just a boring toy for kids.
I was stumped. I was also still honestly worried that maybe that weirdo at the store had slipped me some acid, and I decided the best course of action was to sleep it off.
And that brings me back to the here and now. I've just had breakfast and a big mug of coffee. The Bizarroland barrel of monkeys is still sitting on the computer desk. I feel pretty normal. My dreams weren't even particularly strange: just the usual anxiety dreams of a 15-year-old. You know, those dreams where you realize you're naked at school and everyone is pointing and laughing. I can't wait to grow out of these dreams. Maybe I'll be a nudist like Momma, and then the dreams will go away.
But anyway, those monkeys. Yeah.
I open the red plastic barrel. The monkeys are all tangled up inside. They look benign. I don't touch them. I have an idea. I load up a search engine again and start searching for local news. Anything about a hit and run. There are plenty of stories, of course. Then I look for accidents at McCabe and Dorsey. And there it is. The police are searching for witnesses to a hit and run that happened there yesterday afternoon. The bicyclist is in critical condition.
I lean back suddenly in the chair, and it rolls back away from the desk. I'm freaking out, here. I stare at the monkeys. They do nothing. Of course they do nothing. They're just a cheap plastic toy.
But the vision I had. It was true.
I have to do something. I saw the accident. I mean, I didn't see see it, but you know what I mean. It's not like I can call the cops and say I saw it even though I wasn't there. I'd be up for another psychiatric evaluation, and that's not an experience I care to repeat. No, I have to do something, but I have to do it anonymously.
I search around a bit online and find a toll-free number for reporting hit and runs (1-800-6-HIT-N-RUN). I don't dare call from home. What if the call gets traced? I couldn't explain that. Besides, the cops might show up, and then I've inadvertently narced on my own mother. No way.
The monkeys are still sitting on the desk. Maybe I should bring them with me. Yeah. I rush over to them. They're still sitting there doing nothing at all. They're all, “We're just a bunch of plastic monkeys sitting in a plastic barrel. Look at us being cheap, made-in-China toys. Yup. Doin' nothin'.”
No, I won't bring them. That's just dumb.
I grab some change from the candy dish in the living room, grab my satchel, and run out the door. There's a bodega down by the corner, and I think they have a pay phone. Halfway to the bodega, I realize I'm a dolt for bringing money for a toll-free number. So sue me. I'm frazzled. It's not every day I get psychic visions.
I get to the store and find the pay phone. The booth smells like whiskey piss. It's disgusting. Like, really disgusting. I think someone slobbered on the phone. At least, I think that's slobber. I don't want to imagine what else it might be. I look for something to wipe the receiver with. There's nothing around that I want to touch.
Oh yeah. My gym shorts. I pull a face, then grab my poor, sad, about-to-be-molested shorts out of my satchel again. I wipe down the telephone receiver.
Poor shorts. I'm going to have to bleach the hell out of them after this.
I call the number. My heart is pounding so hard I think I'm going to die. By the time I get through to a real person, I could swear I'm going into full-on tachycardia. I don't even really listen to what they say. I just blurt. “I saw a car accident on McCabe and Dorsey yesterday. Beige SUV, license plate CZN-524. It hit a cyclist then drove off.” I think I hear a voice asking me a question, but I hang up without answering or understanding. My heart starts to calm down. An old guy leans out of the bodega and looks me up and down. Gross. He's like 30. I flip him the bird and run back home.
The monkeys are waiting for me.