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“Cape Fear Chronicles: Volume 1 – Pabst Blue River” ©2012 No Pants P ublications All Rights Reserved. First edition: Electronic publication (e-‐book) -‐ December, 2012 All individual works are subject to copyright laws by their original authors. No Pants Publications has been given express permission to print and distribute the authors’ work for the purposes of this book. Printing, reprinting, recording or otherwise using any author’s individual work without his or her express permission is not allowed. The title and series known as “Cape Fear Chronicles” and “Pabst Blue River” is pending copyright and all use is subject to applicable state and federal law. For information on contacting an individual author for use or permission to print, reprint or use an excerpt from their text, please contact No Pants Publications for applicable contact information. NO PANTS PUBLICATIONS 2251 Wrightsville Ave, Apt K Wilmington, N C 28403 (910)523-‐2557 JBFANCYPANTS@GMAIL.COM
No Pants Publications presents
Cape Fear Chronicles: Volume 1
PABST BLUE RIVER
With Foreword by James England
Cape Fear Chronicles: Volume 1
Table of Contents
Foreword Laundry Day About the Author The Element About the Author Reptil About the Author Chuck About the Author The Fall of Martin About the Author Pauly Hill About the Author 5 7 20 21 38 39 50 51 69 70 89 90 111
fall in love. I have watched dozens of my friends come to this city. And yet. and I already knew I both wanted to return and I needed to part ways. her lurid and seedy history. and held so many addresses within her zip codes that the Post Office still doesn’t trust any my change-of-address forms. It’s too easy to fill up the years meeting all sorts of wonderful. and the fine assortment of touristy bars and restaurants which occupy her many and varied districts. friendly. I had a certain amount of hesitation coming back. That lurid. I had served in the Marines not far from her. dust and all. small bar in a basement that was always good for a cheap. Here I was. Off and on. returning from yet another trip to Afghanistan in search of the Almighty Dollar. The old cracks in 17th century brick and masonry. as well. attended classes at her university. 5 Foreword By James England Getting off the plane at Wilmington International Airport. for the last decade. suitcase in my hand. swift drink and good company. Her hidden underground tunnels. no home within her walls yet always home on her streets. But this is a place that gets forgotten too easily by those she’s been of best service for. Rich vacationers and pensioners from New York and New Jersey love to come down and “oooh” and “awwww” at her pirate past. It was time to leave. I felt an odd tugging in my heart as I looked upon her dark. and creative people in one of the most beautiful hidden gems the South has to offer. I had called Wilmington my home port. puke in her alleyways. I watched dreams CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . I’ve watched some slowly go insane and listlessly wander. But those of us whom have felt a more intimate side of this southern port city surely know her other side. Spanish moss on five hundred year old oak trees. and shout from her rooftops. cloudy skies.
and performers are. And most. Wilmington attracts a vibrant group of people. they all stem very deeply from the reality of this varied and wonderful place we have come to call home. Her unending wealth of artists. at some point or another. Each short story takes a look at Wilmington and her people. And together. And I’ve watched a few float off into the sunset. have to leave to make room for the others coming in. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . they pursue them with gusto in the many easy-going venues she provides them. I wanted to use her greatest resource to write her a love letter. And now. writers. Certainly. 6 bubble up and burst on her sidewalks. I believe each is reminiscent of a different aspect and while all are fictional pieces. Before I decided to part company with the city which has provided me a great deal of umbrage and solace over the years. it is my time. there will be more but none quite the same. I hope you enjoy these stories as much as I have. we have coughed up six short stories for your entertainment. And while surely few are known by their preferred professions. She attracts a good crowd. and I suspect always will be. actors. her greatest charm. comedians.
Thankfully. I had started walking after gathering all my freshly dried clothes: a pile of old tshirts. Pac-Man. That's how most love stories start anyway. It was not my usual routine. I dug viciously in my jacket pocket. yet enveloping stink of fabric softener. The other hand clutched onto a damp lace stocking. that I was at the laundromat next to Claire's favorite thrift store. The warmth captured me and seemed to tug at my skin.” Disappointing. 7 Laundry Day By Christina Dore It started with a cigarette. this laundromat's bar area was still open and Bloody Marys were on special today. My trip commenced shortly after passing by two small Mexican children. while their CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . who only just moved in a week ago. It was then my last load was almost done with drying. as I let out a long exhale of thick panicked smoke. I scanned the area and dove head-first into my clothes heap. like a returning pie-eating contestant. and it was then I realized. says I should pick up some flannel sheets. “due to minor renovations. newer boxers and perpetually rotating socks in my arms. Stepping outside to escape the clean. that were playing Ms. the one where she bought all her earrings and summer dresses from. After shutting the dryer door with my elbow. This morning I discovered that the downtown spot where I always cleaned and folded my clothes was temporarily shut down for the weekend. but I did hope they were finally fixing the four out of the six faulty dryers that had broke two seasons ago. I then remembered my bed at home and how cold it's felt lately. My roommate Keith. searching for my lonely pack of smokes. both boys around the spawn ages of five to seven.
We just ordered some forty-nine cent chicken wings and our mutual friend at the time. I drunkenly asked her to do a tarot reading on me. I wondered when I would go back to get my car from the laundromat parking lot. because she was one of the best I've seen in this town. left to finish some physics homework for one of her university courses. When Claire’s lips were touching nothing but melting ice. “But that's not a negative thing. The Fool card came up first. All I felt I could do at the time was eat and consume. No pretensions. It made me think about the possibility of having children with a sweet Latina lady. no more bullshit.” I muttered before passing out on her kitchen floor. no rules. By the time I had reached Wrightsville Avenue and passed by Page and Bonham Avenues. I saw two shirtless. she picked out the maraschino cherry at the bottom of her cup and set the fruit on my appetizer plate. guarding their clothes and laughing with relief. Amy.” “Bad. She shut off her computer monitor and drew my cards. without me asking or her saying one word to me. It wouldn't be towed and all that's in there to steal in a bunch of clean clothes and burned CDs. After dinner. bad tarot reader. Her whole body was shaking and she held onto her whiskey sour like it was the only thing keeping her from falling down.. longCAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 .And ignorant again. 8 mothers sat on benches. we went our separate ways. It also awakened a craving for fresh cherries. you know!” Amy interjected. “This could mean a new era. where you are essentially born anew. I kept my pace and on the other side of the road. All she could do was drink and patronize. As we got more intoxicated. only uttering a defeated groan whenever they were cornered by one of the ghosts. a dramatic change coming into your life. I had been quiet that entire evening. The boys were strangely well-behaved and quiet. I bought two bottles of cheap wine from the grocery store and knocked on Amy's door..
Most of CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . too powerful. but before my skin started cooking. brick. subsequently setting my hoodie sleeve aflame. or they referred to him affectionately as Daniel. Cowman a nearly full bottle of Evan Williams. Good fire safety. Cowman. I was sitting in pine straw and closely watching this guy spin poi at this house party. and one of them slipped out of his hand and landed in my lap. Party memories suddenly swarmed me like angry bees. asking if they needed any help. I am not sure if it was because they could not hear me. warming your face and accentuating your chest. The first time I ever caught on fire. or “Mr. a stuffed tiger toy and some tiki torches. some hippie-looking guy with a mohawk tackled me hard with a blanket. or because they saw me holding a lone woman's stocking in my hand. This street reminds me too much of Claire. 9 haired guys carrying a bunch of wood. fresh meat. and backyard. he tried a new move that many spinners call “The Buzzsaw. To earn that one more step in the ladder. I smelled singed arm hair later. they called it. He then briskly passed it along to me before turning around to scold loudly at the spinner. and he was the fire safety. with a reasonable amount of cars driving by. Instinctively but stupidly.” where the poi balls come together and spin almost like a windmill in your hands. I tried picking it up away from my nether regions. and the rest of the pack wasn't accepting him just yet. The fire blanket. a girl came up to him and handed Mr. I shouted across the street.” He shook my shoulder to get the shock out of my head. There's no specific recollection attached to her or Wrightsville Ave. they called him. except the fact that I had looked at some of these houses before and then remembered these words: quaint. They looked in my direction but did not say anything. He was cocky. pushing me a few feet away from the fire ball. I remember thinking before taking the first swig of bourbon. The machine he created was too much. Once I assured him I was fine and that none of my skin had melted off.
you moron. smelling her hair and she rubbed the back of my neck. Rush hour traffic was slowing down now and in the distance. If Amy was accompanying me right now. That night was the last time she clasped onto my hand. I would've preferred astrology chat over scant human relationship metaphors. “I've wanted a dog since I was a kid. she'd stroke her red hair and would interpret all of this as some sort of sign. I'd meet her at Katy's Grill and I would buy her wings and a drink even though she was already drunk and ready to pick a fight with me. actually. You really don't know me sometimes. In response.” I said with exact precision and appropriate tone. Independence Boulevard was nearing. I held her close to me. I could hear barking coming from the nearby dog park. cold and barely worn. “first dogs. her lips still wet and ravenous. Where Claire plucked them like fruit off a tree and dangled CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . You just don't like that I do. White. But in this world. I would eventually hit the mall where she purchased the stockings. I told her. 'cause I loved Snoopy and the Peanuts. and then perhaps kids. “You know I'm allergic to dogs. She called me selfish because I claimed the porch to be better because it was perfect for smoking. If it came to that scenario that was occurring in some parallel universe. the sun would be setting in about an hour. Her hand shifted from my massaged neck to my sweat-soaked hair. If it was night time. I stopped to examine the stocking I had been holding in my hand this entire walk. I would look up at the stars and ask her if everything was aligned. If I chose to make a left at Independence. which I thought was more important than a big backyard. 10 the porches on these houses were pretty fantastic. as I held her up and walked her to a cab. One month after that.” and then later that night she gave me three orgasms in row. you know that?” “I know you perfectly. But I've told you so many times that dogs just turn me into a sneezing mess whenever I'm near them. A beagle.” she laughed. something I had never experienced before. and she pushed my head into hers. drinking and talking shit with our friends after the bars closed at 2am.
so it seemed sensible to give her back something that was never mine and something that I never had the opportunity to enjoy. pretend you know nothing about this creature. The question was: how quickly do I want to deal with all of this? On her 23rd birthday. 11 them in front of me before she skipped to the checkout area. I never saw her wear them. she was appalled that this was my idea to spend her birthday afternoon. but I appeased her with promises of cheese and chocolate fondue later that evening. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 .like. My throat was tightening and seemed to beg for some liquid nourishment. directing their attention to the crocodiles that were about to be fed. the farmer supply shops and scattered chain restaurants and grocery stores. We came upon the king cobra's lair and suddenly Claire's original dismay seemed to vanish.. but Claire wanted to stay put and watch from the distance. I considered making that left to make a pit stop at a gas station or the mall food court. A man in a blue dress shirt stoically gripped onto a rabbit carcass. “Since when did you have a snake phobia?” I took her hand and pointed to the feeding exhibit that was about to take place. I encouraged the idea to get closer to hear that he was saying to his audience. “All snakes are dangerous. Her eyebrow raised and she looked at me as if I just slit my wrists right there in public. Would you look at this snake and think that this is one of the most dangerous snakes to ever exist?” she asked. passing the millionaire houses on Country Club Road. I could then hit up Oleander Road. seeming to attempt some sort of communication with the reptile. The children gathered around the crocodile habitat were clearly mesmerized and their parents seemed enthralled and proud of themselves.” I replied. She leaned as close as she could to the glass. I took her to the Cape Fear Serpentarium. Parents holding their children's hands shuffled past us.. “When you look at this snake here. Taking this direction. Initially.
“So why exactly were you running? Was someone chasing you?” she asked as she handed me some local brown ale. I was nearly struck by a car. seemed like she would recommend stouts and. Claire kissed me on the cheek and laid her chin on my shoulder. it was goddamned obvious. It wasn't immediately after crossing. along with basic bar and cocktail knowledge. Stray dogs in the dead of morning could find it and rip it to bitter shreds. The place didn't have liquor.” The man released the rabbit and the crocodile's open jaws accepted its feast gratefully and mercilessly. I wasn't thinking about Claire. 12 “Did you bring me here just to get a reaction out of me?” she asked. shoot kamikazes when she got off shift.” The bartender thought I was nuts. I just wanted to do something different for you. even though she didn't know who I was. but then I realized that was essentially her job. but the surprise bite of hops in this beer is what snapped me out of my frantic daze. but there was over a hundred different beers to choose from. but a little further down after passing the apartment complex where most of my pot dealer friends lived at. The bartender. I fumbled with my first few words but then regained control after I took a sip of the brew. There were gasps and one small boy screamed. “Good job. the bar's chosen special for that day. but she knew that even I was clueless to the situation. kid. The next rainfall CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . After paying and tipping. if there was vodka in the house. but it was then I started debating whether or not to pull the stocking out of my pocket and just throw it in the middle of the next intersection. She knew it was futile to ask me that. I relayed that after crossing Independence Boulevard. As his mother pulled him closer. “Partially. I wanted to verbally give her full credit for her willingness to listen. The caramel notes were delicious and oiled my parched throat. whose name I never asked for.
staring at the sky and mentally scissoring out circles from the clouds. 13 could wash it away to the nearest drain. it seemed really adolescent and as if I was grasping at straws. I could've seriously fucked up his car. but all it did was invoke that same memory of the cocky poi spinner and the fireball in my lap. “Probably the driver was chasing me. I'm pretty sure I heard yelling after I started running. my instinct was to simply run. In retrospect. But if he was chasing me. keys and an empty cigarette pack.” “It wouldn't be the first time I've done something like that. and if I just send myself to finish at the same place over and over again. though. without even ringing her doorbell.” she said. Otherwise you might've had to stop someone from kicking my ass in your bar. “I'm sorry we don't have liquor here. I looked up at the bartender who had a young. yet worn face. I could walk to her house. that I almost strolled right into oncoming traffic. “It's okay. I then strangely proceeded to feel melancholy and question whether or not circles were a major theme in my life. I took a gulp of my beer and gave her an inquiring look.” At the bar. where it would end up resting in sewage stink and vermin nests. This is more refreshing anyway. Her smile wasn't pitying. Only in this situation. but apparently I was thinking so much about circles. A series of abrasive horn honks from a SUV snapped me out of it. at least he's not here.” she briefly laughed. I somehow managed to not lose or CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . I smiled and saw that her expression shifted to more sympathy. and just circle around back to my car in the laundromat parking lot. The sun was still partly out and through my mindless frenzied jog to the bar. I wasn't shocked that I was almost mowed down. she just didn't seem to fully understand what I had just explained to her. I was only blocks away from the house now. with nothing in my jacket pocket but my wallet. Run without stopping. Run and run to the nearest bar for a shot of bourbon.
though I'm positive I showed a trace of paranoia after discovering I was on camera and on some random video website. He looked to be in his forties and wore a dress suit. I threw out my empty cigarette pack and marched on. 14 throw the stocking out into the streets. trying to read. so we're trying to pass off as that. For a moment. sitting contently and licking himself. After finishing the beer. I switched back and forth from watching the television to this blind guy sitting next to me. I leaned as carefully as I could to see what title the man was reading. I considered asking the bartender's phone number and seeing if she was the type of woman what would sit on a front porch with me and talk hours about how the universe actually runs. the bartender asked if I wanted to partake in the hookah she was about to make for herself. sorry. There's some exemption in the smoking ban for live performances or live productions. He's just doing his weekly donation.” My face probably resembled hers after I told my story. I could only assume he was blind since he was sporting the sunglasses and cane. That was one of the most uncomfortable moments I'd ever felt thus far. The film on TV was a generic 90's horror film that was heavily censored and had broken captions popping up on the screen. There was also a gentle seeing eye dog tied up outside.” he said coldly. I was just curious on what you were reading. “I'm picking up my nephew. “Well. “No.” CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . Sitting inside the plasma center waiting my turn. I—uh. even though we're just technically a bar that has hookah and live shows at night. we're currently fighting the smoking ban. I graciously declined though I asked if smoking tobacco inside this bar was actually legal. We're trying to pose as a live production set so we got cameras in here broadcasting online. but he reacted readily and looked straight at me through his sunglasses. Instead. her still behind the bar and opening a shisha tin.
title up. 15 Still looking in my direction. Commercial break and at that same time I was told I could head in. As I rose. Your loved ones will thank you for it. I quickly sent Claire a text message letting her know I was going to be done soon and would try to have dinner ready by the time she got home. make the proper arrangements and all. and a couple of literature books were strewn across the blankets. Claire said she had to cover a famous poet for one of her classes and asked whether she should go with Whitman or Thoreau. She was kneeling on the bed. Coincidentally later that evening.” he said. so I glued my attention to the television again. the blind man smiled and set the book down on my seat. “Yes. I am. kid?” “Not at all. In my peripheral vision. The man seemed in denial about something other than his eyesight. I saw him suddenly scratch his head vigorously as if fleas were invading his scalp.” she said sitting down. “Make sure when you write your will. looking at no one. I wasn't sure whether to feel indignant or confused. Are things going right for you? Is this the life you imagined for your twenties? Is the philosophy major fulfilling for you? Is the sex satisfying? Is my mediocre cooking acceptable? Does the thought of law school excite you? Does this shit your studying stimulate your mind? Are you happy right now with— with all of this?” I asked waving one arm around to cover the entire bedroom. her reading glasses on. removing her glasses and slightly spreading her legs. don't forget to specify that you want this man's work read at your funeral. I then saw it was a collection of Walt Whitman poems. Just asking. “Well. he merely scoffed and went back to his act of reading. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . Though she was probably still at work. are you happy right now?” I asked. Indeed. “What kind of question is that? You trying to trick me with something.
CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . 16 Then go with Thoreau. one hand with her stocking and the other holding the barren bottle. I recalled lying on beach blankets on hot summer nights. I did recall images of her hiding in bed sheets and remember the smell of homemade crockpot chili.” pointing to her copy of Walden. I reached Claire's house. I had to restrain myself from swinging by the ABC store to pick up a bottle of gin. Winter thoughts were more of a struggle to conjure. Is—is Claire home?” I asked silently wondering if this was her new boyfriend or if I just showed up to the wrong house. show up and drunkenly knock on her door. No overflowing ashtray on the ledge. I knocked twice and pulled out the stocking. Pitter patter steps approached from inside and I was sure she was going to open the door and look at me like I was a political canvasser. Taking a right. A man roughly taller than me and close to my age answered and gave me that particular countenance instead. which was once my house almost five months ago. Walking down 17th Street. but I knew if I somehow was invited inside. It was hard not to feel depressed at this point. that she absolutely must have this stocking back as soon as possible. I didn't have any intentions of rekindling. I didn't want her to slam the door in my face or call me a drunk asshole. I completely forgot what the address number was for the house until I saw it above the door. reexamining or reminiscing with her. the black rocking chair was gone and there was only one small potted plant by the door. All I kept telling myself was. everything smelled familiar once again. “Hey there. When I walked through the grass. which is Claire's liquor of choice. all of that would come rushing forth like tidal waves. I had the vile idea to drink all of it. A few blocks down and I was finally there on Orange Street. covered in citronella and eucalyptus oils that mixed delightfully with the smoke coming from our joints. The front lawn looked the same but the porch looked dull and bare.
” I said holding up the stocking. she was looking for this! She'll be thrilled because she was trying to show these off a few weeks ago and then got all distraught when she could only find one!” The guy smiled and goddamn it was a leering smile. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 .” “Right. 17 “Uh. The man looked at it also and just shot me a bewildered face. After all. large or minuscule.” said the man. though I would not fault this stranger or Claire to suggest committing me to a hospital because of this. “It's definitely not mine and I just felt like she would want it back. obviously suspicious. the guy was probably six foot tall and I never ever got to see those fucking stockings except when they were first acquired in the lingerie shop. well. “I think this is hers. “Oh. Who are you again?” I looked down at the potted plant by my side and then at stocking in my hand. As soon as he took it from my hand. price tag will attached. The laundry section is shut down until Monday. It was a blatant call for some sort of retaliation. no. trying to hold back stammering. Was the whole point of this walk was just to have a nervous breakdown and get it out of my system? Highly doubtful. It was right then and there. A face that was kindly asking if I would allow fresh shit to be scrubbed all over my face. She's wasting her time.” I said. the tension fell from his face instantly.” was all I could muster at the time. that I fully realized how insane and lost I actually was. “Well. I. She just left to go do some laundry downtown. I'm guessing she has the other one and it would just be a total waste if she never got this one returned to her. I am pleased she'll be happy to have it back. holding Claire's stocking and standing in front of the guy she's now most likely fucking and considering offspring with. “Oh yeah.
just ask Claire when she gets home. “Didn't catch your name again?” “Oh. I looked back and saw the plasma center in the distance. but it overpowered me and sent me into a minute long coughing fit. 18 “I'm Dave. but with shisha smoke that lingered illegally in a small hookah bar. Once you show her the stocking. I saw he was still standing there on the porch. a nervous looking male that only looked a little bit older than me. Right. asking me what exactly my comment meant. The CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . she'll be able to tell you. I'll just take a shot of bourbon. Near the bar counter. silent sun!” The ending: it ends with a smoke. When I reached 17th and Orange. To all the passing cars. sorry. I'll take a toke. sat behind the bar puffing on his hookah and occasionally rubbing his left arm. as I knew that would be an open call for a chase. The sun was just about set. it smelled of bleach and the previous bartender was temporarily being replaced while she apparently was running to get smaller bills for the register.” “Oh. I shouted. When I had enough. I didn't sprint or run.” I said without recognizing how lascivious that sounded.” “We don't have liquor here. beginning my new journey back to my car. thank you. “Want to try some? It's one of my blends and it's also on special today. I found myself elbowing the guy like a chum and walked away with a fake smile. The fill-in bartender. Then yes. “No. “keep your splendid. His arms were crossed as if he was angry. but even in the distance he looked like a Steinbeck simpleton still processing what exactly took place. When his hand went down and his face tensed up again.” he said holding out his hand.” said the new bartender. I tried to inhale most of the smoke. I was still ready for this guy Dave to follow me.” I took the hose and gave it all my might.
I was definitely interested since I was out of cigarettes. even though the taste wasn't so pleasant. I noticed a bandage on the bartender's left arm. When I was able to regain my breath. and then fill my lungs and create more.” he said chuckling. I also still needed to get that burnt taste out of my mouth. Oddly enough. I wanted to question him and see if he donates blood or goes to the plasma center regularly. there was still some light smoke hanging in the air like holiday decorations and all I wanted to do was watch it slowly fade away. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . Should've warned you it was a second coal on there. he fetched me a tall bottle of some California black ale and a small cup of tap water. with only light fruit and rose tones to it. He offered another shot at his hookah. 19 aftertaste was mostly charred. but I knew a beer was in order at once. When I asked him to get me a surprise beer. but I figured I probably made enough people feel uneasy today. “Sorry about that. While most of it had dissipated. there was still the shisha's floral aroma loitering in the bar.
secret superhero and full-time cat herder. 20 About the Author Christina Dore Originally from the northeast. Christina came to Wilmington to pursue a BFA in Creative Writing at University of North Carolina at Wilmington. lazy writer. Since graduating. burlesque performer. she's taken many forms: bartender. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 .
as vicious as the bloodiest battle. It might seem a little farfetched to anyone who has been to Wilmington. vagabonds. 21 The Element By Callan Trippe Wilmington. that such a society can exist without common knowledge or worse. They are a society as old as the oldest birth. thieves. giving the illusion of walking down a street of diamonds. are the glue that holds our town together and the force that keeps us from ending up as another small southern town torn to rage and ruin by the Walmarts and McDonalds of a growing technological society that no longer craves that special glare of a sunset bounced off the river and then bounced back onto cobblestones where it catches flecks of minerals sprinkled throughout. This is because of The Element. in all its charm and glory. In essence. a group who we politely refer to as the homeless population. and as effective as the currents in the brackish water of the Cape Fear River that keep their reach well extended past the outstretched fingertips of any politician or official. The Element. has a certain underworld that. curious reader. and layabouts. The Element controls and protects the way we live. tramps. This is because to extinguish this grease fire in the sparkling kitchen of this town would prove to be a fatal mistake that would cause our sudden and explosive collapse. regardless of how much various politicians vow to “scrub the streets clean. consent. any resident or visitor. drunkards. and impolitely as bums. deadbeats.” remains a force that cannot be eliminated. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 .
The untold. the fact that the disease spread so rapidly once Kate docked ashore because certain dues from certain officials had not been paid. he overlooked. but not in this case. in his memoirs concerning the event. they are the bedrock of our little town and are rewarded thusly. 654 of whom perished under that specific strain of the illness. a physician brought in by the Confederate army to stem the flow of death at the hands of this fever. Dr.’ but from the open filth and noxious gases filling the city. To go any further into the intricacies of this group or the people who run it is going to require some explanation into where and how they are set up. when the beleaguered and war-weary crew of the blockade-runner Kate docked at the port of our equally war-weary but immensely important city. or was paid to overlook. Pritchard. Wilmington should have been dead twenty times over even before yellow fever took a grip on the city. In fact. While Dr. resulting in 1. Usually it was the officials who received the dues. the axe can drop with startling. Some people theorize that Union soldiers had planted the disease on board the Kate while the vessel was maneuvering past narrow inlets flocked on both sides by enemy soldiers. 1862. unaddressed truth was it was ushered into our midst by the Watchdogs. The earliest and most devastating example goes back to August 6th. admitted that the citizens of Wilmington scoffed at the very idea of yellow fever so close to their doorsteps. However. which had already infected ten patients before the Kate even appeared in view. 22 but believe me reader. Many instances of disease-ridden cargo had been observed and squashed before they were allowed to slip into the city. Absurd or not. The Reverend John L. argued that the disease came not from the ‘accursed ship. It was “simply absurd”. the disease wreaked havoc on Wilmington for the better part of four months. swift speed and terrifying.500 cases. visceral impact. Thomas was not completely wrong. William George Thomas. There are six separate CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . when they are not rewarded properly or consulted before major decisions.
No more than seven faces are allowed on the watchdog circuit. centered mainly in the original city limits which extends from Water Street. Wragg found to explain away the sudden and severe arrival of yellow fever. but 1862 still stands out as one of the more drastic instances. the zone heads. spread throughout the city. absolutely nothing. Ambassadors. even Elementors themselves. The zones are looked after by the Watchdogs.those of whom The Element refers to as “zoneless. This area is referred to by the Elementors. or scouts. huddled ones sitting around on corners and waiting at bus stations for spare change to buy a cold beer. First. enforcing it when necessary. allowing a small group of security to enter the world of the zoneless and put things back to order. there is security. They are encouraged to stay out of the zoneless world as much as possible and recognize which side of the line they are operating on. but observing and taking note and reporting it to security so the correct measures can be taken. Some people theorized that it was Union CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . but their hands are tied with the zoneless population. up to 17th. These watchdogs are the ragged. occasionally but quite rarely encountered by citizens . for nothing. and. They are the enforcers of Element policy. not touching. It happened in 1862 with the arrival of the ‘noxious gasses’ that Dr. just as it had happened multiple times since. there is the Watchdog group. gets in and out of Wilmington without them seeing it and reporting it up the line. They also control the borders. bordered by Nixon Street on the left and Greenfield Street on the right. of course. They keep the peace. However. there are some instances when that line becomes fuzzy and broken. They are the eyes and ears. special guard.” It’s impossible to tell exactly how far the security branch extends. security. The guards change out every five years because they are the most noticeable faces of the entire system. or zones. 23 groups. or scouts. as “the block”. Bankers. but it is simply safer to err on the side of caution and see how far they cannot extend. After the watchdogs.
the small green strips of cloth still have their uses. generous or otherwise. and they exact the bribes. 24 soldiers who infiltrated and planted the plague at various points around town. for while the zoners don’t have any use for zoneless currency in their day-to-day travails. The Ambassadors are the only faces that the officials of Wilmington know. the aforementioned watchdogs are at the top of the class. The banking district is located in the central hub of the block. medical essentials. when needed. Very rarely will you CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . the women in modest dresses or pantsuits. This is actually a very structured discipline akin to hypnosis that requires countless hours of meditation and a deep and involved understanding of the human psyche. decide punishments. Ambassadors rarely dress as stereotypical derelicts. They are a group of an indeterminate number. The next zone is what has been given the loose term “banking”. and the like . but because they have so completely mastered the technique of looking like they’re going to hit up the next available warm-blooded body for money. where they have control of all of the cellars and back storage rooms of the historic mansions and the like. This inevitably leads us to discussing the Ambassadors. Briberies. or personal favors that the average zoneless brain immediately switches focus to something that won’t make them feel so emotional. unless their entrance is intended to be discreet. when required. Usually they wear somber attire consisting of a clean pressed shirt with clean worn jeans or slacks. They are wholly indescribable. and that is a belief that the security zone happily perpetuates to their advantage. booze. If something was purchased using zoneless currency without the permission of one of the Bankers (there are five authorized Bankers per zone) then punishment would be exacted. guilty. and. not because they are so nondescript.all things that could not be forged or scavenged are bought and paid for with legal currency as long as it was cleared by a Banker. announce the various groups’ wishes. While the Ambassadors are quite good at obfuscating their intentions and infiltrating the minds of the zoneless.
they want tales. crush all force that is the brain behind this centuries old society. are all. there are stages of fatal when it comes to the Dirty Boys. anything really. and get aggravated at your poor narrator because either I’m way off and you’re tired of this drivel. Don’t worry. But time is running out. then you know some very special people indeed. I) Natural Disasters II) The enormous popularity of the game “Corn hole” The zone heads. at least as long as they’re being told to the intended audience. well. be all. They are the start all. also known as the “Dirty Boys”.e. yes. Remember. I think we know which one this is. or I’m dead on and you’re a little worried. they rarely kill their targets. What I shall try to do is explain a system which requires years to understand in less time that it will take for you to breathe 400 times in and out. shuffle your feet around. It could be with a double edged finely honed fighting dagger that they have been training with since they were able to grasp their father’s thumb. You don’t want to find yourself at the angry end of a special guard (i. Thing is. and the reason why it is still around today. Up next is the special guard. deep breaths. maybe not for you. or a cocktail napkin . or Elementors. is not a term of endearment and will not engender you any warm response from these men and women. And. The former. and if you do.the damage will be severe and very scarring or very fatal. 25 see an Ambassador in a tuxedo or evening gown.dead men tell no tales. are the cap on top of the writhing ladder that extends all the way up from the sewers to past the highest point of observation. It’s a pretty simple logic . On the bright side. however. scratch at that annoying patch of dry skin next to your nose. any end) when they have access to. end all. When trying to describe the impact that this small group of highly trained men and women has on the way we live sometimes it’s easier to list the things that they cannot take credit for. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 .
uncreative. Olive is a “27 year old part time employee. And that meant ashtrays. A stubborn woman. Despite their urgent pleas she follow the example lead by her sibling. until she leave the caps off the paints and finds them again later as useless. This drive and interest was the reason behind her being exiled from the reigning family in the leading class of the Element. not any frivolities or passing fancy of zoneless life. 26 Meet Olive. Her family was left with one choice . and joyfully uninteresting. she could not be swayed.” Her words. After that it was hard not to think of crusty stripper toes every time she picked up a pencil so she moved to pottery. away from all zoner contact. was the exact opposite. dedicated. to include her friends and family. gave into pressures from allies and agents from families on the opposite side of the rift who warned of tempers flaring at their seeming total disregard for their eldest daughter’s penchant for art. she powered through every medium with ambition. was strongly discouraged. the Cleonynthes. Everyone got one. She was only supposed to be interested in the cause. until one day she finds herself writing the words “twinkle toes twooly tickle my fancy” over and over again. and a healthy dose of knowing when she was beat and it was time to move on to the next one. She likes to write. Her younger brother. Her family.Olive was to be placed in exile. appreciation of the fine arts. Serious. stiff. disciplined. Even through her crafting endless and assorted ashtrays. cheerfulness. she felt the pull of something always sapping her focus. not mine. full time lazy asshole. in any form or fashion. Part of her training to ascend to the head seat was a desensitization course in the arts . She dabbles in painting. Samuel. brightly colored tubes of latex or oily puddles spread over her “best” pair of jeans with the occasional cat print bringing a little love to her favorite dress. As a member of what can only be described as a monarchy.a tactic that backfired. She must stay away no less than twenty CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 .
Said kitchen table she joyfully found on a corner five blocks away and walked all the way back home – a grand find. Luckily. was not heartless. home. She likes stumbling out of bed at a modest noon o’clock and cracking open the windows of her riverfront apartment and watching the flood of people pass. not that they left her dejected and alone. She likes waking up in bed. and she would be automatically sentenced to death on the charge of high treason. I said she was in exile. Yes. doodling with crumbs. Her family. Olive has little want or need to ever return to the zones. The coffeemaker had the prime spot. On this particular afternoon. while efficient. or a spare smear of jam or butter on scrubbed waxy finish of the kitchen table. indeed. Olive also enjoys being able to eat what she wants and if she feels like it. she made a beeline for the old graying twelve-cup coffee maker balanced precariously between her stack of iron skillets and the assorted mixing bowls that fought for real estate on her crowded countertop. sitting up. Olive tossed herself out of her bed with the five different blankets and flinched when her socked feet touched the bare wood of the floor. her scruffy rat terrier whose soulful eyes captured her heart. and then roll over to a new unexplored corner of her hand-me-down princess bed and go back to sleep. Regardless. my sweet. 27 years unless she returns to the Elementors and begs forgiveness. doing a little soul searching with Professor French Fry. as can be seen by the concentric coffee circle rings huddled around the base as result of too many CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . “Better than coffee” she muttered. and let out a brisk shiver. rolling over. swearing to give up the life of pursuing the pursuit of beauty. All poor Olive would have to do is simply set one foot on zone land without asking permission first and subsequent forgiveness of the Elementors. scratching her head.
Professor. and inspects it for soot.” she ruefully scorns. so some tricky moves are required to fill up a large mug with the hottest cup she can get before the gurgling stops. Satisfied with her work. “Gooooooodddddddddd” She exhales jubilantly. Olive fills water up to the little “12” mark and begins to open her eyes as her little wake-up machine faithfully gurgles to life. Olive rolls her eyes and returns her attention to the coffee situation. Taking a long.” French Fry gave a long wheezing sigh and turned on his heal to click out of the kitchen. Ripping in the paper. drawn-out a staring contest. Her eyes wander to the table where there is a cereal bowl filled with the remnants of a sleepless night. seeing French Fry giving her a baleful look. 28 foggy mornings where the cup does not get far before its contents are gulped down and immediately refilled. “I told you I couldn’t quit on my own. she inhales. this model was equipped with a small lever at the back of machine. Brushing some stray hairs back. This is no longer the case. and what CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . letting the burn go down to her toes. and holds the sweet smoke in her lungs. At one point. Olive always knew who won. “I’m quitting soon.” The dogs gaze does not break or waver and the two entered into a long. would stop the flow of coffee. she turns on the gas burner and precariously balances the butt between her mouth and the brilliant blue flame that had emerged. She fishes a cigarette end out of the mass of ashes of dead comrades resting in one of her brightly painted clay ashtrays. she fashions herself a workable stogie from the pile. “This is your fault. that when pressure was released from it. Olive has just managed to fill her cup completely and is dumping in the required amount of sugar to give what she calls “an extra kick”. and as her eyes refocus. fulfilling drag. she smells the rekindled tobacco take fire and arcs back from the burner.
she had certainly not picked up this one and definitely had not pasted it to her window with chewing gum. Eventually the breakfast began to spatter and crisp so she sat two plates on the table and began to load them up. Biff had long ago served his maximum number of years allowed for any of the scouts but he was allowed free reign in the zoneless area because absolutely nothing got past him. She leaned forward and gave a sniff. Biff was the closest thing to a like-minded friend she had made while living down in the zones. Except he kept his head down and his mouth shut and managed to stay in the web. he stuck to Olive with a bulldog like devotion and would drop by every now and then to keep her updated. toast. 29 close friends who have been treated to her caffeine ritual call “a one way ticket to diabetes”. and eggs frying in butter. no older than fifty. He was maybe six feet. If he was to fall into any group. when she looks over to the kitchen window to find her view of her “rusty” fire escape that lead to chic bohemian roof lounges has been blocked by a maple leaf the size of her head. no younger than 30. Biff had been here. Nope. It wasn’t until she sat down with her cup of coffee and began sopping up an egg with her battered and buttered toast that Biff came crashing through the door. Occasionally he was called in to consult or to add a second account to a novice Watchdog’s report. He was more wild-eyed than normal and set upon the plate of charred meat like an animal. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . Olive reached into the cupboards and started preparing breakfast. While Olive sees these huge leaves littering the sidewalks of downtown in the fall. wild curls sprawled across his forehead from under the knit cap that he dutifully stuffed back in every ten minutes or so. knowing full well that the sneaky bastard wouldn’t show himself until he smelled corned beef hash. She poked and prodded at the unholy glob of pink meat and little cubed potatoes than he was hopelessly devoted to and wondered if today would be the day she tried a bite. it would be the Watchdogs.
Now. the Roytodes. their friends and advisors. robbed. Then. had started to edge into the business conducted by Olive’s family. and given an old scout’s uniform so he looked like just another derelict that died from the elements. Olive’s heart sunk into her pelvis. They had been the biggest supporters of Olive’s exile. Olive’s brother Samuel. While matters were still being investigated. in the wake of Samuel’s death.” came out from the side of his mouth. it wouldn’t be a problem to slip in and take the leading chair from the suddenly heirless Cleonynthes. on the surface it had the appearance of a politically motivated assassination. 30 “Gotta hurry big trouble. knowing that there was no point in getting worked up over something that Biff was frantic about while his mouth was full. If both heirs were permanently out of the picture. The words “problems”. Olive held her breath and waited patiently. as well as all of Wilmington’s top city officials knew this was no accident. The Cleonynthes. trying to usurp them of their power under the guise of spreading the wealth through all of the leading families. A rival family. He had been beaten. wiping the last crumbs of toast out of the corners of his mouth where they had been trapped by stubble. at one time. gasping and spurting chunks of what was. and “family” scurried out before they had a chance to be shoved back in by the fork moving at lightning speed. No further words need have spilled from Biff’s mouth to further spell out this was a death sentence. She took a swallow of coffee and waited. had been found dead at the end of an old dock at one end of the River walk. Biff finally took his first full breath. came the news. separate food items. “death”. the shining light of her family and the next of kin to step forward and take control of the family. and had shown open contempt for her father’s leniency. the Roytodes were demanding Olive be brought back down to the zones “for her own protection”. She could feel the floor reaching up to grab her and gripped the edge of the countertop to CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 .
this wasn’t Biff’s CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . She fought the urge to shove his face into the messy plate before he had the chance to lift it to his face and lick it clean. She would have laid down her life for that boy. He died a man. Those scoundrels made him look to be a degenerate slob. who was currently sopping up the rest of the corned beef hash with his finger and stuffing it into his mouth. almost at the verge of brushing his teeth with the stuff. Olive and her family had never seen eye to eye. and coffee all threatened to use the emergency exit. 31 keep her from giving in to it. Biff watched all this with a calm expression but his eyes belayed the imperative nature of these events. delicate. She looked up at Biff. Olive argued that an unrestricted view of the sun and moon were reasons enough for the choice she made. the way he would tilt his head when he was deep in thought. The way his little rosebud mouth. She insinuated that he was living a lie by insisting upon his place in the underworld of sewer tunnels and secret hideaways. wonderful child brother was murdered in the most heartless way possible. toast. the very same mouth that she teased him about belonging on a debutante. would purse and twitch when she would shower him with affection. She had said things she didn’t mean about her parents just so she could get her brother worked up. There was no way she could take those back now. soaked in booze and face down in a puddle. those pink cheeks that she loved to tweak when he was thinking were forever cursed to be an ashen gray. Her brother had always insisted that she reveled in the taboo act of “slumming” it in the zoneless world up top. She thought about the last fight they had with regret and horror. She felt a sob welling up in her chest. The eggs. Her beautiful. scowling at the devil’s advocate that lived inside his brain and constantly forced him to rethink positions. The urge was soon stifled. She pulled herself together. she told herself. Her baby brother was gone.
He was sitting with his head up. “Have you really become that naive? You have forgotten that these people who you rub shoulders with on a day-to. clothed. mostly there because of Biff. She reached over the counter to grab one of her last paper towels and handed it to Biff over her shoulder. his poor puckered mouth trembling with empathy. which was probably about the same time. “You insolent stupid child” he hissed. she turned around to face him for the full story. despite the pleas of close friends. While his grooming session had commenced. They think we’re homeless because we don’t have a home. but I’m here because you are needed back in the zones. my little Miffit. That is more than any of these zoneless fools could ever imagine in their pitiful dreams of ONE warm CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . “I don’t know Biff. that this is very hard for you.” she spoke. We have zones. a chair that was. Biff had seated himself on the worn armchair tucked into the corner of the kitchen. She could tell that he ran to her as soon as the news hit his ears. We have kinship. “I don’t know if I can go back to being homeless after seeing what everything up top has to offer. We have a welcoming world of dwellings where we are welcomed. Olive turned her back and waited until the snuffling and slurping had ceased.” She immediately regretted that statement and the flashed look of contempt on Biff’s face made her shrink even farther against the worn countertop. that is nothing but chicken shit darlings. waiting for her attention. 32 fault. “I can understand. if not a moment sooner than when it reached her mother and father.” Olive knew this was coming but she was still taken aback. and fed. fishing for another cigarette from the carcasses in the ashtray.day basis are the ones that deserve our pity? They have their little houses and their silly meaningless jobs that make them feel justified.
” he crooned. for me. drugged me?” The coffee stains made their way out of the cup and started to dance around her head. “You know I have loved you like my own since the moment I laid eyes on your squabbling finicky form laid out in your mother’s arms. but I beg you. Olive glanced down at her half empty cup of coffee and downed the final dregs. Suddenly the stains on her cup began to waver and swing around the inside of the mug. Biff caught her just as she entered a swoon. destined for the floor. ONE place where they can relax and feel loved. startled. come back with me tonight and console your mother and father.” Biff shook his scruffy salt and pepper main sorrowfully.” Olive recoiled as if she had just been hit. I want the freedom to express myself. She looked up. and seeing the remorse and agony in her face Biff softened his approach. I adored you even more to see you grow up into the responsible pain in the ass you are today.” Olive shook her head. it seemed like they were trying to swim to the surface. and I can’t do that being a part of my family. savoring the sensation of the rough grounds rolling across her tongue. “My poor little Miffit. “If I come back I have to issue an apology to the Elementors. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . ONE bed.” she said. Don’t tell me you have become so stupid. “How could you do such a thnnnnggg?” The coffee stains swarmed to form a finely knit blanket which swarmed around her feet. for your family. “And that is not something I can do. solemnly. 33 hearth. working it’s way up her body and finally over her head. “you.
no beads. “Mam. and now only child. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . 34 As she was finally blacking out she heard him say “ I knew this would be your decision Miffit. only to become queasy and lightheaded all over again. I’m so sorry.” She woke up at her family’s compound. Then she saw her mother. Sophil turned away from the fire to look upon her oldest. Sophil had aged 50 years in the five that they had been apart. Furious. filled with ribbons and beads were gone. just like she did when she was a child and bumps in the night had forced her from her bed and into her mother’s arms. “How you’ve grown. and no pleasure.” she muttered as she prepared herself for another cautious leap out of the quilts. her shoulders heaving with sobs. even if they disagreed initially. no ribbons. her chestnut locks that had always puddle around her shoulders.” she muttered before turning back to the hearth. I am so sorry. Her mother always had that effect on her. How dare he? He knew what she would have to give up if she came back… The nerve. I can only hope you will respect mine. Olive rushed to her. she lunged out of bed. She got to her feet and staggered to the doorway.” The words spilled from her mouth before she had a chance to stop them. on the bed where she had spent many hours playing with homemade dolls. I didn’t’ mean anything that I said to Biff. I missed you so much. acting out plays of her own imagining. ready to show them just how much of a pain in the ass she could be. all pleasant thoughts of home swept from her mind. I miss Sam so much. She maneuvered into the main room. She had chopped them off in preference for an unflattering bob. “I’m going to kill him.
and it was her mother’s prized possession. That locket was gone. Olive recoiled and stared at her mother in horror.” Olive tried to interject. and would have. did not find her fingers.” Sophil began. though. settled it on our own? Do not tell me you are still the stupid CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . but until then you have to take up our name and fight our battles. “My little dove. and reached up to finger the locket that her father had made out of the finest gold that his contacts could provide. The Roytodes can take over. “But. “Do you think it’s that easy? You know just as well as I do the impact that we have up top. “As much as you don’t want to hear this. this is ridiculous! Why don’t you and Poppo come live with me? I have plenty of room and you wouldn’t have to worry about any of this. Inside the locket was a picture of Olive and Samuel. but you will rule. and when that day comes. but you must understand. too young to understand what was going on. Are you so dense as to think that they could not find us there? We have no recourse but to fight! If it had not reached this drastic level do you not think that your father and I could have. “I won’t ask you to come back for me or your father. The picture showed two toddlers with a death grip on each other’s hair. as I hope it will. “Mam. but dead set on torturing each other. this is your family’s burden to bear. and you must put up with grievances and threats for the time being. weeping onto her mother’s shoulder.” Olive pulled away from her mother and stomped her feet. This picture. but we’ll be up top and won’t have to worry about anything. “You are the very last chance this family has to survive. 35 Olive slipped into a mud puddle of despair. you can change the rules as you see fit.” her mother continued.” She was cut off from any further talk by a quick and stinging slap to the face. Mam. a woman who had never put a hand on her in anger for as long as she could remember.
“ Sophil stopped to level herself. “Olive. who is with us and who decides to remain against us. but you will no longer be my kin. there’s no middle ground here. her breast heaving in attempt to not break out into bitter sobs. And. but I was willing to let you go because I knew that Samuel would.” “I want to see Poppo” Olive said. Olive felt like she had been hit again. the matters at hand must be addressed. “You are all we have left.” she caught herself. “He doesn’t wish to see you until you reach a decision. wanting more than anything to see the kind and calm face of her father. if you want to leave this family now instead of helping us then so be it. as much as he loves you. He had disciplined her severely when she was younger but there was always a decent reason and Olive was always able to see that reason. Maybe Garrette would be able to see her reasoning. I was not happy. “He must want to see me. Are you with us or against us? As much as I want to scrape out some dust for you to live peaceably. Mam! I’m his daughter! He should love me regardless! Don’t say these things. now.” Olive sat on the couch. regardless of family or friendship. I did not ask Biff to bring you here. my dove. breathless and shocked. Regardless of the affection he feels for you. is held by his position with the Elementors. “Your father. “Did pick up the fight. love.” she formally addressed her daughter. please. it is required that you to make a stand. He did that of his own accord. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 .” was her mother’s simple and devastating return. 36 juvenile you were when you left us years ago. “you must understand that we are in a position where we have to decide.” Her mother was unaffected by her plea.
” she moaned against his chest. “Garrette.” Sophil sighed deeply and turned to the far corner of the firelight room. I am one of you. “I will do what is needed to make sure that nobody in my family dies for a petty reason. “The Elementors do not know you are here. That is a decision you are going to have to make on your own once you decide what side you stand on in this debate. Olive immediately felt six years old again and wanted nothing more than to be held in her father’s encompassing embrace. And I will make sure that I protect you with every last ounce of strength I have.” Olive saw her father enter from the shadows. She didn’t know if he had been there the whole time or if he had heard his wife’s summons and had entered through one of the many concealed doorways. “I’ll do it. I’ll be the head when they make me”.” Olive sighed and squared her shoulders. She has returned. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . “Poppo. Let the Roytodes react to this how they will.” she called out. 37 “Do I have to approach the Elementors and issue an apology before I make my decision?” Sophil sat down next to her and grabbed her hand to keep it from trembling. “Please come see your daughter.
Boo Radley. none of these stories ever made it anywhere but the trash can in the corner of her room. where she takes out her anger at missing deadlines on an unsuspecting microphone. the Dirty White Rags. who enjoys every human comfort (except Broccoli and Chocolate) that Trippe can afford on her bartender’s salary. she put it off ‘til the last possible minute. long time listener. She also has a cat (Murphy’s Law) who helps himself to every human comfort that she can afford. She has a dog. However. You could say an attack of writer’s regret brought it on. 38 About the Author Callan Trippe First time caller. has been writing stories for as long as she could hold a pencil. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . She is the lead singer in local group. Welcome to the last minute. She was told to write this biography months ago and like any artist worth her salt. friends. and will disappear for days at a time when he is not appeased.
‘I am the lizard king. Sid’s ersatz microphone is a slightly cracked acrylic bong named Bruce. Older than us. they’re stoned as shit out there. “Like with ‘The End. Pot is an alien plant anyway.’ See. immaculate. I can do anything!’ That’s what he meant. And they’re better off than us. “It’s all there in the songs. man. man.” “What in the fuck are you talking about?” “Reptilians! Or a hybrid or whatever. You know. they brought it to us so we could open our minds.” Sid spoke between Bruce’s bubble-gurgle process and his own coughs. The reptilians are out there.’ Kill your fathers so the apes die out and then ride the snake. The snake is old. man. Bruce was in this condition when Sid discovered him in a dugout at the park. dubbed so for its black color and the yellow Batman sticker on the base. Mike is only here to break bread with a man he considers to be one of those who straddles the barrier between CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . in space. ‘Out here we are stoned.” It occurs to Michael that his new friend is a bit much for him.” The candidate for paranoid schizophrenia is named Sid and his audience of one goes by Michael. 39 Reptil by Ted Roberts Part One: Like a Lizard on a Windowpane “Morrison was one of them. receive.
See. Sure. It is always a mistake. Michael does not get high often. The disgusting concoctions of stenches twisted in the air had earlier been made more bearable by sandalwood incense and was now mixing with the piney aroma of what seems to be a very high grade of marijuana. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . The posters of spaceships. Michael thinks. The mandalas are particularly fascinating. are all pleasant to look at. This is the first time Mike has visited Sid’s apartment. and is either a positive thing? Both are logical aberrations best explained by brain damage. The thought that they have only known each other for less than a week sparks strange new thoughts about what Sid may be capable of if he has crossed too far onto a particular side of that line. doesn’t that shit just blow your mind?” “Uh. he thought. casting one odd thought aside out loud in hope that it would help his internal dialogue as well. These irrational fears are just a side effect. “Me neither man.” Dizziness pushes Michael to better become aware of his surroundings in a grasp at clear-headedness. doing so now only to appease his acquaintance and to not be a rude guest. the big secret is that the reptilians aren’t even from space. just alien plants. Is there a difference. to reduce your sobriety in a new setting before first getting a lay of the land. that I have trouble overcoming due to my lack of experience with smoking pot. 40 genius and insanity at a very young age. each a different color.” Michael said. they just come to us that way so it’s easier for us to grok! It’s something totally different when you understand it. Jim Morrison and mandalas with scaly patterns crawling over their looping spirals. he thought. yeah. “You know I don’t believe in aliens. although he had been to this complex a dozen times and had seen as many rooms with the same basic layout. their complexities either the result of a spiritual belief or a particularly potent mind-altering escapade. The smells waft around the room with the smoke and soak into the mismatched cushions of the couch.
is brought back to the fear upon noticing a small green lizard trace the diameter of the ouroboros. I’m surprised he hasn’t forked it himself. who knows? But they saw the apocalypse coming. dude. The pines and oaks outside appear more beautiful in the setting sun than ever before to Michael. cigarette butts too numerous for the multiple ashtrays supplied for them and pizza crusts that have been discarded in defiance of their boxes which rest only a few feet away on the ground. Mike thinks in a humorous twist of his paranoia.” The glass coffee table has been smudged enough to no longer be transparent even in the uncovered areas.” There is an ouroboros painted on the sliding glass door. they were to the dinos what we are to all the other mammals running around now. It might even have been their own shit. From tail-in-teeth to the other end. this is how the snake is old. that’s the shit I’m talking about! It happened CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . however. I mean it really fucking came down! What wiped out all the dinosaurs. when everything ends and then starts over. Michael becomes fixated on the ancient symbol to the point where he ignores Sid’s cursing as the foul water from the bong spills and taints further an already hideous carpet. And why at such a small coincidence? Happenstance does not lend credibility to the ravings of a lunatic. man? The snake biting its tail? That point is the apocalypse. The sense of euphoria. they’re more advanced than we are but from the time of the dinosaurs. man. “You see. The reptilians saw it coming. The rest of that territory is claimed by three-quarters empty beer cans. Really old. “Then the shit came down. Like. Sid continues to exercise his tongue. and this is what Morrison was saying in ‘The End’ and yeah. Fear? Fear of what? Michael’s mind raced. “You see that. These reptilian. The dinos were bigger than our animals and so the reptilians were smarter than us. 41 While Michael exercises his mind. He looks through the center of the unbroken circle formed by the serpent eating itself.
he carries a pack with him for times like these. See. the big lizards died out but the reptilians got the fuck out of here." \/\/\/\/\/\/\/\<~ Part Two: Dragonslayer? CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . They're watching us and slowly coming back cuz our apocalypse is coming soon. They had it first and they want it back. And then they're coming back for their shit. The achievement of tranquility is brief as the door bursts open with a delighted Sid joining him on the porch. Still. “Hey man. “I’m going to step outside for a cigarette. He thinks back to the lizard on the windowpane. They are tools of focus and he certainly needs focus now. the smoke and his own clouded mind make the handwriting even more indecipherable. He had promised his girlfriend he would give up cigarettes a month ago and had only relapsed twice. He rolls his eyes once and then another round is called for when he sees the whiteout covering certain words and. They're not aliens man. this world is theirs. at times. you want fresh air and stars? Let’s head to the beach! I'll show you the constellations they never taught you in the inflatable dome shit in school. Michael tries to read it but the dim lighting. entire paragraphs.” Michael wastes no time waiting for Sid’s response and exits the apartment. The white-out had been written over with Sid Scrawl. 42 for them and it's about to happen to us. breathing deeply. The brisk evening air revives him a bit and the stars catch his attention. There's dragons in the sky. They had the technology." Michael notices a David Icke book on the floor opened to somewhere in the latter half. bro.
As he does he hopes not a single song on the radio makes reference to snakes. The story was simply written but with quite a bit of precision. dragons were the catalyst in all of this. Come to think of it. The knight. Mike took no notice of Sid for the first two months of the semester but more recently a story from Sid ended up in Mike’s hands in a peer review session. He was blown away. occasional flashes of brilliance and more than a hint of novelty. Or at least make them more easily ignored. The fear still makes no sense to Mike. upon finding the dragon. of which every village worth its weight in black plague had one nearby. He became a leader and. Their conversation showed the more fascist nature of the knight and CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . only he and a select few understood. A result of being high. lizards or dragons. Michael wanted to be a journalist and Sid wanted to convey the reality that. He set out to slay the local dragon. of course. was caught up in a dialogue with his prey. The seeming protagonist was a travelling man. all men feared him and took his word as law. a wandering knight in shining armor. but this acute dread is too real for a hallucinatory experience. The piece was like a fanciful Arthurian tale as recorded by The Brothers Grimm. He does not believe himself to be in danger but still he sweats coldly and his heartbeat quickens. 43 The first thing Michael does after he and Sid enter Michael’s Jeep is to turn the stereo up loud enough to drown out Sid’s ramblings. although the people were divided in their opinions. In order to stifle the dissenters the knight sought a feat of magnificence. He does not believe anything Sid says but it unnerves him. He thinks back over the last week as he drives to the beach. to him. He stumbled into a village still very much in the dark ages and sought to become its hero. Michael and Sid had been placed in the same Creative Writing class at Cape Fear Community College. Michael realized. He discovered the dragon was a wise and gentle soul but was not moved by this.
the armored asshole’s ego was bigger than his sword and his mouth more well trained than his arm and so the would be slayer was slayed. He was accepted by the community as their new leader and instituted policies for the benefit of all. When the world finally caught up with them no one would believe the townspeople with their tales of a benevolent dragon leader who inspired men and women in a way that princes could not. every college in America. Michael now realizes the subject matter of the story. Michael supposed. is surprised the words “shit” was not in the story and the word “man” only used to denote gender. Sid reaches up and turns the volume on the radio down but not quickly enough to hear the groan at his sudden movement. for the dragon. Sid one time earlier convincing Michael to smoke a joint with him at school. the enthusiasm of Sid at Mike’s interest and the constant drug use are all signs of a delusional madman. They spoke a few more times throughout the rest of the week. is laid out with at least one prime location for such illegal activities. Does a man freely jump over that line when he lives so close to it or does he merely look through the barred window of his padded cell while jotting down observations that seem so singular and fresh to the sane man as to be mistaken for coming from grand intellect? Michael. looking back. He had thought of Sid earlier as a man caught between genius and insanity but the concept of a border between the two was now obscured. Although the dragon eventually passed away. The dragon moved into town and his silver tongue convinced the townspeople that he was no threat. 44 ended with the raising of the sword. Sid was ecstatic that someone was so interested in the story. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . regardless of the size of the school. his legacy went on for ages. It was a fairly impressive piece and Michael introduced himself to Sid after class. This isolated village entered into the Renaissance nearly a century earlier than the rest of Europe. Fortunately.
. A body washed up with no injuries other than his drowning will not raise too much suspicion. \/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\<~ CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . but don't get nervous man. lemme tell you. and alone. Now.” He does not. you alright? This apocalyptic shit scaring you? It's coming soon. what have I gotten myself into? And was it even just pot doing this to his mind? It doesn’t feel like it. Soon they will be on the beach. you don't know it yet. me being trapped for an evening with a man who has lost his mind. this is true.this shit's coming at you and it's hitting you funny. man!” “I don’t believe in any of this crap. Mike thinks. I shouldn’t still be like this. 45 “Hey man.” “No. The paranoia rears its ugly head once more in a new form as Michael wonders if Sid’s mental imbalance poses a danger. I have cleared my mind and see things for what they are. I just hope it's before they come down man. it is all the best for my future journalistic career. at night. We'll be better off with them if we accept it than we are right now. Break on through to the other side. “Yeah man. Especially if they can tell that the body had been under the influence of drugs. Dammit.” Michael replies tersely. Michael now admits to himself that the earlier trepidation truly was the result of his consideration of the validity of Sid’s worldview. I’m fine.. Ah well. he thinks. No offense. Michael shakes his thoughts away as he realizes he has crossed the bridge to reach the beach and begins searching for a parking spot. I want you to make it through so you can live on the other side of the apocalypse so you can live in the new reptilian world. but you'll open up.
Like we all are. He is not a genius storyteller. Sid found a place to sit in the shadow cast by a sand dune by the light of a hotel. He is not a dangerous madman. once again tries to apply logic to the situation as they walk toward the sand. after all. but a person. the shrooms and cactuses and shit. Remember what I said about alien plants? The other drugs are like that too man. noting its emptiness. “See. You sound like an Evangelical Christian. no.” Michael ignores him and looks up to the sky.” “Dude. instinctually synchronized upon stepping from the concrete path to the sandy earth.” Sid replies at a lower volume and in a different tone than Mike has heard so far. a bit delusional and a bit too Dionysian with recreational drug use. and the snake fed it to the humans. They arrived just late enough in the evening for most to have gone home. He is a person. fuck those guys.” They button up their coats. yeah. why we came out here. He looks through the narrow walkway between shrubs and trees to the beach ahead. That is. he thinks. He just wanted to make us as smart as him man.” Sid goes on. The moon catches his eye and he can not recall if this particular CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . The breeze has evolved into a wind that every kite asleep in every attic is dreaming of. sobered a bit more by the salted air and autumnal breeze. a wild prophet. Michael realizes he has been wrong in every identity he has applied to Sid. “You don’t have anything to back up these ridiculous ideas of yours but you want everyone to accept them. “But really he’s not. Mike. He is not. as stoned confusion had led him to consider but not to admit. “Those guys got it all wrong. Not at all. 46 Part Three: Like leathery wings beating at the sky The door of the Jeep slams shut on the passenger side as Michael lights another cigarette. the Bible makes the serpent into the bad guy.
pointing out patterns in the sky no one else could see. He is right. “It’s a meteor shower. something human and not reptilian coming out of his mouth. Still.” Michael replies. If there is other life out there then they would see entirely different images form when connecting the dots. Mike is a bit taken aback to hear Sid speak like this. The sea sizzles and smokes.” Sid remarks. Sid will flip the insanity switch soon enough. “It’s so clear out tonight and the sky is fucking beautiful. down from the heavens and into the oceans abyss merely a hundred yards or so from where liquid meets land. Happens all the time. man! It’s fucking happening! The goddamn dragon is breathing fire!” Sid’s exclamations pull Michael out of a doze he had not been cognizant of entering. yawning the last three words as if to show Sid the mundanity of even what appears miraculous. Now. Sid pulls out a laser pointer and begins a spiel about the great celestial snake giving all the starry lizards a ride on his back. 47 incarnation of the glowing mistress in the sky is the crescent called the Waxing or the Waning Gibbous. he thinks. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . He is glad the ocean air has calmed him. Michael simply thinks of the concept of constellations in general. He allows himself to relax. Mike’s grip on things is still slightly tested as a ball of fire storms down in front of them. “Fuck! Shit. otherwise he might be slipping into this with Sid rather than trying to pull him to sanity’s shore. where you are in the universe. settling on the dune and continuing to soak in the sky. with peace of mind. realizing it is all about perspective. he easily recalls the radio forecast from their drive to the beach. The stars are more numerous than the grains of sand currently cushioning his body and if they were all visible it would be one blinding light rather than thousands of pinpricks. They would care about our constellations as much as they cared about our grooming habits. He looks up and sees it.
“Woah.” “They're fucking here, man! Shit, shit, SHIT! I gotta go man, they're here to take me and get me ready! Shit man, you coming? It's fucking time, you coming?” Sid does not wait for an answer and begins stripping and running simultaneously. He falters and falls face first while losing his pants in the receding shallow tide but it is no deterrent. He moves on with religious fervor that seems pure, a stark contrast to his skid marked briefs (holey, not holy; the religiosity does not extend to his apparel). Michael notices the tattoo on Sid’s back, the symbol from earlier, the ouroboros. He even branded himself with his beliefs. The branding and the fact that Sid was now chest deep in the ocean and beginning to swim reminds Michael how serious Sid is about all this. A normal man might wade toward a meteorite and then give up but fanatics do not sway easily. “SID! Get back here! You’re going to DROWN!” Michael has the fear again but this time it is real. This is not the dread of apparitions and ideas but of the fact that a man may die in front of you any moment. And that man does not care. “Nah man, nah. They'll meet us halfway. Come on! Besides man turtles gotta breathe and they stay down there for fucking ever! We're gonna be reptiles motherfucker! Shit man, let's GO!” Michael yells after Sid for a while longer, more frantic each time. Sid does not respond. His arms continue to work, and he is further with each stroke. Michael knows that he cannot swim after Sid. He also knows that if he could there would still be no way to stop this. Mike stands there for a while, smoking several more of the cigarettes he had given up at the request of his girlfriend. He hopes that Sid will not drown, but he knows he is wrong. He perversely hopes that Sid’s beliefs are true, if only to keep him alive.
CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1
Michael goes back to his Jeep, turning the radio off when he hears The Doors begin to play and drives home in silence. After this night he goes on to do many things. He breaks up with his girlfriend and never gives up cigarettes again. He never touches another illegal substance. He graduates from college and does become a journalist and then a famous novelist. Much later he orders in his will that his diary entry for this night and the copy of Sid’s story stapled to it be burned upon his death. His orders are carried forth and neither piece is ever read.
CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1
About the Author
Ted Roberts grew up in Southeastern North Carolina and has spent most of his life in Wilmington. He is, at the time of this publishing, a twenty five year old writer. He has variously taken on the roles of writer, bartender, bookstore clerk, open mic coordinator, game show host, US Presidential candidate and sweeper truck driver. He enjoys both good and cheap beer, rolling his own cigarettes and campaigns for the decriminalization of public urination. Ted is also the founder of Eight Circuits Productions which has booked and organized multiple shows in the fields of music, fire performance, comedy and burlesque. He is happily going through life with his wonderful girlfriend, brilliant dog, and magnificent beard.
CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1
by Chris Harrje
My name’s Chris. People call me Harrje or asshole. You can call me whatever the hell you want. It’s really not my problem especially since I don’t know who you are. Anyway, I have a weird story to tell you. Let me tell you who I am. First off, I’m not a writer. I stand in front of people and attempt to make them laugh. Some people say that this makes me a comic or a comedian. I’ll just say that I stand in front of people and try to make them laugh. The reason I try to make these people laugh is to make myself feel better. It is a completely selfish act. I have a lot of dark shit inside of me so I try to turn it into something more lighthearted like laughter. I want people to laugh at my pain so I can realize that it’s not all that serious. Sometimes it’s vice versa. I want other people to realize that most things, if not all things in life, are not all that serious. But people will always be serious and things that I say will always offend people. My least favorite people are those that are not sure if they should be offended or not. They are not sure if they should laugh or follow the guidelines to society. It’s the same people who are not sure if they should fuck someone that they want to fuck simply because they might be called a whore or their friends will make fun of them. Live your life the way your visceral instincts lead you to live. Anyway, that’s a little bit about me. So, I talk in front of people and attempt to make them laugh. One of the places I perform at is this Hookah Bar, up on Castle Street, called the Juggling Gypsy. This is
CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1
but when I am. “Do you want a drink?” The hippie addressing me was wearing a dirty white robe and sandals. Anyhow. It’s not structured like most comedy clubs. “I’m Chris. This is the story where I actually did get invited back to one of the hippie’s house. “I like what you do up there. It’s rare that I’m offered them. Drinks are something I never turn down. I just try to be funny and not specifically tell jokes. this is the story I would like to tell you. “I’m Chuck. I lack structure.” “Thanks. And I’m not even sure if they’re considered hippies or just laid-back potheads. They might like me on-stage but they probably hate me off-stage even though I’m basically the same person on and off stage. “I really like it.” I say. I guess he was white skinned or tanned. He had long dirty hair that was mostly brown. If they’re all fucking each other then I’m missing out on the fun and I wish they would invite me to their orgies. People think you’re disgusting. The Juggling Gypsy has a decent amount of modern day hippies. but you’re just CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . I get off the stage and this hippie guy says. I love the Juggling Gypsy. I went on stage. I’m walking off and the hippie says. I said some things. It was a bathrobe. I order a drink and he pays for it.” he says. I made some people laugh and I made some people leave. I’m sure as shit going to take up on the offer. Same old. I’m not good with meeting new people. Same old. I don’t remember his eyes because I never got the chance to fuck him in his vagina to have a chance to stare at them and actually give a damn to remember. It’s the same thing I always say when somebody says they liked my set. Everybody there accepts me for the asshole that I am. 52 my favorite place to perform at because it’s very laid back and open minded. Now. but I think people are more able to accept me from a distance.” I reply.
I like the dude. I fucking loathed them. but I am trying to shake it off. We’re going to drink and be merry. The more the merrier. I get it though. then they’d realize you’re a pretty smart dude. Plus I’m usually pretty shit faced by the time I get off stage and especially by the end of the night. It’s not because I think that I’m better than anyone. 53 misunderstood. it’s that I think they’re better than me. I don’t want to talk shit because I don’t know Chuck and for all CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . I figure nobody wants to know me anyhow so there’s no reason for me to get to know them. at this very moment. but it’s getting pretty fucking boring to hear the same shit over and over again. sure. If people actually listened to you. At this time.” I said. It’s one of the chains that I hold. I’m easily impressed by compliments. at the Juggling Gypsy. If you want to be my friend then buy me a drink and tell me how awesome I am before I begin telling myself how much I suck. I don’t notice a lot of people. It’s the chains of comedy. “This guy is still doing his same tiresome-ass shit. He says to me. “Hey. some of the people are going to come back to my house. every single week. I loved the jokes the first time I heard them and they weren’t so bad the second time I heard them and I’d probably still enjoy them if it was a year later and I heard them again.” So.” Another comic goes on and tells the same jokes he told last week and the week before that and basically for the last few months. Chuck says. “Yeah. but that’s not a surprise. and sometimes three to four times a week. already I like this guy. Right now. Let’s drink and be merry. Chuck’s been at the Juggling Gypsy before. When the fuck’s he going to do something new? Does he have any self-awareness that we all heard this shit before?” I can’t really talk shit on comics. I never noticed Chuck before.
They are smoking joint after joint.” Chuck yells out. It was tight.” Chuck assures me with a smile and a friendly nod. This guy really knows how to be a great host. It was just a one-bedroom bungalow located not too far from the Gypsy. man. Maybe it was the klonopin that my girlfriend gave me earlier. it was very comfortable considering that there were about twenty or so of us jammed in there. And by gave me. As Chuck would say. “I love to drink and be merry. “We’re all being merry. I notice Chuck and his bathrobe cohorts love to smoke pot. I meant stole from her. that’s the way it goes. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . including myself. And off we go. We’re laughing and cracking jokes. Everyone should drink and be merry. 54 I know Chuck is actually this comic’s best friend and he might go up to him afterwards and tell him how I was talking shit. but I’m actually very thrilled to have someone who wants to be in my presence. Bong rip after bong rip. They say it symbolizes their freedom from the chains of society. I am taking no part in this because I am enjoying myself and would like to keep it that way. Chuck’s place was no palace or even close to it. Why live boring lives when you can drink and be merry?” Everybody cheers.” I say as if it’s no big deal. Is that paranoia or caution? So I say. You want to roll?” I pause.” Chuck says. I’m ‘bout to get the fuck out of here. “I have plenty of drinks. Maybe it was the large amounts of alcohol I was drinking. There is Chuck and twelve of his other hippie friends who also like to wear bathrobes. I am happy right now. “Yeah. “Well. Bowl after bowl. but strangely enough. “Okay then. I am in a good place and so is everyone. Cozy might have been the right word I was looking for.
” She prances over smiling. He was better looking than me and I wish I was talking to the hot girl he was talking to. “No.” He calls out. You can just have sex with her. I was jealous that he was going to get to fuck her. She is the only girl in this sausage fest. He’s actually gay.” “Do what.” Chuck smiles. my brother?” he asks of me. She was so damn sexy.” “It doesn’t matter. not really. 55 He allows everyone to feel completely comfortable as if they are all in their own bathrooms.” “Who?” I shake my head and laugh. I don’t know what to say. “Yeah. Would you like to meet her?” “Nah. “Do you hate anybody now?” I say.” I laugh. “Hey.” “Oh. “Yeah.” He asks me. right.” is all I can muster up to say. I don’t know how you do it. “How can you have all these people in your presence. or in your home. I say to Chuck. “I’m not going to get in trouble. He says. “That’s Gloria. it’ll just be weird. you don’t hate him so much?” “No.” I nod my head to a guy who wasn’t in a bathrobe. I don’t know her. come over here. He’s a good guy. She says. “Man. “So. you don’t have to say anything. “Gloria. He had his hair slicked back and he was wearing a muscle shirt. Chuck laughs. and it seems like no one bothers you? I always seem to have at least one person I hate.” Chuck smiles. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . “That’s Reese.
come on. why don’t you ask him?” She turns to me.” “I know. Chuck says to me. with absolutely no hesitation. “What’s meant to be is meant to be. we go into the only room in the bungalow and she spreads her love to me and I accept it. 56 Chuck. “Say something funny. “Well.” Of course she says. We rejoin the party.” Chuck says. “Wasn’t that great?” “Hell yeah. They are all where they belong.” She laughs. There’s something different about you. “This is Chris Harrje.” “Ah. It doesn’t last long and she doesn’t mind. Thank you.” I replied. Chuck. it’s called self-loathing. Gloria says. I don’t like being put on the spot.” I say.” “He’s not that funny. “Would you like me to spread my love to you?” “Yes. I wish this is how it always was. I wish this is how it always was.” She asks him.” Chuck says.” I say.” Chuck points to me and says. It’s something else though.” because even after sex I decide to still be awkward. So. He’s fucking hilarious. He’s a comedian. “It was wonderful. “You have to get to know him. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . I don’t know.” I say. “Did you want me to spread my love to him?” Chuck says. “You are funny. He has such a unique energy. so she walks off because I’m a boring shit with nothing to offer but my penis. Sorry that my other friends couldn’t make it. but they’re all in jail and three of them died this morning. “Yeah. too. Cool party. “Yeah.
He’s created this world with his mind. He types away at our lives as we speak with his computer. There’s no need to judge people or even judge yourself. “I was born onto this earth from a Virgin Vagina. Chuck. I drank my beer. I started analyzing myself. You have to forgive people and most of all forgive yourself. I decided that I’ll start to love myself and love everyone I hate. They are not of this universe. I felt good. He made me feel warm and his psychology was a very good philosophy. You are who you are and they are who they are.” I say. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . “It’s all about love. “My mother was visited by aliens and they inseminated her with the semen of their leader and their leader is also our leader. He continues. I shouldn’t create enemies and try to fight them. Steadying himself atop the rickety table. but received many uncomfortable stares. For them to accept you then you have to first accept them. so I stay quiet. Chuck looks out across the crammed sea of bath-robed faces and says. Abe Lincoln said something on the lines of that the best way to defeat your enemies is to make them your friend. All you have to do is try to love everyone. “That’s pretty cool. man. but from a different realm all together. I’m the bridge to the Alien Leader. But Chuck was nowhere to be seen. Everyone was serious.” I watch everyone’s expressions to see if this was a let-on or something. In his place was just a mass of dudes in bathrobes. Getting another beer from the fridge.” I laughed. 57 I sit down and Chuck says to me. I see Chuck stand up on a table. but I am the man you must go through.” I like Chuck and I like his message. A silence passes through all the bath-robed brethren hanging about the living room. All of a sudden. I started to see things a little different around the party. “He will provide for you all. I popped the cap and walked back towards Chuck. all chatting and jovial.
” CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . blonde hair and such. “I don’t believe you.” One of the men-in-bathrobes approaches Allen with a stern look on his face. I sit quietly while drinking my beer. It was Allen. in passing. I remember his name from earlier. The man in the bathrobe says. The man in the bathrobe says. “Look. He was wiry and skinny. He says to Chuck. you’re a cool guy. and says. I don’t believe this shit. as well. Chuck’s a cool guy. “You don’t believe in Chuck?” Allen says to Chuck. who still has his arms spread. The man in the bathrobe says to Allen. “Do you not believe in Chuck?” “No. I desperately want to leave. this lone man stands up from where he sat on a plush and overly stained bean bag chair. but I think you had too much to drink and your friends here had too much to drink. I think you’re a lot of fun.” Allen attempts to placate the crowd and Chuck. are you fucking kidding me? Are you all fucking me? What’s in this weed?” “Look. What. “Is this a joke or do you actually believe your own fucking story? If you believe in that shit then that makes you pretty narcissistic and maybe your mom was telling you crazy. of course I don’t. He only stares with his arms spread out. It’s a ridiculous story. The party is taking a turn for the worst and it is definitely uncomfortable here. He only stares with his arms spread wide. all of a sudden. psycho stories?” Chuck doesn’t answer. Chuck is just standing there with his arms spread as if he is preparing to fly or hug a very obese human. 58 Then. He turns to Chuck. I am trying my best to not laugh. “Are you disrespecting the Virgin Vagina? Do you not believe in the Alien Leader? Do you not believe in Chuck?” “No.” Chuck doesn’t answer.
The man in the bathrobe says. How can love be plagued with diseases?” I touch my penis and think to myself ‘Shit. Chuck? No?! You don’t want him to take you to the Alien Leader?! Huh?! Huh?!” He then drags Allen’s lifeless body out of the house as the blood. He said I may be plagued with diseases. even Chuck who has still not said a word and still does not drop his fucking arms. Marty.” “Why did you do this? This is uncalled for!” Allen falls to the floor. lifeless. 59 Then blood is running from the man’s stomach. This man does not want to have Chuck escort him to his Alien Leader! What type of man would not want to save himself by simply just believing in Chuck?” Gloria says. he stabs him a few more times as everyone watches. Allen drops to his knees while holding his bleeding stomach. but it won’t be the last time tonight either. Anyhow. diseases?! I didn’t even think of that. The man in the bathrobe yells out. does not answer because he is dead. “Do you. Then he yells at Allen. do you believe in Chuck? You need Chuck to meet your Alien Leader. “Do you believe in Chuck?” “Fuck yeah I do.” is what I say. what a weird son of a bitch. of course. do you believe in Chuck?!” Allen. The man in the bathrobe points to me with his bloody knife and says. “He must not be a man at all. followed by a trail of Allen’s bodily fluids. but he would not accept. I tried to spread my love to him earlier. She’s spreading her love to everyone and I didn’t wear a CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . The man screams. “This man doesn’t believe in Chuck. Allen? Do you believe in. I have to get checked out. Now. “Now. “So. Marty. The guy in the bathrobe stabs him. Everyone follows. This is the first time that I’ve seen someone die in front of me. All I could think was. I think his name was.
Feel my love. of course I had sex with her while everyone watches and Marty keeps talking about how amazing Chuck is and how awful Allen is. I turn my head to see what it was and it was Allen being put to flame. “Everyone. but it felt good to hear someone say that they love me and for me to say . damn.” Well. Chuck will watch us spread love for him. She cries to the skies. Allen’s body burns in the background. of course. too. “Chris. that I love them as well. Well. After a CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 It was under weird circumstances. show them all how we spread love with no fear.” She then lifts her dress and. Her genitals are bare and. Suddenly. The party has gotten out of hand and personally I couldn’t give less of a shit because I was able to have sex with the only girl at the party who happens to be pretty damn sexy. with his arms spread. I came inside of her too.’ Gloria continues and points to me. if she all ready got some diseases then I can’t catch them again and if she’s pregnant then she can’t get pregnant twice.” And he sure as hell watched with arms wide open. so things are weird. The group lit him on fire for not believing in Chuck. 60 condom. “Chris accepted my love without fear of diseases. I come inside her and she told me that she loves me and I told her that I love her. come to my love. Okay. she is wearing no panties. again. Shit. Damn. I was feeling good till she laid on her back and announced. I feel this amazing heat. as if summer had just arrived. I’m horny. Allow me to spread my love for Chuck. Chris doesn’t have fear in his heart. as everyone put themselves into Gloria. while I am in the middle of spreading love with Gloria. Chris understands that love is the only thing that can save us from everything. Gloria scratches my back harder as the smell of burning flesh seized the air. So. still remaining silent. Chuck remains quiet. I might become a father with herpes all because I accepted her love. All the while.
I mean technically I was first. I think it was a little bit drastic. It is hard to cum in cum. And if they do not believe in Chuck’s story then we will burn them and their family unless their family decides to believe in Chuck’s story. Of course. If they believe in Chuck. 61 man would cum inside her. but I got my own ass to save at this point. I was first twice.” I can’t imagine Gloria’s vagina feeling good right now. I almost throw up. We must discover who believes in Chuck and would like to meet their Alien Leader. too’. she would say.which is Chuck’s love. what the hell is he going to propose now? Marty said. Well. Shit. ‘I love you’ and he always replied ‘I love you too’. It takes me thirty minutes to finish. The gay guy ended up being stabbed and burnt because he wouldn’t accept Gloria’s love. “We must spread the story of Chuck. but no one bothered to ejaculate outside of her hole and she never bothered to clean up her hole either. anyway. I didn’t want to be rude and turn down her love. we will spread Gloria’s love to them . I stick myself inside of Gloria and it is like having sex with a wad of ejaculate. That’s his loss. There is a fire burning and an orgy taking place on Chuck’s front lawn and not one neighbor has phoned the police or even turned a light on to see what all the ruckus is. which I wish it didn’t. I am last to get into the gangbang. And I’m really hoping that Marty means that he’s going to call some people and tell them Chuck’s insane story and that possibly everyone would pass out then I can sneak out of the house and drink myself to sleep at my own home. ‘I love you’ and I said ‘I love you. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . but instead I bite on her nipples. of course I think to myself. Marty then speaks up and. I also didn’t want to burn like Allen and I was really surprised the cops haven’t shown up yet. She said.
The rest of the group followed behind like a flock of birds. all to myself.” CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 .” The man ignores Marty and looks directly at Chuck. Next line is three other dudes in bathrobes. I wasn’t part of a line. You will never be able to reach your highest potential. Marty knocks on Chuck’s neighbor’s door. He is a man in his thirties. that’s not at all what happens. “Do you believe in Chuck?” The guy chuckles. if you do not believe in Chuck’s story. Chuck. so I simply just follow out of fear. He takes one look at the rabble gathered out on his lawn. They inseminated her with the semen of the Alien Leader. I got work in the morning…” Marty insistently continues. “Look. with his arms spread and not saying a damn word. Next in line is Gloria and Chuck. Chubby. you okay? I know you like to party hard sometimes. They all naturally formed a moving triangle formation. “Did you know that Chuck was born from a Virgin Vagina? Aliens inseminated his mother. “Who are fuck are you?” “I am the one who speaks for Chuck. Marty continues to rap and rap on the door until finally the owner answers. Not even missing a beat. Oh yeah. Chuck didn’t respond. with Chuck immediately behind him. “Chuck. but I’m frightened that I would be captured and then burnt. He is first. I was far in the back. nondescript. Marty launches right into his spiel. let me remind you that it’s about three in the morning at this point. bathrobes and all. but my wife and kids are sleeping. as well. bathrobes and torches displayed. 62 But. which is eternal love and life in the mind of our Alien Leader. I’m looking for an exit strategy. no. There is Marty. Gloria was close behind. and says. Next line had four people and so on and so on. Marty leads the twenty or so people down the street. who is the leader of us all. are you all right?” Of course.
“I will spread my love to you if you believe in Chuck.” The man says to Gloria. “His Story! The only story! The only story that is true!” “What? That he’s a cool dude? He’s all about looking out for his neighbors and shit? He’s a pretty good carpenter. but he’s got a bit of a drinking problem.” The man says. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . “Like I said. The man does not see the knife and why should he? He doesn’t expect anything crazy like this to happen. 63 Gloria moves to the front of the rabble and shows the man her vagina. “If I wasn’t married. “Look. but I’m going to call the police. “Do you believe in Chuck’s story?” Gloria says. I believe in Chuck. Then the man turns to Marty. I definitely would. “Do you believe in Chuck?” “Of course. I don’t know who you are.” Marty yells. man. Could you just go back to Chuck’s and take it easy?” “Do you believe in Chuck’s story?” “What story?” Marty yells for the whole neighborhood to hear him. I have a wife and kids that are inside sleeping right now. He’s right there. “Let me spread his love to you. She says. I see him pull out the knife and hold it to his side. That story? His story?” Marty looks at him with stern eyes. so he never keeps a job. This is getting weird. I really don’t want to wake them up with this madness…” Marty yells.” And all I could think was you definitely wouldn’t if you just saw that about twenty dudes just got done gangbanging her.
“Feel my love. Chuck still with his arms CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . All you have to do is…” She disappears up the staircase. Feel the eternal bliss of Chuck and our Alien Leader. busting his head on a staircase. Before he could shut the door. “Let me spread my love to you and your family. The Virgin Vagina. I hear his wife. as she slowly ascends the staircase. but soon I see her naked form come rolling back down the stairs. I don’t know why. I want to have sex with her vagina. She lands at the base of the stairs with a lifeless thud. Allow yourself to feel Chuck’s love. 64 Marty says to him. reciting those lines. Both Marty and Chuck step back from the doorway.” Gloria begins rubbing her clitoris as she moves closer to the man chanting. Feel my warmth. Her bones were twisted and she looks like a human pretzel. “Do you believe he was born from the Virgin Vagina?” Then the rest of the group chants in unison. “Henry. I watch her dress come off. Gloria walks inside and begins up the steps. The Virgin Vagina. The man falls backwards onto the floor. yell from the top of the steps. “Do you believe in Chuck or not?!” “No. effortlessly. I’m not that much of a pervert. “This is fucking weird.” he says. as Marty is all ready stabbing him repeatedly with his bloody knife. but it is just this weird thought that goes through my skull. All you have to do is believe in Chuck. what’s going on?” But. “The Virgin Vagina. while speaking to. I assume. I hear her fervently yell. I think. I’m shutting the door…” Marty yells.” The man says. Allow yourself to feel the love we can offer you from the Alien Leader. Henry’s wife. it’s too late for him to answer. Marty kicks it wide open.
I watch some neighbors simply trying to mouth to their neighbors the words. It was very strange. This is how the rest of the night continues. that actually believe the story . He strolls right up. the asshole doesn’t answer me.” “Hail Chuck. ‘Just say yes’. At this point. it was almost always out of fear. But then again. How very noble of them.” he repeats and salutes the sky like a Nazi. I hear they claim that it wasn’t out of fear. Those of his neighbors that said they did believe in Chuck. coming in between me and Chuck and asks. He just allow all this murder and house burning and people burning to happen in the name of him and his bullshit story. “Is there a problem?” I say. There is some indistinct yelling and screaming coming from upstairs. there is always the few that still refuse and these once-innocent people would be burned to death by their own neighbors. “Of course not. I notice a few idiots who were just as drunk and drugged up as Chuck’s crew. But. Those new recruits would then join the bathrobed army of Chuck and proceed to ask their neighbors if they believed in Chuck. They go to Chuck’s neighbors’ homes and tell them the bullshit story of Chuck.” they all chant. Marty turns to his fellow bath-robed cohorts and exclaims. He wouldn’t respond. backing away nonchalantly. the followers burn their house down. “Fucking say something! Fucking do something! Why are you allowing this to happen?” But. They begin to burn the house with the family inside. They ask if these people believe in Chuck and if his neighbors say ‘no’. Marty stares me in the eyes and I see the glowing blaze of the fire burning in his pupils. 65 outstretched.they were allowed to survive. “Burn the house! For they do not believe in love or in Chuck. For they do not believe in the Virgin Vagina!” “The Virgin Vagina. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . but to save their children. Hail Chuck. I go up to Chuck and I say.
but sharing it with a guy covered head-to-toe in his own feces and urine was entirely another. weirdo. He yells out. He was laying there. I woke up the next day and Chuck was dead. when I woke up. hands behind our backs. “The Virgin Vagina. all the routes were either on fire or filled with fresh faces of new believers in Chuck. once we’re all in-processed. Or something. As it happens. I was looking for an opportunity to escape at every instant but it seemed no matter where I looked. 66 Eventually the police arrive. you will burn like all the other non-believers!” His arresting officer hauls Chuck up to his feet and slaps his brown-locked head against the squad car once or twice. He must’ve died in his sleep from an overdose. The Virgin Vagina.” I call out from my cell. right down to his sandals. Sharing a cell with a dead Messiah is one thing. here!” CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 .” the cop interjected and slammed the car door shut. I hear nothing except chanting resonating from the other cells. A few followers get shot in the street but the rest of us wind up in handcuffs. I stick my head up to the bars and yell out for a guard or something. The Virgin Vagina. I had no idea. “-Shut the fuck up.” “Hey. “You can find salvation through the story of the V-. I happen to share a cell with Chuck. I listen for a response and hear nothing. the cop warns him to keep his fucking mouth shut.” Chuck begins to say. including me. With all of us face down on the pavement. finally Chuck decided to speak. I will be back to see who believes in my story! And for those who don’t believe in me. shit all run down in through his bathrobe. Tossing him in the back of the car. “I will be back. “Shut the fuck up! I’m trying to call a guard.
67 The chanting kept going but Chuck was beginning to smell real bad. hearing his followers incessantly chanting.” I call out again. I was hearing the chants of… “The Virgin Vagina The Virgin Vagina The Virgin Vagina You must believe in the Virgin Vagina.” The deputy waves to the camera mounted on the wall. I hear the other cells whispering. He will be back. It just kept going . He was carried out on a stretcher and as he was led down the jail’s corridor. “Shut the fuck up.” I’m still stuck in the cell with Chuck’s runny waste. They must’ve heard what I said. I was certain it did him no favors. Only Chuck can get us to our Alien Leader. I’m not picking it up. I don’t know what that guy had in his system but whatever it was. They wouldn’t stop.even as Chuck rolled out before them CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . The whole while. He will be back to punish all the non-believers. The chanting finally fucking stops for a moment. REAL bad. “That’s Chuck. And I think he’s dead. “Guard!” Twenty minutes later. My eyes sting a little from the smell of his dead and pooling feces. I finally see some deputy show up and I watch his expression turn from “what the fuck do you want?” to “what the fuck is that god-awful smell?” I help him out. “Guard! Chuck’s dead!” Silence.
68 on a stretcher. He’s never coming back! He’s never coming back! He’s never coming back!” CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . “He’s dead. So. I yelled out.
69 About the Author Chris Harrje Chris Harrje was born and raised in New Jersey. but now resides in North Carolina where he hopes he doesn’t die. That is who he is. He would like his father to ejaculate on the ashes before they are placed in his mother’s vagina in hopes that she will give birth to him again and he can resurrect as a super hero or a super villain depending on how his parents raise him this time around. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . That is Chris Harrje. He would like to die where it’s easy for his family to gather his remains. He has successfully committed suicide three times and is not sure if the moon is real.his mother’s vagina. He may be schizophrenic and may believe that scientists are all liars and that we’re actually all trapped in a dome of an even bigger planet that is ruled by Dinosaurs. so they can cremate him and place him into his original home .
The Fall of Martin
By Seth Parham
The following is a work of fiction. Although the settings are real places, all characters and events are entirely fictional. Except for the part about eating Bob.
Perched on stools behind the railing that separates bar patrons from the general street population, three adults sat, exchanging neither words nor eye contact. From right to left, which is coincidentally in order of decreasing sobriety, they were Karen, who was not drinking so as to remain in control of her emotions, Martin, who was drinking to drown his emotions, and an unnamed man who was drunk. Karen was studying the small area of sky that was left exposed by a gap in the awnings, Martin was studying the Post Office across the street and the drunk was studying the railing at such close range that his forehead touched it. Perhaps he slept. This went on for some time. Eventually, a song came singing out from within Martin’s pocket. It was his ring tone and it went like this: “Short people got no reason to, Short people got no REASON to liiiiiiiive!”
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The drunk was a very short man, nipple high on a fruit fly as the saying goes, yet he made no stir at this slight. Martin retrieved his phone. “Hello?... Hey... Yeah, Cape Fear.... Okay, see you soon.” “Who was that,” asked Karen without looking away from the sky. “Dutch.” replied Martin. “He wanted to know what bar to come to. He’s just down the street.” “Oh,” Karen said absently. The silence returned. A passing dog found Martin’s foot interesting, sniffed it, decided it had had better and walked away. Suddenly the drunk roused himself. “They’re tessin’ us!” “What?” Martin said out of something that was not quite curiosity yet was not quite boredom. “They’re testin’ us,” the drunk said flatly. As if that explained it all. Martin stared at the man, unwilling at first to pry for any further information. The drunk narrowed one eye and nodded slightly. Martin waited. Eventually, Martin sighed. “Who’s testing us?” he asked. The drunk gasped at Martin’s ridiculous question. “The whole classical music scene, man! They’re tessin’ us. Seein’ if we’re sophisticated an’ stuff.” Martin wanted Dutch to round the corner and extricate him from this. “What are you talking about?” “PIANISTS!” the drunk nearly screamed. All nearby bar talk stopped and every eye turned.
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“Pianists man!” he continued, now in a near whisper, which only added to the awkwardness for Martin. “They pronounce the ‘pian’ part differently in ‘pianist’ than they do in ‘piano’ just to see if we giggle when we say it.” “Uh huh...” said Martin, frantically looking for Dutch. “Wait, what?” “PIANIST!” the drunk screamed, slamming a fist on the railing. This time no one batted an eye in their direction. It was a very adaptable crowd. “DUTCH!” yelled Martin at a distant figure walking along the opposite side of the street. With that, he clumsily climbed under the railing and dashed across the street like a seagull after a french fry, as the saying goes, leaving the distracted Karen with the now fully alert drunk. “So...” the drunk slurred, “how ‘bout those jets?” “I don’t watch football.” answered Karen. “Oh.” said the drunk, who was actually talking about airplanes. Silence returned. Meanwhile across the street, Martin had exchanged pleasantries with Dutch and was now explaining what had happened so far as they walked back toward the bar. “Am I the first one to show up?” asked Dutch. “Well, you’re the first one whose name we know. There is this other guy who looks familiar but neither me nor Karen know who the hell he is. He was actually here before us and is already completely drunk.” “Wow,” whistled Dutch. “Sounds like one hell of a ‘We’re Staying’ party already.” “Don’t give it a name, man. It sounds stupid enough as it is.” “Well, that’s what it is isn’t it? You guys aren’t moving away after all, hence ‘We’re Staying Party’.”
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Martin snickered. “Why don’t we just call it a ‘My Promotion Turned into a Layoff’ party?” They were nearing the bar when Martin tapped Dutch on the shoulder. “Hey man, if you could help us figure out that guy’s name or really anything about him, that would be great. He knows both our names and what the party is all about an-” “You’re Staying,” Dutch interrupted. “Yeah,” Martin mustered the patience to continue, “he knows that we are staying now, what our jobs are and on and on. So it seems like it would be impolite to admit that we have no clue who he is.” “I got it, I got it,” Dutch assured him and continued into the bar. Dutch was at the bar ordering when Martin reclaimed his seat next to Karen and found that the drunk had expertly mangled his coaster into the shape of a baby grand. “Dutch is here,” he announced to them both. “Cool.” said Karen dispassionately. “Invasion!” said the drunk. Seconds later, Dutch approached, beer in hand, and made a move that he felt would be a simple and elegant end to his friend’s confusion about the drunk. “Hi. I’m Dutch,” and he extended his hand. “Nice to meet you,” said the drunk. “I’m a quarter Irish and don’t know the rest.” He stood to shake Dutch’s hand, which he did successfully. Very quickly though, the handshake became a death-grip as the drunk began to use Dutch to keep himself upright. “I stood up too fast,” he explained. “I’m lightheaded,” he elaborated. Alcohol may have also been a factor.
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” The way Dutch said ‘used it’ implied sex.” “That’s fine. “The foosball table?!?” Martin and Karen exclaimed.” “Wow.” he informed the party as he recovered and began to exit.” Martin inputted. well. It wasn’t fine.” Dutch informed. “So now that you guys aren’t leaving.. the drunk was seen making his way back through the crowd. Moments later. if you want that foosball table back. Peak Dutch. “How are you. might I ask. “Yeah. He stopped momentarily to scratch a random stranger’s back. Karen?” “I’ve been better.” started Martin.” was her reply. She works right down the street and gets off at about this time. congrats. “You’ll like her.” Switching his attention back to his friends. “wouldn’t that be a little .” Martin said.” Dutch said as he watched the drunk make his way through the crowded bar.?” CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . “He’s good. And what. Her name’s Ella. All downhill from here. Marty met her at pool night last week. Never better. “How about you?” “I’ve been worse. She hated to have to walk around the thing to begin with.” Dutch went on. “Well hell. is driving up the value of Dutch these days?” “You’ll meet her in a minute. “Yeah.” Karen said. “That’s fine. “you can’t have it. “I’ve already used it. 74 “Gotta pee a bunch. Why not?” “Well. been worse.” “You’ll like her.. Karen. This is it.” Martin reiterated. The stranger was confused but appreciative. Somehow.
raising his hands and turning them about for all to see his cleanliness.” the drunk said politely and used her handshake to steady himself as he climbed back into the comfort and familiarity of his stool. I’m Ella. “That’s very nice.” Ella giggled. “Hullo friends!” she said. Karen. “Huh. “But I don’t think I caught your name.” replied Karen.” said Martin as he watched the drunk conclude his impromptu massage.” Dutch explained. “You were only in there for about thirty seconds. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . Dutch. “Hullo!” the men replied.” She introduced herself to Karen.” “I like jazz. “Oh. Ella shook hands with everyone. “help us figure out this guy’s name.” said Karen thoughtfully.” The rest of the party waited with baited breath. “Hi. who went on his merry way. and Martin were all stuck somewhere between trying not to think about the drunk’s urine. The stranger turned around and shook hands with the drunk. Introduced herself to the drunk. who whispered in her ear. She hugged Dutch.” “That’s all I did!” the drunk said pridefully. the drunk approached. when Ella arrived. “Did you even wash your hands?” inquired Dutch. 75 “Part of the fun. Merrily. “Hello. and being curious as to what had happened to it. “Hullo friends!” he said.
I hate to meet people and then never see them again. “Well...” Ella and Martin said simultaneously. “Don’t give up. The party waited. “glad to hear you guys are staying. “What?!?” exclaimed the drunk.. “Give me your name.” he continued.” said the drunk as he leaned his head back against the wall. and it seemed for a moment that he may simply tip forward to meet the railing again. When it became obvious that the name was not forthcoming..” Ella explained. lingering sleepily on each syllable. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . but ya know. a friend’s a friend.. Most of them would need a recipe to make ice cubes. she always felt like the women he dated were less than halfway up the intellectual staircase.” said the drunk absently. I hardly even know you. “Must not have thrown it at you. suddenly albeit temporarily awake. “I’m just saying I can’t marry you right now. Does anybody else want one?” “I’ll take one. honey.” Karen was taken aback by the intelligent gleam in Ella’s eye. Ella chuckled. Ella prodded further.” began Martin.” “Well.” he said matter-of-factly. startled halfway back into reality.” said Ella. She had not expected it. Although she very much respected Dutch. “I give up. “So Marty.” “You should tell them about what happened at work last night.” interrupted Karen. “Hold on. are you gonna?” “Gonna what?” the drunk said.. As the saying goes. “We can’t get married. I’m glad too. “Wish it didn’t mean that I was out of a job.” she told Dutch. 76 “Oh. “I think I want a beer.” said Dutch.
“Sorry I interrupted. expertly carrying a stout and two IPA’s.” started Ella. in the theatre next to the bar. lost. Dutch leans in toward me and says. you’re getting what I’m getting. various things that happened. won. 77 “Same thing?” Karen asked Martin. And we had that big week-long film festival that was wrapping up that night. billiard games played. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 .” Dutch added. “And he said. ‘I think he’s gonna eat Bob again.” said Ella.” “I’ll take anything hoppy. as she began to make her way to the bar. “Excellent. The remainder of the party began telling stories about pool night. Stories told. ‘Oh god. Shortly. “what happened at work the other night?” “Well.’” She paused to let that sentence sink in. he’s going to do it again’. Retold. eat Bob again?” asked Martin.” Dutch was giggling uncontrollably. apparently he is the guy who organizes it. “Yeah.” she continued. “And apparently Dutch had seen it once or twice because when Dan said that.’” “He’s done this in public three or four times. “Sure. “Wait.” said Karen. “I work at Level Five. At one point the drunk confessed to almost drowning in the shallow end. Karen found her way back. we are going to have communion. ‘Do what again?’” continued Ella.” informed Dutch.” “And she had never encountered Dan before. Conversations.” she began. “He comes on stage at the end of it wearing a big robe and says ‘So for our closing ceremonies. She deftly distributed them about and joined the conversation. “So I said.
whom everyone thought was unconscious. Ella and. and this is Dutch. you know Karen. also in long robes. god!’ So I ask . “John.” “Nice to meet you all. “I’m not staying for too long but I will have a beer.” Martin trailed off looking at the drunk leaning. god. As John made his way around the railing. John!” exclaimed Martin. So now. “At least he’s eating a ‘Robert’ and not a ‘Richard’ in public. “And they serve Dan some scrambled eggs. So at this point Dutch is leaning on me and saying.. used to work together. Dan keeps Bob in a plastic bag with a little spoon.” said Karen and Martin. we wor-. Karen concluded. “Hey. and introduced all round. “Guys this is John. Does anyone need anything from the bar?” CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . chimed in.” “Wow.well.. But then Dan reaches under the table and pulls out a spoonful of something and sprinkles it over the eggs and then mixes it in. “So then we went home and made scrambled eggs”. Dan takes a seat on stage behind this table.” said John. against the wall.. ‘Oh. And every so often he sits down in public and eats Bob. Martin gestured. “And played foosball!” added Dutch. again?” asked Karen. come out holding plates. eyes closed.” the drunk. “So. “Hey guys!” came a merry hale from the sidewalk. and four ushers. ‘That’s Bob!’ “Bob was apparently an artist and friend of Dan’s who died a few years back and was cremated. He shrugged and continued the introduction.” “Oh.” said Karen. 78 “Eat Bob.‘What?’ and he says.
“I dunno.” stated Karen. man. its sudden nonexistence. Dutch and Martin each looked at the empty glasses of their respective females and were astounded that they had both drank their beers so disturbingly fast.” jested Ella.” Martin admitted. “So.” “Like what?” Dutch wanted to know. Dutch and Martin each thanked him but indicated their nearly full glasses. man. Karen and Ella took theirs. and specifically. what are you gonna do now?” inquired Dutch. “Maybe I’ll start my own business. “Did you know that there is a guy in my neighborhood who scoops dog shit for a living? It’s a crappy job but at least he’s his own boss.” “Then you would have to walk further and further each time. Neither gender paid any attention to the conversation of the other. Ella and Karen began talking about cannibalism. Sell my body?” speculated Martin.” pondered Ella. “But eventually. Dutch and Martin began to talk about Martin’s job. “it seems like you would have to realize that you are going to run out. thanked him and continued their conversation. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . John returned with beers.” “Yeah. “Piece by piece. “It’s just a really inefficient way to live. John disappeared into the crowd. “I don’t know. John joined Martin and Dutch by taking a seat next to the drunk.” asked John.” stated Karen. “Anybody else.” said the drunk with a tinge of concern in his voice.” “I do have a little bit saved up. Anything!” explained Martin. “Eventually you aren’t going to have anymore neighbors left. exactly.” “Please don’t eat me. 79 Ella and Karen both said they would take another.
John tried again.” “You’re serious.” “Hell yeah.” John said to the drunk. “Huh?” the drunk replied.” The two men stared at each other. at that very moment. Martin was skeptical. “You should raise water buffalo. “and has a shelf life that is measured in hours. or so the saying goes. “Wha’ ya say?” asked the drunk. “It sells at an insanely high price. so you know your product is going to move. man. To make buffalo mozzarella. John began following along with Dutch and Martin’s conversation instead. The drunk loved that song and therefore simply replied.” Dutch was advising. that he would be better off trying to milk a fish. who opened his eyes with a start. “Who are you?” Unfortunately. “Water buffalo?” For some reason. a song by that title came over the jukebox. “What’s your name?” A motorcycle rode by just as John asked the question and the drunk heard none of it.” Dutch continued. “Can’t water buffalo kill you?” asked John. like you. 80 “I don’t think we’ve met. I’d buy some swampland and put some water buffalo on it. “Ooo oo! Ooo oo!” Seeing that his situation was going nowhere. If I had a little bit of money and nothing going for me.” This did not have the cheering effect on Martin that Dutch had hoped. “Yeah man. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 .
Then you can be a little more relaxed as you look for another job. “God doesn’t owe me any favors.” he said. 81 “Well.” started John. “They’re buffalo. “about this guy who raises them in Michigan.” Martin was not convinced.” “‘’Cause I REALLY wanna know!” the drunk screamed atonally. “How about this. The men resumed. Dutch added his two cents. “Water Buffalo Man!” the drunk exclaimed.. And I don’t know your housing situation really.” Silence fell as the men mulled this plan over. “I don’t think this is the business for me.” Dutch affirmed.” CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . “That’s stupid.” Karen and Ella approached and asked if anybody needed anything from the bar. but you then use the remaining half to pay the next few months rent or mortgage in advance.. “I read this article the other day.” “All of this is stupid. You invest another fourth very conservatively in long-term stocks or mutual funds.. The men all announced that they would soon. But you see all these pictures in National Geographic and stuff of all these little old Chinese women and kids leading these massive beasts through rice paddies. “I need another beer.. And every morning he wakes up to milk the buffalo and prays that everything will go alright. “Water buffalo. The women turned and disappeared into the crowd inside. “you put or leave a fourth of what you have into your checking account. man. but not right now. They can’t be too hard to handle.” Martin decided.” he concluded.” Dutch went on. man. Yeah.” John opened his mouth to defend his plan but was cut off by the drunk. “That’s what they’d call you. After a few moments of serious meditation.
where’s the drunk?” asked Dutch. completely engrossed in giving another back scratch to an entirely new stranger. The group scanned the crowd and at last spotted the drunk near the pool table. The little drunk. who was easily lost in the crowd. Yet. “Where is Karen?” he asked. for a second. Karen ended up being some other woman with a similar hairstyle and Ella ended up being a man. “More. 82 The four men began to weave their way through the crowd like a swarm of drunken bees. They continued to scan the room. a new question arose in the minds of Martin and Dutch. Martin was the first to vocalize. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . Their eyes drifted back to the drunk who was just finishing up his back scratch.” replied the men. seemed to appear out of nowhere. “More!” he seconded. “Hey.” Martin exclaimed as his elbows made contact with the bar.” John observed. “What’ll it be?” the bartender asked. The thankful stranger turned and hugged the little drunk. they lost the drunk. “Where is Ella?” Dutch added. At some point. In the course of scanning the bar. Martin caught sight of what he thought was Ella. “Man! It is packed tonight. Dutch caught sight of what he thought. more out of curiosity than actual desire to retrieve him. They had not the coherency of a group of friends nor the foresight to plan a path. was Karen. Perhaps the men shouldn’t drink anymore. “Jesus! Finally.
Within seconds the men had more. custom stained glass windows. Like a grizzly bear just whispered something sexual in his ear. “you could be Forrest and I’ll be Bubba.” said John.” Martin answered... “Bubba dies. 83 The bartender worked the tap handles like Vishnu. “I love shrimp..” “This is nearly a scene from Forrest Gump. buying the rights to.” “You could start shrimping. He looked as if he had seen a ghost.. “Yeah. or so the saying goes. “Hey Marty. Dutch was just trying to convince Martin to get his commercial fishing license when the drunk tried to interrupt.” “Hey man. After wind farms came emus “for meat as well as entertainment”. The drunk topped it with. I’m looking out for my family.. uh.. Eventually. then revitalizing.” “Why would you want to be Bubba?” asked Martin. Drunk. guys.” Dutch said defensively.” elaborated Dutch. “How about a wind farm?” Dutch asked. the list went on and on.. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 .” said Dutch. opening nurseries (for plants or children). “Grow your own wind!” The drunk decided that he needed to pee or wash his hands and wandered off down the hall that led to the bathrooms. Martin gave him a look to let him know that was the dumbest thing he had heard all night. the prodigal drunk returned. His face was ashen. Dutch continued to shower Martin with business propositions. “Hey. I’ll cook ‘em and sell ‘em..” “Yes. the Shrinky-Dinks brand.
In the silence. “Lick ‘em. the entire bar bustling around them. Martin held up a hand to give the drunk a high-five. 84 “I just walked into the wrong bathroom. The drunk began scratching Martin’s back. He began mining through the empty shells for a full one. a nearby patron leaned down the bar with his hand held up to give Martin and Dutch high-fives. Martin tried to form a sentence..” he decided.. As the silence began to dissipate Martin and Dutch leaned heavily on the bar. “Your wife is having sex with his girlfriend!” He nearly screamed at Martin. Dutch reached down the bar for the complimentary cup of roasted peanuts. Martin still had not spoken or moved. head in hands.” the drunk trailed off..” Dutch told him and the concerned little drunk obliged.” he told the drunk who instantly looked dejected. I mean.?” CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 .” he said. At long last.” the drunk advised.” “Somebody already did that. “Stop that.” a passing bartender informed.. He turned his eyes to the wall. “Did you sit down to pee?” Dutch blurted. They both gave weary sighs. There they sat. Martin sat. “What do we.” Dutch reasoned.. “There’s still salt on them shells. “That’s not cool.. he gave up. “You don’t understand. Finding none.. The drunk had had enough.. “That’s not cool. What can we say. “Is that cool?” he asked the atmosphere. This caused most of the bar to go silent as the news sank in. “You can do me. “This is nothing but shells.” the drunk began to clarify when Dutch interrupted...
“I guess it’s about time I head out. And we don’t wanna screw anything up further by-” Martin did not hear the rest as he had turned around and was busy screaming “You BITCH!” at Karen. Jesus!” “Well. I am just a little drunk and it just happened.. Karen looked at her doppelganger. Martin found himself dumbfounded by anger. and she was immediately filled with shame. it was only a woman with a similar hairstyle who was quite shocked and offended. who looked back at her. Why.” was the answer. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . which they did not. Have a good uh. The two women decided that it was the real Karen that was being called a bitch. As Karen approached.” Dutch told the drunk.. “YOU bitch!” “You can stop now.. I mean..” “Not while your friends are acting like that. Martin corrected himself. The room had fallen irreparably silent. As it turns out though. “So.. A few people actually began to leave. 85 “Well..” Dutch began.” Martin spat. I don’t know. I mean. night. “This is the only time. “Are you a fucking lesbian now?” “No. “What the.” And he disappeared. “Then I’ll have another beer.” “Oh.” John said as he stood.” Karen replied... The real Karen. bullshit.. brimming with embarrassment. Dutch asked the bartender if they served liquor. who promptly took a seat next to him. What?” Martin stammered...... as well as the real Ella exited the restroom hallway at that very moment. “we need to keep our cool about this. it’s not the end of the world.
” said Dutch. who had been standing nervously behind Karen became livid. he leaned near to Jen and said. “Yes. Fuck off. “Hey guys. had arrived for the festivities. Why don’t you just go fuck everybody?! Male or female! Doesn’t matter!” The drunk saw the confusion and awkwardness of the completely ignored Jen. Martin looked at Dutch incredulously.” Ella. “Fuck off Dutch.” she whispered back.” Martin sneered. “I think it’s kinda hot.” She turned to Ella. “I sure as shit can’t make you happy anymore. He decided to help. We didn’t seek it out or plan it or anything. although he nearly fell off of his barstool to do so. “I didn’t know that you were into that. “Sorry you stumbled into all of this. “Oh!” huffed Karen. The deathly silence had front stage again.” “I’m Jen. “Well. I’m not ‘into that’. 86 The drunk was awkwardly staying out of it by spinning a very abused peanut shell on the bar.. I’ll pick up my things later. “‘Kinda hot?!?’ What the hell was that?” CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . “Do you wanna leave?” Ella did not even spare Dutch a glance. My name’s Dave. a coworker of Karen’s. So they did. Ella. I guess this is appropriate. It’s just a thing that happened.” she said.. What’s going on?” she said from the periphery. “Don’t pull that passive aggressive shit with me! Like YOU are what’s wrong with us but it’s MY fault that you are you. No one noticed her but the drunk.” Meanwhile Jen.
This is Jen. Without looking Martin snorted...” Slowly. You came to one of my cookouts. “Well that wasn’t nice. You moved into my neighborhood three years ago.” he said. Dave inhaled deeply. Martin looked up at the sound of glass meeting wood.” Martin looked down at the bar and turned beet red as recollection came flooding back. the bartender approached Martin and placed a fresh beer in front of him. 87 Moments later. In fact. Martin sat in the middle of nearly twenty feet of empty bar. Martin turned his head.. His eyes immediately became watery. hopped down from the barstool and tapped Dutch on the arm. the floor behind him was also devoid of people for a ten foot radius. “Yes. I asked you to dog sit for me one time and you said you couldn’t. I’m your next door neighbor. the drunk. You linger the entire night! You bring me some of the worst news I have ever gotten! WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?!?” Dave.. As people slowly began to talk again. Marty. He tried to speak.. “So. I’m Dave. “What? Is she your fucking girlfriend?” “I just met him!” Jen snapped. “What is wrong with you?” And she stormed out. Dutch was beside him with his arms crossed. failed. So they did. “Hey man. You know our names and stories.” the drunk introduced. “I uh. and with narrowed eyes. tried again.. The drunk was twiddling his thumbs. “Who the fuck ARE you?!? Who are you? You show up first. Wanna go to Lula’s?” Dutch didn’t spare Martin a glance. You’re already drunk when we get here. I’m uh. Martin was once again leaning on the bar with his head in his hands. was completely taken aback. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . and the normal bar room murmur eased back in.
“Do you think that’s a good idea?” Martin asked. he said. As the bartender walked away.” CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . man.” the bartender said in a pitying tone. “Nope. nodding toward the beer. 88 “It’s on the house. drying a glass with a towel.
CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . rock or in a hole in the ground. though he may be more or less active during the day. but some experts believe anointing camouflages him with the new scent of the area and provides a possible poison or source of infection to predators. Seth sleeps for a large portion of the daytime either under cover of bush. 89 About the Author Seth Parham Seth Parham is fairly vocal and communicates through a combination of grunts. snuffles and/or squeals. grass. The specific purpose of this ritual is unknown. he will lick and bite the source. then form a scented froth in his mouth and paste it on his back with his tongue. Anointing is sometimes also called anting because of a similar behavior in birds. which he passes around at dinner parties. When he encounters a new scent. He has a bachelor's degree in Biology. Seth is primarily nocturnal. Seth occasionally performs a ritual called anointing.
obviously heavily worn and used. “They let her have phones where she's staying now. His eyes were sore and red and his expression was one of addressing a ghost more than a drunk. “Today is my sister's birthday. I took several long fuming puffs. Wiping the froth of cheap bourbon from my mouth. shamelessly pouring his misery into the gravel and sandy loam.” he said. beneath the book of 19th century American poetry. Clutched beneath his hand.” he continued morosely to no one in particular. Normally callus to the misery of man and woman alike.” he mournfully intoned.” CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . “I just got her new phone number. I walked to him and inquired into his forlorn countenance. damp breeze. holding the receipt paper aloft. He sat with his head in his hands. Clutched beneath his crumbled suit coat was a copy of selected American poetry. he had what looked to be little more than crumpled-up receipt paper. Neon lights cascaded off the illuminated sign on Castle Street. Lighting a cigarette in the cold. “She just got moved to Pauly Hill. sour bar and saw a young man weeping on the porch. The smoke drifted upwards into the heavens like the cascading fumes from an acolyte’s Mirfilled censers. this sight stirred something deep inside of me. his head swung up with surprise to address the interloper. Unaware there was someone else outside the bar on such a cold and uneventful weekday. 90 Pauly Hill By James England I walked outside of the dingy.
” My vision swerved over towards the sound of the hurried footsteps shuffling over. crouched over his frumpled book of poetry. “Are you going to go up to visit her any time soon?” “Once I have a car or can afford the bus fare.” called out a disembodied voice from across the poorly lit street. “Hey. stopping short of the sad stranger and me. “Hey. No sooner were they extended than they were snatched out and immediately followed with a request for a lighter. “You got an extra cigarette?” I withdrew my pack and saw there were only three left. man. the Steeler’s jacketed stranger seemed to quickly direct his attention back to me. I withdrew two and handed them to the stranger. 91 I watched the vagrants and crack heads make their lonesome way down the sidewalks of Castle and 17th.” “Hey man. A man in two layers of sports jackets and a beanie strolled over with a welcoming smile on his face. no hint of emotion in my voice. Fumbling fat fingers into the pack. “What's Pauly Hill?” I asked. Taking one look at the weeping man seated before him. “It's a mental hospital up by Raleigh. neither truly giving the man my full attention nor trying to dampen his spirits further. he turned his attention to my morose companion. hey. I entreated the man his request and seeing there was no more to be had of me. The bourbon flushed my cheeks and kept me free from the cold that hung outside like a damp blanket.” he finally concluded. “What'chu readin' there?” This simple question seemed to snap him out of his sorrow and he quickly responded with a series of fast and expedient lines of American poets I had never heard nor ever had CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 .” he explained.
” he busily retorted. Realizing the key to keeping this man from his sorrow was a simple conversation about poetry. I entreated him to a simple question about his book’s contents. ha HA!” This bit did nothing to sooth the poet’s sorrow. continuing to cackle to himself wildly. my name's Nathan. He just shook his head back and forth but did not seem to register the words with any great gravity. the man in the Steeler’s coat wandered off. “I'm Brandt. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . And it’s really interesting you mentioned San Diego but I-” I never mentioned San Diego and I quickly let my bourbon haze drown out his sharply toned and jittery words. his skinny fingers wrapping about mine with ease and shaking in a light introduction. A stocky.” he exalted. “Not ALL of them are British. I asked him if he needed a ride home. most of them ARE British. 92 interest in reading.” I introduced with a limber hand. “Blind as a mothafuckin’ bat. His entire body jittered with excitement at the simple inquiry into his interests. “Oh. recalling almost nothing about poetry. “Though. really. “Is it mostly British poets in that book of yours. there’s this one from San Diego-” “-By the way. It's a selection of poets from the 19th and early 20th century. The bar was dark and signs turned off. “I stole money outta yo tip jar when you used to work at the coffee shop down on Princess. short bartender hauled a trashcan filled with discarded bottles out to a tiny dumpster off to the side of the establishment. With that.” the man in the Steeler’s coat recalled.” he hoarsely laughed. “Ha. He quickly took it.” “Bitch is blind as a mothafuckin’ bat.” I blearily asked. Looking around the streets and seeing there were no cars save mine in the parking lot. I remember you.
The passenger side door creaked open and my new companion flopped down in the seat beside me.” “Come on. “You got any things you want to bring?” The radio kicked on and BBC started to blare across the speakers.” “Sure you don't want a ride?” “No. “How you getting' home. as if considering his options briefly and deciding this sounded like a decent plan. “I'm fine. Fishing for the keys in my coat pocket.” Brandt's head darted back and forth. Get in. “Oh.” “Where do you live?” He didn't respond for a moment. seemingly unrushed in his activities. man. kinda.” “You need a place to sleep?” “I don't want to put you out. I'm fine.” I asked.” “So. I'm just going to walk. I got a couch you can sleep on. A waft of odor followed him and sat into the stagnant passenger compartment for a moment or two before I hit the A/C. quaint CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . I looked back at the lone figure still sitting on the bench. he said. Reaching a conclusion. man. you're homeless?” “Well. “I sleep in the back of my friend's van. A nice. Unlocking my car I flopped down into the driver's seat and started up the engine.” Brandt quickly blurted. as if contemplating the question. I got kicked out of my house and I'm still waiting on some money to get to me before I try to find a roommate.” I nodded and stubbed out my cigarette onto the pavement. 93 “No.
My eyes scanned the rearview for any headlights but none were to be found. “Born and raised.” I asked again. Jerkily and excited. I saw these guys and Black Flag play in a basement off the-” “-So. “I remember seeing these guys in San Diego back in '97.” he said as the light turned green and I gently accelerated down the darkened abyss. I kicked the car in reverse and then rolled onto Castle towards Wrightsville.” he concluded. 94 British woman began to list the litany of wrong that was going on in the world. “Yeah.” I asked. this is fine. Though I moved out here when I was twelve with my dad and my sister. you're from San Diego. Brandt's odor ungraciously masked the horded smell of cigarettes and cheap whiskey emanating off of me. Without a moment's hesitation. Changing the station to the local rock channel. it was well past two in the morning. The dashboard clock didn't work but I knew that if the BBC was on. I waited at the red light at the intersection of 17th and Castle with a mighty anticipation to make my way back to my bed and sleep off what was sure to be a horrendous hangover.” he yelled aloud in nostalgic glee. So far beyond two that the cops stopped randomly pulling over every car they saw on the road and began to prepare for pre-pre-rush hour traffic. “You got any other clothes you want to bring or anything. old covers of the Pixies began to drift through the speakers.” “Is your dad in Wilmington?” “No. the Penguin. Brandt let out a jagged and hard laugh that was bitter on the ears. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . “No. trying to change the subject. he quickly fumbled around on the radio to switch stations.
“He moved back to San Diego for work and my sister is older than me and she,” he trailed off into a mumble as my car took the light curve onto Wrightsville. The song changed to some local band doing a cover of Bone Machine. Without missing a beat, Brandt picked up with the lyrics and started singing along, “...Your Irish skin looks Mexican/Our love is rice and beans and horse's lard/Your bones got a little machine/You're the bone machine...” My mind raced to think if I had any whiskey left back at the apartment. I was already thirsting up a terror. As I pulled into the entrance of the Creek, I recalled that I had a smidgen left in the top drawer of the kitchen. The rainy day emergency stash. It wasn't raining. It was pouring bad covers of dead and forgotten punk bands. And obscure references to San Diego, a place I had never visited and now felt an even deeper resolve to avoid visiting. The parking lot was jam-packed with vagrants and crack dealers and prostitutes. The Creek. Cheap apartments that attracted anyone looking to live cheaply. College kids, bright-eyed and bushy tailed with their newfound independence, scurried between all the many dens of iniquity. Some never came out, or so I had noticed. A hooker flashed her razor-bumped vagina in our direction, barely having to pull up the hem of her dress. Her facial expression never changed from one of pure boredom, fatigue, and sadness. Parking in an adjacent visitor spot, I reminded Brandt he had to pull the passenger side handle twice to open the door. A feature I was ever unsure of the usefulness of, but nonetheless felt inclined to warn my passengers about. The immediate panic in a stranger's expression when his egress is momentarily blocked is uncanny to behold. He roughly jostled the handle twice, mumbling about the Beautiful Mutants. I inferred it was a punk band which may or may not have existed in the San Diego area during his early adolescence some fifteen years prior. Unwelcome history. Walking across the dimly lit and sopping wet parking lot, I lead the blind man
CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1
towards my apartment. In the sodium yellow shine of the park lights, I stopped as a shape staggered out through a ground-floor patio door. I recognized this shape, immediately, as the dreaded redhead. This, indeed, was not his name but it was how I came to know him over the course of my two months living in this apartment complex. He was terrible when he was drunk. He was worse when he had found some rock to cook. I stopped Brandt as the ginger blearily stumbled out of his first floor apartment and staggered onto the grass. It was slick and it gleamed in the street light. His feet plodded aimlessly onto the lawn where so many of the tenants’ dogs defecated on a daily basis. The name his forsaken progenitors had given him was Cole, but that was a name I only recalled due to my many unintentional run-ins with him and his fiancée. Watching him stagger-step in a slow circle on the grass, I recalled the word “fiancée” had gained a new sense of irony and depravity. Night after night I returned home to the Creek and far too many had I seen him come home, yelling obscenities at his soon-to-be ginger wife. His face had the harsh cheekbone features of what any 18th century British anthropological criminologist would instantly recognize as a career felon and small-time narcotics trafficker. A love affair bloomed on the cellophane baggies of methamphetamines and cheap beer, it constantly spilled its rancid guts before me every time I attempted to go home at any late hour. Brandt did not even look up from his ongoing monologue of the halcyon days of punk music in San Diego. Youth, exuberance, drugexperimentation, sexual adventures; he did not know there was a man with reddreadlocks, on all fours, crawling in dog shit. I did. Taking my palm, I stopped Brandt’s advance. He shut up for a moment and with a hushed word, I mumbled something about needing to find my keys, which I followed up with the motion of fishing around in my pocket. “'Black Coffee Blues' by Henry Rollins,” Brandt piped back into his previous oneCAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1
sided conversation, “was a book that completely described the San Diego punk scene during the age of Black Flag.” I approached Cole with the trepidation one would approach a wounded and possibly rabid animal. His demeanor was all off. Shakes, groans, there was a death pall to the man I had never seen before. I watched, nary mere footsteps away, as Cole surrendered to the crisp, dog-urine soaked grass and stirred no more. His patio glass door was left ajar and the weak yellow light of the living room poured out but did not reach him. Steam rose from his nostrils, down-turned into the mud. Dead or dying, I thought. Dead, I hoped. My eyes darted around quickly, the whiskey haze lifting like a shroud before the tabernacle of a sudden burst of quiet adrenaline. I walked over to the lifeless body of the career felon whom used to boast of his brother's ability to procure fully automatic weapons. Who used to speak grandiose words of guitars he possessed yet never played. Whom joked and confided to any passerby the sadistic urges he indulged in upon his drug addicted thrall of a woman. Yet no more did those words come from him. I cautiously advanced upon him, Brandt following out of the ignorance of one whom would blindly trust a stranger to lead him to safety. The shades to Cole's apartment were open but revealed no occupants. Nothing save the litter of discarded beer cans, pizza boxes, and a broken acrylic bong. Perhaps more lay in there but I did not inspect. I kneeled down and tried to determine if Cole was sleeping or dead. His chest did not rise. His face remained embedded in the muck and grass. Withdrawing the thin blade I kept in my coat pocket, I concealed it inside the wrist portion of my jacket. The other hand tepidly reached for a pulse. I do not know what the knife was for but my mind had calculated it was the best approach in matters such as these. I left his face in the mud but placed two of my fingers on his carotid artery. There
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was no movement of blood that I could detect. I put my knife back into the inside of my coat and stood up, brushing myself off. “Sorry,” I said, breaking the silence as I noticed Brandt had stopped talking. “I think somebody passed out and I wanted to see if they were alright.” “Is he okay,” Brandt asked. “Yes. Yes, I believe he'll be fine.” A homely hooker, caked in heavy make-up and perfume approached through the walkway towards us. Once she saw my ruddy companion, a body, and me, the words she had prepared to begin her solicitation were quickly retracted before ever leaving her lips. “You know,” Brandt began as if in response to my statement. “Robert Frost really perfected the art of the first person, pastoral narrative. Even when compared against 18th century British poets such as Robert Browning, whom I would argue used the passive aggressive stance-” “Let me show you to your room,” I interrupted and proceeded up the rickety-water drenched steps to the second floor. “Oh, of course. Thank you, again.” “Don't mention it.” And unlike the thousands of times I had said that line previously in my life, this time I had meant it with the most certainty I would likely ever have. Opening up the door to my apartment, I turned on the lights to reveal a very Spartan and sparsely decorated living room. Kicking off my shoes, I bid this stranger do the same and then I lead him to the bedroom. Only two piles of laundry occupied it. One arguably clean and one needing a wash. “This is your room,” I introduced. His corduroy blazer smelled worse than the pile of my unwashed clothes so I assumed neither would serve each other poorly. He fumbled
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thump. I stepped back outside into the crisp. I stayed in the shadows and watched. You're on your own for a bit. No one stirred in the CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . A laugh heard at a distance. I sleep out in the living room. You'll have to use the light from the closet.” “Oh. Darkened and tinted windows. 99 around for a light switch in the darkened bedroom before I walked over to the open closet and flicked on the light in there. “Okay. thump.” Grabbing another pack of cigarettes from the counter. “Sorry. book of poetry crooked underneath his arm. still lying lifelessly on the grass. Pressing the filter of a Marlboro to my lips. A souped up Honda Civic rolled down the street. no lights in here. I'm going to go smoke a cigarette and go to bed. I looked back down at the darkened shape of Cole. The light thudding of loud electronic music resounded across the dog park that separated the apartment buildings. I never use this room. A woman called out for someone. no problem. pushed so far out it obscured his shape altogether.” I concluded. cold air and removed the cellophane to access a fresh cigarette. not a problem. I stepped gingerly down the steps.” “Yeah.” he replied. Dogs barked their complaint. Smoke plume. A salty exhale of breath and I walked to the limits of the stairs. I watched the lighter flame turn the end into an ember. Thump. Another deep exhale of smoke. Cole's body emitted no steam. The cold began to dig into my skin. “Bathroom is across the hall. Whiskey shakes.
the pale ambient light filtering in through the blinds and the open door offered a degree of illumination. “hey!” The shorter man with the flat-billed ball cap slapped her shoulder and she emitted a quick yelp. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . I couldn't hear them talking but I could tell words were being exchanged. I closed my eyes and counted slowly to ten. Sheets stained and dirty. I picked up a dirty napkin and flicked off the light switch. The girl patted him on his shoulder and I heard her throaty voice yell. When I opened them. His beanie was comically big for his head but effectively made it look like he was wearing a large condom over his dome. and still other things. which covered my hand. Lights were on but nobody looked outside. I quickly grabbed the pistol from the nightstand and shoved it into my coat pocket. The napkin. the crinkle of wadded tissues. Another jolt of panic shot up me. The bigger one turned around to face her. all of which were indistinguishable in the darkness. One looked at the other. felt over the ends of the protruding bullet at the top of the clip. I upturned the end of the blinds and saw darkened figures standing over Cole. She made a quick motion towards the open and darkened entrance to the deceased's former abode. The unmistakable scent of shit. piss. Hollow-point. mashing my cigarettes further down into the recesses of its berthing. They splayed the contents in their collective hands before the tallest of the three turned to depart. Pushing jeans and discarded underwear. A pistol with an extra clip of ammunition was left unattended on the nightstand. One reached down and dug through Cole's back pocket. napkins. Pillows tossed about. Shapes cast shadows on the blinds outside his bedroom. 100 vicinity. and dried semen and feet assaulted my nostrils. I fought the immediate revulsion and found a space beneath the bed under which I could crawl. I got down on the carpet on the side of the bed that obscured the doorway. Stubbing out my cigarette I walked through the open glass patio door. The bedroom door was open and I stepped through. Two men and a very skinny girl in tight jeans.
The dog was long gone but her discarded waste. Some muffled noises. Didn't Cole have a dog? Or was it his girlfriend's? I couldn't remember but the horrific realization of my back pressed against something cold and clay-like brought me to the remembrance of that sorted detail. “We gotta make this quick. I gritted my CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . Most of which were comically boisterous. The whiskey had left. “I can't see shit in here. Another fear entered my mind as I imagined police showing up to find these three and then finding me beneath the bed of a deceased man. My bladder contained the last survivors of my night of drinking and sorely it was pressed to release them. The light refracted beneath the bed and I saw wadded up underwear of both sexes. I was positive of it now. check this out-” “-What the fuck?!” “Keep your voices down. Impossible to tell. One. Another wave of revulsion reverberated through me.” the girl reminded. The crush of glass. I'm guessing the shorter one. cursed as he stumbled over the coffee table.” a man spoke in a hushed tone. Movement.” another retorted. I think the larger man. Lights were turned on.” the girl whined. “Turn the fucking light out. 101 These all muffled my crawl beneath the thin iron frame of Cole's king sized bed. spilling its messy contents onto an already sodden dwelling. I heard the unmistakable noise of the bong clattering to the carpet. My heart pounded in my ears as I heard the interlopers enter. his felonious semi-automatic pistol in my pocket alongside a clip of hollow-point nine-millimeter bullets. One had distinct spots of darkened and dried blood about where the crotch and anus rests. man. “There's some rock-” “Dude. A higher pitched voice. was mushed into the fabric of my black wool overcoat.
” he called out. Fingerprints and evidence be damned. I could tell CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 .” another agreed. we gotta bounce. Clothes fell about onto the muddled mess of dirty and discarded items. “Fa-cking sweet. each jump tapping against my skull. “Dude.” the girl added.” “Come on Daryl. The flurry of items ceased dropping by my head. attempting to be the voice of reason to this intrepid incursion. A second set of sneakers appeared. My eyes welled up with tears.” “We don't have time. The springs bounced comically as he rooted quickly through the top drawer of a nightstand.” “One second. 102 teeth. And I saw over-sized Vans Sneakers at my eye level. A popped white flash in my eyes and the irony taste of blood welled in the crest of my upper lip. Then they were gone and replaced by the springs of the mattress pressing painfully onto my face. check out the bedroom.” I had the pistol pointed straight up to where a ridge formed between the imprints of his two knees. “What the fuck is it?” No response was spoken but by the sliding of his knees on the mattress. Let's get the fuck out of here. knees still firmly on the bed. Footsteps. I turned my head to the side and pressed the dirty napkin in my pocket to my nostrils. Maybe the mattress would muffle the shots. “Dude. I stifled my every instinct to cry out.” “One second. He was into the top dresser. Another hop and the interloper's knee was center atop my nose. “The cops are probably on their way.
From my vantage point beneath the bed. Especially with them abandoning the concept of keeping the lights off and their voices quiet. The girl low crawled into the bedroom from the hallway. My finger slid across the safety.” “Fuck you. it seemed like it may be the least of my worries. A light giggle came from both of them. I adjusted the cant of the barrel ever so slightly. less CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . A pile of socks and underwear at my feet hopefully disguised the soles of my shoes. I could see the pale light illuminating the ransacked living room and the relative positions of the three interlopers scattered about the bedroom floor. It was beginning to look like an all or nothing situation. But. My breathing was slow. Hearing them panic made me. The shorter one. The longer the three of them stayed here. “Come on.” the girl called out and shut out the living room lights. “Somebody's coming. All three hit the ground. Maybe they’d see the gun and scatter like cockroaches. “We should've fuckin' bolted when we had the chance. it managed to calm my own a bit. Daryl. at this point. my eyes slowly adjusted to the ambient light of the streets. my chances of escaping undetected lessened.” she whispered back. 103 his weight had shifted to demonstrate some object to his companion. with the Vans sneakers. was lying with the soles of his shoes towards me. for some reason.” Daryl asked. With the lights out. This may be the quicker way of wrapping this up. I kept track of my breath for what seemed like an eternity before two Vans sneakers appeared on my side of the bed. “Who's comin'. “I dunno. We waited. Quick.” the girl called out from the living room. I could hear their hurried and rushed breathing and somehow.” the shorter one retorted through bared teeth.
” “Shut up.” the girl repeated. There were too many shadows to count and it simply turned into a blur of disjointed movements. That was a good thing.” she rasped as she crawled over Daryl's body and made her way between the two. Wasn't broken. Four-five-six-seven-eight? Shooting my way out of this one was quickly shaping up to be an impossibility. the shorter one began to move around. “We're not fuckin' movin'. we need to get the fuck out of here. facing away from me. She began to crawl into the pile before the smell hit her and she scurried back to her original position in the doorway. move over. A lighter came out and was CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . Shadows flooded the living room. I checked the napkin fixed to my bleeding nose. The bleeding from my nose appeared to have staunched a bit. “Dude.” Daryl hissed. My heart rate shot right back up.” the shorter one hissed. I put the bloody paper rag in the same pocket. “No fuckin' way. That was one. The lights were never turned on. By the time I got to a hundred. We were all in this together now. “Somebody's comin'. Light reflected off the bong as it was picked up and examined. Two and three would be difficult. The pistol barrel was leveled down at the space between the shorter one's prostrated legs. I counted my heartbeats. 104 panicked.” the girl hissed.” “What if they're callin' the cops?” “Shut up. My heartbeat slowly settled down to an almost normal pattering. on lookout in the hallway and still on her stomach. “Get under the bed. There was a beveled hill of disgusting undergarments and assorted objects between her and me as it was.
applied to the stopper. The telltale burbling noise came calling. Some light coughing followed and it was dropped back onto the carpet, where it sloshed even more fetid bong water on the discarded heaps of papers, clothes, pizza boxes and beer cartons. The shadows came towards the bedroom. My pulse quickened as the lights turned on. Screaming, yelling. The girl lunged into the walk-in closet. So much noise. It was impossible for my mind to conceive that we had all done our respective very best to remain so silent up to this moment. I stayed my position but observed bodies quickly flood the room. Lots of moving of feet. The shorter one fell back into the window blinds and I saw the blinds fall as scattered and broken plastic shards to the ground. The screaming of the girl was the loudest but Daryl's was close behind. A couple light thuds of flesh smacking against flesh. Grunting. A groan. A Steeler's logo from a sports coat obscured my vision of the shorter interloper, as shapes of other men overcame him. It was violent. It was not quick. The lights turned back out. Harsher voices of different men dropped back down to whispers. The girl was whimpering but neither Daryl nor the other man's voice was heard. She screamed as she was tossed onto the mattress. The pistol was already back out into my hand and my face instinctively moved to the side to prevent my previous encounters with bodyweight on the king sized mattress. The lights turned back out and my eyes were back to seeing nothing but black. “Shut the fuck up,” called out one of the men. These voices were throatier. Darker. Coarser. Older. “Shut that bitch up,” bellowed another one. I felt the imprint of her smaller, wiry frame pressed against the mattress but there was gravity atop it, pressing it further into the springs. Knees pressed into the mattress. Shoes of all different types surrounded me. “Cops are gonna be here any sec,” whimpered the girl. “Bitch, cops ain't comin'. This the Creek.”
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I couldn't make out all the shoes and certainly not if Daryl or the other one were amongst them. I heard a soft crying coming from somewhere. Blubbering, really. A light, soft blubbering. “My nuts,” I heard Daryl's voice whimper. “My balls are bleedin' out.” “Keep your bitch mouth shut, faggot.” “He needs to get to a hos-” A loud and dry slapping of hand to face rang out clearly in the room. Dresser drawers came crashing out. Noise conservation was forgotten. I heard a tearing sound of hard fabric and saw a piece of a jean leg come rolling to the ground. The girl cried out. A big hand reached down beside my face and pulled a wadded up pair of underwear. “Jam it up.” The crying was muffled. Another wave of revulsion pulsed through me but I was beginning to get used to it. I spent no time contemplating the events that lead up to this moment. There was no point. A pair of dirty white sneakers came around to my side of the bed. The tips of the man's shoes were touching the shoulder of my coat. I slid the pistol to my inside hand and canted it appropriately. About crotch level the bullets would fly, I estimated. It was impossible to be sure. I had fired pistols plenty but never with any great degree of accuracy or timing. And paper targets never moved on their own accord. The bullets never had to traverse springs and polyester stuffing to get to their targets. “Let's fuck this bitch, grab some shit and get the fuck out of here,” a raspy male voice concluded to the innumerable number whom occupied this room with me. The girl's face was merely inches from my own. My pulse was now racing faster and I felt beads of perspiration begin to form. “Shit's fuckin' wrecked in here,” another could be heard as he ransacked through a
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walk-in closet. “Come on, bitch,” a man said by the corridor side of the bed. There was a pained and muffled yelp as weight was applied downwards on the mattress, now resting atop my side-canted head. Some feet departed to go into the living room and kitchen. The clattering sound of things being stepped on and moved about. It was down to a single man when the clattering sound of heavily belted jeans hit the floor about his ankles. The mattress jolted and then let forth into a light creaking. A muffled shriek. “You like that, bitch?” I slid out into the expanse between the bed and the barren dresser. “You like that,” he repeated atop her. I saw the gleam of street light reflected across bare, gaunt buttocks. Knobby kneecaps. There was a pale and gray quality to the light that let me know morning was coming. No one responded to my presence. His back was towards me and her face was obscured. I took my time. The girl was making a gurgling noise I had never heard before in my life except on a YouTube clip of a baby being circumcised. “You shut your fucking whore mouth.” I slowly got up to eye level. I could see the man's lower back, bare and exposed and facing away. The shadows in the hallway all appeared to lumber like specters and ghouls picking over the remains of some carcass on the plains of the Serengeti. I saw the girl's socked foot overhanging on my side of the bed, twitching manically. The smell of the fossilized dog shit embedded into the back of my coat met the stale air of the room and coalesced into my nostrils. One of many unpleasant smells. My back tapped against the dresser and it shook violently but my pulse stayed steady. Grabbing the lone pillow from the bed, I pressed it to the man's lower back. The other hand placed the pistol barrel firmly into its furrows. There was a momentary jolt that ran up him as he felt the pillow touch the crest of where his vertebrae touched against
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skin. A hand came up as if to instinctively bat the pillow away, but it was all interrupted quite quickly. A flash, a sharp sizzling crack and a blackened scorched hole melted away the polyester stuffing on the inside of the pillow. His hands and arms whipped about, violently lashing out at anything and everything around him. The nightstand lamp came crashing down to the muddied floor. Dark, warm gushing viscera rolled onto the filthy mattress top and between the valley his hips had created with hers. Screams. Screaming. It was hard to keep track of where it came from. I moved past him, knowing I had no time to spare. The darkened shapes in the hallway all froze like a herd of deer caught in a spotlight. I leveled the pistol down the corridor but it was all quite unnecessary. Shapes scattered and fled through the open glass door. The girl violently shoved and pushed with her unrestrained arms and the man atop her fell writhing to the bedroom floor. The pale light of early morning began to shed a steady blue glow across the living room. There were no moments to lose. I rushed out into the living room to see men flee across the dog park, one tripping and falling over Cole’s lifeless body. The girl shoved past me and similarly ran out through the porch. I left through the front door, which offered me faster access to the stairs that lead to my own apartment. Rushing up the stairs, sprinting over two or three at a time until I made it to my landing, I ham-handedly pushed my way through the door into my apartment, plunging myself back into total darkness. The blinds rattled back and forth as the cold morning air rushed in with me. So many smells were in my nostrils. Gunpowder and burning polyester now being more pervasive than the others. I heard the toilet flush and I raised the pistol to eye-level. A dark shape emerged and I heard a dry, jittery laugh. “Dude, I found your book on 17th century poets in your closet,” Brandt said before ricocheting off the doorframe of the bathroom, book clutched tightly in hand. My lungs
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109 expelled a torrent of air as I calmly put the pistol into my coat pocket. Oblivious to all that had passed. “Away despair! my gracious Lord doth heare. “You've got dog shit all up on the back of your coat. Cole rolled onto his side. Peaceful. smelling his hands. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . Brandt ran right into the back of my coat and let out a stretched guffaw. “Hey. A moment passed before I lead the blind poet down the rickety stairs. Brandt strolled triumphantly into the living room. I could still see Cole lain out on the grass..” His eyes raced about side to side as he searched for the words.” he recited with gusto. “I don't know how to say this but. Tobacco flakes and nose blood.. Brandt kept trying to open the passenger’s side door.. wet napkin.” “Okay. So still. A squirrel chittered and a bird called out to a sun not yet over the treetops. reciting aloud from his newfound book of poems. Cole remained in his final resting place – face down in the dew-covered grass and muck. Years of hard living and neglect finally. I was greeted with its crisp and utter silence. But I-” “Let's go. “Dude. coughing and sputtering. Never cared for George Herbert anyways. fruitlessly. My other hand fumbled around for the remains of my cigarettes and pulled out only a wadded. Through the rearview. “Want to go to Raleigh?” “Uh-yeah.” I interrupted.” I tossed the coat into the backseat of my car and plopped down into the driver’s seat.” he conceded.” he chittered.” Unlocking the door and stepping out into the early morning air./ Though windes and waves assault my keel. thanks. He doth preserve it: he doth steer. “Let me just put your book-” “Keep it.. I'll get you breakfast.
staring as Cole’s muddy body shambling back into his apartment.” Brandt nagged. or San Diego.” Brandt began as he switched to the local Penguin radio station and I tuned him out. I stood. 110 “Dude. At least he wasn’t blathering on about poetry. Brandt dutifully got in and sat in his passenger’s seat. “Dude. I was thinkin’. once found and depressed. Other cars in the parking lot were beginning to start up for the early commute to work and I seamlessly pulled my car out and into that line of traffic. aghast. Toxic Narcotic blared painfully across the speakers. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . your car is locked. punk rock. My fingers fumbled for the unlock button on the door and.
and the universe. visiting a variety of exotic places. and drawing for animation and pleasure. 111 About the Author James England James England has gotten a regular gig as a talk show host in his bathroom. where he interviews himself about the nature of life. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . reality. He also enjoys making nice cups of French-pressed coffee.
be. North Carolina. 112 No Pants Publications is an independent publishing company based out of Wilmington. CAPE FEAR CHRONICLES: VOLUME 1 . If you are interested in learning more about No Pants Publications. please check out its website at nopants.