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