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