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viII. One, No. One .. April

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Motorcy le Hero She wiggled her hips and Nate Shortt wondered what an appropriate tip for a hooker might be. Twelve percent? He was drinking from a bottle of Harley's whiskey. Each sip burned his lips. The girl was weari.ng a leather skirt. Nate wanted to taste it. He was a hunchback with a black eye. He knew she didn't really want him. They were in a. en-dollar-an-hour type place down on Main street. Nate remembered a party there a couple of years back. A kid from New Hampshire with thick glasses had been giving tattoos in the bathroom. Nate's shirt was off. "Where'd you get those scars," the girl asked with her tits. "I used to be married." Nate took a drink "You look awfully young to have been married." Nate thought she was so white. He said: "You look awful," and pulled out his cock. "What the Hell is that?" the girl gasped. "It's my cock," Nate said. "That's gonna cost you extra," sh aid. Her hands were on her hlp Nate said "Let me just taste your ass through that skirt and I'll jerk myself off."
!I0.K."

The girl quatted over Nate's face. He pushed his tongue out into the night. It tasted like strawberries.

Human/Cyborg Sometimes when they fuck, she forgets that he's a human. Sometime when they fight,

Relations

he forgets that she's a woman .

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Love is a $5.00 Haircut

I didn't want to create
a misunderstanding, so maybe llet you go to bed feeling unloved. Or maybe it was all in my head Or maybe it was the beer, and the weed, and the hour, but I've always thought you were beautiful, even before 1 met you, and I'm pretty sure I saw you, once or twice, looking past my

bullshit
and finding something attractive about my $5.00 haircut and my Salvation Army wardrobe. So this is just an apology. Sometimes love

is misunderstanding,
and sometimes,

it's a $500 haircut.

Welcome to HelJ It was Tobe's first day in Salfield and the air smelled like someone had struck a strike anywhere anywhere and lit a fart on fire. Tobe didn't like the smell of burning shit and sulfur the way he liked the smell of the yellow, rubber gloves that his mom wore when she washed the dishes; the way he liked the smell of his sister'S gym shoes, or that pair of canvas sneakers with the thick sale that she only wore in Summer, Tobe's parents had gotten a divorce. His father was a medic in the avy, His mother was a psychiatrist. Tobe's father moved to Georgia after the split His mother moved to Salfield. Salfield was a suburb of Logo City and Tobe's mom was hoping to start her own business there, Tobe and his sister Lisa had moved with her. "These children deserve a stable life," Judge Roberts decreed at the divorce hearing. "I'm sorry, Mr. Leigh, but the armed forces are no place for a child." That was six weeks ago. Tobe was sitting on his bed looking at a new issue of Fango ria with Bruce Campbell on the cover. flis mother knocked lightly on the door, "Tobe, why don't you go outside?" she said, "Get some fresh air, It's no good staying inside all the time. Your skin will turn yellow without sunlight." Lisa had gone into the city with her new friends to buy some Misfits records at Bad Habits. Tobe wa too young to drive anywhere, and too young to have friends that drove. A few blocks North of the new house, Tobe found a small park with a thick clump offir trees like an island in its center, He climbed into the thicket and leaned against a low branch. He had an issue of Tales From the Crypt folded in the back pocket of his jeans, He pulled it ree and flipped to a story. "This is the Goblin Wood," a voice said from behind rum, Tobe turned and stared into the purple haze of sunset. James was silhouette at dusk. "Who are you?" Tobe asked. "My name is] ames," The boy sai d as he stepped out of the light and into focus. Tobe saw hard lines etched in his face James said: "You're squatting in the Goblin Wood." He leaned into Tobe and whispered: "The goblins don't like that." Tobe folded the comic book and pushed it back into his pocket, He eyed the strange, new boy suspiciously He said: "What the Hell are you talking about?" "I'm talking about the goblins who live in this wood," James said, sinking back, He looked to his left and then his right. He said: "You wanna see a naked picture of my sister?" Tobe said: "Okay," and shrugged, James stuffed his plump f st into the front of his tattered blue jeans" too tight in the crotch and across the thighs. "1 found it in my dad's dresser," he said, and held a shiny, dirt-specked Polaroid to Tobe. The picture had a crease running unevenly across its surface. "It was in his sock drawer," Tobe took the photo. It showed a naked blond girl squatting over a wine bottle. There was a shadow a ross her breasts. There were tears streaking her cheeks. Something about the picture made Tobe feel sick to his stomach, He handed the photo

back to James. "I saw one of 'em once," James said. "One of what?" Tobe asked. "The goblins, stupid. It was real scary." Tobe sai d. "1 don't bel ieve you. "So," James said. The sun was a thin slit over the buildings to the West. Tobe monitored its tepid death from the Goblin Wood. James kicked at the ground. "I know cooler places than this,' he said. Tobe watched the sky grow black over the lights of downtown Salfield like a bedsheet settling over a pillow "I gotta go home," he said, forcing a smile. James shrugged. "We'll go tomorrow," he said. That night, Tobe had a nightmare.
II

Plot Point Two The night of the storm, Nate Shortt let Ralph Valentine borrow his car. It was raining too violently for RaJph to walk, and Nate was too drunk to drive. Ralph would have just spent the night on the couch, but had to work early in the A.M. When he brought the car back the next afternoon, the two went for a walk. "Didja hear about Sunshine?" Ralph said. Sunshine was a friend of Rajph's first girlfriend, Crystal. Nate hadn't seen him since Ralph and Crystal's breakup. "What about him?" Nate asked. "He's gay. Carne out of the closet." "No shit?" "No shit, He's dating a guy and everything." They ducked into a used bookstore. "You know," Nate said, "I always suspected Sunshine was ahoma." "W11Y'S that?" Ralph asked. "Because he was always so damn moody just like a woman you know?" Nate said. Ralph shrugged. "Yeah," he said, "Sunshine was definitley moody" Then he added: "We're alJ kinda moody." Nate slipped a Lovecraft book from its place on the shelf "Cool," he said. "I don't have this one." "So get it," Ralph prodded. "I don't have any money," Nate said. "So get it." Ralph sli pped his empty hand under his jacket in an exaggerated pantomime of shoplifting Nate aid: "Are you nuts? I'm twenty-two now. Do you know what would happen to me if! got caught. ..getting something?" Ralph smiled. He said: "Pussy." Nate put the book back on the shelf "Let's get out of here," he said. They stepped out into the street. The day had been overcast and rainy, but DOW the sun was peeking from behind clouds, reflecting still damp streets, blinding the men as they headed back towards Nate's apartment Ralph punched Nate in the forearm with his left hand. "That's for being a pussy," he said. ate kept his eyes on the slow, slick streets as his feet carried him home.

"Dr:nk

Grrrl Trouble They passed a bookstore and Ralph Valentine slapped Nate Shortt across the forearm with the back of his left hand and said: "Let's duck in here for a sec, " and they did. "Lee used to do this all the time." Ralph explained as he led Nate through the store. Lee was a friend of theirs from high school. He was currently serving a three year sentence for manslaughter. "He'd go to bookstore and flip through chick magazines." ate said: "You mean girlie mags. like Hustler and Skinflint?" " 0, no, no I" Ralph Valenti.ne shook his head violently and reached for an issue of Cosmopolitan with Sandra Bullock on the cover. He framed the book with his hands as he presented it to Nate. "Chick magazines, man," he said "You can Jearn a lot about what bitches want from guys by reading these things." Ralph pulled the magazine back into his own space and began flipping through the glossy pages. " 'm not sure about aU this," Nate said, looking aimlessly around the store. He buried his bands in his pants pockets. Ie tried not to make eye contact with the cute redhead working the counter. Ralph looked up from the magazine, disbelief oozing from every pore on his face. "Do you remember how lucky Lee was with the ladies?" Nate Shortt nodded. Ralph Valentine scoffed. He said: "And yet still you doubt the power of the chick mag?" Nate floundered, nervous and speechless. Ralph laughed devilishly. Nate tried to ignore him. Ralph went back [Q the magazine.

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