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Michael V. Waechter
Illustration by Christopher Wilbur
Jonathon sat on his fluffy black couch eating a bag of jelly beans and watching the movie “Glitter,” thinking about how badly it sucked. The movie was very pink, and he was not in a pink mood today. In fact, he was more in a brown mood, and his thoughts drifted off to the closet on the other side of his living room in which a brown leather spring jacket was currently hanging.
Jonathon could see that closet, constructed right next to the front door of his apartment with the sunlight filtering in through the giant picture window on the right wall from where he sat highlighting it with a fuzzy glow. He stared at it, more entertained by the brown wooden door than the Mariah Carey mess occurring on his television screen. He slowly pulled a jelly bean from the bag without looking, pressed it to his lips, and licked it into his mouth with his tongue. It tasted orange, and he was not in an orange mood today.
Almost against his will, Jonathon discovered his large body pulling itself from the couch and stomping across the living room to the closet where his right hand gripped the brass handle, gave it a turn, and pulled the door open. His arms reached in and returned a moment later with the brown leather jacket dangling from his fingertips. He pulled the jacket over his torso, not daring to attempt buttoning for fear of ruining it. Then he returned to the couch as Mariah Carey threw glitter at him through the television screen to get his attention. She was dancing.
Jonathon snuggled into the warmth of his jacket, feeling contently brown. He watched the television screen. Mariah was reaching her hand out to him, her palm outstretched.
“I want a jelly bean,” she said.
“I don’t have any more pink ones,” Jonathon responded.
Mariah’s hand dropped to the floor and gripped the carpet. She pushed her other arm through the screen as well and began hoisting herself into the living room.
“Give me jelly beans!” she yelled.
Jonathon quickly grabbed the television remote from the couch cushion next to where he sat and mashed the power button. Mariah vanished as the screen went dark. Outside the picture window a bluebird had been watching him, and he was not in a blue mood today.
The bluebird was perched on a thin, dead tree branch that protruded just slightly into view through the window and pushed against the glass. The bird was up against the window now, making funny faces at Jonathon as he watched. Then the bird pulled its head back and flung its beak against the glass making a loud clicking noise that echoed throughout the apartment. The bird pulled its head back and once again pecked at the glass.
The pecking increased in intensity, and Jonathon felt his head throb with each click. He dug his hand deep into his bag of jelly beans, grabbed a giant fist-full, and flung them at the window where they hit in a series of clacks before falling to the floor. The bluebird pecked harder.
“Stop it!” Jonathon threw another handful of jelly beans. He grabbed the remote again and switched the television back on. “There! There’s your jelly beans, you stupid, anorexic whore!” he screamed.
Mariah pulled herself out from behind the screen and crawled across the floor to begin collecting the fallen jelly beans, frantically digging them out of the carpet and stuffing them into her mouth. Outside the picture window the bluebird pecked the glass so hard it broke through. Glass shards burst inward, sparkling around Mariah as they fell. The bird began flying circles around the ceiling.
Jonathon’s head was exploding. He could hear the furious sounds of mastication as Mariah crunched her teeth, turning mouthfuls of jelly beans into goo. Her throat made gurgling noises and snorts as she hastily swallowed to make room for more. The bluebird’s wings were flapping in a constant rhythm as it kept circling. More bluebirds perched themselves on the branch outside the window to peck at it, filling the room with a sound reminiscent of a hail storm.
Jonathon pushed his hands against his ears. “Stop it! Make it stop!” He was rocking back and forth. More bluebirds perched on the branch, weighing down the tree to which it was attached so more branches could dip into view. From one of these new branches clung a single green leaf, and he was not in a green mood today.
He felt like his brain was four sizes too big for his head and was trying to erupt from his skull. The bluebird circling overhead dive-bombed him, quickly pecking his hand before returning to the ceiling. A trickle of red blood seeped out, and he was not in a red mood today. He screamed and rocked harder, knocking the bag of jelly beans off the couch to spill across the floor in yellows, greens, purples, and oranges.
“Stop it, you damn colors!” Jonathon pushed the palms of his hands so tightly against his earlobes he felt as though he might crack his head. “I’m in a brown mood, today! BROWN!” Jonathon pulled off his brown leather jacket and shivered. He threw the jacket at the bluebird and ran to his bathroom as Mariah clawed her way into the middle of the living room shoveling jelly beans into her mouth so frantically that they were falling, saliva covered, from the sides of her lips.
Safely inside the tiny bathroom that contained nothing more than a small toilet, a singleperson shower, and a counter just big enough for the porcelain sink, Jonathon slammed the door, gripped both sides of the counter tight enough to almost crack it, and stared at himself in the mirror above the sink. He engaged in deep breathing exercises and took a brief mental vacation to a mountaintop in Tahiti. Then he opened the medicine cabinet hidden behind the mirror, grabbed a prescription pill bottle from one of the shelves, and downed a Risperdal tablet without bothering to take it with water. He continued gripping the counter and closed his eyes, listening to the murmur of noise coming from his living room. There was pecking, flapping, chewing, and a new sound of white noise coming from fuzz on the television screen.
“I like brown, I like brown, I like brown…” he whispered to himself as, very slowly, the noise outside the bathroom door began to fade. He continued his chant until the pecking, flapping, chewing, and white noise disappeared and all went quiet. The throbbing in his head subsided, and he found the courage to open his eyes.
Jonathon unlocked the bathroom door, opened it just a crack, and peered down the hallway into the living room. The carpet appeared free of jelly beans, the bluebird was nowhere to be found, and Mariah was frozen in an amusing dance pose on the television screen. He pushed the door of his bathroom open further allowing his giant body to fit through as he returned to the living room.
The room was dark now as the sun was deep in the process of setting. Jonathon ran his hand along the picture window through which the bluebird had broken through and discovered that it was solid and free of cracks or holes. He found his brown leather jacket lying in a heap on the floor. He picked it up gently and returned it to its hanger in the closet. Right in front of the couch was his bag of jelly beans that had fallen but had not actually spilled across the floor. He picked up the bag, sat back down on the couch, and pressed the play button on the television remote to continue watching “Glitter,” thinking about how badly it sucks. The movie was very pink, and he was not in a pink mood today.
"The first time I met Sarah was when I hit her with my car." And so begins the whimsical, yet disturbing, "43", just one of the offerings in a collection of 6 short stories spanning nearly 200 pages. This time around, author Michael V. Waechter swaps out gore and curse words for crudeness and racism; all the while walking the line between downright indecency and laugh-out-loud satire. Bringing together two fan-favorites, "The Chronicles of Mr. Restricted" and "The Frisbee Diaries," reedited and in print for the first time, "Normal People in a World Gone Crazy" is a circus full of both real and fictional characters. Learn the secrets of a stranger's phone call in "The Chronicles of Mr. Restricted ," explore the world of Walter Denton as he works on collecting his 43rd restraining order in "43", relive the crazy Mariah Carey hallucinations of the schizophrenic Jonathon in "BROWN", applaud for the fire-loving Mr. Pancake in "Fire Pants", experience a Frisbee-playing midget in "The Frisbee Diaries"... all leading up to the innocently racist and hilarious satire, "Oh, Black People! The Musical." Oh yes... it's very wrong. "Normal People in a World Gone Crazy", loaded to the seams with dark humor, is a sinful delight!
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Michael V Waechter is one of the writing community's newest emerging authors. “Normal People in a World Gone Crazy” marks his second publication after the success of the short story “Hello, Mr. Lion.” Mr. Waechter is a 25-year-old graduate of the University of Toledo and has recently relocated from Ohio to San Diego, California where he currently has two novels in progress. His major project yet untitled; an epic spanning 7 years, 7 days, and 7 states about a young man, plagued by visions that become progressively apocalyptic, who embarks on a cross country trip to jump off the south rim of the Grand Canyon; is deep into the writing process and is currently being marketed to agents. His second novel, Running Over Judith: A Whimsical Tale of Life Before Death, is currently in the outline stage.
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