2051: a space monstrosity (part vi)

“Earth has been destroyed in a nuclear hellfire,” I informed the crew. “The Sagan’s communication beacon has been pinging mission control for the last 50 years, ever since we entered hibernation stasis. We haven’t received a response back. It is safe to assume that all nuclear powers on Earth have indeed initiated Mutually Assured Destruction, leaving the planet in a radiated mess, meaning it won’t be safe to return there for the next 250 years.”

“279 years to be precise,” Dr. Jackass interrupted.

“In all likelihood,” I continued, “we are the last remaining members of Space Fleet, and possibly the last Earthlings.”

The crew looked at one another.

“When did you learn about this?” Valdez asked.

“Not long after we departed Tranquility Bay,” I replied.

“So we could have aborted the mission, returned to Earth, and Smashhouse would still be alive,” Valdez retorted.

“My orders were to continue with the mission and initiate population measures on the planet orbiting Tau Ceti. We have a responsibility not only to Space Fleet, but to humanity as well, to maintain our race.”

Valdez threw up her hands in frustration. “What about our responsibilities to the people of Earth?!” she cried, then stormed out of the briefing room.

Patel spoke up. “What about that ‘God’ thing?” he asked.

“Patel, you don’t seem to be too disturbed about this news,” I said.

“Sir, I’m in Space Fleet. We all knew the risks when we signed up.”

I nodded. “Forget about the ‘God’ situation. The being they have captured underground is indeed an intelligent life form, but I believe its intentions are deceptive. In my assessment, it’s too dangerous to bring it on this ship and back to Earth. Therefore, that thing, whatever it is, is the Ishnarian’s problem. I believe our best course of action is to remain here, under the good will of the Ishnarians.”

“Sir,” Hanson interrupted. “I’m in agreement with Valdez. We must return to Earth and assist in recovery efforts.”

“Hanson,” I said, “there may be nothing to return to. And that’s to say nothing about surviving hibernation stasis.”

“Earth is our home sir! We must do something!”

“Now I am the captain! And my orders are to remain here. Is that clear?”

“How can you be a captain when there is no Space Fleet?!” Hanson said and left the room in protest.

“I guess the meeting’s adjourned then,” I said. As everyone left the room, I pulled the Doctor aside. “Check on Valdez,” I told him. “Confirm that she’s pregnant. Run a medical exam if need be. We need to investigate the veracity of Yah’s claims.”

“Aye sir.”

I returned to my quarters and pulled out a bottle of bourbon. There was a knock on the door. “May I speak with you sir?” the voice asked.

It was Mwangi.

After my encounter with Yah, I had been reluctant to make eye contact with her. I took a big swig from the bottle and invited her in.

“What can I do for you Commander?” I asked.

“Sir, I didn’t want to bring this up in front of the crew,” Mwangi said, “but launch thrusters are blown in addition to the hydrogen drive being depleted. And with hibernation chambers being iffy at best, it appears that we’re stuck here.”

I started to rub my temples. “I can’t believe that Space Fleet sent us up in this piece of shit,” I said. “Is there anything you can do?”

“It’s normally a simple refueling process,” she replied, “but because we’re on a planet stuck in the 14th Century, it might take decades before I could develop the materials to even begin the process. I’m sorry Captain.”

I sighed. “It’s not your fault Commander,” I said.

“I guess you can call me Nia now.”

“Can I offer you a drink Nia?”

“I would love one sir.”

“Please, call me Bill,” I said as I poured her a glass. After I handed it to her, she stared at it for awhile in deep thought.

“I also want to tell you that even though you’re the captain and have to maintain a stoic distance away from the crew,” Nia said, “I have supported your decisions 100%. And I know these last few days have been difficult for you. But you don’t have to be a stranger. You have my support.”

“A captain is only as good as his crew, specifically his Chief Engineer,” I joked.

“Then you must not be a very good captain,” she laughed.

“Nonsense,” I said, “I’m thankful to have your support.”

There was an awkward silence for a few moments as we sipped our drinks. Finally, Nia smiled and spoke up. “So how are you going to spend the rest of your days on this planet?”

“Honestly, I haven’t thought about it,” I laughed. “I guess I’ll be a farmer. There’s nothing else to do on this forsaken planet.”

Nia leaned forward to touch my hand. “I could be a farmer’s wife,” she said.

I clasped onto her hand. “Now I just need to talk to the Ishnarians,” I replied.

2051: a space monstrosity (part V)- meeting God

“So you cast God into hell?” I asked Hazov as we were descending deep into the surface of Ishnar in an elevator.

“That’s one way of putting it,” he responded. “But be warned though: Yah can still read your thoughts. We have yet developed the technology to block that ability. Other than that, he is completely contained within the chamber.”

“How does this chamber work?” Dr. Jackass asked.

“The walls of the chamber itself is reinforced with titanium-like nano tubing. This prevents porous openings all the way down to the quantum foam level. Even God can’t penetrate past that micro surface,” Hazov said.

“Fascinating,” The Doctor replied. “How did you obtain this technology? Forgive me, but technology on Earth appears to be beyond that of Ishnar and yet we haven’t developed those capabilities.”

“This technology was given to us by the ‘God Species’, as your captain calls it. This is why our technological capabilities appear to be so uneven.”

“Indeed, your culture appears to be from the Middle Ages of Earth, yet you’re using interplanetary radios, plasma weapons, and advanced forms language translation.” the Doctor said.

“Doctor,” I interrupted, “you’re about to meet God…or the first CONFIRMED alien life…and this is what you’re interested in?”

“Captain, I understand that you’re nervous, but it is part of Space Fleet’s mission to study extraterrestrial cultures.”

I rolled my eyes.

Finally the elevator stopped roughly 8 km underground. As we walked through the corridor to Yah’s holding area, Hazov continued to brief us. “A transparent piece of aluminum will allow you to see into the chamber,” he said. “Yah can take any form he chooses, but it’s only a mirage. While he can read your thoughts, you cannot communicate telepathically. You will have to speak with him over the monitors, and he will do the same for you.”

When we reached the guards holding large plasma rifles, Hazov stopped us and pinned a device onto Dr. Jackass and me. “This is just a precaution,” he stated, “but Yah is highly radioactive. The chamber should contain the radiation, but should any leak, this device will absorb it.”

Hazov could see I was shaking nervously. “Captain, you’ll be fine,” he said to me, “sure Yah played a big part in our histories. But he’s not actually God. While his material is not fully understood, insofar as we can tell he is made of normal matter just like you and me. He can’t hurt you. So don’t let him get to you.”

Hazov smiled and patted me on the shoulder. Then the doctor and I proceeded past the guards. We were escorted down a long corridor, where there at the very end was a large square chamber with a medium-sized window revealing a radiant orange glow inside.

I walked up to the window. But I couldn’t tell anything discerning inside, other than the orange mist. “Can he hear me?” I asked one of the guards.

He nodded. Then I opened my mouth.

“I am Captain William Kananga of the USV Carl Sagan. My first officer here is Dr. Sergei Jackass. We are members of Space Fleet representing Earth: a planet that I believe you are familiar with.”

Moments went by and there was no response. I looked back to the guard. “Are you sure he can hear me?” I asked him.

Then a strange voice came over the monitor.

“I know who you are,” the voice said. It wasn’t a deep voice, certainly not one I would associate with God. But it had resonance.

“Of course,” I replied. “I understand that you wish to return to Earth. What is your past associations there?”

“Siddhartha Gautama, Moshes, Mohammed, Yeshua: the Carpenter of Nazareth,” the voice replied.

“I’m afraid that I’m unfamiliar with Moshes.”

“You know him as Moses. I gave him the Ten Commandments.”

“Right. That’s why he was glowing as he came down Mt. Sinai. He was exposed to high levels of radiation.”

“That’s why I said that no man can see my face and live. I gave mankind scriptures to protect them from themselves.”

“Unfortunately those scriptures have been used to justify hate, discrimination, and war for thousands of years.”

“Yes, but humankind were savages when I found them. I gave them the power of reasoning to help them grow. Evolve.”

“What good that did them. What about the Holocaust? Nuclear war?”

“I had nothing to do with that. If I was permitted to stay on Earth, I could have prevented all of that.”

“You seem to want to take credit for humanity’s successes but want to evade responsibility for all of its ills and your failure in preventing them. Even your own “scriptures” make you look like the bad guy.”

“Mistakes were made, of course. And I’m prepared to answer for those. But humanity needs me now, more than ever. Earth has been destroyed in a nuclear war, has it not?”

I looked over to a concerned Dr. Jackass and back to the chamber. “I know what you’re trying to do,” I said to Yah. “But you’re not God. You’re not an all powerful, all loving deity. You’re a charlatan that wonders from planet to planet, taking advantage of vulnerable species.”

“I know that you beat off to Commander Mwangi this morning,” Yah said.

“What’s that got to do with anything?”

“She’s going to have your child, ya know?” Yah continued. “You will be a better father to it than you ever were to the son you left behind on Earth to die in those nuclear bombs.”

“Hold it-“

“Commander Valdez is pregnant too. The late Commander Smashhouse is the father…”

“You’re not benevolent,” I interrupted. “You’re a sick, sad, and lonely being. Not worthy of our worship.”

“I am Alpha and Omega. The Beginning and the End. I shall have no other gods before me!” Yah declared as the orange glow morphed into a mirage of my late son.

“I’ve listened to enough of this hubris,” I said then stormed out of the corridor. As I walked passed the guards, I threw off the radiation device.

“Captain, are you all right?” the Doctor asked as he ran up behind me.

“What happened?” Hazov asked.

“Hazov, my recommendation is to sling that fucking thing in there right into the sun,” I said, then stormed into the elevator. Hazov and Jackass rushed in behind me. “Take me back to the surface!”

The two men were silent as I tried to cool down. As the elevator ascended, the doctor touched me on the arm.

“Bill,” Jackass said, “Yah may have a point.”

TO BE CONTINUED…

2051: a space monstrosity (part iv)- 1st contact

“So you’re telling me that God is actually a gas being…as opposed to a liquid and solid being like we are…comprised of mostly radon and xenon IN ADDITION to an energy source fundamental to the universe that has yet been discovered? So he’s basically a floating brain that can disappear and reappear through subspace, thus giving the appearance of being omnipotent and omnipresent. But he is actually locally bound by gravity, just like normal matter in the universe?” I asked Hazov.

“That is correct.”

“That’s crazy. If he’s gas and can disappear into subspace, then how did you capture him?”

“He’s not the only one ya know? We had help from members of his species. This particular “God”, as you call him, has been on the run for millennia. After we rebelled against Yah, as we call him, we were discovered by this particular alien race and they helped us capture him. This race of beings, or “gods” if you will, instructed us to put Yah on trial for his crimes against humanity. He was found guilty and placed within an inescapable gas chamber deep beneath the surface. The Gods recommended that we reach out to Earthlings, so that Yah can face his crimes there.”

“Why didn’t they reach out to us directly?”

“The Gods have a strict “no-interaction” policy with humans, a rule which Yah broke and the Gods temporarily suspended, which is why they helped us capture him.”

“I don’t know Hazov. If what you’re saying is true, there’s is no one alive today on Earth that could testify against him.”

“The Gods feel that there is no statute of limitations on such crimes. They’ve also provided evidence.”

“No court on Earth would accept this case. There’s no precedent and no direct testimony.”

“On the contrary. Yah is prepared to return to Earth to answer for his crimes.”

“Pardon?”

“He wants to right his wrongs.”

I laughed and threw up my hands. “In the last 20 minutes, I learned that there are humans on another planet and that God exists…in fact, MULTIPLE Gods exist…and this particular God was actually the Devil and he wants to repent. None of this sounds real. And besides, how did you guys get to Ishna? Are Earthlings descended from you, or are you descended from Earthlings?” I asked.

“We are descendants from the followers of Yah on Earth. The Gods were onto Yah’s activities there and he had to go on the run. A number of his followers went with him on a crude starship 1500 years ago, and that’s when they discovered this planet.”

“Why did the people of Ishna turn on him?”

“He was a tyrant. He stated that there should be no other gods before him. Strangely everyone assumed that he was the ONLY god. But this came under question by my grandfather, who challenged Yah’s authority. Yah was about to bring a plague onto Ishna for retribution but the Gods caught up with him. His rule was toppled, he was brought to trial, and then he was imprisoned.”

“What happened this God alliance that was after Yah?”

“They disappeared as mysteriously as they appeared.”

I rubbed my forehead. I was starting to have a headache. “So can I visit with Yah?” I asked.

“You can meet with him whenever you’re ready,” Hazov replied.

“I’m not ready,” I replied. “I must meet with my crew first.”

“Take your time.”

I returned to the Sagan and summoned the crew. “If you have religious convictions, I have some good news and bad news,” I said. “Good news is God exists. Bad news is he’s imprisoned on this planet.”

Patel and Hanson were shocked. “The fuck your talking about, Captain?” Patel asked.

“God’s an evil bastard apparently,” I replied. “He tortured the people of Earth and the people of this planet. But he’s wanting to change his ways and is prepared to face the people of Earth. Plus there are humans on this planet too.”

Everyone was confused. “How do you know they’re telling the truth?” Hanson asked.

“Well I just talked to the humans,” I replied. “As for other part, there’s only one way to find out: I’m gonna go talk to God.”

2051: a space monstrosity (part II)

“I never go into space sober,” I told Dr. Jackass.

The USV Carl Sagan departed from Tranquility Bay en route to Tau Ceti. The doctor and myself were doing preparations before addressing the crew.

“I just don’t think introducing yourself to the crew is a good idea when you’re drunk,” the doctor replied.

“I’ll decide what’s best for this mission.”

The two of us got into our dress blues and proceeded to the conference area where the crew was assembled. “Good afternoon,” I said, “I am Captain William Kananga. You may call me Bill. The gentleman standing next to me is Dr. Sergei Jackass. He will serve as the executive, chief medical, and chief science officer of this mission. We are currently en route to Tau Ceti, approximately 4 light years away, which would make this the first interstellar mission outside of the Solar System.”

The crew looked at one another, startled by this revelation.

“The objective of this mission was previously classified, but now it can be told,” I continued. “Space Fleet has received a transmission from a planet orbiting Tau Ceti. The information contained in this transmission is of the most extraordinary nature. In fact, it has the potential to be the most significant finding in human history. There is now considerable evidence for the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence. So our mission is to initiate first contact with these beings.”

I took a pause for dramatic purposes, then proceeded. “I’m sure you all have had time to meet with one another, but I will do some formal introductions. LT Commander Lauren Valdez is our Chief Pilot. LT Commander Dick Smashhouse, the co-pilot and navigator. Commander Nia Mwangi, Chief Engineer. LT Elizabeth Hanson and LT Arun Patel are also engineers serving under Commander Mwangi. In case you haven’t noticed, serving under my command are six very attractive people of both sexes: three males and three females from all corners of the Earth. This is done for the purposes of genetic diversity should we get stranded on this alien planet. Yes, we might have to fuck one another because this will be a long ass mission. Don’t worry about me though. My dick don’t work. Any questions?”

Commander Smashouse raised his hand. “Yes sir,” he asked, “can the Starship of the Imagination handle a mission of this magnitude? After all, she doesn’t have the best reputation.”

The crew laughed.

“Yes yes, I know about the reputation of the Sagan,” I replied. “But I assure you, with this new design and refit, she is now the finest ship in the Fleet. Anything else?”

Not a hand was raised.

“Then you have your orders. Once we reach the orbit of Jupiter, we will initiate the hibernation phase of this mission. DISMISSED.”

The crew disbursed to their respective stations. I met with Commander Mwangi to discuss the condition of the Sagan. “Centrifugal operations are fully functional,” she said, “our gravity is now comparable to Earth’s.”

“Very good,” I replied. “By the way, the Sagan is a good ship right? I hope I wasn’t blowing smoke up everyone’s ass.“

“Well,” she said and gave a long, uncomfortable pause. “I’ll just say that she can do the job. I’ll have a full report for you in the morning.”

“Thank you Commander. I’ll be in my quarters.”

I sat down at the edge of my bed and cracked open a beer. Dr. Jackass walked in moments later. “You should’ve packed liquor. It’ll last you longer,” he said.

“I did.”

“Are you feeling better now that you’re back in Space?”

“You know doctor, I know that you’re the Chief Medical officer, but I don’t need you to be my psychiatrist.”

“Jesus Bill! I’m just trying to have a conversation!”

“Well I’m still pissed off that Space Fleet has sent us on this wild goose chase. How can we initiate first contact with an alien species while Earth is an absolute dumpster fire?”

“Maybe a perfect world can never be achieved. But we should always pursue a better one.”

“Whatever Dr. Confucius.”

We were then interrupted by Commander Valdez over the intercom. “Sir, you have a subspace message coming in from Admiral Stockdale.”

“Put it through,” I groaned.

I put down the beer and booted up the computer. “To Captain Kananga: FOR YOUR EYES ONLY,” the message read. I tapped on the screen and a video of the Admiral popped up.

“Bill,” the Admiral said, “I regret to inform you that the war in North Africa has taken a turn. All nuclear powers have initiated Mutually Assured Destruction. The number of casualties is yet confirmed. The Fallout from this event will be considerable and all of Space Fleet personnel and equipment have been reassigned to assist in recovery efforts. In essence, Space Fleet is being disbanded. Therefore, this will be the final order from Space Fleet command: DO NOT abort mission. Repeat: DO NOT ABORT MISSION. The planet orbiting Tau Ceti likely has Earth-like conditions. It is advised to begin population initiatives there. Should that fail, use the hibernation chambers for as long as possible until radiation levels on Earth return to normal. This is a process that might take centuries. It is also advisable to not inform the crew of this development until after reaching Tau Ceti. It has been a pleasure serving with you Bill. Farewell.”

TO BE CONTINUED…

hi I’m glen greenwalled. AMA

Who questions the questioners?

***

It has been absolute Christmas for me the last few days. My blog’s existence has been vindicated by the conflict in Ukraine and the state of journalism reporting on it.

The internet really has ruined everything…especially the Twitterification of political discourse.

Case in point is Glenn Greenwald, sometimes referred to as the “GOAT” of journalism, who is now having an total fucking meltdown on Twitter.

Monitoring this situation, it has occurred to me that people can’t handle that multiple things can be true at once.

No, Greenwald is not a “Putin agent”. Yes, “propaganda” is bad, especially when it’s used to drum up war. And yes…Russia, led by an autocrat, invaded a sovereign country and no matter how terrible propaganda and American foreign policy has been, it doesn’t change the fact that….Russia, led by an autocrat, invaded a sovereign country.

I’m always hesitant to say that the “media lies to you”. It’s more complicated than that. What they’re actually doing is spin doctoring, omitting facts, and failing to interrogate all available information and opinions (but I guess in a certain sense, that is lying).

That’s why it’s up to YOU, fellow reader, to be honest enough with yourself to interrogate all available facts. That’s all we’ve got for the time being.

Because there is no trustworthy journalist or media figure. They’re all cynical actors until proven otherwise…especially the ones that have prior ideological convictions (what they are specifically for Greenwald, idk. But they’re easy to infer: has close associations with Noam Chomsky, his husband is a Socialist politician in Brazil, etc) and simultaneously criticize Big Tech yet profit off of it (via Substack, Twitter, etc)

But if you’re a Greenwald defender, relax: “iM jUSt aSkiNg QuEsTIons”

I’m gonna leave a link to these two articles here. Maybe they’re old. Maybe they’re outdated. Maybe they’re inaccurate. You be the judge.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/is-glenn-greenwald-the-new-master-of-right-wing-media

https://www.forbes.com/sites/maxrobins/2013/10/22/billionaires-want-to-pay-millions-for-journalists-who-make-trouble/?sh=68b3b4306e51

pennies for the dead (part viii)

Here we are! The conclusion to Pennies For The Dead.

I’m sorry that you’ve read this far 😔

I instantly wasted 5 bullets.

Sadly, I had to borrow a weapon from Pete. And let me tell you: it ain’t easy killing demons with a pocket knife.

In the midst of the mayhem, I lost track of Jezebel. “She escaped to the roof!” Pete yelled while decapitating a goblin.

I sprinted up the stairs to the very top of this 666-storied building. I was out of breath when I reached the roof. Jezebel was waiting.

“Your pathetic little weapon will do nothing to me,” she said.

“That’s not the first time I’ve heard that,” I replied.

Above the roof, Jezebel was opening a portal to Earth where all the spirits of this evil domain could trespass. I was running out of time. So I rushed Jezebel with the knife.

As I leapt towards her heart, she blocked my movement, knocking loose the pocket knife.

I was on the ground. Powerless. Jezebel laughed. “What a weakling,” she said as she put her pitchfork up to my neck.

“If you kill me,” I asked Jezebel, “where am I gonna go? I’m already in hell!”

“If you think it’s bad here, wait till I send you to Bridgeport!”

I closed my eyes in preparation for eternity. Then thunderbolts rained down on Jezebel. While Joe unleashed his unholy powers from the staff, Pete went absolute apeshit on Jezebel with his machete. This severely damaged her powers, thus closing the portal.

With her powers nearly drained, Jezebel stood at the edge of the roof. “Halt!” I yelled before Joe could make the final kill shot. “Jezebel still possesses Sheila’s body.”

I looked deep into Jezebel’s eyes. I could still see Sheila. “Sheila,” I pleaded, “I know that we never had sex because of my undiagnosed ED. I know that I’d often disappear into the bathroom and leave you with the bill. I know that I’d also clog the toilet and blame it on the cat,” I said, “but I also know that I love you and you should probably attend AA.”

Right then, Jezebel began to spastically writhe on the ground. The evil spirit departed Sheila’s body, and there alone stood a defeated Jezebel.

With one bullet left, I pulled out the .38. “Back to where you belong Satan: Massachusetts.”

I pulled the trigger.

The flash from the barrel echoed throughout Hell. In a puff of smoke went Jezebel.

I couldn’t believe it.

“Is she gone for good?” I asked Joe.

He looked out to the horizon. “We defeated her for the time being,” Joe said. “But the devil is never really gone. Where Jezebel resides now is in a hell of her own making, a place so unfathomable that God himself wouldn’t dare set foot. So Norway probably.”

I walked over to an unconscious Sheila. I kneeled down to awaken her. “What happened?” she asked.

“Just a temporary demonic possession. Nothing to worry about,” I said.

Sheila stood up and looked down to the sprawling city below. “Where are we?”

“We’re in Hell dear,” I said.

“It looks like Orlando.”

THE END

pennies for the dead ☠️ (part vi- all the exposition crap)

“So you’ve been in hell for 70 years Joe?” I asked.

“Why is that so hard for you to believe?”

“Did you die first? Or did you go down there for shits and giggles?”

“Unbeknownst to me, my family has been guarding this portal to hell for 200 years. Jezebel was a maid at our estate and I went outside my marriage to be with her. But Jezebel was secretly the devil and she cast me into the portal.”

“So is your body buried in that cemetery or what? If so, how the hell are you standing here with a flesh and blood body?”

“Don’t worry about it. The point is there’s been a rebellion in hell. Spirits are escaping to this earth and if we don’t stop Jezebel, there will be hell on earth!”

“Relax Joe, you’re just describing Toledo,” I said.

“You already made that joke.”

“How can three flesh and blood men stop an army of evil spirits?” Pete asked.

“While in Hell, I learned the ancient dark arts of Mesopotamia,” Joe replied. “I’ve been made a priest in these ancient religions. All I have to do is bless your weapon of choosing, and voila.”

“Can you bless the bullets of my .38?” I asked.

“Sure can.”

“Hell yeah!”

“What about my pocket knife?” Pete asked.

“That’s a pretty lame weapon, Pete.”

“Grab as many weapons as you can carry,” Joe replied.

“What about this machete?” Pete asked.

“What about this IWI Tavor TS12 shotgun?” I asked.

“Yes, yes. I will bless them all. We must hurry though.”

“Thanks Joe!” I said. “By the way, I’ve always wondered: what’s it like having sex with Satan?”

TO BE CONTINUED

pennies for the dead 💀 (part v)

“I don’t know Sheila,” I said, “you’ve faked demonic possessions before.”

“Try me, asswipe!” she replied. Then I pumped a few bullets into her chest.

Nothin

“Alright, so I guess you’re Jezebel,” I said. “Where’s Pete?”

“His soul resides in HELL for all eternity!!!!”

“Good, he’s a Boston sports fan,” I said, “he needs to know how that feels.”

“You will join him soon enough!”

“Sorry sister, I already live in Ohio.”

I pulled the trigger again but I already emptied the revolver. I threw the gun at her and started running down the hallway while screaming for my life.

I hid in the closet under the staircase. Of course, it didn’t take long for her to find me. Using her demonic powers, Jezebel began to eat my soul. I started praying. “God, I regret everything,” I said.

Then God responded. Thunderbolts began raining down on Jezebel from some unseen force and she retreated into the shadows. I was still alive.

I crawled out from the closet. In front of me stood a wizard-like figure dressed in white robes and holding a staff.

“Thank you Jesus,” I said.

“I’m not Jesus,” the figure replied. “I’m Joe Morris.”

I stood up. “Joe Morris? Shouldn’t you be 120 years old?”

“119 to be precise.”

Then Pete ran down the hallway. “Ty! I’m still alive!” he said.

“I thought you went to hell,” I replied.

“I did. It ain’t such a bad place. I got to meet Dave Cowens.”

“He’s still alive dumbass.”

“Are you sure? By the way, did you piss your pants?”

“I did. It’s a side effect of my elavil prescription. Where did Jezebel go?”

“She went back to hell to lick her wounds,” Joe Morris said. “We must go to the cellar, return to hell, and make sure she never returns.”

“Fuck that,” I said. “This ain’t my problem. I’ll just collect the money from Dorthy and be on my merry way.”

Right then, a possessed Dorthy flew down from the ceiling and attacked me. While I fought her off, Joe Morris released more thunderbolts from his staff. Finally, she flew off of me and began writhing on the ground before whatever cursed spirit that possessed her left her body. Dorthy was dead.

“Mother!” Pete screamed.

“She hasn’t been your mother for a long time,” Joe said.

I took a moment to gather myself.

“Alright,” I said, “I need to change my pants before we go to the cellar,”

TO BE CONTINUED…

pennies for the dead (part iii?)

“Sorry babe,” I said to Sheila. “I got the whiskey dick.”

“It’s alright, I’m used to it,” she replied. “Maybe you shouldn’t drink before sex.”

“I wouldn’t know. Never tried it.”

Sheila climbed out of bed and got dressed. As she put her shirt on, she noticed the crap on the floor. “What’s this stuff?” she asked.

“Don’t touch it,” I said, “that’s a spirit box and a Ouija board. You might awaken a demon from hell. Trust me, that’s one can of worms you can’t close.”

“What are you doing with that?”

“It’s some case that I’m scamming *ahem* I mean helping some old lady solve.”

“Sounds dangerous.”

“Oh yeah, totally.” I looked over to the clock and noticed it was 7:30pm. “Speaking of, gotta get to work.” I got out of bed and threw my pants on. “You can stay here for the night,” I told Sheila, “but remember: DO NOT touch that damn Ouija board.”

I was running late. I had to meet Pete at the Morris estate where he was going to shed some light on Jezebel’s identity.

I arrived 45 minutes later. It was nearly pitch black. I grabbed my flask and flashlight and got to work. “This better be worth my time,” I told Pete.

“I told you that you’re not gonna need that .38,” he said.

“You let me be the judge of that.”

We began venturing into the woods. There was allegedly a cellar back behind the mansion that contained the remains of Jezebel. “I’ve been told all my life that this is an old Indian burial ground,” Pete said.

“Why didn’t you tell me that before I pissed on that hedge?” I asked.

“There it is,” he said. I shinned my flashlight in that direction. The cellar was only a few yards ahead.

“How far down is it?” I asked.

“I don’t know. I never been down there.”

I lit up a cigarette. “You go first,” I said.

Pete gathered up his courage and proceeded towards the cellar. He took a deep breath before going down the stairs. The cellar was deep. Too deep for my liking.

I put one hand on the .38.

Finally we reached the bottom. We were standing in a wide, musty corridor with multiple chambers. “What the hell was this place used for?” I asked Pete.

“Supposedly this was a torture chamber for runaway soldiers during the Civil War. Many slaves lost their lives down here.”

“Pete, I’m beginning to think that your family deserves to be cursed.”

“What’s this?” Pete asked. I shined the flashlight over to an old fire pit littered with ash and bones.

Then the cellar door slammed close.

I pulled out the 38. “Stay calm,” I said.

“I told you there’s something strange going on here!”

“Shut up Pete.”

“I can’t die down here! The Celtics are in the playoffs!”

“Pete, so help me god, if you don’t shut up I’ll shoot you myself!”

Suddenly my flashlight went out. Then something grabbed Pete. “Damn you Brad Stevens!!!!!!!” he screamed before disappearing into the dark.

I started firing indiscriminately into the shadows.

“Pete!” I screamed out.

There was only silence.

The flashlight kicked back on and I shined it all around the corridor. Pete was nowhere to be found. “Fuck this,” I said as I sprinted back up the stairs and to the car.

I floored the Geo Metro back to the apartment. I rushed in through the door and began frantically looking for the Ouija board. “Damn it Sheila!” I yelled. “What did you do with the Ouija board?”

Sheila stumbled out of the kitchen with a glass of wine. “The planchette began moving around,” she said as she slurred her words. “It started spelling out ‘You’re next’, ‘Hail Satan’, and ‘I heart ass’ I didn’t know what that meant so I threw it into the fireplace.”

“Sheila,” I said, “I might’ve opened a portal to hell.”

TO BE CONTINUED

pennies 4 the dead (part II)

I couldn’t shake the feeling of being followed.

I had a hunch that it was the repo man coming to take the Geo Metro. I pulled out my .38 and shouted into the dark. “I have your filthy money!” I yelled. “Show yourself!”

Out of the shadows, I heard a thick Boston accent: “Are you Mista Cahson?” it asked.

“What’s it to ya PAL?!”

The figure stepped forth slowly from the shadows. He was tossing a baseball into the air.

“I’m Mista Pete Morris,” the figure said. “I’m son of Dorthy Morris, your client. I understand that you’ve been taking my mutha’s money.”

“She’s been giving it to me in larger amounts than I’ve been asking. That’s hardly stealing,” I replied.

“Hey ohhh, buddy! I ain’t said nuthin about stealing.”

“Then you better make your point. I have a .38 aiming between your eyeballs.”

Pete straightened up his jacket and began stammering nervously. “All I’m asking is that you let me in on the cut,” he said.

“I don’t think so,” I replied. “I work better alone. Besides, fuck the Red Sox.”

“I’m tellin ya,” Pete said, “there’s somethin goin on with Dorthy.”

“Yeah, it’s called dementia.”

“No. There’s something else goin on up there at that estate. Something that can’t be explained, not of this world. Some things just can’t be stopped by bullets, ya know?”

Pete then tossed the baseball again and I shot it out of the air.

“I haven’t found one yet,” I said.

“Look, I have all the answers you’re looking for,” Pete continued. “The death of Joe Morris is deeper than you think.”

I put the gun back into my holster. “Buddy,” I said, “if you’re trying to grift your rich elderly mother out of her money, you’re gonna have to find another angle.”

As I turned around to finish my walk home, Pete spoke up again. “I know about Jezebel,” he said.

“So do I pal,” I said as I continued walking, “she was Dorthy’s sister who died of pneumonia a year before Joe’s death. She was 20 years old.”

“That’s not the whole story,” Pete replied, “in fact, she wasn’t Dorthy’s sister.”

I stopped, turned around, and pulled out a cigarette. “Alright bucko,” I said, “now you’ve got my attention.”

TO BE CONTINUED