New Horror/Sci-Fi Fiction Blog: TLPTHY

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While we focus in the absurd and comedic here at The Superb, we also like to dip into the horrific, fantastic and dramatic.

We are pleased to announce our sister blog, TLPTHY, which will focus on horror and science fiction short stories. We will primarily work in short fiction and series.

We currently have a few posts up, one of which was seen on this site by Cash, Tobacco. The newest post is the first chapter for a short story I’ve been working on, Private Eyes.

Please follow us and let us know what you think.

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Solid Man: Chapter 2

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Having depleted all of my pistol’s bullets into the mysterious sandstorm, I was shocked to see my pursuers still standing and approaching my location.

“Bad dudes.” I muttered through my scarf. It was at this point that I really wished I had brought my ChapStick along because my lip flesh was currently hung on my bandana, like a stupid fish caught on a stupid line of dried lip meat.

I scurried to my feet and started to run up the metal staircase. Contrary to what I initially thought, staircases are not perceptible to night vision googles in a sandstorm, so it’s accurate to say that I climbed the stairs with only my shins. Shinning my way about halfway up, I noticed the storm was starting to abate. Soon, my element of surprise and cover would be gone, like the time my Groucho Mark nose and glasses were taken by that librarian.

As I reached the top step, I paused to take stock of my leg situation. The goggles showed an angry red where my shins should be, a raging weather system as it were. No time to take care of myself, however. There was a scientist in the building ahead that needed my help. He was probably in worse shape.

Drawing my tranq dart gun, I fully intended to send some of the bad guys back to my ocean base, dozed and ready to make me some ChapStick. I spotted some blobs up ahead. Bad blobs. I broke into a run, my gun pointed out in front of me, firing darts to lead my way. These darts were loaded with rhino tranquilizers, per my request. By the time I got to him, he would be slumped into a heap, drooling.

What I hadn’t anticipated was the storm completely disappearing during my run of righteousness. All at once, my rocking nightvision became high beams two inches from my face as the desert sun came back with a vengeance. I screamed and struggled to get the goggles off of my face. They were fastened so tightly, and I know that was Koji because I told him I don’t like them that tight and that guy…..that guy is always screwing with me and I’ve about had it.

Once I removed the world’s brightest Game Boy away from my face, I was treated to an even less favorable sight. I was surrounded by the terrorists, their guns drawn and every one of them with a scar on their face somewhere, like this was a thing in their culture.

“Baaaaaaaaaaaad dudes, huh?”, I said through my scarf. At this point, my lips are completely shot. I was going to have to get quite a few boys on a proper moisturizer.

“Not as bad as this dude, Solid.”, a voice said from above me. A man in a white coat stood on the staircase leading up the side of a large white metal tower. It billowed in the wind behind him, like he was a pretty lady in a harlequin romance novel.

It was my target, Dr. Sklvan, but he wasn’t in the position I had anticipated. I was thinking more of a bag over the head, no pants, dirty butt scenario, but this was a surprise. He held a remote in his hand with a large red button.

“Let me guess…”, I said, my lips really just to a point of ridiculous chap, “I just witnessed your research in action.” I gripped my dart gun tighter and tighter, hoping Koji had put some sort of pressure trigger that would blow everyone up if I just squeezed hard enough. He didn’t.

Dr. Sklvan simply smiled. He didn’t say anything.

“Did you hear me?” I wanted to make sure he heard me.

“Yes, Solid. I heard you.” He heard me.

 

To be continued…

Solid Man: Chapter 1

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Afghanistan. 22:00 o’ clock. The night was black, like the coffee in my Coleman thermos. The desert wind stung my face like so much bleach poured in my eyes. I kept my bandana, which was a lady’s scarf that I purchased at Hudson News in the airport, across my mouth and nose, like I saw in a movie once. I was ready for action.

The sandstorm had stirred up a while back and just kept going, like a faucet in the men’s room of a K-Mart with paper towels in the drain and then I never went to a K-Mart again. Hopefully, I could use it to my advantage.

I pulled my nightvision goggles back to my eyes to scope the area ahead. I saw 4 upright blobs move across my field of vision, or that could have just been my eyes recovering from the sand abrasions, they had been blasted pretty hard for a while since I tried to just squint my way through it and may have caused some permanent damage.

My plan was set: there was a metal staircase that winded it’s way up the cliff face.  I would use my cunning stealth and extreme tactical espionage to use the sandstorm as cover to ascend the cliff face.

“Espionage!” I screamed at the top of my lungs to begin my mission. I dove to the side of the rock, executed a roll and completely disoriented myself. Also, I was still wearing my goggles and they now lay across my face askew and half on. I readjusted them to locate my blobs. Straight ahead and maybe 20 feet from my current location….could have been 70, I can’t really make heads or tails of this interface.

I took off across the packed sand road. My feet found purchase across the road as if I were a strange emu of brawn and power. I kept track of the blobs and finally reached my destination with a loud clang as my head and goggles collided with the scaffolding on the temporary staircase. I was knocked to the ground, and in mid-fall, grabbed for my gun and began firing it wildly into the wind storm to defend myself and get the drop on these bad dudes.

Showtime.

To be continued….

Heavy Breathing Radio

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The slider went up, and the sound presented itself front and center.

“OH, SCARBO! You’re on with Papa Spanks!”, Charles screamed into the mic. He never distanced himself from his mic, but leaned in and tried his level best to shatter the diaphragm. Let them sort out the distortion in post.

“Umm…this is Jerry from Harbo. Second time caller, and a constant tuner….in.”, a shaky voice on the other end said.

“HARBO! I can’t get those jerkwater places sorted out in my head! Scarbo’s the one with the giant mechanical dipper that serves you any sort of soup from a Campbell’s soup can that you bring it, right?”.

“I…I have no idea. Scarbo is 4 towns east. It’s very inconvenient for Harboians to visit.”

“I bet.” Charles slams his hand on a large red button and 4 airhorns gaff taped to mic stands blast into a mic on the other end of the room. “What can Ol’ Papa Spanks play for you tonight?”.

“It’s my ex-wife’s second anniversary, congrats Beth and Gary, and I’d like to play for them the wma file that I just sent you from my Juno account.”

“Alright, hold on just a tic….”. The sound of Charlie clicking can be heard across the line. He squints and tilts his head upwards, as men of his age and background are prone to do. “Which-w…..what account did you send it to?”. His cursor was dancing aimlessly across his desktop.

“The one for Free Money Thursdays. I would have sent it to Breathers Inc,  but the b key doesn’t work on my phone.”

“YOU’RE ON WITH PAPA SPANKS IN THE MORNING! WFAQ 98.7 THE KIT! TRYING TO FIND AN EMAIL WITH OUR FRIEND FROM SCARBO!”.

“I’m-I’m from Harbo.”

Charlie leans back from the mic and turns towards his assistant in the mixing room. “Do we get Juno on this?”. His assistant runs in and silently typing on the computer. “WE’VE GOT BARRY ON THE JOB!”

“Good.”

“BARRY FOUND JUNO, HE HAD TO GET IT UP ON THE E BROWSER!”. Jerry was quiet on the other line.

“OKAY, JUST DOWNLOADING RIGHT NOW. VERY EXCITING STUFF…..WHERE SHOULD I SAVE THIS, BARRY?…………..DESKTOP IS FULL…….”. Charlie hits another button on his separate PC that is dedicated to media playback and a Kelsey Grammar soundboard. A sultry British voice presents herself, backed by a synthetic orchestra completely obliterating any attempt of presenting a consistent level.

“This is Papa Spanks and Barry in the morning. Get your affairs in order and tune right in right now.” A chorus of 4 men and 2 women explodes into the mix as the synth instruments climax into a standard Rock stinger as they sing “SPANKS AND ENGINEER BARRY IN THE MORNINGS! WFAQ 98.7 THE KIT!”.

“Okay…”,  Jerry says into the screaming cacophony of digital instruments. “Okay.”

“AND WE’RE OPENING WINDOWS MEDIA PLAYER, JERRY FROM SCARBO! ANNNNNNNNNNNNNND..”.

The sound of heavy breathing fills the airways. The inhalation hitches in places as the source appears to be exerting energy somewhere. Charlie lets the breathing play uninterrupted for 4 minutes, smiling and holding his headphones to his head. Barry stands in the mixing room and faces the corner sobbing. Jerry quietly agrees with his recording as it plays.

“THIS IS FOR YOU, BETH. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY.”, Charlie erupts at one point, then goes silent for another 6 minutes as the breathing continues, phlemy and obstructed.

At some point, Jerry hangs up the phone, but Charlie doesn’t know. He can’t know, because he is gone in the breathing. It has broadened and deepened like a river, a river he floats down to nothingness.

Jerry takes a cab across town to see Beth. There’s no traffic, because no one misses Papa Spanks in the morning.

A short while later, Charlie comes to and stops the recording. He slams his hand on the red button, the air horns blast, and everyone is back.

“PAPA SPANKS WANTS TO TAKE YOU TO…”, he jams his finger onto the keyboard to play the next song, first hitting the N key, then the plastic directly below the space bar, then the space bar. Under The Boardwalk begins, along with a new day.

Why Nintendo Is Stupid and 5 Things They Can Do To Not Be Stupid

 

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Hey, guys. This is Jumbo Gamer and I’ve got to get something off my chest. I know it may not be a popular opinion, so get ready for this…Nintendo is STUPID.

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Oooo, did that trigger some of you fanboys? Am I going to get a bunch of emails and tweets now about how wrong I am and how Xbox One is stupid? Well, before you do, let me explain something.

I was the biggest Nintendo fan ever. I got like 72 stars in Mario 64 and rented Pilotwings once as a kid. I know what I’m talking about. And don’t think I don’t love Nintendo. In fact, I have a sexy Zelda desktop wallpaper on my computer right now and drove 3 hours to Columbus last year to a Ramada ballroom and placed 72nd in a Smash Brawl tournament.

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So, ummmm, yeah. I know what I’m talking about, posers.

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Anywho, Nintendo is pretty much stupid now. Just look at this.

WHAT IS THAT?! That’s not Metroid! I played Metroid Prime Hunters, okay. I know. What about this?

What the jiff is a Pikmin?! Nintendo probably thinks Spongebob is still cool.

Also, Wii U was stupid. Yeah, I said it.

Now, here’s 5 things they can do to be cooler:

Voice chat in games – You all know from watching my streams on my YouTube page (JumboStreamer452) that I love me some pownage, and how can I get my pownage if can’t harass you over the internet. LAME.

 

More Midna in things – Nintendo has their best character that they do like nothing with. Why can’t we have Legend of Midna instead of Zelda. Legend of Zelda doesn’t even make sense. ITS ABOUT LINK, STUPID. Plus, she’s hot and reminds me of my sister.

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Put Mario on PlayStation – Nintendo, give it up. You can’t make systems anymore. They’re all stupid and no one will ever buy them again. I saw a kid in Walmart the other day and his Mom asked him what a Wii U was. PSSSH! FAIL! Put Mario in PlayStation and accept the inevitable.

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Make the Wii Hammer game – Nintendo has one killer app in their sleeve: the Wii demo where you swing a hammer around for no reason. Why don’t they release it? DO THEY NOT LIKE MONEY? Guess not.

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Let me marry Midna

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Nintendo needs to get woke on this before Xbox and PlayStation start putting their games on their system.  Just do it, Nintendo.

-Jumbo Gamer

Goodbye Dogs, Hello Omnisandwich! A Report of the B’Tasty 2016 Press Conference

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We live in dark times. Crime is rampant, moral values has dropped to astonishing degree, celebrity has become more valuable than ability and goodness, dark prophecies of the return of fierce ancient gods has hit a fever pitch, and all the dogs are disappearing. Explanations for this phenomenon have varied from the ride of the Garth Brooks clan to the lack of quality dog meats in American grocery stores to allow them to hit ideal mating temperatures for breeders. While this development is disturbing and saddening to many, one company has a different message.

“Listen, dogs had their chance, and they blew it.” states Johnny Johnstackio, CEO of B’Tasty Inc from the stage of their press conference held in the John Ritter Memorial Colosseum. “Wastin’ all that time sleepin’ around on a towel or whatever, chasing mailmen or somethin’. What did they give back to society? Nadda nuthin BADA BOOM!”. At this point, he gestures wildly and his cufflinks fly off of his sleeve and hit a reporter in the eye.

“Which is why myself and a bunch of these jamokes over here at Briejcorp, we started looking at this and saying to ourselves ‘Guys, there is a tremendous opportunity to make some money and bring happiness to everyone across the Earth. But…MORE THAN THAT…stick it to those dogs…”

At this Johnstackio turns in a grand sweeping gesture to the video wall behind him with a picture of an Italian sub on it with a collar and leash attached.

“Ladies and gentlemen and good ol’ Italian pasta big boys..”, he points to several large Italian men in the audience chuckling , patting their stomachs in anticipation and straightening their sleeves, “On behalf on of B’Tasty Inc, a subsidiary of Briejcorp and Creton-Foucher Pharmaceuticals…The Omnisandwich – JUST LIKE MA USED TO DO.” The audience gasps and the sound of digital shutter releases all out of sync becomes a deafening roar.

“Dis guy right here is not only gonna change your life, it’s gonna rip a great big hole right in reality itself.” Johnstackio waves one of their participants onto the stage: a blonde haired girl in her mid-twenties holding a leash on what is most definitely a floating sandwich. the sandwich is wearing a vest around it’s baguette that says RIP DOGS.

“LOOK AT THAT! WHAT FRIGGIN’ DOG COULD DO THAT?! You show me a dog who can float and be a sandwich better than dis guy right here (at this point, Dis Guy Right Here appeared on screen as copyrighted logo), I’ll kick you friggin’ teeth in, capiche?”. He does the thing where he puts his fingers together and holds them up. He has established an understanding with the audience.

“So, yeah, dis girl right here (logo appears again) is walking what appears to be a sandwich, would it not?”. A “YES” sign directly above the stage illuminates brightly and everyone in the audience simultaneously, at least to the best of our ability, says “YES”, especially after he did the fingers thing. We don’t want to let him down. “Dis guy right here (logo) is using what’s called a zero-point energy field to manipulate the field of reality around him. You see, dis here sandwich isn’t actually moving. It’s we who are moving around it.” At this point, the audience gasps simultaneously and reaches under their seats for their own Omnisandwich. They have been trained to expect gifts under their seats, but they are sorely disappointed.

“But hold on, dis guy is also…”, he picks up the sandwich, it struggling in his grip but he managing to get the mastery over it and chomping down on the end of it with an audible crunch, “…one mean moffa of ma sammich”, he says, sentient salami and vinaigrette dripping down his double chin. Suddenly, a deep scream erupts from the sandwich, shaking the lights above. Johnstackio is looking up at the lights in bewilderment, and looks backstage at the personnel. Faintly, you can hear their voices, but it’s only Johnstackio, who is still mic’d, who comes through with a loud and puzzled “Don’t eat it? What the frig not? It’s a dam….”.

Johnstackio stops dead and a look of absolutely horror comes across his face as his gaze drops to the floor. He places his hands on his knees, and bends over as if he was going to vomit. A voice comes over the PA system that is not his own. “Ladies and gentlemen, the B’Tasty Press Conference has ended. We thank you for your participation and ask that you please head to the exits in a calm and orderly fashion. Remember to always B’Tasty!”.

As we exited, we hear a cry of anguish erupt from Johnstackio. Those who looked back could see no more than a silhouette of a man who had quite possibly bitten off way more than he could chew.

REVIEW: While B’Tasty’s Omnisandwich reveal left us with more questions than answers, the reveal was undoubtedly a hint of a game changer. This reporter is lining up day one for his own Omnisandwich. 4/5

-The Superb

Welcome to Art

 

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Hello. Yes, I am Art. Welcome to me.

This arrangement will be beneficial and good. You will enjoy this good.

Myself is one, maybe two things. I spread them across the walls and on the floor of this room here.

This small man is manipulating me across this space and others for public consumption. He gives you a swallow to take to your house and those you have discuss with.

I target a craving beam to you. Now you consume and you love and you hate me. But you eat and eat and eat and eat and eat.

We are an us now. You have written your definition in my name.

She does not eat and she is worthless to us. She is an idiot and I can’t handle this.

 

The Superb Presents: Where is Ronald McDonald – Part 3

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Catch up on Where is Ronald McDonald? Part 2

Chapter 3: A State

There I stood, in the middle of a restaurant in Santa Martinez that I knew somehow to be both an Indian and Thai restaurant simultaneously in the same space and time, with a cellphone in my hand and not a clue of who to call. No name, no number.

Where the feeling of recognition would spark in my head, a mild rush of dopamine as a reward of being a good boy and using my power of recollection, there was now a dull pressure, like that of a sinus headache preceding a low pressure system or as if someone had removed part of my brain and replaced it with cotton.

In the next 2 hours, I would find that both of these thoughts were fairly accurate as to what was actually happening to me.

The phone in my hand vibrated, followed by an unmistakable melody: the “I’m loving it” jingle that McDonald’s reportedly paid Justin Timberlake six million dollars to sing. The phone was ringing. I looked at the screen. It was blank. Without hesitation, I answered.

The Superb: “Hello?” 

Caller: (the same cavernous background was present in this call) “…Yessssssah”

The Superb: “What am I looking for?”

Caller: “….” (sounds of chains rattling)

The Superb: “What is the point of this? I know you know.”

Caller: “…what are you doing?”

The Superb: “What do you mean? Why am I here in California? Is that..”

Caller: “NO.” (in this moment, the reverb on the other end of the phone coalesced like water into a drain for one moment of clarity as he spoke this phrase. He screamed while not screaming). I’m not talking to you. There is another.

The Superb: “Another person in the room with you?”

Caller: “…746 Holly Dr. Come…on….innnnnnnnnnnn.” (caller hangs up phone)

I pried the phone away from my ear, my arm completely petrified to the side of my head. As it dropped past my shoulder, the sounds of the restaurant began to seep back into my consciousness. I took a moment to collect myself and handed the phone back to the man behind the counter.

“Done already?” he said as he looked at me completely befuddled.

“Yes…thank you. Would you happen to know where 746 Holly Drive?”, I said.

In that moment, it was as if someone flipped a switch somewhere behind the scenes. Everything became very….automated. The man’s pupils dilated and his movement became extremely precise. He left his position behind the counter and walked towards the door.

“Follow me and I will take you to….746 Holly Drive.” he said in a voice that was absolutely not his own. At that moment, every person in the restaurant, customer and kitchen staff alike, stood and walked behind us toward the door as if they were on a rail. We exited the restaurant and a moped rode up by itself, balancing perfectly and stopping on a dime in front of us. The man swung his back end completely upwards and planted it on the motorcycle as if he was a poorly animated character in a mid-2000’s video game. His face looked like a husk with black fires burning in the eye sockets. “Hey come on aboard now come on aboard now com-“. His head twitched to the side and the black fire splashed from his eyes and onto the pavement. It burnt a hole in the pavement to reveal a shimmering prism below the road.

At this point, I had enough of my presence of mind back to realize that none of this was grounded in the reality I had spent 29 years in. But now I was on the track too, and there was only one destination on this rail. I hopped on the bike with him and gripped onto his greasy red t-shirt. The customers and restaurant workers lined up in front of us in the street in three row. Raising their arms in the air, the two outer rows bent unnaturally at the waist sideways towards the middle row, who had flipped themselves upside down standing on their necks with their faces staring at us, spreading their legs apart to meet the arms of the outer rows. They were forming double arches.

“YOUR DISPLAY IS SHAMEFUL. PREPARE OF RELEASE.” My driver rev’d the engine, shifted into gear, and barreled through the middle row, leaving a trail of broken and bloody meat. As we roared down the street, I turned in time to see one of the chefs quickly shoveling the roadkill inside the restaurant.

“NOW WE ARE ON TARGET.” he bellowed as we took a sharp turn. Something felt like it had clicked inside my head.

 

To be continued…

 

Ladies, Meet Single Men Now!

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Ladies, we know how hard it can be to meet eligible bachelors in today’s Hustle-Bustle Machine. Therefore, we at The Superb would like to help you make the connection (LOVE CONNECTION) that will lead to unending and eternal happiness, or at the very least an interesting weekend. Take a look at these fine candidates all running for the office of your heart.

Jonny Lang

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Hey, girl. This is Jonny Lang and I am totally interested in having a relationship-type situation with you. Though, I must issue some caution: Ol’ Jonny has been known to catch the fever now and then, and when Jonny does that, it gets weird. But not for me. It’s just how I like it.

Yup, Ol’ Jonny’s a loose cannon. Sometimes I’ll play one chord and stare at the wall all day. Other times, my body requires more beef jerky than water to operate, and then I throw up everywhere. But the times when I get my girls up there to watch me play….oh yeah. That’s the right time.

See, you gotta be chill with me bringing in my 90’s girls in here, or Ol Jonny’s gonna have to walk. And then you’re gonna see my butt, and you’re gonna know where I make poop out of. Praise God and love me, honey. It’s the only way to fly.

Herb Bentley

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We’ve got a ten car pile up on I-75 coming out of Lexington. Looks like if you’re coming southbound, you’re gonna need to hop off well before the Scott County line. Also, the ongoing construction project on the inner loop of New Circle has shut down one of the lanes, causing a massive headache for anyone trying to get to Richmond Rd, you’ll want to build at least 15 minutes into your travel time for the day. Also, I’d like you to know that I am currently very available, and I prefer women in committed relationships that I can destroy. I don’t know what it is, maybe it has something to do with my dad, I have no answer for this. I just know it excites me more to see a ring on that finger and kids waiting in the car. This is Herb Bentley burning clean Shell gasoline, SkyWatch Traffic.

Hiro Takahashi

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(Hiro sits on the hard plastic subway seat, taking drag after drag. He holds it in for at least 35 seconds and exhales seemingly more smoke than he inhaled. Was he storing extra smoke in his lungs? He puts out the cigarette on the seat next to him. This isn’t the first time he’s sat here. It’s evident by the numerous plastic welts in the seat from countless dead cigarette. The seat looks like the surface of a forgotten blue moon in another galaxy that only a few have seen. He glances over his shoulder at you. The disgust you feel is instantly transmuted into something else…an excitement. The smoke rolls from the alchemist’s mouth, slithering up the sides of his nose and behind the black frames of his glasses. In that moment, his brown eyes seem to illuminate through the smoke. He is the UFO in a foggy corn field, and you are the corn farmer being taken away from everything you know. There is terror, but there is also a curiosity drawing you in closer and closer, yet you remain in your chair, mere feet from the new object of your runaway passion. It can’t be contained, it should never be contained. But as you rise, so does he, because the train has stopped, and he is gone. And all that is left in the lingering aroma of his tobacco and the smoke of a fire burning deep within.)

 

Happy hunting, ladies!

-The Superb

The Superb Presents: Where is Ronald McDonald – Part 2

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Catch up on Where is Ronald McDonald? Part 1

Part 2: Santa Martinez

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Using my meager blogging budget, I booked the next flight to Santa Martinez, CA, a dusty suburb of San Francisco, located in the East Bay area. I’ve visited Santa Martinez before, back in 2007 while working for my previous employer, though I have this odd memory of the name of the town being Martinez instead of Santa Martinez. Regardless, memory is a tricky thing, and this would only be the beginning of it’s trickery.

When I arrived in the town, it was as I remembered it. Very quaint and quiet compared to the hustle and bustle of San Francisco, but very peaceful. One of the first things I did when arriving in the town was seeking out the Thai restaurant that my boss and I visited when we came almost a decade ago. Unfortunately, when I located the restaurant, I was disappointed to find that the original Thai proprietors had sold the establishment and it had since become an Indian restaurant. The disappointment had affected my appetite, so I decided to move ahead with my purpose in coming to Santa Martinez: find Ronald.

I had very little to go off of. The operator had only told me that Ronald would like to be left alone here, which in itself, was clearly intended to get me here. It was at this point that I froze. I had been so caught up in the excitement, and genuine terror from the phone call that I never stopped to think if I was being set-up. Did the McDonald’s people expect me to follow this clue? Was it an obvious red herring that completely undermined my aspiring hopes to be a decent journalist? Did I even talk to McDonald’s? Why did I think I could afford a $600 ticket to California right now? Had I even told my wife? All of these thoughts hit me like a sack of bricks that had been plummeting from the stratosphere ever since I stepped on the plane. What was I doing here?

Suddenly, I felt very dizzy. I checked my phone to see that I had 56 missed calls from my wife and 200+ text messages. All from my wife. This was a problem. She had no idea where I was, and I had no doubt at this point, the cops were looking for my body. I had to call her, but at that moment, my phone died. I had not charged it, and had no bag in which I would have carried a charger. I just jumped on a plane and flew across the country with absolutely nothing except what was on me at the time I made the call. I had to find a pay phone or borrow a cell phone immediately before my wife lost her mind. I decided on the Indian restaurant. As I walked inside, the smell of curry nearly knocked me to the floor. A flood of memories swept through me that I entirely forgotten about. Eating curry and talking about the complexity of relationships with a man that….I couldn’t recall. But, this all conflicted with what I knew was true: a Thai restaurant in too big of a room with, honest to God, 5 tables in a 1000 square foot room. This Indian restaurant was the same architecturally, no question, but with many more tables. I could tell I hadn’t eaten while in my fugue state, so I decided to sit down and have a bite after I called my wife.

I asked the waiter behind the counter if I could borrow his phone. He was a young Indian man who smelled like an Abercrombie and Fitch store as a living thing. His phone even reeked. As I put the phone to my ear, I noticed the older woman in the back staring at me, in what I can only imagine was a look of disbelief. I had too much going on to consider what social taboo I had just violated by asking to use a young Indian man’s cellphone, but I had no time for pleasantries. I dialed my wife’s number. The phone rang and rang, and went to voicemail.

“Hello, you’ve reached Chris. I can’t take your message…”. I took the phone from my ear, and glanced at the screen to see what i had goofed up when dialing the number. Nothing. The number was exactly what it should be. I ended the call and tried again.

“Hello, you’ve reached Chris. I c-“. I looked at the phone again. Same number.

I approached the young man and asked if he had a landline I could use. He exhaled sharply and took me to the backroom.  A beat-up rotary hung from the wall. I picked up the headset and rotated my wife’s number into the phone. As I reached the last number, I realized something very terrifying.

I couldn’t remember my wife’s name.

 

To be continued…