Start from the beginning
Greetings, as promised we continue our serialization of Into the Light, an urban fantasy novel with chapters 2-3. Chapter One is here if you haven't read the odd introduction to this dark, whimsical world.
Without further interruption, we bring you the continuing tale of Blake Moxely and his transformation into a man with a daunting mission that takes him through a changing world of perception. Remember, what you see isn't always what you get and the interjecting narrator is in italics.
Into the Light: Chapters 2-3.
Figured I’d give you chapter quotes so this whole reading thing doesn’t feel so foreign with me popping in and out. Here is a suitable quote from a dude who knew how to party. I won’t interrupt at the beginning of chapters anymore. Promise. Well, at least not for a while.
Sunday comes as autumn whispers incantations to the bustling city of windows but summer is not done casting its spell over metropolis. Fall has fallen away. A tempest looms low in the nearby sky. A low pressure system from the west writhes with humidity stolen from the south as it folds forward, faster and faster, gaining strength, growing darker as it slams into the cold from the north. The east is eclipsed in false night.
The storm wails, a banshee in flight, across the horizon and drapes its shroud over the glowing skyscrapers. Static fields collide. Electrons flow and ionize the atmosphere. The black velvet clouds charged with blue static dance across the backlit tapestry of twilight. Sparks illuminate the face of the brewing tempest and the leading edge boils forth.
A dense rain follows a cannon shot. A volley of electrical tendrils, spears of luminous serpents, bite the cityscape and thunder rattles the city of windows. The skyscrapers flicker like torches. A brief pause comes and the nervous energy expels through the substations.
Blake Moxley, with a planned out plan and two more gray hairs than the day before, sits doing other’s work. He dreams of Oreos and sterilizes his hands with Purell before minimizing an Excel spreadsheet. A new Darth Vader action figure rests in a coffee mug next to his monitor. He touches the black helmet that is scuffed from the sidewalk where he found it outside the Shake Shack at Madison Square Park.
“It’s just you and me Darth,” he says.
Blake goes online to access his private email account. One message with no subject line from his bookie reads-You lose tonight, you pay.
“Damn. How’d I ever start this shit? Need a girlfriend to stop me from being an asshole,” he says.
Lightning strikes a tower two blocks over sending a sonic boom to shake the windows. Blake’s computer screen dims and pixelates with colorful clusters of squares as the lights in the downtown office building sputter. Full power returns and his bloodshot eyes close for three seconds to vanquish the headache that lances his fatigued mind. He opens his eyes to see nothing has changed.
A dusky glow passes though the westerly window and floods the fortieth floor office. The only other occupant, a Temp with her personal effects in a canvas bag, strolls by with soft steps waiting for him to look at her. She thinks Blake is a great guy. Helped when others stood by. If I wasn’t married what we could do would be criminal. What is he even doing working in an office? He should be a model with those vulnerable eyes.
“Bye Blake,” she says. He blinks and swivels in his chair to face her.
“Good bye Caroline. It was wonderful working with you. Maybe we will run into each other sometime?”
“That would be nice and thank you for your help.”
“No thanks necessary. Now bundle up, one hell of a storm is brewing.”
“I will. Bye bye.”
Her bag overloaded with office supplies tugs on her shoulder as she makes her way to exit. The double glass doors suck the air as they span open and whistle shut. Blake twists back around to his monitor and thinks I hope she doesn’t get caught by security.
He saves his files with a few fast flicks of the mouse and reaches around back to shut the PC power off. Click, the hum of the hard drive fades as his fingers snake back through the cables. Blake takes one dragged step and his right pant leg catches his chair. He avoids his briefcase and tumbles out of his cubicle. His ankle twists.
A deep breath brings no relief and he thinks today blew. I didn’t even break even with my scratch-off tickets so that means no subway home. No win equals no rides. Not even that vile subway.
“Looks like I’m limping down Broadway.”
Treated air gushes out from the overhead AC vent, cool and dry as desert night air, and rips the moisture from Blake’s breath. He has had a sore throat for months. He prepares to leave and goes to the break room.
For the first time in years, he had enough foresight to look at the weather report before he cauterized his throat with his morning coffee. He pulled out the umbrella and rubber ducky yellow foul weather gear. While pulling the slicker off the coat rack, Blake’s phone vibrates. There is a text from the bookie. He thinks it is bad luck to check text messages at the office so he decides to open it after he gets home.
The polished aluminum Art-deco doors open to the elevator with a thump and he is on the ground floor in less than a minute. Across the white marble lobby trimmed with bronze where he has entered and exited for two years, he plods on the polished floor. The air is soft and still, synthesized, with hints of oleander and vanilla.
The day security guards with metronome eyes at the front desk do not know his name and look him up and down as if he were a visitor. Blake waves. Under the front arch, the revolving door, a three ton cyclone of glass and metal, waits to chomp on shoes or full length coats. Blake enters the zone of no return as a panel almost slaps him in the rear and pops out of the portal into the hard winds of the ebony toned evening.
He pulls out his fake tortoise shell cigarette case and lighter from his limp jacket pocket and tries to light a cigarette under the shallow copper awning. The wind hits him with contempt and yanks the cigarette out of his mouth. Blake looks up to the sky filled with tarry darkness. He thinks great, how am I going to pay? I better win tonight or I’m fucked. I should just bet on-line. Blake knows the river still hides the bodies of men who don’t pay on time.
Blake slides the vinyl sheath off the umbrella as the screaming wind masks all traffic noise. The sheath flaps in a fit and falls from his grip. It sweeps down the sidewalk into traffic. He shakes his head his and horizontal rain batters his face. A chuckle builds in his stomach and comes out so hard it makes him bounce.
“Why have protection for an umbrella anyway?”
In the city of windows, palsied eyelids set in stone faces glare with one eternal expression. Each window has a story but most don’t bother to look through. Blake makes his way to Broadway and starts north, past artisan grills, Churrasco steak houses flying the flag of Argentina in the window, glass enclosed banks and through traffic that never ceases. He wrenches his way through slow moving tourists and daydreams of running naked on the Williamsburg Bridge by the FDR Drive and jumping headlong into the East River. The letters of Alphabet City run in sentence fragments by Tompkins Square Park as they try to out run cleaver wielding madmen from the Meat Packing district and into Hell’s Kitchen where the flames no longer burn. The wind picks up and snaps him out of his trance.
Everywhere, everyone rushes somewhere just because they can. Luggage-handbags, briefcases, backpacks, suitcases with wheels and extendable handles, plastic bags within plastic bags tote along. Even on a rainy Sunday, there is little space to navigate. Blake looks up to the Woolworth building and flips up his collar. He picks up his gait and passes by City Hall. At the crosswalk, Blake scans the four corners and grimaces.
He thinks why so much foot traffic? What? Did the elderly Bridge and Tunnel crew slip down here from the theatre district after some shitty matinee? Who knows? Maybe something going on at the Garden and they got lost?
Blake, caught up in the ebb and flow, passes through the swirling sidewalk foot traffic. Just one more peripheral person, a speck of sand caught in the advancing and retreating waves of expectation but he sees a soaked city kid, too cool to be chilled by the rain, standing on the corner wearing his prep school’s blue blazer. It strikes him odd since it is the weekend. As the kid’s blond curls drip rain right in his eyes, Blake figures what the hell?
The boy’s head spins, a rusty gear grinding low, and looks up with a sneer. The umbrella is tossed. The boy grabs the hook as it almost hits the pavement.
Blake thinks mom would be proud.
He kicks puddles as he moves on and just avoids a pile of cardboard boxes tumbling across his path as the wind gusts with harsh spit. Visions of Oreos pop in his head and he feels the tingle of his salivary glands so he skids under the green awning of dimly light package store. No Oreos to be found but he buys seven scratch off tickets, one for each day of the week.
The door jingles behind him as he thrusts himself back into the elements and wraps up tight. After a couple steps the wind roars and he stops to braces himself while a driver donning an English tweed driving cap in a black BMW with two too many Rum and Cokes closes one eye so the double vision will go away. The driver chomps down on a cigar as Blake clicks his heels to see if some of the wetness will fling off. It does not.
Blake looks to the curb and envy builds. A young white man with dread locks hops into a cab. The BMW driver startled by the cab pulling out jams on the breaks as he yanks on the wheel to avoid a collision. Blake hears the squeal of tires over the city noise and looks back. The BMW jumps the curb, misses a fire hydrant and hurls towards him. He springs back against the store front and pain shoots up his leg from his ankle. The car bounces to a halt a few feet away. Blake bounds at the car and pounds on the hood as he waits for the driver to get out. Blake’s nostrils twitch. A slap on the back surprises him. He almost throws a punch but spins to see a beat cop.
“You okay?” the cop asks.
“Fine,” Blake says and bends down to rubs his ankle.
“I’ll handle this,” the cop says.
The rain darkens the pavement. Undeterred by the wind, Blake pulls out a smoke and after a few flicks gets his cigarette to flare. As he takes a deep inhale, the cigarette is defused by a large raindrop. As Blake spits out the cigarette, the left side of his jackets comes undone and flaps in the wind. Whatever warmth he had stored up is whisked away. In moments, he passes Worth and then Canal Street. He thinks it’s strange that the foot traffic is clearing as he passes by the French Culinary Institute and thinks chefs got it good especially now that they’re on TV. Under a Duane Reade sign he stops, the pharmacy is open twenty-four hours, seven days a week, and lights a cigarette that is clenched tight between his lips. Puffs of smoke exhaust out of the side of his mouth with an engine rhythm and he braces against the wind.
The trapped city smells of diesel, rancid refuse and smoke from charred chestnuts and pretzels from the street carts advertising cold drinks will not disperse in the storm. The text message begins to consume Blake’s thoughts but he will wait to reply. A good excuse need to be formulated and hopes the bookie doesn’t come looking.
But the bookie, Gerald, has already set a plan in motion while getting head from a twenty year old Long Island girl named Veronica who could really use some heroin right about now.
“A change in the weather is sufficient to recreate the world and ourselves.” Marcel Proust
The evening hovers above the streets and stains the light coming from shop windows. Blake picks up his limping pace as mounds of black and green trash bags on the corner collapse in front of him. The winds pick up and toss plastic bags into the streets. A few unlucky drivers strike the tumbleweed trash bags. Splat! The street, sidewalk, and sides of their cars are littered with garbage.
Blake lifts his nose up and sniffs. The tip drips. The rain covers his face in a cool mask. The scent of coffee hangs over him as he drafts by a boutique coffee shop. His footsteps become harder and harder to drag up off the slick sidewalk ass he passes by a Best Buy and an Urban Outfitters. Blake hobbles past Bleecker and starts shivering as he reaches Bond Street.
As he turns the corner on to his block, he hears, “Whoooooooooo Youuuuuuuu.”
It must be the wind blowing through the subway grates he surmises. Blake passes the alley next to the Thai take-out place. He shoots a look into the alley and yellow orbs, disembodied eyes, float in the swirling pitch and lock in a fragile gaze from the rectangular columns of darkness. As he jumps back, a gust peels a wet newspaper off the ground and slaps it across his face. The drenched daily paper encases his head. He tears the newspaper off his face and with his sleeve wipes his face and spits. Watery streaks of ink are left on his forehead as he looks back to investigate the spheres. They vanished.
And so it really begins. Did I say something to that effect before? Sorry. It was just a trick to keep you flipping the pages by depositing a question in your over-marketed consciousness. Humans can’t stand not having questions unanswered and will accept the most ridiculous answers just to close the loop. You flesh machines will believe almost anything as long as it relieves your primitive anxiety, but as a few wise humans in that complication of a city called Hollywood say… perception is reality. So you know, the spheres weren’t real. There simply projections of Blake’s paranoia but some of the strange vision to come aren’t figments of his transforming mind and those neural pathways are getting twisted.
Going to step out for a bit to indulge in some sensory manipulation but I’ll be back to give some comments where needed, and soon you get to meet my favorite goofball. So until then, give Blake some slack. You could be him.
After dredging up Broadway, he gets to Great Jones Street and the rain comes down in barrels cascading down the city of windows. The maudlin man’s brown hair looks black from the soak. His building, a broken down brick faced walk up, last renovated in the Seventies, stands just a few majestic yards ahead across the street from a parking lot where cars are stacked four high in elevated metal rows. The door is a glowing beacon and he quickens his pace never noticing that he is being watched from across the street as he grips the guardrail.
He leans against the wrought iron rail and climbs the three stairs to finds that some person left the entry’s thick glass door blocked open with a crumpled magazine. Anger percolates. He shakes off but cannot stop trembling as the chill has penetrated his core.
The wind surges and takes hold of the door making it hard to heave open, but he manages with a violent tug. The door seals and into the cream colored vestibule to check his mail box he goes leaving wet foot prints behind on the tiled floor.
Through the plexi-glass window on the back wall beside the security door, Blake sees the stout elderly gentleman from two floors above descend the narrow stairs. All Blake knows is that the man is a retired mounted patrolman and his beat was the south side of Central Park. He thinks he looks like a Cuban version his grandfather donning a bowling shirt. The man waddles, legs bowed, as he turns down the hallway behind the electronically locked security door and dissolves into the shadows. The anger fades in Blake. He has been living in the same building for over two years and feels ashamed for never learning the man’s name
His fingers tap along the mailbox cold as the rain. Blake scans the tenants’ board to see if any names on his floor have changed but none have. He buzzes in and enters the dark foyer. The bleak stairwell illuminates with lightning strikes coming through the third floor window and Blake looks up the narrow flight of stairs, lined by a wood banister. He huffs as he climbs.
Six floors sit below him and he sneaks a peek around the corner of the landing into his hall. Dim yellow auxiliary lights illuminate the green wallpaper. The sounds of raking resonate and fly into his ears. The last cruel step into his floor’s hall is taken and he sees his door. Luckily there are no thugs from the Bookie waiting there for him.
His neighbor, the elegant Ms. Braque who he thinks is in her fifties, sweeps the ceiling with an antique broom with brown bristles. She is the only person in the building he makes an effort to greet everyday and she is a secret she keeps to herself.
Ms. Braque begins to rumba in four inch Italian heels as she scrubs the ceiling. Her tight black silk pants shift up and down to reveal the shapely legs of a younger woman. Her low cut pink cashmere sweater holds her chest tight. Blake comes onto her radar and she brings the cleaning to a halt. With a flip back of hair fine as obsidian glass, she turns to Blake.
“Hello Blake, how are you doing this fine afternoon?” she asks and thinks his face has become fleshy.
“Uh, I’m fine. It’s been a long day, you know. Well, good night Mrs. Braque,” he says.
Her eyes narrow with irritation and her tumescent lips press together.
“It’s Ms. Mr. Moxley. I should hope you do not forget that again. Well then, good night sir,” she says and after one heartbeat resumes her sweeping.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I meant to say Ms., I know how that bothers you, but I say Mrs. to one of my superiors all day. Sorry,” he says.
A bead of sweat condenses and rolls down the left side of his face leaving a trail of ink over his tiny peanut shaped port wine stain birth mark. He thinks Audrey Hepburn, that’s who I thought she looked like the other day.
“That’s fine dear boy, just do not forget again. Please,” she says and wonders what kind of kink leaves ink behind?
“I’m sorry. I will not forget again. Good night.”
Blake fumbles with his keys. The white laminated door creaks open and he throws his mail in a pile on the floor in front of the closet. He closes the door with a tap of his heel and walks five steps into the apartment, an ordinary bachelor pad. Blake slips the yellow rain jacket off his shoulders and surveys the cluttered apartment for anything out of place.
The green card-table next to the kitchenette counter top tries in vain to visually separate the room. Papers cover everything flat and an oversized television with a second generation video game console engulfs the center of the space. In the back near the only window, sectioned off by a faded hunter green accordion screen, is his bed. Blake looks back to the entrance and sees the light seep under the front door and bounce off the bathroom door. The lights in the hallway have gone on.
“Living in a place designed by Lilliputians. Blake Moxley, this is your life,” he says.
With a smile and cautious steps, he ambles over to a ten gallon fish tank in between the table and the TV lit up like a flare. He inspects like a proud father, a happy papa, and finds his black scorpion named Tyger. The fake plant leans against the miniature house, a sarcophagus for the mummies of grasshoppers it consumes in the dark. The rest of the exoskeletons are littered across the sandy bottom of the tank.
“Well Tyger, I hope you had a better day than I did?” Blake asks.
“Oh course you did, all you have to do is eat and sun yourself. Shit I knew I forgot to do something. Food. No fucking Oreos or Chips Ahoy.”
Blake cracks his back sits on the couch in a heap. The bent scratch off tickets are tugged out of his unruly pant’s pocket and stacked on the coffee table next to the only clean ashtray. He tries to think of what to eat but exhaustion pins him to the back of the couch and his eyes close.
The lottery and cookies are two of my favorite human inventions. Both, in the end, will leave you empty and craving more. Now for a little Ms. Braque, one of my favorite earth crawlers. Don’t fret my little meat puppets, she plays a roll in the story you might not expect and crushing expectations is a joy.
Ms. Braque disrobes and puts on an old vinyl LP of Joe Cocker. Her outdated speakers do well enough to mask the sounds of the storm and streets. She reaches for the pink duster she bought after watching a late night infomercial and dances like an energetic fluid. Her twirling is timed with the music as she dusts the apartment where nothing stands above five feet. The orange scented candles burn filling the apartment with sweet citrus smoke.
The television, circa 1982, sits on the floor and lonely leather-bound diary leans against the crest of a bent antennae. A single bookshelf resting by the fire escape window holds photos of celebrities in handcrafted wood frames. Antique furniture from Virginia, Vermont and Connecticut clamor in the space and a sleigh bed huddles behind a chiffon curtain in the corner.
Ms. Braque hums out of key with a smile and growing intensity as her arms swing in circles of perfect syncopation as she glides over to the table with her recently delivered Chinese food. She places the pink duster against a chair covered in weary linen and thinks I should have invited Blake over to eat. She takes a deep breath and sighs in two parts.
“Well I guess I should have thought of that before. Nice boy but he needs to get out more. Maybe I will set him up? What do you think Mr. Cocker? But anyway, I must watch over him because his friends aren’t so nice,” Ms. Braque says.
Told you she was cool.
Blake wakes up to a bang from the streets. Spike of adrenaline course through his blood. His stomach rumbles and he sniffs his shirt that has a slight hint of pickled onion. Blake stands up, eyes blurry, to take the rest of his damp suit off and his phone falls out of his pant’s pocket.
He checks the text. It reads Ms. Braque is a nice lady.
“Shit, he came by. Better win tonight,” he says and calls in an order for steak burritos from the Mexican restaurant down the street.
The hockey game comes on the TV at the end of the first period. The teams are tied at nil. If his team wins regulation time, hope is still alive.
Tyger is fed with some chirping grasshoppers and Blake bounds back to the couch. He puts his feet up, checks his voice mails and grabs his laptop under the couch. No new messages in his email inbox except that an old girlfriend wants to be friends on Facebook.
In a Google search, he finds symptoms for what causes auras. Synesthesia caused by hallucinogenic drugs becomes the first he investigates. It makes sense to him as the drugs temporarily rewire the brain and flashbacks can occur. The second is candidate epilepsy but Blake discounts this since he’s never had a seizure. Corneal edema is ruled out since his vision is twenty-twenty and migraines are last since they can cause flashes of light, auras, tingling in the arms, and blind spots but they are precursor symptoms to the onset of a headache. He had none. Then psychic powers, the most discussed online, come up in every search but Blake thinks this is bunk. He went to a psychic medium in Brooklyn when he first came to the city and the medium got everything wrong but still took Blake’s money. He signs off and turns up the volume on the TV as the second period starts.
“Hope I don’t see those again,” he says.
Blake’s eyes are locked on the screen. In what seems like seconds, a knock comes from the door like firecrackers going off. His pulse rate quickens, adrenaline surges and he begins to perspire as he thinks the bookie is back. He grabs the Louisville Slugger set in the corner and caresses the blunt end. He slinks forth, shoulders squared, gripping the bat so tight his knuckles become white.
“What do you want? Go away!” he yells.
The rapid knocking stops.
Blake peers through the peephole and places the bat down. His hot skin cools with sweat. He pulls out his wallet, opens the door to the tan delivery guy with a crooked nose and tight fitting black skull cap. He holds a cardboard box.
“Hello. How did you get in? I didn’t buzz you,” Blake asks.
“Mr. Rocinante, the ex-cop, two floors above let me in. I deliver to him a lot.”
Blake clears his throat, “Oh. How much?”
“Twenty,” the delivery guy says.
A good tip is given and Blake thinks at least I know the old man’s name. He shuts the door with a swipe.
“Rhodes scores!” projects from the television. The puck went by the Rangers’ backup goalie.
After a moment of punching the air in anger, Blake staggers over to his couch with a disorienting head-rush. He dumps the warm foil wrapped burritos out on the coffee table and zones out on the screen. The second period ends with his team down by one.
The buzzer sounds to finalize the Rangers’ defeat and the burritos sit cold and untouched. A hard squeeze on the remote and kills the TV set.
“Fuckery. Just moved into to broken leg bracket of losers,” Blake says.
He runs his numb hands through his hair and thinks I’ll deal with it tomorrow.
The ink from his face drips into the drain as Blake soaks in the shower until the water turns so cold it burns. The shower head rattles as the water turns off. A crusty towel mocks his efforts to be dry.
With a slow shuffle, he makes his way to the wine crate besides the couch and pulls out his Vermouth and Vodka. A large red left over plastic cup becomes the vessel. Blake thinks it is not complete without the aid of an olive but there aren’t any. He consumes a few until vindicated and takes a drink to the toilet. He sits on the slick seat and picks up an old New Yorker he never finished from the wicker trashcan. A few scratch off tickets used as book marks slide out to the ground but one nave falls between his legs and into the polluted water.
“Fuckery abounds. That’s it. Just a little TV and then bed.”
The TV set makes a sound like a distant rifle shot as it powers up and he slumps on the couch. Blake hits the down arrow on the remote scrolling through the many science channels.
A scene of giant furry spiders fighting over a mound of dirt in a primeval forest resolves in the middle of the screen. He thinks is this a monster movie?
The narration comes over, “At this prehistoric time the oxygen levels were much higher allowing massive arthropods to evolve. Giant insects and arachnids roamed the planet hunting birds and mammals. This giant spider is many times the size of the largest tarantula living today.”
Blake looks over at the tank and says, “Look there Tyger, you had ancestors the size of cats.”
A giant dragonfly carrying a carcass of a dead rat zips by on the screen. Shimmering membrane wings reflect the computer generated sunlight like impossibly thin lead crystal pendants.
The narrator says, “The oxygen also produced more fires but eventually the oxygen was reabsorbed into the sea and land so the world’s atmosphere took on a new shape for new shapes to come. The ancient giant bugs only exist as fossils. Now the only way to see these terror bugs is in a museum’s display.” Blake thinks it’s lucky the giant bugs went extinct; otherwise, I might be the one in the tank.
He changes the channel with fast slips of his fingertips and a man with large eyes that remind Blake of insect compound eyes comes across the screen. Blake’s eyebrows rise and he leans to stare at the screen. The bug eyed man in a white polyester leisure suit dons an alabaster cowboy hat. It stokes a memory of a country preacher who challenged students to debates outside of Trinity College.
“Fire and brimstone nonsense,” Blake says.
The man holds an oversized off-white book embossed with golden letters spelling out Veritas in oversized calligraphy. A small stage with a chalkboard looms behind him. Blake begins to drift into sleep in ever increasing waves of captured exhaustion. He hit the sleep command for ten minutes, puts the remote down, and turns over to ignore the screen but listens as the pulsing lights from the TV stimulates brain activity.
The volume rises and holds for a few seconds and then quiets down in gradual sloping degrees as the man on the screen begins to stamp his feet, flail and yell, “Goolie baan est erranto donnata fone cheeto. Ave atque il foi reeccho.” Blake turns his head to the television with a confused expression.
“What the fa…?” Blake asks himself.
The man slaps his hands together and his eyes go as wide as the screen, “Children, the curse of the dragon has always been with us. Dragons are not archetypes of snakes, reptiles, birds of prey and lions blended together. Sure it sounds right, but Dragons hunted humans before we evolved to be great predators ourselves. Dragons have transformed into devils trying to tempt us and keep us unclean. They are hard to see but throughout history they have been documented. They exist. They’re out there in the crypts we never look in. The vampires and gargoyles come from them. Sphinxes and werewolves too. Once they were worshiped but no more.
They fear one day they will be forced to worship us because the lord gave us souls. Remember my children, they can change form and hide among us but need the shadows to exist. The Dragons are everywhere. We need to fight them and finish what Saint George started.”
“No we need to fight jerks like you who try to scare people into giving money,” Blake says, turns off the TV and slinks to his bed a few feet away.
He thinks I must come up with the cash. I can’t have him track me down at work like last time.
The next morning comes after a hard sleep. Blake wakes up to a dead arm. Painful tingles flowing from his finger tips to his elbow and the force of his beating heart pulses the fluid of his eyes. He taps the rhythm of his pulse on his nose with his tingling fingers. The alarm goes off and he makes his way to the couch where the scratch-off tickets wait to forecast his day. No winners. Not one.
“Still dark out. This day is going to suck. Now, how can I get the bookie off my back?”
Belief is a powerful thing, stupid and flawed most of the time, but powerful nonetheless. Here’s a little thing you probably didn’t know: belief evolved to help children learn. Can’t have them questioning everything, and sometimes you just need to get on with it, but adults make up shit that astounds even me even when the childish things should be left behind. Why? Because the truth hurts and it usually makes them feel like they loss status or esteem. You humans really like to feel that you’re in control and that makes you suckers. Most but not all.