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Category: Creative Writing

Even More movies that Would be improved by the addition of a Giant Telepathic Squid

Let’s get right to it

50 Shades of Gray Grey

BDSM and Sensuality are nowhere to be found in this hollywood bean flicker about Dakota Johnson and some Dude who is #notmychristian. It’s a Hollywood take on a BDSM movie that doesn’t star Rosie O’Donnell and Dan Akroyd.  Without that dynamic duo, who has the time for it?

How would this movie be improved by a sprinkling of Calamari with evil intent?

Two Words.  Slimy Sex. Okay, three.  Slimy Wet Sex? No, moist.  That’s it.  Moist.  Everything would be moist.  I have it on good authority that moist is a wholly despicable word,  So I’ve taken the liberty to moisten this whole paragraph up in anticipation.  I got nothing, I remembered the Dan Akroyd Rosie O’Donnell Sex movie and my mind went to its happy place and didn’t want to come back.
Lemmie take another swing at this.
Christian Grey? Or Gray, what way is it.  Not Still stuck on Rosie in Bondage gear.
It was just startling, she was already middle aged and so was Dan Akroyd.  It’s called Exit to Eden.  THAT Movie could have used some human sized squid, to ink out our memories!  I have exactly three good memories about that movie and they have little to do with the movie itself.

King Kong

King Kong is the story about how a girl can go away on an overseas adventure, come home and her summer romance follows her home in steerage,  Things are all going well for him, he has a show on Broadway, he’s even the star; but when the Girl isn’t on his same wavelength he takes things to extremes and ends up getting hurt,

How could King Kong be improved with a Giant Squid?

For once the Giant Squid is not one of the “bad guys”  Gail finds herself alone in the wilderness; next to a blue pond when a massive, squishy head emerges.  Another Giant Monster.  It looms over her, tentacles caressing and teasing her, a massive beak just feet from her.  Fetid air around it.  It opens it’s mouth and… says “Gurrrrl, you should get away from Kong now, he’s only going to snatch you up and run away with you”
Later, standing over Kong’s body Gail gets a telegram with the words ‘I told you so.  Squid”

Mrs. Doubtfire

How could Mrs. Doubtfire be improved by adding a Giant Squid?


Memory is for me

It turn the book over and over in my hands,  having stopped reading on page 35 and just remembering the rest of the book as it  unfolded.

The pages are yellowed and stained; the cover is soft and yields.  It is not the crisp, bright paperback it once was when it lived in my knapsack and traveled around with me on the bus and in my trunk.  I smells like a library now, not like calvin kleins ‘Eternity’ and its two partners are in no better shape when I pass them on the shelves.  They look out at me as I move around the room and place this volume down on my desk.

In the early 90s a friend of a friend who had read these books once related them to us (the nerds that we were playing ‘Shadowrun’ in the private playpen,loft that head been built in the backyard of Andrews house) as an “adventure”.  We weren’t the characters in the book; so when faced with the same choices and the same scenarios, we didn’t sublimate the authors intent.  We couldn’t absorb the flow of it via osmosis, so we couldn’t follow the story of a mad artificial intelligence and the girl who could surf the net with her mind.   We just wanted to kill bad guys and make money so our characters could be cooler and more wealthy than we could ever be.  So we didn’t really meet Bobby or his Voodoo girlfriend.  Slamhounds came, went and were disposed of.

So here I am; staring into the pages again, the first volume back on the shelf.  Waiting for me to come around again once the Matrix becomes self aware and I can consign it all to memory again.

Extra Short Story: Over there; there.

When you live in the shadow of the tallest trees for hundreds of miles, your lives become something of a sideshow these days.

“What’s it like seeing real live trees all day?”

“Is that your tree house?  Can I climb up there?”

“Are you a Druid?  Are you related to one of them? “

“Is it true you dance naked among the trees to celebrate the seasons?”

Day-in, day-out people come to gawk at the century trees and wonder aloud about how they got so big when the rest of the trees have been left stunted brush by comparison.

Calling them Century Trees at all is a bit of a stretch too; as the druids seem to be able to grow massive 200 foot tall apple trees in what seems like less than a decade.  Green thumbs, toes and everything in-between it seems when it comes to the Tree-Folk, which is what they call themselves.  They live around the trees, sometimes in tree houses up in the canopy, sometimes in the trunks but mostly in little adobe huts on the south faces of the trees, attached to the outside of the trunk and slowly rising up, up up as the tree does.

The tourists come into town (Gramercy, thank-you very much, not Apple-Town)  and gawk at the trees to the west and marvel at the nearly constant humidity and the way that the rain has become so predictable in the shadows of the Grove.  They come, stop a while in town, spend a night or two in the hotels or camp in the north wood near the river and then leave; back to normal forests and unpredictable rain; back out over there.

Gramercy was here before the Grove and before the Tree Folk moved in.   We got by as a highway/biway a food stop with curios for people on long road trips going from important place to important place.  It was flat and dry and future-less here.  A town populated by people perpetually leaving or settling in to die.  We had one public school servicing Kindergarten through Grade 12 and then the kids would leave for college and leave the town a little more quiet than it had been.  The closest thing to modernization that the town council had ever implemented was a municipal sewer system to bring indoor plumbing to the sleepy village of 110.

When the first Tree Folk arrived about 40 years back; they were just passing through like anyone else.  The Sheriff at the time thought they were hippies or something and hassled them out of town; but some lingered and bought up the dusty scrub land west of town with what seemed like an endless supply of cash.  This pleased the town council at the time; because the land had been “town land” for as long as anyone could remember and it was good for nothing but rabbit hunting and atv rides in the dust.  The Tree Folk set about building their grove as soon as the ink was dry on the deal and within 20 years something like 30 Century Trees stood west of Gramercy and even in their shadow the whole of the area was green.

The Tree Folk mostly keep to themselves; tending their grove and trading massive fruit for what they need.  They all kind of dress the same, the men wearing tight crew cut hairdos and the women smart bobs.  They all have a healthy glow about them and arms like chimps, from climbing and tending their trees.  The Tree Folk kids attend one of three Public Schools in the area; with Gramercy now boasting a population of 10,000 most of the year and a few (not many) chain hotels and restaurants calling the area a new tourist hot spot.  A wholesome Las Vegas or something.   Their kids rub elbows with the rest of us and then go home to the Grove at night; nestled in their adobe houses on the sides of massive apple trees.

About 35 years back; as the grove started to grow there was a huge hoopla about the water table and how much water all this Green was costing us.  The Tree Folk’s leader at the time, Paul, he just smiled at the question and produced a sheaf of paper showing the water levels for 100 miles around over the past 10 years, showing an actual increase in the water table in the local area.

“The Trees, ” he said, still smiling that beatific smile they all seemed to flash when talking to folks from Gramercy, “The trees don’t take water, they make it.  They convert Oxygen and Hydrogen into water on their own and then the excess leeches down their roots into the water table below.   The trees make their own food and then share the bounty with us”

Some bigwig from the EPA showed up a while later and after some harrumphing and more official visits from the CDC the Tree Folk were given leave to do what they would with the Land; with the only consideration to the government being lights affixed at the top of the trees to ensure they would not be a hazard to air travel.  Paul had smiled a little smile at that, whispered something to one of his followers who nodded and wandered on foot back to the grove.  Weeks later the canopy of the trees glowed a soft blue at night, like the massive leaves had stars weaved into them.  When asked about it Paul would only say “We asked the lightening bugs how they did it then shared it with the trees”

Years later; when the third public school opened and the latest organic plastics plant went into operation (supplied via the skins left from a pulping mill down the way) the Tree Folk became a national treasure; something to read about in books and learn about on educational specials.  Like the Amish of Pennsylvania, the Tree Folk of Montana were just another reclusive farming folk; building their land of Milk and Honey and finding Utopia among the leaves.  And Gramercy, we’re along for the ride, living here in the Shadows of the CEntury Trees and always ready with an answer to “Do you know any Druids?  Did you see them dancing naked at Springtime?”

Short Story: Lights Out Part 9

The building shaddered in time with the sounds that woke the sleeping people huddled throughout the Feldex building.  Thumping and bass-rich blows pounded the whole structure.  When the people in the shaken offices looked outside, they could see buildings collapsing around them.  Skyscrapers that had dominated the skyline were falling all around the Feldex building, scorched buildings gave up their skeletons and fell upon the streets.  Dust and debris flowed through the streets now like angry crowds, blanketing them in brown, choking demise.

Janice had found Frank overnight; he was curled up in an empty office and had slept through the horrifying night.  The corpses on the balcony had given up slamming themselves into the windows and doors and simply dived off of the edge of the building into the waiting streets.

The office was quiet now save for the noise of the Office buildings of Saint Paul dying as surely has the people that had occupied them had.

Security Chief Mike Pendegras came on to the PA:

“Ladies and Gentlemen; this is the security Chief.  Our building is in no danger of falling.  We have not suffered the damage that the fallen buildings have.  We are intact and remain secure.  We caution you again to remain in your offices and to report any activity that seems threatening or dangerous.”

After he clicked off the PA, Mike Pendegrass exhaled and tried to slump into his chair.  His teams had swepth the building for any more “Zombies” and locked the main staircase tight.  Nothing from the 25th floor or above was going to come down that way again; no one would be going up again either.

Chief Pendegras had received a call from his dead father overnight; he had thought it was a dream at first; but some of his team had received calls from their relatives too.  Chief Pendegras wasn’t one to accept the supernatural; but his faith in the solidity of his convictions had been sorely tempted.

“Chief!, Chief!  There is an APC outside of the building!” it was one of the new kids up on 13.  “Chief, do you get me?”

“I get ya kid, where is it? Over”

“Chief, it’s right outside the front entrance, it’s got a scoop up front like a bulldozer, it pushed through like a snow plow!  Chief, there is a sign painted on the top: 555-573-7878”

The Chief recognized a cell-phone number when he heard one; “OKay kid.  Keep an eye on it. Chief out”

Chief Pendegrass picked up his cell phone and dialed the number:

“Hello, Disaster recovery.  Were are you calling from?”

“This is Security Chief Mike Pendegras.  Before I tell you where I am; tell me who you are.”

“Sir, I am a coordinator from a former Fema Unit stationed in Saint Paul.  I am tasked with coordinating the APCs we have on hand to retrieve survivors and send them back through to Earth”

“So, the scientist on the phones was real?”

“Yes sir.  Where are you?”

“I’m not sure about all of this; some strange shit is going down here Ma’am.  Can you have the APC’s around the city flash some kind of friendly si..”

Outside the building, Mike Pendegras heard the thunder of a belt-fed machine gun firing.

“Chief! The soldiers in the APC, they are shooting at people in the street!  Holy Shit!  The people, they are getting back up and running at the APC!  FUCK!  The soldier on the tank blew their heads off.”

“OKay Kid, I got you.  Over”

“Listen Fema Lady.  What is going on here?”

“I thought that the communication last night was clear.  We are on an extrasolar planet and we are sending people home as fast as we can.”

“My phone was OFF when that call came in”

“Sir, If I may be frank. If you don’t think we have the technology to turn phones on remotely, you haven’t been watching enough movies.  Let me be clear, a scientist teleported a  massive section of Saint Paul to another planet, turning on cell phones remotely is within our scope”

“Fair enough Ma’am.  How, precisely do we decide who goes back in that APC outside?”

“You have an APC nearby?  Excellent!  What number is it”

“Kid, 13.  What number is on that APC?”

“NG-101, sir”

“Ma’am, the APC outside is labelled NG-101”

“Thank-you Mr. Pendegrass, please send out 10 people to meet the APC and be transported to our holding facility.  We will send a bus out for the rest as soon as we have up-armored enough of them for the trip.  Send only the people who could defend themselves in a fight sir, they may need to leave the APC and proceed on foot.”

“I’ll send some people out in 30 minutes”

“Thank-you Mr. Pendegrass.  Wil you be joining them?”

“No Ma’am, I’ll ride security until we have this building empty.”

“Alright Sir, please keep in mind that we are not sure how long we can keep sending people home”

Mike Pendegrass thought about this for a while before responding.

“You keep the door open; we’ll get people home and I’ll get home in time to complain to your superior about your flippant attitude during a crisis”

Chief Pendegras could feel the woman on the end of the line smile.

“It’s a date sir”

Chief Pendegrass flipped his phone closed and turned on the PA.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, I need 10 volunteers who have either combat experience or combat training.  Make your presence known to the security team on your floor and we will escort your to the main lobby.  Thank-you for your cooperation”

Almost instantaneously, his radio lit up “Chief, what the fuck? Are we recruiting deputies?”

“Guys, this is the chief.  We are recruiting some people to run Pony Express, escort people to the main lobby and then return to your posts.  We’re going to round up ten people to make a run to the Fema center and head for home; if they make it, we’ll send more.  The rest WILL be deputized.”

A chorus of, ‘okay chief, got it’ sounded back.  Chief Pendegrass was left to think about the voice on his phone and the prospect of leaving on the APC outside.

Short Story: Lights Out Part 7

The gravel stopped crunching and Patrick thought, for a moment, that he was alone on the roof.  The flopping monsters that had poured from the door had been dispatched like his former partner and he had pitched the majority into the flaming street below; crossing himself when he could for whatever passed for souls in their grotesque corpses.

Jacks corpse had stood again, stretched and began to lope at Patrick again, his face an obscene smile with mouth agape and askew.

“Jack, shit.” Patrick ran towards his partner and kicked hm in the chest, toppling the bloody thing over the side of the roof and sailing to the street below.

The roof was quiet and empty of danger now, Patrick walked with all due care to the roof door and looked down the staircase for any evidence of more monsters waiting in the dark.  Finding none he turned his radio on and called out for the chief.

“Chief, it’s 13.  I’m 5 by 5 here.”

“Pat?  Good.  We’ve just shut the tenants on 25 in the security office, join me in the main stairwell.”

“Got ya Chief.  13 coming in”

Patrick Farrel had never once killed a man in anger; not in the line of duty either.  His tour in Iraq had been a relativley short one, with a leg injury getting him an early reprieve from the desert.  Security work paid a bit better and couldn’t normally involve much actual fighting.  The busiest days for Patrick had been chasing kids out of the stairwell after sneaking in after-hours.  He hadn’t known Jack long enough for his death to really hurt, but the fight had left him like the long-termers at the VA, lost in the moment, staring into the distance for the next encounter.

He met the guys from Unit 11 as they trotted towards the main stairwell doors, they were smiling and chatting about the tenants.

“Did you see what they were doing in the one office?  I think they were trying to film their own little porno in there or something… hey Pat.  What the fuck was going on up top?”  Patrick knew the smaller one; Henry “Hank” Jacobs.  Young, former cop, fired for some kind of harassment issue.

“Yeah, they were naked, all of them, one dude had a camera and they were in a pile in the middle of the office, like 20 people all getting it on!” The bigger one had just kept on about the discovery in the office.  Patrick just walked on to the door and knocked.  Chief Pendegrass opened up and held the door for the Security Guards to walk out.  He gave Patrick as much space as possible, given the gore that coated his uniform.

“Chief, we got some shit up here like you wouldn’t believe.  Fucking Zombies or some shit.  I fought about 6 of them, Jack included.  I pitched them off of the roof as they came at me, I fucking shot two of them in the chest and they got right up, Jack too.” Patrick found his tongue and wouldn’t let go “Chief, Man. They kept on coming, like they was gonna tear me up like Jack.  I hadda kill them.”

Patrick could feel himself losing it.  He caught himself and led the walk down to the 24rth and down,  sealing the doors as he went.  He described the whole fight to the Chief, who remained quiet and offered no judgment or comment.  When they had finished the sweep to the ground floor, Patrick had told his story a few times and the guys from Unit 11 had simply gone silent and stopped meeting Patrick’s eyes.

Chief Pendegrass put his hand on PAtrick’s should and led him to the Security offices and offered him a seat and a drink.

“Pat, I believe you.  I’ve looked outside, I can hear that stuff out there.  Something has happened to Saint Paul and I’m not clear as to what.  There were two suns out there today, things have changed in a big way.  Find yourself a clean set of clothes and dump that shit you’re wearing in a bag, tie it off and dump it deep in a dumpster or down the chute.  Go nowhere alone and keep your radio on from now on.”  The Chief stood up to his full height and looked deep in thought.

Patrick got up, went to his locker and stripped off his gore covered clothes, dumping them like requested.  He cleaned himself up as best he could in the showers and found a new uniform and some of the tactical gear the other guys had on.  When he caught his face in the mirror, he was sure that it was still him looking out, but there was a small strangeness in his eyes, like when he first stepped off of the plane at Rammstein in Germany.  He had been through something and come back broken.

Short Story: Lights Out Part 6

The Job of a Security Chief in a private building is thankless, stullifying and for the most part as boring as Mime Church on Saturday.  You clock in first thing in the morning, check over the security logs, meet with the building tenants once or twice a week and put a happy if patricial face on the security procedures that inevitably end up annoying or inconveniencing the tenants.  If it has been a particularily trying day, you can get free food from one of the cafeterias in the building or sneak a drink from the executive lounges in the name of a security check.

When the call came in that the 25th was overrun, Mike Pendegrass wished that he had strayed into one of the executive lounge instead of tarrying around 23 looking at the security doors.

“Chief Responding, Unit 12, I’ll lock it down,  sit tight! Units 1-10, lock down floors 23 down to 19, sweep down floor by floor, Unit 11, you’re with me.”

Two worried looking kids in Security Tactical gear appeared in the main lobby on 23, they had pulled out the private securty quivalent of riot gear from the security office on 23.  Mike took a club from one of them and led them out to the central staircase.

“Guys, you know what to do, get up to 25 determine the nature of the threat and seal all exits if that threat could come down on us; now get going1”

“Yes sir!” Like military recruits, the two young men tore up the staircase to the 25th, Chief Pendegrass could hear their boots pound all the way up, then the heavy doors closing behind them.

“Chief, Unit 11 checking in, there are some people milling about out here.  My partner is leading them into the secure area,  we’ll get them locked into a secure area before going on.”

“You lock down that central staircase before you do anything else boys, I don’t want anything coming down those stairs until one of you boys tosses it ahead of them, you get me?”

“Yes Sir, Unit 11 locking down stairs”

One of the boys had come into the stairwall above Chief Pendegrass and used his security key to initiate a lockdown of the 25th floor.  Mike had climbed the stairs behind the two security guards, keeping a safe distance until he was sure that whatever had caught Jack and Patrick wasn’t already spilling into the central staircase.

“Okay, I’ll finish the lockdown.  Get in there and secure the people in the security office in the north corner, it has a chute down to 24 if things go south.  Barricade them in, tell them to sit tight and wait for the all clear then get back down to this door in a hurry!”

The young guard complied and Chief Michael Pendegrass finished sealing the door, he sat down and leaned against it, calling out to his man on the roof.

“Pat, chief here, pick up on private channel” Mike swapped channels over to a private channel he knew was set aside for unit 12 “Pat, what’s your six?”


“Pat, come back”

Mike switched over to the public channel, “Unit 12, come back”

“sssssSSSS    Unit 12 coming back Chief”

“Pat, switch over to private, you got me?”

“Chief, I’m kinda in the middle of something, I’ll catch you on the flip side if I get through ….sssssSSSSS”

Security Chief Mike Pendegrass, formerly of the Saint Paul Police department smiled a little to himself and thought of the times he had asked people to hold on like that,  as if a life or death matter was some sort of chore that one could shrug off.  Mike Pedegrass leaned his full weight into the door and listened, listened for the sounds of something going wrong, for screams, for gunshots, for anything.  Beyond the murmering that once could always hear in the main stairwell, it was silence.  He could hear the odd footstep beyond the door and occasional check-ins as the units swept down from 23, but the rest was silence and peace.

“Unit 12, come back”

“Chief, this is unit 11”

“Unit 11,  have you secured the tenants on 25?”

“Yeah Chief, coming back to the main staircase, unit 11 out”

Chief Pendegrass stood up and smoothed out his uniform, he began the unlock sequence on the door and pulled open the heavy steel arm that secured it.  He waited for the twin cadenced steps of the guards of unit 11.

And waited.

Short Story: Lights Out Part 5

The roof access stairs were impassible; but it was clear to Patrick that staying on the 25th was going to be a bad idea; he had just heard something wet and horrible happen to his partner over the radio and was sure that he didn’t want it to happen to him.  He leaped over the bloody pools at the bottom of the stairs and caught himself on the railing of the stairs, slick footing preventing a clean landing.  The stairs were gore-laden messes with what appeared to be the remains of dozens of people all over them.  Patrick considered heading back down, but screaming and yelps of pain from behind him spurred him through the grotesque and up onto the roof into the inky, smoky night.

“Chief, this is Patrick Farrel, patrol unit 12, My partner was caught in whatever bingo is going down on 25.  I’m up on the roof to avoid catching whatever caught him!  Chief!?” his radio wasn’t coming back “Unit 12, someone come back?”

“Unit twelve, this is unit 3 on the first, we’re secure down there, what’s your six?”

“Unit 3, the roof lights are out, but there doesn’t appear to be anyone up here.  It’s freaking cold up her Rog.”

“Pat, I got ya.  Keep your head straight and keep an I eye on the roof”

“10-4 Unit 3.  Unit 12 out”

Patrick crunched along the gravel on the roof, and looked over the edge at the city below.  The streets were bathed in yellow and red, smoky and dangerous looking.  Patrick turned back towards the door to the stairs and walked face first into his partner.

“Holy Damn, Jack.  What’s going on, are you alright?”

Jack grabbed hold of Patrick and pushed him towards the edge of the rood, snapping at his face.

“Shit, Jack, what the fuck”

When the light from the fires below lit Jack’s face, Patrick could see that half of it was gone and there was nothing but evil intent in his remaining eye. Jack released Patrick’s shoulder with his right hand and swung a blinding punching into Patrick’s chin, stunning him.  Patrick fell to the gravel next to the short wall around the perimeter of the roof.  Jack began to pummel his partner, bloodying his face; between blows Patrick pulled his pistol from his belt and tried to level it at his partners knees, but Jack slapped it from his hand and over the side of the roof.

Patrick rolled to his left and escaped the rain of blows; kicking Jack’s right knee out from under him.  Jack collapsed towards Patrick who had rolled to his feet and bounced unsteadily way, returning to kick his fallen attacker in the gorey remains of his face. Stomping it.

“Yeah, you like that? Huh?  You like some of this?”

Patrick stomped his former partner until he stopped thrashing around and the wheezing bubbling blood stopped pumping from the ragged edge of his mouth.


“Unit 12, this is Chief.  Come back”

Patrick’s radio was one the ground next to the wall.

“Unit 12, Chief, we’ve got a problem up on the roof; Jack just tried to toss me over the side”

“Come back Unit 12, what was that?”

“Chief, Jack just  tried to eat my face and kick me over the side of the building.  I had to stomp him dead to to get him to lay still”

“Unit 12, do not leave the location.”

“10-4 Chief.  Unit 12 on the roof and waiting.  If whatever got Jack is up here Chief, I don’t want to meet it.  Jack was all fucked up before he got to me, half of his face was gone; like somoeone ripped it off”

“Say again 12?”

“Jack’s face was torn off!”

“Chief on his way”


Patrick sat on the gravel with his back against the wall and stared at the body of his former partner.  Patrick had been the best man at Jack’s wedding.  He was Jack’s kids’ godfather.  Jack’s wife would be devastated.  Patrick coughed a bit in regret, but snapped his flashlight out and began to scan the roof for other surprises.

There was a bloody trail leading to him from the door, but there was no other sign of disturbance on the roof.  Patrick stood up and walked to the door; from behind the door he could hear heavy, but labored footsteps and called out “Chief?”

There was no response, but a grey arm shot up from the gloom; Patrick pointed his flashlight down into the stairwell and immediately slammed the door shut and sat down against it.

“Chief, lock down the 25th, do not enter 25!”

“Unit 12, repeat?”

“Chief, get the 25th locked down.  There are more things like Jack down there, they are all fucked up and dead Chief.  We got zombies or some shit like that on 25!”

Weak arms began to pound the door behind him, they wanted out but couldn’t budge the door.  Patrick braced himself and then ran for Jacks body, Jack’s pistol was still strapped to his waist.  Patrick grabbed the gun and the extra clips stored there and turned to face the monsters pouring from the door.

Short Story: Lights Out Part 4

When the suns finally fell beyond the horizon, Saint Paul was dark except for the emergency lights of the buildings and the lights of cars gridlocked on the streets.  In the Feldex Building, Janice McMurray and Frank James stared down into the deepening gloom below the building, trying to ignore the fights and recriminations that were happening behind them in the office.

“It’s looking crazy down there, did you see the crash along there?” Frank rubbed his head against the warm glass and stared down the streets.  The dull glow that would normally accompany an evening was an inky blackness punctuated by the twinkling lights of he emergency lights and cars; it was chaos in the streets though.  He could see fires and panic below.

Janice stood up and walked out of the offices, past the scuffles in the common area and walked out onto the balcony area looking down into the city.  Standing in the winds; she could smell the smoke and fires out in the city, she could hear the honking and crashing and sonic violence of a city in panic.  There were sirens and bullhorns bleating all around her; but over it all, there were screams and moans.

In the streets below, in the lights of the cars; Janice could see what looked like a battle; the writhing and scattering bodies of people clashing and flashing into each other in between the cars.  There were, what looked like, wolf packs of figures cutting through the cars, hauling people from them and killing them on the roofs of the idling vehicles.  She turned away from it and ran back inside to Frank.

“Frank, there are people being killed down there!  It’s like the whole city has gone crazy at street level”

The office was in chaos, people had split into factions.  Some were gearing up to leave, intending to take the stairs down and leave via the emergency exits and most were trying to convince them to stay.  Janice screamed at the top of her lungs: “SHUT THE FUCK UP AND LOOK DOWN AT THE GOD DAMNED STREET; IT’S FUCKING CHAOS DOWN THERE! GET A GRIP AND LOOK DOWN!”  She pointed down at the streets as flowers of fire bloomed from below the lines of the windows.  It was clear that cars were blowing up in the crowded avenues below.

The Pa chirped loudly and the murmuring, yelling  and crying halted in the office.

“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!   THIS IS THE CHIEF OF BUILDING SECURITY!  THIS IS AN IMPORTANT NOTICE, PLEASE STOP WHATEVER YOU ARE DOING AND LISTEN!  We are sealing the ground level and first 4 floors of the building.  There are a number of events going on outside and in order to ensure your security we are locking the building down.  Close and lock all office doors; do not open them until you receive an all clear over the PA system or when a security officer appears in person to lead you out of the building.  Under no circumstances is the 25th floor to be visited.  There is an ongoing police presence on that floor along with building security personnel.  Building residents on the 25th floor are asked to make their presence known via a call to the security desk.  We thank you for your patience.”

The PA chirped again and the announcement was repeated, the PA then hissed and went silent.

Jance fell back into her chair next to Frank and tried to get her cell phone to work.   Frank watched her; waiting for her to talk again.

“It’s a mess down there Frank, it’s like a war is going on in the street”

“I can see cars blowing up down there, Janice.  It’s so dark out but there is so much light down there now from the fires.  Do you want to hole up in one of the exec offices with a couch and try to get some sleep?”

“No, I’m going to stay here and watch the street.  If one of the buildings around us catches on fire, I want to be ready to go it it gets to us.”

“This building is like a fortress, the fire would have to start inside the building to get us and the way the fire-prevention system is set up, it would be confined to one floor.  It’d take one of these buildings collapsing into us to make a real impact.   I’m gonna go and try and sleep somewhere.”

Frank got up and wandered into the gloomy areas of the office, over to the executive offices.  Janice kicked off her shoes and curled into her chair, staring out into the dark and fire lit streets, unsure what to do.

The office had fallen to silence, with people barricading the doors into the halls and recriminations turning into sorrow and fellow-feeling; former adversaries turning to each other for comfort against an increasingly frightening unknown.

“OH GOD JESUS, FUUUCK SAVE ME CHIEF…SQUARKSSSSsssssss”  the PA had burst to life for a moment then hissed into silence again.  The effect was electric, with wails and yells going up around the office.  No one in the office knew the voice, but the fear and confusion was obvious.  “OH GOD, CHIEF!  THEY ARE EVERYWHERE ON 25, LOCK DOWN THE FLOOR, LOCK IT D…” a warm wet squelch cut off the last word and the PA went silent again.

Janice ran to the doors and began to help with the barricading; certain now that whatever was going on was so much worse than she had even considered.

Short Story: Lights Out Part 3

Security Chief Mike Pendegrass spent his younger days working as a beat cop in Saint Paul; turfing drunks from bars and keeping the peace when local kids got out of hand.  He never made it beyond Sergeant and didn’t aspire to anything except an easy retirement.  When his Captain had decided to “clean up” his department, Mike Pendegrass had been caught up in an Internal Affairs shakedown that took out 30 police, all marked as “Dirty” and summarily dismissed from the force.  5 Years later, Mike Pendegrass was exonerated on all charges but left out of work and without his pension.  Mike Pendegrass took his 20 years of beat cop and turned it into 15 more years of Security Guard at Melberton and Furlinger building Security Limited.

At 56, Mike was not a spring chicken anymore, but he was the Boss, and had a cushy desk job that paid better than any beat copy could have aspired to.  Most days he came into the office, sat at his desk and confirmed and signed reports from the day before, sometimes checking security footage to confirm the the accounts of his officers.  The rest of the day he could watch some TV, surf on the Internet and chat on the phone, a cushy well-paid job for the increasingly paunchy Top Security Guard at the Feldex building.

The odd crises that cropped up around large buildings tended towards power outs, fires and the odd bomb threat.  Mike’s job was to coordinate the response of the Security Team with building Relations and make sure that while secure, the building’s tenants were not overly inconvenienced by any of the actions of the Security Team.  This morning, there was a report of an alarm from the roof, someone had opened one of the roof access doors near the elevator engine room and left it unlocked.

“Boss, there’s a problem up on twenty-five” the radio bleated the voice of Ralph Furlinger, nephew to one of the Execs at M and F.  “There’s blood all over the stairs going to the roof, man”

“Say again, roof”  Mike sat up straight and tabbed through the cameras on 25 looking for the stairs.  Sure enough, in technicolor there was a bloody mess all over the stairs.  “Ralph, back away from the scene and close off the area.  Don’t let anyone near the stairs.  I’ll call the Police and get someone up ASAP.”

“Roger that” Mike watch Ralph cordon off the area with Caution signs and take up watch while Mike called the police.

“Hey, this is Security Chief M. Pendegrass over at the Feldex Building on East 7th, yeah, near the Wells Building.  We’ve had some sort of incident on the 25th, there’s blood all over the place.  We need someone to come check this out. We’ve secured the area, but it’s visible to the tenants. Thanks, I’ll meet your guys at the front Entrance”

Five Minutes later, two police in street uniforms arrived to accompany Mike to the 25th floor.  They rode in the elevator, not speaking beyond introductions and getting basic information.  They were barely beyond rookies and Mike knew that they were just there to make sure that it wasn’t some sort of prank.

When  they got to the 25th Ralph stood aside while Mike and the Two officers walked over to the Roof Access stairs and got a look at the Situation.  The Police asked for the lights to be dimmed, Mike radioed to the Security desk to ask for the lights in that section to be halved, in the gloom the police sprayed a small patch of the red fluid with what Mike guessed to be Luminol and passed a small black light over it, confirming that they had bodily fluids when it lit up.

Mike Radioed for the lights to come back up.

Then everything went Dark, then Blue.  The Emergency lights had come on.

“What the hell is going on?” Mike asked sternly into his radio, “did you kill the lights”

“No Chief, the whole building just went red”

“Okay, Patch me into the PA and I’ll make sure that we cover ourselves…Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Security Chief Mike Pendegrass, please remain in your offices and keep the stairs clear at this time.  I repeat please keep the stairs clear at this time.”  He clicked off his radio and turned to the Police.

“Fellas, it looks like we have to problems on our Hands.  I’ll leave Ralph here to help you guys out, I’ll meet anyone else you call in at the front, just have Ralph Page me.  If you’ll excuse me” The police turned and began to scan the area with small hand-held maglites they pulled from their belts.  The younger of the two began to talk into his radio, which suddenly burst to life with screams and wails.

“…SSQQQUEEEEEE… Holy Shit! Holy Shit… Do you see that in the Sky?….SSSHhhhhSSSSSSQUAAAAAaA  Officer Down at 7th and Marquette, Officer Down at Aaarrrrrrgh!….SSSShhhhhh Numer 242 requesting Backup…..”  The Two young officers stiffened and looked to Mike for his leave.

“I’ll call up some of my guys to lock this area down, but it sounds like there is a real crisis going on out there.  Tell you what, set up shop downstairs in my Security Office and call in from there”

Mike summoned some guards from the outdoor patrol and called for all but the emergency Exits to be locked down securely.  “Now Here this, this building is to be locked down, no one goes anywhere, all exits are to be monitored, all entrances are to be locked and guarded.  I don’t want anyone getting in or out without our knowledge.”  Mike clipped his radio to his belt as a chorus of affirmations came through the speaker.

The two beat cops beat it down the stairs leaving Mike and Ralph to look at the bloody mess; Mike found a chair in an empty office and sat down.  He pulled out his cell phone and tried to call his wife, no signal.  Ralph made a noise behind him.

“Chief, you gotta look out there” He pointed into the office that Mike had pulled the chair out of, “there’s something wrong with the sky”

Mike Pendegrass, Security Chief of the Feldex building stared out of a window on the 25th floor and straight into the twin setting suns in the yellow sky outside.  Suddenly, not getting a signal on his cell phone was the least of his worries.

Short Story: Lights Out Part 2

Frank James spent all of his day at work navigating Facebook looking for his ex-girlfriends.  He only had three to look for, but they never seemed to pop up.  Today he was looking for variations on Trudy or Trudelle or Trish, his first serious Girlfriend in High School.  They had dated right until Graduation, when she dumped him the day after Graduation, Frank had been crushed.  He had expected to Marry her during College and have kids before he turned 25.

Now Trudy and Frank were both in their 30s and unknown to Frank, Trudy was single and pining for him after years of failed relationships.  She didn’t use Facebook and rarely used a computer except when demanded by work and even then she left it to an assistant if possible.  Miles away, Frank toiled away at his keyboard, oblivious to the world, save Facebook.


The Lights went out and Frank’s laptop dimmed, he tapped on, but when people started to move towards the exists, he started to get ready to leave.  The PA crackled and hissed then a voice came out:

“Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Security Chief Mike Pendegrass, please remain in your offices and keep the stairs clear at this time.  I repeat please keep the stairs clear at this time.” The PA hissed a bit then everything was quiet.

““Aww, what the hell!?” Frank coughed in exasperation.  He plopped down in his chair and began to unplug his laptop from the wall, planning to pack up his crap except for his Laptop and leave as soon as the all clear came down.  The “official” downtime would give him a chance to catch up on his real work and since the power was down, so was the ‘net.  No reason to search.

Frank looked up when Janice from the next cube had rolled her chair down the aisle to the window and then got back to filling out spreadsheets and poking tracking information into different databases inside the building.  In about 20 minutes, he had finished his real work for the day when the light in the office came back on.  No, it hadn’t, it was brighter though.

“Oh My GOD!” someone yelled from the other side of the Office, “Holy Shit, Look outside!”

Frank looked out of the window and squinted, there, on the horizon above the buildings were two massive lights, two suns.  The Sky was yellow and there were two suns!  Frank snatched his camera from his carrier bag and snapped some pictures through the glass.  The lights dimmed and went orange as the suns began to sink towards the horizon.

Down in the street, people were panicking and running between the cars.  Frank could just make them out in the dimming lights.

Janice joined him at the window.

“Hey, did you know we were bombed”  she drank from a coffee cup, “like, today?”

Frank stepped back and looked at her, “what?  What?”

“Yeah, I got a call a little while back from a friend in Moorehead, he told me that Saint Paul was bombed, most of it is gone”

“You seem healthy for a bombing victim Janice.  You have to tell me your secret” Frank jibed, nervous.

“It’s this double sun, you know?  It does wonders for the wounds.  Fuck. This is fucked up.  What the hell is going on?” suddenly serious, Janice flopped back into her chair and looked around the office, people were gathering in groups and talking on their cell phones.

Frank took his cell phone from his pocket and called his mother, no answer. He called one of his friends in another office, no answer.  Then, no service.

All around the office people started getting angry, yelling about service.  Somewhere an argument had blossomed into a fight which was getting louder.

Frank grabbed his chair and wheeled it over next to Janice, they sat in silence and watched the suns set in the distance, noting for the first time that they were setting in the north.