Friday, September 5, 2008

Bless the Children: Appeared in AlienSkin Magazine Jan. 2007


My name is Glob. Around sundown today I went above ground to get groceries, and this is how my trip went.

I was a little miffed when I went to the TV/Stereo shop on the corner. I just wanted to catch a glimpse of the news, find out what’s going on in the world, y’know? So I’m watching, and the next thing you know, this dumb show comes on about these lousy little reptiles that get doused in nuclear waste then, ‘Bammo!!” They transform into heroes! Man, like, what if they were nuclear tapeworms? Would they eat the bad guys from the inside out? They should have made a show about us. At least we used to be human.

My girlfriend, Bucket, says we still are. I don’t know.

So anyway, I’m standing there, my hood is pulled over my head when the manager yells, “Hey, kid! If you aint’ buyin’ get out!”

And I thought I wasn’t a Rhodes Scholar.

Well, I already had my chain jerked a little anyway, so I spun around and stuck out my tongue. The dude screamed like a girl then started saying swear words about the costume shop down the street.

“Go on!” he cried. “Get!”

I said a few words about his over-sized rear and took off.

I took my usual path down the alley that runs adjacent to S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, USA.

Chet’s Diner was my first stop. Sitting on the back steps were the four bags he leaves everyday. I leaned forward and smelled the soup. Mmmm, minestrone. I peaked in one bag and saw he had included a can of V-8 especially for our girl Loosey. She needs extra vegetables, but her jaw doesn’t work very well. I also noticed the bags were sturdy and had handles. Good ol’ Chet.

Of course, before this had been Chet’s place it had been Sal’s, and Tawan’s and also Larry’s.. But hell, those guys couldn’t deal and became real inconvenient. Inconvenient people die. My mother taught me that.

So old Chet is a good boy. We help him, though, it’s only fair. Like the time he was robbed. Friggin’ burglar stole a ton of money and equipment. Expensive stuff. Police couldn’t find him, but we did. Chet got his stuff back and I let Patch abort him. He didn’t live long. A good deal all around.

Next stop was the church. Father Hillary left a small box of medicine we needed with a note attached; ’Will have extra clothes, blankets and batteries tomorrow. The ribbon is in with the medicine.’

I felt excited and tore open the bag for a look. There it was, a strand of velvet, all ruby-red and soft. It was a present for Bucket. Man, I knew she’d love it. She loves tying things around her head. I also saw Father Hillary had included his usual present: a Bible. I gave asnort of laughter and chucked it to one side. That Father Hillary, sometimes he’s a hoot. Always talking about the great life you can find just reading the Bible. Maybe it hasn't dawned on him that I'm dead, so what's a dead man need with a life? But the Father is still a pretty good one. I’ll have to carve a lot of flesh before I find a replacement for him.

I put the box in with the juice and headed for my last stop, Wilma’s Natural Food Mart. She was supposed to leave us organic apples, but when I got to her back door, I didn’t see anything.

Disgusted, I pounded on the door. Wilma opened it and peaked out. She’s thin with gray lines in her hair, always wears blue jeans and acts like she’s doing me a big, fat, favor. She’s got it wrong.

She looked at me and stuttered, “Oh, its-its….y-you.”

“You-you? Who-who?” I talk like that to her. Freaks her out. “Say who I are.”

“I’m not calling you that-that name.”

I told her, “My name Glob. I wanna apple.”

“You’re not a glob.”


Her eyes said she was a little scared and guilty at the same time. I thought, N.G., Wilma, N.G.

“Look,” she told me opening the door. “Come in. We have to talk.”

“I wanna apple,” I said and waddled in after her.

She lead me to her office which was a real mess, let me tell you. The paperwork on her desk looked so jumbled you’d have thought it had a life of its own. There were bills held in check by a marble paper-weight; a spiked message skewer over-flowed with messages and order sheets covered her desk like insulation. Being an orderly kind of guy, I was just plain friggin’ appalled. And this slob was supposed to help me. Tsk, tsk.

She sat in her rotten old desk chair and motioned for me to sit.

I told her, “Glob stand.”

“Uh…all right,” she stammered. Then she smiled in that same kind of way Bucket does sometimes. Except, when Bucket does it, she’s usually congratulating a two year old for pooping in the right spot. I aint’ two years old. This chick spoke like we reached some major compromise.

“All right…Glob. Stand. But we will talk. I’ve been letting this arrangement go on too long. You must see that you need help! My church has a youth Pastor who could help you to...”

“I wanna apple.”

Her eyes flashed, “Stop talking like that! You’re not stupid! I don’t think there’s anything wrong with you! But you do need spiritual help and physical help. The swellings are there, but you could see a doctor! You could be a normal boy!”

Her words punched a button with me so big and touchy I wanted to nail her right there. But I was in a bad position. I kept cool and moved closer to the desk.

“Gimme apple! Gimme now!”

She rolled her eyes to the ceiling and said, “That’s it young man! You can’t be more than fourteen and if there are other children like you down there…don’t you see? They need a doctor! Jesus didn't save your lives just to have you hold them captive in the dark till they all die or don’t you care?”

Inside my anger flared like an exploding volcano. Didn't care? She had NO idea! But since she was about to die, I told her the truth. I leaned forward on her desk and gave her my most intelligent smile. “Wilma, Wilma, tsk, tsk. My clan is officially dead. Or so you’d expected when a person is aborted. But a few of us made it, as you well know…”

I never used this voice with her and I could see her face go slack with fright, as if she had just learned a fatal secret. She had.

Wilma gasped, “You’re normal!”

I grinned and yelled, “Surprise!” Then snatching up the paper-weight, I slammed it into her temple and she slumped to the floor. I felt the side of her neck and found no pulse. But it didn’t matter. I felt in my pocket for my switchblade, pulled it out and snicked it open. Grabbing a fistful of her hair, I yanked her head up and slit her throat. No hard feelings, but when I kill someone, I make sure they’re really dead.

I waited at the back door to her office. I could hear the clerk out front yakking on the phone and having a grand old time. No one else was in the store. I slipped out. Near the back door I found the sack of apples and oranges she was supposed to leave for me before she came down with the bleeding heart sickness.

I grabbed the sack and left.

Does it end well? Hmmmm....we'll have to see!

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