Downpour, Part 1

Let me start off this post by saying that I hate reading serials. I lose interest when I’m caught up and have to wait for the next piece. Also, sometimes they never actually end… and I read for the story, so until I know it’s finished, I have a hard time emotionally investing in the story because I’ve been hurt before. It’s not you… it’s me…

I’ve been getting the impression, however, that I’m in the minority in this opinion. People seem to love serials right now. I write for myself, but I post for you peoples, so I’ve decided to take this short and break it into three parts. It is finished and already waiting to post; if I’m abducted by aliens and never seen again, you will still get the rest of the story.

If you ‘re like me and don’t want to start until you can read Downpour all at once, I get it. Just come back in 2 weeks (April 3rd) for the whole thing, and feel free to look through the archive. I’m sure I have stories up that you haven’t read; nobody has read them all.

If you plan to read it as it comes out, I feel that I should warn you that it contain more sexually explicit language in the 2nd and 3rd parts than the 1st.

Please feel free to contact me with comments on this little experiment.
Thanks!

Enjoy!

Richard



 

The sky opened up and the rain came down. In buckets, in sheets, in cats and dogs, no matter how you chose to say it, it all happened at once. One moment there had been not a hint of rain and appeared to be only sparse cloud cover between the tall trees, but in the time it took to walk back into the bedroom and fish a sweater out of his bag the air outside had, more or less, turned to water. Flynn like the sound and smell of rain, but this was a thunderous roar that made him uncomfortable about being stuck under an unfamiliar roof.

The windows took a pounding while he peered through them at the smudges of color that, before the water had started coming down, had been his Subaru Outback and the trees on the far side of the rented cabin’s driveway. Now, obscured by water pouring off the eves and the downpour, they were just dancing blotches, the more distant objects fading to white in the mist rising from the dark, fragrant soil. Flynn had been through storms, but had never, in his life, seen so much rain at one time, especially during June.

Renting the cabin to celebrate their three year anniversary had been Emily’s idea. He had to imagine, though, that even when they made the reservation, and paid the non-refundable deposit three months before, she had known she wouldn’t be joining him. His heart and mind were full of adventure, but he choose to experience them through the pen and book, not his body. She said she loved that about him at first, but their relationship had become stale. She left him for adventure and excitement and Flynn didn’t blame her.

The tea kettle express let out a whistle to announce its arrival, and Flynn forced his gaze away from the window. The cabin was a small, three room place. The single bedroom wasn’t really big enough to house anything but its namesake, the restroom was clean, and the living-room was cozy. All three rooms housed sparse furnishings and decorations of mellow browns and greens. It was all very clean and well organized — a little too clean to appear lived in. Flynn got the impression that this cabin hadn’t been anything other than a vacation rental for a long time.

Making it to the stove, Flynn clicked off the gas range, then poured the steaming water into his mug. The first bag of black tea floated in the water and he reached for the box to grab a second. The man knew what he was doing and that it wasn’t healthy, but he did it anyway. Emily had always made the tea too strong. Sometimes, if he brewed the tea strong enough and closed his eyes, for the briefest of moments — feeling the warm, fragrant steam curling into his nostrils, the cup warming his hands — he could pretend that she had never left him. He could pretend for that instant that she might, at any moment, lay her hand on his shoulder and say something like, “Come on, Goober, those dishes aren’t gonna do themselves.” That was her special nickname for him: Goober.

Then the moment would pass, and Flynn would be left sadder and more alone than before: feeling the loss anew every time. Plunking the second tea bag into the mug, he knew it would hurt, but couldn’t help himself. He wanted so badly to not feel alone anymore, even if only for a moment.

The warming mug nestled firmly in his palms, he made his way back to the window, pausing by the desk that sat along the wall. When he had first arrived two days before, Flynn had thought that he might, perhaps, take some time to write. He had been blocked up since she left, and thought that the change of scenery and lack of distractions might do for his writing what fiber did for his bowels. The lack of distractions just made him lonelier. At home he could throw himself into one project or another, but here all there was to do was think. The surroundings were beautiful, and the hike he had gone on the day before was exactly the sort of thing that Emily had accused him of never doing. That was all he could think about while out there: “Emily would have liked this,” “Emily would have tried to climb that,” or “That would be a cute spot for a picnic… Emily thought picnics were very romantic.”

At the cabin, his mind wandered so easily to the memories of the good times and it hurt so much more. At home, his eyes could wander to the blemishes in the walls where a plate, cup, or picture frame had shattered when the fight got heated and his words turned nasty. She wasn’t as good with crafting biting words, but that single semester she spent on the softball team her sophomore year in college was still apparent in her pitch and it left marks on the walls. These were solid, unwavering reminders of the bad times that were always there when Flynn needed them. Though, the passion that drove her to throw things and scream profanities, even, wasn’t all bad. It was that same fiery passion that had made the fucking so good. The sex was wonderful, but it had been the fucking that had benefited the most from her naturally passionate disposition as a redhead.

In the cabin, there was no remnant of her except Flynn’s memory and the spectral remains of their plans: no scarred walls to remind him of the bad times. Standing in front of the window, he brought the mug up to rest against his lips, his eyes slipped closed and he took a long, deep breath through his nose. The steam brought with it the thick, dark smell of the over-steeped tea. He had brewed it strong enough. She was there. It was just an instant before she would brush against him, kiss his neck and tell him that she forgot something in the car and that it was his job to fetch it for her. It was a perfectly normal moment with her: a moment almost long enough for his lips to start curling up into a smile.

Then it was over. As the moment waned, he almost heard her starting to call him Goober, but it was gone, and he was suddenly cold and alone in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do but read books he couldn’t focus on, write the novel that wouldn’t budge, or think about Emily.

His eyes slipped open to reveal the greens, browns, and grays that danced before him on the window. His breath caught.

Something moved. The background image was composed of rain pelted branches, all of which was seen through wavering sheets of water, so it all moved and was blurry, but something moved differently. It was only for an instant, but he had the very real sense that someone was walking down the driveway just past his car.

Seeing someone walking past his car back home, in San Diego, wasn’t that surprising; it was usually parked out on the street and he shared an apartment complex with at least one hundred other people. Here, though, it was strange. To get to the cabin he had driven down an unpaved, private road with a gate on it for half an hour, snaking through what appeared to be National Forest. The entire time he had been up there, including on the hike, he had yet to see another human being, and not even other living creatures, aside from birds and insects.

The door was only a single step away, and he was there, fumbling with the lock before he even started to breath again. Then the door was open, and Flynn stepped out into the rain, past the sheet of water. Cold rain plunged through his sweater and pants, drenched his socks, and filled his shoes instantly, but his attention was focused on finding the intruder. His eyes flicked around the driveway. The rain still poured, the branches of the trees still wavered, the mist still curled up off the ground, but there was nothing else to see. Nothing moved that shouldn’t, and nothing was out of place.

He vaguely became aware of what he was doing — of the pain in the ass that drying his clothing in front of the fire was going to be — as his feet carried him out to the muddy driveway. Flynn looked behind the car at the ground. The driveway was uneven gunk, the surface ninety percent covered by muddy puddles. Had he been a trained tacker, maybe he could do something with that, but his tracking experience was limited to having read two books with main characters that could track (one of them was tracking robots in space, though, so it probably didn’t count). He wasn’t sure what he had expected to find there, but whatever it was, all he found was mud, more rain, and the vague sense that someone was watching.

He stood there — not getting more wet, due to there being a finite quantity of water that his clothes, hair, and skin could hold, but getting more and more cold and uncomfortable — and he continued to look around. Even the sense that he was being watched began to dissolved in the rain. It left him feeling silly. There was nobody up there but him, and the pattern recognition in his brain must have misfired among all that movement in the rain.

Shuffling back toward the cabin, he laughed at himself, because that seemed like the right thing to do, but the laugh was a weak, slow, and lonely sound. It wasn’t until he made it back under the eves that he noticed his right hand was still clutching the mug. The contents were cold and mostly water now. At least it was no longer too strong.

A monkey, a Cowboy, and a Taco

None of these images are quite a comic, but I thought the first two each told a story, so I thought I’d share them with you this week. All are available on shirts and mugs and whatnot through RedBubble. Follow the link below each if you are curious!

MonkeyTree.png

https://www.redbubble.com/people/imasillypirate/works/25639369-monkey-balloon

ThCowboy2.png

There are 2 versions of this one:
https://www.redbubble.com/people/imasillypirate/works/25654895-cowboy
http://www.redbubble.com/people/imasillypirate/works/25655491-cowboy-2

I also made this shirt a while back and never shared it with you… so here it is.

Tacos

https://www.redbubble.com/people/imasillypirate/works/24865275-tacos

 

Sonny’s Fix

Sonny was jonesing as he walked down the path toward Old Man Richardson’s garden. When he got caught, there was usually trouble, but he didn’t intend to get caught. Despite his craving, Sonny had waited patiently in the shadows of his own porch, feigning disinterest in everything, but actually watching the old man’s house. The old man had just gotten in his beat-up truck and taken off down the road. He had been wearing a nice shirt and a tie, so Sonny knew he’d be gone a while. Geezers dressed up to go to the post office and the grocery store, both of which were on the far side of town; he had plenty of time.

The truck and its trailing cloud of smoke hadn’t even disappeared around the corner yet, but Sonny was already halfway down the path that ran along the side of the old man’s house and into his backyard. Sonny’s mind was focused on the herb he knew was growing in the back corner of the garden and his heart raced in anticipation. He used to get it from his old lady but then, refusing to explain, she had stopped getting it for him and he had needed to find another source. The little patch growing in the back of the old man’s garden had been his saving grace. He would have gone out of his mind if he hadn’t gone rooting around in all the neighbor’s yards when they weren’t home and stumbled across it. It wasn’t weak stuff like what his old lady had brought him either, this was fresh, primo shit. He never took more than just a little, knowing that if he took too much, it might be missed.

Sonny made it to the fence and jumped up onto the top railing in a single bound. It was a low, rustic, wooden fence. Sonny wasn’t very heavy, but even still, the fence wobbled under his weight, uncertain if it wanted to hold him up. With a quick glance around, Sonny dropped down into the garden. The mounting thrill of his impending high steadied him and he no longer felt the need to rush. He listened to the distant buzzing of insects and savored the smell of the sun warmed soil as he meandered slowly back towards his destination. He even stopped once to stare down a grasshopper that he caught sitting next to the thin, winding path, hoping the giant beast would just pass by without noticing him. Obviously, the staring contest was short-lived and Sonny declared himself the victor when the insect bound off into a stand of tall tomato plants.

Rounding the last bend, Sonny stopped in his tracks, his jaw falling open. Where previously had stood a tight cluster of the most beautiful plants he had ever seen, there were only a series of shallow holes in the ground. They had been there the day before, but where where they now?

He looked around, not aware that in his distress his breathing was getting heavy. They were nowhere to be seen. He crept up to the closest of the holes and knelt down close to the ground, his eyes beginning to water and his teeth grinding. He was definitely not mistaken about where the plants had been; there were a few little leavings from the bush littered around in the dirt beneath where the plants used to sit. Lowering his face down to one of these, he sniffed it, the familiar, pungent smell rolled into his nose, tingling his brain and letting loose a cascade of desire for more. He picked it up with his tongue and chewed the tiny leaving frantically as he moved to the next little scrap and the next, scooping them up as well. This wasn’t how Sonny wanted it, eating off the ground like some sort of rodent, but he took what he could get.

All the little leavings hadn’t been enough. Most were too old, and all were too small, but it had taken the edge off. He sat in the middle of the patch of barren soil in the sun, thinking.

How dare Old Man Richardson tear up his plants like that and leave him high and dry? He had probably done it because he knew Sonny needed it. Obviously the old man was going to have to pay, but how? Sonny could break into his house and shit on the table… or… better yet, he thought, he could hide under the man’s porch and trip him, making him tumble headlong down the stairs. The old bastard would break a hip at the very least. Sonny smiled with a self-satisfied purr at that thought. Finally, he picked himself up and strolled back down the path away from where the catnip used to grow, his paws carrying him silently across the ground.

Should Have Gone

I should have gone pee before I hit the road
But now I feel like I’m going to explode

I sit here in traffic, unable to move
So instead of driving, I bust a groove

Wiggling in my seat makes me feel a bit better
But all the while my face is getting redder

The pressure builds until I’m sure that I’ll die
I’m so full of piss it should be coming out an eye

My meeting is a big one, I’m presenting the new line
I’d needed constant assurance that it’ll all work out fine

Traffic inches forward and I let the engine throttle
That’s when I spy, on the passenger floor, a bottle

Glancing around, nobody’s paying me attention
The look on my face is of a kid just before he gets detention

I reach for the bottle, taking a deep breath
Hating that the situation feels like life or death

It’s an old coke bottle and I unscrew the top
Once I start going, there’s no way to stop

The opening is tiny and it’s awkward to hold
I can’t believe I’m doing this; I’m 40 years old

As the bottle starts to fill, I get a bit worried
My plan is flawed because I made it while I hurried

What if I’m not done when there’s no more space?
I have no other bottles: a reality I can’t face

Luckily the urine begins to slow down
My only spare pants make me look like a clown

I think my boss hates me, just looking for a reason to fire
I’m not a huge fuck-up, but my work you wouldn’t admire

Traffic moves again, I’m almost there
Looks like I’ll make it, without a drip or a tear

The bottle’s 3 quarters full, and I’m all done
It worked out nicely; I feel like I’ve won

Into my pants my naughty parts slid
That’s when I realize that I’ve lost the lid

While opening in panic it got lost in the fray
If it’s under the seat, then there it will stay

The bottle goes in the cup holder to keep it upright
The whole endeavor gave me quite a big fright

That’s all my boss needs: an idea he’d catch
That I can’t dress myself, because my pants don’t match

I pull into the lot, and drive slow over bumps
I’ll need a whole new car if over it dumps

I take a moment to collect myself after I pull in
then peer around the lot for the closest trash bin

I take a peek under my seat, hoping to find the top
I’m running out of time, and I need to stop

I get out of the car and carefully grab the bottle
Then walk toward the trash: no time to dawdle

I look around while I go, afraid that someone will see
That I’m walking around with a bottle of pee

It all happens at once. I hear my name and I turn
“Watch where your going” is the lesson I learn

My heart jumps to my throat as I start to trip
And out of my grip the bottle does slip

I fumble the bottle and into the air it I toss
Soaking from head to foot, my unhappy boss

A Storm Through The Walls

Warning: Potential domestic abuse trigger


The roar of the sky falling outside drowned out anything remotely soft spoken. The nature of the sound obscured any actual words, but the emotion behind the violent screaming in the neighbor’s apartment was clear. It had been building for weeks. At first there were just sporadic shouts of anger and the sounds of doors and cabinets slamming, but the regularity and intensity had escalated.

In the beginning the baby would start screaming and they’d settle down a bit. I think it’s just the two of them down there now; I stopped hearing the baby a week ago, and only the two adults come and go anymore.

I think the baby acted as landfall does for a building storm over the ocean. Without it there to be emotionally damaged by their fighting, the storm just gained speed and momentum.
Today, as the storm broke outside and the rain started coming down, something definitely came to a head downstairs too. The emotion I felt through the walls had become intimidating. There had always been anger and hatred in the words, but it was hard to attribute this level of shouting to anything but fits of violent rage.

Wind pushed sheets of rain against my window for a brief instant of percussion, drowning out even the loudest hollers for a moment.

Was someone in danger down there? If so, who? It was easy to assume that abuse went from man to woman if it was there at all, but that isn’t always the case. What was my duty as a good neighbor? Do I mind my own business and let them work out their own problems? Was I supposed to call the police? How did one explain their reason for calling?
“The emotion coming through my walls is getting violent,” sounds about as legitimate as a man wandering around the hardware store offering to sell a $100 gift card for $75, cash only. But the interpolation of human emotion is an alarmingly precise tool. Does one need to understand Italian to know exactly what is happening in Rigoletto when Gilda goes into that house dressed like a man? Does one need to be fluent in French to feel Don Jose’s rage and desperation building near the end of Carmen?

I needed to be up early the following morning, but my heartburn was acting up and, of course, the walls were shaking with anger as the rain pounded my windows. So I sat up, trying to pretend that I was getting some work done, but I wasn’t; I was listening to the raging war through the wall, wondering about my civic duty.

Then it stopped. All of a sudden, without warning, and seemingly in the middle of a sentence, it stopped.

Why was I not relieved?

Why did my blood run cold when the torrent of angry words suddenly dipped below the sounds from the raging downpour? They could still be talking in a more civilized tone and I’d have no idea, but somehow I doubted it.

Something had happened and they had both fallen silent.

Was somebody dead?

“Excuse me officer, I’d like to report a potential murder; my neighbors stopped yelling at each other.”

Yeah, sure, buddy.


 

This is a work of fiction intended to paint an emotional picture and, thus, nobody was hurt by the protagonist being self involved and musing instead of reporting the incident. In real life, if you suspect domestic abuse of any kind for any reason, call the police and report it or contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline for advice, and do so immediately.
If you fear reprisal, request anonymity when you call. If you are worried about being wrong, sounding dumb, or wasting the time of the police, consider the alternative for a brief moment; what if it turns out that you are right, but you do nothing?
Make the call.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233
and there is more information on their website http://www.thehotline.org

New Paper

Some of you may recall that I received my MS in physics last year and I shared my thesis.
This last summer I did a bunch more related work and wrote a lot of a paper. I then handed what I had off to my adviser and collaborators and they completed it, rewrote a few sections, and submitted it. The paper, entitled ‘Quark Deconfinement in Rotating Neutron Stars,’ has been published by Universe and can be found here: http://www.mdpi.com/2218-1997/3/1/5/html

In case anyone was curious, I thought I’d share it. At the very least, there are some very colorful plots near the end. 🙂

Have a great week everyone!

Richard