De-Twerk!

On August 25, 2013, Miley Cyrus nearly destroyed the world. On that fateful night at the VMAs, she not only defiled foam fingers and castrated baby bears, she also sent a society into turmoil. Even now, weeks later, we struggle to recover.

We are in a state of shock.

We are in a state of Twerk!

But Dr. Mortimer Puffdandy has the solution. Read his careful analysis of Twerk and follow his step-by-step plan to overcome it. Society can once again find normalcy where it was violently taken by Miley Cyrus.

Buy this book now. Buy it before it’s too late. Buy it before Twerk overtakes your soul.

Okay, I admit it: I..am Mortimer Puffdandy.

Yeah, I wrote this and I had a blast. It’s not high literature or anything, but I think I did a good job of bringing the funny. I also learned in the process that I lean towards comedy on the raunchy side, which sort of pokes at my haughty sensibilities. But hey, what can you do?

I also did the cover art, so…yeah.

I’d love if it someone actually bought it, but I’d be happy to send a free copy to anyone who’ll commit to posting a fair and impartial review on Amazon.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Man of Steel: A Comic Fan’s Review (with a full sy-snark-sis)

Here’s my snark-infested synopsis and review of Warner Brothers’ Man of Steel.  If you want to avoid the bulk of the spoilers, just go the overview and analysis.

And don’t take the snark too seriously.  Doesn’t mean I don’t like the film, it just helps me analyze my feelings about it.

I still remember the opening night of Superman Returns.  It was a packed theater, anticipation piqued, and after a round of uninspired trailers it was almost showtime.  Just as the audience silenced  itself, a single voice, with all the slurred intelligence it could muster, belted out a

“It’s Sooperman!”

I remember the guy, a couple rows ahead of me. flabby enthusiasm pushed into a superman tee a few sizes too small.  And I imagine him, after 2 1/2 hours of land schemes and henchmen, and the final scenes of creepy lullaby Superman sneaking in a little boy’s bedroom, leaving the theater, dazed and confused, whimpering like a castrated puppy

“But it’s Sooperman…”

I remember you, Tight T-Shirt Dude, I remember you, and more importantly, Zack Snyder remembers you.  Your suffering was not in vain.

That’s right, Tight T-Shirt Dude, there’s a new movie in town.

Man of Steel was made for you.

Synopsis

Man of Steel starts on Krypton with Lara Zor-El in the throes of labor.  A concerned Jor-El watches the inside of her womb on a metallic 3D display (which must’ve made Krypton gynecology a pure delight). Baby Kal-El is born, but Jor-El can’t be happy since he knows the world is about to end.

Jor-El heads to Krypton’s ruling counsel, and we see the first glimpses of the Krypton homeworld  It’s  a techno-organic marvel of foreboding spires and sparse landscapes.  It’s quite beautiful.  However, the people who live there are assholes. It’s not that Superdickery couldn’t have told you about the nature of Kryptonians already, but MoS’ version are a special kind.  They’re a feckless, xenophobic, classist  race who, for reasoning I can’t understand, decided to stop exploring the stars and its abundance of resources and strip mine their planet into submission. And god, are they melodramatic, a Tolstoy novel fitted with aluminum robes and skin-tight leather.

As I said, assholes.  But at least they’re not assholes who procreate in the traditional sense.  They grow their baby assholes underwater in birthing chambers taken right out of the Matrix.

But not Jor-El.  Dude’s a real man, a virile sonuvabitch who made Lady Lara earn her motherhood the hard way.  Baby Kal is the first of his kind in thousands of year: a child born out of love and not doomed to serve whims of predetermined genetics.  He’s the symbol for a new Krypton.

“Thanks , no pressure at all, dad. Asshole.”

Krypton’s short-sightedness is on full display, as Jor-El begs for his people to listen and of course they won’t. So it’s not really a sad moment when they all fall dead, a victim of a Coup d’Zod.

I could go on and on, but you can guess what happens: Zod asks Jor-El to join him, J-Dawg refuses, chaos ensues, Jor-El hightails it out on his pet dragonfly.  Before Zod can stop him, Jor-El sends Kal up, up, and away.  Zod kills Jor-El, gets captured, gets tried, yada yada yada phantom zone, sourpuss Lara, yada yada yada, planet go ka-boom! And all the while we’re left wondering how many Kryptonians could’ve been saved had they spent more time building spaceships and less time riding around on dumbass dragonflies.

The movie moves to the present-day, where Kal, now of course Clark, but not calling himself Clark (oh shut up, it’s not that complicated), works on a fishing rig while on a path of self-discovery.  Because there’s no better place to find yourself than in close quarters in the middle of the ocean with men who smell like fish and pee.  A nearby drilling platform erupts into flames, and Clark is the rescue, abs ablaze to the delight of my wife, saving the men and pretty much blowing his cover.

“I’m hawt. Tee-hee.”

FLASHBACK!  as elementary school Clark, unable to control his x-ray vision in class,  gives us a glimpse of the pervert he’d become in Superman Returns.  Little jerk.  The world’s too big for him, he says.  “Then let’s make it smaller,” Ma Kent responds, not realizing how hard that is when you can see everyone’s junk in your face.

Back to the present, we find Clark thieving some clothes as he prepares to move on and start over yet again.  As he’s walking away, he see’s a school bus…

FLASHBACK! Even on Earth, Clark can’t escape the daddy-jerkface syndrome, as Pa Costner tells him the next time he thinks about saving little fatties on sinking buses, he should strongly reconsider. Angst!  Guilt!  Clark learns that he’s not human.  Touching father/son moment…

“Pa, The Postman sucked. Get the fuck over it already.”

Back to the present, Lois arrives at a military research encampment in the arctic, where Clark (who’s not calling himself Clark here, either…just shut up and go with it) just happens to work.  What’s believed to be a marooned Russian sub is a portion of Kal’s crashed Kryptonian ship. Clark goes exploring and discovers his heritage through his father’s AI consciousness.  Lois, of course, follows, and needs rescuing.  Their meddling activates a homing beacon, and you can guess who’s going to soon be coming to dinner.

After Perry Black rejects Lois’ story, since it makes her sound like a stark-raving lunatic, Lois fails to take the hint and continues to dig. In all of, like, 20 minutes, Lois discovers her mystery man’s name is really Clark Ke…

FLASHBACK!  Why dogs don’t mix with tornadoes!  See Pa Jerkhole as he waves his son away and makes Clark watch him die.

Back to the present, and YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  Zod’s ship arrives (see, he escaped the phantom zone because Krypton jails evidently can’t handle what’s the equivalent of an LA earthquake), and he demands the people of Earth release Kal-El into his custody.  Clark consults a priest and poses before Christ, and they compare notes as to which one of their Daddys screwed them over worse.  He decides to turn himself over to the military, where he proclaims himself Hope Dude and assures them he’s here to help.  They ain’t buying that shit and hand him over to Zod.

To the delight of the male servicemen, Ursa arrives, clad in leather and spikes, and takes Clark and Lois away.

Continuity change!  Krypton’s atmosphere weakens Clark the way Kryptonite used to.

Kryptonian mind meld!  Forced Zodomy in your brain!  Clark drowns in a sea of skulls…

Zod’s looking for a codex of Kryptonian DNA so he can bring Krypton to Earth.  Jor-El, in his infinite wisdom, planted an even bigger target on his baby boy’s back by injecting the codex–the genetic codes of billions of possible Kryptonians–into his son’s DNA.

Thanks pop.  Thanks a bunch.

“Seriously, Dad, what is your goddamn problem?”

Mind you, this is the same man who used his disdain for caste-based genetics to send his child–and only his–to another planet for safety and said a big fuck you to the other “tainted” babies.  Yet he decides to save the tainted template and implant it in his son’s newborn scrotum.  Kryptonian logic, people.

 Yes, Clark, it’s safe to assume your fathers secretly hate you.

Speaking of Jor-El, it seems his AI has a side-job with Verizon, because he just appears, over and over and over, always looking over your shoulder, always watching.  Yes, Lois, Jor-El sees you and he likes.

Clark escapes and fights ensue.  So many fights it’s hard to keep count.  By, my gawd, they’re awesome fights, resulting in the destruction of everything from gas stations to skyscrapers.  Fortunately, by the glory of product placement a few building like Sears go untouched.

After Emil Hamilton somehow identifies the sexually rhythmic undulations of Zod’s machine as terraforming, Superman (yeah, he’s Superman now, I guess, thanks to on-the-spot branding by members of the US army) destroys it, sets off a Phantom Zone bomb, and gets rid of all the Kryptonians except Zod.

The last fight scene is as mesmerizing and violent as the first.  Zod forces Superman’s hand and, in an moment that’ll be debated ad nauseum, Supes snaps the HELL out of Zod’s neck.  As Superman screams at the agony of his decision, Lois soothes him, and they end up kissing in the sunset, seemingly oblivious that an entire city lies in ruin behind them.

Yeah, Superman’s new to this.

So Earth is saved and has a new hero, although for some reason the Army tries to use multi-million dollar drones to do what Lois was able to with a bus ticket and a few scraps of newspaper.

The movie ends on a uplifting note, as we meet the Daily Planet’s newest intern: nerdy looking yet strikingly gorgeous Clark Kent.

“I need you to hear me and hear me good: wanton destruction turns me ON!”

Overview  

Don’t let the snark fool you:  this is a good movie.

Man of Steel is unlike any other Superman movie we’ve seen to date.  If you’re hoping for an interaction of Donner’s Superman, Morrison’s Superman, the 30s Superman, or even the Nu52 Superman, you’ll be sorely disappointed and probably a bit pissed.  Snyder and Nolan build this Superman from the ground up (as the annoying commentary that preceded my showing made sure to point out), carefully planting lifelong issues for the character to deal with, all the way from inception to the present day.

And this Clark Kent has a lot of issues. There’s no examination of nature vs. nurture: it’s clear they’re both to blame.  Jor-El burdens Kal with the weight of two worlds, tasking him with the physical and metaphorical legacy of the dead Kryptonian race, and the protection and elevation of the human race.  Pa Kent is even worse, scolding Clark for showing any signs of his physical gifts, raising him to be a good man but not letting him use the tools to do so.

This Clark isn’t born Superman.  He’s not even Superman when he puts on the suit. He’s a withdrawn, insulated shell who’s spent his entire life running from what he is until, one day, he’s suddenly told not to.  It’s a jarring experience for the character and a progression for the moviegoer that’s not shown in the most elegant of manners. But by the end of the evolution, we see the Clark we know and love, finally at ease with himself and ready to change the world.

The rest of the main characters serve a purpose.  While the actions of his fathers force Clark into a lonely isolation that makes the world somewhat bearable, Clark’s introduction to Lois serves to do the opposite.  There’s someone he can confide in.  He can finally breathe.

Lois is written with the appropriate amount of attitude and, more importantly, smarts.  This isn’t the Pulitzer-for-ditziness version of the past, the Lois actually seems like a journalist.  It doesn’t take her long to track her mystery savior, and when she does, she knows what to do with the information.

Jor-El and Pa Kent are, as I’ve said, jerkfaces, but well-meaning ones: Jor-El because of the inadvertent dangers he creates for Clark and Pa Kent because, well, he’s Kevin Costner.  Seriously, if you’ve seen any trailer, you get the gist of his character.  He wants the best for Clark, but he burdens his son with more guilt than even a Superman can manage.  If there’s a huge weakness in Clark’s character, it’s that for most of the movie he’s driven by the ideas of his fathers than his own conscious.

Zod and his Kryptonian army serve as the appropriate foils for a rebooted franchise.  There’s nothing extraordinary about his character other than his raw power, nothing special about his his villainy than its scope.  The most depth the character shows is at his bitter end, when he forces Superman’s hand and we see the lengths he’ll go to avenge the extinction of his people.

While Perry isn’t a major character, he’s what you’d expect, while Jenny Olsen isn’t on-screen long enough to judge.

The plot is nothing special, but it’s serviceable for a reboot.  The script is average.  But there’s no  confusion when it comes to motivations and how one event connects to another.  WB played it safe, and who can blame them.  Man of Steel does big and dumb as well as it can be done.  While movies like The Dark Knight, Iron Man, and The Avengers elevated its movie genre, Man of Steel maintains a safe medium.

As far as wit and charm:  you’re not gong to crack many smiles the first 25 minutes. Yes, it’s dour. I mean, if you were to put a rainbow on Krypton I’m sure it would be upside down. There are plenty of missed opportunities for humor a franchise like Iron Man would knock out of the park.  But is this a dark movie?  No.  And Superman sure as hell isn’t gritty.  The mood dramatically lightens once Lois is introduced and the star character can embrace who he really is.

You ride back and forth on pet dragonflies. I think you can afford to crack a smile, bro.

This isn’t a cold film by any stretch, but it’s not as welcoming for long-time fans as a reboot could be.

Directing/Editing

Snyder gives the movie a nice sci-fi horror flair for a good portion of the film, which gradually gives way to a character study, which gradually gives way to hard-core action.  There’s a fractured feel to the movie as it seems to move from scene to scene in the early parts.  It’s doesn’t destroy the cohesion of the film, but it’s…

FLASHBACK! Yeah, the goddamn flashbacks can be annoying, but it serves the narrative, and the transitions are pretty seamless.

Acting

Henry Cavill is a good Superman, able to convey Clark’s conflicted nature. Physically, he’s perfect.  With a rigid jawline and razor-sharp abs that seemingly cut through shirts, he provides a diversity of sexism most superhero movies fail to match.  If Snyder’s Watchmen had blue dong, Cavill gives the director a chance to showcase Big Blue Bulge.  By the end, Cavill emotes a Clark that’s fully evolved, ready to embrace the world and take it by storm.

Amy Adams is a talented actress and brings her own flair to Lois.  As said earlier, she plays the character smart, with verve aplenty, and is nobody’s fool

The rest of the cast, specifically Kevin Costner, play their parts the best they can.  Michael Shannon is the only exception, as he seem restricted by the material, and Zod seems wasted as a result.

Action

Breathtaking. The action sequences are easily the best of any superhero movie ever.  It’s visceral and at times brutal, and some sequences look like they were lifted directly from Mortal Kombat (in a good way).

Superman punches.  And punches.  And punches.  He punches men, he punches women, and if you were too close to the screen I’m sure he’d punch you too.

As far as the action being too long or monotonous…if you’re an action/superhero movie fan and find that flaw, you probably should stop watching action movies altogether and relax with a nice evening of merlot and chemical castration.

Score

Hans Zimmer’s score is, as always, exemplary.  For the most part the movie takes advantage of it, even if there are moments the score seemed weirdly out of place.  The music for the small moments are great, but after a certain point in the movie the small moments disappeared, rendering the music useless.

What Man of Steel is

A fresh introduction to the Superman mythos with breathtaking action to easily make it worth the price of admission.

What Man of Steel isn’t

A movie about any Superman we’ve come to know. This is a Superman built specifically for the big-screen, with an actor with shoulders broad enough to carry the fortunes of the DC Movieverse.

What Man of Steel means for a DC Movieverse

Its box office success means everything, and if my local theater is an indication, it WILL be a success.  The theater was packed and there was applause at the end.  Being the idiots that we are, we waited for an after-credit scene that never came, but the fact almost everyone was willing to do so says a lot.

Overall Score: 7.5/10

Not as good as the the Nolan Batman movies, The Avengers, or the first Iron Man, and on a level just above the original Spiderman and X1.  However, the action sequences set it apart.

Posted in movie review | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Love, Maybe

 

Chris tightened his stomach as the Cupid Worm thrashed in his hand.  It dropped onto the plate with a hollow plop and for a moment laid suspended in mucus, its new freedom an invisible weight.  Then, with a violent slice of a knife, Suree chopped it in half.  Chris gagged.

“Just give it a moment,” his date said with disturbing optimism.  The worm halves wiggled while, slowly, the two bleeding ends congealed and rounded.  After a few seconds two worms, quite alive and active, squirmed in chorus.

Suree popped one of them into her mouth and motioned for Chris to do the same.  He did.

“Two halves of a whole, a single shared soul . The things we do to find love,” she whispered through dry, thin lips.  No, he thought, the things we do to get laid.

Suree wasn’t bad for a rebound.  Behind the horned-rimmed hipster glasses, flat nostrils and sloping shoulders was raw material a better man could shape and exploit.  But she was no Trudy.

“You know in India, some couples do this every day?  They make love into their 80s,” she said sheepishly.

His anger rose.  To think love could be reduced to this, a digested enzyme, an acidic chemical reaction from glorified fish bait.  He and Trudy had known each other inside out, and love still didn’t work.  There was no miracle cure, no Viagra for the soul.

They both jumped and stared at each other, flushed.  Wow.  Chris readjusted his pants. Suree fanned herself with a quick, fluttering motion, her eyes wide.

“Karmic, trantric, orgasmic…are we there yet?  Are we in love?”

No, Chris thought to himself.  But suddenly I’m not so opposed to the idea.  Maybe an artificial love was better than none, or maybe that’s all love was after all.

Posted in short fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Class Warfare (microfiction twort)

I took my child to school and witnessed the change. My girl, softly swayed at home, emotions tentacled, always reaching, an only child weighed by her parents whims, turned stout. Concrete. We met two of her friends in the hallway, and after polite gestures the girls fell in line. She led us to her classroom, past her teacher and the painted graffiti walls, signaling to one and all that the world now belonged to them.

As I left, i looked around, now mindful of the societies rising and falling, the uprisings and coups, the sorties and crusades. Child soldiers–my tiny Napoleon–dressed in school colors, fighting an endless battle, coming home only for an overnight retreat.

 

More Tworts (twitter shorts)

Posted in short fiction, Twort | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

American Soil (Superhero origin)

The Tibots were strange, but as customers  they were dependable. When Anwar’s father noticed their latest order—yet another jar of soil, this time from Tunisia–was unclaimed, he dispatched his son to deliver it. While it was unusual for for Mr. Orin to dispense with that kind of service, keeping his richest, American customers happy was time well wasted.

But business didn’t concern Anwar, only Lian did. The Tibots’ daughter had long raven hair and flighty eyes. Chestnut. Piercing and unsubtle. She always wore shoes a bit too large and dresses a bit too loose.  The combination gave her slim figure a  forceful sway Anwar found appealing.

He almost dropped the jar when he arrived. The Tibots’ home stood, barely, front gate unhinged, windows broken, patches of lawn tinted a thick, congealed red. Smoke diffused from a side and the air burned with acrid heat. Anwar rushed inside and found Lian curled in a corner.

“Lian!”

She slowly looked up, noticing the jar.

“Soil…” she muttered. She grabbed his shoulders, more desperate than alive. “American soil! It’s in a jar here somewhere! Help me find it!”

There’d been dozens of jars of soil. Most lay cracked in the rubble, their contents spread across the floor in an unearthed menagerie. When they found the contents of the jar labled USA, Lian kicked off her shoes.

“They took them, Answer!  They took my parents!”

Anwer watched as Lian dug her feet into the soil, moving her toes back and forth like grubby worms.  Her face lost its paleness, replaced with red.  Her eyes began to pierce.

“I don’t understand.  Why?”

“It’s a war game.” Lian’s voice was clear, forceful, no longer choked and tingy.  She found a pair of shoes, coated the interior with dirt, and put them on. “They were American scientists.  Navajo researchers.”

She stood.  Even though they’d always been the same height, Anwar had the sensation of looking up, up at her.

“See, each country has a soul, special strengths and memories,” Lian continued as she stretched, her body taught, “and I was designed to absorb them.” She put the shoes back on. “I was supposed to be raised a soldier, an infiltrator, but the Tibots kidnapped me. Saved me. Now it’s my turn.”

She gave Anwar a kiss and smiled. Her eyes were easy this time, calm and balmy. They made Anwar feel he’d lost a great thing, forever. “They want to see me in action.  They want to see me go against the rest of my kind,  what their missing prize is capable of.

I won’t disappoint.”

An oldie that I thought I’d revisit, somewhat inspired by Jack Hawksmoor from The Authority (great book to give a chance for all you non-comic fans).

Posted in short fiction, superhero prose | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hemlock

dying-plant-optical-illusion

Julia Alvarez, agreeing to disagree?  Absurd, Liddy thought.  When the Alvarez sisters fought there was never agreement, only silent acknowledgement.  A suppression of arms.  They fought, and then it was done: no resolution, no apologies.  The perpetual, tangled state of their relationship demanded nothing less.  After all, they were mere clippings of their mother, who before dementia was a robust, dense woman, as deceptive as the hemlock she grew for medicine, and her daughters sprouted in her shadow, poisonous and wild.

“You heard what I said, Liddy.  Let’s drop it,” Julia wiped her forehead and tried to angle herself under the table canopy, away from the Texan sun.  “It’s not worth it.  If you say you haven’t seen it, I believe you.”

A retreat.  Liddy enjoyed her advantage in the shade. Her sister’s desperation was as subtle as the lime in her fresca.  She signaled a waiter and ordered another for herself and Mama, who gave polite thanks.  It was a normal gesture, but seemingly childlike coming from the former behemoth of a woman.

“Thank you.  It’s just that Mama left the house a mess.  Moving in, getting situated, it’s like a second job.  I haven’t had time to look for her diary.”  Liddy made sure to emphasize the casual freedom of it, of being busy with one’s own life.

Julia inflated her cheeks, infuriated but resigned, and exhaled through pursed lips.  She took a napkin and wiped at Mama’s already clean lips, causing her face to tense and furrow, to momentarily show signs of fire at the indignity.  Like a spent match, though, the instant came and went, leaving an afterimage in red.

“Dammit, I just wish I knew where Mama hid that thing.”  Julia said, now cupping Mama’s fattened cheeks and looking her squarely in the eyes.  It was a new habit of Julia’s Liddy had noticed, along with the mild profanity, of looking directly at Mama while discussing her.  “I’ve tried taking her to her friends every week, even to people she used to treat.  Remember the Rubio kid, the manic, the one Mama spent whole winters growing root for?”

Liddy nodded, casually sipping on the melting ice from her cup, as if her memory had any bearing whatsoever.

“She can’t even remember him, and she hated the little jerk.  I need something to help her remember.”

Of course you do, Liddy thought.  That was Julia to a tee: Mama’s sapling, the frustrated healer, a little copycat, thriving in the muck around her.  Mama had despised her.  But it was such an apparent, translucent form of jealousy, recognizable to everyone, that it was obvious she was the woman’s pride.  Liddy, however, no matter how pretty or smart she tried to be, was plastic foliage on the periphery, there just to complete the scene.

“Hear me, Mama? Where’s your damn diary?” Julia was saying now, still holding the raw, uncultivated flesh of  Mama’s face.

There was a pause, then a deliberate movement of Mama’s mouth that could’ve been caused by a crank.  Slowly, full of sincerity, the words came out.  “Oh, just give me a moment and I’ll find it,” she said, her fingers scratching the table while digging through her memory.

Julia slapped the hand in disapproval.  Mama withdrew obediently, unafraid but aware of some line she’d crossed.

“Julia!”

“Nothing good grows from idle hands.  Remember that saying?” Julia said with emphasis, glaring at Mama again.

As they prepared to leave, Liddy thought about that particular lesson . Growing up, the plants had been their livelihood, and any sort of neglect of them had been punishable by pops from a quick hand, barbs from a quicker mind.

She fingered her mother’s scalp where nothing longer grew.

Despite her own best efforts, Mama’s hands had also been idle, growing Liddy seedless, apathetic, boring as hostas, leaving Julia, the good daughter, a wilted rose, strangled by the tangles of Mama’s weeds.

As they went their separate ways, Liddy reached into her purse.  She gripped the diary, a seed waiting to be planted.  Without wondering why, she knew she’d never let it grow.

Posted in short fiction | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Heroes Don’t Come to Prudence Street

oie_28183629kfYZl8ZI

They clash in complementary colors–superpeople–hero versus villain  spandex versus leather, ideal versus the outside world. They clash, knuckles meeting flesh, bone crushing concrete, the surrounding air crackling, ionized with spite. They clash for the entire neighborhood to see, as if for the right to claim the carcass of a long-lost love.

“Fuck. Fuck!” one of them screams as a laser goes awry. There’s a thump; then an expanding bubble of black cloud that takes a minute to clear. Finally the hero stands, one hand to the villain’s throat, the other cocked back in a fist. He looks around, waiting for a sign, for some kind of silent approval.

As if in response, Prudence Street opens itself, pierces a vein. Everything crystallizes, everyone takes notice: out of windows people peer, in hideouts they freeze, from dark corners they rise. Bottles and lighters crack. Needles drop and bend. Prudence Streetknows him: the hero. They know him. He’s one of theirs, all grown up.

The hero turns back to the villain. “Never again. The drugs, the gangs, the death, my parents died because of this shit. Never again!” he says, his voice straining against the air. The street fights him, pushing against his chest like an antibody. He doesn’t understand. He feels a tap and he’s a boy again, just orphaned, tiptoeing as if at a fair, trying to reach an invisible mark of depravity  You must be this tall to ride, to survive in hell.

A bottle is thrown.  It hits his head and the smell of alcohol brings reality.

He looks around again at the faces of Prudence Street, black, white, all the color of rot, and remembers the most important lesson he’d long forgotten, when those same faces idly watched a little boy become a man, when those rotten circles watched his parents burn:

Heroes don’t come to Prudence Street, because there’s nothing left for them to save.

Posted in short fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment