Twins in Death
A Tale of The Weirdo
By Brett N. Lashuay
Chapter Four: The Red Twin
October 23rd, 2002
The Weirdo was looking at the potato chip selection before him and sighing to himself. Once upon a time the potato chip was a single item, and it came with salt on it. Then you could have it cut into ridges, to give better hold as you set your chip into the dip. After a while someone came up with the idea that you didn’t need the dip at all, they would simply put the dip into the chip. This idea really took off and soon many chips had the flavor of sour cream and onions and cheese. Then they began to flavor the chips with whatever flavors they could come up with. In the last ten years or so, the market for potato chips had exploded. A person could get chips with flavors mysteriously called cool ranch, or just hot n’ spicy. There were chips that boasted three different cheese flavors and some that just offered garlic and herbs. There were high-end chips that gave simple flavors like salt and pepper or exotic New York Cheddar flavors. There were very high-end chips that didn’t use the flavored salts and powders of other companies but actually used bits of dried tomatoes and garlic stuck to their thick chips. You could even get chips that claimed to use balsamic vinegar and the finest sun dried roma tomatoes.
He had been standing for nearly ten minuets, looking at the huge isle of chips, trying to decide which chip was right for him. He hadn’t actually been out of the house since early August, and thus he was facing an overload of input. He had wanted to make a special dish though, he had said, so he had to go shopping. He had to leave the house, venture to Manhattan and enter a grocery store to get the ingredients himself. As Max, Jack and Tommy all said they needed things too, he was in good company.
It hadn’t been so much that each of them needed something as they wanted to watch him. His leaving the house had become such a rare event that they felt a need to keep an eye on him. It was a bit like Archie Goodwin keeping an eye on Nero Wolfe. Half in the disbelief of his leaving the house and half to make sure he befell no evil.
The potato chips had started off as a vague idea and had now turned into a sticking point bordering on obsession. He scratched the back of his head as he looked at the rows of chips, trying to decide on a flavor. He finally took a deep breath, and reached out. They were in a yellow bag and had the distinction of being New York Cheddar flavored. He thought about it and snagged a bag from the same company that claimed they were lightly salted. He tossed them into the basket he was carrying, and looked around for the other three.
Max was the first to come into the aisle, carrying a box of raisin cookies and grape jelly. For reasons, which will remain a mystery forever, he liked to spread the jelly on the cookies. This is a disgusting habit and is in no way endorsed by the narrator, the chronicler, the editors or publishers of this tome. It’s inclusion in this particular history is only to show what long and careful research went into this tome, and that this is indeed a complete and true history of the events. The narrator has been told that small details like this are what really count when you’re making a complete history without falsehood or omission.
Tommy came down the isle with a cart, which he had filled with a few loafs of bread and a box of berries. The Weirdo tossed the two bags of potato chips into the basket and set it down into the cart. Tommy looked and nodded approvingly. He then looked at Max who came with his two items.
“Oh isn’t that cute, he’s got cookies.” Tommy smiled. “They never really grow up do they?”
“Precious.” The Weirdo muttered.
“Oh do shut up, the both of you.” Max said as he deposited his load into the cart.
“You’re going to desecrate those cookies with the jam again aren’t you?” Tommy asked.
“I happen to like it.” Max said.
“I suppose if you like it.” The Weirdo said.
“Thank you.” Max said.
They turned to see Jack walking down the aisle, carrying several small boxes of cookies and two boxes of fruit snacks that had been pressed into the shapes of popular cartoon characters. He set them down into the cart and got not even a second glance from the other two.
“Okay, so why does Jack get off?”
“Hasn’t The Weirdo explained that to you?” Tommy asked. “Or at least sent you to a pornography shop or something?”
Max looked at him, for a very long time, without actually saying anything.
“Why does he get to buy this stuff and you don’t say anything?” he asked finally
“Jack has children.” The Weirdo said, tilting his head towards Jack.
“Jack can kick my ass.” Tommy said.
“When you’re old enough, you’ll understand.” Jack said.
Max lifted his hands and looked at the ceiling. He raised his hands and shook his head in a stance of submission. He was more or less taking his posture from that of Job in a painting he had seen earlier that week in a museum The Weirdo had taken him to. Max had been fascinated by the look of sad tired implorement that the artist had rendered on the old man’s face. He had marveled at how much work had gone into the expression of pain and agony while so little had been done to the background. While The Weirdo had given it only a cursory glance and moved on to the mediaeval paintings.
“Cause.” The Weirdo said. “If not you, then who else?”
“Jack can kick my ass.” Tommy said.
“Shut up.” Max suggested.
October 23rd, 2002
It was beginning to grow dark out, and depending on what part of the street you were on, it might already be dark. On streets running north and south, like this one, it was already dark and had been for some time. You could still see the faint slashes of light from the streets that ran east and west, but many of them has already begun to grow dark as well.
Our villain, our main villain for this story that is, was skipping down the street merrily singing a thirteenth-century tune about the horrors of the pox. It wasn’t really a jaunty number, but he had found that the words would scan to the tune of Zip a Dee do dah, and was singing the lyrics to that tune. He skipped merrily towards his destination, singing his song, and drawing a bit of attention.
Now there is nothing particularly wrong about a man skipping. One might even allow a man to skip while wearing red leather pants and a sequined shirt, though it would garner some attention. However, to skip, while wearing red leather pants and a sequined shirt and singing a song whose lyrics involve the removal of body parts and cutting open the sores… Let’s just say it’s generally frowned upon, particularly as close to Park Avenue as he was.
He was in one of the better neighborhoods, one where the police cruised by on a more than regular basis. He was undaunted though, and looked at the notebook he kept. His little minions, little demons he called them, had compiled information about the people in this house. They had watched, they had spied, and they had done what he had asked of them.
He looked at the address in his notebook and smiled as he matched it to the one in his book. He closed the book and slipped it back into the right rear pocket, where his wallet would go if he had one, and marched up the stairs. His foot landed heavily on the door and it gave under the tremendous strength in that limb. He raised his voice in song as burst in on them. They looked over towards the commotion from the dinner table as he moved into the apartment.
October 23rd, 2002
The Weirdo was leaning up against a wall, watching Tommy and Max standing in the grocery line. He didn’t like grocery lines, hated being trapped in that space, so he stood aside. It was while waiting that his eye happened to fall upon trouble. It wasn’t like he went out of the house looking for trouble, really he would have liked to avoid it. Trouble however follows some people like crows followed the carts that carried the dead in other days.
Tommy didn’t notice The Weirdo as the young woman who earned a criminally low wage passed items over the super market scanner. Tammy is what her name badge read. Her hair had been dyed and unnatural shade of purple, there was a small ring with a green plastic ball though her left eyebrow but at least she didn’t slouch. She moved with the efficiency of someone trying to do their job under tough circumstances. She was bored, but looked up and managed a smile for Tommy. She wanted more out of life than this, much more. For the time being though, until she was done with high school this was it. She had heard about people who were already working careers at her age, but no one ever told her how to get to it. They only ever offered the advice from shoe commercials to just do it.
There were aspirations in her life, beyond the confines of this small neighborhood in this massive metropolis. She wanted more than this corner grocery could offer her, but she couldn’t tell these men that. They might understand, but what could they do to help? Of course had she only known what was about to happen she might have thought differently. She would soon enough be famous, and be able to shake dust away. She noticed the old man as he nodded to her and began to walk out of the store, and then those punks again.
Mr. Soun was nearly eighty, and still worked nine hours a day in the grocery that he and his wife had started so very long ago. He was bent from the sixty years of work he had put in to making his corner grocery one of the finest in Manhattan. He had worked and strived and managed to now own a small chain consisting of three stores. His eyesight was bad or he would have noticed the four young men who had tried to cause trouble earlier. Bruno had been here earlier, but he’d gone home at four, and they had come back.
The Weirdo saw them, and growled low and soft in recognition. It was a throaty purr that came with an annoyed face. The only part of him that moved was his right arm, which propelled him to a standing position without looking like any part of him had moved. He straightened and began to move towards the front door of the store. A responsible person might have asked someone to also call the police, but he didn’t want some cop interrupting him.
© 2012 Autumn Knight Productions
While taking these pics, some guy asked if I’d take a pic of him and his GF with his cell phone. I kind of looked at my camera, then his phone and said I would. What I wanted to do, was pull out a card and tell him I would take a photo 10 times better than his shitty little phone could produce. I didn’t though, I just took his pic and let him go.
Anyway, these are the pictures I got of her.
Twins in Death
A Tale of The Weirdo
By Brett N. Lashuay
Chapter Four: The Red Twin
October 23rd, 2002
The cockroach is truly one of nature’s greatest triumphs, a great thing without a doubt. It is a rather small creature to be such a massive success story, the largest of its kind maxes out at about five inches. They have been on this earth since before the time of the dinosaurs, scientists say that they have adapted to every change this world has thrown at them. They have managed to live, greatly unchanged, for millions upon millions of years. Many agree that the cockroach will be one of the few species left unaffected by the event of a nuclear holocaust. It has survived much, and can survive more.
What is not fully understood though is the hierarchy of cockroach society. The regimented lives of cockroaches are often not considered when spraying them with Raid or some other brand of insect killer. The city of New York has a massive multilingual culture of cockroaches, unknown to human kind. It will never be known of course… but that tale would get us ahead of ourselves. We wish to tell this story in some kind of order, and that would defiantly get us ahead of ourselves. Besides the event, which keeps mankind from ever discovering New York’s cockroach, society doesn’t happen for sometime now. It would be wrong of us to get too far ahead and thus I must draw us back to the tale at hand.
This particular black shiny cockroach was moving across the dirt-laden floor looking for a morsel to eat. It was a low ranking member of its hive, which they actually call a clan from the word for family. Humans use the word hive, they called themselves a clan, and they have a lot of words for themselves that we humans don’t use. If you ever meet and have time to talk to a cockroach you might ask it about the hierarchy, the matriarchy, the ritual fighting. You may learn many interesting and informative things and if you grow to be a friend of theirs, you could get them to spy for you, and you could grow to be a powerful lord of the word since no one ever notices the cockroaches. You could build quite an army of these little soldiers and cause the world to fall at your feet. As it is, this was all the information I could get from the last one before I got disgusted and squashed it, because they’re filthy little beasts.
This little cockroach was on the search for food, which was not a hard thing for the clan to find these days. The clan had grown accustomed to the easy living that had come about from this particular human’s lifestyle. The human left food on the floor, it threw clothes and papers everywhere. It was messy and grimy and never used any sort of chemical murder devices attempting to rid itself of the clan. Not that it would have been a useful effort, at any rate; cockroaches easily adapt to such simple things as Raid. As it has already been mentioned, the cockroach are the ultimate adaptors, adapting to just about anything. They will mutate and grow stronger and the poison that kills one generation will just annoy the next. This clan didn’t have to worry about mass death by Raid or any other thing. They had been blessed with an easy life. Give this by a lazy human who simply tossed bits of food on the ground and never cleaned his surroundings. The clan had grown from this place, and had time to think and become greater. They had taken the time to adapt to their surroundings by developing economics, warfare, religion and other detriments to their race.
They believed in the human, and he was a god to them. He was a provider and a destroyer on occasion. Death came easily though, never a tiresome series of boils or slow poisoning. It was just the occasional clan member who would be crushed under the sole of the shoe or perhaps a newspaper. Their god was one of little mercy but much bounty, and thus they had built shrines to him in their cities on the other side of the wall, and worshiped his image. The priests pretended that their dreams and visions were inspired by him and killed other members of the Clan if they didn’t agree with each and every one of their little quibbles about sex and violence.
This particular small cockroach was name Miguel and he was a seeker for the clan. It was his job to tell them when and where new food items where deposited by the God. Miguel had murdered his brother to get this position and was currently cheating on his spouse. He figured that these things would, in time become like other adaptations. He was thinking about the betterment of roach kind and how killing one’s brother should be a good adaptation. A steel blade zipped suddenly through the air and split the poor beast’s thorax in half and sent its head spiraling away from it. The thoughts of adaptation rattled through Miguel’s mind as shock took him. He couldn’t feel his legs any more and wondered what sort of adaptation this was. Would it help him be a better seeker to not feel his legs? Was this an adaptation at all?
“Adapt to that,” the man said.
Other seekers saw this and reported back to the great priests that God had struck down Miguel who everyone knew was a murdering, adultering bastard. The God had struck down Miguel, and only Miguel out of all the seekers in the group. This was proof of to the clan that God punished evildoers, even though all it really proves is that people will give divine intellect to a random bit of meaningless violence.
The roach was nothing to him, just something else to kill. Something to pass the time with, admittedly not a lot of time but there wasn’t a lot of roach either. It was a very simple thing to bring down the blade and cut the bug to bits, but to the clan, it was an act of god. This particular god was sick, sadistic and random, but that fit his view of all deities. In his eyes they were all random, and mean. He watched as the remaining legs tried to move around, the wings fluttering back and forth. The antenna on the head spun madly around, trying to find the rest of the body. He watched fascinated, and then brought his heel down and crushed Miguel’s skull, scrambling his brains. He saw himself as a great god, one who killed for no other reason than to prove he was a god. He was a god of cockroaches, yes, but surely even Cthulu had to start somewhere.
Cockroaches today, who knows where tomorrow…
He had a thin build, which spoke of high metabolism and little actual bodywork. He was thin, but soft. His arms had a certain amount of muscle to them, but it was clear no actually work had gone into the physique. There was something in the body though, something that broke the regular laws of physics as we know them. He had a way of walking which noted more strength than the body should be able to hold. There was a sense of speed that was more than muscle would allow, a feeling that there was more here than the physique could hold. It was in the subtle movements, the way he held himself, but it was there.
He stood naked in his apartment, not because he had just washed, but because he liked his own nudity. He looked at the blade, with its small smudge of yellowish blood on it. He walked towards the kitchen and picked up a tissue. He wiped the straight razor carefully, dripping a bit of oil onto the cloth to clean it properly. He looked down the blade and noticed the slightest bending of the blade. It was an off centering that had to be measured in micrometers, but he noticed it. He pulled the leather strap he kept tied to one end of the kitchen counter and turned the bottle of oil until five drops had landed on the leather. He then began to slide the blade across the leather, back and forth. He did this with the slow deliberation that one would have found odd looking at his surroundings. He would simply throw things down when done with them and continue on his way.
He finished the two dozen strokes that his mind demanded he make and looked at the blade. It had gone back into its perfectly honed state. He closed the blade gently and set it down on the counter. He was then able to breath properly again. He felt free of the obsessive need to make sure the blade was kept clean and sharp. He felt his body slip out of the constraint, demanding he perform a task, relaxation filling in. He took in a breath and released it, feeling the shudder deep within.
He looked at his clothes, and thought about the fact that he had to put clothes on to go outside. He didn’t like the idea, but there was nothing for it, he would have to. He picked the red leather pants up and slipped his legs inside them. He buttoned the fly of the pants and looked around at him. The pants weren’t actually made for a man, but he could fit into them. The shirt wasn’t made for a man either. With the red stretch material and red sequins one couldn’t argue that it had been made for a man. Even the most flamboyantly gay man couldn’t really claim that the red sequined spandex shirt had been made for him.
He picked up the socks, which were still in their plastic package and tore the pack open. They were white socks, but no one would ever see them. He slid the socks on, obsessed with the sensation of the fabric as it slid over his skin. He reached without looking and grabbing at the combat boots, which had been painted red. He didn’t know why red, and probably wouldn’t have cared if he did know. He didn’t know why he felt compelled towards the color red or the honed razor. It wasn’t like razors were hard to get a hold of, or even sharp knives for that matter.
He picked up the coat, which was also not made for a man. His shoulders were narrow enough to fit into the woman’s leather over coat. He looked at the red cowhide, which had been tanned and dyed and sold for twice the price it should have been. He looked into the window, at his hair which he had first bleached and then added the bright red color to it as well. He picked up his dark red sunglasses and slid them over his eyes. The world became a world of red, of splashing blood and red fire. Pain, agony, he would cause all those delicious things.
Some say that viewing things through rose-colored glasses makes them seem better. It’s an expression that means a person is looking at things with perhaps an idealized viewpoint. It would be difficult to say that this boy had an idealist view point, but then the glasses were red, not rose colored.
© 2012 Autumn Knight Productions
Just threw the New Annotated Dracula across the room. As an annotated book, it is utterly and completely worthless. The first two paragraphs of the actual novel result in 7 full pages of annotated text, which is double columns in case you’re wondering. Almost none of it is in any way germane to the book and really feels like the idiot who annotated was just shouting (get your best Caboose voice ready) “I AM ANNOTATING! I WILL ADD LOTS OF NOTES TO SHOW THAT I AM ANNOTATING!” I don’t need the whole wikipedia article on Wallachia reprinted for me. The text dumps are exhausting, and we’re not into page two of the actual novel yet.
Worse yet, I’ve discovered that I already don’t trust anything this guy has to say about anything he’s said in his notes. I don’t know if any of the books he’s quoting exist, and I suspect that some probably don’t. He’s utterly destroyed his credibility with the bullshit fiction he’s woven into his annotation.
The central joke of the annotation, that the whole thing really happened and it’s all true, is so very frustrating and stupid that it really makes the book nearly impossible to read. I don’t need bullshit theories as to why there are inconstancies in the book. A bad writer didn’t write or research very well. Mina didn’t polish Harker’s diary up. Stoker wasn’t influenced by the hand of Dracula himself in a bid to tell the world he was dead so they wouldn’t come looking for him. Van Helsing was inspired by three people, and no amount of pretending he was one of those three will make it so. Quincy Morris wasn’t at the Battle of Shiloh and Steward never rapped on stage with Professor Elemental BECAUSE NONE OF THOSE PEOPLE EXIST BECAUSE THIS IS A WORK OF FUCKING FICTION!
The idiot probably giggled himself silly while doing this, but it’s an impossible read. It’s got to value or weight, just a lot of noise. Even when I see something that might have some bearing on the book, that is suspect because I don’t know if it’s just part of the bullshit or not. I can’t separate the wheat from the chaff, and I don’t feel inclined to try. I know now why the book looked like it hadn’t been read past page 17, which is exactly the page I got to before deciding to quit.
They have to put up the US flag, or they’ll forget what country they’re in.