Rooms to Black Suites

Featured

December 9th, 2018 by Patrick Starks

Rooms to Black MAIN.jpg

Part I

If one would take only a moment to breathe, they would see life to be more magical than what they think. From Halloween to Christmas, we the people would electrify the world with our love for the holidays—costumes, candy, toy stores, sitting on Santa’s lap even. And yet there Mr.Grane and I stood wondering if that same joy still existed, for not much was left from his or my childhood. No more Toys R us, meant the end of the nostalgia of child’s hood, however, nothing can be done about it now. Nothing at all.

Mr. Grane and I were now standing in front of the door that he had pointed to. It was solid brown, reindeer antlers hanging from the top of it, followed by scratches at the bottom that made me wonder what poor feline the residents had abandoned.

“Are they home?” I asked.

“Yeah, she’s home,” said Mr. Grane, with a face as blank as the white walls that surrounded.

Probably should’ve been Mr. Grane to knock, but it seemed my courage would be tested again. Eager to solve the mystery of a lost child, I banged on the door, without hesitation. There was silence. Although, behind the door smelt that of a Korean BBQ—sweet and spicy all in one. My stomach growled, and it was all the more reason to know that the place was not vacant. And if so, it wouldn’t have been for too long.

Mr. Grane then pushed me out of the way, blustering the door like a madman. Fire was in his eyes. I’d seen it before, but this fire was different. The kind of fire a man gets when he sees that the one he loves has found another.

Oddly, the apartment was completely vacant—somewhat what I had suspected. Food was still on the stove but obviously had been for a while with all the mold that surfaced it, although, it sure didn’t smell like it. Nevertheless, whoever lived there had been gone for a couple of days, more so a week, if we counted the calendar to our left.

Mr. Grane would then walk into a room to our right. It was locked, but he didn’t hesitate to knock it down either. And not long after Mr. Grane would come out with a duffle bag of only god knows what. Although, the bills that hung outside of it said enough.

“I thought we were here to find Jeremiah,” I whispered.

“We are…” mumbled Mr. Grane. “Just go stand by the door and make sure no one comes in.”

Mr. Grane obviously had not thought anything through, but of course, most criminals never do. Without a doubt, the situation was no longer about Jeremiah, but a conflict of interest say the least.

Pianos and flutes then echoed outside the door, and through the hallways. The elevator had stopped on our floor, and around the corner, footsteps traveled. They were heavy, however, did not drag. My guess was that it was a man, six-foot-two maybe, muscular build or obese depending on how you define heavy. But either way, whoever it was they sounded like a club bouncer, and I just wasn’t looking to get body slammed, I was looking for Jeremiah.

I’d call for Mr. Grane more than I could count, however, he was more fixated on his own interest, wetting his fingertips and flipping through money like a bank teller who’d just for once wanted to be the employee of the month. So, I took off and went back inside my apartment before all hell would break loose.

Part II

Sirens cried outside my window. Cops filled the hallways as well as the two residents they couldn’t seem to break up—Mr. Grane and the woman that he had stolen from I assumed. And it was a good thing for Mr. Grane that the cops had shown up—the scratches around his neck and the bruises around his eyes said that the woman had done quite the number on him. But four slaps on the wrist and they’d both be out of the equation, which meant that I was getting closer to solving Jeremiah’s mystery.

Not long after the cops had cleared out, and still, I could hear Mrs. Peachtree wallow through the walls of my dining room. Our insulation was horrible. The cops had given Mrs. Peachtree the typical ‘we will find him‘ speech, as they’d done for most parents. And the saddest part to it all was their accomplishments. Statistics showed that not many children are found after forty-eight hours. And there we were with nearly a day that had gone by. Time was of the essence.

There were eight rooms in total on my floor. Now down two six, if I counted Mr. Grane and wonder woman being hauled away. Get it, hall’d away, as if they were just in the hall… Nevermind.

I continued my search. And knocked on five doors until I got to the final door—the Mint Door. It was just as I had described it before, brown all over with emerald on the edges. Out of all the rooms I had checked, never in a million years would I suspect old man Castro to be the villain in the story. I just wasn’t a man to assume. I needed proof.

Unlike everyone else’s doors, old man Castro had a door knocker. It was bat, solid brass that hung upside down. It was actually pretty cool looking, but the longer I stared at it made me think of the possibility that he just might’ve had Jeremiah all this time. Old man Castro was a suspicious soul.

“Hello! Mr. Castro are you in there, it’s me Kindle, Kindle Ramon,” I yelled.

There was no response, not until I’d attempt to yell or knock again.

“Come in,” said old man Castro. “I have hot chocolate.”

The door then opened, without me touching it. A warm draft hit my face. I couldn’t really tell if it was from the heat or the hot cocoa but whatever it was, it was inviting. I walked inside, and the floorboards to Old man Castro’s apartment would creek with every step that I made, yet, none did I ever hear from old man Castro. It was as if he was gliding around the room somehow.

“What might I assist you with?” said old man Castro, tapping me on the shoulder.

My soul nearly jumped out of my body and into my own arms. And it was at that moment I could feel a draft not so warm. I turned around.

“Yes. You see… I’ve been going from every room on the floor looking for Mrs. Peachtree’s son. He’s been missing for…”

“Jeremiah…” interrupted old man Castro. “Yes, I’ve heard…”

Usually, many artists are known to have steady hands, especially tattoo artist, but the way old man Castro shook, I knew that something was up. I asked if he knew anything. But old man Castro said not a word. Although, his eyes said a lot.

“I need to know! Get a grip old man, did you see him or not?” I yelled. “I’m running out of time.”

He nodded. “Yes. But it’s too late now. These… these two men in black suits took him, but I don’t know why or where. Last time I checked they put him in a limousine and then drove off around the corner of twenty-first and Blanchard as if there was a pregnant woman in the back. ”

I was pissed. Only twenty-four hours. And now the playing field was much larger. There was nothing else to say to old man Castro but that he was a coward for not saying anything from the start. We might’ve already had Jeremiah back by now.

Nevertheless, I grabbed my cup of hot cocoa, sipped half of it, threw the rest in old man Castros face, and then hopped into my Prius and headed to the streets of Blanchard. I knew just the person who would have more details about Jeremiah’s kidnapping. I hadn’t talked to them in forever, but I had no choice, she was the best at what she did—my ex—Susie Q.

311 B and the Mint Door

Featured

December 2nd, 2018 by Patrick Starks 

311 B and the Mint Door

When I was just a kid, life was magical, no different nor better than a Disney movie. From Nintendo to Nintendo 64, everyone including myself all had braingasms to the many colors that burst across the screen of a forty-two-inch tube tv. And just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, social media would later come into the scene, giving your’s and my space something to talk about.

Nevertheless, as good as it all was, nothing would ever compare to the nineties. However, time would fly by faster than an Aston Martin on a straightaway before I could even grow old enough to process how good a childhood I had.

It was now the millennial era, and still, I had not forgotten about my past of the magic carpet rides I’d have over the Texas sand. I won’t bother going into to detail about it, or my schooling for that matter, but just know that it was an interesting period in my life, as I am sure many would agree towards their own.

Three-elven-B was the room I stayed. And not far from it lived old man Castro. He was an odd soul, but of course, what artist wasn’t. He wore brown overalls, followed by a top hat and vest, which I had never seen anyone attempt, although, it worked for him. But if there was one thing to say about him, it would be that he wasn’t afraid to be different, and that was something I admired in any man or woman.

His door was chocolate brown, with emerald along the edges—the chocolate mint door, some of the others called it. And the kids would as well play their part into the rumors, knocking on old man Castro’s door as if he was Willy Wonka himself, and the outfit indeed would serve it justice. But not long after, the life that I felt to be so magical would take a dark turn.

It was December 23, 2016. Just two days away from Christmas. The hallways echoed with Christmas carols—a little Frank Sinatra, a little Mariah Carey, but heavenly, it sure did make my face turn redder than that of Rudolph’s nose—it had become unbearable.

I’d just came back home, from my nine to five. It was a busy day as usual for a Friday, so, I couldn’t complain, although, I felt I should’ve about the loud music that flowed into my room like a cold draft. But like most conflicts, I knew it come to past sooner or later.

The sink was full of dirty dishes and the trash bin was completely filled, as well as the dirty clothes basket. I felt like Frank Ocean when he quoted in his song that a tornado had come through his room, yet, nothing was beautiful about this melody at all. Good thing you don’t have a girlfriend whispered the voice in my head. Although, I have known many women to be just as messy. But that’s another story.

“Jeremiah!”  yelled a woman. “Jeremiah where are you!”

I walked over towards the sound and then took a peek through the eyehole of my apartment door. And it was just as I’d suspected, Mrs. Peachtree. Her hair was curly, cinnamon brown as always, and she smelt like it to. She was a middle age woman, single mom, but had just as much love if not more to give than a non-single mother. For a guy, I’d sometimes get angry with why a man would leave such a woman, or child, although, mum always said there was always two sides to every story.

On occasion, I’d see little Jeremiah parade the hallways with his Ninjago legos, filled with joy, just as I was when I’d first open the box to a new released N64. No doubt about it, those were the days, and if there was anyone that reminded me how far I’d come, it was definitely that kid. But there I sat in my five-hundred square foot room, just as worried as his mother of where he had gone.

I then stepped outside to calm and be the courageous one for a damsel in distress, but it was easy to say that Jeremiah would be the distressed and Mrs. Peachtree would be the damsel, to define it better.

“Hi, Mrs. Peachtree… Everything alright?” I asked.

“No,” she said with her eyes filled with concern. “Jeremiah has been missing for an hour now… I’m so worried.”

An hour might’ve not seemed long for a man but for a woman, that was a lifetime, especially if it meant her child no longer being in her presence.

“I don’t mean to hassle you. But I’d like to help, but first I need to know where was the last place you saw him. Take a deep breath. Think. Where was the last?”

Mrs. Peachtree then took her breaths. She dried her eyes and once clear took a moment to reflect.

“Well…” she said, sobbing to the stress. “Last time I saw him, he was out here in the hallway, with little Timothy…”

“Okay. Great. Maybe he’s at Timothy’s. Here, you just go back inside Mrs. Peachtree and take a breather. I’ll get to the bottom of all of this. And if I haven’t found out anything within the next twenty minutes, call the cops.”

“Dammit! We don’t have twenty!” she yelled. “We, no, I need to find my boy. I’m calling the cops right now! Oh god… He must be so scared…”

I honestly had no words. Mrs. Peachtree was right, after all, it had already been an hour. But to be honest I figured I could solve the problem faster than any cop or detective—let’s just say I had my reasons to feel such a way. But first thing was first, little Timothy’s place.

Part II

Just what I figured a Maria Carey jingle. I knocked on the door, nothing. It became apparent that Ms. Carey at a falsetto was overriding anything outside the door. Poor little Timmy, the child might be deaf before he even gets into middle school, again spoke the voice in my head. I then knocked harder, and this time with my feet.

“Who is it!” yelled a man.

Little Timothy’s father was an interesting man. He wasn’t really tall, a dwarf to be exact, but all men including myself knew not to pick a bone with him. It’s even said that the last guy that missed with him, was deemed to no longer have children, and the sad part to it all was that his wife would leave him not long after. Probably should’ve worn a cup, I pondered. But too late now.

“Hello, Mr. Grane. This is Tuddle, London Tuddle. You know the guy…”

“I know who you are,” interrupted Mr. Grane. “What is it that you want boy?”

Wasn’t quite the reaction I’d expected. Well, then again, what I just said about him was fitting for it. Although, the Christmas jingles in the background made it all somewhat misleading.

“I’m looking for Jeremiah. Is he in there. Mrs. Peachtree has been worried sick, for about an hour now. And the last person she said that Jeremiah was with was Timothy.”

The door then opened. I’d never heard so many locks to one. I think I even heard a big piece of wood being removed from it, like the doors you would only ever find in castles. I looked down and there he was. It had been a while since I had stared such a man in the eyes—fire burning through them like a phoenix looking for a Dumbledore. However, I wasn’t part of that family tree.

“You say the boy is missing?” said Mr. Grane.

“Yes. Does Timothy know anything, anything at all?” I asked.

“No. I mean, nothing besides that he’d gone back home.”

We both were at a stand-still. No Clue to what was going on. Part of me wanted to ask Timothy myself, but his stepmother had already taken him away to take a bath. And with Mr. Grane guarding the door like the Pitbull he was, I’d probably have a better chance of being a musician at the end.

“Here let me get my coat,” said Mr. Grane. “I’ll help out. I think I have a clue to his whereabouts.”

Mr. Grane then said his goodbyes to his now third wife and left little Timothy to play his usual rubber ducky games. As for he and I, we were out for the search of Jeremiah. Mr. Grane then pointed to a door—Thirty-five-C.

Never thought I’d be saying this, but for once I was starting to feel a sense of purpose in life. And luckily for Timothy, I was just the man. It was going to be a long night, and Mr. Grane knew so too.

Firefight

Featured

November 25th, 2018 by Patrick Starks

FIREFIGHT MAIN

Orange and yellow filled the skies, coiling together like mom’s Thanksgiving mac and cheese. Any other day I’d considered it to be fall, but I knew better, at least, the many of us that surrounded it did.  Ambulance trucks rushed all over as fast as they could, from house to house, doing their best to put out the flames. But sadly, there were a few on occasion that they couldn’t save. While still in the process of trying to protect what little was left, families became separated, hearts had become broken as well as a few bones from the evacuation that had awoken. It was sere chaos. Chaos that not even the sun itself I felt could comprehend.

Nevertheless, the day went on, but the fires didn’t stop coming. If anything, they seemed to be getting worst, and part of me started to wonder if what the helicopters pour from the skies was really sand or gasoline. Out of it all, the ambulance was becoming slimmer as we went from having ten to one truck. I never thought I’d be living my life through the character of John Cusack’s “Twenty-Twelve”, but there I stood hesitant to move a muscle.

And the hardest part was just trying to take care of a newborn in such a situation. You could say I chose a really great time to have a kid. And you would guess it right,  that wouldn’t be my sarcasm talking. It was like a maze, like playing Tetris—everywhere I, no, we went, fires. We were running out of time.

But not far from us stood a mansion perched up on a nestled hill. I didn’t know what celebrities it was, but I was sure if it was Stan Lee’s at least there would be some sort of a hero to help, I would hope.

If you couldn’t tell by now, we’d been split from the rest of the buffalo that we ran with, and the closest places beacon for hope was that very mansion that resembled the white house. It was massive, completely white all over. But no, this was California—we had many houses of its size and depiction.

Within an instant, within only a few miles, fires slowly began to slither their way towards the mansion like a snake to slithering, but thankfully the cavalry had arrived. Out of nowhere, an ambulance truck then pulled up, and not long after two more would pull beside it. All firemen and firewomen stepped out forming together like the thunder cats, and oh! it was exactly like something straight out of a comic book. I’d begin to second guess if what I was looking at really was Stan Lee’s mansion.

Little Amara was still asleep. Cheeks brown with freckles around them like a poppyseed muffin, just like her dads. It all dug deep into my chest like that time I played dodgeball back in middle school—the pain lingered, but to be honest, it only been a week since we’d lost him, so, at the end, it was no wonder. But the day that I really feared was the day I’d have to explain to Amara what happened her father. The good thing was that I had plenty of time, but the sad thing was all of that was dependent on if we made it out of hell or not.

As the fires around the mansion were coming to a halt.  A man and a woman then came out from the bushes. The man was average height, gold chains around his neck as if he was some sort of Pharos from Egypt. But he wishes. The woman looked just the same, but minus the golden chains. However, money was still obvious to her appearance—a Dolce and Cabana nightgowned said it all.

The woman’s lips were rose red, as was the man’s, from the possible make-out session they’d have prior. But then again it was Hollywood, if anything, the man might’ve put the lipstick on himself for men in Hollywood were not shy to makeup. I mean, let’s think K-pop shall we.

Moving on. Case closed.

I honestly thought that there were no more ambulance or even medics around but there they were all rallied around the mansion like an old western campfire. I then rushed over to the closest bush and took a better look.

“Thank you so much!” said the woman, handing the fireman a suitcase.

But the fireman didn’t look impressed. He looked pissed off.

“Listen, lady, this ain’t our job!” yelled the fireman “While we are out here helping you guys save your precious mansion, people are out there starving, sadly… dying.”

“Excuse me?” replied the woman.

“You heard me loud and clear you money hungry w….”

The moment of the whole environment then changed. The fireworks had officially begun. The man in the gold chains then turned to the fireman knocking him down by the fire with a massive sucker punch. And before I could even process what was going on, the man in gold chains had pushed the fireman deeper into the fires. The fireman cried for help, for his life, for the rest of comrades, but none of them ever came to his aid. All of their heads were bowed, along with the suitcase by their side. It was the perfect murder—fireman killed by fire. Who wouldn’t believe that story?

“Y-you traders!” yelled the fireman. “Out of all the years, we’ve worked together…”

Before the fireman could say another word he would be engulfed by the fire. And afterwards, all that was heard were screams that echoed and later faded.

Little Amara then started to cry from all the insanity that was happening. When it came to a babies senses they knew better than old saint nick himself who was naughty or nice. It was official, we needed to find somewhere else to stay. Heads then turned towards our direction.

“What was that?” said the woman.

“Probably just another tree falling,” said the firewoman.

“No. This sounded like a child… Someone should go check.”

I tried my best to calm Amara, but it was hot and she was frightened for the both of us. It was already enough that Amara and I were in the pits of hell but the last thing I needed to deal with was the demons in them. Money, murder, deals—yeah, pretty fitting for criminal, I said.

One of the firemen then made their way towards our direction. Luckily the spot that we were in was dark. Unfortunately, the only thing I had was pepper spray and a pocket knife. I needed to make a decision.

To kill or to blind? Or to just run? I questioned. But only time will tell—feet don’t fail me now.

Floor to Floor

Featured

November 15, 2018 by Patrick Starks 

FLOOR TO FLOOR COVER MAin

Only keyboards and coughs were heard in the background. From cubicle to cubicle we all sat like rats in a maze. And word on the floor was that Kyle Skyward was being promoted to executive assistant. For years on end a few of us had waited patiently for the position to open, yet there it was a man who’d only been with the company for as good as a year, reaping up all the benefits most of us would’ve killed to have. And what man, what a man, what a mighty good man he was, to suck up to our Vice President to obtain such a title. It was easy to say that Kyles’ lips had tasted many cheeks in his lifetime, and I wouldn’t be talking about the ones on our face’s either.

The stock markets were crashing, and all that was left was the high class, and sadly, the low class—no middle class. A meeting was needed to take place, everyone needed to attend, even the temps. And if you didn’t, well, let’s just say you’d better had filed for unemployment that same day—although some might call America the land of the free, it was best you didn’t press too much of your luck for not many took well to the rebels of conformity.

“Gather around everyone, I’ve got some surprising news!” yelled the Vice President, with dimples in both of her cheeks and chin.

We all paused and pulled away the coffee from our lips. Many eyes rolled around the room. Huffs and puffs—we all knew exactly the surprise she’d be telling. But still, for our life sake, we were all ears.

“I want you all to give a warm round of applause for your new executive assistant! Annabelle Cortez! If there is anything that you need to know, anything at all, please go to her for further guidance,” said the VP, clapping by herself.

Jaws dropped, coffee spewed on the back of heads, crickets. We were all shocked. We’d never seen nor met the woman before, she must’ve come from another agency or something. But whoever she was, she must’ve had one hell of a resume or was one hell of a bum kisser to beat Kyle at his own game.

If one were to walk into a twenty-one and forever or an H&M, then Kyle easily would’ve been depicted a mannequin. He didn’t say a word—only a smile that looked like it hurt—teeth grinding better than the coffee grounds that rested at the bottom of all our cups. It was like watching a mom tell her child everything’s going be alright after she wasn’t able to get them the toy they’d wanted—broken promises.

After a few irrelevant conversations with the team, next time I look and Kyle is in the back gripping the edge of his cubicle ready go Ultimate Warrior on the whole damn floor. But thank god he wasn’t a man who got off to guns, or the meeting would’ve probably taken a bad turn. I’d try my best to get Kyle to join in with the rest of the guys on some late-nights of Call of Duty, but he always refused to play anything that correlated with gun violence. Kyle was more of a Nintendo kind of guy.

“Good afternoon Mr. Motoki,” said the new executive assistant. “I’ve heard many great things about you from the VP. It is a pleasure to meet you. Annabelle, at your service.”

I’d met a lot of women in my life, but none like Annabelle. Her perfume was subtle and just right for a nose as sensitive as mine. But the thing that really locked a man like me onto a woman was really all about the smile. I just couldn’t stand a woman with a blank face because at the end all it did was make me feel more down about the way the world was becoming-soulless. But that’s another story.

Annabelle’s teeth weren’t exactly what many would call perfect—there were a few gaps, but still, they were white as snow, that of which compliment the red dress she wore, although, the red lipstick in some ways interfered with that. However, Annabelle had a smile that made even a blind man smile—just the person Hekami needed as their face for the company. As popular as it was for an innovative company, Hekami needed a plan B, if they wanted the boat to stay afloat.

“So, I see that you’re a football fan,” said Annabelle, flipping my decorative tie up and over my shoulder, teasing.

If there was anything good to say about her, or besides her beautiful smile and magnificent fragrance, Annabelle sure did know how to dig straight to a man’s heart. For once, someone had said football, instead of soccer. We’d talk for half an hour about it, and apparently, she was quite the jock in high school—playing varsity, on the boy’s team. But not long after the party would be over and we’d all go back to our cubicles, and Annabelle to her new office which was as big as a one bedroom apartment.

My eyes were strained. Case after case would all keep popping up on my computer screen, but I guess that was what they called the rat race.

“As if no one else has time for this,” I said.

I’d planned on leaving much earlier than eight P.M at night, but it was beginning to be a far stretch from all the work I needed to catch up with. I loved everything about my job, but Hekami was pretty bad about covering staff members that they knew three months in advanced were going on vacation. Sons of B… No, I’ll keep my mouth clean for now.

The lights then all went out. Probably could’ve just got up and triggered the sensor to turn them back on, but at that point, even two steps was a bit too much—too much work and disappointment for one day—I guy had his limits, and I’d exhausted them all that day. Besides, my computer screen was all the light that I really needed, illuminating the room like a group of Illuminati holding candles, along with dark hoodies, in a single file line. But this is only an assumption. The Illuminati, I mean.

Glass then broke in the background. I peeked around the corner. Must’ve been from the lunchroom, possibly Jeffrey the janitor, I thought. Wouldn’t be the first time he’d been caught spending the night at the company, but who wouldn’t with showers, a sofa, cable, and a few boxes of leftover meat lovers pizza.

The thought was too bothersome. I was without a doubt curious but my name wasn’t George, but my Russian blue at least was. I put my computer into sleep mode, deciding to bravely go over and take a gander, but we all know how these scenes usually play out—someone getting chased, or worst, death. My back was against the wall, literally, and I wasn’t taking any chances. I then looked around the corner. Dark brown hair, and childbearing hips, followed by legs more chocolaty and creamier than the inside of a milky way. As much as I paid attention to a woman’s smile and eyes, I wasn’t one to forget a beautiful woman’s frame. No doubt in my mind, it was Annabelle.

“Hello,” I said.

My voice echoed. There was no response, only that Annabelle stopped eating whatever she’d dug up from the refrigerator. Two-week-old cupcakes couldn’t have been easy on the stomach, I thought. And trust me there was no pizza, Jeffrey must’ve eaten or hidden them all for I’d already checked.

“Hi Mr. Motoki,” said Annabelle, still with her back towards me. “Shouldn’t you be off right now?”

Annabelle then shifted her hips a little. Was she trying to flirt with me? Ugh… the teasing. But I couldn’t mix business with pleasure, no matter how much I knew something about us just clicked. If anything, I was still trying to process how she even knew it was me, without turning around—mom always did tell me about wearing Axe body spray around pretty girls.

“Oh, well… I’m just here catching up on work. After my vacation there was a lot that didn’t get done,” I said sarcastically.

Annabelle then turned around. I never knew how fluorescent her eyes were until then—somewhat like a cat it seemed, somewhat like George’s.

“I like that,” said Annabelle. “Mr. Motokii, please take a seat. I’d like to ask you a few questions.”

Great, just what I needed—a nine o’clock interview in the P.M. But I knew more than anyone that conversing with women wasn’t a department I was really strong in, so, this was going to be good practice. But easier said and done, when there’s already a connection of course.

“First, is Motoki really your last name?” she asked, with a puzzled face. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, but you don’t look exactly…”

“Asian, Japanese. Yeah, I get that a lot. My parents are Japanese. I was adopted, to simply put it.”

“Oh, well that’s different. Never knew a black guy to have Asian parents,” she smiled, taking a sip of the same cup of coffee she’d been drinking earlier that day. “So do you speak Japanese?”

“Anake wa kire des,” I said, smiling like a child with his fingers crossed behind his back.

“Arigato, Kakko ii,” she replied, with a smile and wink.

“What the… how did you?”

“Two words—Military, Brat.”

We both laughed. Of course. I should’ve known. Who goes from speaking Spanish to Japanese anyways. I know that might be an assumption, but come on, her name was Annabelle Cortez, not Rosetta Stone.

Annabelle then stopped smiling. She gave me a cold stare as if she had a revolver sitting nestled by her waist side. But all that ran through my mind was the ‘sexy when your mad song,’ by Neyo. Even in her final form, she was still gorgeous as ever.

“Let’s get to the point of why we’re sitting here,” she said. “What all do you know about Kyle Skyward?”

I paused on the thought, for only a minute. Other than the fact that he was a complete douche, I honestly had no idea. Like I’ve mentioned before, he wasn’t really the social type—all business and no play.

“Here, take a look at this,” said Annabelle, sliding over a manila folder out of the blue.”

The first thing I noticed, F.B.I. The second, a picture of Kyle paper clipped to the edge of it. He was the usual clean-cut hot shot, who drove a Tesla at age twenty one. No, this was a different Skyward, Skyward 1.0. He had a full beard, sharp eyes, and hair that enough dandruff in it to use as garlic salt for bread.

My mind was racing, just who the hell was Annabelle Cortez? And most importantly, who the hell was Kyle Skyward?

The Butch of Egypt

Featured

November 6th, 2018 by Patrick Starks

THE BUTCH COVER

A lot have said that the story of the gods were just fairy tales or myths, but I knew better, no matter how much I wish I didn’t, I knew better.  I still remember that day even, the taste of the salt from the seven seas. Thunderstorms, all of which brought luminosity to the grey, and from that grey, mysterious objects that soared amongst the stars like no other—something like birds, but still, more than what met the eye, I assure you. And as beautiful as it all might’ve appeared to be, many men lost their lives that day, many widowed wives in fact. Chaos flooded the city—no hero, no savior, just evil alone.

But before all of it had occurred, I was just a butcher, a one arm butcher—a retired soldier. I had a beautiful wife and son. And on the nights when I needed too, I’d keep the shop open a little longer, all in the hopes to put food on the table, more so, fix the leaking rough up over our heads that Iyala would never let me hear the end of. Ziyad, my baby boy, was only four months old at the time. And how the weather was changing miraculously, there was no way I’d allow any of us to be on the streets. I’d always deny it, but I was getting old. My back was killing me. But still, for my family, it would be worth breaking, no matter how much the doctor told me it wasn’t.

The city was growing like no other, trades were better than they had ever been. Many in the city spoke on this growth, and how it was good for the entrepreneur minded, however, all it ever did to me was bring more clutter, more chaos, more competition, and debt to the ones who just wanted a peaceful life—and so the saying goes, it’s a small world after all. Although, I still disagree with this notion, for there is still so much about this world and ourselves we have yet to discover.

Everyone and their children’s children cooked up whatever extravagant dish that they could. The night was busier than normal. The gods are angry, no, the gods are sad, the people argued. But at the end what they really wanted to say was that they didn’t want to be the punching bags for the gods that knew not of what being emotional was. Supposedly, a little bird down the street told me that one of the gods had died. But how they knew, anyone’s guess would be as good as mine.

Nevertheless, men and women all drank the most potent of pomegranate wines until their bellies burst, all while their little ones scurried along to their beds. Part of me wondered if the party was really for the gods or for them. I’d never seen so much sin in one day, naked bodies everywhere, although, there was that time in Rome.

Not long after, all of what I thought was a ritual, more so an outside brothel had stopped. For once, there was silence. I could hear my own thoughts. It was my clue to close-up shop, get the hell out, and onto a place more righteous than it. But before doing so, there’d be a knock on the door.

“Sorry my friend, we are closed. Come back tomorrow,” I yelled.

The door then pounded even harder, followed by the horrors of scratching and grunting. I ran over and took a peek through the eye hole. Part of it made me nervous. There was a man who did the same not too long ago and was claimed to be murdered—a spear right through the eye—wife taken, then child sold, oh, such horrors would make any many feel the death of cold. I wasn’t taking any chances.

I then pulled away, as opening door would’ve probably been safer, but I’m sure many would argue to this. But still, I opened the door and from left to right I searched.

Meow! Meow!

Down my feet, completely grey in every way, like the sky somewhat, and if so, its eyes would’ve been the stars—a kitten. Most of the time I preferred dogs or horses, but this little fellow was just too cute to ever deny. Iyala was always fond of furry critters—I knew she would love it, for I’d already made my decision to keep it. Besides, had I left it to fend for itself on the streets, it might’ve only survived for only a few days.

I had only scraps of bread and a liter of milk—the meat had been completely sold—no fish, no chicken, no beef, not even swine nor wine—just bread and milk.  Nevertheless business was good, and there’d be a patched-up rough soon enough.

Being haste with the little time that I had, I locked up the shop as I’d intended. It was off to the drunken streets of Egypt. The night had become darker, and a little too dark if ask me. But I had the perfect guide, the cat could at least see. Excitement pumped through my veins, just a few more blocks and I’d be in sanctuary again.

“Stop,” whispered a woman. “Come here.”

A cold breeze then brushed up against the back of my neck. I stopped. For being in the middle of the desert, it was pretty odd to experience anything cold. The cat hissed, as most would do when they smelled evil from afar. Part of me hoped that the cat was the reason the woman had not come out to introduce herself. But I was sure she’d do so regardless if she really wanted to.

“Are you the butcher,” she said. “I have heard many things about you from above.”

“Yes, I am a butcher, but I am afraid to inform you, I am not the one you seek,” I said.

Underneath the moonlightؙ—toes, ankles, thighs—revealed. Tattooed scriptures all over, coiling around like a cobra’s tail. And not long after, I would lay eyes on the one who bared them.  The woman was tall and beautiful. Not really what I’d expect from a woman submerged in the dark corner of an alley but there she was, pure beauty. However, I had a woman more beautiful waiting at home that no woman, not even a goddess could’ve seduced me from. Love was love.

Her tongue slid up and down my neck. I pulled away. “How did you?”

“Don’t worry about any of that,” said the woman. “The only thing you should worry about is what you are destined for.”

The cat then ran beside the woman. It arched its back and rubbed up against the woman’s leg. Things were beginning to look like those days on the battlefield—the battle between sere illusion and reality, I feared. But no matter, I was not the man to play with.

TO BE CONTINUED

Case #02: Lové Patricié

Featured

October 28th, 2018 by Patrick Starks

CASE 02 MAIN B

PART I

Smoke filled the air, sweat fell from everyone’s back, booty poppin’, in every direction, followed by music that was probably just as worst as the AMF, the Adios Mother Fucker I’d be drinking. No doubt about it, I was tipsy as hell, but don’t get it twisted, a girl could handle her liquor. The place was jam-packed, shoulder to shoulder. Who the hell was in town? Bruno Mars? I wish. But of course, it was Lové Patricié.

Everyone was dressed in black, from their heads, shoulders, knees, and toes. Obviously, I didn’t get the memo. You could say I stood out a little too much for someone who was supposed to be undercover. But it didn’t matter, the only thing I could think about, that I couldn’t believe, was the fact that I was there looking for Jonathan Pike’s murderers. If anything, I thought it be the other way around.

To the left of my peripheral, I could see that the two bouncers hadn’t lost sight of me. They looked like they’d come straight out of a Blade film, only neither of them resembled Wesley Snipes. More so, I’d prayed to my mother in the big blue sky that none of the goons around me were vampires. Or else, this story would probably need a Kate Beckinsale, and I just wasn’t that jack.

The DJ was now on a roll, for once. For every song she played, more people would slide their way from the bar and towards the dance floor. But the good news was that I’d finally finished and said adios to my AMF, without passing out like that time in downtown Tokyo. But that’s another story.

Without hesitation, I took the dance floor and grabbed the arm of the closest hubba bubba I could find. The man looked like the son of Odon himself, although, I ain’t talking about Loki. The man had to be at least six foot tall, if not taller. He wielded the perfect beard, along with delicious eyes that complemented his golden man bun. Ha, man bun.

Moving on.

But the bodybuilder physique really wasn’t my cup of tea or protein, to be frank, but anything was better than the rest of the T-Bird wannabe’s that smelled like old spice and my grandmothers closet. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, I absolutely hate that smell, old spice that being.

“You come around these parts quite often aye,” said the man softly grabbing my waist like a gentleman should.

My hazel eyes stared up at him seductively. I was like a helpless little anime girl. I wanted him right then and there, but I was smart enough to know that it was just the alcohol talking.  Nevertheless, I just nodded.

“Where you from aye?” he asked. “I don’t mean to offend you, but you seem like you’re from California or Seattle, somewhere on the West Coast.”

Dodging the rapid questions, I pulled the man in closer, my breast against his chiseled chest. For a guy that looked like a total meat-head, he sure did have a shit ton of questions to ask, and good ones too. I knew when I was being interrogated. But for the moment, everything felt right, like a Cinderella story. My chin rested on his shoulder. It was a little sweaty but warm. My eyes were closed. But when I opened them that was when the games had begun.

There, at the end of the crowd, danced Jonathan Pikes killers. And as usual, seduction swarmed around them like buzzards. Everyone around wanted a piece of the apple, but little did any of them know that they were drooling over forbidden fruit.

“What’s wrong?” the man asked.

“Nothing at all,” I said. “Say, can we move a little closer to the middle.”

There wasn’t a response. I could tell by the way his man bun was falling apart already that the last thing he wanted to do was move closer to a pit of raw heat.

I thought fast. “Do you mind grabbing me a bottle of water?”

“Of course gorgeous,” he said, giving me a kiss on the cheek followed by a pinch of my other cheeks.

So much for him being a gentleman, I grunted. 

But now it was down to business. I reached down to the inside my Michael Kors bag, and pulled out my Clinique Lipstick that the guys down at the station had cooked up for yours truly. They called it “TABA,” which was made to take a breath away by anyone that was willing to pucker up with me. My lips were blood red, with a pinch of gloss. It was just the bait I needed. Just the weapon I needed to bring them into the station.

I then looked over a few heads. Thor was still waiting in the long line of drunks that couldn’t take no for an answer. Some poor bastard driving off the intersection? Yeah, that was the last thing a Bartender wanted to hear after a long night of dealing with adult babies.

While I still had time, I walked over to the women to introduce myself, gliding across and through the crowd as if I was doing my little turn on the catwalk. I was too sexy, for them to resist. We all started dancing. Me in the middle and them all around. I’m sure this is what they call a sandwich, I said. The two women said nothing. Without a doubt, they were attractive women, but their silence easily dropped them from dimes to nickles in a heartbeat. It was just fucking weird.

Son of Odin, I mean, Thor, no, what the hell is his name? Ugh. Doesn’t matter. Whoever he was, he finally showed up with my water. In his eyes, he looked a little confused to what was going on, but in his mind, I could tell he was thinking that tonight he was going to have the time of his life—a menagè a quartè. Three gorgeous women, well, how could a single young man say no to that.

“Her ya go doll,” said the man, holding a bottle of Aquafina.

I remained locked onto his eyes as I grabbed it, but could see that at the bottom nothing but fizz rested. Last time I checked Aquafina sure as hell didn’t make sparkling water. Out of all the days, this was the last thing that I needed.

I played stupid. I struggled with the bottle of water.

“Ugh. I’m having a hard time opening this. Do you mind?”  I asked

Again, the man looked confused. Of course, he was, he’d already opened the bottle. He then gave me one hell of a wicked smile, as he opened it with ease.

“Here ya go,” he said. “Better stay hydrated aye. It’s not good to have alcohol in your body with little food or water.”

“Bullshit,” I whispered, rolling my eyes towards the ladies room.

“I’m sorry?”

“N-nothing at all. I’m gonna run to the ladies room okay. A girls gotta tinkle.”

“No problem. I understand. AMF’s have been known to have that effect on people. I’ll be here waiting.”

The alcohol must’ve been getting to him. I knew for a fact I never told him what I’d been drinking that night, which made the standoff even more awkward. He must’ve been watching me from the time I walked in, or worst, him and the bartender were in some sick game together, and it wouldn’t be the first time I’d seen in it—Case Z14: Kokomo. Another story.

I looked around, and the two women were gone. I huffed, puffed, and swore all the way to the women’s restroom in disgust, frustration, like a little princess that didn’t get to wear their favorite dress. I’d lost my lead.

 

PART II

Fifteen minutes I waited before I could finally get a stall. Shit talking echoed the rooms, a few cat-fights as well, and the stall to my right, of course, would have a couple getting it on. This woman obviously had no standards, I silently laughed. Two minutes and twenty-two seconds exact—unlike I, sadly, alcohol couldn’t be the excuse for this poor souls performance. But from the way the girl moaned, I could tell she loved him, lucky for him I guess, although, her faking wasn’t even remotely good enough to get Ron Jeremy to kiss the back of her hand.

But finally, after all of that, there was silence—me, myself, and the toilet. On my phone birds soared the skies, plummeting into barriers filled with nothing but worker bees, I mean, pigs. The game was quite fitting for the mood that I was in, I, in fact, was an angry bird.

The doors to the bathroom then swung open, smacking against the wall. Two pairs of heels clicked and clacked on their way in. There wasn’t any talking, which was odd for the ladies room, but I couldn’t be a hypocrite, it was what I wanted. The stalls to my left and right then opened. I slouched over and took a gander.

“Jesus,” I said.

Whoever they were, these women were rolling. I’d only ever seen them in magazines but there they were—Christian Louboutin’s. They had to be at least a one thousand dollars a piece. A hand then reached over my stall holding a golden lock of hair that looked like a paintbrush that had been dipped in red. It dropped down to my lap. It still had chunks of skin from where the scalping had started. Poor Thor, I thought. Although, served him right for taking advantage of women. I’m just glad something was done about him before he preyed on someone else.  Justice had been served, but now it was my turn to do the serving.

I flushed the toilet and stood up. The two stalls did the same. I put my purse down, kicked my stilettos off and then kicked open the stall door. Again, the two stalls did the same—it was like a game of red light, green light. I then threw the golden lock up against the wall from across us all, and following in its lead came the two culprits of its demise.

Dumbasses, I said. 

From then on I knew exactly what time it was. From my lingerie, I pulled out my two Ruger SR9’s like the Hitman himself. I jumped out.

It was party time.

To be continued—so sorry 😉

 

 

 

 

Case 01: Agent Pike

Featured

October 21. 2018 by Patrick Starks 

Case 01 AGENT PIKE

Drawings all over the walls, twelve screens for a desktop, three empty cans of full throttle, along with the horrid smell of two-day-old body odor. Just what the hell was he doing, what was he plotting, I wondered. It been at least six years since I lost the bastard, but there he was perched up in his black vinyl gaming chair like a pig that could fly or is it the other way around? Whatever. A pig was a pig.

I could’ve taken him right then and there.  “Don’t,” said the voice in my head. “There’s too much at state. You should call for back up.” 

Back up?? Ha. Forget about it. The son of a bitch was mine. Plus, I’d already get enough shit at work about me, a woman, being a part of the FBI. I was gonna shut them all up one way or another.

Jim Bean burned down my throat. I’d forgotten how many shots I had, nevertheless, the bottle was in my hand now, so, I guess it really didn’t matter. Drinking on the job? No. Liquid courage to take down the man that disgusted me, to prove to rest of the slobs what a woman could do, yes.

“My god he’s moving,” said the man in the headset.

No doubt about it, it was the captain. He had a deep voice. Sexy. Like Barry White or was it Manalo, ugh, I should really stop drinking.

“Pay attention agent,” said the Captain, I got the chills. “He’s in the kitchen now.”

Of course, the kitchen, where else would he be. The man then looked back. Beady eyes and all, glasses that sparkled like the finest of ciders. He walked to the window and took a gander. Flashing billboards, hookers, drug deals, five o’clock traffic, and in the reflection a five o’clock shadow. New Tari was a sinful place, but you can blame the man that gazed at them for that.

He had a smile like the Grinch on top of a snowy mountain, plotting his revenge on all the Whos. And who would’ve known that he’d been watching. The man then walked back to the refrigerator, and little did we know, his workstation wouldn’t be the only place that had a combination.

Eight, nine, four, seven, he punched slowly. Was he doing it intentionally or was he really struggling to remember? The frig then open, and clouds spewed out from it like a steam room. Bulks of everything—meat, bread, ice cream, pizza, anything you could think of. It was easy to say that Costco was his favorite place to be.

Half his body was in the refrigerator now, deep enough to be declared a walk-in frig. But more so, I wondered how deep I could put my stilettoes between where the sun didn’t shine. I hated criminals, especially him, the Golden Pig, he was named.

But the Golden pig didn’t always look like he does now. In fact, he wasn’t a criminal at all. His real name is actual Jonatan Pike, and he was one of the best dam agents I’d ever seen. Sexier than any Bond, taking on gun fight’s that made you think he was on the path of Neo. It was mind-blowing. But for whatever reason he’d turn on the agency, stealing files that not even the captain knew about—files that the captains boss didn’t want to be seen. In his own words, it was confidential. But we all know how that story goes. For the betterment of the people my ass.

“What the hell is he doing now?” said the Captain.

I didn’t know.

Jonathan Pike then walked over to the door of his apartment. He was expecting company. Two women dressed in black. Prostitutes? Who knows. All of their heads swayed from left to right like bobblehead dolls. Out of nowhere, Jonathan crossed both of his arms by his crotch, giving the two women a rude gesture. And man was that a mistake.

Bang, bang, and then, bang. Blood now saturated the carpet floor of a one-bedroom apartment. The two women were turned on by it, they kissed. I never really swung that way, however, I couldn’t deny that it was somewhat hot—their bodies shaped like hour-glass, dominance instilled in them both, such an artistic combination. But thank god this bottle is finally empty.

“We got a code red!” yelled the Captain. “The Golden Pig is down, I repeat, the Golden Pig is down!”

 ONE HOUR LATER (5:22 pm)

Yellow tape was around the whole room. The smell of iron was in the air. I’d only been in the room for ten minutes and could already hear the captain ripping someone a new one.

“What the hell do you mean the files are gone?” he yelled.

The tech-guy sweated profusely. It was his first day on the job.

“Well spit it out man!” yelled the Captain.

“Well sir, you see, it seems that the Golden Pig’s rig was completely booby-trapped, and I ain’t talking about the ones at strip clubs. Ayoooo!” said the Tech-guy, going up for a high five.

But the captain didn’t smile, nor was he planning on touching hands with a twenty-year-old that knew not of what he’d sign up for.

“Shit!” he said.

“Yeah, I know right. Two password fail’s and it was game over,” said the tech.

“Fuck! Fuck! Fu… No, we can figure this out. Come on cap remember what you learned in Yoga. Just breathe.”

Chuckles throughout the whole room began to build up. The Captain in yoga pants, that would’ve been quite the sight to see. He and I then locked eyes, a sight I didn’t want. I looked away as fast as I could.

“San Diego!” he yelled. “Get your ass over here.”

I walked over. The smell of iron disappeared. Old spice and menthol now lingered. I hated the combination, I mean, I’m sure most women would agree with me on this. Although, handsomeness always wins at the end.

One ear and out the other. I’d forgotten that the captain had been talking. I was still stuck on how the hell Jonathan could be taken down so easily. Just who the hell were those women?

“Quick everyone!” yelled a man, doughnut powder still around his handlebar mustache.

We all ran to the living room. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was the two women. A few of the men drooled to their beauty but not me or the now deceased Jonathan Pike were going for it. I would’ve said my peace with him, but unzipping a body bag was something I’ll admit for a woman I could not handle. 

“In our hands, we have files from all of the dirtiest secrets you could ever know about your country,” said the woman with the mole on her face.

“Yes. And we think its time the people should know these secrets, unless, you give us what we want,” said the other, she had no mole.

Everyone in the room stood in awe. I looked to the captain on what to do next, but he was gone. If anything, we at least knew where the missing files went. Jonathan was a cautious man, but I knew he wasn’t that cautious for he always enjoyed a good thrill.

“We’ll give you till next Sunday to make your decision. We are patient women, but still, do not test it,” said the women. “Adieu.”

The sixty-inch plasma went black. We had a week left. But I had a lead. The captain didn’t know it, but when I walked in, I found something, a receipt, a payment from Costco, but on the back it had written, Lové Patricié—the most popular club in downtown. Only there was one problem, we’d bust enough nut heads in that building to get stabbed on our way in like Cesar himself. I needed to blend, I needed a new look. Nevertheless, Case one would get closed. 

“If it was a mystery for me to solve, then I have no regrets for Case One; I’m no maverick, but still, I was the top gun. It taken me years to find the golden pig but sadly his fate was ended by two others, we weren’t in New York, which was all the more reason for me to stay undercover. Next stop was Lové Patricié, the home of the mysterious turtle dover’s.”

— V. San Diego

 

Mr. Books

Featured

October 14th, 2018 by Patrick Starks 

MR.Books COver

Say what you want about me, but at least I know who I am, I do not eat green eggs and ham, and no, my name is not Sam. My name is Mr. Books and all my life I’ve wanted to be a bestseller; to be read by millions, to be read internationally, to lie rested in the palms of coffee stained hands, oh, it could be so stellar. From the pastry shops near pioneer square to the possible selfies of me on Instagram, no matter the place or case, I knew I could impress for everything I have dreamed about thus far could never be a waste.

On the inside, I had become dim and fragile as a leaf. Page after page would lose its essence over time. I’d been abandoned but not purposely you see. My father had passed long before he’d gotten the chance to see me touch the hearts of others as he’d always envisioned.  O’Rien Crumble was his name or O’Rien the Extraordinaire he liked to be called in bold and italic. O’Rien was what many would call charming, a man’s man, but like most heroes, his story eventually came to an end.

We, the fantastic duo, would spend many years together, traveling the world, from six chapters to twelve. And for three years we both worked together until the day O’Rien would decide to have me published. But sadly, New York was not a fan of innovative writers—if it wasn’t a topic or genre that was trending, then to they, the anonymous judges, wasn’t worth the investment. And it was this reason why O’Rien Crumble had to learn how to write with his left hand.

But his funeral was heavenly. Flowers of every color and a casket artistically painted in ways by the finest of fine artist—just the way he’d always imagined. I never realized how many people O’Rien knew until now. Family, friends, co-workers, students, the whole dam city. But in all honesty, the soft legs I rested on were more appealing–thank the gods they didn’t burry me with O’Rien.  But one thing was for certain, I might not have been a best seller, but at least O’Rien had still made an impact on the world one way or another. And I could never be any more happy for my old man.

After O’Rien’s passing, I’d get handed down to his wife Carmela, the woman with the soft legs. She was quite charming herself which made me feel even more okay with the fact that O’Rien was gone—I at least had something to remember him by.

In his name, Carmela would crack open their favorite—Cabernet Sauvignon. It was a cheap wine, but still, it got the job done. And if one were to turn to page two thirty-two, they would still see the stain of red wine from the nights Carmela sat in O’Rien’s lap as he read to her like one of Santa’s little helpers.

And Just to remember him, Carmela would read me every Friday night, from chapter four to seven, specifically, for reasons I do not know. Mozart, a little Frank Sinatra, it was all that played in the background. And afterward, it would be I who would lay rested on Carmela’s soft and suckle chest. It was warm. I could hear every beat of her heart like something from Jumanji but nothing about the moment was a game. O’Rien was a lucky dog, I thought, at least for the moment he was. But all I could really think about was O’Rien throwing me into the fireplace that roasted by Carmela’s pampered feet. He was somewhat of a jealous man, but what man isn’t for his precious. Without a doubt, on a night like this, I would find that not all stories like that of my own had happy endings. I’d become depressed.

 

PART II

Cobwebs and darkness, it was all I could ever see through the crack of the box I was in—molded from the water that dripped from the damaged ceiling above—there was no other place in the states that rained buckets in October like Seattle.

To my right, a dark magician stared at me, with seven stars that hovered above its head that of which resembled dragon balls from O’Riens favorite anime,  but I never really knew what any of them meant for I was no Manga. And to my left a U.S.A flag and a few medals. Fun fact, O’Rien was a military brat, although, he never really spoke much about it to Carmela. But that is another story.

Carry on soldier.

Every now and then, I thought I heard something, the fast pacing of footsteps maybe, no, I was no book of horrors. But out of all the years spent in silence, I knew for sure it was something.

Light then revealed itself to me. It was blinding, yet refreshing all in one—I could finally see my di… I mean, words again—let’s keep it PG-13 Mr. Books.

“Dam. This is some good shit,” I said to myself, like a drug addict around the corner of Third and Pine street. But there was no sugar coating it, O’Rien was a genius. An underrated one at best.

The lights flickered on and off—it been a while since the bulb was changed or cut on. A mysterious being searched the room. I didn’t have a nose, obviously, so, depicting their smell was slim to none. Although, the way they huffed and puffed all over the place like the big bad wolf was enough for me to know they were just like O’Rien, a man.

“Honey did you find it!” yelled an angelic voice. This I knew for sure was a woman.

The man then stopped what he was doing in response to the question.

“Almost love,” he said. “I think I’m getting close. But you should come up here. I didn’t know that mom had so many things. I’m sure you’ll find something you like.”

There was a pause but not long after the woman would respond.

“Yeah… No, I think I’m going to head back to the car. Besides, I don’t trust Cami and O’Brien in the car by themselves. You know what happened last time,” she said.

“Yeah your right, how could I forget. I still got the scrapes and bruises all over my knees from that day,” said the man. “But that’s what we get for getting those to hooked on race car driving at such a young age. Our little Talladega Nights.”

The man and the woman both laughed. It brought joy to my pages.  It had been a while since I heard or seen happiness from anything. Nevertheless, the man continued his search. I was amused. Just what did he mean by mom? I wondered.

Now two feet stood in front of me—shined by the best of shoe shines men they were. A knife then pierced the top of the exterior nearly cutting into my interior. A hand reached around corner to corner of the box. It was hairy and tickled the sides of me like the Elmo doll from behind.

“There you are. Time to get you published once and for all old friend,” said the man with a familiar smile.

Was I dreaming all this time? Of course, it was a O’Rien. But the funeral? What about the red wine and warm breast, I mean, chest? Stop being a perv Mr. Books.

No, of course, I knew all of this time. None of what I’ve told you until now was true. I fooled you all, but calm down, I am a book after all. I tell stories, you should’ve known all along.

It’s not April yet, but I still fooled ya.

Sincerely,

—Mr. Books

Pluto and Friends

Featured

October 7th, 2018 by Patrick Starks 

PLUTO MAIN COVER

Part I

For centuries I have been made a fool out of, being made to be the least important or the irrelevant one of my family. It’s too small they say, it doesn’t have enough gravitational pull, followed by a “that’s what she said,” joke. They all go back and forward with these assumptions year to year, all in the hopes that they’ll one day understand the things that they fear. But they are all fools. No matter what they say about me, I know who and what I am—I am a planet. And if you don’t believe me, I swear, just go ask your green haired captain in the red underwear.

But first, let me explain in more detail. Continue reading

Adopted Stars

Featured

September 23, 2018 by Patrick Starks ADOPTED-STARS

On the nights where you could see only the stars, down below many things were revealed, but nothing like a rainbow to a pot of gold, but something more magical than the rainbow myth itself that of which many told. It was a beautiful night as always—the owls hooted, the wolves howled, and many other species as well did as they would normally do whenever the sun came down. Nevertheless, I was completely lifeless in bed—I was deep in fantasy—I had a red hat, blue suspenders, and mustache to match, along with brown shoes and a few cabbages to patch. Continue reading