“Sucked out by the vacuum of space” -a short story. (1 Chapter, section 4)
“Oh my god…. I just… I just can’t take it anymore.” Ben2Times stared down Stephania’s unbuttoned shirt while she bent all the way over and gingerly placed several sleeping fries into a Burger Bop sack.
Ben2Times sighed and listened to the rustle of the fries and the drowsy pattering noises of the Burger Bop. Both of them had decided a few hours ago to slow down all the hot and heavy stuff and “just be friends” while they tried to figure out what was going on. “Why are you teasing me when you know how I feel about you?”
“You mean how you want me, not feel about me” Stephania replied. She turned toward Ben2Times and dangled a fry slowly between the two of them and then tossed it in the air and caught it with her tongue. He felt it pop and explode in her mouth.
“There’s a difference you know.” She said and rolled her eyes at him. She turned back to the fry bin but he had seen a hint of a sad smile beneath her playfulness, something was there. Something was off.
“Listen Stephania, I just wanna say… so you know… I…”
She turned back around in a blur, “Oh save it…just… don’t bother.” In mid-swoop she dropped the sack back into the bin and then melted into the floor.
“Wha? What the fuck? Stephania. Stephania, you stop that right now.” Ben2Times looked at the massive green puddle expanding at his feet with creeping irritation. “You rematerialize right now so we can hash this out.”
“I don’t wanna.” He heard her tinker in his head, but it wasn’t booming this time, it was almost like a purr. Not a sex purr, which would have been nice, but a disgruntled purr which I guess you would say is really not a purr and a different type of thing.
The puddle started to seep into the cracks of the dirty lineoleum and he wondered what would happen to her once she decided to come back together. “Fine, you stay down there then. I’m going to get something to eat. And it’s not going to be fries.” He shook off a few green drops that had splattered on his shoe and determined not to let her get to him.
But he knew he couldn’t let it go. He wanted her all the time. Every time. And she played so many games. Why? Was that why he liked her so much?
“That’s why you like me so much!” he heard boom from down in the puddle. Great. Just great. What a head fuck. But he liked it.
Maybe he was lying to himself, maybe they all were. What were they doing here? And where had all the fun flamingos gone? True, they were annoying and loud at first but he had gotten used to them, especially the coke-sniffing ones. There were so many stories to tell about that. He should get a journal. Or maybe he would use the Burger Bop sacks like Smithann did before she left. He was still pretty pissed about that. Each one of them had tried the doors again after they found out she had left, and no one was able to get them back open.
What happens now? He thought as he paced through the lobby. “WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN??” he tried to yell into the small dark and sleepy lobby, but no sound came out.
WHO AM I? He thought and that question boomed from the rafters and echoed back throughout the Burger Bop before settling in the small enclave between the milkshake dispenser and mop area. It turned out to be the perfect spot for sound amplification, as the letter ‘d’s had already found out years before and proceeded to perform small, snobby jam sessions and serve creamy, frothy drinks. He never could figure out where they got that red carpet rope and that one smug ‘d’ with the fucking smug sunglasses at the door that said he wasn’t old enough and his ID was fake and what’s a girl like you doing out this late anyway fuck you door guy you don’t know my life.
Ben2Times slumped down in a hard metal chair in the center of the dim lobby while a few of the oldish looking ‘d’s walked slowly past him wiping their faces with old Burger Bop napkins, trailing crumbs and dust behind. “Hey D” he called out but they just tensed up and kept walking so he knew that they had heard him but were ignoring him as they tried to seem preoccupied with looking up at the flickering fluorescent lights, which were starting to get dim. “Hey D” he said louder, but he now wasn’t sure if they could hear him.
He stared down at the floor. He had felt like this before but the last time there was way more alcohol involved and the wild flailing of heavy weaponry on a sun-blaring afternoon on the Jersey Shore Replicata. The cops were called. When he was shuttled in their pod he didn’t have to think of all these feelings. He might as well give up. What’s the point anymore, he th
Someone’s hands squeezed his shoulders from behind. His body reflexively tried to jump and turn around but the next thing he knew he was in a headlock.
“Shh…. Shhh. It’s okay…shhh”
“Natalianese!?” He sputtered. “Let me go!”
“Shhhhhh….” She whispered loudly into his hear and tightened her hold. He flailed his arms up to grab at her but it didn’t work, she just tightened.
“Don’t resist. Shhhhh….” She whispered while the old ‘d’s pulled up a couple of chairs in the corner to watch listlessly.
“Shhhh…. There’s a woman in the woods. She is fighting the leaves, the wind with her hands. Can you hear her? There’s a man on a basketball court… he just fell, opening all of the locker room doors.” Natalianese hissed as Ben2Times struggled to grasp her face.
“Now he’s closing them, throwing himself into the wall…. he’s crying…. The worm.” She kept whispering loudly in his ear, “An old woman with making is leaping through the door. She has on too much eyeshadow…down on his face and did the worm, crying. Now he’s tuned- black. She’s staring at you…he’s doing a headstand… oh shit. Shit shit shit there’s the leaf woman from the woods and she’s shrieking and yelling at you…..shhhhhhhh”
“WHAT THE FUCK?!” Ben2Times sunk down further into the chair. “…ing nuts… okay… I’ll stop. I’’ll stop resisting. Natalianese…” he coaxed while staring angrily at the ‘d’ as it brushed some lint off its pants, “Let me go please, I won’t be mad. I just…can’t breathe… and I don’t want…to die.”
He forced himself to calm down and relax his body, dropping his arms from around her head and trying to signal peace or whatever. “I’m alright… you’re alright.”
“There’s a woman STANDING IN A PARKING GARAGE IN HER NIGHTIE and THERE ARE NO CARS. She is sad. She is holding a knife but not really and in her nightie with her long black hair and now SHE IS IN YOGA PANTS and a close up of her be scary just to look at sad EYE. The sing. Brambles. She is wearing a knife to cut the berries. They are sweet. There is light…”
“Hey uh… Natalianese… I see the berries too.” Ben2Times gasped.
“DO YOU SEE HER EYE? The HUG?@!”
“Yeah uh… I see that too.” Ben2Times replied.
“Good. VERY GOOD. Then dance with me.” Natalianese said and released the chokehold.
She reached down to grab his hand and he spun the shit out of her and body slammed her onto the floor. “Look… I’m not trying to hurt you…” he yelled at the back of her head, “…just gotta make sure you won’t do that again okay?” and he pinned her wrists behind her back and snapped his head up in the direction of the ‘d’s.
“Get a rope from the utility closet or twine or something fuck.” He barked in their direction but none of them moved. He heard the listless clink of a spoon on the side of a cup. One of the more snarky ones took a sip of its drink and crossed his legs in a more British fashion so Ben2Times yelled, “Do it Now!”
A skittish one jumped up and ran toward the utility closet. Where was Smithann? Ever since she came back from her escapade she hadn’t really been talking to them. She said hi and bye but usually her and Fitz just kept talking it up alone in the walk-in freezer… and wasn’t it like super cold in there?
The jumpy ‘d’ walked up and handed him the rope. Ben2Times secured Natalianese and propped her up in a chair.
He looked at her. At least her eyes had stopped doing that weird opening and closing thing they were doing. She seemed pretty normal. But what was all that weird shit she was saying?
“What was all that weird shit you were saying and why did you put me in a headlock?” Ben2times asked and plucked a sweaty lock of hair from falling in her eye.
She glared at him, and her mouth started moving but the sound of her words was not matching up. It was like one of those old movies where the voices were a few beats off from the lip synch and actually he wasn’t even sure if her lip movements were the actual words he was hearing.
Natalianese kept going, “There IS A WOMAN IN A POOL with an old frilly dress… following by her toes and her hair is SUSPENDED AND HER FINGERTIPS are pointing somewhere… now she’s on the bed and looks sad like I am sitting here thinking about really sad thoughts and now I will brush my hair IN THE VANITY and remove my shirt and you will see the back of me with only the back of my bra strap WHICH IS SEXY because it makes you think about my boobs but you CAN’T REALLY SEE THEM YET but you think about it and then I put on a different shirt and all of a sudden I have on a long white nightslip and I AM WALKING IN THE LAKE and it looks like…”
“Natalianese! please, let’s focus on what we need to do…” Ben2Times interrupted but she kept going, talking over him.
“…and it looks like I am walking out to be baptized but it is night and no one is there and you can see through my slip and now for some reason you can see my face and I’m smiling and my teeth are really white and the black water is rising up and hiding my face at intervals and now my smile looks more like an-” Natalianese paused and glanced around the Burger Bop lobby skittishly.
“Alright Natalianese…” Ben sighed and shook his head, “we’re gonna figure this out.”