Sucked out by the vacuum of space A SHORT STORY

 “Sucked out by the vacuum of space”

-a short story


The door to the Burger bop banged open. Then it banged again. Ben2Times didn’t even look up from the fry machine. He had taken to making the salty fries, sifting them around in the hot bin, letting the stinging drips tinge his checkered skin and sut-grimed paws. He liked making the fries. The noise from the entryway and lobby to the Burger Bop registered in his mindport but he refused to look up, he had bigger fish to fry. These fries.

But he couldn’t ignore the static in his head. Some time ago, he wasn’t sure when, all of their new abilities had stopped. It was sudden, and now, back to the old ways. They could plop thoughts in his head at any moment. He could plop his in theirs. It was easy again, except for the static. That was new.

And Stephania. He was still trying to figure how she’d made real things happen, but, whatever, he had these fries. Best to think about fried techniques, and things of that sort.

“Ben!!” someone yelled in his head, he couldn’t tell who.

“Don’t ever call me that,” he finally responded.

“Er… Pardon my trivialities, Mr. Ben2Times, it’s Fritz!” the tinny voice reverbed in one ear, his left one, and the massive static on the right.

“What is it Fritz? I’m busy making fries.”

“Pardon the interruption my good man, I am… we are in trouble, again. My apologies, I am faltering here…”

“Where are you Fritz?” He picked up the handle to the bin and shuffled his friends around. One of them opened it’s eye. It had long eyelashes like a movie star, he thought, and the static started to sing an old-timey tune.

“Can you hear me Ben?!” Fritz’s small voice trailed away and Ben2Times sighed. He grabbed the prongers and clipped the beautiful fry from the pack. She winked at him and curled into the paper film. What a nap.

“What do you need? I’m busy here.”

“Help us! We are trapped— Smithann… Stephania, even Natalaniese.” A whistling roar sounded behind Fritz’s voice. “We cannot weather this climate! These conditions…”

“Hey,” Ben2Times slammed the bin back into the green grease, the neon rivulets splattering the domed ceiling above, “You guys were the ones who left. You left me here. I’m making fries.”

The static roared and Fritz fizzled out and Ben2Times spoke to his fry. “Hey there.”

“Hey you.”

“Ben!!” Stephania crackled loudly.

“For the love of- what?”

“You have to help us!”

“No, I don’t Stephania.” He winked at the yellow fry and mouthed the words “eat you” The static crackled louder, “I don’t have to help you at all.”

“What kind of a person… give me that…” he heard a strange struggle like an object was being pounded into the floor and rattled around and then Smithann was in his head.

“Oh, hey Smithann.”

“Now Ben,” she said sternly, “Ben2Times,” he heard the strange rattling again, “I know that you are better than this. You cannot still be mad at us for what happened. I told you we were sorry but it had to be done.” She sighed and the rattling grew louder, “We need you.”

“What is that noise, anyway?” he asked and sat down on the blue and white lined linoleum. It had small green splotches that shined transparent when you pressed them. He pressed one side of the linoleum and stared down into the black abyss. He saw a stick of dragon float by. He pressed it again and it closed. He leaned back against the hot machine and closed his eyes. What was it all for?

“It’s a black boxed-in type of object, Fritz said something about putting it in his stupid wheelbarrow when we get outta here so he can research it. It’s the only way we could reach you, we’re stuck.”


“I don’t know where!”

“Well, how’d you get there?”

“You know how we got here!”

Ben2Times sighed and opened his eyes. He switched off the fry machine and waved politely at the fry. She frowned. He tried to wipe the grease off of his shirt and managed to rub it in in the worse way. Yanking the cloth above his head, he reached up into the cabinet for a black Burger-Bop complementary t-shirt, being sure to flex a little for the fry while he did.

Once he changed his shirt he walked listlessly over to the walk-in freezer and paused. What was that sound? He looked around him, scanning the dimly lit lobby of the Burger Bop, he didn’t see anyone there. He rested his hand on the cold door and leaned his cheek against it, closing his eyes. The static died down and still nothing. That’s when he heard it.

He opened his eyes and slowly turned around.

He wasn’t sure, but he thought he saw a glimmer in the darkness. Something had giggled—deep and from the gut, and then he heard it again, a maniac sound inside his head.

He slammed his body into the freezer door. It held fast, but at the second time he fell through the door.

There was Fritz. In all his three inches and tuxedo, dragging his wheelbarrow behind him and stroking his beard. Its hairs swept the floor as he walked and muttered to himself. His head snapped up as the freezer slammed.

“It’s you!” His grey face lit up with joy.

“Yes, uh, I’ve come to save you…”


To be continued!


Part 1


Not my cup of tea

My mom said when I was little to say that instead of yuck.  But I had to watch this movie for class credit today and what an epic waste of time.  In Pursuit of Silence 2015.  I’m trying to find something positive because I’ve been told to look for the good in everything and that will help me with life and being a better person.  There’s nothing positive about this movie.  I don’t know if somebody really cared.  Like, was there a writer who stayed up late nights struggling over the truthiness of the movie and if it was art?  Did anybody care?  Was it about the money?

Here’s why I don’t like it:  First of all, well let me go back.  I liked the beginning when there were these still shots that got kinda artsy.  I knew it was an artsy movie so i was prepared to be a little bored, but I wan’st prepared to be annoyed.

Who gets to be silent?  They were talking about going in the woods and retreats and noise decibals but who gets to worry about noise decibals when you have to pay the rent.  By the time it got to the second Japanese tea ceremony and goofy silent guy ordering a subway sandwich on a notepad I had had enough.

A very superficial movie.  It should be banned from being screened in schools.  They didn’t even really delve into digital.  Well, I didn’t see the end because I left to go to the bathroom because I wanted to rip my eyeballs out.

Meanwhile, I did find out there are two actually new movies coming out that look cool.  This jd salinger movie   and then

which is a movie about the guy who wrote winnie the pooh.  Both of these will help me I think get back to Ben2Times and the stories.  I’m not a real writer, but I writer short stories and they make me happy.  I really want to do that again.





Summer stuff

I’m starting this book for the summer. It looks good and not putting me to sleep at the beach. My mom says don’t read it and my imagination but I think it’ll help me get better with my stories. I want to read Stephens King writing tips book too.

And the “Shining” is on Netflix now June too ha

I want to watch that “It Comes at Night” too but it looks for real scary  I’ll see if I can IMG_20170608_173316_965.jpg

“Sucked out by the vacuum of space” a short story

“Are your fingers crossed?” Stephania asked Ben2Times. They were sitting on the bed of the dirty motel room at the Kand’s End Glen Inn #2.  Nobody knew where Glen was.

The girl down the hall said he had retired to Glen Ken Meadows, down the way, but no one saw him travel there.  Only thing they knew is that they took his money three weeks ago when they checked in on this row.  They being Stephania and Ben2Times in Room 11. Then Jenny #7 in room 10 (she liked to play Texas Hold’em and kept a slew of Jacks tucked under her dirty blouse sleeve), TomBoy in room 9 (no one knew about him) (yet), and Stacy in room 8 (she was very cool and gave them all gum when she passed by) (but it was weird, the only time they ever saw her was when she was passing by, never in a spot or one place or actually somewhere, just walking by) Oh and Stacy liked to mumble.  Something close to “An eye for an eye was all he could buy” was all Stephania could make out.

Ben2Times disagreed, he said she was saying “A buy for an eye was all she could spy…” but that didn’t make sense to Stephania.  They tried to piece it all together.  Stacy was short, that was for sure.  Very short lady!!, as Stephania’s great-great uncle Gadget would say.  He was dead now. 98.  When he died she listened to her aunt moan and moan in the night, it was creepy because she always crept up slowly to the edge of Stephania’s bed when she was sleeping and moaned from down there.

She would wait though.  Aunt San would wait until it was dark or Stephania had just fallen asleep or until she had crept all the way to the bottom of the bed where you couldn’t hear her coming and then start to moan.  Low.  scare.gif

And almost couldn’t hear.  It was not a nice thing and Stephania just lay in the bed with her covers pulled tight to her throat because she didn’t know what to do.  Then the groaning would get a little louder but she was too scared to roll to the bottom or look over the edge and the wall was on the other side of the bed.  Then the hand.  Well, the fingers.  The fingers pale, cold would slide up and grip the very edge of the comforter and start to pull gently.  Then they went under.  She could feel the cold fingers tapping her ribs and-

“What the fuck Stephania!” Ben2Times yelled. “Who the fuck are you talking to?!” he yelled and shook her shoulders.

“Oh, was I talking?” she asked.

“Wha- fuck yes you were going on really fast about some super scary shining lady shit… crawling up your bed I don’t wanna hear that shit right now… ughhhh.. jeez…” Ben2Times said.

Stephania looked down at the dingy comforter and gathered her thoughts.  “Was I talking out loud?”

“Yes!” Ben2Times said.  “And you were starting to tap me in my chest with your fingers.  More like jab.”

“Oh… my bad.”

She looked over at him, “Am I talking out loud now?”

“No,” Ben2Times replied, “You’re talking normal, in our heads.  …damn, that was scary.”

She stretched her legs out and craned her neck. “Well get over it. It’s over now, let’s not make a federal case about it.” she said.

Ben2Times got up and walked to the window of the room.  He made a little cup in the blinds with his fingers and jumped back when he saw the eye.

“Stephania,” he whispered loudly, “Come here.” He motioned to her and bent down to the carpet.

“What? Why are you whispering?”

Ben2Times put his finger to his lips for her to be quiet and looked around the room wildly.  He found the switch and crawled over to it to turn out the light, then he crawled back toward Stephania.

“There’s someone at the window!” he hissed in her ear, “and they’re watching us.”

“No, it’s not.” she hissed back, “you’re probably being paranoid again… ever since that leech…”

“No!” Ben2Times hissed louder, “I saw its eye. It’s there… watching us.”

“Ok, ok.” Stephania stood up and started to strip off her clothes. “You think a groppy little eyeball is going to scare me after that scary-ass shit I just told you about my auntie…” She laughed and kicked away her pants.

Ben2Times stopped being scared for a moment while she crossed her arms in front of her and then lifted up her shirt.  She tossed it over the back of a chair.

“Well,” she said and looked over pointedly at Ben2Times, “Only one thing left…” she smiled and hooked her thumbs under the sides of her g-string and pulled it to the floor.

When she bent over Ben2Times completely forgot the eyeball and had a hard time understanding where they were or why they were there or what constellation they were on exactly.

Stephania cleared her throat and headed toward the door.

“Wait!” he yelled, “Stephania no!”

But it was too late and she did a full out Bruce Lee spin and kicked open their own door.

“Hellllllooo EYEBALL MAN!!” she screeched and started to bunny hop out the door.

“Why is she bunny hopping?” Ben2Times thought.

“Because it’s funny!” she yelled back and continued to hop nakedly down the hallway.

Ben2Times snapped out of it and ran into the yellow lit hall.  It was night out and the 2nd floor balcony hallway gave a pretty good view out into the night.  He looked left and right and down below the railing… but they were alone.

“See!” Stephania yelled back over her green shining shoulder, “Just you and me Ben!” and she hopped a little further down the hallway.

He couldn’t help himself but grin as he watched her green butt bounce up and down the aisle. “What an idiot..” he thought.

“Hey I heard that…” he heard.

Just then the door to Room #1 flew open.  Stephania stopped hopping and turned to walk quickly to their room.  She ducked in the door just as someone emerged from Room 1.

It was Glen!

“Glen!” Ben2Times yelled.  “Hey man, we need to talk to you-“

Ben2Times stopped short as he saw the look in Glen’s eyes.  Glen was terrified.

“Glen? What happened?  Are you ok?” Ben2Times asked.

“H…hel…help me…”

Stephania ran back out of the room while pulling on her pants leg and grabbed Ben2Times.

“Do not touch him… don’t even get near…” she said.

“Why?” Ben2Times asked, “He needs help.  We need to help him-“

“No!” she replied, “He has the touch.”

“The touch?  What touch?”

Before she could answer a hand slowly emerged from the bottom of Room 1’s doorway.  It finger walked its way into the light and stopped short right at the wrist. It was half in the dark and half in the light, a weird disembodied hand doing that finger crawl thing you do when you finger walk toward something…hand2.gif

“Whose hand is that?” Ben2Times whispered to Stephania.

“I don’t know. How should I know something like that?” she replied.

Glen turned his head slowly in their direction and looked at them with those pleading eyes.  Then his eyes turned from pleading to angry and then to pure hate.

“Uh oh.”

“Let’s get outta here…”

Glen’s eyes went from brown to a metallic-looking black and started to stream a black shiny liquid. The black tears dripped onto his sweat-stained white shirt as his forehead and skin started to concave in.  His upper face and eyes melted into his head and then a big gaping hole was there.  Almost immediately, one huge white and yellow-lined eye as big as a dinner plate popped out into the place where his two eyes had been.

Stephania shrieked and Ben2Times grabbed her hand as they ran back into their room and locked the door. Before they could drag the bed over to block the doorway they heard his heavy shoes clomping down the hall. As they were pushing the dresser up to fortify the bed they heard a small tapping at the window.

“Do not look out that window.” Ben2Times said.

“I know,” said Stephania, “But what do we do now?”

“Well, let’s just calm down first.” Ben2Times said. “Since you kicked out the lock we’re gonna have to figure out a way to fix that, but while Glen’s out there just tapping we’re gonna try to ignore it and you’re gonna finish telling me the story I asked for.” He picked up her shirt and then laid it back on the chair. “From the beginning.”

“Ok, well, first take out the note, I’m going to explain the first part.” she said.

They stopped and listened for the tapping.

It wasn’t there anymore.

Then they heard it.  A drip.

Oh good, the faucet still works, Ben2Times thought.

“Yes, it does.” He heard in his head.  But it wasn’t Stephania, it was Glen.

“Crap.” Ben2Times thought, “Now he wants to talk.”

“Well, just ignore him,” Stephania said, “Go under your dome.”

“Okay, good idea.” Ben2Times said and pictured himself crawling under his dome. He secured the heavy opaque glass and didn’t hear a thing.

“Can you hear me?” Stephania called.

“Yep, clear as ice.” he replied.




“How’d you get in here?”

“Oh… well.”

“Wait, what’s that?”

“I don’t hear anything?”



“….an eye for an eye is all I can buy…”

Ah fuck.”


The End. )For now)o jason-x-janessa

“Sucked out by the vacuum of space” -a short story -part 14

Ben2Times stared down at the letter and then back up into the bathroom mirror.  He looked at himself.  Then he looked at himself again.  It’s me, he thought to himself, it’s definitely me.  He looked at his eyes, nose, mouth… the way his hair touched the top of his fuzzy ears and sparkled silver in the bare light of the bulb, the way his checkered skin gleamed matte in the mirror, he chuckled.

Definitely me, he laughed and shook his head. But the note.  But what about the note?  He read it again,

Dear Mr. Times,
 All is lost.   sorry to report all is lost.  
And Benny
Bl .  k got     ty, and last Tuesday I fo . rgot             g. 
I’m afraid we have disappointed you.
The i HUMAN, as of now.  I therefore void the dog,
  • escape potential ,
  • refrain from
  •         thermore, I have been ignored. Bluntly put, I am probably notxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxd let me dry overnight, xxxxxxxxxxxxe.  Seven dollars.  So easy. 
She will keep asking you x
xx cheaper,
but it is not.  Sincerely yours,
p.s. We need all seven.


What Ben2Times couldn’t understand was how the letter got under his pillow in the first place. He would have woken up at the slight.

What kind of face was this?

A leech looked up from the dirty basin under the faucet and gave him a hurt look. It had taken him forever to crawl.

Can he hear me? Ben2Times spoke in his head.

“Yes, yes I can.” the leech replied.

Ben2Times didn’t have the heart to answer him.  What a life.  He didn’t know what was worse, his situation or this leech. The black slimy started to scoot across the grimy basin. It sipped up a drip of rusty faucet water.

“Sucks.” the leech said.

He tried to ignore it and not get sucked into a long super-depressing conversation.  He needed time to himself to think.

“It’s just hard, you know?” the leech said and scooted up toward the slope of the basin.

Ben2Times moved his hand away from the edge of the counter and looked around the bathroom for something to stare at in order to look busy.

“I know you’re not deep in thought,” sighed the leech, “you’re trying to find ways to ignore me.  It’s okay, I am used to it…” the leech said.

It struggled sadly in it’s crawl but finally made it to the top of the basin and squished there with a sort of sploosh sound.

“Ahhh.  That’s better,” it said and looked up at Ben2Times, “say… what is your name?”

Ben2Times ignored it and opened the medicine cabinet.  He rifled through the pills and band-aids. The leech started to make a low whaling sound.  He ignored it.  A band-aid fluttered down slowly from the ledge and landed on its noisy head.

“I like my hat,” the leech said sadly, pausing his pitched whaling.

It stared up at Ben2Times with two big saucer-like eyes.  They were blue, extremely light blue like very, very blue.  They were like a vast Atlantis ocean, clean.  They felt so clean.

“….what?” Ben2Times woke with a start.  He had been staring directly into its big beautiful eyes for he didn’t know how long. “What is it that you want from me, exactly?  Ben2Times crouched down eye level to the basin while the leech readjusted his position and sighed.

After a time, he felt a cold slime begin to spread over the back of his hand.  Ben2Times didn’t move.  Didn’t even open his eyes.  Why bother?

After a while he felt two sharp pierces in to the inner fold of his elbow but he didn’t move then either. His legs buckled slowly down onto the floor and he leaned his back onto the wall of the dirty bathroom.  He listened to the staccato drip of the faucet and felt the cold crawl up his arm and now to this neck.  It sat there for a moment.

The smell of old eggs on a motel room hotplate wafted from under the flimsy bathroom door and mixed in with the stale but not altogether unpleasant smell of the leech as it slid up and around his body.

“I’m going to eat you…” Ben2Times muttered half asleep and reached up his paw to swipe the leech into his mouth, but missed and only swatted the empty air.

Why would he want to eat a leech anyway? he thought and he felt the cold slick trail of it make a turn towards his heart.


“Ben!!!!” Stephania yelled as she pounded on the bathroom door.  Ben2Times eyes fluttered open and closed.  He tried to wake all the way up but couldn’t seem to do it on his own.  “Help…” he muttered weakly.  Stephania heaved the door open with her shoulder and burst into the bathroom.

“What in the-“

The leech slowly turned his head in her direction.  It was 15 times its actual size and was now sitting on his chest, throbbing and wet and super, super gross.

“oh…Hello there.” the leech said wetly.

Stephania pursed her lips and marched toward both of them.  She stepped right over them and reached under the basin of the sink.  Grimacing, she reached behind the pipes.

“Er, excuse me miss,” the leech said, “I was just helping this lad here wake up but I need soooo much assistance as well,” his bright blue eyes grew even larger, “Can you help me-“

“Ah snap! Found it.” Stephania said and ripped the package out from behind the pipes.

“Is that for me?” the leech asked, “no one ever gets anything for me, I am very sad and I-“

Stephania punched her fist directly into the leech’s big mouth while she used her knee to balance the package and open it with her other hand.  She ripped it with her teeth.

“Yes!” she yelled when the package finally fell open.  “Ye…es?” asked the leech and looked down at the wiggling substance on the floor.

“A beauty!” Stephania said and backed slowly out of the bathroom door.

The small wiggling beige putty slowly pulled itself together on the floor and started to move around and form itself on its own.  It looked like what a kid would do to a mound of play-doh if a kid was there but there were no kids and the putty was forming itself.

It was also getting bigger.

How it came to grow or even form Stephania didn’t want to know and didn’t care.  As she eased the door shut she could see the final stages of the putty form into a life-sized hybrid Toad Dog type thing and it barked and then croaked and then smoothed out its cowlick in the back.  Steam rolled off of it in waves.

“Ewww….” Stephania muttered and locked the door.  The last thing she heard was a slurp and a burp, a swoosh and then someone furiously taping up the back of the pipes. Then there was nothing for a while.

She waited to see what would happen but nothing did.

Eventually she ordered a pizza and watched some T.V. but finally clicked it off and dozed in the chair by the bed. Still nothing.

Finally, she heard Ben2Times wake up and shuffle to get his feet under him. She put the remote down as he walked into the room.

“What happened?” he demanded. Ben2Times looked around the battered motel room, “Why’d you leave me in there?”

Stephania folded her arms and rolled her eyes at him. “Because I always leave you in there.”

Ben2Times looked at her and then sat down on the bed.

“Stephania,” he said, “You have to tell me everything.  Start at the beginning.”


“Sucked out by the vacuum of space”

“Sucked out by the vacuum of space” -a short story. (Part 2, Chapter 1)

coming in your television boxesPlanet BlinkA happy and you know this“Sucked out by the vacuum of space” -a short story, Part 7, section 2  What’s wrong with Ben2Timeshey you asked me and I gave it to you

“Sucked out by the vacuum of space” -a short story

“Sucked out by the vacuum of space” -a short story

“Here,” Fritz shoved a tiny square shaped card into Smithann’s hands, “Take this and read it.”

Smithann looked down at the card.  There was a naked woman wrapped and huddled in a comfy looking beige sheet with a shell like a snail on the lower half of her body.  It looked like she was sleeping with the sea behind her and there was a staircase leading to nowhere and it was the dumbest looking card Smithann had ever saw in her life.

“Ahem…” Fritz cleared his throat, “Out loud.  Read it aloud please.”

“Re..Rejuvenation,” Smithann said, “and what does that really mean anyway?”

“My god Smithann!” Fritz exclaimed, “You do not know this word?  What were they teaching you here…I do not understand how…”

“Hey wait, we learned about all kinds of stuff.” Smithann looked at him and furrowed her eyebrows.    “The Generals of the Third Planetary Mattonorn and the Battles of Artheaver 76, The Kill Links, Math… you know, important stuff.” Smithann said.

“Oh I see,” Fritz replied, “important stuff hmmm.” He took the card from her hands and threw it up into the ceiling of the Burger Bop freezer.  They were standing by the stacks of frozen fry mix and had been contemplating taking another trip.  There were brochures scattered all over racks number 6 and 7 and this time they would be sure not to be “taken for suckers” as Fritz had put it.  Planet Blink had been a bust.  They never found the legitimate scrap in that big empty warehouse and had to actually sneak out of there while no one was looking.  Not fun.

“Do you think Ben2Times and Stephania know about all of these planets in here?” she asked Fritz.

He looked at her gravely. “We should not worry about these things.” he said.

“Besides, what is a life full of worry? Here, read this one.” He thrust another tiny card in her hand.

This one had a woman with a red draping robe kinda like a Greek or something but she was sitting on a clump of rocks outside at a weird sunset.  She was sprawled over the stones with her head bent into the crevice of her arm. There was a pool of water in front of her with a huge red flower bigger than her body floating on top.

“Release.” Smithann said, “I know what that means…”

“Uh huh, so now you see…” Fritz replied

“See what?” Smithann asked and looked at him quizzingly. “What does it all mean? … I’m confused.”

“Those are the cards.” Fritz said. “It means what it says.  And you picked them.”

“I don’t like this game,” Smithann replied, “it seems kind of boring.” She threw the final two cards up into the ceiling where they stuck and then froze into the wall.

Then to their surprise the women on the cards got up and walked off of their grid, upside down onto the ceiling, dodging icicles and making their way to the walls.

“Where are they going?!” Fritz yelled.

“Calm down… calm down.” Smithann said as she watched the regal women slowly make their way across the frozen ceiling and down onto the walls,

“Maybe they got bored of all that flower and pond action…” Smithann chuckled and continued to stare mystically at the tiny women.  They were even smaller than Fritz, and he was only 3 inches tall!

Smithann wondered if either she or Fritz should go talk to them first and concluded that since she would probably seem huge to them like a golly green giant that Fritz should go say hi.

“Go say hi.” she said, “and be nice.”

Fritz walked over to the furthest wall of the freezer where the first woman was headed.  It was the wall way at the back of the walk-in freezer, isolated and partly submerged in the dark.  The light bulb shaped square flickered and Smithann wondered why it would do that.

“And Fritz,” she called to him, “I don’t know why I’m saying this, but be careful okay?”

Fritz nodded but as he neared the tiny woman she suddenly let out a wild banshee shriek and leapt from the halfway point on the wall.  As she flew through the air towards him her red robe fluttered massively behind her and her face screwed up tighter and tighter.  Her red-clawed hands were stretched out in front of her and Fritz wondered if they were what was helping her glide so awesomely.

He moved quickly to the left and she slid in a few feet past him like she was sliding into home base.

“Um… hello there,” Fritz called down hesitantly to her, “…and how might you’re day be going so far?” he asked.

She curled up into a loose ball with her arm draped over her knee and her head resting on top of that arm.  It was kind of like how she was before on the her card but without all that other stuff.

“Er…I umm…noticed the fine material of your garment,” Fitz said, “It is very…”

“I wish everyone I knew was dead.” she mumbled down into her arm.

“Um… pardon?” Fritz leaned over closer to her, “Surely you do not mean-“

“I wish…” she looked up suddenly into his eyes and Fritz jumped back, “everyone… I knew…was…dead.”

Fritz just stared at her. Stunning! he thought.  Simply stunning.  Her wild and dewy emerald eyes twirled in her head and her red, red lips glistened as tiny little icicles froze on her lips and drifted away into the freezer.  Fritz leaned in a little closer.

“Well,” he said, “uh… I guess me too.  I wish they were too.” He couldn’t believe what he was saying.  Why was he saying this?

“DEAD!!!!!” she shrieked and leapt up into the air and did a little uppercut hook and then another jab into the air.  Then she went suddenly still and dropped her arms flat onto the sides of her body.

Fritz watched as all the emotion drained from her face.  “Dead.” she whispered and he nodded and walked closer.  “Me, too.”

“Fritz!” Smithann yelled, “whadaryou doin’ back there?”

“Oh, oh!” Fritz snapped out of it and shook his head, “Yes, yes, we are conversing.”

“Good!” Smithann yelled back, “because I can’t find the other one.  I lost her!”

“Mmmhmm…” Fritz nodded absently and walked slowly toward the red flowing creature. Beautiful! He reached out to touch her bare shoulder but she knocked his hand away and hissed at him. Somehow, her eyelids opened even wider and her eyeballs bulged from her head.  He waited a moment and tried again and this time she let him keep his hand there.

“Are you okay?” he asked her.

He noticed her shoulder was covered in dust, which was weird.  “Are your troubles from anxieties?  Fears?  Do not worry,” he said and tried to massage her shoulder.

“And what is your name?” he asked.

AHHHHHHHH” she screeched and reached inside her robe and pulled out a collection of huge gold moons.

“Wait… how did those fit in there?” Fritz asked.

AHHHHHHHHH” she screamed and hurled a huge gold disc toward the other end of the freezer but it shrunk down as it traveled and eventually disappeared into a point.

Suddenly the temperature dropped a few thousand degrees and none of them could move.

Fritz couldn’t really figure out how it had happened but they had somehow moved past the frozen point to some kind of beyond frozen point that was just very slow moving still.

But Fritz had jumped inside his sudsy wheelbarrow right before it happened. Now he cut through the cold with his mind.

“LADY!” he yelled at her in her mind, “you must be very frightened and I know that is why you are acting like this…” he said, “But for us, please, leave this aggression and put your angry moons away.  We will not retaliate to you or your fellow beings, please! We insist.” he said.

Fritz peeped his head up from his wheelbarrow and noticed that things were back to normal.  It was not one hundred thousand times below freezing and he could move again.

“Whew,” he said, “well that was something.” He got out of the wheelbarrow and squeezed some grey and floppy suds from his pants leg.

The woman was seething in a corner, twisting the corners of her red robe until her hands were raw.  Smithann came running up from the other side.  “What was that?” she asked.

“I am unsure at this moment,” Fritz replied, “but maybe it is unnecessary to find out, or rather, unwise… we must ensure that it does not happen again. That is the most important thing.” He reached into his wheelbarrow and pulled out a red book with gold lettering.  There was a smiling large bald man on the cover with a fancy gold watch.

“What is that?” Smithann asked, “…and how is it dry?”

“Do not concern yourself with that, I must read to this woman and it will calm her and encourage her to speak.” Fritz leafed through the book and came upon a battered clump of pages.

“This book has been proven effective with similar beings I’ve encountered and I am certain it will work again.” Fitz nodded and looked in the woman’s direction. “I must proceed. Excuse me Smithann.” He nudged his way past her and walked straightaway to the seething woman.

“Hello my friend,” Fritz said down to her loudly and slowly, “I will begin reading to you now.”

He cleared his throat, “I am reading to you from the book “SELF MATTERS, Creating Your Life from the Inside Out, by a Mr. Phillip C. McGraw, PH.D.” he said loudly, “It will help you.”

AHHHHHHHHH” the woman screamed and barreled at him full speed.

“Smithann!” Fritz yelled, “At the ready!”  Smithann swooped in and swooped the tiny woman up into her cupped hands and held her there.  She bent down toward Fritz and then opened up a little crack between two fingers so that they could peep in and she could hear them.

An angry hand burst through the opening but Fritz just prodded it back in and commenced his reading.

The Role of Choice.” he began, “We don’t begin life with the privilege and responsibility of making choices for ourselves. Typically, we don’t even begin to differentiate ourselves from other living forms until the age of two.  Your dependence on your parents or other adult authorities means that, during your crucial years of growth and learning, they were the people who made your choices for you.  Questions about what to eat, what to wear…”

After a while, Smithann could feel the thrashing in her hands quiet down and even her own eyes got a little drowsy and the last thoughts she had before she fell asleep was of piranhas and badgers, an African fish eagle that swooped down to grab a small monkey, it flew high above the water into the air and a ferocious wolverine bringing down a deer many times its own size.  Oh and a box jellyfish, shortening tentacles, and a killer nervous system, in that order.


“Sucked out by the vacuum of space”

“Sucked out by the vacuum of space” -a short story. (Part 2, Chapter 1)

coming in your television boxesPlanet BlinkA happy and you know this“Sucked out by the vacuum of space” -a short story, Part 7, section 2What’s wrong with Ben2Timeshey you asked me and I gave it to you

“Sucked out by the vacuum of space” -a short story, Part 7, section 2

What the hell are you listening to?” Ben2Times asked Natalianese.

She was wriggling in her chair and nodding her head to some unknown beat and it was starting to annoy Ben2Times how happy and content she seemed while tied up.  He was the one that should be that happy and here she was all tied up and having a grand time and he was free and miserable.

“I mean… can you hear it in your head or whatever or what?  Because I can’t hear it.” He said and pulled up a straight-back chair in front of her.  He looked down at the two twisty ties connecting her wrists together.  They had eased up on the rope and now he was wondering about that.  She seemed fine though.

“What do you care?  You wouldn’t understand anyway…” Natalianese said and closed her eyes and smiled a little real smile.  He couldn’t believe it.

“Well, it’s just that… Listen, I wanna know okay?  Is that good enough? All of this stuff is happening and I need to know some things.  Starting with this. How can you hear things in your head that we can’t and… and… what are they saying” He asked and leaned forward in his chair, his elbows on his knees, looking straight at her.  “Will you just open your eyes?”

“Why” she replied.

“Natalianese… don’t be difficult.  It’s me, Ben2Times.  You know me, we have history okay?  Now wait- first of all no one has to know about that and don’t go being a radio reporter all skitzed out and shit telling everybody about it, but listen, you know me.  Look at me.”

Natalianese opened her eye.  The other three stayed shut and that bothered him but he kept it to himself.

“Ok, that’s good,” he said, “That’s a start. Now…”

“I don’t know you.” Natalianese said.

“What?! You know me, what are you talking about?” Ben2Times replied.

“I don’t know you.  Who knows anything these days? Who knows when the bumblebee will?  Who knows when the working and THE BEST EPIC army strong theme song composed by Hope and IJa…”

“Let’s not do this again.” Ben2Times interrupted.  “I don’t wanna hear all of that crazy shit and I definitely don’t want to have to body slam you again.” he said.

Ohhhhhh Ben….. are you gonna give me the whatfor?” Natalianese said sarcastically and opened a few more of her eyes.

“Oh I see, now I have your attention.  Do I have to make you angry to get your attention?” he asked her.

“Oh I see, now I have your attention.  Do I have to make you hangry to get your attention?” she sneered back.

“Oh My God what a child.” Ben2Times said and got up, exasperated.  He accidentally knocked the chair over and it landed, really only slightly grazed, Natalianese’s wrist.

“OHHHHH OHHHH it hurts.  YOU HAVE INJURED ME!” she cried while all of her eyes flew open in a series like some sort of weird Jurassic dance.

“That doesn’t even make sense…” Ben2Times said but he did feel a little guilty for hitting her while she was still technically tied together.  He leaned over to touch her hand gently and inspect it.

She stopped crying and looked at him deeply. “Ben2Times… I need you to do something for me” she said and pursed her lips in a quiver.

“What is it?” he said and looked up into her eyes.

They were watering.

“I…I feel kinda silly saying this but nobody’s brushed my hair.  I need you to brush my hair, it’s so much easier.” she said and looked demurely away.

He felt his gut cringe and couldn’t really identify what he was feeling.  “Sure Natalianese, let me go find a brush, I mean… I haven’t seen one since we’ve been here and now that I think of it, I’ve never seen any of us brush our hair or brush or teeth or anything.” He paused and looked into the distance of the lobby of the Burger Bop. “It’s like it’s not even there or we skip over that part or I keep waking up and doing other stuff but not little stuff like that.  Do you?  Do you dream about brushes?” he looked at her and blushed just a little. “I know that’s probably a weird question and all right now..”

“I do.” she replied.  “I dream about brushed all the time.”  She looked down at the twisty ties, “…in fact, that’s all I dream about…. brushes.” She looked up at him again. “You gotta help me Ben2Times, you’re the only one I can count on…”

“Okay, I’ll go find one, don’t worry.” he said and strode off toward the utility closet. d

A lone letter ‘d’ crept up behind Natalianese and tapped her on the shoulder.

“You again,” she sighed, “you know I can’t turn all the way around.”

“Yes you can, what are you saying?” the letter replied.

“You know what I mean.  What do you want anyway?”

“I wanna play gin rummy again.”

“They’re not supposed to know, okay?  I’m tied up.  That’s all there is… go away.” She replied.

“But I’m bored.”

“Git Outta here!” she hissed, “and I mean it.”

“Fine.” the letter replied.  “But you will rue.”

“What?” Natalianese asked, “what does that even mean?”

“You know… rue.  Your body will definitely rue.  I will make rue happen to you.  Expect it.  Like Hans Zimmer.”

“WHAT the fuck does that even mean?” she replied and then looked at him suspiciously, “Appalachian?  Are you the Appalachian I’ve been searching for?”  “Are you a muscle inspiration?”

What? That’s ridiculous,” the ‘d’ responded, “I doubt I will ever have the chance to zimmer or even…”

“Natalianese,” Ben2Times said as he walked up and surprised them.  “Why are you talking to that ‘d’?”

“She will rue, that’s why.” the ‘d’ responded.

“Rue what?” Ben2Times looked confused.

The ‘d’ turned away without responding and Natalianese shifted in her chair.

“Where’s the brush?” she asked him.

He looked despondantly around the Burger Bop.  “I couldn’t find one, Natalianese I’m sorry.”

“Well here…. just use your fingers” she said and looked at him curiously.

He walked over closer to her and began to run his fingers through her hair.  There were tangles and a few rough binds but they snapped through and Natalianese moaned softly, closing her eyes.  But then all of a sudden her eyes snapped open and she glared up at him.

“Hey. Who are you?” she asked.

“Hey, it’s me, Ben2Times… you know me.  What do you mean?”

vacuum of space

“Sucked out by the vacuum of space” Part 5

“Well, how did we get here in the first [place]?” Ben2Times yelled down at Fitz.

“My good sir, please do not begin yelling assaults at me…. You were the one who opened the door, you were the one that walked into the Bubble, and you were the one who bid us all kin. Do you not remember?” Fitz shot back at him as he hopped between buttons on the raised control panel of The Bubble and shot worried glances at Smithann.

“Guys, guys, don’t fight. We’re all in this together,” Smithann muttered as she reached for the knobs and levers near Fitz, expertly dodging him while she experimented with the knobs.

“Smithann, you gotta slow down,” yelled Stephania. She was standing over a bin in the most extreme right corner of The Bubble, washing her lingerie in a sink.

“Why aren’t you helping and how did you get your dirty lingerie here anyway?” Smithann yelled over her shoulder at Stephania as she pulled down on one big red lever that said “Do Not Pull Here!” and shuddered.

“Oh save it Smithann…” Stephania mumbled. The kneaded fabric in her hand dripped liquid dots up her shoulders and over her head until they coalesced onto the interior curve of the transparent bubble right in front of her. Some of the liquid drops hung suspended in the air all around her and some climbed up the curve. A few sparkling pearly ones floated over near Ben2Times and he swatted them out of the air.

He was adept.

“Anywho…” Fitz half whistled, “Let us all continue to focus on the maintenance of this bubble while we are here and not get distracted as some are want to do in these days of our age and such trivia.”

They were all inside of a 60 diameter bubble, it was kind of like a hamster ball, except they didn’t have to run to make it roll, it just hovered about five feet off the ground and whished and wooshed to places silently in that manner.

No one knew how to work the control panel and meanwhile they could see all the people that looked exactly like them walking about on the green hills outside of the bubble. It was weird.

And Ben2Times didn’t like it.

“Why is he, I mean, am I, singing like that??? And what is he doing?” Ben2Times cringed, “Oh my god, look away… look away.” The goth him did a little sad head roll and grabbed a microphone from thin air. Ben2Times banged on the wall of the bubble trying to get him to stop that lackluster head bang thing but all of them inside the bubble seemed to be invisible to those on the outside, or maybe these object things outside just didn’t care. Ben2Times gave up and slid down the wall. He put his head in his hands.

“Don’t worry, it’s not a big deal… I’m not looking,” Smithann said without looking up at him. She pulled down a black handle and grimaced. “Besides, it’s not like it’s really you anyway… it’s just someone that looks like you, well… a lot of someones who look like you. And look, there’s me. And me. And me again. And look there’s Stephania, except she’s purple. Oh and there’s Fitz. Hello Fitz.”

“That is not me,” Fitz interrupted, “My dear, if you are going to label anything, you should consider beginning with…”

“Watch out!” Stephania screamed as all of the water shot up out of the sink, twirled in the air like a water hurricane, hovered over the control panel for a few seconds, and then splashed down on top of it like someone had pulled away an imaginary wall or something.

“Look what you’ve done!” Smithann cried. Sparks and fizzes erupted from the control board and then fizzled out with a boring nothingness.

“Uh oh.”

“Who said that?” Ben2Times yelled.

“Said what?” Smithann asked and they all turned to look at him.

“Where’s Natalianese?” he gasped.

They all looked at him in a strange way. “Don’t you remember? We left her tied down at the Burger Bop…” Stephania said, “Are you okay?”

“No. I am not… okay.” He said and put his head back in his hands. He peered down through the bottom of the bubble and stared at the blades of green strips that fluttered as they whished by. “I’m not okay at all.”

“It’s ok Ben2Times, cheer up!” Fitz chimed in and hopped down off the control board to pat him on the leg.

“No… go away Fitz.”

“I will not. I’m your friend now and I demand that you cheer up my good sir. Things are not so bad as they seem. They are looking up!” he said cheerily and did a little hop.

“Ohhhhh god. Kill me. Kill me now.” Ben2Times muttered into his hands.

“Ahh my dear chap… you do not mean it, I’m sure of it, c’mon, let’s all..”

Ben2Times leaped up from his depressive spot on the floor and ran full charge toward the nearest wall of the bubble.

Nooooooo…” he heard from all around him but he didn’t slow down. The next thing he knew, he was flat on the ground of the bubble, still on the inside, with blood dripping down from his forehead. He got up and charged for the other side, elbowing Stephania out of the way as she tried to slow his roll.

This time though, something different happened. He looked up expecting to find more blood but instead he was standing outside of the bubble! He reached down and felt the green blades and they were soft and pleasing. He looked up into the distant ball of fire that seemed so dangerous when he was inside the bubble but now didn’t seem so dangerous after all. It felt good. He reached up and wiped the blood from his forehead and ran his paw through his short silver hair. His checkered skin glistened. He felt good.

“Hey guys!” he yelled as he looked over to the bubble. But then he stopped short. 2 Things. First of all, his voice. That was weird. He had never heard it like that before. It was heavy and seemed to catch into everything around him. He could smell it. He reached out in front him to see if he could touch it too but was distracted by the distance of the bubble. Somehow, he was about 40 to 50 unts away from the bubble. How could that be?

He started running toward his friends and he could see them small like the small bugs not the big ones and he saw their faces worried, and Smithann was banging her head against the bubble, but nothing was happening.

“Shit.” Ben2Times said and tried to speed up.

“Shit” Ben2times said and looked over at himself.

“What? Who are– never mind, listen man, don’t bother me right now… I gotta go get my friends.” Ben2Times said as he picked up the pace… but his breathing felt weird, different.

“I have to go get my friends too, man…” Ben2Times said and peered over at himself.

Oh… fuck… it… all I… do not have… time for… this” he gasped as the bubble seemed to get nearer.

Nobody….asked…you…about…the ..t ime” he gasped as the bubble got way closer than he imagined.

Ben2Times reached over and stiff-armed the guy right near the jaw. He saw him veer off to the left but still keep a steady pace.

“Ah shit…” he muttered.

“Ah crap…” he muttered.

They both got there at the same time, but nobody noticed.

Ben2Times saw that they had somehow made a new hole but had covered it with a torn off section plate from the control panel. They were speaking to another guy that looked like him through an empty buttonhole.

He banged on the outer wall.

Stephania and Fitz turned around and saw him there along with the other and Fitz tapped Smithann on the shoulder. She took her lips out of the buttonhole and turned around to face him and the other. He saw her mouth move but couldn’t make out the words. He pointed to his chest in the universal symbol he thought was to say hey guys it’s me, you know me.

Smithann turned her back to him. So did Fitz and Stephania.

“Oh. My. God.” he thought and watched incredusly as his friends talked to this other guy on the other side that looked exactly like him. They must think it’s him. And what was he saying?

He trotted over to the other side of the bubble and immediately tried to stiff-arm this one but he seemed ready for it. His body felt like steel.

“Not a good sign” he thought.

“Not a good sign, he thought…” the other one said to him as it turned its head away from the speak hole with a crazed but determined look in its eye. It was scary. Unnerving.

“ohhh…. Extremely unnerving….” the fiend said as he kicked his leg out and slammed Ben2Times in the shin. It was all a blur. Smithann didn’t see it. No one saw it.

The imposter’s face instantly changed from pure hatred to some kind of puppy-dog desperate look while still staring at Ben2times. Then it snapped it back toward the hole.

“You know it’s me Smithann,” the thing said, “…come on, remember back at the Burger Bop, when me and Stephania burst threw the door and started helping you with all the letter ‘d’s and then…” the imposter said.

“Hey how do you know all that stuff?” Ben2Times yelled as he shoved it away from the hole. He put his mouth up to the empty space.

“Listen, Smithann. It’s me. I know. I know how these things go in the movies when the person has to convince the other person and there this whole big deal but listen to…”

“I can’t listen to this,” Ben2Times said and shoved him out the way.

“Listen. Stephania. Hey Stephania back there! It’s me. Ben2Times. You know what’s up. What color are my te…”

The third one ran around to the other side and started banging his head against the bubble.

Ohhhh that’s a good one… shit…” Ben2Times thought, “that looks like something I would do… fuck” and he ran around to the other side to start doing the same thing. Only better.

“Dear god! What do we do?” Fitz said as he removed a few of his filthy rags to reveal a black topcoat and caveat underneath.

“Fitz!” Smithann said “Why are you so shiny?”

“It’s…it’s who I am, my dear,” he replied and he whipped off his throwaway rag pants to reveal crisp creased black tuxedo pants underneath, “It’s who I’ve always been.”

Smithann ogled him and thought of fancy parties and top hats with dances by a bubbling fountain at moonlight and long rustling dresses and witty jokes and blushes and demure eyes and long handholding events and kind of got lost a little bit in the daydream.

So did Stephania.

So did all the other Stephanias and Smithanns outside of the bubble and they all stood stock still for exactly four minutes staring off into the distance.

At about three minutes thirty-nine seconds Ben2Times and the others were able to start banging on the bubble and yelling at the main Smithann and Stephania to snap out of it while Fitz just brushed imaginary lint off of his pants. What was wrong with them?

Then the Smithanns and Stephanias snapped out of it but started to faux dance with partners, all of them moving through the rolling green hills and…. ewww creeeepy… dipping themselves with flirting eyelashes. But then the ball of yellowy fire flipped around into a flat white disc. The sky darkened.

A cow trundled down from the top of the white disc with the help very shaky stepladder. It waddled up to the outside of the bubble.

It stuck its cow mouth up to the speak hole as they stared at it in amazement.

“Hi there. I’m here to help you get stuff done. But I need more info to help.” It said and then sat back on its haunches. It was chewing something in its mouth in a bored or distracted way. Was it gum?

Ben2Times yelled down into the bubble and banged on the outside, “Fuck that cow! Stephania… help me…let me back in. DO NOT leave me out here…. please…” He felt real actual tears well up in his eyes and he couldn’t imagine being left in this place like this with all of these Ben2Times.

Smithann seemed to snap out of it. “Why…why is this cow here?” she asked Fitz and bent over to shake Stephania’s shoulders. Stephania’s eyes rolled back to the forefront of her head and she looked down at Fitz. She thumped him across the bubble.

After he trundled back from the other side of the bubble Fitz steamed and glared at her. “Just look at my suit,” he demanded as Stephania readied her hand to thump again but Smithann grabbed her.

“Stop it, Stephania. Just stop it. We don’t need this right now we have to figure out what this cow wants and how to find the right Ben2Times and get the hell outta here.” she said.

“Ok…ok… let’s see. Let me talk to the cow… I’m good at this kind of thing.” Stephania said.

She walked over to the hole and stuck her finger through it, pointing to the cow who was actually standing right in front of it so that was weird, why’d she do that?

“You. Cow. Listen to me… WHAT THE FUCK do you want here?” she said and leaned back with a look of accomplishment on her face, nodding at them with smug eyebrows.

Smithann shook her head. “That was ridicu…”

“I can learn to understand you much better if I can get familiar with the way you talk…” the cow interrupted, “I need your permission to help.” It said and then sat up from its haunches to get closer.

“Tell it we need to find the right Ben2Times!” Fitz yelled a safe distance from Stephania but not near enough to the hole.

“It needs our permission!” Smithann shot back over her shoulder to Fitz. She was starting to get a little annoyed with his high and mighty ways.

Well give it to him Smithann,” Fitz replied and squinted his eyes at the eyes of his love.

“Uh oh.”



“Who said that!?” Ben2Times yelled by the bubble but no one answered.

“Who said that!?” Ben2Times yelled.

“Shut up!” he yelled and the cow looked over at him and spat a crumpled Fitz out onto the green soft shards.

That Fitz was still covered in filthy rags and Ben2Times noticed that the Fitz in the bubble now had on a shiny suit. Was he an imposter too?

The bored cow continued, “I need your permission to help. I can help keep you on time and help you to remember what’s important, but I will need more info. Let me help you.”

“Just give it permission.” Stephania said to Smithann.

Smithann leaned back over into the speak hole and said loudly, “I give you permission cow.” She looked back over to them, “I’m not sure if it worked…”

“Hey there.” The cow continued, “Can I be of assistance? I can learn to understand you much better if I can get familiar with the way you talk. Ask me anything. Need something?” the cow said.

“Maybe it can’t hear us…” Stephania said.

“What’s up? What would you like me to do?” the cow asked, “Anything I can get started? Hello there. Oh hey!”

“Oh wait… did you see that?” Smithann yelled as the cow started to foam at the mouth and turn in small baby step circles, “And look at the little sparks shooting out of its ears….”

“What are cow’s ears called? Ears?” Stephania asked as Fitz walked back over to the controls. A dim spark lit up near one button but he couldn’t quite decipher what the word next to it said.

“Yes, Stephania, ears…” he muttered as he walked closer to the dials.

“Hey guys we need to get outta here… and fast,” Smithann said as she eyed the now fast spinning cow. Steam poured out of the top of its head and from a widening seam in its neck. A high squealed shriek overwhelmed them and they all instinctively covered their ears, but it didn’t help.

“Is it in our brains?!” Fitz screamed, “It must be inside our brains!” he yelled and bear crawled slowly through the squeal toward the unknown button.

“Quick, Smithann, grab both of Ben2Times and pull them in the bubble!” Stephania yelled as the pain filled her head. “We’ll take them both with us!”

Smithann removed the broken board from the hole and both Ben2Times leapt inside the bubble. She put the board back and secured it as best as possible.

Fitz fought through the sound and the pain and finally reached the button. Now he could see the words.

“Hit Me Hard!” he yelled as he stamped the palm of his hand down on the button.

“It says HIT ME!” he yelled back to Stephania, Fitz, Ben2Times, and Ben2Times. “I pressed it!” he yelled and the bubble started to vibrate uncontrollably and lift higher into the air.

Ben2Times fell down off the side of the vibrating bubble and landed in the green blades right next to the electrical smelling cow. He couldn’t believe his eyes as he looked up into the air. “They’re leaving me!” They’re actually leaving me…” he cried as the bubble picked up speed, whooshed from his eyesight and vanished into the horizon.

“Hey there.” the cow continued, “I can learn to understand you much better if I can get familiar with the way you talk. What’s on your mind?” the cow asked him.

Ben2Times put his head in his hands and wept softly.

The cow suddenly stopped spinning and looked over interestingly in his direction, “Hey man… don’t feel bad. It’s just life man, get used to it.” it said and chomped up another Fitz who happened to be walking by.  Then the cow stood up and walked slowly back toward the stepladder.

Ben2Times lifted up his head just in time to watch it climb up into the dark and starless night.

“Sucked out by the vacuum of space”

“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.


“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.”



Part 1 (sucking/blowing).

(Part 2)

Part 3