Still Chief | Dr Good Vibes

Francisco_de_Goya,_Saturno_devorando_a_su_hijo_(1819-1823)

Argoth tore out of the woods towards the carriage, the band ridin’ on his tail. Dust from the road clouded his vision, but his eyes was shite anyhow. His bones creaked, cataracts clouded his eyes, and each breath came ragged, but he still cracked skulls with the best of ‘em. If he weren’t tough as leather, his men would have eaten him alive. Only the strongest deserved the title Chief, and Argoth’d hold the chiefdom till he couldn’t rise from bed no more.

The carriage sped up as the band flanked them and Argoth surged, Rodent buckin’ and gallopin’ good. They were after a trunk full of gold inside the cabin. Enough loot to feed and water the band for a month.

“Let’s go boys,” Argoth said. He held his hand steady on his pistol, hanging off his hip, and clicked his heels on Rodent’s sides. The horse sped up and the band held even with him, grinnin’ like goblins. They swarmed the carriage and fired muskets upwise to startle the team horses.

Argoth aimed his musket and fired, hittin’ one of the carriage horses in the leg. The animal fell, tangled up in the reins, and the carriage bounced over the felled beast before slamming onto a side, all cracked and broken down the corners.

Freein’ himself from the saddle, Argoth leapt off Rodent and fell to one knee. His legs weren’t as sturdy as they once was. Damned hips flared with pain, but he healed hisself by takin’ a swill from his flask – nothin’ like a hit of whiskey medicine to make a man young again.

The carriage was stuck an inch deep in the mud, and the horses squealed, workin’ them legs tryin’ to get free. A knight in gleamin’ armour climbed out the shambled door, waving a sword and a sawed-off. Argoth struck the man’s gun out his hand with a musket ball, he could still hit a target like a bastard, even with fingers like gnarled twigs. Didn’t do no bother to fight with his hands cause his back all cricked, but he’d kill the dog-fucked bastard with his musket. He were chief, after all.

The knight lunged at Argoth, swinging a broadsword. Argoth stumbled back, almost felled as his boots slipped. The band’s horses circled the carriage.

“Give up yur sword, and we’ll take ya alive,” Argoth said.

The knight spoke no word in response, advancin’ stolid as a fuckin’ rollin’ stone. Argoth brought up his pistol and fired, but the heavy ball deflected off the knight’s armour, which dented but didn’t break. “Only a coward wears armour,” Argoth said.

The knight leapt forward, blade hungerin’ for Argoth’s belly, when the metal shaft of a war hammer blocked the blow. Dallyion, Argoth’s son, stood before him, like a hero savin’ a mewlin’ child from wolves. Argoth’s upper lip curled, and a fire kindled in his belly. His son were six inches taller than he and wore no armour save for the leather straps clingin’ to his bulgin’ chest. The child of a concubine whore.

Dallyion blocked an overhand swing from the sword with the haft of his hammer, then shoved, and the knight fell in the mud on his rear. The boy’s hammer rose like a falcon and fell like a stone. The enormous head flattened the knight’s helmet and blood burst from between ruined folds of metal.

The band cheered, but Argoth stayed silent. The men loved Dallyion; the lad was as big as a bull and twice as head-strong. He fought like a lion and spoke like a starling. He’d make a fine chief one day, but that day had no yet arrived, and the fool boy acted outside his place. Argoth never did need no help, he could’ve finished the knight on his own, but the boy made him a damned coward to the band.

Argoth raised his pistol and pulled the trigger. The boy fell with a thump, and lay still, head a mess of blood and shattered bone. The cheers died on the men’s throats.

“I’m chief,” Argoth screamed.

“You right killed our future,” spat Yangle. “Chief.”

The other men muttered and turned their horses.

“I’m still chief,” Argoth called. A spider writhed his belly, eight legs squeezin’ his innards and twistin’ ‘em up.

None of the band did meet his eye as they rode away down the dirt road, leavin’ him behind with two corpses and a trunk full of treasure.

Image Credit: Saturn Devouring his Son – Francisco Goya

Fluent in Love | aliquae

I

 

It goes like this: they crash, fight and land in a prison cell. At the very least, Milo isn’t the one who started to fight. Keith was the one who squared his face.

Milo couldn’t remember why the fight started since they both crashed into each other, but he’d probably said something stupid. His mother always told him that he needed to watch his mouth and he never learned.

Case in point: he told the police to go fuck themselves. Keith laughed. Apparently, insulting a police officer is illegal. In the cell, they get to apologize, sing songs together and talk about purple cake. Milo really loves purple cake.

In the end, they get bailed out by Milo’s aunt. And after everything, they somehow decided to stay friends.

 

am

 

As it turns out, they settle on their joint hobby: superheroes. Every Saturday they choose a comic to read. Keith likes Deadpool and Iron Man. Milo likes the Black Widow better.

Keith insists that being like Deadpool is the best because he literally can’t die, but Milo points out that you’ll most likely have depression and you can’t even kill yourself. The discussion takes a dark turn after that.

They end up discussing serial killers with purple cake and cookies stuffed with chocolate. It’s kinda like a book club, Milo thinks. He won’t invite anyone else.

 

not

 

Milo stress baker. He bakes a cheesecake when he gets an F for a blog he wrote, he makes a brownie when he and his girlfriend break up. It was a mutual break up, though he would sell a limb before he becomes friends with her ever again.

Milo bakes chocolate cookies when Keith comes home with a blue eye one day. He bakes a strawberry shortcake when he fails an important test and he makes a purple cake when Keith comes home crying because his dad kicked him out.

Keith’s home is here, Milo thinks. And he holds him until his tears are dried and he falls asleep in his arms.

 

fluent

 

Milo looks at Keith a lot, lately.

He notices the brown curls who fall just a bit on his forehead and he counts every freckle on his cheeks. When Keith looks his way, it feels like he watches the sun right in the eyes and he has to look away because his cheeks burn red.

When Keith speaks, he has a little lisp. Milo thinks it’s cute, but he doesn’t pay attention to what he’s saying. Instead, he wonders what his lips feel like.

He feels how his cheeks turn red again.

 

in

 

They’re going to a restaurant and Keith is dressed in a suit. Milo has to remember himself that no, this isn’t a date and they’re not together because he really, really wants to kiss him. Preferably on the lips and maybe something elsewhere, too.

The meal was cheap, the waiters were horrible and the place smelled. It was the best not-date Milo ever had.

They argue about the price and Keith wins. He pays everything and Milo wonders if they might be actually dating.

 

love

 

It’s New Year and the clock strikes at midnight. They kiss until the moon dies and the sun starts living. Milo thinks they might be dating now.

Villainous Von Vile | Tru

Villainous Von Vile polished his Death Ray ™ to perfection. With a spit rub, his glorious bloodshot eyes reflected within the aluminium. He stepped back and marvelled at his gathered contraptions. The Spikes of Neverending Torment shone silver. The bloodstains washed out rather well, though Villainous Von Vile’s Persian cat Scruffles came off worse the wear. The Laser Maze of Peril buzzed with a pleasing hum, and thanks to Villainous Von Vile’s inbuilt electronic home system, he could change the colour at whim or activate disco mode. The Sharks of Reputable Appetite circled in their pool. Such cute beasts awaited their lunch. And the Corridor of Possibly Hidden Blowtorches now smelled of a lovely lavender, and not the horrible charred pork of Maxwell the Janitor.

All of Villainous Von Vile’s toys glowed with a soothing red through the extra thick glass windows. Beyond lay a waterfall of fire. A firefall, descending from an active volcano. Villainous Von Vile had visited many locations for his secret lair, and though a tad cliched, volcanic doom traps were trending this season. Villainous Von Vile quite liked the colour, and the exoticness of it all, plus it came under budget. His evenings were spent sipping cocktails by the Laser Maze of Peril and listening to his favourite pop albums by Kylie Minogue.

Villainous Von Vile found his home pleasing. But it served one purpose; to lure his great nemesis, Captain Hero McGood.

Villainous Von Vile was an old-fashioned sort, but he accepted that heroes and villains needed to adapt into the modern world. So he followed Captain Hero McGood on Twitter, stalked his Facebook, liked his Instagram, and tailored all of his tortuous traps to Captain Hero McGood’s liking. It was one reason Villainous Von Vile swiped right on him whilst browsing Tinder; they both had a taste for tradition and red wine.

Tonight would be the night. Villainous Von Vile dressed in his long velvet cape and made a vaguely threatening broadcast to the entire world. He giggled and skipped to his control room where cameras were placed in every location around his base. They would alert him to Captain Hero McGood’s arrival and then record his attempts to break through Villainous Von Vile’s Dungeon of Considerable Danger. Villainous Von Vile poured himself a glass of wine and settled comfortably beside his Self Destruct button. Captain Hero McGood would burst through his defenses any moment now.

Any moment now.

Villainous Von Vile poured a second glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. And a third. He emptied the entire bottle and checked his watch. Five Hours! Yet his blast-proof doors remained un-blasted. Was his vague threat of doom too vague? He flipped open his phone and checked Captain Hero McGood’s Twitter feed:

 

@CapnHeroMcGood

just checked in at DoomFist Dan’s swanky moon base lol this guy has monkeys with lasers on the goddamn moon lmao what a party already smashed his Hyper Ray of Fear, cant beat the gooood guys bro #goodguyshit #moonbase #moonbaserocks #lasermonkey #amsavingtheday

 

Villainous Von Vile stared at his phone. After all they’d been through together? Captain Hero McGood chose that idiot? Moon bases were highly impractical! Not to mention ridiculously expensive.

Villainous Von Vile switched off his Death Ray ™, downed another bottle of wine, and watched the eleven o’clock news of Captain Hero McGood defeating DoomFist Dan. And this is why Villainous Von Vile cried at night.

Crocodile Tears | Articous

The eldest among them swayed on aching legs, swollen and cracked as the trees among them. They stopped under the light of the full white moon, pale as death yet bright enough to light the sandy trail. The three youngest, all born within a week of each other, needed a break, and Bohlale could use the rest herself. She had led the family group for decades now, her daughters and granddaughters piling around her like a blanket, touching and sighing, with the youngest begging for a story.

        Her old eyes swept the east, the river black as a snake with silver dancing in ripples among its current, and eyes of creatures as fierce as herself glowing tauntingly back and sinking low, daring her to come closer and inspect. The river was full of deathly gems of red, white, and yellow which bobbed in the current and occasionally sunk down to reappear again elsewhere.

        The youngsters followed her vision and shrieked, “The villain!”

        Bohlale dipped her head in appreciation to their eager respect of the water beside them. She swayed her head to and fro, her body in a trancelike dance to alleviate the grinding of bones from drained joints, and began her tale in a rumble so deep that even the creatures that inhabited the dirt could take heed of her story.

        “The river is the heart of our home.”

        “It is!” Her family responded.

        “There is little bad in our world. The sun shines as it should. The rain comes when needed. The moon comes and goes as it pleases. The creatures share the world, and there is death, and there is life and everyone pays that price.”

        “All must share the heart of the world.”

        “All must share the heart of the world. Open your ears to the ones we share home with. The bugs below, the birds above, the wind in the trees, the proud roars of the lion,” Bohlale swept her gaze to the youngest, who was still struggling to learn the ancestral stories.

        “The…rush of the river. But who dares stay quiet?”

        “Who dares?”

        “The villain!” The young trio sang.

        “We respect the hunters who stay on the ground. We share their earth and their grass and their blood. And what is our blood?”

        “The river!”

        Bohlale stomps the ground. “Those who swim in the heart should eat in the heart. Those who walk its body eat on the body. The villain is cunning and what does he do?”

        “He hides in the heart, which is the greatest of deceits. All creatures must share and drink the heart.”

        The entire group was invested now, rhythmically stomping their feet. Bohlale led them on, with voices rising together and trunks all pointing as one toward the river, silencing all others with their trumpeting tale.

        “The villain breaks the rules of the world. He is lazy,  evil and knows of his sins as he takes the walkers and drowns them below in the heart they must drink to live. The villain lies in wait for those at their most weary and embraces them in death, though he could easily feed on the heart.”

        The group all turned to the river, yelling their shame of the villain for all to hear, with a few others joining in. Monkeys, woken from their slumber, screeched along madly pointing to the river with an accusation, a passing zebra and her young who had stayed behind her herd to give birth offered their disdainful bray as well to condemn the false trees of the river.

        Bohlale’s trunk alone was scarred with the memory of lurking villains. As matriarch, her job was to share as much wisdom of the world as she could with her offspring before adding her own bones to the ancestral graveyard. She had done well so far and remembered every story her great-grandmother, grandmother and mother had ever told her. Several of her own had been added to this record, but the Villain was by far the youngest favorite, with the ability to feel the damage of forgetting this lesson carved upon their grandmother.

        “The villain of the river knows his sin and the truce he broke with the world. He mourns the drowned even as he paints the water red with blood. The crocodile’s tears fall day and night even in slumber, and that’s why the villain cries at night!”

Sunlight | Articous

Jeera drowsily lifted her head to an empty room. Her eyes widened in panic as she realized she had dozed off. “Moon’na!” Her swollen feet slapped against the floor as she staggered across the room. “Moon’na, Moon’na!” Painfully, she managed to open the door without popping the blue blisters on her hands, and her cry cut across the yard.

Moon’na was in the center of the yard, basking in the bright sun and passing rain shower. Beautiful golden hair was tangled in the grass beneath him, with buds and flowers twining through the long strands, and turning green at the tips where his hair mingled with the fresh sprouts. His face was a happy smile, eyes scrunched closed, with his hands reached towards the sun, fingernails extending in shoots of new green branches already three inches.

Jeera scrambled across the yard, and threw herself in front of the child, shielding him with her body from the sunlight which nourished him as it burnt her. “Moon’na, Moon’na, can you hear me? Let’s hurry now, inside, inside,” Her voice was urgent enough, but he wouldn’t budge. The sun bore down on her, each droplet of water, practically mist, both stung and soothed her. She attempted to grab his arms and force them down, but her blisters prevented her from grabbing him too forcefully. Dropping down and trying to hoist him up, her eyes grew with horror. His feet had rooted into the ground. Not deeply, fibrous, but they had already become entangled with the roots of the living grass.

Cursing, she bent down, tearing at them with her fleshy hands, praying for help, and fearing Moon’Na’s unconsciousness as much as her scorched skin. He collapsed and began to weep as she freed both feet from the soil. The soles of his bare feet softened with roots as delicate as a baby’s hair.

“Moon’Na, I’m here, inside, we must get inside fast, I’ll kiss you inside, inside, inside,” Jeera managed to get the sobbing child up and inside, before collapsing to the floor herself.

“My moon, please go and get the cream quickly from my bedside. You can have some, but quickly, and then I promise to hold and kiss you, go fast, I’m so sorry.”

Moon’Na returned in hysterics, clutching the cream and applying it wastefully to Jeera, before stifling his wails to hiccupping cries.

Jeera clambered into her softened chair, wincing at the several new blisters that had settled across her pale skin. “Go and get the scissors, sweet moon, and I will help clean you up and tell a story.”

Settled on her lap and mostly comforted, Jeera retold for the first time in many moons, how Moon’Na had come into her life, while methodically clipping away the shoots of branches from his nails and sanding away from roots from his feet.

“An unlucky girl was born in a dark place with scales on her face. Her mama and papa had a heart, but were poor and afraid, because they lived in the dark. In this bad place, scaled children were sacrificed. To save her, they sold her to a traveling merchant who lived above ground. She grew up with the man, who treated her kindly and taught her tricks to keep them well cared for. He had medicine which was able to treat her scales and gave her a hat to keep away the sun because her skin was white as snow and her pink eyes scared others.

The man and the girl sold many things, but the girl’s favorite was mushrooms. They grew in the deep dark caves in places the man couldn’t reach. He bought her sweets with the extra money they made from the glowing mushrooms only she could reach. Some were good, and some were bad, but the man let her collect the bad ones and store them away in her room, assuring her that no one can eat them, but she could grow them and enjoy their rainbow glow.

The man died, and the girl starved, and she ate the bad mushrooms. She became cursed and saw invisible things she’d never seen before.” Jeera stopped. “She may have died. But she prayed for a friend. And a little boy appeared before her, with silly roots for toes and flowers in his hair who never grew old.”

Satisfied with the story, Moon’Na apologized for sneaking outside, though his sunny smile promised he would collect the sun’s light again.

Maraquias the Formidable | softly_raining

“Has another mindless cretin sullied the stone upon which my citadel rests?”

Locidious had finally reached the main chamber of the legendary dragon. He appeared to be just as the stories described him: as massive as any castle across the continent of Oracia, with charcoal scales that shone like amethyst when the light reflected off them. His open mouth seemed like it could swallow an entire village, ground and all, in one swift bite. Locidious stood his ground and addressed the mammoth creature. “Are you truly the legendary dragon Maraquias?”

The dragon’s mouth curled in delight. “You know of me, yet thought it wise to encroach upon the mountain I claim as my own? Man has continued his devolution toward the imbecilic. You know my name and call me legendary, thus you know the fate of those who trespass–”

An arrow glided from the bow of Locidious, piercing the flesh of the dragon’s torso. Maraquias narrowed his eyes while clenching his jaw. His mountainous frame shook ever so slightly. Just then, a voice rang out from behind. “Shake it off, buddy. He only just got here.”

Maraquias frantically turned towards a small alcove, where a skeleton was perched upon a decrepit throne. “He shot me with an arrow! In the middle of our exchange!”

“I know, I know.”

“He has absolutely no respect for the art of discourse!”

“You can’t let him get to you so soon. C’mon, try addressing him again.”

“Oh…okay, I’ll give it another go.” The dragon let out a long exhale from his nostrils, rolled his shoulders back, and returned his attention to Locidious. “Such a pathetic mortal you must be, trying to gain the upper hand in anyway you can. I see even the wisest of your kind failed to properly prepare you for an engagement with–”

A bang echoed against the chamber walls as a bomb erupted beneath the dragon’s left foot. Enraged, Maraquias rose from the ground, flying over to the skeleton’s alcove.

“He set up a bomb!”

“Yes, I noticed.”

“He’s messing everything up! You know how hard I’ve been practicing!”

“You even started rehearsing lines after piano practice.”

“I know! That’s when I’m sleepiest, but I still wanted to give anyone who came here a foreboding address.”

“You really wanted to capture the image people have of you.”

“I worked for hundreds of years to make that image just right.”

“Marky, I know how you feel. I really do. But you have to learn how to remain composed. This always happens when people try to catch you off guard. What did we say about whining?”

“Those who whine are creatures worth stepping on.”

“Do you want to be worth stepping on?”

The dragon sniffled a little. “No…”

“I didn’t think so. Now, since this rude young man seems keyed up to meet the fate of so many who have waltzed on in here, why don’t you go straight for the jugular? What d’ya say?”

“I don’t know. I really wanted to try something different. Be a more sophisticated legendary dragon.”

“I know you did, buddy. I know you did. And you can still be sophisticated. Don’t let this jerk bring you down, okay?”

“Okay…”

“Should I bust out the foam finger? Would that cheer you up a little more as you slowly burn a hole through his stomach, letting the acid flow into the crevices of the floor?”

“Oh, no, I just cleaned those. They were such a pain. I’d rather kill him some other way.”

“Whatever makes you feel fulfilled, Marky.” The skeleton raised his right arm, a foam finger snuggly encasing his hand. “Have at him, buddy.”

The dragon’s smile shone as bright as his scales, and he flew back to where the good-for-nothing human stood waiting.

The Dream Team | Dr Good Vibes

Amanda sat with her boots up on her desk, drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes, and shooting the shit with Beebox. The door burst open. Commander Leonard’s face was all veiny and red, bordering on purple. Amanda wondered if he did his tie up too tight this morning.

“God dammit,” he snapped. He threw down a newspaper on her desk. Beebox rolled over to the desk on his treads and picked up the paper with an extendable pincer.

“WE OCCUPY THE FRONT PAGE,” Beebox said.

“You’re god damn right,” Commander Leonard snapped. “The whole city’s up in arms over your little Chinatown adventure. It’s gonna cost ten million to clean up all of that sauce.”

SOUNDS LIKE A STICKY SITUATION

“Oh shit son,” Amanda said. She bumped her fist to Beebox’s upper hydraulic.

“It’s not funny!” Leonard shouted. “Civilians had third degree burns for fucks sakes. The mayor’s breathing down my neck and you’re here smoking cigarettes like it’s still the nineties.” He leaned forward, grabbed Amanda’s cigarette out of her mouth, and threw it in her coffee where the ember sizzled.

“Beebox, hook me up a smoke bud,” Amanda said. She held out her hand and her robot partner whirred over to her, lights flashing on the top of it’s chasis like multi-coloured eyes, before shooting a cigarette out of a tube-dispenser.

“You’ve been incorrigible since you partnered up with that hunk of junk!” Leonard shouted. “When are you going to start taking things seriously?”  

WHEN WILL YOU COMMENCE APPLYING DEODORANT IN THE AFTERNOON?

“Ohhh you just got toasted Leo!” Amanda chuckled. “Give me a light?” A hatch on Beebox’s body flipped open and a lighter shot out like a baseball from a batting machine. She caught the lighter in one hand.

“I have half a mind to take your badge. You think you’re untouchable?”

“C’mon Leo, we’ve got the best arrest records in the precinct,” Amanda said. She blew a thick plume of smoke up towards the ceiling.

YES, COMMANDER, WAKE UP AND SMELL THE MOTOR OIL

“That’s it! I’m breaking up the dream team,” Commander Leonard said. “C’mon Beebox, you’re back on mailroom duty.”

b-beep boop woooooaaaammm

Beebox rolled towards the office door with all the reluctance of molasses leaving a jar.

“Fuck no,” Amanda said. She shot up and her chair crashed down to the floor. “Don’t go Beebox.”

NEVER MODIFY YOUR PROGRAMMING, A-DAWG

“Wait!” Amanda shouted.

Commander Leonard paused at the door and turned around.

“Dammit Leo, I’m sorry about Chinatown. It was accident, all right? Shit, I didn’t see the propane tank behind those industrial buckets of sweet and sour. We got the guy, didn’t we?”

“Too bad,” Leo snapped. “This charade is over.”

Beebox chirped up with a series of blips and whooshing sounds.

AMANDA – WE WILL STILL BE COMPATIBLE FROM THE MAILROOM – DO NOT ALTER YOUR ROUTINES – YOU ARE AN UNFIXED VARIABLE – IT MAKES YOUR PROGRAMMING UNIQUE

“C’mon Beebox,” Amanda said. She got down on one knee in front of the robot and cleared it’s vents of dust. “You’re gonna make me cry man.”

Beebox made a stuttering, zipping sound and hot oil flushed from it’s exhausts.

THIS MY NORMAL OIL FLUSHING ROUTINE

“The mailroom better treat you right,” Amanda said.

THEY – STAMP – ON MY SENSE OF HUMOUR

“This is cruel Leo, stop it, look what you’re doing to him!”

Leo looked at Beebox as oil flooded the floor beneath the machine. All the lights on it’s display had turned blue.

“Too bad, I made my decision, this tin can’s going to be sorting mail for a long time.”

“Fine, then I’m going with,” Amanda said.

Leo gave her an evil eye. “You think you’re up to sorting mail?”

Beebox turned and looked at Amanda; all of his lights flashed from blue to pink in a colourful wave.

“As long as I’ve got my homeslice Boxy with me, I’m up to anything,” Amanda said.

Leo shook his head as his best detective followed the robot down to the mailroom. There was no way she’d last down there.

###

Amanda sat with her boots up on a pile of letters shooting the shit with Beebox, drinking coffee, and smoking cigarettes.

“Are you guys ever going to do any work?” Randy asked. Randy was the reedy mailroom manager.

IMPROBABLE. ARE YOU EVER GOING TO WORK THINGS OUT WITH YOUR WIFE?

“Oh fuck!” Amanda said. She fist-bumped Beebox. “Somebody better get this man some aloe-vera – he burnt!”