Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What would you do if you knew you were going to die?

This is the first line in my newest release, FIVE.

I started writing it on September 2012 while under the effects of a severe depression bout. After penning down 'HAUNT' (published in the From Beyond the Grave anthology), I was in a dreary and pessimistic mood: my life was going on a bad spell and the only thing which kept me going was my writing. My long-lasting relationship was falling apart, and my social life in Thailand was rather ... nonexistent.
'Haunt' sent me to the other side; feeling already dead, it was natural for me to sympathize for a ghost.

Yet, 'FIVE' brought me back.
It started as a negative view of existence itself, but the more I wrote about this guy (Arthur J. Jones) and his weird encounter with a strange creature offering him the answers to five of his questions, the more I cheered up. Because reality is a personal viewpoint, there are no strict rules at this.
By the time I was writing the third chapter, I met an extraordinary person who spent a lot of time talking to me and discovering we had a lot in common. This chance meeting turned into a major spin to my life, and soon, my almost doomed character found a different approach at how to face existential troubles.

So, what is 'FIVE' about?
It’s a funny horror tale that I can’t describe or categorize. A cross between Stephen King’s ‘Needful Things’ and a dark version of Aladdin’s tale. It’s full of literary and pop references, some based on actual folklore and other of my own creation. The problem with FIVE is that I can’t reveal much about it without spoiling the story. You have to just read chapter one, if Mister Arthur J. Jones doesn’t drag you in the story, well this probably means FIVE isn’t right for you.

CHAPTER ONE

WHATCHAGONNADO?

What would you do if you knew you were going to die?
Oh, I’m not meaning in the traditional way; we are all bound to die now or then. I’m talking about knowing the exact hour and day of your departure, and how you’re going to buy the farm.
Would you spend your shortening time with your family? Taking care of things—and affections—you took for granted? Making love to your partner every darn day, instead of the usual Saturday night quickie; listening to the rants of your love-struck daughter, and making peace with your ungrateful sister that kicked you out of the family house so many years ago?
Would you spend it by dating as many as possible, one or more a night, or wrecking away your liver with so much alcohol you could fuel all cars in Detroit for a whole year?
Or would you retire to a monastic life, praying every day to repent your sins and for peace in the world? Amen.
Me?
I’m doing nothing special. I’m just wearing my best suit, after shaving myself clean, combing my hair in front of my three thousand dollar mirror, and looking at my tanned reflection.
For I KNOW I’m going to die today.
I have a date with Ms. Reaper at eight PM, down at the crossway between Okeechobee Drive and Lakeview Parkway, right in front of Meeks’ Fish & Tackle, when my black Porsche will be so attracted to a lonely willow that it will rush at it in a passionate hug, and this romantic moment will be underscored by a soundtrack of grinding metal, shattering glass, and my own scream.
I know, I know, a zillion questions are crowding your mind right now.
Why don’t I simply skip my appointment with the Grim Lady and go somewhere else, or just avoid driving the whole day? How do I know about my death? Why I do believe in such daft stuff? And most of all: how can I afford a Porsche?
Yep, I see that.
First let me introduce myself, then I’ll tell you everything—about my death, my forecast, and my fortunes.
The name’s Arthur, Arthur J. Jones. The J stands for Jonah.
And up to one year ago I was a hobo. Yes, you heard it well. I was a bum, a vagrant, a homeless bastard shunned by everyone here in Prosperity Glades, one of those people you look at like a discarded and crumpled can, or worse. Well, you’ve got the idea.
But now I’m a respected son of a bitch, with more green in my bank account than the whole Glades. I own an excessively large mansion at Johnston Hall Estates, have a personal jet in Fort Lauderdale, a very big yacht anchored at Biscayne Bay, and thirteen percent shares in a name company. Luckily, I have no family. No wife or kids.
No one.
So, no one will miss me when they’ll extract my mangled body—this time really looking like a bent soda can—from the car’s metal, coming out of it like a stillborn fetus in a parody of life and death.
Except…
Well, except Sandy.
Sandy the Dandy, to be more precise. Dandizette would be more fitting for she is a chick; and a pretty one, too. She is a bum, like I was, eking out a living in the dirty streets of West Bend. She makes her carton home in the parking lot, just to the Banshee’s Cry’s left. I still do not understand how she can sleep with all the mess coming out of that coyote ugly nightclub. But she likes the place and there’s no way of moving her out of it.
She was born Sandy A. Carver, the illicit daughter of a Texan motherfucker that placed a loaf inside her mom’s oven down in Miami, then ran back to his legitimate wife and kids in Amarillo. However, years later, he took plight of his hidden secret and came back when she was sixteen, when Darleen, Sandy’s mom, had died of cancer, and offered her his surname and a large sum to clean up his conscience. But it was too late. Sandy spat on his face right in front of the few mourners at the funeral home and kicked him straight in the jewels, sending him howling out in the green fields. People who saw the scene still recall it as the funniest thing they had ever seen at a burial.
I missed it. I was twenty-one and working like a mule for a packing company up in Vero Beach. That was before the first Bad Thing happened. Even long before the second Bad Thing happened. Or the Real Bad Thing.
The first Bad Thing happened on a bright day of June 1995 when my whole family disappeared in a big crash on the Turnpike. I had no relatives, and all of a sudden I found myself alone in the world. It was a tough thing to swallow, like gulping down a damn gator for sure. And I wasn’t so good at swallowing.
In less than a year I was out in the streets, depressed, boozy, and busted, by God. I had not an ounce of clean blood in my veins, or better, my system was so full of alcohol I could explode just by lighting a cig. What a wreck.
Well, to make a long and boring story short, I lived as a wino for more than sixteen years, drifting around from hamlet to town in a never-ending search for something I didn’t want or care for. I simply existed; more a vegetable, or a fungus, than a man. I had no balls to kill myself, and mostly had lost all the primary functions in my intoxicated brain, so that I lived in my own mental reservation, talking to imaginary people and shaking my fist at trees stealing my shadow.
Yet, everything changed on a rainy October night (yeah, I know this is a cliché, but it really happened on a rainy night, whatchagonnado, kiddo?) in Cortez street when I took refuge inside that damned abandoned house. I was feverish and on the verge of dying for sure had not that strange guy come out of nowhere to rescue me.
And you know what? It would have been better for me had I died that night.
For that was the second Bad Thing. Or the Real Bad Thing.
Do you believe in scary stories? No? Well, take a seat and help yourself with the rum bottle over there, for I’m going to tell you one of the weirdest you’ll ever hear, something to chill the blood in your veins.
Something to die for.

Edited by Natalie G. Owens, proofread by Lorraine Versini, and published by May-December Publications LLC:



No comments:

Post a Comment