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- Piper Draconi
My afternoon fix
I pulled in through the back alley, parking my truck near the dumpster. I licked my lips in anticipation. What will I get this afternoon? I walked around the side of the small building structure, following the gold sticker arrows, pointing to the entrance. The air suddenly filled with the strong aromas of coffee, spices, and sweet chocolaty tobacco. Looking down at my watch, I could see I only had twenty minutes, to shop around and pick out something new. I enter the cigar shop, and was greeted by an attractive man in his 40's, salt and pepper haired slicked with pomade, combed neatly to the side. He smiled, his warm dark eyes somewhat taken aback; I would assume, by a self-assured middle aged female in his cigar shop. I returned the smile with a gleam in my eyes and a question on my lips "Are you the proprietor?" He paused for a moment; looked down at the ground concentration pressing his brow, before responding. “Yes, I'm, what can I get you today?" I'm looking for NUB". The proprietor chuckled and said "I should let you know, NUB doesn't work here". I laughed uproariously; as I do with most clever retorts delivered to me. "Is this cigar for you?" he asked. Confidently I responded "why yes, I've been an unapologetic cigar smoker since the age of 18". He subconsciously clasped his hands in glee. "Well welcome to my shop". The proprietor shared with me the many potential ways, my patronage to his shop could benefit me and my passion. I made my selection at his suggestion, shook his hand after introductions were made, and waved goodbye as I headed to the exit. I stepped out into the sunshine with a sealed tin canister containing my NUB; anticipating the evening Sunset, when I will light my treat and melt my cares away.
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Work In Progress
Work in Progress
It was perfect. The hour, the setting and even the community. All soon to be frozen in time on a piece of paper. It’s all part of a project of mine. Every day for the past 2 years I have been capturing fragments of time on paper. Every minute element of an event, creating a document of some portion of my life. A biography of sorts. But it’s not. It is a work in progress.
I’m Matt Coy. I was just an ordinary 12 year old, living in Hayward, Wisconsin trying to capture life. Looking back, it’s not that hard. It was a matter of being observant and noting the minorities that were apparent. Not with images but in words, to create a perfect blend of dialect and picture.
It was a mild morning in the May of 2011, 2 years into my project. I was standing on a beach at dawn noting some fish coasting through the water the sunlight illuminating their glistening scales in such a way that you could almost see them as individuals each with their own personality. All of them. I pulled out a scrap of crumpled paper from my pocket writing down the details as I saw them. Capturing the moment more so than to tell a story but rather to convey feelings to others.
Later that day I returned home. My room was just as I had left it. The leather cover worn with age, a pen resting atop it. I picked up the pen and wrote. This is what I did from time to time. Added to my journal continuously, filling its pages with word after word. I spent entire days doing this. Writing vigorously not stopping until my hands throbbed so much that I could no longer write.
The next day I returned to my usual habits, heading out early to look for more to write about while still living my usual life. Summer was ending soon so I had to take advantage of the weather while I could. I ventured further into the woods that were near my house than normal and noticed another person there.
“Hey!” I blurted out, not realizing how loud I shouted. He ignored me for a second but then I called for him a second time “
Hey!” I shouted again!
“You talkin’ to me?” he retorted.
“Well who else is here?” I reposted
“No one I guess, I never really talk to people,” “I just live out here admiring nature.”
“That’s something else!” I replied, “I wish I could do that.”
“Hey I haven't asked your name yet.” He said. “Jack, and you?”
That was the first time that I had met Jack who it turns out I would remain meeting with him even through the present day.
That night I returned home with a new addition to my journal. Resting there the same as always exactly as I had left it. I wrote with my usual vigor until long after the sun set.
Soon following Jack and I started going to the woods often and I began to meet new people, continuing to write about my experiences.
The rest of the summer went like that I went to visit with Jack in the woods ever so often and I continued to write. Then the summer ended and I began to document that and school and the meeting of new people.
The start of that school year went well meeting new people and learning new things. All was fine until I was pulled out of class early one day being notified of an accident...
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- Piper Draconi
The night visitor
I awoke at 3 a.m. from a deep sleep.
It was in my room again, last night; the heavy presence of someone standing next to me.
I live alone with my two dogs; both were fast asleep at the foot of my bed. The cold drizzle of fear ran down my spine. Psychology paralyzed from the extreme terror of the unknown, for what seemed like hours. This presence, is it here to strike me down? What will come next, Heaven; hell; or the eternal sleep? Are Angels real? Will God send me a winged soldier from of heaven to come down to swoop up my soul into the warm glow of white clouds and the song of trumpets? My breathing’s becoming labored; ice has formed around my heart, beads of sweat at the tip of my nose. I’m having a panic attack. Thoughts of aliens, pyramids, Anubis standing at a sand colored alter with a dagger for a sacrifice; I am no lamb. My hands clasp the bed sheet with a death grip, “I am not afraid of you” (a lie). Strength propelled from my gut, I jumped from my bed; sending my dogs into barking hysteria. I darted across the room to find my salvation; a ten dollar floor lamp from Walmart. The dark energy instantly dispersed. Where to? It does not matter, so long as it stays away.
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Cheating on life
Unable to lay on her back filled with purple and red bruises, she sat for hours on the floor next to the bed where she corrupted monogamy, holding cigarettes that burned unsmoked between her fingers like dards. Eyes were as blank as snake's, but behind them the last night was being played by the projector of her brain over and over again. The wooden house was crackling like log on fire, mourning the end of summer. It couldn't be coincidence that the weather and human relationships grew colder with winter's arrival. Her thoughts appeared, vanished and changed between them as fast as a roller coaster. Heart beats, breathing and blinking were the only movements of her body during this self-torturing ritual. The smoke and smell of cigarettes and incense filled the room as hours passed, conjuring ghosts of a long lost past, failing to appease her memory. The minimalist decoration of the room consisted of cocaine traces on notebook covers, weed and meth pipes scattered on the mattress. Foot steps were getting closer. The door handle took ages in her head to move. A shadowy shilhouette (which she didn't have the nerve to look at) entered the smoky space; the accomplice of her betrayal, ready for the next round. There were no words nor looks to be exchanged. Roaming the room, her eyes looked for her clothes. Target locked. She jumped inside her party dress and left, shoes on her hand, guilt on her shoulders. Weeks passed rapidly and blank, she was safe untill the dreadful absence of blood threw her in despair. Her sentence - a positive sign on the plastic stick - costed her fifteen dollars in the closest drugstore and the remaining peace of mind she had. Silence and secret became her best friends, through which she took strenght to get those cursed pills. She kissed her lover for the last time, with persistent whiskey breath, and far from everyone's eyes, she took the pills. Inside a bath tub, salty tears caressed her face sofly. The trip hop playing in the distance was getting louder. Her moans were echoing in the dirty bathroom and blood was flowing freely between her legs, filling the bath tub, covering her half alive body. 'Till that point life moved too slow but, as if it was a prank, her last moments faded as faster as water down the drain. She dreamed so long about dying. Her dead body was found smilling and the trigger was still inside her cold womb - a forbidden child.
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Through my window, I see mothers who are desperate about their children, driving cars to the swimming club before the airport or taking a stroll toward the beach. I sometimes see fathers as well, but fathers do not seem to care or, at least, they don't lose it so easily. They make me think how different women and men are in all senses, specially where kids are concerned. Georgia and me, we used to scorn families who were too soft and couldn't keep their little ones under control in places such as bank offices and particularly, in restaurants. It was not difficult to find us sitting at our table at night, a noisy brat running around pulling at chairs, skirts, pants; we would shoot a disdainful look at the beast and then scan the room for those guilty of having brought them to this world without the slightest notion of appropriateness. We did get angry, almost furious. The scene could very well ruin our meal. Georgia shook her head and sighed: "why cannot they be kept in their chairs?" or also "a kick in the butt is what they need". We thought all of them incapable. Not only those near us, but parents in general, people who had decided to have offspring. But then again, we also looked down on couples who sat together and never exchanged a single word. You know who I mean. He looks at his cell phone, probably checking the results of his latest baseball game while she glimpses around, a sad atmosphere hanging about her as if she were wondering wherever they went amiss.
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Uncomfortably sitting in the back seat of my uncle's car I glanced through the uncrystalised windows. The passerbys looked the same every ten meters or less, as if they were being repeated, in a maddening copy&paste waltz. The graffiti that covered the buildings by the avenue seemed to shine bright in the orange late afternoon sunlight, almost glitching, and for a second I could see blue CGI mass in the corners where the walls meet. Reality was mesmerizingly unreal. I took a pipe and a lighter from god knows where and smoked something with all the strenght in my lungs but there was no taste and the smoke flowing from the pipe didn't burned my eyes as it was supposed to. I quickly inhaled the biggest amount of air I could, the way someone who's been too long underwater would and I wasn't able to feel my ribs expanding, as if I didn't have any organs. I looked down and I couldn't see my legs nor my body, just my hands. Before I could panic different guns appeared and changed between them in my hands in the blink of an eye, which I couldn't name but, surprisingly, knew how to charge and fire. It kept changing 'till I was holding the classic, well known AK47 and it weighed lighter than a feather - it didn't weighed at all. The car stopped all of a sudden. I looked at the rearview mirror and my uncle wasn't himself anymore, just a random copy&paste clone who looked exactly like the one I saw moments before in the paralel street. I couldn't feel the leather seat against my back anymore and I felt nothing when my hands touched the apparently gelid door hanlde. I left the car, stepped outside and standed there for a moment. There was no air, no atmosphere, no heat and every sound was a sample. I crossed the street and walked to a group of three hookers wearing the same clothes, bodies and face, walking senseless to nowhere. A tiny target appeared over the head of the hooker in the middle, and it slided down her body, stopping over her chest. Ratatata. I shot. "People" mechanically ran away in despair. Around the prostitute's cadaver was small amounts of money, floating in a green bubble of light and I was forced to walk over it. Ka-ching. Bloody steps followed me and vanished rapidly after being printed to the ground. The cursed target appeared one more time. I shot again and for the first time I felt something in this new world, and it was blood. Its texture, its warmth, the smell of iron, the feeling of it drying and coagulating over my non existant skin, life leaving the copy&paste cadavers I kept shooting after they were already down. It was then I lost control of my body, when I recognized it no longer existed. The last trace of myself is my mind, trapped in here, floating in a city made of pixels and crime, witnessing disasters from the point of view of a killer, of a thief, of a drug dealer. A concrete jungle where I'm the predator, the hero, the protagonist. I am children's favorite entertainment.
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- Wes Kirk