Short stories, web-comics, star wars, bad poetry and, of course-zombies. The way the web-comic works is as follows. I take a suggested noun and an adjective noun combo and incorporate both into the story line. Leave a comment on the most recent post, and those words could be the next chapter. You know, if I like them.
(The words given me for this chapter were 'spasmodic delirium' and 'plastic'.)
I took my umbrella out of my large bag and flipped it around so that the heavy wooden hook on the end was forward and my hands gripped the fabric about six inches from the bottom. The smiley faces on black fabric seemed out of place till I spotted the one I had put a red bullet hole in. Right in the forehead. Now it just seemed ironic instead of out of place. I left the purse on the floor.
I tried to get my eyes to focus a little more and wondered if I should take off my coat, but I figured I didn't have time. I peered around the corner of the pizza counter, back to where the kitchen was and I saw a large plastic bottle and a few buckets filled with blackish liquid, and I think it was then I started to put together what had happened, though all of it didn't occur to me until later.
The black stuff in the bottle was used when creating zombies, and other little voodoo things. Yeah, zombies can be made with voodoo. We won't talk about the other things. The giant voodoo-Joe-doll propped up in the lobby behind me was most likely used to make my favorite pizzeria boss into a zombie. That pissed me off. Nobody could make a stuffed pizza like Joe, and Joe's was the only place I felt comfortable lately. But, back to putting together what had happened here last night.
They, whoever they were, had made the mistake of using plastic in a ritual that any two year old knows has to be done with a natural material-iron, glass, wood-any of those would have been fine. As it is, they used plastic. Stupid fucks. Now they are most likely lying in the back store room in some spasmodic delirium, while a zombie Joe is eating them rather than creating the pizza I ordered.
That thought also brought back a few more details from the previous evening. The guy wearing a shirt that looked like Bruce's shirt, yeah, that guy was actually Bruce. He had come to tell me about Joe's current dilemma, which didn't really sink into my alcohol soaked brain at the time and resulted in a bottle being thrown at Bruce's head and the glass becoming embedded in my feet, which really hurt and were not improving my mood.
One question I didn't know the answer to at the time though. Who had answered the damn phone when I ordered my pizza? Hence the umbrella being held at the ready.
Chapter Four: Umbrellas are Important. (A small aside. The words for this chapter are Umbrella and flaccid Balloon. Hardy-har-har, nice try.)
I stared at the amulet for a moment more, it’s dark shiny surface glinting up at me, teasing me with a foggy memory just out of reach. But, I really couldn’t let it bother me. Pizza. That’s all I really needed. A little pizza in me, and all those fuzzy bits from the night before would come into focus, and I could think about getting ready for work. Maybe.
I stuffed things back into my oversized bag, taking care to put all the useless bits back into place around the more useful ones, like the umbrella I always carry. The weather in Kansas is iffy on the best of days, and it has been awhile since the best of days. Umbrellas are important. After checking to see if I had any cash for the pizza, I slip the ebony amulet into a side pocket on the purse and head for the door.
At the door, I pause. The mirror by the exit to my apartment was telling me something. Not just telling, screaming, even though my head was screaming back. My hair was a mess. It might have vomit in it, but I still couldn’t smell anything…thankfully. My face looked like a bruised, flaccid balloon that someone had puffed up around the eyes and a quick glance at the floor showed that I was still wearing the blood soaked bandages on my feet rather than any sort of conventional footwear. They might be considered shoes. It shows how truly messed up I am that I was considering to consider them shoes. I thought better of it and put some rubber wellingtons over the thick gauze. The rest of the outfit, stained and smelling, would be easily covered by a coat, which I did.
A second glance at the mirror and a bit of a squint led me to believe that I looked at least passable for an Autumn resident of Lawrence, Kansas. Hey, we get all types here, and anyone wanting to judge can get a bottle to the back like the guy wearing Bruce’s shirt. Man, I wish I could remember who that was. That one was going to come back on me, I was sure.
I stumbled out the door of my second story down-town apartment and headed for Massachusetts Street, the main drag in this little burg. Joe's was on Mass and ninth, so it would be a quick jaunt of five blocks. Luckily, the sun wasn't shining, otherwise I never would have made it. The clouds were rolling in with thunder, matching my mood.
I walked into an empty, dark pizza parlor, which isn't all that unusual for eleven am on a Monday. Unless you live in a college town, which I did. At Joe's you could assume a twenty-four hour clientele, if he was so inclined. He wasn't, and the place would have just opened twenty minutes ago. It usually had a few hung over, twenty-somethings trying to make it over the hang-over hump, of which I would have been exhibit A. As it was, I was exhibit only.
I rang the service bell at the counter and waited, looking around. My fuzzy brain took in a few more details at this point, that I really should have noticed on arrival. I might have decided to forgo the pizza, but probably not. First, none of the lights were on. The only light coming in the place were the dim little basement windows around the top of the main dining area-Joe's is a basement level establishment. The second was the up-turned chairs and the knocked-over drink cooler. Trendy tea was all over the floor along with the pretty and decorative, now broken, bottles they come in. Third, was the large voodoo doll that was obviously a Joe look alike, complete with the silly blue chef hat he always wore, the equally silly almost beard he always wore, and the T-shirt that said 'Eat At Joe's' on the the front and 'It's Jo-riffic!' on the back.
Damn. Voodoo. I put my hand up to my red-rimmed eyes and sighed. Not again.
“Well,” I mumbled to myself as I opened my purse. “At least I brought my umbrella.”
Blessedly the phone rang, my shaky hand having dialed the number correctly. On the third ring, it was answered, and so I hoped would be my desire for pizza.
“Yes?” Not the cheerful pizzaria how can I help you query, but I soldiered on, not willing to admit defeat.
“Ummm…is this Joe’s Pizzaria?”
“What?…oh, wait, yeah, Joe’s. Sure. Yeah. What can I get ya?”
“That this is Joe’s.” I was beginning to suspect that someone’s hangover was worse than mine, and that couldn’t really be possible.
“What? Oh, ummm…no, just new. Do you want to order or not?”
“Definitely yes, yes please.” I perused the quick menu in the phone book that I found behind the toilet. Not a great place to wake up, but still, there was a phone book, right? “One medium pizza with the works, thin crust, and extra olives. Got that?”
“Can you read it back to me?”
“Read what?” The other person on the other end of this phone had better have my pizza. Other wise I might be getting more blood on that bathmat today.
“My order. Look, is Joe there? He knows me. Just put him on…”
“Look, Joe ain’t here, you can come pick up your pizza, and bring the money with you.”
“Pick up? No, I want it deliv…” and then the line went dead. Dammit. My life was in chaos, all I wanted was a fucking pizza, and now I had to pick it up.
I sighed, levered myself up on the bathroom wall next to that god-awful clock that Bruce’s mother gave me and hobbled out the door on my bandaged feet.
I picked up my purse and rummaged around for some cash. I couldn’t find any right away but among the various receipts, ATM notes, and cough drops out popped this darkly shining ‘thing’ onto my floor.
I picked it up and turned it over in my hands and it felt cold and hard, warm and soft all at the same time. Stupid hangover. I blink my blurry eyes a couple of times and focus on the unfamiliar object in my hand. An ebony amulet. What the hell did I DO last night?!?!
I woke up on the bathroom floor with the phone book clutched in my hands. Again. I blinked and tried to get the sand out of my eyes, and the hangover started so that I could then begin to get over said hangover.
I immediately regretted that decision and laid back down on the nice comfy bathmat, that happened to be stained with blood. Again. I prayed that the pounding in my brain would miraculously go away with no effort being put forth on my part. Stupid broken bottle. Stupid glass. Stupid party.
Thinking about the glass that had been imbedded in my size seven feet, I cautiously opened one eye. When the room stopped spinning I opened the other one, and after two misses, pulled myself up to a sitting position with the tub behind me and the precious phone book clutched to me like a life preserver.
I glanced at my feet and was pleased to see that I had apparently removed the glass and clumsily bandaged them. They hurt, but not the kind of hurt that meant there was still glass there. I have no memory of doing that, but I don’t remember a lot of things that I apparently did. At least this wouldn’t end up in litigation. I fuzzily recalled throwing a bottle at someone, or someone’s shirt, and then walking on the glass. Stupid tequila.
I cautiously looked down at the phone book and turned the pages, quietly, until I hit the pizza section. I scanned all the usual suspects and noted what times each one was open. Crap. I had no idea what time it was. Was it even day? With a sigh I forced my neck to work and craned my head to see the clock that I had put in the bathroom, thinking it might be easier to read than my watch.
Bruce’s Mom had given it to me last Christmas. It was an artsy affair, and probably had cost her a fortune, but for some reason was shaped like what can only be described as an ugly sea creature. It had the tentacles of a kraken, but then somehow segwayed into a mermaid, and it had tons of sparkles. It belonged in the room of a twelve year old girl who likes mermaids, but wants to be older than a girl who likes mermaids. I was neither, and never cared for mermaids or anything fanciful or girlish. I liked skulls and zombies, not unicorns. I felt a flash of sympathy for my mother who had stopped trying to give me things like that clock around my eighth birthday. I felt a flash of unreasonable dislike for Bruce’s mother, who really had never gotten to know me at all. Which was probably just as well.
As soon as I get this pizza, I thought as I dialed the numbers on the portable house phone which luckily still held a charge, I am going to throw out that damn clock
Chapter One: Broken Bottle and a Phonebook.
The glass on the ground was getting stuck in my shoes, but I couldn’t be bothered with it at the moment. I had broken the bottle earlier, in a small rage, I admit, but it did miss the man’s head, so why did everyone leave? All my parties end up that way. A broken bottle on my kitchen tile, winking mockingly at me in my crappy florescent lights and me looking for a phone book to order last minute pizza. I wish I knew how to program the speed dial on my phone. At least there was no blood to clean up this time, and no police had shown up in the last hour, so they probably wouldn’t. Probably.
I wandered around to the living room with green glass scrunching on the tiles as it became imbedded into the rubber soles of my shoes. The couch cushions were off again, and the bong was tipped over onto one of them. Dammit. No fixing that. I think I had already turned the cushions once because of stains, but I couldn’t be sure till I looked. I won’t be bothered till I find the phone book and order my damn pizza though. And maybe not even then. I hate Sunday nights.
Sunday night is the last moment before Monday. The last gasp of a dying weekend giving way to an already dead week filled with the zombies in the office, garnished with a life-sucking vampiric boss. I glance at my watch and wait for my eyes to focus on the tiny numbers and little black hands moving around the gold circle. Dammit. It’s already Monday. Where the hell is that phone book?
One of my standing lights fall over as I sway into it on my way through the living room. The bulb breaks and winks out with a small crash, adding to the problem of broken glass. Good thing I live alone. Or at least it’s a good thing in this instance.
I giggle a bit as I search fruitlessly for the phone book, and the pizza that is never going to arrive. I have been alone for three months, two weeks and three days. Correction. Three and a little bit of a fourth days. Bruce had walked out then, taking the cat, taking the PlayStation and possibly taking the phone book. I didn’t blame him. I’m a bitch. I know that, but I can’t change it. Trying just makes me bitchier, which makes me smoke more, which makes me drink more, which makes me throw bottles at strange men’s heads just because they were wearing a shirt like one that Bruce had.
I have to find that damn phone book. Why would he take the phone book?
At this point, I notice the trail of blood from my shoe and I feel a sense of closure. Ah, here was the blood. Now my night is complete. I head for the bathroom, leaning against the wall as I go. I pull my shoe off, toppling over in the process and ending up on the floor, which also adds to my sense of closure. Then I see it. The phone book, behind the toilet, splendid amongst the hairballs and beautiful with the add for pizza on the front. Right before I passed out from too much of everything except blood I thought, Who reads the phone book in the toilet? Oh, wait…dammit…that was me.
Soon I will start posting illustrations to go with the online story I have been writing about a girl and her search for pizza, zombies and some guy named Bruce. It won't be in the format of a traditional comic as I'm a little wordier than that, but it will start from the beginning and each chapter will have at least one illustration to accompany it in a variety of styles. Talk at you later, hopefully this weekend.