30DoSS 3

The El Camino was jacked so low that Felipe was surprised not to see sparks following along it.  The paint job was a sweet metallic purple up front that faded to a dark jade flecked with something that shimmered like mother of pearl in the back.  The only thing Felipe thought was missing from it was some kind of art on the hood.  Maybe a sweet ass mamacita with a huge rack.  Maybe the Blessed Mother.  Either would be pretty dope.  He could hear the bass cranking out from the ride.  It was something fast and heavy.

The car stopped in front of the house and Felipe pushed off the chain link fence he had been leaning against.  He crushed out a cigarette on the bottom of his boot and slid it into the pocket of his oversized and baggy jeans.  He walked over to the curb and stopped to wait.

The hydraulics hissed as the car rose.  The driver side door opened and Felipe watched as Lalo got out and walked around the front of the car over to him.  Lalo was shorter than he remembered, but  12 years was a long time.  He definitely spent time working the irons though, probably to make up for his height.  Lalo’s white muscle shirt showed off arms painted with tattoos.  He had a tightly trimmed black beard that met up with a thick goatee.  A wide white bandana covered from his eyebrows up to the top of his head and his black hair was slicked back behind it.

Lalo nodded his head once at Felipe and they slapped hands when he got close.

“What’s up ese’?  Long time, eh?”

“Yeah man, long time.”

They stood there silent for a few seconds.

“Nice house you got here Flip.”

“It’s mi abuelita’s.  Come on in.”  He opened the gate and Lalo walked through first.  He stopped at the foot of the stairs and looked into the house.

“I’ve got some Coor’s in the fridge,” he pushed past him and walked up the stairs and opened the front door for Lalo.

“Nah, I’m good, thanks.  Why’d you call me man?”

“We were tight back in the day, yo?  Not even a letter?  That’s cold.”

Lalo didn’t say a word, just stared at him.

“Yeah.  Anyway.  I heard about you.  I need your help.  You have to believe me but I didn’t spray those kids.  I mean, I did bad shit, and I deserved Chino but I didn’t never shoot no one like that.  I’ve changed and it kills me that she thought I did that.”  Felipe’s eyes were wet and a real tear trailed down between the black tattooed ones.  “Can you help me?”

“I don’t do that shit anymore.  Not since Victorville, five, six years back.  Sorry man, I can’t help you.”

“Don’t do me like this!”

“She left you this house, man.  She was cool with you.  Let it go, eh?”

“You owe me.  I saved your ass.  I did time at juvie for you.  Tell me you didn’t forget when you said you’d make it right.  This will make us square, Lalo.”

Lalo turned and looked around the small house.  The walls were papered with pictures in a variety of frames.  He looked in close and noticed that in many of them a face was cut out.  He looked at one of a Boy’s Club baseball team and smiled when he saw himself at 9 years old.  Felipe’s arm was around his shoulder but if Lalo didn’t remember that he wouldn’t have known who it was.  Felipe’s face was the one that missing from all of the pictures.  Lalo looked over his shoulder at Felipe and took in a deep breath.

“Okay man, I’ll do it.  Swear on her soul that you didn’t do it.  Look me in the eye and tell me straight up that you weren’t tripping balls at the time and maybe just forgot.”

“I swear on my own mother’s soul” he made the sign of the cross “that I didn’t shoot those kids.”

Lalo sighed.  “Why didn’t you say something before?  Why take the fall?”

“I was fucked up, and I did some shit, I told my PD but she was a dipshit so I took the plea.”

“Alright I’ll do this, but then my debt’s clear.”

“Yeah.”

“Okay, park on the couch and no matter what happens Keep your mouth shut and don’t move.”

Felipe walked over to the couch and sat down.

Lalo walked around the room stopping to pick up a few different small nicknacks and examining them closely before putting them back.  Finally he picked up an old white rosary.

He began to whisper softly to himself and reached up and pulled his bandana off his forehead.  Felipe saw there was something sewed into the inside of the bandana but Lalo slipped it into his pocket quickly as he closed his eyes.

When Lalo opened his eyes the world had shifted to a washed out version of it.  Everything was whitewashed like an overexposed photograph.  He heard a soft weeping coming from the bedroom and walked toward the closed door.  He opened it and staggered back as if buffeted by a strong wind.  The weeping became a wail and his hands covered his ears but couldn’t block out the sound.  He forced himself to enter the room and in an instant the whitewashed world went the inverted blacks of a negative.

A tiny woman sat on the couch with her face buried in her hands.  Long white hair whipped around wildly caught up in the tempest of her despair.

“Abuelita.”  Lalo’s voice was a whisper but he knew she would hear it.  She looked over at him.

“Eduardito?  Is it really you?”  Her voice shook.  “What did I do wrong?  How did he go so bad?”  She shrieked again and flickered for a moment as she did so.  “Why would he kill those babies especially after his mama.”

“Why are you here, Abuelita?  It is long passed your time.”

“I tried Eduardo.  When she died, I tried to raise him right.  I took him to mass every Sunday.  I keep thinking of the things I could have done.  I keep trying to go back but I can’t.”  She flickered again, softer this time.

“He didn’t do it.”  She looked at him.  “And he’s changed.  I know him like a brother, abuelita, and I know his heart.  It breaks because he thinks you believe he shot those kids.  He didn’t.  If you don’t believe him, believe me.  Look at me.”

She looked up from her hands from the first time and he saw her change.  “You are beautiful, Lalo.  Are you an angel?”

He couldn’t stop himself from laughing.  “No, far from it.  Your Felipe, he has a good soul.  It is hard to see, God knows I forgot myself.  He saved my life when we were young, abuelita.  Did you know that?  I did some stupid things and when the cops came he said he’d get me.  I remember, he said ‘you’re too soft for juvie.  They’ll break you there.  They’ll make you like me.’  He saved me in ways I don’t even know.”

The woman got up off the bed and walked toward him.  The blackness began to crack like an old mirror.  She began to fade as she walked toward Lalo and when she go to him she was only slightly more than a shadow.  She grabbed him by the cheeks and gave him a kiss.  She spoke into his ear.  “You were always a good boy, Lalo.  Look in the bottom of my jewelry box.  There is something for him there.  Thank you.”  She was gone.

Lalo took in a deep breath and opened his eyes.  Felipe was sitting on the couch watching him intently.

Lalo walked into the kitchen.  He wasn’t in shape for this kind of thing anymore.  He hadn’t realized how weak he had become since Victorville, but decided it didn’t really matter because he was done now for sure.  He took the bandana out of his pocket and made sure that the symbols were aligned correctly before tying it back on his forehead.  He opened the small fridge and took out two cans of beer.  He walked back into the living room and tossed one Felipe, who caught it out of the air.  He started to say something but Lalo held up his hand.  He was still too tired to talk and wasn’t exactly sure what he would say.

Instead he walked into the bedroom and when he came out he had a small jewelry box.  He sat down on the couch next to Felipe and handed him the box.

“She said there is something in there for you.  On the bottom.”  Lalo opened the beer and drained it down.

Felipe opened the box and pulled out the jewelry and sat it on the coffee table.  There was a small folded photograph which he pulled out with shaking hands.  He opened it up and smiled at the picture of him and his abuelita on the beach and the tears flowed freely.  He showed the picture to Lalo.  “She took me to the beach after my mom died.   She said she had to remind me that even on the worst day, there is beauty in this world.  The ocean is God’s way of showing us of that.”

“She never lost hope in you.  She couldn’t cut this picture.”  They sat on the couch in silence.

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30DoSS1 – The Wolf

The Wolf walked down the center aisle of the mall.  His head was tipped slightly up so his bottom just jutted out.  He felt it gave him a slight lupine appearance and he couldn’t help but admire himself in the reflection of the shop windows.  He was lean and strong, his dark hair cut short and somewhat shaggy.  He was wearing his hunting clothes – a black Ed Hardy pull over hoodie with a stylized howling wolf.  The board bag on his back always looked to him like a riled mane.

“I am a predator,” he thought to himself,  “I am the hunting wolf.”

A group of young girls walked past him chattering as they did so.  One of the girls said something he couldn’t quite hear and the rest burst out laughing.  The Wolf’s face flushed red with humiliation.  He turned and watched them as the moved around to surround a hair extension kiosk.  There were too many of them.  The Wolf reminded himself of how wolves hunt.  He couldn’t separate one of them off without the others noticing.

“Besides, they don’t smell like prey.”

They all laughed again as one of the girls (the Alpha?) put a clip in hair and acted like someone they all apparently knew.  The Wolf was satisfied that they weren’t laughing at him anyway.

A hunger gnawed in his belly, momentarily distracting him.  He almost didn’t notice when the Prey passed.  He caught her scent and glanced at her.  It was sweet like cotton candy and fit her.

Her long blond hair was tied back in a pony tail that swished as she walked away from him.  She was smaller than the Wolf though the pink sleeveless down vest buffed her out a bit.  She looked to be in her mid 20s and she was alone.  The Wolf turned casually and began to stalk her from a distance.  She went into a trendy clothing store and the Wolf bought himself a pretzel and a small drink from the shop across the way.  He sat on the wooden bench facing the store and began to eat slowly, confident in his camouflage.  He tore small bits of the pretzel and made it last nearly the full half hour that the Prey was in the store.

When she finally emerged she had two large bags with her, one in each hand as she began to walk back the way they had come.  The Wolf smiled.  This was good.  He had worried that she would spend the remaining hour that the mall was open wandering around.  That would mean she left as the rest of the sheep did.  She glanced at her watch and increased her pace.  Even better.  She was obviously distracted which would make the hunt easier.

He followed about 20 feet behind her.  He would occasionally catch her scent again and every time it happened he would breathe deeply.  He exited the mall proper into the parking garage and glanced down the lane toward the Prey.  She was still walking down the row.  He smiled and pulled the board bag off his back and pulled out the skateboard.  He didn’t ride it very well, but it was useful.  He started down the garage making sure to stay in the middle of the car lane and well away from her side.  He had both of his hands in the tube front pocket of his hoodie.  His right hand found the hard plastic grip of the taser.

The Prey turned at the sound of the skateboard getting closer.  The Wolf nodded his head slightly at her and smiled as he leaned away from her causing the skateboard to move to the opposite side of the lane from her.  She smiled back and stepped a bit closer to the row of cars to allow him even more room to pass before turning her back to him and continuing toward her car.  The Wolf glanced over his shoulder at the entrance to the mall.  Still clear.  It was time to pounce.

He swerved toward her and pushed forward once with his leg.  She started to turn again but the taser was already out.  He fired it at the Prey and the two needles bit easily though the down vest and into her skin.  Her entire body locked up and she fell to the ground.  The Wolf stepped off the skateboard and flipped it onto its back. He took his left hand out his pocket holding the ether soaked rag.  He kept the current running as he put it over her mouth.  When he finally released the trigger lever she was unconscious.

He dragged her between the cars and felt in her pockets for the keys to her car.  He found them and picked up his skateboard and put it in one of the bags she had been carrying before taking both of them in his hand.  He glanced toward the entrance again and saw no one.  A car started up on one of the other floors though so he had to hurry.  He pressed the button on the keys to unlock the car.  He heard the beep and saw the lights flash on a red Volkswagon five cars away.  He left her there but took the bags with him as he ran to her car.  He opened the door and through the bags onto the floor of the front seat.

He froze for a moment and breathed deeply, relishing the sugar sweet odor of her scent as he slid into the driver’s seat.  It was a tight fit but he would just adjust the seat later.  He started up the engine and slid it into reverse.  He backed up next to where the Prey lay unconscious and reached across the passenger seat and unlocked the door and pushed it open.  He jumped out of the car and ran around to where she lay.

The door to the mall was opening and he could see someone struggling to get a cart through the door.  He tossed the Prey into the back seat and covered her quickly with the bags.  He checked the mirror and saw a middle aged man pushing the cart up the aisle, away from him.  The Wolf let out a breath he hadn’t realized he was holding, adjusted the mirror, and pulled the hoodie back over his head, making sure to conceal his face as much as possible.  He smiled as he took another deep intoxicating breath of the Prey’s scent and drove out of the parking garage, turning toward his lair.

Serial part 1

Sorry it’s not Wednesday – going forward look for new bits added on Wednesdays.  The in-laws were in town so I didn’t get much time to write.  I am going with a bit of cyberpunk influence as suggested by Eddie.  I need a title, so if you have anything clever let me know.

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They said after the Pak-Ind Exchange that the region would glow for a thousand years. In reality the fires burned and mostly died out and the Freeholds rose from the ashes as pretenders to an ancient legacy of greatness. The other nations of the world do their best to ignore the princes, pretenders, maharajas and maharanis who claim dominion. No one goes there if they have a choice which explains why Stuss found himself in Lamayuru.It was said that a demon lived in the lake of Lamayuru and a monastery was built there after the lake was drained and the demon vanquished. During the Exchange the valley was fairly well protected from the blasts by the surrounding mountains. Of course, the ash fell for weeks after, poisoning most of the fruit trees which once dotted the region. There was a single apple tree which seemed to thrive on the ash. The apples grew red and fat and it was said that a single apple would make the eater immune to the ravages of radiation.

Stuss’s current employer was that magical combination of rich and foolish.  He wanted a bushel of the apples.

“This is such a bullshit job” Stuss mumbled to himself.  At least he didn’t have too much to worry about from the radiation.  As long as there were no immediate EMPs the background radiation wouldn’t affect him.  The poor bastard he was imping couldn’t say the same.

His guide, a scarred Sikh named Jasbir, turned to look him. He said something in Punjabi and it took Stuss a second to access the the language and realize Jasbir was calling a break.  The monastery was still a couple of hours away.  He hoped Jasbir wouldn’t notice the pause.  The monastery was a holy place, forbidden to outsiders.

Stuss answered back “sure, this place is as good as any”.  He avoided looking at Jasbir as he spoke.  The guide was in his mid 20s with a thick black beard that had been twisted and greased flat.  His turban was a deep blue but the white dust of the road made it look more like denim.  He also had a huge weeping sore where there should have been a nose and every time Stuss looked at him all he could see was that cancerous wound.

Jasbir just stopped the Jeep in the middle of the road.  It had been hours since they had seen any other traffic – or life of any sort.

Stuss got out and stretched his arms.  The motion caught his eye and he looked at his arms.  They were skinny and dark brown and covered with tiny sores from the radiation.  He felt a bit nauseous at the sight and panicked for a moment that the imped wouldn’t survive the journey.  Which meant Stuss wouldn’t survive.  He couldn’t help but remember watching Houke die.

Houke had been the best of them throughout the entire process.  Stuss remembered that 3 am wake-up call when he was taken out of his MI unit and told of his selection for a new assignment effective immediately.

“Outside now, Stuss.  Your shit will follow you.”

Stuss was still groggy with sleep but he could tell that the sergeant wasn’t happy.

He was standing there, shivering in his underwear when the black civilian car pulled up.  The whole situation was surreal.  Stuss climbed into the back of the car, his thighs squeaking against the leather.  The driver didn’t turn around and when Stuss tried to ask a question he just turned up the China-pop to earsplitting levels.

He knew now that the whole situation was the final test – to find out how well he could handle being thrown into a completely bizarre situation and get his bearings.  He was quick enough to end up in the Cortical Suppression and Impression program.  When he was dropped off outside of the drab grey building which was to be his home for the next year he saw nearly a hundred other CorSup hopefuls.  It was surrounded with tall fences and signs warning of the authorization of deadly force.  There was a single four part gate that looked more like one of the locks of a canal and two armed and indifferent guards.

Most of the hopefuls had gathered together into small groups.   Houke was sitting on the curb by himself smoking one of those bitter herb cigs he somehow always had.  He was in his underwear, same as almost everyone, but he didn’t seem the least bit curious or out of sorts.  He may as well have been sitting in his room for all it bothered him.

Stuss watched him nurse the cig for a while before walking over to him.

“No, I don’t have another so don’t even ask” his voice was lighter than the words he was saying.

Stuss sat down next to him.  “What do you think this is about?”

“Don’t know, don’t care.  Yesterday I could throw a rock and hit the Caliphate, assuming I was dumb enough to leave cover.  You can bet your ass I am a whole lot more happy today.”

That was the only time Stuss ever heard Houke talk about his life before CorSup.

They sat in silence until a harsh buzzing from the gates drew their attention.  A man in a black suit was leaving the compound flanked by uniformed guards.

“You will form into two groups.  Females on my left, males on my right.”  The man’s voice was soft but clear.

“Where are we?” one of the hopefuls asked.

“You are dismissed from the program.”  The man in the black motioned and one of the guards split off and hit the speaker with the butt of his weapon, knocking him to the ground.  He followed up with another brutal stroke the back of his head.  He collapsed in a heap.  Stuss hoped he was just unconscious but with hindsight he knew that he were they would have put a bullet in his brain after the hopefuls were filed into the compound.  In those early days, at least, they still pretended the program was voluntary.

Killer serial

So, as  I become a bit more used to the madhouse my life has become I have found myself doing a little bit of writing here and there.  Nothing really awesome, but it is more to get back in the habit of writing than anything else.  A couple of things have been helping out here – I read Duma Key by Stephen King – it was definitely my favorite book by him and that is saying something.  I am reading Game of Thrones – on book 2 now, finished book 1 in a week which is an accomplishment that was helped only by being struck with the flu and confined to quarters as it were.  And, just to add a little something else to the mix, I have been listening to the HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast from HPPodcraft.com – I will add a bit about that a bit later but suffice it to say that even if you aren’t particularly a fan of Lovecraft, it is worth listening to just to get a greater understanding about what his life was like as he was writing the stories.

Anyway, as is always the case with me, the more I read, the more impulse I have to write.  Surrounding myself with this stuff and Eglentyne’s excellent blog (which has really been a life(sanity)saver – thanks Dani!) which brings me to the point of this 10 minute post (which is something I forgot that I had been doing and which is a great idea if I say so myself) – even I can shoehorn in 10 minutes.

So tell me, Patrick, what is the point of this post?  Well, getting back to what I was mentioning above with my impulse control disorder (aka writing) and having just heard a couple of the HP Lovecraft archived podcasts with a couple of his stories released as serials I have decided to do a serial right here on this very blog.  Not only will it get me back into the habit of writing but it will also get me back used to deadlines and just posting something even if it is horribly shitty.  The plan is to post some bit of fiction in a continuing storyline

So now you, gentle reader, if you can so be troubled to reply I have a couple of questions for you.  Do you have a preference on the day of the week which I post the new episode?  Second off, any preference for genre?  I am game for pretty much anything but if I don’t enjoy it it might just be a very short serial 😉

Also, just to set expectations, I am not planning on doing much in the way of editing on this unless it really takes off and I love it so it will be yours, warts of a first draft and all.  Well, as first draft as a notorious edit-as-I-write as I am.

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read this, I find my 10 minutes are up.

Love in LA

I often get asked why I live in LA. Almost as often how I can live here. LA certainly isn’t for everyone and on many days, it isn’t even for me. It can be a cold town despite the warm weather and finding love is never easy and, unless you are a producer, director, or A list star the dating scene can be brutal (from what I hear) so I can understand why someone might want to engage the services of a professional. Which gets me to the point of this post. I saw someone picking up a prostitute.

There was this guy who was, I’d guess, in his mid 20s. Scrawny, greasy hair, jeans and a dirty white T-shirt. His pasty face was marked with what looked like a half dozen meth strawberries. I didn’t look long enough to see if any of them were oozing. I’ll call him Moe for no reason in particular.

Standing next to Moe was a plain looking girl also in her 20s. Instead of a dirty white T she was wearing a thin, well worn, black T-shirt commemorating some metal band’s tour. It might have been Mastodon but honestly I don’t remember. She was also wearing a greenish skirt which didn’t go very well with the tour shirt but on later reflection it probably made work a bit easier. Her complexion was quite a bit better than Moe’s – her skin was a bit greasy but overall unmarred. Let’s call her Dana.

Moe and Dana were leaning against low wall that runs around an office building and cafe at the corner of La Brea and Hollywood (which is near where I work). I was just finishing up a cell phone call sitting on the same low wall though about 10 feet away. We will call me Patrick, because that is my name, though it is doubtful I will again be relevant to this story.

As I was talking on the phone I was probably ogling Dana a bit, as I have said, her shirt was quite thin. so thin, in fact, that in the bright sunlight her nipples were almost visible. If you are a guy, you understand it is difficult not to try and sneak a peak. If you are a woman, I assume you know men are this way because you keep wearing stuff like that.

A slightly heavy Asian man, I’d guess him to be of Korean descent by his features, walked over to Moe and said something which I couldn’t quite hear. Let’s call him Steve. Moe said something back, also too quiet for me to hear. Steve reached out to shake Moe’s hand and I caught a flash of green in his cupped hand. Moe shook Steve’s hand and then slipped his hand straight into right pocket. Moe then pulled his hand out of his pocket and draped it over Dana’s shoulder.

“Hey, this is my best friend,” Moe was now speaking loud enough for me to hear, “why don’t you go hang out with him for a while. I have some errands to run, I’ll meet you back here in about an hour.”

Dana, still silent, put her arm through Steve’s and they walked off together down La Brea. Moe walked up Hollywood toward Highland, I imagine to get a Jamba Juice or whatever else it is that pimps do while waiting for their hoes.

The ending all felt almost Kabuki-like in its staged theater ritual.

At this point I folded up my cell phone (yes, I still have an older Razr flip phone – don’t judge me) and slid it into my pocket and went back into my own building.

This was last Friday, and for those of you not in Southern California let me tell you it was hot. Damn freaking hot. My first thought was “who would want to have sex with some sweaty prostitute in this weather?”

My second thought was really more of a train of thoughts wondering about all the players in this little piece. I spent much of the weekend thinking about them and at least one of the imagined characters now has a fairly important role in my NANOWRIMO novel.

Which gets me to the second point of this article. Writers are vampires. We watch life happening around us and drain whatever vitality we can in order to keep our creative selves alive. We occasionally get lucky and see some kind of vulnerability like this perfectly mundane, yet (at least to me) tragic happening, from which we can drink deep.

100 Days – poetry

I read a piece that Aisling Weaver wrote and was inspired to write a bit of poetry.  I haven’t done so in quite a while and it shows, but in getting ready for #nanowrimo I am spending my 10 minute breaks on various writing exercises (most of which are character sketches and outlines for my nanowrimo novel) but I felt like being a bit creative.

Hope you enjoy.

————————————————————————————-

It’s been a hundred days since June.
My lips still ache with the memory of your tongue
A hundred times the sun has fallen from the sky
Into the grasping arms of darkness
Like you fell into my bed on that day in June
As the night loses the sun my hold slipped
Each shadow is a weak reminder of that night
Every breath is an echo of you
It’s been a hundred days since June.

The Redemption of Ossie Thid (reprint)

Part of my get organized kick has seen my going through my documents looking for stuff to revise and delete.  I came across this piece and really enjoyed reading it again.  I might have to expand this into a more traditional style story – right now it is pseudo diary style.

I know that some of you have read it, but it was probably a long time ago.  I hope you enjoy the rereading as much as I have.

This is a story set on a “hive world” in the Warhammer 40,000 universe though I like to think that, at least for this story, the setting is largely irrelevant.  Basically that universe is a grimdark (one word) place ruled by a nightmarish theocracy in worship of “The Emperor” in the most brutal regime imaginable.  And those are the good guys.  A hive world is a city that has been built upon over thousands of years and is typically governed by mega-corporations.  Go to http://www.blacklibrary.com to learn more about his awesome universe.

The Redemptionists Crusade is a particularly fanatical sect of the Cult of the Emperor.

So, without further ado, please enjoy this “reprint” of an old story I wrote.

——————————————————————

 

40k Saint burning heretics

Burn the heretic!

 

“The Redemption of Ossie Thid”

Excerpts from the private journal of Ocenote Thid.

5.

Things is going good for old Ossie if I say so myself. I met a girl at the manufactorum dance. She’s called Magidale and she’s as pretty as a new credit. The foreman said I do good work.

9.

Maggie and me went uphive today. It was nice up there but Maggie made me get a shave. I bought a new hat for Maggie. She sure does like her hats.

11.

I was walking home today after another double-shift. I am tuckered but I need the creds. Maggie wants to go uphive again next day off. I saw a guy standing on a corner preaching. He had on a mask but I could see his eyes. Reminded me of a crazy shitrat that used to live at my ma’s hab. I crossed to the other side so I wouldn’t get too close.

16.

More double-shifts. It’s been a long week and I ain’t been able to write much. Some people was throwing stuff at that preacher man but he kept on preaching like he was in the Crystal Cathedral. I was too tired to cross the street but I didn’t throw nuthing at him.

19.

Maggie and me went uphive again. I bought her a new hat. This one had synth-stones and a bunch of silkstuff and lace. The lace was real.  It was real expensive too. As I was paying all I could think was that it took 4 double-shifts to pay for it and how I was real tired. Maggie was happy though and gave me a bounce when we got back to my hab and that was real nice. I ain’t gonna say more about it cause I am a gentleman. Her body was real nice though. She didn’t have too many scars and she was real clean. I guess that is why she always smells so good.

20.

Preacherman was there again today. There was some people standing around listening to him. He was yelling about fornication and looked right at me like he knew. I just smiled and walked on by. I even tossed a cred in his box. He should use it to buy a fungirl. Maybe he wouldn’t be so crazy if he got a bit of bounce.

24.

More double-shifts. The foreman got hurt today on the line. The press caught his arm and ripped it right off. There was a lot of blood and they had to stop the line for an hour while the cleanup crew cleaned up. They docked the whole floor’s pay.

25.

Preacherman looked at me when I walked past. He stopped yelling but he still had spit on the bottom of his mask. I think he wanted me to give him another cred like the other day. I didn’t and he started yelling again. I’m working a split-double so gotta go back soon. I’m meetin’ with the boss.

26.

I am the new foreman. The boss called me into his office after the split-double and says “Ossie, you been here a long time. You do good work. We’re making you foreman.” You can bet my arm won’t get ripped off. Maggie was so happy she gave me a bounce without me even having to buy her a new hat. It’s more creds being foreman but more work too.

30.

The manufactorum was sold today. Everyone is worried about their jobs but the new bosses said that they are leaving the “inferastructure” or something like that and that means we are gonna keep our jobs. Preacherman was carrying on about some kinda judgment from the Emperor that was coming soon. Maybe I oughtta make Maggie my wife so it’ll be okay to fornicate.

31.

All shifts were cut in half today while the new bosses looked at the manufactorum. I guess they didn’t want anyone to ask them questions so they just sent us all home. Maggie and me decided to go uphive. I bought her a new hat. I asked her to marry me and she said yes. We had a bounce.

32.

I got to work this morning and there was a thick chain over the doors and a sign that said “Go home”. They ain’t never closed for a whole day before. We are going to fall behind in our production. There was a bunch of people around Preacherman. He was getting into it and his box was almost full. I tossed a cred in myself. Hopefully everything’ll be okay with my job.

35.

The chains are still there. Me and a couple of the guys went to the bar and I had to buy the drinks cause I am the foreman. I ain’t seen Maggie in a couple of days. She says she is getting ready for the wedding. I drank too much and spent too many creds. The manufactorum better open soon.

39.

The manufactorum opened today. I went in and everything is different. There are new machines. Now we are making textiles. I only know how to press plasteel. They said don’t worry though because all the workers are getting trained tomorrow. Preacherman was on his corner again but now that the manufactorum opened again there weren’t many people listening. This made him mad. He said that too many folk only look for the Emperor when things is bad. I was gonna give him a cred but I am flat until payday.

40.

I went to work today and they canned me because I didn’t know anything about textiles. I said they said they was gonna train us.  They said they was gonna train the workers but since I am a foreman I needed to know about them. I said I’d take my old job back on the floor but they said no. Maggie didn’t answer her door when I went by there.

50.

I can’t find a job. I even started looking a little downhive. I sold some things to buy some food. I had a few creds left over and bought Maggie a nice hat downhive but she still didn’t answer her door so I left it there.

53.

The hablords found out that I ain’t got work and they threw me out. They said that this hab’s for workers only. Preacherman was preaching again and since I didn’t have nuthing else to do I listened to him for a while. He said that the Judgement Day is coming. You can tell by how he says it that it should have a big J and a big D. He said fornicators are going to get it bad. As are mutants and witches.  Maybe my Judgement Day done came and went. I found a flophab to stay at for a couple of days.

54.

The Emperor is always watching. That’s what Preacherman said today. I was so mad that I flipped the sign into the sky so He could watch that. Preacherman stopped talking when I did that. He just stared at me until I left. I don’t need him or the Emperor anyway.

60.

Someone broke into my flop while I was looking for work. They took everything. Even my clothes. I have the few creds that were in my pockets and the clothes on my back. I ain’t seen Preacherman for a few days. I wonder where he went.

62.

I spent the last creds I had on the flop but it wasn’t enough.  They made me pay for the locks that those robbers broke. Like it was my fault all my stuff got stole. Preacherman was back. I listened to him for a while and he was talking about how the bad people had taken over this hive and at Judgement Day only the righteous would be lifted up while the hive burned and the sinners burned. That would be nice to see.

63.

I was real hungry today. I spent a couple of hours watching Preacherman. A lot of what he says makes sense. He said that the hard workers can’t get jobs because they want an honest pay but the uphivers that own the company’s don’t wanna pay good money when they can get mutants and unbelievers to do it for less money. That makes more profits. It’s the economics of corruption he said. I asked a couple of questions and he said that I looked to be healthy and pure.  He made me take off my shirt and looked closely at my skin. He said corruption always leaves its mark and it’s the duty of the righteous to keep up the guard. I reminded him that I gave him a couple of creds a while back and could I maybe get some of them back on account of being righteous and all and cause I was so hungry. I thought he’d be mad but he just reached into the box and gave me a couple.

64.

Preacherman was back on his favorite sermon. Fornicating. I started thinking about it and that was when all my troubles started.  That damn harlot Maggie did this to me. Were it not for her feminine wiles I’d still have me a job at the manufactorum. I didn’t want to be a foreman anyway, she said that I should be on account of how hard I work. After he was done I went over to him and before I said a word he just reached into his box and got out enough to buy me lunch. He said that he was hungry too and do I want to get some food together.

It was strange to see that he had to eat too. I guess I never really thought of him as a person. He didn’t take his mask off though, even when we ate.

I told him everything. I told him about the manufactorum and Maggie and the hats. And the fornicating. I told him every detail so that maybe he could pray to the Emperor for me to lift my burden of sin and help me get a job. He licked his lips when I talked about the fornicating and I thought he was going to leave me but he didn’t. He asked more questions about Maggie and her body.

He wondered if she had the marks of corruption. I said I didn’t think so but then he said how would I know the marks if I saw them? My eyes were closed to sin back then. He said he’d have to see her for himself. Tomorrow we are going to Maggie’s hab after her shift to inspect her.

65.

Preacherman gave me a mask of my own. It is made of leather and has an opening for the mouth, like his. He said that we had to cover our faces from sin so that it couldn’t find us when it came a-calling.

We went to her hab earlier than I thought we would. I said that she wouldn’t be there because she was working and he said he wanted to check it out first to make sure that we weren’t entering the den of our enemies unprepared. The hablord let Preacherman in without a word and said that he was happy to do his part for crusade. He also gave both me and the preacher a couple of creds to help with our good work.

It made me feel good when he said our. It was almost like I was a preacher too. And Preacherman, he didn’t say nuthing about it.

Anyways, her apartment was nice and clean like it always was and it smelt like her. I felt bad for being there but Preacherman told me that it always hurt to cut out a cancerous tumor but it had to be done to save the body. He’s always talking about stuff like that so I think maybe he was a doctor before he was redeemed. Anyways, it still makes me sweat to think about it.

Sorry I keep wandering around writing today. My hands ain’t even stopped shaking. I found all of the hats that I had given her. They were in boxes in a closet along with about a hundred more I didn’t give her.  I got so mad thinking that each of those hats was probably another fellow that she fornicated.

Preacherman said that she was like the Whore of Abylonica whose licentiousness led to the Abylonican Schism as told by St. Martus the Chaste. Preacherman told me that and I like the word licentiousness. It sounds a whole lot more uphive. So I took all the hats and laid them out on the floor of her bedroom.

I was so mad that I didn’t even want to leave and come back so we hid. When Maggie came home Preacherman closed the door behind her and I dragged her into the bedroom.

That house of sin, carpeted with the hats.

I don’t want to write what happened next because I am still a gentleman and I think I still loved her even though she was corrupted (Preacherman found the marks). He said that she could be purified with fire so her soul could join the Emperor in the afterlife.

I wanted that very much. Maybe she could love me in the afterlife and we could be together. I think that the Emperor has been watching what she was doing because all of those hats burned up fast and hot. Even Preacherman was surprised at how quickly they caught fire.

She screamed for longer than I woulda thought a person could.

Anyways, originally this was gonna be the last entry in this journal since when you are redeemed you are a new person and should have new thoughts but Preacherman said I should keep it because lots of the Saints kept journals documenting their good deeds. He said that I may even be a saint someday now that I have been redeemed.