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    Monday
    Sep232013

    Am I still writing? 

    You bet your ass.  It's taking forever to finish this short story, but here's a sample that I'm posting just to show the boys that daddy's still in town:

     

    Tuesday
    Aug272013

    Aaron's Drawing 

    Not fiction, but a piece of art nonetheless.  (Right click to view full image.)


     

     

    Friday
    Aug162013

    I am a Mandrill

    I think I'm losing my mind...

     

    This story is dedicated to all the animals confined at the San Francisco Zoo.  May they, and all the animals in all the zoos across the world, gain their freedom one day soon. 

    I am a mandrill.[1]  I have hairy arms and hairy legs and I live here at the zoo in San Francisco.  The San Francisco Zoo is located beside the beach.  I can taste the salty ocean and I can hear the waves crashing along the shore at night.  I have never seen the ocean, but when I was a child my mother said that the ocean is like the blue sky except with water which is held down upon the earth, and that the endless waves flow into sand like continuous ripples similar to those that appear in the puddles of my enclosure.  My mother saw the ocean when people took her from the jungles of Togo where there were waterfalls to the San Diego Zoo where I was born.  I remember my mom saying that because she was captured for the purpose of being kept in captivity, and not for the purpose of being killed for bushmeat, I was lucky.   And that’s what my name is: Lucky. 

    When the summer sun is up in the sky, like it is now, many people come to see me and the other animals that live at the zoo, which is open every day.  There are three other mandrills in this enclosure, and the visitors will watch us do anything.  The people laugh and cheer when we’re rambunctious, combative, homoerotic, urinating, or eating.  They yell us, mistakenly refer to us as baboons, and make offensive monkey noises, and children are the worst because they scream, “Lucky! Lucky! Lucky!”  People regularly toss pieces of garbage or food into our enclosure.  One day, a map of the zoo fell in and I kept it to study.  The wall of the enclosure is made of concrete and is very high; you can’t jump over and it like the tiger jumped over his wall.  He escaped and killed people and then he was killed by people. 

    The best period of time at the zoo is late-afternoon into the evening, when everyone goes away and leaves us alone.  After the zoo closes, we have a couple hours of daylight to ourselves before dusk sets in.  During these quiet times, the animals are calm and you can hear the cars driving by on Sloat Boulevard and rushing along the Great Coast Highway, (if you look at the map, you can see that these two roads border the zoo).  It is said that the giraffes can view the Great Coast Highway from their enclosure, and that immediately beyond the highway lies the ocean where the pelicans are flying.  When night falls, I sit and close my eyes and I either think about things or I don’t think about anything.  The sounds of the cars become waterfalls and I listen to the crashing ocean waves.  Sometimes, I start to rise up, and through my closed eyes I can see the stars above me and the map of the zoo which has expanded enormously in proportion below me.  From such heights I look west, but I never see the ocean because I have not seen it before and am not really up so high.  Then the black lemurs, which are nocturnal and occupy the neighboring enclosure, begin to stir and screech, thus dragging me back down to earth and ruining my thought process and sleeping patterns to such detriment that I curse at them to go back to Madagascar. 

    The second best time at the zoo is feeding time, which takes place at the same time everyday and is about to happen now.  The shining sun is out and the visitors are excited, as are my hungry companions and I.  The gate opens and here comes old Bill, the nervous zoologist, wearing the same stupid clothes and carrying the same old monkey chow.  We watch him from a behind second gate, which only unlocks after Bill’s finished dishing-out our food and leaves back out the first gate.  Bill’s always nervous when we get excited about eating; he thinks we’re yelling at him and is afraid that we’re going to hurt him, which we would if we could get to him, but the second gate prevents us from doing that.  Bill is done pouring the monkey chow into bowls and he leaves through the first gate, which closes but makes a different sound that usual.  The second gate – our gate – automatically unlocks and pops open, so we four mandrills rush through to eat our monkey chow. 

    As I’m eating, from the corner of my eye, I look at the first gate, which appears different than usual.  I shuffle over to the gate, bringing my bowl of food with me. The reason the gate looks different is because it’s ajar.   I tug on the gate and it opens!  Holy shit, Bill left the gate open!  What a fucking idiot.  I look at my gorging peers and they’re not seeing this, so I leave.  I walk down a concrete corridor, turn a corner and there’s old Bill, putting away the bag of monkey chow.  I’m gonna get him.  He sees me running and he screams like a little chimp as I leap onto him and ride him down.  He’s so funny.  He’s trying to stop me from ripping apart his skin but he’s not very strong because he can’t even stop me.  I show him my big canine teeth and he’s pissing his pants so I sink my teeth into his ribcage and he’s hollering.  I think he fainted because he stopped moving.  Blood and monkey chow everywhere.   

    I can hear footsteps rushing down the hall.  Let’s go see who’s coming.  Oh boy, here come the zookeepers.  Two of them (both male) appear and then stop in their tracks as they gape at me.  They’re scared because I’m showing off my bloody fangs, my hairy blue chest, and am jumping around the hallway like a lunatic.  They’re posturing is not nearly as threatening: they’re just backing away and stuttering into their radios.  Hey, look at that: here come the other mandrills, all three of them, running bloodthirsty down the hall.  It took them long enough.  Sometimes I think I’m more evolved than they are.  Oh wow, they’re really tearing apart the zookeepers, good job guys.  The zookeepers sure don’t like being bit.  But what do you expect?  What did you think happens when you confine us to an enclosure like a bunch of insects forced to endure the same, bleak grind everyday?  You’d be discontent, too, wouldn’t you? 

    Well, I’m sure zookeepers with mace, tazers, and tranquilizer guns will be arriving any minute now, so I’m gonna go down this hallway and push this door open and here were are.  Check it out, I’m in the gift shop!  Boy, people sure do scream when I’m out of my enclosure.  Look at them scuttling away like bugs.  Look at all this cheap shit they sell here.  Here’s a mandrill stuffed animal.  He’s so cute; I’m gonna keep him.  Run, people, run!  It’s so funny how they run faster and startle when I act crazy. 

    Alright, I’m going outside.  Let’s see, where are we?  If those are the pink flamingos, and that’s the carousel, then Sloat Boulevard must be this way.  What a beautiful day to be a mandrill.  Everyone’s looking at me and my fabulous ass.  Say, what type of furry monkey is that up there in the eucalyptus tree?  Hey! Wake up, you lazy piece of shit!  That fat kid’s got an apple.  I’m gonna get it.  Look at him waddle.  Uh oh, fatty escaped into the crowd…oh well, fuck it, I’m going this way.  There’s a big pond here, but it’s not the ocean.  Oh wow, look at the pretty ostrich.  Wait, is that an ostrich?  It’s got black feathers and has a colorful head like the colors on my ass.  I showed him my stuffed animal and he’s strutting away.  Fuck it. 

    Great, I can hear the cars on Sloat.  There are sirens too.  This pathway leads to a fence, and sure enough, there’s Sloat Boulevard! The crowd of people behind me gasp as I hold my stuffed animal in my mouth and climb the fence.  I cut my hand on the metal thorns and then jump down onto sidewalk.  Woo hoo, I’m out of the zoo! 

    Look at this place!  Here are parked cars to jump on and the ground is all cement, and the streets are lined with endless rows of rectangular enclosures.  Geez, people really fucked this place up.  Watch out people, I’m going to the beach!  They’re running away faster because of all the blood that’s dripping down my hand.  I step off the sidewalk and onto the road where speeding cars swerve out of my way.  I look down Sloat Boulevard and stop walking, for I see the ocean in the distance – there’s so much water and it’s all white and blue.  Good God, what have I been doing with my life? 

    I accidentally drop my stuffed animal and I pick him up and walk down the road.  I lurch past people in their cars and am transfix by all that bright water out there.  I look at the people around me and see that they don’t care about the ocean.  The cars are speeding on the Great Coast Highway and a cool wind blows across the coast.  Behind me, there are cars with sirens and lights; before me, cars are moving dangerously fast, but then they start to slow down.  I’m going across the Great Coast Highway and I can’t see the ocean anymore because of the sand dunes. 

    I climb up the sand dunes and surprise the people sitting amongst the beachgrass.  The people jump up and back away.  I’m closer than I have ever been to the ocean.  The waves roll in and flow out again and again; the pelicans are flying above.  I keep walking along the warm sand and my hand hurts, so I sit down near the edge of the water.  I can feel the people gathering in back and watching me.  Why is everyone so afraid of me because I’m different?  Don’t they know that they’re animals, too?  I lick the salty blood from my hand as I watch the marvelous waves.  The ocean is just like my mom said.  And as beautiful as it is, I know it’s not my home.  So I wonder where my home is and if I’ll ever get there.  I look down at my stuffed animal and he’s so cute.  I tell him:  You know, you’re lucky, too – because I took you out of that gift shop and now you don’t have to stay trapped in there anymore.  Now you get to be my friend and you can see the ocean.  Look. 

    I can hear more people gathering behind me now.  There’s some commotion and the stern voices of men telling other people to back away because he’s extremely dangerous.  I hear some people cry out in protest and then several horrible blasts ring out.  I’m in pain and warm blood flows across my body.  It hurts.  I slump down and the ocean and horizon turn sideways.  The waves persist as I hold my stuffed animal.  The world fades from light to dark, and I hope that I get to go home now.

     


    [1] People commonly mistake mandrills as baboons.  A mandrill is a primate closely related to the baboon and both species were once classified in the same genus.  Mandrills are typically larger than baboons and have colorful muzzles and behinds (think Rafiki). 

    Monday
    Mar182013

    The Prisoner’s Ultimatum 

    Note to reader: The following parable serves as a literary reflection alluding to the age-old philosophical question – pondered by Aristotle in the School of Athens, meditated upon by Buddhist monks in ancient cloud forests, discussed extensively by revolutionary thinkers in the European Enlightenment, and contemplated thoroughly by all significant modern philosophers: would a man rather have his soul or his dick?

    The Prisoner’s Ultimatum

    James Carson gazed out of window of the jail dorm in the Northern California countryside.  He watched the winter sun rise and shine over the barbed wire fence and frosted lawn, and the world outside began to stir.  His friend and dorm mate awoke and saw James standing at the window.

    “Only a couple more hours, James.”

    James looked back and said, “That’s right.”

    “You’ll have some real coffee.”

    “Can’t wait,” said James.

    He turned back toward the window and looked outside.  Today he would be released after serving an eighteen month jail sentence in the county detention facility for having been found guilty attempted burglary and illegally possessing a firearm.

                    At chow time James gave away his breakfast and returned to his dorm to pack up.  He stripped his bunk and collected his few belongings – some books, court documents, and hygiene products – into a clear plastic bag.   At eight A.M James bid farewell to his inmate friends and was led by a guard across the courtyard and into the main building to be processed for release.  He turned in his name tag and old razor to the guard who handed him a bag which contained the articles of clothing that James was wearing when he was picked-up the summer before last.  James changed out of his jail uniform and put on his shorts, Hawaiian shirt, and sandals.  Also returned to him were his empty wallet and house keys. 

    The guard said, “You look like a goddamn fool.”

    James looked at the guard and said, “You know what’s funny?  I get to leave, and you have to stay.”

    “I’ll get pleasure in seeing your dumb ass back here,” said the guard.

    “I’m sure you would,” said James. 

                    James left through a door and entered the jail lobby.  He was free.  He had no money, no ride, and no warm clothes, yet he smiled as he stepped outside into the cold.  He began walking away from the compound and watched his breath rise into the air against a backdrop of distant mountains and blue sky.

    The trailer that James resided in was located ten miles away.  He spun the plastic bag containing his miscellaneous and insignificant possessions and hurled it off the side of the road.  He started jogging in the direction of the freeway, leaping and punching the air in joy.  The warmth of the morning sun was thawing out the countryside and birds were singing in the surrounding apple orchards and greater farmland.  James heard a car approaching from behind and he turned around out of concern that a cop was coming to confront him about his littering.  A black sedan slowed down behind James who watched as it pulled up and stopped beside him.  Inside the car was a single driver, a man, who smiled at James as the passenger side window rolled down automatically.

    “Need a ride, friend?” said the driver.

    James assessed the man, who looked in his mid-fifties and wore a black and white suit and a red tie. 

    James said, “Do I know you?”

    “I don’t think so,” said the man, “But my name’s Larry.”

    “I’m James.”

    “Good to meet you,” said Larry, “You going far?”

    “Just to the freeway,” said James.

    “Well hell, that’s a good two miles away.  I’m headed down the road to grab a bite to eat, but I don’t mind taking you out to the freeway.”

    James looked down the desolate road and then back to the man, “Are you sure?”

    “Sure I’m sure,” said Larry.  “You look like you’re dressed for happy hour in Honolulu, for Christ sake, it’s January.  Let me guess, you just got released?”

    “Yeah,” said James.

    “I’ve been in your shoes before, and I try to lend a helping hand to a fellow, former jailbird when I can.  Don’t be shy, come on in,” said Larry.

    “Alright, well thanks.  Much appreciated.”  James opened the car door and got in.

    Larry rolled the window back up and they started down the road. 

    “Beautiful morning,” said Larry.

    “It sure is.  It feels great to be out of that hellhole.”

    “I know how you feel.  Congratulations.”

    “Thanks.  When were you in the farm?”

    “Oh, I make unexpected visits to that place every now and then, nothing exciting.  So, what’s your plan now, James?”

    “Well, I’m gonna try to get my feet back on the ground – find a job, try to make amends with the old lady, see what good I can do in this fucked-up world.”

    “That’s good, James.  Sounds like you got some good intentions.”

    Up the road on the right was a solitary diner.

    “Say,” said Larry, “You hungry?  This is where I was going to eat.”

    “I’d love to join you, but maybe another time.”

    “Are you sure?  They’ve got good coffee and delicious omelets, and waitresses aren’t bad either.”

    “That sounds nice, but unfortunately I’m a little short of cash right now.”

    “Hey,” said Larry, “This one’s on me.  I insist.”

    “Well, if you insist, I’ll accept.”

    They pulled into the parking lot alongside side a few other cars.  Larry took out a black briefcase from his trunk and led James into the diner.  Inside was warm and smelled of fresh coffee and pancakes and eggs.  From the counter the waitress, a young blond, called out, “Hi Larry.  You and your friend can have a seat wherever you’d like.”

    “Thanks honey,” replied Larry.

    Larry and James sat down at booth near the center of the diner. 

    “So are you a businessman, Larry?”

    “Of sorts – I deal mainly in market transactions and trades.”

    “Well, it seems like it’s working out for you.”

    “I enjoy what I do, James - that’s the secret.  Are you looking for work?”

    “I suppose it depends on what kind.  What type of things do you trade?”

    The waitress approached the table and gave them each a menu. “Hi there, how are you boys doing this morning?”

    “We’re perfect.  Jezebel, this is my friend James.”

    James shook her hand and said, “Pleasure to meet you, young lady.”

    She smiled and said, “Nice to meet you, too.  I’m just getting a fresh pot of coffee brewing, so it’ll be a couple minutes.  Is there anything you need at the moment?”

    Larry said, “We’re fine, darling, just bring us some coffee when you can.”

    As the waitress walked away James said, “Boy, she’s one ripe tomato.”

    “I’m sure it’s been a while for you,” said Larry.

    “Eighteen months. I can’t wait to put it to use again.”

    “That’s tough.  I can get it whenever I want.”

    “Are you married,” asked James.

    “No, I pay for it.”

    “I see.  Well, I am looking for work, and need a job before I start paying for anything.”

    “You know my company is hiring, we could possibly use a man like you.”

    “What do guys do?”

    “We rob places.”

    “Excuse me?” said James.

    “We’re thieves and robbers, James.  We steal money.”

    “Larry, that’s not the type of work I’m trying to get back into.”

    “Sure it is.”  Larry opened his briefcase and took a cloth napkin off the table.  He used the napkin to conceal an object, placed it on the table, and slid it across to James.

    “What’s that?” asked James.

    “Take a look.”

    James lifted up a side of the napkin and saw a pistol.

    “Jesus Christ,” said James, sliding the gun back. “You’re fucking nuts.”

    “No,” said Larry, “I’m hiring, and this is the application process.” 

     “You want us to rob this place??  Fuck that,” James said intensely in a low voice.

    “No, I want you to rob this place.  You’re going hold up the diner, take the money from the register and these patrons, then pretend to take me hostage, and I’ll drive us out of here.”  He slid the handgun under the napkin back to James.

    The waitress was returning with the coffee and James took the gun off the table and placed it in his lap.

    “Here’s your coffee, boys, nice and fresh.  Do you need some more time to order?”

    Larry said, “Just give us another minute, Jezebel.”

    “Sure thing,” Jezebel said before she walked away.

    Using the napkin, James inspected the pistol in his lap.  He checked the clip which was loaded, and there was a bullet in the chamber.  He looked at the fresh coffee steaming in the mugs on the table.

    “Are you ready to wrap up this interview?” asked Larry, who sipped his black coffee.

    “Larry, I’ll tell you what I’ll do…”  

    James leapt out to the side of the booth and pointed the gun at Larry.  He announced loudly to the restaurant, “Everybody stay calm, this man here is trying to rob the restaurant!”  All eyes were on James.  “No ones gonna get hurt!” James yelled to the people in the restaurant, “For your own safety, I want you to leave the diner now and call the police.  This man here is a criminal who wants me to rob you.”

    The people in the restaurant stared oddly at James as they slowly stood up from their tables and proceeded out the door.  The patrons were followed by the waitress, and the last one out was the cook who looked at James and said, “Crazy mother fucker.”

    James held the gun pointed at Larry.  Larry was shaking his head and said, “I’m sorry, James.  You don’t get the job.”

    “Fuck your job,” said James.  “You think I’m crazy?  I just got of jail, and I ain’t doing no more time again.  You gotta be kidding me.”

    “I just wanted us for us to work together, James.  I don’t think you’re crazy, I know you aren’t.  But that’s not what everyone else is going to think.”

    Police sirens could be heard approaching from down the road.

    “You’re a fucking psychopath, man.  You’re the one who should be locked up.”

    Larry sipped his coffee and set down his mug. “You did the right thing, James.  Unfortunately, doing the right thing is not what gets you ahead in this world.”

    James glanced up as two police cars pulled into the parking lot where the restaurant crowd has gathered outside.

    “Go to Hell, Larry,” said James, his eyes on the cops.

    “Alright.”

    James looked down and Larry was gone.  He was dumbfounded.  He looked behind him and under the booth.  The briefcase was still there.   James searched the section of diner, hollering, “Where the fuck did you go?! Get back out here, asshole!”

    Outside, an officer announced through his loudspeaker, “We can do this the easy way or the hard way.  Come out with your hands up.”  Four more police cars pulled up into the parking lot.

    James’s heart was pounding hard.  He was frantically searching the diner for Larry.  He checked the kitchen and bathroom.  He looked out the window and the car they had arrived in was gone.

    “No…” said James, looking around, “Where did he fucking go?  This is impossible…  Where the fuck did he go?”

    From outside the police announced, “You’ve got nowhere to run, buddy.  Put down the weapon and come out with your hands up!”

    James looked down to the gun in his hand.  “Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ” he said.  He looked outside to the six squad cars with their lights flashing, the numerous police aiming guns toward the diner.  He set gun on a table, put his hands on his head, and started walking toward the door.  As he push the door open with his feet he called out, “I didn’t do anything!”

    He cooperatively made his way toward the police, saying, “I didn’t do anything, I swear.”  He motion toward the crowd of people, “They’ll tell you!”

    The police dived upon him and rode him to the ground.  Within seconds he was in handcuffs and then in the back of a police car pleading with the officers. “Check the cameras, ask the waitress!” he was yelling. 

    As James was being driven back to the detention facility the Larry’s black sedan was coming down the road. “That’s him!” exclaimed James, “That’s the guy who gave me the gun!”

    The officer paid James no mind on the way back to jail.  The car entered the security gates and James was processed for intake in same the manner as he was one and a half years ago.  As he was placed in a temporary cell, he was ensured that his holding time was pending until the diner security camera footage was examined and witnesses were spoken with.  James spent the rest of the morning and afternoon contemplating the event, and when his baloney sandwich and milk lunch arrived, he realized that he didn’t even sip his coffee at the diner.   

    By dusk James had been placed on an involuntarily psychiatric hold and was being moved from his isolated cell in booking to a different cell in a building separate from the main facility.

    “What’s happening?!” he asked the guard escorting him.

    “They just want to keep you here a little longer,” said the guard.

    “But why? I didn’t do anything!”

    “You’re being charged for the possession of an illegal firearm.”

    “But that wasn’t my gun, it was Larry’s!”

    The sun set and James realized that he was not being transported back to the main facility dorms, but to the psychiatric ward.

    “Wait, what’s going on here?”

    “James, you gotta stay calm, man,” said the guard.

    “Why are you taking me to the funny farm? Am I fifty-one-fifty?  I am not fifty-one-fifty!”

    “They’re gonna help you out, buddy.  The easier you make this, the sooner you’ll get back out.”

    “They’re gonna help me out with what?!” yelled James, “What the fuck is going on here?”

                    Inside the main facility, his old dorm mates watched James being reluctantly hauled across the courtyard to the psychiatric ward.  They shook their heads in pity, for during communal time in the dayroom an hour ago, they had seen footage of James on the news.  The footage was from the diner security cameras and showed James pointing a weapon at an empty seat and ordering everyone out of the restaurant.  The news clip was billed as an attempted burglary by an allegedly mentally ill man.  

    “Poor guy lost his mind,” said his old dorm mate.

     As a half-moon hung in the midnight sky James was lying face up in the bunk of his dark cell and reviewing the incidents of the day in his head.  He was mumbling to himself about how he was not crazy and occasionally he’d blurt out profanities directed toward the erstwhile Larry.

    Suddenly, from the corner of the cell, someone said, “Stop talking to yourself, they’ll think you’re crazy.”

    James sprang up in his bunk in fear.  He peered toward the dim corner and saw Larry. “You…how did you get in here?” James said.

    “Magic,” said Larry, stepping closer to James.

    James shuffled back in his bunk until he was pressed against the wall.

    Larry came close and said, “You did a bad, bad thing back there at the diner.”

    “No.  It was you.  You made me.”

    “I didn’t make you do shit, James.  I was going to make you rich, and you turned on me, with my own gun at that.”

    “Please,” cried James, “What’s going to happen to me? How come you’re not in the footage? They think I’m crazy!”

    “Calm down, James.  I want to make you another offer,” said Larry.

    “Please, just help me,” pleaded James.

    “I can’t do that, but what I can do is take what I came here for.”

    “What do you want?”

    “Well,” said Larry, “I’d like to walk away with one of two things.  It’s your choice: your soul, or your dick.”

    The choice was so preposterous that James chuckled slightly through his terror.  “You’re fucking crazy,” said James, “Who the fuck do you think you are?  Satan?”

    “No, I just help him collect souls and dicks.  My name’s Larry.”

    “Fuck you, Larry, fuck you and your offer.”

    “It’s not an offer, it’s an ultimatum.”

    Gathering more courage, James moved closer to Larry and said, “I’m not giving you shit.”  He then tried to take a swing at Larry but his body was suddenly frozen, as though paralyzed.

    Larry said, “You have ten seconds to decide, or else I’m going to kill you.”

    James was frightened again and he began to quiver as the gravity of the situation sank in.  He was able to talk and he said, “Aren’t you supposed to offer me something tempting or nice in exchange for my soul?  You can’t just do this to me…”

    “Don’t be stupid, James.  I’m evil, and I will kill you.  So then, what will it be, your dick or your soul? You have five more seconds.”

    James was blown away.  Was this a nightmare?  Was he truly crazy?  Beads of sweat formed on his forehead as he struggled to move and considered the ultimatum.

    “Three seconds,” said Larry.

    “Alright!” cried James.

    Larry stepped backed and James slumped down in his bunk.

    “What will it be?” asked Larry.

    James was incredulous, scared, and uncertain of the future awaiting him in this life and any life thereafter.  “Take my dick,” he said, “Take my fucking dick.” 

    James watched Larry step back and say, “Thank you.”  Larry instantaneously disappeared.

    James immediately reached toward his dick.  He felt through his pants and realized it was gone.  Frantically, he reached down in his underwear.  The space where his penis used to be was empty, it was just an empty groin. 

    James inspected his groin in a frenzy, his eyes shifting up in a madden search for Larry.  He gasped and gasped, whimpering and tossing his head as he felt the empty space between his legs.  In the cell, he cried out in agony, “He took my dick!!!  HE TOOK MY FUCKING DICK!!!!!”

    Monday
    Mar182013

    The Most Interesting Day of Todd Williams’s Life

    I considered not posting this because I was concerned it'd ruin my writing career.  Then I realized I don't have a writing career.

    Time to sit back and wait for the Pulitzer.

     

    One summer day a young man name Todd Williams was driving up the Highway 101 when a police car with flashing lights sped up behind him and pulled him over.  Todd’s heart was racing as he moved over to the right shoulder of the freeway which was surrounded by green hills and pastures.  Todd put his car in park and it turn off, he then looked in his rear-view mirror as the cop stepped out of the police car.  The cop was of average build, in his late-thirties, had a mustache, and was wearing sunglasses.  He walked up to the passenger side of Todd’s car as Todd was rolling his window down.

    “Hello, officer,” said Todd.

    “License and registration,” said the cop.

    Todd handed his license and registration to the police officer.

    The officer read Todd’s name aloud, “Todd Edward Williams.”

    “That’s me,” said Todd, waving stupidly.

    The cop lowered his sunglasses and stared sternly at Todd for an awkward moment in silence.

    “Well, whoop-de-doo,” said the cop, “Do you know who I am?”

    Todd looked at the officer’s badge and said, “Umm, Officer Bryant?”

    “That’s not who I am, buddy,” replied the cop.

    “Well I guess don’t know who are you, sir.”

    “Well I don’t know who the fuck you are, either” said the cop, becoming heated. “Just cause’ I know your stupid fucking name doesn’t mean I know who you are, does it now?!”

    “No, sir, I guess it doesn’t”

    The cop continued, declaring, “And just cause you know your stupid fucking name doesn’t mean you know who are, or that you know who I am just cause’ you can read my stupid fucking name tag, huh!?”

    “No, sir,” said Todd.

    “What do you want!?” the cop yelled.

    “Nothing, sir.”

    “You don’t like that do you?” snarled the cop.

    “Like what?”

    “Like me getting mean and crazy like this,” the cop hissed. “You don’t like me getting all crazy like this do you?”

    “No, sir,” said Todd.

    “You know what? I don’t know who I am either.”

    “Alright…” said Todd.

    The cop looked past the cars speeding along the highway and said, “I should have been Todd Williams.”

    Confused, Todd said, “I’m sorry?”

    “You’re not sorry,” said the cop, “You may think you are, but you also think you’re Todd Williams, but you’re not.”

    “Can you tell me why you pulled me over?” asked Todd.

    “Why does anything happen?” replied the cop, “What if I pulled my dick out right here, huh?  Can you tell me what we’re doing here right now?”

    “Well, you pulled me over…”

    “I’ve got an idea,” said the cop, “This is gonna be fun.”

    “What’s that?” asked Todd, unsure if he was hearing the officer correctly.

    “Here’s my idea, I’m gonna hand you my gun, and then you’re gonna shoot me in the head and kill me.”

    Todd was dumbstruck and said, “Excuse me???”

    “Shut the fuck up,” said the cop as he took his handgun out of his holster.  He removed the safety, cocked the gun, and offered it to Todd.  “You ever used one of these?” he asked.

    “What?!”

    “It doesn’t matter.  You just aim and pull the trigger.  You ready, bitch?  Take the gun and blow my head off.” 

    “No!” exclaimed Todd.

    “Yes!” yelled the cop, “Yes, I say! Yes! Yes! Yes! YES!”

    “You’re crazy!” screamed Todd, who reached to turn the key in his ignition.

    “Give me those!”  The cop reached in the car and took the keys out of the ignition. He aimed the gun at Todd and yelled, “Don’t fucking move!”

    “Oh my God,” said Todd.

    “I’ll tell you what I’ll do, I’ll give you til’ the count of three and if you don’t take this here gun and shoot me in head, I’m gonna pump some lead into that stupid little face of yours.”

    “You’re fucking nuts, man.”

    “One…” said the cop.

    “I’m not going to shoot you!” yelled Todd.   

    “Two…” said the cop.

    “God please,” said Todd, closing his eyes.

    “THREE!”  The cop turned the gun up and staring firing through the roof of the car.

    When he realized he was not dead Todd opened his eyes in fear and looked at the cop.  The cop was grinning.

    “Don’t be afraid,” said the cop, “it was a joke.”

    Todd began to tremble and said, “No man, death is no fucking joke…playing with peoples lives is not a fucking joke!”

    The cop took off his sunglasses and turned his head to the side.  He looked at Todd and said, “Really? I think it’s pretty fucking funny if you ask me.”

    The cop then pointed the gun to his own temple and pulled the trigger and blew off his head.