Epic {ANEWSIN VOL.10 — Jason Garden}

//Edited by Luka Riot

Michael was having a normal day.

He had to work at his retail job for eight hours: so his break was dealing with his girlfriend at the house, texting him constantly about how useless he was. To top off his fantastic day, his band was without a concert for the next few weeks.

…it sounds, when written down, worse than he believed it to be…

He enjoyed his life. This is where he was happy, and he felt accomplished to have two albums out in his early twenties. The slacker life suited him just fine.

His store was on the main road in the city he resided in. He worked full-time in a music store. He got to pretend that people know more about music than him, meanwhile he was secretly judging them and their choices. It was separate from the local mall, but its proximity makes it easy to run up to the ‘building full of shit-no-one-needs’ for a bad meal of fast food. He made this run often. It was cheap, and only tasted a bit of failure and hate. If he made good time, he could get the fresh fries!

Today was different.

He peered into a store where his friend worked to see if he could bother them. He was confronted by the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. Her eyes cut through the miasma of bodies and clothing. He was stunned into shock-induced stillness.

“Hey Mike, good to see you!” The vixen raised a hand to wave coyly, as if she knew who he was, but was unsure if she was right. Knowing his name was the easy part for most. He did not know why.

Michael was tripped up, but was still able to reply with a friendly wave. His eyes darted around the strangely shaped store to see if his friend was there for a social bumper.

“Oi! Mike! How ya doin’ ya ol’ so and so!” clamoured Jake. Mike felt better.

“Jake! What’s up?” He pretended that he missed the siren’s call and headed right for Jake.

“Dude, who the fuck is that and how do we know each other?” Michael keeps his voice as low as he could. “Do we know each other?” His tone was serious, despite the smile he kept on his face to erase suspicion.

“You fool. That’s Mary! You guys hung out at that ska show the other day.” Jake picked up on Michael’s body language and kept smiling as well. His tone, however, conveyed a guise of disbelief and disgust.

Mary was making sure a pile of shirts were in order.

“Dude. She’s fucking beautiful. How the fuck do I not remember her? Was I drunk?” Michael asked, dropping the bravado charade and allowing the frown he was concealing to come through.

Jake looked angry, but kept his calm. “No. You are just an idiot.” He then walked away. “Hey! Mary! Go say hi to Mike!”

Mary gestured that she will when she was done cleaning the stack of shirts she was fiddling with. Michael looked for anything sharp or heavy to throw at Jake. He had hoped to get a little background. He was truly disturbed that he had forgotten someone so beautiful. He was also upset with himself that he was betrothed to another.

It’s not cheating if there is no physical contact. If it’s nothing but a fantasy with a girl you will probably never see again. Nah. She’s probably super stupid or something. Why else would I forget a face like that?

Mary launched into conversation quickly. She was working, after all: customer service made you become social. “How are you, Mike? It’s good to see ya again!”

Michael hated that he did not remember her. She had the biggest blue eyes, and a small scar under her right eye that just added to the mystery of her aura. Her voice was high and small to match her stature. Her hair was long and blonde. Her perfume was strong but not overwhelming.

You’re dating someone, you fool! Just say hello and walk away. Do NOT get her number. Do NOT compliment her. And, for Christ sake, do NOT invite her out for coffee.

Mary carried on the conversation, ignoring the fact that Michael had not said two words. She’s fucking good at her job! Mike thought to himself

“I’m done at 4. Want to go to that cafe that just opened downtown? It’s a bit far from my house, but that coffee chain that’s closer to mine has no idea how to brew coffee.” Mary asked while starting on another stack of shirts.

“YES!” Michael blurted out before even thinking about the ramifications of what was going on. “I have wanted to go to that place for the last little bit, finally I have an excuse!”

(SHOEHORN IN HONESTY, MIKE)

“My girlfriend keeps saying that we’ll go, but we never do. She also says that my band doesn’t suck, but every time we have a show, she has to work. Mysterious, right? Like, if you don’t like it, that’s fine. You need to stab someone before fixing the issue. If you never stab in the first place, it’s just hiding your end. They know. Of course, I’m ‘they’ in this poorly conceived metaphor.”

The words spilled unceremoniously out of Mike’s mouth before he could think about them. He almost wanted to hand Mary a raft to keep afloat of all the ridiculous things he said.

…a good portion of that didn’t even make sense… Mike thought to himself before Mary could reply. He wanted to hide.

“Wow. Bit of a ramble there. You okay?” Mary still had a smile on her face, but it was more the ‘customer service grin’ as opposed to a human emotion at this point.

Michael sighed. “Yeah. I’m fine. Just had a rough couple of days.”

Mary’s posture softened. “Well, let’s do coffee and you can tell me all about it.”

On that note, a customer walked up and whisked Mary away before Michael could reject the offer.

“I’ll be right there, sir! Mike, we’ll talk soon.”

She turns to look at Michael one last time before walking away. “If it means anything, I really like your band. Different for around here. It’s a nice change of pace.” Then, she vanished behind a stack of merchandise.

Fuck you. Thinks Michael. Of course, the world hands me perfection while I have too many demons to deal with as is.

“So Mike, do you work today?” Jake asks, seeming to appear from the racks of clothing. He startled Michael, who had long since assumed that Jake was off doing his job.

“Yeah. I go back in about thirty minutes or so. Just taking a break from my customers to see yours.” Michael tries his best not to look rattled by the sudden human in his vicinity. “Do you care to join me for a smoke outside?”

“HAH!” Jake replies, his volume far too inappropriate for the surroundings. “Dude: last thing I need is another session of you pining over some girl that you have met at the wrong time and everything is out to get you blah blah blah..”

“I can’t decide whether or not I feel hurt by said implication.” Michael bowed his head in despair. Half as a joke, half in earnest. Was he that predictable?

“Thinking about how predictable you are, aren’t you?” Jake pokes the bear. “I also bet that you are going to get a coffee, have a smoke, then head back into work.”

Michael stands still for a moment, face emotionless.

“Jake:” Michael pulls out a cigarette and starts heading for the entrance of the store. “Fuck yourself.”

He pats Jake on the back as he heads past him. He was too focused on the fact that he accidentally got a coffee… not date… later that week. The concept was almost too much to handle, and Michael felt guilty about the whole idea.

You know; Michael thinks to himself. If I actually felt like this was a bad move, I would just leave my girlfriend. He puts the cigarette in his mouth to hold it until he got out of the building.

If I was a good person, I would probably realize that I am shooting myself in the foot. I would probably realize that this is a bad move.

Something different for everyone. Much less depressing and dystopian. This story is dedicated to my best friend, Shannon. Check out my other works. PLEASE consider supporting me on Patreon.

The Above {ANEWSIN VOL. 8 — Jason Garden}

//Edited by Luka Riot

“Why must we do this?”

A skinny girl stands smoking a cigarette in the midst of a collection of carnage. Machines pick through the gore, collecting as many valuables as they could.

A man steps forward. “You know that this is how we make our living. We need any sort of identification to prove we killed the right group. Now, hurry your smoke, Skylar. We gotta go.”

“Fuck you, Steve.” Skylar proclaims under her breath.

Several corpses litter the street around her. The smell of decay fills the air. Skylar takes one more deep drag of her cigarette and lets the smoke slowly leave her mouth. The cloud just hovered around her lips as there was no wind to replace the air.

The smell was putrid: flesh and steel flood the ground where the two stand, and it is not shielded by the elements. The area is bathed in the sun, and the temperature is sitting at a balmy 40 Celsius. Carnage as far as the eye could see.

Their job was simple. They just had to collect any valuables they could find. May that be rare metals, jewelry, or small electronics. Cellphones are the best find, as they contain a trace of gold. It wasn’t much, but it could be just enough to make the week affordable.

“I need a fuckin’ shower.” Skylar proclaims as she flicks the smouldering end of her cigarette off to the side, narrowly avoiding a machine picking over remnants of a cadaver. “Hopefully, the smell of the soap will clean the stench from my mind.”

Steve laughs. “How poetic of you! Soap. D’ya think we can afford soap? I dunno ‘bout you, but I can barely afford the water for a shower.”

Just then, an explosion behind a wall shakes the ground.

“Do you think they know we’re here? That sounded a bit too chaotic to just be construction.” Skylar asks, her expression showing mild fear.

This was the life they half chose to lead. The masses were forced underground decades ago, and a handful of people were chosen to be scavengers, looking through rubble. The corporations still feud over bits of what remains on the mainland, trying to get their hands on materials to manufacture things to sell to people so they can remain dependent on the corporations, so the corporations can exploit the masses and rape the lands they once inhabited. 

“The bombs sound close. Too close. We need to bail.” Steve is now right behind Skylar as he calmly exclaims this.

Skylar lets out a slight chuckle as her face softens. “You read my mind.” She pulls out a pad from her bra and pushes a button on the face of the device.

A small flying ship comes to their location. It has only two seats, and the full span of the wings is only five meters. The two get on and it leaps into the air. It doesn’t generate much air, yet moves with great power and speed. Skylar gets behind the steering wheel and Steve, in the passenger seat, keeps his eyes out towards the horizon.

“Did you collect anything?” Steve asks his comrade. “Your pack looks rather empty.”

“Sight can be an illusion. Size means little in this game, you know that.” Skylar takes her right arm and tosses a small satchel towards Steve. Inside is two rings and a cell phone. “We’re set for a bit, anyway. What did you find?”

“Some small stuff, but nothing this classy!” Steve’s tone is quite jovial. “We’re set for almost a month, even if we get half market value for this stuff!”

Steve puts the salvage into a bucket under the seat he is in. It clangs against a few other things that the two got from a previous venture. By Steve’s observation, they have the bucket half full.

The two of them soar through the air for a bit, keeping their elevation roughly a kilometer above the ground. They only remain at that height for a couple of minutes before Skylar suddenly drops altitude.

“I fucking hate this part.”

They enter a small cave, barely enough for their vessel to get through. It is far from well maintained. They ride the small entrance tunnel for at least an hour.

“Are the walls closing in around me, or am I just loosing it?” Skylar asks.

“You know you’re fine. You’ve done this a million times” Steve replies, sounding exhausted.

Patreon helps me pay bills, feed Luka’s dog and keep everything running.

~Another Podcast

I love Steve.

I am honoured to do a second show with him. The first one was over two years ago. Link here!

I link the YouTube account because it’s easy, but he is on several other areas as well. You can find him pretty much anywhere that Podcasts are found!

Special shoutout to Kevo, and to anyone else who does anything in the DIY scene anywhere!

OTHER NEWS! I now have all of my YouTube videos available on this site. Go give them a watch. Most of them are okay… The one where I clean the front wheels of my chair is annoying, but the rest are okay…