Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Evily Led

Hey Restless Ones (tm)...... FICTION! wait before you published writer run in fear, this has been published, Loafers Zine back in 1995 or 1996, I have the physical issue around here somewhere... anyway, yes this was the best and only (surviving) story that I wrote the whole time I was in college.... the first time around and the second time (as I recall).  Anyway, I still dig the first line, enjoy!

The Evilly Led
The nice thing about a padded cell is there is almost always a comfortable place to sit. Of course when you are wearing a straight jacket the only way to be anywhere close to comfortable is to lie down. Luckily u don’t have to wear a straight jacket anymore. I have complete freedom to wander around my cell, complete freedom to draw and write on the walls with my handful of non-toxic, washable markers. My doctor says it’s ok as long as I am drawing and writing ‘productive’ things.

To that end I have drawn sunsets, trees, landscapes and other natural events on my Western Wall. I have written the names of the best books I have ever read the best movies I ever saw and my favorite bands. The doctors say that ‘productive’ thoughts and events are the only way I’ll ever become well again. What they can’t see is that I have hidden the story of my incarceration in the jumble of words scrawled on the wall. If you string together all the blue letters from the top of the wall to the left and then down, you will uncover the tale of how I went from a fairly normal college student to a captive of the system.

I should have known better than to speak up! My mouth as always gotten me in trouble. I lie daily to my doctors; if I tell them what they want to hear maybe they’ll let me go, all I do know is that once I get out of here I'm going to get that .32 ACP semi-automatic pistol I have stashed away and I'm going to lace up my boots and change the world.

That’s right I said my boots. It’s those boots that got me into this mess. If I hadn’t taken a job to get the boots I would have stayed clear of the basement of the science building; I never would have seen the horror that lead me here. I would have never worn the title of madman, or crazy. Enough about that, I'm sure you want to hear my tale.

My name is Jack Bridger, I'm 21 years old, and until a week ago I was a student at Dark Lake University. The school is located in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The school is mostly known for its criminal justice and wildlife management programs. Funny some times they are the same thing. Anyway, I was there to study journalism. I found the investigation classes for criminal justice gave me the skills I need to get into investigative reporting. My mother, with seven years of higher education, still only managed to make enough money to keep a roof over the heads of my family. My father had disappeared when I was eleven years old; all they found of him was his shoes, smoke rising from their depths. So by the grace of some member of my extend family and a lot of government money I was in college.

I needed a new pair of boots, as I have alluded to. The only way to get the money was to get a job. I found the best deal around was to work as a janitor. [Well, the pay was the best I could find]. I was sent to the massive Dr. Ashley Campbell hall Science Building. I cleaned labs for a week and was switched to bathrooms for three months. The bathrooms were the worst job in the building and they were used to punish workers the building head didn’t like. The hope was that students would quit when they were faced with the idea of cleaning bathrooms indefinitely. The only reason I was able to switch back to cleaning labs was that someone the building head liked even less was hired.

The building has, my boss, was an uneducated, bigoted, sexist jerk. He didn’t like people who had opinions that were in conflict with his or people who were smarter than he. Of course, this effectively made all students his enemies. His superiors didn’t care what he did as long as the building got semi-clean. I quickly became the target of his discrimination. I openly criticized his bosses and spoke my mind. For this reason I was given the worst jobs and treated badly in general. It was only when a woman named Jen came to work in the building that I was given a new job assignment.

I was to run the floor-cleaning machine very night. I piloted the massive device through the halls of the six-floored monster building. Because of experiments going on in parts the building, I was not allowed on the third floor, and parts of the fourth floor were off limits to everyone. The worst part of the job was that I could complete it in only three hours. Our shifts were four hours long and it was bad trouble to get caught not working. The most common solution to being finished whit your job was to hide. By the time I got done all the good hiding places were taken. I could have gone and helped Jen finishes her bathrooms, but I would have likely gotten in trouble. So I wandered the building.

I spent a couple of initial nights wandering the top floors. I stayed from the restricted areas. I looked at a lot of gothic architecture and walked through many monolithic doors. Soon the top floors became boring and one night I went into the basement.

The basement was not off limits per se, but I was always encouraged to spend as little time in the basement as possible. Usually I ran the basement floors as quickly as possible and left even quicker. Once or twice I stopped to read the fliers on bulletin boards. There were old announcements of paper presentations, articles on strange subjects, and even once I found a notice about animal rights terrorists. Great. That made my day, the though of some animal rights nut sticking a gun in my face demanding my keys to they could enter someone’s office and destroy research or free animals from the labs in the building.

So one day I wound up in this place I waned into the basement. I had an hour to kill before I could go home. I walked the halls looking into darkened rooms, opening doors that had net been opened in decades. Mostly I found empty offices and dust covered labs. In one abandoned office, I found a couple of comic books from the late 50’s and early 60’s. I tucked them into my jacket with out reservation. It was obvious that they had been left behind long ago, and whom ever they had once belonged to was long gone.

Finally I was confronted with a door that read shelter. I have long had a fascination with the mentality of survivalism and the paranoia that surrounded the nuclear war in the `950’s and it’s resurgence in the 1980’s. So I wandered in. the place was like a lot of the other rooms that I had entered I was glad I had started carrying a mini mag lite. When I started ruining the floor machine I had started carrying the light so I could see the underside of the machine to snap on the brush pads. I twisted the light on and scanned the room. Here were boxes of prehistoric C-rations from World War II, and a couple of army cots with piles of dust covered army blankets on the ends.

What grabbed my attention the most was a closed cabinet at the end of the room from me. There was a shelf of books. Pat franks Alas Babylon, George R Stewarts Earth Abides and even a copy of on the beach by Nevil Shute. The real find was a copy of Richard Matheson’s I am Legend, which I added to the stash of comic books in my jacket. I had read all of the books, except I am legend, and was not the least bit surprised to see them here, they we were just the king of light reading everyone who survived the end of the world should read.

I examined the other shelves finding little of interest. That is until I started moving around empty boxes on the bottom shelf. I thought there were empty until one rattled. I opened it like it was some sort of Christmas present. I was rewarded with a Walter PPK and a couple of empty magazines. A couple of handfuls of loose ammo rolled around ht bottom of the box, the gun was covered with a heavy layer of dust and grease. I knew that was how guns were stored for long term storage, in grease, not dust. There was no way I was going to leave it there. What if some kids wandered in or worse my boss found it! Someone could get hurt or even killed.

I turned to leave that’s when I noticed the light in the hall was gone out. I walked to the door and looked down the hall. It was pitch black. Not wanting to let anyone know I was down there I wandered in the dark. I let my hands follow the wall, counting doorways and bulletin boards. I wandered blindly turning down passages and turning around, finally I had to admit I was lost, if there had been a gas station I would have asked directions. Ok I wouldn’t have gone that far.

Finally I turned on the mini-mag lite. The glow from the small flashlight was getting dimmer and I didn’t think I had any spare batteries in my jacket. I had so much stuff in my jacket pockets there was no telling what I had on me. I was glad for the jacket; I wouldn’t have been able to carry all that stuff with out it. I turned a corner and found myself looking at a set of double doors. There was a light emanating room the crack between them. I cautiously waked closer. I could hear noise form behind the doors. I was fairly certain I was in a place I wasn’t supposed to be.

I peered through the crack. The only thing I could make out was a moving line of white animals. I couldn’t be sure but I though that were sheep. My nose told me that they were some kind of animal. Strangely they made no sound. This was weird and I knew I had to get away. I turned to try and find my way to the stair well to the first floor that’s when the lights came on.

I was momentarily blinded. I could hear voices and footsteps, the thought occurred to me that I might just be about to lose my lousy job. I felt a cold chill run through my body as the voices came nearer. I had nowhere to run nowhere to hide. And the they came around the corner: my boss and one of the student workers, and a man I had never seen before.

‘there you are,’ my boss said grinning.

‘I I got lost in the dark, Was there a black out?’ I tried to sound unimpressed at their presence.

‘No. I turned out the lights, and you’re in trouble,” my boss said in the happiest voice I have ever heard.

‘Now I have to get rid of that weird Jen girl,” he mumbled.

‘Are you evil and demented, or just stupid? I said. As long as I was loosing my job, I figured I’d get in a few compliments to the boss. Someday I might need to use him as a reference.

‘You are not getting off that easy. I mean of course you’re fired, but that won’t matter where you’re going,”

He just kept running his mouth.

“Well listen how about I just meet your guys up stairs, you look like you have a drug deal or an illegal poker game to attend,” I was feeling brave and stupid

“See son, it’s not that easy. Why don’t you lead the way through that door behind you,” the stranger said

‘Don’t call me son, and you know I was raised to open doors for ladies, but if you insist,” I smirked.

‘Why you…” my now former boss yelped.

The strange man grabbed my boss’s arm preventing him from attacking me.

‘Save your snide comments for later,” the st4range man warned me.
I pushed my way through the doors and stopped in my tracks. What I saw was so awful I wanted to throw up. I felt bile rise in my stomach. My eyes beheld a number of men dashing about in plaid! Worse yet was he terrible machine they were servicing, I felt for sure that it had some diabolical purpose. It looked like a big cappuccino maker with two arms. Were they making mad scientist coffee here? Was this the Starbucks research lab? Each arm had a doorway, and there was a door coming out of the middle part of the machine.

The center was a huge metal cylinder with a glass top. The glass part was filled with water and floating in it was a huge brain. I was horrified. I watched as a line of sheep entered the right arm of the machine. A line of kids were herded into the left arm. Moments after entering the left arm the kids would exit the center door.

Only the kids were changed. They shuffled in a zombie-like state, drool dripping from the corner of their slackened mouths.

‘What are you doing here?” demanded, finding a hint of authority accident accenting my voice.

“Were creating the next generation of R.E.M. fans. Were making people who will wear NIN tee-shirts, walk out in the middle of their college classes, and most importantly run the world,” the strange man said, a smile creeping into his face

“ So your Ad men?”


“You’re free to go” the man said

“After what I have just seen you’re just setting me free? I could bring you down,” I occurred to me that I had chosen the wrong words.

“Who is going to believe you? Why would anyone believe you?” the man answered.

“Ok, I'm gone,” I shared for the door.

“Don’t forget to punch out, and leave the keys. You don’t work here anymore,” the boss called clearly upset his didn’t get the chance to punish me more.

My silence lasted a couple of hours. I stashed the gun and the comics I had found, and called the police. I insisted that kids were being turned into sheep and abused, and that my boss was a monster. The police came right over. I watched them arrive, I was ready to go, and I had my boots on and my jacket in hand. After a quick round of introductions I jumped into the car with no trouble. I thought it was a little strange that they wanted me to wear handcuffs, but they explained it was regulations, so I went along with them. Of course they brought me here. I’ve been here ever since; maybe I’ll get out soon. They say I'm crazy. Who knows?

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