Bottles (Fiction)

Empty bottles litter this tiny single room apartment. An old inexpensive ‘L’ shaped desk hugs the opposite corner from the entrance.  The one window allows the sun to shine on the longest part of the desk and on an unfinished painting.

When he was eighteen years old he ate an entire eighth of magic mushrooms. His trip lasted six hours and peaked for a good three and a half.  He slept and when he woke he was different. About his goals he gave a fuck and started to produce art immediately.  Before his psychedelic experience he just talked a lot.

He partied less but still smoked his cannabis, sativa strains to stay focussed while he worked and indica strains to help him sleep.  He drank, but only socially.  He produced work on a regular basis, two sometimes even three paintings a week and and one to two sculptures a month.  Galleries from all over the world wanted him and museums borrowed his work to show at fund raisers.

He was fucking rich and popular.  Not quite celebrity status but popular enough to get into certain night clubs without paying or waiting in line.  He also attended several celebrity parties and as a result began to neglect his true friends.  He didn’t care.  He thought the new people in his life were his new family.

Years passed.  He thought he was living the life until he came across another bag of mushrooms.  He was among his new crowd when he decided to once again take an entire eighth.  His trip was not fun at all.  He saw through everyone and realized that none of them really cared about him.  While coming down he called a couple of people from his early years and out of the four he dialed only one picked up.  A woman he was seeing.   When she found out he was on mushrooms she let him have it.  Pointed out when and how he fucked up his past relationships and how it was too late to mend them.

He stopped hanging out with people he felt were just using him because of his popularity – which was pretty much everyone he came into contact with.  He fell into a depression but still produced work, still showed at galleries and attended the openings and mingled with his collectors.  But it wasn’t the same.  His creativity started to fade and so did his income.

A year ago his cat died.  And two weeks ago his dog passed.  A week later he saw a doctor and was prescribed Xanax.  The doctor told him that the weed he smoked was probably intensifying his depression.  The doc being a professional, he listened he stopped blazing and only took the pills.  He followed the instructions and never drank a sip of alcohol while on the medication.  But now he’s sixty years old and alone.  He was working on his client’s painting after popping a pill when he was struck by the idea “I can end this shit when ever I want.”

He took a shower then went for a walk, to the market.  Bought himself an orange and a bottle of Vodka.  When he got home, he put on some music, sat on the floor, peeled his orange and after eating it walked on his knees to his desk and with a brush painted the word “sorry” at the bottom of the incomplete painting.   He grabbed the bottle of liquor, drank a quarter of it and unlocked his door.  Then he picked up the bottle of pills, and swallowed all of them.  He put on some ambient music then with his bottle of liquor sat against the wall next to his desk.  Leaned his head back against the wall, closed his eyes, shed a few tears and there he left his body to rest.

Copyright Jesse Velasquez TrappedInFlesh.com. All Rights Reserved.


Lemon (Fiction)

It’s time to go work, a job he keeps out of necessity. The girls, his niece’s are gathered around a fifteen year old car that belongs to the oldest.

“Hey kids” He yells in a stupid character voice – shit like that used to amuse them, but now the three are young adults.  They all respond one after the other sounding annoyed but still with a hint love “hi” “hey” “hi.”

Sad that his nieces don’t have much to do with him now he tries anyway “I’m off to work, what you girls up to? Something wrong with the car?” They stop talking and turn to look at their aging uncle. The oldest answers “just talking, the car is fine.” The youngest says softly “he probably wants a ride.” The middle aged girl reacts with a gesture and body posture; she’s annoyed. He realizes he interrupted something important to them so he adjusts his back pack and continues down the driveway.

Just before getting to the sidewalk he hears what could be a jet only it’s on the ground and getting closer. He stops, turns around and sees a strange car pull up. It resembles and ancient formula one race car only this thing seats four, each passeneger in their own cockpit.

Two of his nieces are sisters, the person driving is their father.  Rodrigo doesn’t think much of him, he cheated on their mother, his sister, and more than once. He left her after his last girlfriend got pregnant with his son.  Did his sister a favor, he wasn’t worth the heartache. Not so bright this guy and a total mama’s boy.  After greeting the girls he revs the engine a few times before letting it idle.  It sounds good, and with the sound still humming in his head Rodrigo remembers when and why he started to lose respect for his ex brother in-law.

When the girls were toddlers Rodrigo and their father were playing a video game on the console.  The girls were all laughs happy in the company of their father and at that time their favorite uncle.  They got to chasing each other in and out of the room and between the television and Rodrigo.

It was their father’s turn and he was losing the round. Frustrated, he yells at them to settle down. They stop for about a minute then continue with the game of tag, this time running between their father and the tv. His game character gets taken out and causes his team to lose the match. Round two begins. He’s off to a good start, has five kills and no deaths.  Here come the girls laughing and now with screams of joy. They run across blocking their father’s view just as he was about to get another kill, he misses, the other gamer fires, their dad is down. His character respawns. He charges forward and again the girls interupt and his character dies. There is still time left in the match, his character is back and just as he controls him into position the girls run across. He shouts at them “SHUT THE FUCK UP! CAN’T YOU SEE I’M PLAYING A GAME!” They stop running, their little faces now frowning holding back tears. “Go down stairs, and chase each other all you want, tell your mom to get you a snack.” Rodrigo says to them with a smile.  With the sadness still in their eyes they both grin as the youngest closes the door behind her.  Rodrigo can still here their little hand rail guided steps down the stair case.

“Hey girls!” he the cheat yells over the engine. In unison his daughters reply “hey dad.” His once, niece a simple “hey.”

He offers them all a ride.  They agree and jump in, each in their on own compartment.  Rodrigo watches as the cheat revs the engine then looks down at the dashboard and from the way he moves his arm it looks like he hit a switch and pushed and pulled on a couple of levers.

The car starts to change form.  All three girls giggle as the shape shifting bounces them around. From a low to the ground wide racing style the car turns tall and narrow looking like an old locomotive from 2001 or so.  They take off, loud and fast. He makes a right at the end of the street and again the engine roars on the other side ot the block.

He pulls up in front of the house and tells the girls on the passenger side row to stay seated and still.  After a number of pushes and pulls of a few levers and buttons the vehicle begins to rumble. A line shows up down the entire center of the car and it splits in half. Now it’s two. Two separate vehicles. Not motorcycles but two two-wheeled cars. Each kept upright by the wide tires and certainly some sort of balancing mechanism.  The cousin wide eyed and a little freaked out looks over at Rodrigo and lets out a “oh shit!” The oldest yells at her father “what do we do!?” He replies “just wait!”

Now the father and his youngest are in the first half and the oldest daughter and her cousin are in the second half. He revs the engine to the first half. The second car seems to react: its idle getting louder but not as potent as the first half.  The father rebuilt it but failed to realize that the second half has a drone feature that should have been disabled. He probably didn’t read the entire manual, skipped the pages that didnt have illustrations.  He burns rubber, the front end lifts off the ground and they take off. Zero to sixty in 4 seconds, easy. They get to the end of the street and the second car starts to rev louder. It starts to move, reving louder and louder. The girls are freaking out. The oldest in the front cockpit looking down at the dash board begins to mess with the buttons and levers. She hits a button and the thing roars and burns rubber. She yells “shit!” Her cousin screams “what the fuck!” The rear diappears into a cloud of smoke. Both of them screaming! Rodrigo drops his back pack to try to help but just as he starts after them the front end leaves the ground and it takes off! With only the rear wheel on the ground it starts to sway side to side as it rolls, no one is steering! Suddenly it makes a sharp left, bounces onto the sidewalk then makes another sharp left and breaks through a wall that divides two neighbors. It gets stuck. The engine is still running and the rear wheel is still going but the wall under it is keeping it off the ground. 

Rodrigo gets to them “girls okay?!” The cousin yells “Im good!” The sister half crying half pissed off “piece of shit almost killed us, lets get out!” Rodrigo holds the front end down so the rear doesn’t grab ground as they jump out. The sisters’s dad pulls up, leaves his youngest in the half car and runs to the wreck. He yells “what the hell did you do!? I spent months rebuilding it! Months!” The oldest stares her father down and says “Im staying here today. Jerk.” Rodrigo runs up to them “sure you girls are okay?” Both answer yes. “Okay, I’m taking off.” They say “bye.”

The cheat turns the half car off and gets on his cell phone. He speaks to someone about getting the car off the wall. His youngest walks up to him “can’t believe you care more about your stupid car than my sister and cousin, I’m staying home.” Rodrigo already heading to his job crosses paths with her, hugs her and says goodbye. Looking back towards the wreck he shakes his head and says out loud “just like his car, a lemon.”

 


Blind Man (Fiction, Story begins after ad)

From six to nine in the morning they pass. From eleven to two they pass. Then again from three to six they pass. That’s Monday through Thursday.  Friday and Saturday, all day, all night they pass, better days.  Sundays are different, the passing is unpredictable and less frequent.  But, on this day the givers are more generous. They drop more paper than metal.

Every day his routine is simple and the same.  He wakes up and makes his way to a near by family owned Mexican restaurant.  The owners know him. He and the love of his life would eat there up to four times a week.  Then they stopped.

For a while he ate alone.  He fucked up.  He continuously doubted her love.  He fell so deep into his insecurities that one day he asked a horrible question.  He started by saying “it’s a random curiosity, don’t be offended by my question.” She says “okay.”

“Would you ever have sex for money?” She replied, a solid “NO!” Him, so stuck in doubt said “I would” expecting her to say “you know what? I would too.”

He was fishing.  Looking to catch her slipping, confirming his thoughts of her doing something behind his back.  Instead what he got was a silence that lasted about twenty minutes.

“Really? You would fuck for money? I thought you were better than that.” She finally said to him. Not at all what he expected, and the mutual energy, the connection they both felt for each other was immediately severed.

Trying to justify his answer he blurted “Yeah, you know, if I was down in the dumps – homeless and shit! Yeah I’d fuck for money!”  She disagreed, saying “you have family, your brother, your sister and plenty of cousins. You wouldn’t end up homeless.” Again she went silent.

He felt her love but his mind would fuck with him and tell him otherwise. His hyper active imagination would conjure scenario after scenario of her being with other men.  Maybe it was because he knew her previous lover. That guy had a car, owned a home and had money in the bank.

She picked him up from work that night.  In those days wearing glasses, his eyes still functioned well enough so that he can drive.  This woman lived twenty miles west of where he worked and he lived sixteen miles east of where he worked.  It was several times that she made the trip just so that he would not have to spend two hours on public transit. She loved him.

From his job, he would take the wheel.  And  that night, after arriving where he resided, what would have been a tight hug and long kiss was barely that.  The hug was her hands on his shoulders, the kiss was the lightest of pecks on his cheek.   The distance was obvious.  After all his previous assumptions and interrogations this question fucked shit up.

She saw him less, a lot less and for months she tried to forget that night. She believed him when he explained that it was his messed up head – his insecurities that made him ask that bullshit of a question. But, it was her brain, her mind,  and her conscious that now doubted him.  Her heart ache was too much, she left him completely.  She didn’t speak to him and ignored all his attempts to communicate.  She blocked him on all social media, changed her number, moved away and instructed her family and friends to never let him know where she is.

He couldn’t take it.  It was his doing not the natural world, not Ometeotl.  He fucked it all up.  He tried but it was impossible, he was unable to forgive himself.

He moved out of state for years. Even tried living in several different states. He also had a few girlfriends, none of it helped, he headed home.  Once back he called up an old connect and after twenty some years of sobriety he got himself hooked on drugs. Drinking and using every day – he eventually lost everything.

Another morning at his favorite restaurant.  While still holding the door open he stops, and looks up.  The cowbells that he loved to hear were gone.

“Good morning Felipe!” came from the front kitchen.  Then from a table to his right “morning! your usual and the key coming right up!”

The family that owns the restaurant also owns the apartment above it.  They let him wash up every day and let him keep a few of his belongings on a shelf in a hallway closet.  One of the items is an old cell phone.  It’s without service but it holds a lot of memories. Felipe would take it into the restroom, sit on the toilet and while he waited for the water to heat he would scroll through it and cry.

“Here’s your key, thank you.  I miss the cowbells.” He says standing at the register counter looking back towards the front door.   “We do too. The string gave out.  They’ll be back up tonight, we’re going to use hemp cord this time.” the wife tells him.

He leaves the counter and sits at his favorite booth, the same one he used to share with his love.

While waiting for his breakfast he did as he always did – stared out the window and remembered what he lost.  That day after a few minutes he says under his breath “that’s nice.”  In his field of view he sees a lowered Mercedes with a tricked out V8 motor.  He could tell it was modified by the rumble of the engine and exhaust.

The car took his mind off the sadness for a bit. He imagined being behind the wheel hauling ass on the 110 Pasadena freeway at 3am hitting the turns as if there were no lanes. Then, in his vision he glances at the passenger side and sees her: hanging on to the door and the left edge of the seat laughing, shaking her head saying “you crazy man! I love you!”

“Damn” he whispers to himself, wipes a tear from the corner of his eye, and begins to eat his now cold meal. Half way into the still delicious eggs, chewing thankfully, looking down at his next morsal he hears the Mercedes again.  He looks up and there it goes, in the same direction.

He’s finished now and sits digesting for a bit, staring out the window again with one hand on his cup of coffee.  He’s thinking  the husband must have been in a bad mood or something – the bacon was too crispy, burnt really.

In the distance his ears pick up the sound of the same V8 only this time it’s not going, it’s coming.  There it is, but this time all the windows are rolled down and the car catches the red light.  While it waits for green the driver flicks his cigarette out the window, says something and laughs.  He doesn’t hear what is said but it must have been good because the three passengers jerk their bodies in laughter.  The light turns and the car proceeds.

Felipe scrapes every bit of food off his plate and eats it. He glances out the window one last time, gets up, picks up his mess and walks to the back kitchen.  After washing the dishes he used and all the others that were piled up in the couple’s sink he leaves. At the front door, as he pushes it open, he says goodbye.

Back at his spot now, he unfolds his plea sign and unfolds his seat made of two thick pieces of cardboard cut from a watermelon bin taped together and wrapped with grey duct tape. 

From his coat pocket he pulls out his cash box, an old, tall plastic cup. It held fresh squeezed lemonade from the Orange County Fair twenty or so years back.  He met his ex’s daughter for the first time that day.  It was a great time, a great memory.

He sits down, crosses his legs, straightens his back, and rests his elbows on his knees.  He holds his cup with both hands, bows his head, closes his eyes and enters a meditative state to ease the burden of waiting for donations.

Time goes by, it starts to cool which means the sun is going down.  It’s been a good day, his cups has some weight to it.  He adjusts his legs and while doing so hears the Mercedes again coming towards his location.  From the sound of the engine he can tell the car is coming to a stop and it does.  It stops at the parking space directly in front of him.  The person driving is skilled, he parallel parks in seconds.  At that time of day people are leaving not arriving – Felipe snaps out of it.  He’s awake and alert.

The passenger side door opens but does not close.  Then the rear passenger and rear driver side doors open but only the driver side closes.  The car is turned off but the driver never gets out.  Felipe pays close attention but no one is saying anything.  He hears their feat walk and join at the rear of the car. The trunk opens, there’s some whispering, then three long and distinct snorting sounds followed by laughter.  “Shit, these fucks are flying.” Felipe frets.

Felipe’s instinct kicks in.  Still holding his cup with both hands he stands up and leans against the wall behind him, now no one can sneak up on him from behind.  The laughter stops and Felipe hears three sets of foot steps heading towards him.  One stops close in front of him, this one giggles. The other two stop just behind the first, one on the right and the other on the left.

“What’s your name?” the first one asks with another giggle.  Now with his cup at his hip in his left hand and his right hand in a fist inside his coat pocket Felipe replies “why, and who’s asking?”

“Our names don’t matter.” now with a deeper tone of voice answers the one in the middle.   “What’s in the cup?” says the one on the right.  “None of your business!” blurts Felipe.

The one on the left snatches the cup from Felipe’s hand “I’ll see.” he says reaching into his cup with a laugh.

Jerk on the right yells joyously “oh shit!” chuckles then “look at his eyes, old man is blind!”

Middle guy “No way! No fu..cking way!”

They’re not from the neighborhood.  They had no idea Felipe was legally blind.  And just the same they had no idea he was not completely blind.  He was able to see silhouettes.  The dick of the bunch waves his hand quickly in front of Felipe’s face.  Then closer, so much closer that Felipe knows he uses moisturizer.   The left testicle says to himself “twelve bucks” drops the cup then stomps on it.  The plastic being so old crunches like an egg shell into little pieces.

Not reacting Felipe loses it.  The cup was the essence of the woman he loves and her daughter.  He is fucking pissed.  Now there is nothing left of her, nothing he can touch.

The dick is still waving his hand in Felipe’s face only this time it’s a middle finger. The three thugs are now closer and the middle goes in for a face to face look at Felipe’s eyes.  “You look like a fucking zombie.” he says.

“Fuck you.” Felipe thinks to himself.  The left nut decides to go in for a closer look.  “Fuhhhhk youuu” Felipe thinks again about the piece of shit that destroyed the last of his most valuable possessions.

The thief is close enough to kiss Felipe on the cheek.  Felipe acts. With his right hand he grabs the guy on the left by the ear, takes a step to the right and slams his head against the wall behind him.  Strengthened by his anger, he feels the skull crunch and the thief buckles then falls.  His body twiches then stops.

“He’s not moving!” You mother fucker! He is not moving!” screams the middle thug. The dip shit on the right starts to gag then bends over with arms straight, puts his hands just above his knees and begins to vomit.  The middle guy takes a few steps towards his downed friend, drops to one knee and cries “wake up fool!” He grabs his friend’s shoulders and wiggles him, “wake up!”

Felipe sees the guy on the right still bending over, but doesn’t hear any vomitting.   He gets to him, places both his hands on the back of his head and forces his face down onto the sidewalk, knocks him out.  Knowing it’s do or die, Felipe grabs a fist full of hair and slams his head into the concrete two more times with enough force to flatten the thugs face.

Felipe being old and out of shape drops to his knees breathing hard, trying to catch his breath, his hands are on his lap, his back is straight up leaning back as nimble as his age allows him to, his head is facing the sky “one left” he thinks.

He starts to stand when from behind he’s tackled.   The unexpected hit doesn’t give him time to use the full strength of his arms.  He hits the ground hard, his face makes contact with the sidewalk, forehead, nose and lips all in pain.  His nose is bleeding, probably broken, his upper lip fat and dripping blood.  The thug is now on top of him with his arms wrapped around Felipe just under the arm pits and his head peaking forward under Felipe’s left arm. Not very smart this guy.  Felipe takes advantage and gets him into a head lock with his left arm.  Never fully recovering from a dislocated shoulder his left arm is about half as strong as his right but it works.  Still lying on his stomach, he squeezes tight and starts to stand, the thug being choked has no choice but to follow. Felipe’s arm is just strong enough to keep the jerk in place so with his right arm free he starts to deliver blows.  He doesn’t care about accuracy.  His punches land on the thug’s nose, lips, forehead, eyes, chin, cheeks.  After at least 20 quick full strength hits he thug’s body goes limp. Felipe lets go and drops to his knees beside his opponent.  He’s out of breath and bent over with his forehead now resting on the sidewalk. He hears the car door open then slam shut.  “Shit! The driver.” Felipe says in a deep tired voice then coughs a little and spits.  The driver is walking over to him, and he’s clapping.  He stops next to Felipe still kneeling, still hunched over. “Good job old man.”  the driver says seriously.  He sounded disappointed.  Maybe because his friends got the shit beat out of them by a blind homeless man or because of what he is about to do.

The driver, with his left hand grabs Felipe by the hair and pulls his head off the ground, and straightens him.  Felipe is looking up again, as if in prayer. In the driver’s right hand a small crowbar. “Good job old man, but it’s time to rest” says the driver.  Felipe, tired and still out of breath does nothing. The driver raises the bar and brings it down onto Felipe’s face- it lands across both eye sockets and his nose, breaks all that bone and knocks him out cold. Then the driver steps to stand directly in front of Felipe.  He raises the crowbar again, higher this time, lets go of Fleipe’s hair and just before his body collapses strikes him on top of the head.  His skull caves in. Felipe departs. 

The driver gets a couple of water bottles from his car, walks to each of his friends and pours water over their heads. All three come to. He gives them a few seconds, “get the fuck up!” He says it twice then yells “HURRY UP! PUT HIM IN THE TRUNK! He then walks around the rear of the car, pops the trunk, sits at the wheel and lights a cigarrette. The body in the trunk, all of them in the car now, one asks “you have some napkins?” The driver, just after starting the engine, as he looks into the side mirror, replies “use your fucking shirt. All you, use your fucking shirts. Idiots.” They drive off. 

Wife at the restaurant is dusting the cowbells hanging on the front door yells over to her husband in the kitchen “It’s been a couple of weeks now, hope Felipe is okay.” The husband comes out sharpening a knife “Im sure he’s fine, maybe he snapped out of it and went to live with family.” The wife steps outside to look down the street and as the cowbells ring says “I hope so.” 

Copyright Jesse Velasquez. All Rights Reserved.