Monday, March 30, 2009

No Quote This Month

There is no quote for Apocalypse Madness this month. Instead, you have free reign to write a story inspired by any of the seven previous quotes. So if you missed one, needed to finish an extended story, or just want to revisit one you liked, now's your chance!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Alice's Wonderland: Mr. Hargreaves... he dead!

This is what going mad feels like.

Wake one morning and discover Ezra, the chambermaid, speaking with a giant cod in the kitchen. Ezra seems to be almost part gopher herself; whiskers and bulbous eyes and a furry snout. This is crazy of course, Ezra is not a gopher... except insofar as she goes and gets things. And the cooking lady is most certainly not a cod.

Mmm... cod.

No this, Reginald, is madness speaking. Ignore it. Put on your frock coat and boots, prepare your things. Yes, you were planning on going somewhere today. Your wife, remember?

Reginald Hargreaves tips his hat to Gopher Ezra as he departs, like nothing is wrong. What does she see him as, he wonders. She did see the little rabbit girl afterall. Ezra says nothing about the previous night. Neither does Reginald.

A thick fog has fallen over London, and the trip to the train station does not bode well. The people seem normal enough but every once in awhile some THING comes out of the mist; like those horse-people, chatting amicably about the weather.

They're just people, Reginald reminds himself; only people. Standing outside the grand trunk station in central London he contemplates turning around, finding a doctor. Giving up this madness.

But of course the doctors are useless, Reginald, you know this. They'll lock you up, put you away - or simply give the same advice they gave your wife. Speaking of which, weren't you going to see her?

That's right he was. He steps forward and purchases his ticket, making a point of avoiding the awkward stares of a man with what looked like a lion's mane looking up from some children's book he was reading.

He boards the train - first class, because he wants some privacy and maybe some whiskey to calm his nerves. Is this what the rest of his life is going to be like? He passes an elderly couple on his way to his cabin, they seem normal enough. In fact there's just one bear-boy thing that he encounters, with his mother, reading a book: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. What the hell? He is about to stop and ask the boy something...

But of course, Reginald, it is best not to get between a mother bear and her cubs. Indeed, that seems most prudent advice to him on second thought. After standing a moment staring he continues to his cabin, closing the door firmly behind him. Now, at least he can be alone with his thoughts.

He falls asleep. Or at least he thinks he does; its hard to tell now. What is certain is that he is woken by a voice in the darkness.

"I am going to kill you."

Reginald sits up immediately. It is dark indeed. The mist outside London seems only to grow thicker such that no light penetrates its murky depths. The cabin is nearly black, and the only thing he can here is the sound of the engine or the buffeting of the cars on the track. All else is silence.

"I say... is some one there?"

"Well if you don't say it - who would?" Was the reply, which seemed to come from nowhere in particular.

Reginald, most perplexed by this was struck dumb for a moment as he tried to puzzle how to conduct conversation with darkness, which seemed to conduct itself as though it were his old friend. "I don't rightly know."

"Well at least you're honest." Suddenly, right before his eyes a set of whiskers, nose and eyes appears, soon taking the form of a cat with a mighty grin upon its face. "To make introductions, I am a Cheshire Cat - the one who is going to kill you to be specific."

"You sir, are a cat."

"Cat's can kill things." The Cheshire Cat replies with marked formality. It begins to groom itself.

"I'm a person; cat's don't kill people." This is common knowledge: a ten pound housecat cannot overcome a hundred and seventy pound English gentleman.

"Cats don't talk either, but here we are." The cat replies and begins to carefully lick at its front claws, one by one, with almost ceremonial attention to detail.

The cat has a point Reginald. Still thinking upon the notion there really was no way he could see for the cat to follow through on its threats "I see. Well why would you want to kill me anyway? And why would such an obviously skilled assassin make such an obvious entrance?"

"Ah. Very excellent questions indeed." The Cheshire Cat replies, sitting upright. For the first time it regards Reginald with its undivided attention. "To the first question: because the Queen has commanded it and that is all the reason I need. For the second: because I am, as you may have noted sir, a cat; I like to play with my food first."

Reginald sat rigid. That the Queen would hire a cat to kill him was clearly preposterous. "Well, you'll forgive me if I see no reason to tolerate insolence, even from so well-spoken a cat. Please leave my cabin, or I shall put you out. Be kind enough not to return."

The cat simply sat across from him, grinning at him through the darkness.

"Right. Out you go cat." Reginald stood up and reached for the cat only to watch his hands evaporate right through it - the Cheshire Cat, grinning face and all dissolved into the darkness.

Little claws raked the back of his neck, but when he turned around nothing was there but the bench, luggage rack and darkness. Feeling the back of his neck there was just the barest trickle of blood. "Really now cat. Stop this foolishness at once."

There is no reply. Reginald searches the cabin but nothing pops out, no more savage cat maulings. After a few moments pass he dabs gently at the back of his neck, looking at the tiny little red stains. The stains begin to grow blurry. "Poison?" He asks no one in particular, really he is addressing incredulity itself.

The darkness begins to laugh. Reginald staggers a moment, supporting himself with one hand. Out, out, out of this place - out of this room, yes now - the sooner the better!

Reginald stumbles out the door, tripping over something. It makes a racket - pots and pans clattering to the ground - he is already halfway down the aisle before he realizes he just upended a cabin boy wheeling a dinner cart down the aisle.

"Where are you going Mr. Hargreaves?" The Cheshire Cat's voice is calm and collected, it comes from just over his shoulder but when he looks back there's nothing there and he stumbles again.

The cabin boy is now yelling after him about something. "I'm fine, just lost my balance - bit tipsy on these new fangled things you see." Good cover Reginald, yes, they'll suspect nothing now.

"What are you going to do? Hm..." He feels another slight jab, a pin-prick really, in his back and scrambles to his feet. A face lingers a moment, hanging in the air behind him before disappearing into the darkness.

He curses, stumbling backwards into a doorway.

"Mr. Hargreaves!" He can't tell whether its the cat or the cabin boy any more. The two voices seem to merge as one. The whole cabin interior begins to spin as the train shakes slightly.

It's difficult to say what happened next really. The one fact that investigators would glean from witnesses a few hours later is that an extremely agitated Mr. Hargreaves broke open the door at the back of the car and threw himself from the train.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Alice's Wonderland: Into the Mouth of MADNESS!

The lantern light cast odd shadows over the hallway outside the study, but there was nothing - no one, no rabbit - just an empty hallway.

And then Reginald felt a gentle tug on his pant-leg, accompanied by a soft, tiny voice. "You're going mad mister."

He jerked around like something had bit him and found himself staring down at a little girl in a white rabbit suit.

Only it wasn't quite a white rabbit suit. It was a little girl who was part rabbit... with floppy ears and disconcerting red eyes that now stared up at him. "Mister?"

Reginald continued to stare. The little girl's(if indeed that was what she was) nose and whiskers twitched inquisitively; as though she were scenting him.

He was halfway through asking who she was when he decided instead to settle with. "Who are you? How did you get in my house?"

"That's not a very polite." She replied, her ears flattening and eyes narrowing.

"I...well... listen here, this is my house!" He realized he was shouting which might awake the servants. Understandable perhaps with strangers sneaking in but there existed in the back of his mind some doubt as to how much of this conversation was real.

"Its kind of dark..." The girl replied, looking around. "...and dingy I think."

"That's hardly the way to speak about someone else's house but besides that, what's your name and who are your parents?" Reginald demanded. Half-rabbit or not she was still a little girl - maybe eight years old at best.

She seemed to deliberate on this question longer than necessary. "I don't know. I'm not sure that rabbit-girls have parents or names."

Reginald stood, again lost for words - at least momentarily. "Nonsense! You must have a name - and parents."

"Have you ever met a rabbit-girl before? I haven't." She asked. He couldn't say that he had. "So how can you really say? Anyways I think I was just a girl once... but I can't really say for certain. Its so hard to remember these things now."

"So you remember remebering things better before?"

"I think...maybe..." She paused and finally settled on: "I don't know."

"Listen, you can't be out this late..." He paused. "Rabbit or no - and you certainly can't be in my house."

"Then where will I go?" She asked, looking to him with imploring eyes.

It was one thing to say shoo out a rabbit, but quite another thing to say no to kick an eight year old girl out onto the street at 3 in the morning. "Wait here."

Ringing the bell for Ezra, their household servant, Reginald realized this could turn dreadfully awkward if the rabbit girl was indeed a figment of his imagination. However Ezra appeared faithfully, still tying a robe around her nightdress as she hurried towards him.

"Wha 'tis it Mista Hargreaves?" She sounded more irritated than usual about being woken out of a sound sleep.

"There's um..."

"A what...?" She looked at him as though he'd sprouted horns.

"A girl - in the house. I don't know..." Even as he continued he could see Ezra's face blanching somewhat. He trailed off staring at her, no doubt dumbly. "...what is it?"

"A little girl sir? You've seen her."

Sweet meriful God, what was going on here now, Reginald could not help but wonder. "... yes."

"With um... the ears sir?"

Reginald took a few moments to go stare at a wall. Ezra continued talking, though he was paying attention in only the vaguest sense of the word. "She's downstairs, outside the study."

Of course, when they went down the girl was gone and there was no trace she'd ever been there.

"Its them papers that done it sir - I got concerned for Mrs Hargreaves ya know... always in her room always reading and writin' that rubbish. So I decided I ought to make sure it wasn't anything might be harmin' 'er 'ealth - and why shouldn't I? That's when I first sawr 'er you know - but I couldn't say nuthin' to nobody; ye'd 'ave thought I was a right loon, and no country manor for me, oh no, I'd be right off to the asylum."

Reginald wasn't paying attention to her again. He wasn't sure what was happening now or why. One way or another though he needed to speak with Alice as soon as possible. He burned her papers before sunset, and through what sleep he got that night he had the vaguest sense that he was being watched by... something.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Alice's Wonderland: Redux

The return to London did not bring much respite. Reginald was going to have to visit Alice's parents sooner or later. Although they had been informed through letters, there was only so long he could put off visiting them personally. Meanwhile, his mother who had by now heard what happened - although he had been trying to keep it from her - was waiting for him upon his return from the country. Apparently the servants had let her in while he'd been away.

It was no secret his mother had never approved of Alice. Reginald had arranged the matter himself and the lack of consultation and an abyss in dispositions between the two had evidently grated on his mother. After the initial outpouring of grief and kind words he expected a scene, and lunch provided just the opportunity it seemed.

"I told you she was unsuitable. I just had that feeling. Remember when you were twelve? Remember that oh... Hirschfield boy? I had the same feeling about him too. Your father, God rest his soul, said it was just my imagination. But I knew! Oh I knew, a mother always knows..." He really didn't have the strength to argue right now and - interrupting her - excused himself to the study. The last thing he needed reminding of was that his wife had gone mad.

The study was, by this time, filled with many of Alice's correspondance and writings; boxes of them. The servants had brought them down here as they had been collecting up her things for her move. Opening a window, he settled into his favourite reading chair with a sigh. He could hear the his mother pacing upstairs following his withdrawl.

A year into blissful matrimony - to think things had come to this. He looked over at the nearest stack of folded correspondance: he could see his name written there. Leaning back he took up the letter. It was something sent from Alice's younger sister, Edith, and judging from where the conversation picked up it must have been written soon after their marriage.

Edith was full of questions about how things were going. Reginald had sensed from Edith the same sort of disapprova; Alice recieved from his mother and the letter did not disappoint him in his expectations. He did smile a little when he read Edith's characterization of himself as 'dreadfully dreary' and 'possessing all the excitement and imagination as a granite block.' Alice's reply was absent; she rarely wrote letters in drafts and he had recieved enough letters with words scratched out in scribbled ink to know. He read through a few more of Edith's letters, which comprised the bulk of Alice's correspondance, followed shortly thereafter by her mother and one of her old friends, Elizabeth Mosley, from back home.

Before long it was past dark and Reginald, finding himself squinting through the onset of night, was forced to light a lantern. Turning away from a sizeable stack of papers on his endside table he could no longer hear movement or noise from within the house, and the candle glow helped create a nice reading atmosphere. The last letter by Edith he read must have been recent, because it expressed concern for Alice and referenced a few of the ravings Reginald had witnessed himself in the last few days. It ended by suggesting that Alice should burn 'the papers' if she didn't want to end up like Lorina.

Reginald set the letter down. He could feel his brow furrowing on its own. He didn't know many Lorina's, and none at all as acquaintances of Alice - but then she kept a number of acquantainces and he didn't know them all. He made a mental note that he'd have to pry answers from Edith, for now though he went looking through the boxes of papers for these mysterious 'papers' on a hunch that the Alice he knew probably couldn't bring herself to burn written material of any form.

He paused when he spotted the first page of a series of writings, written in the bombastic flourish of handwriting that Alice typically used when she was particularly excited about something. The words caught his eye, because he had heard them mentioned by Alice in the broken-down semi-coherent rambling that she had been reduced to in her final days: 'nor did Alice think it so VERY much out of the way to hear the Rabbit say to itself, 'Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be late!'' - a white rabbit with pink eyes.

He read on about Alice's 'adventure' in this 'wonderland' pausing sometime after she - Alice - had begun to recieve advice from a caterpillar. It was now quite late. Reginald checked his pocket-watch: it was well past midnight now and he rubbed his eyes tiredly.

It was then, he would have sworn, that he spotted something out of the corner of his eye near the entrance to the study.

It looked a little like a white rabbit.

Monday, March 16, 2009

A wager lost

“How far does it go down do ya think?”

“I wouldn’t know, how far is forever, how long is eternity. I’m not smart enough to know yet and you certainly are not smart enough to understand.”

I ignored the quip.

“So it can swallow everything?’

“No, it can not. It will.”

“But how, it’s big but not as big around as the sun. Heck, it’s not even as big as Michigan.”

“Perspective, from far away these things are small, and nothing is as far away from being real as those things being devoured by it, so everything is small enough to fit.”

“But that’s just a metaphor. Metaphors can’t eat you.”

“This is true, but the metaphor isn’t what is devouring everything. That is.”
The speaker gestured, the action was devoured, so his hand stayed at his side.
“Do you see?”

“How does it do that?!”

The thing in the distance started to devour the stars, one by one.

“I am not in the habit of repeating myself but it does so by showing the world how small each thing in the world is next to its depth and hunger. That gesture was particularly insignificant so it fell in.”

“Why would you MAKE something like that!?!”

There would have been a pointed look to counter the pained one, but light was already eaten by now.

“SOMEONE bet me a dollar I could not make something larger then my own ego.”

Looking up we could feel the Andromeda galaxy and Planks’ Constant vanish into his creations belly, madness and pride battled in his eyes.

“I DID IT! Now pay up.”

Wishing well

Toss in a penny make a wish!
Only lucky pennies really work though!
How can you tell if they are lucky you ask?

New pennies are only lucky if they have been made by fairies. (This is very rare in these modern days – there is too much iron in the mint!) Once a Fairy penny has been wished with it isn’t lucky anymore, but it is still worth a cent!

Light brown pennies are lucky on Tuesday, sometimes. Others are only lucky on Wednesdays. Some are only lucky on Labour day in leap years. There is no way to tell. You just have to wish and hope!

Old brown pennies are lucky if they were made on a weekend by a left handed person named Jim, John, Jane or Janet. Actually, anyone whose name starts with J.

Who is left handed.

Who worked on a weekend and made that penny you are holding.

You never know.


Old green pennies are dirty. Clean them in a vinegar and water solution. It is not lucky but good sanitation makes us all lucky! We won’t get sick from pennies! Yay!

There is one more way to make pennies lucky, but it doesn’t involve tossing them into wells. It is easy and reliable but makes less *bloop* noises so not many people do it. If you keep the pennies you will soon have a dollar. Eventually you will have a million dollars!

This method has advantages. Many people wish for a million dollars and now you have it though your long term investment plan! Many people find once they have a million dollars they realize money is not what makes them happy. This is common with wishes. This is sad because that was many, many pennies they had to save. But there is still hope.

What would you wish for with 100 million wishes?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Wishing for Change.

There is someone gone down there,
Falling all the way to the ground.
Head over heels, arse over crown
All the way to the bottom,
It's someone you knew.
At a well they were wishing
To go somewhere quite new.

As they tumble on down,
Their excitement, it wanes.
Slowly replaced by something truly untamed
“Change is great!” They think, just before they hit
“Perhaps instead of myself, I could have tossed in a bit.”


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Real Deal

While we got Sammy cleaned up, he told us all about the real deal. I figured he should have no reason to lie to us about it at that point, although we were keeping close tabs on him. He said that only one person was supposed to go to make the deal; since his freedom was revoked until further notice, it was decided that I’d make the transaction. While I did so, the three of them had to wait in the car, Bill making sure Sammy didn’t try anything stupid. Caroline’s job was to observe them; if I came back and Sammy was dead, I wanted there to be one hell of a good reason.

The building the actual deal took place in was pretty nice, especially compared to the dump Sammy tried to off us in. Nothing really exciting happened; I got buzzed up and came in. The buyer was pretty sketchy looking, but he seemed pretty easy going. We basically made a bit of small talk, exchanged cases, checked to make sure we weren’t getting screwed over, and then I left. As a plus, Sammy was still alive when I got back.

We drove back to Bill’s place completely silently. Once there, we divided the money, five-hundred thousand a piece; every dollar was accounted for. There was a loud discussion about what to do with Sammy’s share and Sammy, but I felt that he still organized the deal and did a lot of work, so he deserved his share. Besides, what’s the worst thing that would happen if we let him have his money, he leaves town? As for what to do with him, I felt we should talk about it more in the future. Until the rest of us came to a decision, however, we’d be watching him.

Bill continually harassed me to come to a decision about what to do with Sammy, so I told him we’d talk about it. Today, that’s what we’re doing. We sit at the cafe, a block away from the house the opposing gang used to reside in. It’s actually a very nice place, and we have come back a few times since that excitement. As a bonus, it doesn’t seem like too many people knew about it; it’s not a bad place to come to for discussing matters like this.

“I want to kill him,” Bill tells me, straight up. “I mean, he almost killed you; this shouldn’t be such a hard decision.”

“I know,” I reply. “I’ll never be able to trust him again, but I just can’t bring myself to kill him.”

We sit in silence, sipping our drinks. I look at him; he finally says, “I have no problem killing him.”

I raise my eyebrows, “I never doubted that for a second.” I pause, “But I don’t think we should kill him; it’s not just that I can’t physically kill him, but I can’t just sit back and sentence him to death.”

We stop talking again. I glance away, observing passing cars. “What I think we should do,” I add, “is tell him to get out of town.”

I look back at him, continuing, “I mean, we can’t trust him anymore, but I can’t kill him; it’s the only thing we can do.”

He sits there, considering what I said. “Well, I guess that’s what we have to do, then,” he tells me.

Silence again; another sip of our drinks. He looks at the traffic, and then adds, “But I still think we should kill him.”

* * *

I hit the buzzer to Sammy’s apartment. We wait a few seconds, but receive no answer, so I hit the buzzer twice more; still nothing. “Hmm,” I say, “He doesn’t appear to be home.”

“Or at least he’s not answering the buzzer,” Bill adds. “I don’t like it.”

We stick around for several minutes until an old lady walks up with two large grocery bags. Bill and I walk up quickly behind her as she opens the door. “Here, let me get that for you,” I say, as I hold the door for her.

She smiles at me, “Why thank you, young man.”

Bill rushes in right after her and presses the button to the elevator, holding it open for her. She walks in and, seeing that we aren’t following, asks, “Aren’t you taking the elevator?”

Bill responds with a large smile, “No, ma’am. We’re actually on the first floor.”

“Such gentlemen,” she says as the elevator doors close.

We walk over to Sammy’s apartment, and Bill knocks on the door. We wait a few seconds, with no answer. “Try the door,” I say.

He tries it, and it opens. We walk in, yelling, “Sammy?”

We both look around, and he doesn’t seem to be in. I sit down on his couch and notice an envelope with a letter beside it. I pick up the letter and shout, “Hey, Bill. Check this out.”

He comes back into the living room and sits on the couch beside me. I read the letter aloud, “Dear Max, Caroline, and Bill. I can’t blame you for being angry with me. I have a hard time believing that greed could cause me to act the way I did, but I can’t deny that it happened. I felt an unyielding sadness every time I looked at you ever since the incident, and I could see that you never looked at me the same way either. Therefore, I felt it would be in all of our best interests if I left town forever.

“In the envelope is most of my share, minus what I used to chip in for the cost of ingredients and also minus a small amount to help me get on my feet when I start my new life. You may also notice that the remainder divides three ways very easily.

“I know I will always live with the burden of what I have done to you, but I hope that, while you will probably never forgive or forget what happened, you will believe me when I say I’m sorry. Because, that’s what I am: sorry.”

I cover my mouth. I feel like I’m either going to laugh or cry, or both. Bill says, “Well, I guess he’s gone; great minds think alike.”

“P.S.,” I continue reading, “If your name isn’t Max, Caroline, or Bill, please don’t take the money.”


"The stage is now set. I will show the answers to your questions using your own memories. Before you became comatose, you already knew most of your answers; you just forgot them. "

Morpheus closed his eyes and went silent for a few moments, then slowly opened them again. A door appeared before him.

"You see, Ryerson, memories never leave us. Our mind take thousands of snapshots daily, and files them accordingly. Weak memories are the result of the minds tendency to forget to remember."

He pointed at the ethereal door.

"I have taken the liberty of finding the ones you were looking for. All you have to do now is enter and see them for yourself."

Ryerson nodded, and took a very deep breath before pushing the door open with both hands.

He emerged in his Cincinnati apartment, looking just as empty as it had ever been. As soon as he shut the door behind him, his phone rang.


"Ryerson? It's your mother. I, I don't know how to tell you this, but... It's about Peter..."

He felt himself freeze like he did the first time he had heard this call. He knew how it went from this point on.

He left through his apartment door just as he had entered it, and emerged at the frosted glass window of a private investigators office. He now remembered this clearly as the day he was there. This was probably the third time he met him; he remembered this engagement very precisely.

"No gang involvement, no outstanding debts or vendettas of any sort, and only about two people I talked to even know the guy. I don't know what to tell you, other than I have absolutely no leads on your brothers case."

He left the stuffy room into a more interesting domain; his fathers office. Sometime while he was in high school in another county, his dad had scored himself a very snug job in the city's upper echelon. It was rather sudden too, but Ryerson was far too apathetic to dig into the details. His dad had become rather rich and powerful since he had last saw him, so he decided to take it upon himself to use some of those resources to continue the investigation on his own.

He remembered an awful lot here, rifling through the greasy rolodex on his dads gaudy desktop. Names he knew from his childhood: like P. Kurly, a smelly friend of his dad's who sometimes came to the christmas parties; he always had sound advice like 'never shave'. Or Sam Paxton, a man who he had always seen with his father, but had never talked too. When he had the common sense to know it, he figured he was a dealer or something.

There were also a few dangerous looking names that looked to have been added recently; names Ryerson had heard only mentioned with a very cautious hush, or had read about in the more unpleasant of newspaper clippings.

"I remember now. Dad, I couldn't possibly have turned a blind eye to this, regardless of blood."

He closed the rolodex with a mute sigh, made a b-line for the office's double-doors, and heaved them open. The room he was in now was not familiar in any sense. It was completely black, save for the solemn eerie glow of a street-lamp, and a familiar figure leaning against it.

"Brother." It was Peter.

"P..Peter..." Ryerson sheepishly responded.

"I need you to listen to me very carefully." Ryerson just nodded. "Before I told you that I wasn't going to see you again, I was following dad's dirty footprints for a good while. He was getting himself into some very heavy shit - much worse than his tangos with coke. He was in real danger, the kind where people get stomped by sledge hammers, if you know what I'm saying. He may not have ever really been a real father, but he was the only one I had, so I tried to stop him."

Peter collected his thoughts a bit, as well as bit back some of his radiant emotions.

"He wouldn't have it, no matter how I urged him, he just wouldn't fucking listen. So I left home for a very long time. I kept tabs on him and everyone around him; those who he owed money, those who were out to get him, even those who fucked him over and thought they could get away with it. I was his shadow, his silent guardian."

Ryerson sat down beside the lamppost and continued to listen intently to his brother's message from beyond the grave.

"Word got out that dad was damned invincible. People started to really fear him, and I'm sure I've told you before what kind of power comes from being feared. He nestled himself into a position of legitimate power and was able to double his influence. "

"Ah, so thats how he did it."

"Yeah, but he was getting really out of hand. He definitely didn't need my protection anymore. In fact, at that time it turned out I was doing what I could to stop him entirely; too much power in the hands of an unfit man.

I was clumsy though. He caught wind of what I was doing, and when he found out it was me, he feigned joy over the rediscovery of his oldest son, and took me home for dinner. During the night, he drugged both myself and mom, and raped her. When we came too, he pinned it on me, threw a fit of rage and kicked my ass to the curb. He looked for me later that night, and shot me once in the chest."

Ryerson jumped up. "What?! Why would he do that? If he was going to kill you, why did he do that to mom?"

"He didn't want her to find out that her son had been investigating her husbands crime ring. He wanted to keep her in the dark, in case she got any funny ideas. Doing this ensured that she would be caught off guard.

Dad also used it to his advantage; he had enough power that he was able to use that to cover up my death. It was said that a bunch of junkies ran into me and roughed me up a little before killing me."

Good Lord, thought Ryerson.

"And finally, he had the balls to try to kill his youngest son. You know, it was dad who poisoned you. You were getting too close to the truth of the matter, so he fixed you a cocktail that was to die for."

He just stood there, jaw agape. He had a feeling, but never did he commit to the idea.

"Fortunately you survived, and you're going to awaken soon. And brother..." He paused. "You're going to kill dad for us."

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Deal

We couldn’t find out anything about the people who shot at us; no one knew anything, or at least no one was talking. It probably would have helped if I saw what type of car it was; I’m sure a description better than, “it’s black,” could have jogged some more memories. I also considered that they could have mistaken us for someone else, but I didn’t want to assume something like that. No matter what, it seemed like a good idea to ditch the car and get myself another one. I ended up getting an old ’95 Civic beater. I didn’t like it as much as the Caddy, but it was cheap, fuel efficient, and completely inconspicuous. Plus, if my random assumption was right, there was no possible way anyone would mistake me for the same people again. No matter what, we were all on the lookout for suspicious individuals in black vehicles, and in general.

Sammy told his buyer that we required three months to make the Meth, and he agreed. And, let me tell you, we worked extremely hard in those three months. We basically lived at Bill’s place during this time, which is where the lab moved, and we were constantly running all over the city to different pharmacies and hardware stores to get more ingredients. We were also a lot more careful when it came to security. Really, if we were caught before, it would have been nothing compared to now, with extremely large amounts of methamphetamine sitting around. We also had to be careful in regards to other people hearing about how much Meth we were producing and deciding that they’re entitled to it. I hadn’t ever seen that much Meth in a single place before. Actually, I don’t even know if we had even produced that much up to that point. I mean, we spent near fifty-thousand dollars on ingredients alone for this big pile of Meth. Luckily for us, the three months were fairly quiet; no bullets and no Roepers.

“Turn there,” Sammy says, sitting beside me.

“But there’s nothing over that way. It can’t be over there,” I respond.

Here we are, the four of us in my car guarding two-million dollars worth of methamphetamine, and we can’t even find our way to where this deal’s supposed to take place. “It has to be over there,” says Bill. “We’ve been around everywhere else in this area already.”

“Okay,” I say, “I’ll turn down there. We’ll check it out.”

I turn the car down the road, “I don’t know. I don’t think we’re heading in the right direction.”

“Wait!” exclaims Caroline from the back, pointing, “That place right there! Is that what we’re looking for?”

She’s right; that’s the address. I don’t see any other cars, which is a good sign, because we beat them here. We wanted to get here before them in order to look around and check the place out. I stop the car and we all get out, Bill carrying the case containing the drugs. We walk over to the front of the small, dilapidated building and I open the screen door, which is hardly attached to the building. I walk inside and the others follow. I flick on a light switch and the bare bulb in the centre of the room flickers on; I’m surprised that this place is actually getting electricity, to say the least. The room has an old table in the centre and a few broken chairs lying around. There’s a counter near the entrance, some cupboards at the far end of the room but, other than some cobwebs and dust, not much else. “Looks like a good fixer upper,” Bill says, chuckling a bit to himself.

He walks through the doorway on the far side and into the back room. Caroline brushes off the counter and sits up on it; I touch her leg as I walk by her. She smiles. Sammy walks over to the other doorway and flicks on the light switch beside it. He looks at me, “Should I inspect the basement?”

“That sounds like a good idea,” I reply. I look at the floor and table, noticing the dust dispersed in certain places, and I add, “Hmm...It looks like someone’s been here somewhat recently.”

Sammy walks through the doorway and I hear his steps creaking down the stairs; they must be old and wooden. I look back at Caroline. “So, Maxwell; you nervous at all?” she asks me.

I step closer. “I wouldn’t say that,” I answer. “I’d say I’m more...excited than anything. But, I suppose ‘nervous’ could describe it as well.”

Bill walks back in. “Nothing through there,” he says. “However, there is a questionable looking toilet, if anyone needs to-”

Bill’s interrupted by a loud crash coming from the basement. We all freeze, listening for anything else. I yell, “Sammy? Is everything okay down there?”

A pause, and then Sammy yells back, “Um...I might need someone’s help down here.”

My heart nearly stops. I motion to Bill to come with me down. He nods, but runs over to Caroline and gives her the case. I walk to the doorway leading to the basement, and look over to her, worry plastered on her face. I change my glance to down in the basement; the stairs have walls on either side of them. At the bottom, it opens up to the right, into what looks like a larger area, where the light is coming from. I start down the steps slowly, creaking as I walk. I look behind me at Bill, who pulls out his glock. I get to the bottom, where I step around an old crate sitting on the last step.

From the bottom, I can see into the basement itself, but I still don’t see Sammy. I almost walk through the doorway, but something doesn’t feel right. I stop and say, “Okay, Sammy, I’m-”

A shotgun blast hits the wall immediately in front of the doorway. I get startled; I look up at Bill, and he also has a look of surprise on his face. I know I need to think fast; I could grab my revolver, but I’ll probably get shot in the process. I look down at the crate. I pick it up, and I ready myself. I wait a few tense seconds, and Sammy whips around the corner, shotgun in hand. I heave the crate at his head, and he falls back, shooting at the ceiling as he does. I look back up at Bill and yell, “Run, run!”

He runs, and I follow, running up the stairs two at a time. I get to the top, and Caroline is off the counter with a terrified look in her eyes. Bill’s trying to get her to run, and I yell, “To the car!”

She listens, tossing open the screen door. She runs across the street followed closely by Bill. I exit the building and start to follow, but I hatch a plan; I crouch next to the door and wait for Sammy, who I’m sure will be tailing right behind. Moments later, the door flies open again. I spring up and grab the barrel of the shotgun. This completely surprises him; I feel that his grip isn’t that tight on the firearm, so I bring it up swiftly, hitting him hard in the face with the barrel. He stumbles back somewhat, blood spurting from his nose. His grip loosens more, and I bring the stock of the gun hard into his stomach. He falls onto his knees, and I relieve him of his weapon.

I kick him over so he falls on his back. I walk over, grab him by the shirt, and pull him into the yard, getting him away from the door; he lies on the ground, still holding his stomach. Bill and Caroline stop running at this point. Bill flies back to the yard in a fit of rage. I step in between him and Sammy and yell, “Bill! Bill!”

He doesn’t want to hear it; I can see that he wants to tear Sammy apart, limb from limb. I try yelling some more, “Hey! Hey!”

He looks into my eyes, and I say, “Here, hold this,” giving him the shotgun. “Just don’t shoot anyone with it right now.”

Bill stops and takes it, but I can see that he’s still fuming. I crouch down in front of Sammy and lift him up by the shirt, which is quite bloody at this point, the blood still rushing out of his nose. “Sammy,” I say quietly. I pause, gathering my thoughts, and then shout, “What the fuck was that?”

He doesn’t respond. I shake him, “You just tried to fucking kill us! Why the fuck did you just try to kill us?”

He looks me in the eye, a sorry display of a man. “I wanted the money,” he tells me.

I continue looking at him. I don’t know what to say; I just can’t believe he could look me in the eye and tell me that. I let go of his shirt and stand up. I can’t bring myself to even look at him anymore. I cover my eyes with my hand, and I try to choke back a sob, but it doesn’t work. Tears come; I do everything I can to control it, but every time I look back at him, I can’t stop it. I look at Caroline, who walks closer at this time, then I somewhat regain my composure. I look back at Sammy and ask, “So, wait; the deal’s still on?”

Sammy looks up at me, “Yeah. It’s going down somewhere else.”

I stop and think about it, drying the tears from my cheeks, and most likely rubbing some of his blood on in the process, “How much time do we have?”

“I don’t know...still an hour or something,” he answers. “I don’t know what time it is right now.”

I think about it longer; time to snap into action. “Sammy,” I say, authoritatively, “stand up. We’re going to go back in here and get you all cleaned up. Once we stop that bleeding, then you’re going to tell us – Bill! Don’t point that shotgun in our direction!”

Bill seriously looked like he was going to fill Sammy full of lead as he was standing up. He points the gun away, so I continue, “Sammy, come with me, we’ll see if we can stop the bleeding.” I point as I speak, “Bill, Caroline, come chill out in the house for a bit, and we’ll get ready for the actual deal.”

We all head back into the house, tensions high.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


I know that man. I saw him in a dream a while ago, in a coffin at that. I wasn't too sure, but he looked like my brother would have, had he been older than I had last saw him.

I was adopted, but my real parents always tried to keep some contact with me. I was told they dropped me for financial reasons, and I believe that; I was probably an unplanned occurrence in their tightly-knit budget, and it looks like there would have been no way to support two kids. I would see them usually on Christmas, my birthday, and at graduation ceremonies, but my brother was seldom there. He, being 8 years older than I, was always occupied with more interesting matters; Drinking down by the bowery with a couple of his retarded friends or roughing up some school kids for some easy money were some of his pastimes, if I recall. He lead a troubled childhood, but from what I heard from mom, calling their household dysfunctional would be an understatement.

Though I didn't meet up with Peter that often, I formed a strong brotherly bond with him - more so than with my apathetic parents. When we did meet, he would educate me with priceless life lessons. Mantras like "Nothing is set in stone, everybody has their price" and "When things get rough, trust in yourself. The long arm of the law is crippled" still stay with me to this day. He also gave me the presents that I really wanted: Like when my parents gave me a Nerf gun, he gave me a 7mm that he 'found'. We were pretty solid.

The last time I saw him was when I was fifteen. He told me that he had to go away for a long time, and that he couldn't tell even me why he was. I knew it had to be something dangerous that he was getting into, but I also knew better than to try to stop him. The next time I saw him, I guess, would be now.

But... Why would dad kill him?

And brother, what did you get yourself into?

Laying Low

I told everyone to lay low after the Roeper incident. Sammy asked around and it turned out that Roeper was playing it smart, telling everyone he got mugged by some big, black guy. Still, in case he started talking, I wanted everyone to play it cool; no selling for a while. We all went our separate ways briefly; Caroline and I went on a short road trip out west and Bill went to Montreal for a bit. Sammy stayed in the city, writing a novel, or something. The whole time, my mind was elsewhere; I was aching to get back to making money. Apparently, Sammy shared my feelings; he approached me soon after Caroline and I returned.

Laying low for Sammy may have proved to be quite beneficial, financially speaking. People kept asking him to sell to them while we were gone, but he kept telling them that we weren’t operating right now. Apparently, demand got so large that someone else was stepping up to the plate to provide for them. He was approached by a man who wanted to make a large buy from us, obviously to sell it at a marked up price to all the starving junkies.

Sammy and I sit in my idling car. No sound, besides the radio playing quietly. He looks at me, and I look ahead, watching the few people walking by while I consider what he just told me. I look at him, “So how much were they offering?”

He responds almost instantly, “Two million dollars.”

I look ahead again, wiping my mouth. We made a lot of money, but nothing like that. We sit in silence again. One deal would get us five-hundred thousand dollars a piece. I turn to him again, “And how much do we need to make?”

He pauses this time. “Five kilos,” he tells me.

I keep looking at him, thinking about what he just said. “That’s a lot,” I pause. “We need time. We don’t have supplies right now, and it’s going to take long enough to run around getting all that.”

He opens his mouth, but I interrupt him, “Not to mention the time it will take to actually produce that amount.”

I let him speak, “It’s possible; we can do it.”

“I agree,” I add, “It’s possible, but we just need time.”

I look ahead again. He watches me intently, waiting for me to say something else. “Man, I can’t even begin to appreciate how much time that will take,” I say. I look at him and raise my eyebrows, “Five kilos?”

He nods his head. “Getting the ingredients for five kilos’ worth is going to be a task on its own but, even after that,” I tell him, closing my eyes to do some mental math, “one batch takes us two or three hours to make. And how much does one batch make? Half, maybe two-thirds of an ounce, if we’re lucky. So, we’re going to make how many batches?”

“Around four-hundred,” he tells me.

I mouth the word ‘four-hundred,’ and I shake my head. I add, “Okay so, after we get all our shit in gear, it’s still going to take us a...Month, month and a half, to actually synthesize that amount.”

He nods. I look at him, not knowing what else to say at this point. Two million dollars was a lot of money; we could quit after this and never look back. We sit, listening to the radio without talking.

Our peace is suddenly ended by a gunshot, and my rear window shattering. Without thinking, I push the stick shift into first, pop the clutch, and floor it. I pull out quickly, but another shot sounds, my side mirror getting knocked off in the process. I look over at Sammy who appears to be scared out of his mind, but not wounded, and I yell, “Get down!”

He listens. I glance in the rear-view mirror and see a black car following. I fly around the next corner, nearly hitting a car waiting to turn left. I hit the gas and manoeuvre around another car in front of me. We gain a lot of ground, but I see the black car speeding around the same vehicle a ways behind me. “Hold on,” I say, as I run a red light, swerving through the traffic.

People honk at me, but slam on their brakes, narrowly missing a collision. Our friends stay behind, not opting to do the same stupid thing. I turn a left this time, cutting someone else off; he gives me the finger. I drive down this street a ways and, not seeing the black car behind us, pull into an alleyway. I slow down a bit, back into someone’s parking spot, and turn off the car.

I see him shaking in his seat. “Hey, Sammy, don’t worry,” I say in as calm a voice as I can muster. He looks at me, still shaking, and I continue, “We lost them. We’ll just stay here for a little while, and we’ll be safe.”

I roll down the window and pick up what remains of my side mirror, barely dangling to the side of my door. “Jesus,” I say, when I consider what just happened, letting the mirror pieces dangle once again.

I turn to look at the rear window, looking at Sammy in the process. I see that he’s calming down slightly, but still a bit shaky. What can you expect, though? I’m not surprised something like that rattled the guy. I’m more surprised that I’m taking it fairly well.

I look to him. “Sammy,” I say, and he looks back at me. “We need three months. Two months might do it, but I want to do it right. Tell him that.”

“I w-will.”

I continue staring at him, “And Sammy, remember; if anything looks bad...If he gives you any reason for us not to trust him, or even if you just get a funny feeling, we won’t go through with it. I’m leaving this one up to you.”

He looks a lot less shaken now. I hear the conviction in his voice, “You can count on me, Max.”

Saturday, March 7, 2009


“I asked around,” says Sammy, “and Roeper’s been talking for a little while now. No one else wanted to get involved.”

The four of us are sitting around the kitchen table in my apartment. “It’s like I was telling Bill,” I say, taking a swig of beer. “I’ve been running into him every now and then for some time. It looked like he was following me or something a few times, so I’m not too surprised that he went to the cops.”

“Well,” adds Bill, “You know what we have to do, right? We can’t just let him get away with this. We need to show him that this won’t stand.”

We all sit in silence. Caroline looks me in the eyes, then at Bill, and back to me, “Just don’t kill him, okay?”

“What do you want us to do?” exclaims Bill. “If we rough him up, that douche is probably going to run back to the cops.”

“I agree with Caroline,” interrupts Sammy. “He tips off the cops, and then he dies mysteriously? People are going to start asking questions, and the most likely answers will involve us.”

Silence again. I tell them, “Okay, I agree. We’ll hurt him and scare him,” I point at Bill, “but no killing. We just need to make sure he doesn’t run back to the cops.”

“But, really, how are we going to stop him?” Bill asks, more calmly this time.

All three of them look at me. I say, “We’ll go to him and see how intent he is on getting the cops involved again,” I pause. They wait to hear what I’m about to say, intently. I continue, “Then we’ll do what we have to.”

We sit at the table in silence for quite some time.

* * *

I see Roeper come out of the lab, looking like he’s concentrating on walking home. It looks like he’s trying very hard to avoid eye contact with anyone who happens to be around, even though the only other person nearby is me, and I don’t think he saw me. I walk behind him quickly and come up beside him, “Hey there, buddy. What’s the rush?”

He looks at me and turns pale, saying nothing. I continue talking, “Don’t worry about it; I’ll give you a ride. Hop in.”

He looks forward, then back at me, and tells me, “Oh, no. I’m actually just going to walk.”

I pull out my revolver and point it at him, keeping it close to our bodies just so no one would be able to see it if they walked by. I smile a cruel smile, and say, “No, no, I insist.”

I walk him over to my car, open the door to the passenger side, and push him inside. I close the door, walk around to the other side, and get in. I start up the car, and pull out. I look at him, still pale, and tell him, “I see my friend’s taken the liberty of introducing himself to you,” referring to Bill sitting behind him. “Yeah, don’t make any false moves; he’s got a gun. If you try to get out or anything, he just might get startled and blow your head off.”

He understands the situation, not saying a word or moving in the slightest. He’s breathing heavily, and I’m not surprised. Finally, he asks me, “Where are you taking me?”

I pause to think about what I’m about to tell him, turning onto Spadina, “Let’s just say, we’re taking you somewhere...”

Bill finishes my sentence, “Secluded.”

I look over to Roeper, still frightened, and back to Bill, “I wouldn’t say that. ‘Secluded’ is such an ugly word. I was going to say something more like...‘Intimate’.”

Bill laughs. Roeper doesn’t seem to find anything funny about the situation. Eventually, we arrive at the harbourfront. At this time, most of this area is deserted, excluding the occasional warehouse set up for a rave; none of them seem to be booming, so we’re probably good. I drive around a few corners, making sure we’re alone. I stop the car. “Get out,” I tell him.

Bill and Roeper both step out of the car, Bill with his weapon out still. I put my gloves on and then follow. Outside the car, I start walking toward Roeper. “Okay, now I’m sure you know why we’re here,” I say.

He stands in silence. He finally says, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

I slap him across the face and he cries out. “Come on, Roeper,” I say to him. “Right from when we picked you up, I could tell you knew what was going on. Cut the bullshit.”

He looks at me, holding the side of his face, saying nothing. I step forward and deliver a nasty blow to his stomach. He leans forward, the wind knocked out of him. I just push him down to the ground. I crouch down in front of him, “You know, I can keep this up all night.”

“What do you want from me?” he shouts, suddenly. “What do you want me to tell you?”

His sudden emotional outburst surprises me somewhat, but I don’t let it rattle me. I yell, “Why did you do it, Roeper? Why’d you tip off the cops? Did you think we’d just take it, and let you live your life?”

He gives me that same look of hatred from several months ago, “I thought you’d wind up in jail.” He pauses, and then adds, “I can’t believe everyone was just pretending nothing was wrong! You’re selling Meth; it’s illegal and you’re ruining peoples’ lives, and no one else seems to care!”

I stand back up, and turn my back to him. I look at Bill, and he doesn’t look happy in the least. Roeper continues, “I couldn’t believe Dr. Jones didn’t report you when he had the chance.”

I turn around, “Dr. Steve gave me advice and helped me out; he told me I’d succeed, if I was careful.”

He laughed, “Yeah, right. He didn’t want to get in trouble, that’s all. He just wanted you out of there. In fact, he thought you’d get caught by the police right away.”

I stare at him, and I’m sure he can see the rage that is building up inside me. Roeper looked much more comfortable now, “I followed you around, and it didn’t even seem like the police noticed or cared. I just gave them a push in the right direction.”

We sit in silence, staring at one another. “I’ll tell you what, Roeper,” I say finally.

I pull out my revolver, and I can see the hatred on his face change back into fear. I take aim, and he closes his eyes. I fire a single shot through his left thigh, and he wails in agony. I drop down to his side, and I grab his thigh. “If you ever,” I dig my thumb deep into his bleeding wound. He continues to writhe in pain, and I say, “EVER contact the police again...”

I let go of his thigh and point my revolver at his forehead. He opens his eyes, tears flowing from them. I finish, “You won’t live to see your next birthday.”

I stand back up, and I start walking back toward the car. I turn around, look at the disgraceful display on the ground in front of me, and say, “I don’t ever want to see your face again.”

Bill and I climb back into the car. We drive away in silence, leaving Roeper alone to bleed all over the pavement.

Friday, March 6, 2009

That was a Close One

We waited patiently and watched carefully for days, but there was no retaliation. The days turned into weeks, so we looked into it further. As it turns out, they were scared shitless; word on the street was that they left the area after something spooked them. To verify, we checked out the house, and they were gone. The weeks turned into months and months without seeing our friends again, so I stopped caring.

I bought a car. It wasn’t anything special, just an old ’69 Cadillac; I wanted a slicker car, like a Shelby, but I figured I didn’t want to draw too much attention to myself. I drove it around quite a bit, but I found that Toronto traffic and pedestrians generally made me an angry man, so I tended to drive in moderation. Yeah, night driving wasn’t too bad, but it got ridiculous during the day.

On this particular day, I was walking. I had to run a few errands, which were basically comprised of buying some new clothes and some groceries, but that was about it. I don’t really have anything exciting to say; I got two pairs of jeans that fit me very well and I bought some food.

I turn the corner right before my apartment, when I see something peculiar. I turn around and go back quickly; there are two guys in suits sitting in front of my place reading the newspaper. It wouldn’t be too much of a surprise if there was, say, a bus stop in front of my place, but no; they’re waiting for someone. I peek back out. It looks like they’re been here for a little while, since they went through at least two coffees a piece. I stay behind the corner, pull out my cell phone, and dial Bill.

“Pick up,” I say, hoping it’ll help cause Bill to be home.

It rings twice, and then he answers it, “Yeah?”

“Bill, it’s Max. Two cops are outside my apartment. I think they’re waiting for me.”

He pauses. “Like, they pulled up in front of your place with a cop car? They’re just sitting there?”

I peek back around the corner, so as to give an accurate description, “Well, no. They’re in suit suits, not cop uniforms. But I can tell they’re cops. I need you to get Sammy and come over, quick. I’ll meet you at the back; we have some cleaning to do.”

I sneak around to the back, and both of them are here shortly. “Where’s Caroline?” Sammy asks as we go inside.

“She’s out with friends, thank goodness. I’ll bet they buzzed up here and didn’t get anyone, so they’re waiting.”

We get up to my apartment, and I let us in. “Okay, fellas,” I say, “Let’s clean this up as fast as we can. Remember, neatness counts. And – Sammy, wait!”

He freezes in place. I continue, “Whatever you do, don’t go near the window. If they see someone up here, the jig’s up.”

We take a good half-hour making sure there’s nothing around that can incriminate us. By the end of it, we load all the glassware and ingredients into my car. “Here, Bill. You drive, and I’ll have to walk up to the front with my groceries now,” I toss him my keys. “Oh, and take this,” I take off my holster and revolver and hand them to him.

I start to turn around, but then I stop and say, “Wait. Remember, drive the speed limit. Oh, and don’t do anything stupid like getting in an accident; something like that’s liable to get us all in jail.”

“Don’t worry about a thing. We’re in the clear,” he reassures me.

I sneak back around and walk up to my apartment with my keys out, pretending to be oblivious to the two men. I see one motion toward me, and the other looks, at which point they approach me. “Maxwell Turner?” one asks me.

I put a puzzled look on my face, “Uh...Hello there. How can you...?”

The other one speaks, “I’m Detective Flannigan and this is Detective Lubic.”

I shake Lubic’s hand, and Flannigan continues, “Can we come up with you to your apartment, sir?”

I ask, “What seems to be the problem?”

“We’ve got a report of a methamphetamine lab in your apartment,” answers Lubic. “We’d just like to look around a bit.”

“Oh-okay,” I continue my confusion, “If you have to. Are you sure you don’t have the wrong person? I can assure you-”

“Sir,” Lubic cuts me off, “just let us in.”

I lead them up and into my apartment, and they proceed to look around. “Would you two care for anything? Coffee?” I say, as I think of the irony of offering them coffee after seeing several empty Tim Horton’s coffee cups at their feet outside.

“No, we’re just going to look around, if that’s okay with you,” says Flannigan.

“Sure, no problem,” I respond as I walk into the kitchen and start putting my groceries away.

I finish, and I realize I need to go to the washroom. “I’ll just be in there for a second if you need me.”

Lubic nods and I go. As I’m washing my hands, I notice three small bottles of iodine tincture sitting on a shelf in my bathroom. I mutter under my breath, “Oh, man. What the hell are those doing there?”

My mind races quickly. How am I going to explain that being here? “Oh, no, officer. They’re for sanitizing my drinking water. Toronto water, you know.” I probably would be able to say that I use it as an antiseptic when I cut myself, but seeing the tincture would probably give them reason to keep tabs on me, especially with there being three bottles. I look around frantically: the window. I open the window and place them on the ledge out there, just out of sight, closing the window afterwards.

Once I come out of the bathroom, Lubic checks in there and Flannigan frisks me. Lubic comes out, Flannigan looks at him and says, “He’s clean.”

Lubic shakes his head, “Nothing in there either. We’re sorry to have bothered you, sir.”

They both leave and I breathe a sigh of relief. My relief is short-lived, however, when I grab the iodine back and get enraged. “Who the hell puts ingredients in the bathroom?” I say to myself. I then pause, and my rage changes gears, “And who the hell called the cops on me?”

I walk over to my living room window and watch the cops drive away in their car. Suddenly, it dawns on me. I mutter, “Roeper.”

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Above all else, I have to find out who tried to kill me. Morpheus told me that the toxins had already been removed from my body, that they were able to save me, but my mind is still lost. In order to get it back, I'd have to dive into the backwaters of my wayward thoughts and get a glimpse of what was going on before all this.

I didn't know how to do this; all that Morpheus told me to do was to keep going forward, eventually I'd get back far enough. Then he showed me a door, and I've been going through corridors since.

So many corridors, good lord. I'm sick of it. They vary so much; some were a deep crimson with a velvet lined ceiling, some were baby blue and split into many different doors, some were modern with bright windows. Some were even familiar, probably fragmented bits of my memories - but of that I'm not sure. All I know is that they felt very nostalgic.

Anyway, I figured whenever I come across a hall that felt right, I should always follow it to the end. I also figured it was a bad idea to backtrack, since Morpheus told me to go forward. Anyones guess would be as good as mine at this point.

The deeper I followed the more strange and familiar corridors, the more I started to remember things, but also, the more it hurt to do so. My head was throbbing, and I was experiencing powerful memory triggers, ones that called very vivid and detailed bits of my past.

Bam! My first fall off my first bike, ouch;

Bam! My foster mother scolding me for setting the kitchen on fire back in '79;

Bam! My... my father? My biological father? What is he doing? I don't remember him like this at all. This is completely different than I remember him.
Wait, there's someone else here too. Dad is packing heat, and it doesn't look like he's pulling it out to show it off. Some shit is going down here, but who is that other person?


Lock, stock and barrel. I better do something before dad does something he'll regret.

"Hey!" Shit, they can't hear me. What should I do?

Bang. Only took one shot - dad always was a good shot. I remember now, him telling me that a man with a machine gun is no scarier than one with a pistol. He told me that in the end, it only takes one bullet to bring a man down.

He's leaving, doesn't look like I can stop him either. Oh well, let's see who his unlucky point of interest was.

Oh. My. God.

Lesson 5: Don't Fuck With Us

Sammy told us about the guys who messed him up. He was out selling at the time, when this gang came up on him. They told him this was their turf and they didn’t want someone else muscling in on it. They must have been new in the area, since I hadn’t heard of them before this; probably a brand new gang trying to get known. It worked so far, as they left an impression on me. They wanted to make sure he understood, so they roughed him up and took his Meth and money.

We did some sleuthing, and we found the guys who matched the description Sammy gave us. Turns out, they were exactly what we thought, a brand new gang making sure everyone knew they meant business. And here we are, Bill and I, a block away from their crib, waiting for almost all of them to leave. There are only five of them, so we’ll wait until we count four of them leaving. Fortunately for us, there’s a coffee shop a block away with perfect visibility from the front patio.

I sip my espresso, “So, I don’t know what’s going on. I keep seeing him around; he could be stalking us, you know. It’s something to look out for.”

“I’ll keep an eye out,” Bill tells me. “We don’t want him calling the cops on us.”

I put down my cup, “That’s what I’m afraid of. But I don’t think we have much to...” I see him looking into the direction of the house intently, “Are they leaving?”

“Yeah, it looks like...Three of them.”

“Okay, and the other one’s still gone?” I ask.

He looks at me, “Could have went in the back, but it looks good.”

“Good enough for me. Let’s do this.”

We walk out and over to the house. I look around, and there’s no one in our immediate vicinity, so I pull out my revolver and make sure it’s still loaded. I flip it closed with a click, and put it back under my jacket. “Ready?” I ask.

He adjusts his jacket slightly, “I was born ready.”

I knock on the door. We wait, but there’s no answer. I can hear loud booming bass playing inside, so I rap on the door much harder this time. We wait, and the door opens this time, opened by a tall, lanky guy. He looks us over quickly, and says, “Can I help you?”

I respond, “Yeah, I’m pretty sure you can,” and I nod to Bill.

Bill pushes the kid down on his ass and walks inside. I follow him in, close the door behind me, and lock it. The kid looks shocked, and stutters, “H-hey, do you have any idea who I am?”

The kid scrambles back slightly, and Bill walks toward him, saying, “Why, yes. Yes, we do.”

“And do you have any idea what these are?” I add, as we both pull out our pistols.

The kid freezes, and I tell Bill, “Bring him into the back room. I’m going to check upstairs quick.”

Bill proceeds to grab the kid by his hair and drags him into the other room. The kid screams. I climb the stairs carefully, the music getting louder as I get higher. I push open the door slowly and look around: no one’s there. I check the other rooms, and I don’t find anyone. I head back downstairs and into the back room, where I can hear the kid sobbing, “Don’t kill me, man. Please, don’t kill me.”

I walk through the door and see the kid in a chair, tears all over his face, and Bill’s glock almost right in his mouth. I put my revolver away, “No, we aren’t here to kill you. We’re here to warn you. We’re just messengers, here to tell you that you fucked with the wrong people.”

“No!” he yells. “I’ve never even seen you before!”

Bill tells him, “You don’t even know who we are? You might be out of your element.”

I walk around the room, their kitchen, the kid sobbing the whole while. I turn to him and walk right up to him, “And now, I really want you to remember this.”

I pause, my face close to his. He opens his eyes, and looks utterly terrified.

“DON’T,” I yell this as I knock his chair over backwards. He hits his head hard on the floor, “FUCK,” I kick him as hard as I can in his side, and he reels from the blow, “WITH US!”

I finish off by stomping on his jaw. I can feel his jaw break under the force put forth by my foot. The kid wails in pain, bleeding from his disfigured mouth, and I nod to Bill. We walk out the back door.

We walk a roundabout route back to my place, ever so cautious that no one is following us. I can feel the adrenaline starting to slowly wear off. Bill looks at me, and says, “And now, we wait and see if they retaliate. Better stay ever vigilant.”

“Yeah,” I reply, “we’ll see if they’ve got any balls.”

We laugh.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


"You're probably well aware; The universe is believed to exist in four dimensions. It actually exists in many more, but for those locked in cages of flesh, it really only exists in three.
Think about it, time doesn't exist, at least not in the sense you think of it. There are only two instances of times, and they are both instantaneous.

The first instance is called the 'Antecedent Moment', and it refers to the last moment of time that had just passed. It actually doesn't exist, but because of the phenomenon of memory, it forges a sense of the 'past'. Our memories consist of the stacking of antecedent moments, and we only know of the 'past' as a sum of them because we have the ability to make sense of these instances.

The second instance is called the 'Current Moment', and this refers to the moment that all events occur during. It also refers to the only frame that any real 'time' exists in. These two together, and the physical three-dimensional world are all that human minds can perceive, but that doesn't stop us from envisioning other possibilities. That's why we can see time as a line, rather than a string of instants"

Does he really expect me to wrap my head around that? That's not even what I asked. Maybe I should just nod and smile.

"I can tell I'm losing you, but do not fret, Ryerson, I'll answer your queries yet. Before that, however, let me introduce myself. I am Morpheus, think of me as a shepherd of your inner self, your dreaming self. The part of you that exists in the other world. You wanted to know where you are, and you wanted to absolve your concern over your slipping reality - I am here to help you with that.

The first thing I want to let you know is that here, in this recess of the mind, know that the confines of time and dimensions are broken, and that is why you have been experiencing a twisted form of reality."

I guess I'll buy that, for now. "Where is here, again?"

"You are in your mind, in-between the awake and dreaming worlds. You are stuck here, in dreamless sleep, and that is why I have come to rescue you."

What? "Why am I here?"

"You are in a coma. You have been for a few years."

A coma? This is the first I've heard of it. "How?"

Then he told me that I was poisoned. Intentionally.


Ah! Fuck, woke up with another splitting headache. This is getting worse. I'm fine the night before, but I wake up feeling like a train wreck. Not to mention the pain I'll probably carry with me the rest of the day. Stomach pain, fevers, chills and nausea have become my uncomfortable roommates. It's God awful, I swear it.
But why? I was never like this before. It just doesn't add up. Even my doctor can't find a damn thing wrong with me - not that he could find the starboard of a schooner from any which way.
What is going on with me lately?

Hmmm, it happened again today, second time I've noticed it yet.
I was waiting in line at 7-11 and glanced over my right to the front store windows. Outside, I noticed a woman and her child, but they weren't moving; That is to say that they weren't walking. They were moving, but it was in one spot, and it was very unnatural. It looked like they were skipping, like a CD does when you've used it as a coaster, or a youtube video when you've only got dial-up. It was like they were replaying the last few sudden movements over and over again, locked up like some laggy-ass Xbox game.
It only lasted an instant.

This has to stop, it's really distracting...
On that note, when was the last time I was baked?


Fucking dreams.

So get this, I fell asleep after hitting the couch to some Home Improvement reruns, and I had this messed up dream. It was like getting born, but the opposite. Not dying, but getting unborn; Crawling back into the uterus. It was really graphic, but not that realistic. After the vaginal gates, there was a long hallway, white and pure with scarlet draperies adorning its lofty walls. It was very large, big enough that a horse-drawn carriage could ride through. I know this because one did, and inside it was a coffin. It was really odd, because even though it was opened, I didn't recognize the person inside. But now that I think about it, I never did know what my brother looked like. Damn.

Well, what do I know about dreams or uterus's anyway?

Lesson 4: Get in Shape

We started selling. I worked in the Chemistry lab less and less, until I stopped going altogether; I decided that I should commit myself fully to synthesizing and selling. It started out slowly, as expected, but people were slowly hearing about us. Eventually, we weren’t doing too badly for ourselves, but we could always be doing better. Demand never diminished, so there was nowhere to go but up. I was hoping to find one person or group to buy a lot of our product in one fell swoop one day, but we didn’t have to worry about that yet; better off staying grounded in the present, not to get ahead of ourselves.

We didn’t run into many snags at this point. Well, I had to yell at Sammy a few times for doing stupid things. One day, he came in with about two-dozen boxes of Sudafed, all of which he got from the same Shoppers Drug Mart. It took us a long time to explain that this wasn’t a good idea, because he had it in his mind that he was being smart since they were on sale at the time. Eventually, though, we convinced him that people look out for possible Meth dealers at pharmacies, and he hasn’t done anything like that since.

Today, Bill and I are sparring a bit at his place. I figured I healed enough since last time, when he threw me through a wall in the basement, so I should be good to go. Ever since some potential clients gave us some trouble a while back, we decided we should know how to fight, and we started sparring every chance we got. We didn’t really feel like hitting Caroline, so she didn’t come along; plus, I tried to make sure she wasn’t out on the streets if I wasn’t around anyway. Sammy didn’t come along basically because he was a bit of a wuss, and very opposed to anything involving physical pain. We tried to get him involved, because you never knew when it would come in handy, but he wouldn’t have it.

Bill and I also started going to the gym regularly. The workout was gruelling, with both intense cardio and strength training, but the results really paid off. Now, I was able to run for quite a long time without really having to rest, and I’m sure I could really pack a wallop if I hit someone else. Well, I knew Bill’s punches really hurt, anyway. Plus, I looked good, so I didn’t mind keeping it up.

We chose Bill’s basement for sparring mainly because it was spacious. We take off our shirts and shoes, Fight Club style, and start circling around. “Ready to get owned again?” he asks me, laughing.

I come at him, with a large haymaker to start things off. He’s ready for me, and he steps to the side, delivering a punch to my stomach in the process. He goes for another swing, but I step back. He comes a bit closer, but I deliver a nasty kick to his thigh, so he backs up slightly.

“You’d better be ready this time, Bill,” I tell him. “This is gonna hurt.”

I come straight at him again, faking another punch. He tucks his chin in, ready to move with it, but I jump up and deliver a knee, aimed at his face. I don’t jump high enough, and get him in the chest instead, but he still falls back. I keep coming, delivering several hooks. He blocks a few and gets a few good ones in the face. I grab him, ready for some dirty boxing, even though Bill’s much better at dirty boxing than I am. Suddenly, my cell phone rings.

I look at him, and he looks back at me. It rings again. We disengage, both breathing heavily. I turn as though I’m going to get the phone, then I hit him once in the arm, and run to my phone. “Ow. Jerk,” he says, rubbing his arm.

I pick up my phone. “How strange, I don’t recognize the number,” I tell him. “Must be Sammy calling from a payphone.”

I answer it, “Hello?”

“Hey Max, it’s Sammy.”

Bill looks at me, and I give him the thumbs up. “Hey there, Sammy,” I reply, “what can I do for you?”

“Uh...Where are you right now?”

I pause, “I’m at Bill’s. Is something wrong?”

Bill looks concerned at this point. Sammy continues, “I need to talk to you. I’m outside your place right now. Do you think you can come on over?”

“Yeah, for sure. I’ll be right there.”

Bill and I grab our stuff and rush over to my place. We come around the corner and see Sammy sitting there. “Sammy!” I yell.

Sammy gets up and I’m not prepared for what I see. He’s bleeding from his nose, which looks broken, he has a cut on his forehead, and his left eye is purple and swollen shut. He says, “We definitely need to talk.”

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Lesson 3: Know Your Surroundings

Now I had people I trusted helping me out and my Meth lab was set up. I got Sammy to practice synthesis a few times and, once he got the hang of it, we both made sure Bill and Caroline wouldn’t blow us up either. While we were still in this practicing phase, I took a lot of time to walk around and make sure I knew the area really well, and I recommended the same to the others. If we were going to be dealing around here, you never knew what kinds of sticky situations we’d get in. It would be useful to be able to always have several escape routes on hand if, say, the cops came down on us.

On this particular day, Caroline and I were walking around the neighbourhood in the middle of the afternoon. “Wow, look at that house, Maxwell,” she said to me. “How would you like to live there?”

I looked the house over. It was a very nice, well-kempt two-storey house. It had the old-world charm of most of the houses in this area, but it was also fixed up; old meets new. “I don’t know. I like the big bay window in the front, but I’m not a big fan of the grey bricks,” I told her. “Hmm...The back yard isn’t too big, but they really have a large, wooden fence back there.”

She stood on her toes, trying to look past me at the fence and yard. “You know,” she added, “I think someone would be able to hide in that yard quite easily, should the need arise.”

She looked back at me, “Okay, genius, what house would you like to live in?”

I looked around at the houses in the area. I wasn’t a big fan of any of the houses. “I don’t know,” I said. “Everything around here isn’t that bad, but I can’t say that anything really jumps out at me.”

“Looks like you can run into that alley and hop a couple fences to get onto that street,” Caroline told me as she pointed. “Let’s take a look where that leads to.”

We turned the corner. It looked like we were on a fairly quiet avenue now. “Not bad,” I said, “barely anyone around.”

“And it’s not that far from Bloor,” she added, “so we can get here quickly if we need to.”

We walked further down the street, and I saw it: a house I absolutely loved. “There it is,” I told her enthusiastically. “That’s the house I’d live in.”

She took a good look at it, and asked me, “Really? But it’s so run-down.”

“I know,” I added, “but it’s got character. It would need a bit of fixing up, but it would be worth it. I love the look of it; it really looks like nothing else around here.”

She considered it, “I guess. Although, I wouldn’t dart into that yard in a hurry if I were you.”

She pointed, and I could feel my eyes widen, “Holy geez, look at the size of that dog.” I paused, “Isn’t that a pit bull? I thought there was some law banning those in this city.”

She laughed at me, “Are you for real? Since when were you such a law-abiding citizen?”

I just laughed, “Well, what do you say we head home?”

She had a huge smile on her face, “Okay.”

On the way home, we passed by the post office, the bookstore next door, and the two-storey apartment building next to that. I stopped walking, and Caroline looked at me, confused, “What’s the matter?”

“You know,” I spoke to myself as much as I spoke to her, “that ‘For Rent’ sign has been on that apartment building for as long as I can remember. I wonder...”

I released her hand, and walked around to the side of the building. I looked up and down the building, and she just stood there looking at me. I walked back to the bookstore, still scanning the buildings. The bookstore was right up against the apartment building, and I noticed a small walkway between the post office and the bookstore. “Come on,” I said, jogging down the walkway.

She followed, and we wound up behind the post office. There was an alleyway with several Canada Post trucks parked in it. I scanned the wall of the bookstore, and saw the downspout of the rain gutter coming down. Next to the spout was a garbage can; I climbed on the can and hoisted myself up so I could grab the rain gutter. With a bit of effort, I hoisted myself up and onto the roof of the bookstore.

I looked down at Caroline, “Okay, give me your hand.”

She climbed onto the garbage can, and held up her hand, at which point I helped pull her up. We looked around. The building was slightly higher at the front of the bookstore, but it was lower where we were; no one would be able to see us from the street. “Aha,” I said, really excited at this point, “Just what I was hoping for.”

I gestured toward the single window from the second-storey of the apartment building. I walked over and tried the window; it budged slightly, but it was jammed. I really yanked on it a few times, and it eventually came open. I stepped into the apartment and helped Caroline in. The room was completely bare, albeit quite dusty. “And here, my dear Caroline, is a very good hiding place.”

Monday, March 2, 2009

Lesson 2: Find Good Help

I figured I should get more people to help me out before I started synthesizing Meth. I mean, not only would it be tough enough to do everything on my own, but I also thought that there would be times where having other people around to back me up would be useful, and there have been. However, while this was true, I didn’t want to have too many people involved; I wanted to have an intimate little group of people I’ve known for a long time, who I could trust. The last thing I needed when drugs and money were involved was someone stabbing me in the back.

The first person I talked to about this was my good friend, Bill. Bill and I went way back, all the way to elementary school. We’ve been close ever since, even though we took different paths in life; Bill never did anything after finishing high school. At this time, he was working some dead-end job in a call-centre, and I knew he was strapped for cash, so I figured it’d be pretty easy to get him on board. I also knew he sold pot for a while a few years back, so he shouldn’t be too opposed to selling some Meth instead. He had a head on his shoulders and, beyond all else, Bill was really loyal; if he got caught for possession, he wasn’t talking. If trustworthy was what I was looking for, Bill was the way to go. Plus, he was a pretty big guy; you never knew when you would need some extra muscle. Just as I thought, Bill came on board without too much discussion.

The only other person I wanted to approach at this time was my other friend, Sammy. I hadn’t known Sammy as long as Bill, but we were pretty close as well. I met Sammy in high school, when we had almost every class together. After high school, he decided to take Chemistry along with me, so I still wound up seeing a lot of him. I considered Sammy not only because I was fairly close to him, but he thought about things in a creative way; while he didn’t always have common sense, he could come up with solutions to the strangest problems. I figured, as long as Bill and I were around to keep Sammy grounded in reality, this would be an asset, plus he would be able to help with the actual synthesis of the Meth. The only problem I foresaw with Sammy was that he was generally nervous in regards to doing something different and taking a risk, especially if he expected jail time or bodily harm, so it might take a lot of discussion before he became part of this project. No matter what, there was no harm in asking him as I knew he’d never tell anyone that I asked if he didn’t take part; he wouldn’t get in trouble. As was expected, it took some convincing, but the money involved was the biggest factor that really helped to get Sammy involved.

At this point, I was basically ready to start, but my conscience got the best of me. After thinking it over for a while, I felt that it would be unfair to my girlfriend, Caroline, to do this without telling her about it. And, really, we lived together, so I’m sure I’d have a hard time hiding it from her. I also felt that she should have the option of not staying involved with someone who’s manufacturing and selling illicit drugs. In hindsight, I probably should have talked to Caroline before approaching either Bill or Sammy, but it was much easier to bring it up with both of them.

We were sitting on our couch at the time, just talking. Well, she was doing most of the talking; I was too busy muddling how I was going to bring this up with her in my mind. In amongst all her random stories she was telling me, she finally looked at me and asked, “Hey, is there something wrong, Maxwell? You haven’t really said much all night.”

You see, Caroline was the only person really close to me who used my full name. It was strange at first, since I was used to everyone calling me Max all the time, but I warmed up to it. I mean, I like my full name. I looked back at her, “Yeah, there’s something I wanted to bring up with you, but I wasn’t sure how to...say it.”

She smiled. I loved her smile, “You know you can tell me anything.” She slapped my leg, “Come on, Maxwell, we should be past this awkward stage by now.”

“I know. This is just,” I paused, to give myself time to come up with the right word, moving my hands around while I organized my thoughts, “big.”

She laughed, “I’m sure there’s nothing you could tell me that could be shocking.”

“Don’t be so sure,” I added.

She paused and gave me this strange look, “You’re not asking me to marry you, are you? I thought we already talked about this.”

I laughed, “No, nothing like that. It’s just...”

Her eyebrows rose, “...Yes?”

“I’m going to start producing and selling Crystal Meth.”

Her face was frozen in the same expression. A smile slowly crept to her face again, “What, really?”

I nodded. We sat in silence briefly, and then I added, “I got Sammy and Bill on board. I already practiced the synthesis in the lab several times, and I’m careful, so you don’t have to worry about me blowing myself or anyone else up. I just wanted to let you know...”

She stared at me. I continued, “You know, if you want to get out, this is the time to do it.”

She looked up at the ceiling, then back at me, smile still on her face, “Okay, I’m in.”

I looked at her seriously, “I meant this is the time to get out of the relationship. I don’t want you involved in this; I don’t want anything happening to you.”

Her eyebrows rose again, “You don’t want anything happening to me? I don’t want anything happening to you. Come on, I’m sure you can use another person helping out. Besides, what am I going to do when you’re at home making it? Sit around? Do the dishes? Bring out the Tang and cheese crackers for Bill and Sammy?”

I smiled. She looked like she was thinking about what she just said, “And, really, who else is going to make sure you all do it right?”

“As long as you’re sure this is what you want.”

She crept closer to me, “Of course it is.”

She kissed me gently on the lips.

Alice's Wonderland

"Do you think I'm fat?"

"Of course not Alice.” It occurred to him though that this was a most peculiar question for his wife to ask so soon, having caught him as she did, hanging his frock coat upon the rack. “Why would you ask such a silly question?”

“It’s only that I was thinking. I don’t think I could fit myself down a rabbit hole, no matter how hard I tried.” Now his wife was usually of a curious disposition, and this had indeed set her somewhere above the hoipolloi by his own estimation, but this response struck Mr. Hargreaves as being rather more curious than most.

“Silly girl, rabbit holes are for rabbits - I wouldn’t think it terribly surprising for a person not to fit.”

“Oh yes,” Alice exclaimed with a gentle laugh, moving through the hallway and out the door like a breeze, pausing only briefly to give her husband and kiss on the cheak. “Silly me, prattling on about nothing. Elza has tea waiting in the study. I’m off!”

The incident passed without further comment, Reginald withdrawing to the study to review company ledgers(leaf through the latest newspaper serials) while Alice went to a book club meeting at the Banners’(whom Reginald couldn’t stand and refused to attend on principle). Still over the next few days, as Alice’s birthday approached, he could not help but notice her usual flights of whimsy growing more frequent and less ‘usual.’

Alice had always been imaginative, a trait that had evidently carried over from her girlhood. To draw a page from her book, he sometimes pictured her as a ballerina when they went out. There would be the suits and the dresses, and Alice with a pink-frilled ballerina skirt and leotards, dancing through some dinner gala leaving behind a long line of muddled and befuddled powdered wigs in her wake. That was Alice.

Still, what had once been her own unique, eccentric charm had taken on a more worrying form. She began speaking of white rabbits, and playing cards and chess pieces that talked and moved - which wasn’t unusual for her, save that she no longer seemed able to tell that these things weren’t real. No one said anything to him, but sometimes when they were out, he noticed concerned glances from their mutual friends and finally he was forced to admit that something was not right with poor Alice. He decided to confront her about it.

“Oh I’m sorry, I’m terribly busy right now - could we talk about this another time?” She was indeed writing feverishly, hunched over a large set of papers and surrounded by books.

He looked over her shoulder at what she was writing - half of it wasn’t even real words but some for of gibberish. “What are you writing?”

“Oh - nothing in particular.”

“’Leep-Gwosh?’” He looked at her incredulously. “I don’t recall ever coming across those words before.”

“Well of course you haven’t,” She replied indignantly without missing a beat, “I just wrote them.”

“What do they mean then?” He asked.

“Do I look like Humpty Dumpty?” Was her reply, but before he could press her on this curious remark she, resignedly, began to explain. “Leep means to jump into something very deep. ‘Gwosh’ is the sound you make when you land on a frog after leeping.”

As Alice seemed quite serious and looked at him as though he were stupid and as Reginald himself could make no response, he withdrew from the drawing room leaving Alice to her writing.

A few days later, Reginald arranged to run into Dr. Markwell who was on one of his periodic visits to The City to arrange his finances. He was one of the most eminent physicians in the whole of Britain, a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and an old friend. He agreed to come over to dinner that evening in order to give his professional opinion and after a brief interview alone, confirmed Reginald’s fears with a diagnosis of temporary insanity due to acute neurasthenia.

Reginald took a few weeks to make the arrangements for her to stay with the Holbrooks up near Edinburgh. In the meantime Alice’s condition grew steadily worse and she increasingly shut herself up with her books and mad writings. Reginald accompanied her on the train ride, the house servants saw them with sad sodden expression; Reginald was acutely aware they had much preferred his wife to himself and were sad to see her gone.

They talked animatedly throughout the trip. She was witty and intelligent and everything he remembered her being - but thoroughly committed to her fantastic delusions and disjointed logic. He tried to appeal to her by laying bare his own heartfelt concerns, but she seemed oblivious - laughed it off - which left him feeling stung for the rest of the journey. She smiled throughout, like always, she seemed to float above the writhing mass of mundane reality. And now she had been severed from it completely.

The train back to London was painfully dreary. It was the uncertainty that was worst. Uncertainty, he imagined, as an over-eager vulture: tearing at the still living, unwilling to wait for them to expire. Madness would have been preferable.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Lesson 1: Do Your Homework

Let me tell you a bit about myself. I worked in a Chemistry lab at the University of Toronto before I found my true calling. Ever since high school, I enjoyed Chemistry more than other subjects, and I knew I’d be pursuing it further once I hit University. University hit, and I kept with it, but my enjoyment was diminishing more and more with each passing year. I knew my parents thought the prospect of a Dr. Maxwell Turner would be a dream come true, but I was finding it harder and harder to imagine myself going all the way.

It’s not that the people I worked with were tough to get along with either. Dr. Jones and I got along famously; we were always joking around and he was there for me whenever I needed help. I also liked all the other Masters students working in the lab with me. Well, I liked all of them except Roeper, but no one really got along with him. Roeper was this guy who was always completely by the book when it came to his experiments; he was very slow on the draw and had a very limited sense of humour. Roeper was actually his last name, I think, his first being Mike or Paul or John or something. I think he sort of had a problem with me because Dr. Jones and I were fairly tight, while Roeper wanted to be the golden boy. No, we never saw eye to eye but, otherwise, my lab experience wasn’t an overly negative one. It just started to get very tedious.

One day, I was wallowing in my own mediocrity and considering what I should do with my life, surfing the internet, when I came to a realization: Crystal Meth was really easy to make. I remembered hearing that methamphetamine is the number one selling street drug right now, since it’s so cheap and easy to make, so I searched out a recipe on Google and several popped up immediately. If I were to make and sell Meth, this might be able to add some excitement to my life and get me copious amounts of money in the process. However, I knew the dangers of making it, so I figured I should practice carefully several times before attempting to mass-produce. I figured I could stay late in the lab every now and then trying it out, since they should have basically everything I need to make the stuff and the rest of the ingredients were really easy to pick up. I just had to make sure no one else was around when I practiced.

It was the third time I stayed late, I think, when it happened. I was concentrating hard on drawing a layer of ether off a layer of water, so I didn’t even notice Dr. Jones walk in. He startled me when he spoke, as he was standing right beside me, “Hey there, Max. What’s going on?”

“Oh, hi, Dr. Steve,” Dr. Steve was what everyone called Dr. Jones. “I didn’t see you come in. I’m just purifying something right now; I don’t think I’ll be much longer.”

He looked at my apparatus then asked nonchalantly, “What are you making, methamphetamine?”

I froze, not saying anything. He added, “Yeah, that looks like Meth to me. I hope you’re not planning on getting high; you’re liable to kill some brain cells.”

“No,” I figured there was no point in lying to him, “I was planning on selling it.”

He laughed, “Ah, feeding the junkies. You know, you’re not going to make very much money selling that little.”

“I know,” I was feeling a bit more comfortable talking about this with him now. “I wanted to make sure I didn’t blow myself up before trying to make a large batch.”

His tone suddenly turned very grave. He told me, “If you're actually considering doing this, make sure you’re completely serious about it. Once you’re in, you’re in; there’s no turning back.”

I nodded, and he continued, “And you know I can’t have you making Meth in my lab. If I had tenure, then maybe I could play dumb and keep my job, but you know I’m getting terminated if you get caught. So, you’re just going to have to take your Meth lab elsewhere, Max.”

He stopped talking for a bit to make sure everything he was saying was sinking in. He looked away, and back at my eyes, then went on, “I don’t expect you’re really going to get talked out of this one right now, but just make sure you’re careful,” he paused. “I’ll tell you what; you can take what you need from here, glassware-wise.”

I looked at him, “Really?”

“Yeah, don’t worry about it. I’ll say some first-years broke them and order some more.”

I stopped to think about it, “You don’t really seem too concerned about me making and selling Meth.”

He didn’t even have to consider what I said, “I don’t know. If you’re smart about it, I’m sure you’ll make your money. Plus, if you’re going to be convinced that it’s bad, I’m sure you’re more likely to understand if you run into problems first-hand, rather than some old guy telling you that you’re stupid. Life lessons are the way to go.”

We sat in silence for another moment, at which point he added, “Of course, remember that I said you’ll make your money if you’re smart about it. Don’t get caught again.”

I looked him straight in the eye, and said, “I won’t.”

He smiled, “You’ve got a head on your shoulders, Max. Play your cards right, and I’m sure you’ll do fine.”

He started to leave, but he stopped, and added, “Oh, and remember, we never had this conversation.”

I gave him the thumbs up, he walked out, and I cleaned up. I left that day with my new glassware. On the way out, I walked past Roeper. To this day, I remember the look he gave me; he glared at me as though he hated every part of me.