1. casperpearl

    casperpearl New Member

    Mar 29, 2011
    Likes Received:


    Discussion in '2012 Science Fiction Contest' started by casperpearl, Feb 17, 2012.


    As a naked man on a motorcycle flies through traffic, everyone already knows what’s going to happen.

    “I’m telling you—that stupid bastard is going to set us back at least five minutes,” says one driver clad in a one-piece business suit to his passenger. They follow the naked man with their eyes until his pale moon vanishes over the horizon.

    A boy in the backseat of a van, no older than two, goes, “VAROOM!” and smashes two monster trucks together as the motorcycle speeds by. His daddy in the front says, “Exactly, son,” and his mommy says, “You’re about to learn a good life lesson.”

    The naked motorcyclist slices in front of an old person clogging the passing lane, and the old person doesn’t even notice—doesn’t even hear the volley of beeps from the line of cars behind him.

    It’s at this exact moment where opportunity presents itself, and the naked man takes full advantage, revving his motorcycle into unfathomable speeds. Bugs explode against his face, but his huge smile never falters. Traffic knows they’ll be the ones smiling soon, but the naked man just doesn’t give a shit.

    That is until he hits a mere crack in the highway. He wobbles just a tad, like he’s a pen on a paper highway. In a lane for the taking, like a boy being asked to write his name within the lines, only the lines consist of a concrete barrier and a row of vehicles, the naked man begins to break the rules. If a teacher were present, the teacher would say, “That’s okay, boy, just use the eraser,” but there are no teachers present, and this isn’t some measly writing exercise—this is reality, and the naked man, his mind most likely stuck in fantasyland, bounces off of a truck and bounces off of the barrier and miraculously darts through four lanes of traffic unharmed only to tip over and explode into the dirt shoulder.

    Pieces of twisted metal litter the sky like an edgy firework display, but the real show for the passersby is the naked man skidding across the dirt and sand and stones and glass and patches of concrete and miscellaneous garbage. The man is now a brush dipped in red paint. Every time his body smacks the earth, he leaves behind a messy circle. Blotch, blotch, blotch. He losses a leg—it lands somewhere in a ditch. Blotch, blotch, blotch. The messy circles are bigger—redder. Just as it seems he’ll lose a fleshy armed stuffed with crushed bone or a slinky leg, or that he’ll splatter the ground with his biggest, reddest circle to date, the naked man losses momentum and slides to a stop.

    Had it been many years ago, traffic would probably grind to a halt, people would flee from their cars, and someone would even use their cell to phone for help. Unfortunately for the naked, unrecognizable man, this isn’t many years ago.

    The old man clogging the passing lane moseys on by, not noticing a thing—not even the volley of beeps from behind which hasn’t dwindled despite the daredevil explosion on the side of the road. The daddy reduces speed just enough to point and say, “See, son—even you know,” and the son bashes his monster trucks together again and says, “KABOOM!” and the mommy bobs her head and says, “Uh huh.” The man in the one-piece business suit rolls down the passenger-side window, and despite not being delayed even a second, screams over his passenger, “Asshole!” He showcases his middle finger before hitting the gas.

    All of this is perfectly normal. Even a man flicking his half-lit cigarette onto the pile of naked man. What isn’t normal is a van slamming on its brakes and pulling off onto the dirt shoulder. It crawls by an index finger. It crawls by a patch of flesh. By part of an ear with an earring still attached. By some unrecognizable bones and chunks of meat.

    This unsynchronized van rolls up to the pile of naked man and simply stops. The driver-side door bursts open, and as if he had been held hostage in the Indian style position for several weeks, Mr. Sleek springs onto the dirt and hops over to the demolished motorcyclist all giddy. Mr. Sleek is so giddy that he snickers while shouting, “Dear lord, look at him—he looks like a stool of feces from a dinosaur!”

    The van’s passenger, known only to the world as A., steps onto the dirt and drags himself over to the scene. It hasn’t been a pleasant day for him so far.

    “A.,” Mr. Sleek says, “did you happen to catch my analogy about this man looking like a stool of feces from a dinosaur? If not, I just said it again, so what do you think? Clever, eh?” Case in point.

    Before A. can answer, Mr. Sleek waves him on, motioning toward a part of the pile that’s gurgling.

    “By God,” Mr. Sleek says, “is he still alive? A., are you getting this?”

    A. uses one hand to aim his pistol-sized camera at the mess. At the bubbles of blood spouting out from a pink hole like a flesh volcano.

    “Excuse me, sir?” Mr. Sleek says to the naked pile of man. “Sir, can I ask you a few questions?” He doesn’t feel like waiting for a response. “First off, what were you thinking by not wearing your NeverDie suit?” He steps toward the camera so his body takes up the entire frame and unbuttons his jacket to reveal a flesh-colored spandex suit hugging the wrinkled rolls of his chest. He digs a finger into his pectoral and traces it up along his face to the top of his head. The suit covers his entire body, and even though 99.9% of the viewers know this, he doesn’t care. Mr. Sleek is all about dramatic effect.

    “Naked,” Mr. Sleek spits, literally, as drops of his saliva douse the lenses along with A. He stabs a finger at the oozing volcano of flesh and says, “Naked! Meaning he wasn’t wearing a NeverDie suit!”

    A. sighs and shakes his head and wants to kill himself because being assigned to Mr. Sleek is like being assigned to a retarded, arrogant robot with a broken receiver and Alzheimer’s. The robot repeats itself and can’t hear you and therefore doesn’t give a shit what it says.

    “You must be a loner, almost-dead-motorcycle-guy,” another case in point, “because people who care about living wear their NeverDie suits.”

    A. knows every time the station mentions NeverDie they get a grand. About two-hundred times and Mr. Sleek’s salary is paid in full.

    “NeverDie cares about us,” Mr. Sleek says with his entire face shoved into the lenses. “NeverDie wants situations like this,” he points but the camera can’t see, “to never happen, thus the name NeverDie. NeverDie means you never die.”

    A. isn’t sure if that last one will count.

    “NeverDie means we get to enjoy life.”

    A. is pretty sure the entire point of getting out of the van and videotaping a dying pile of guy is lost.

    “NeverDie means Halleluiah!”

    A. feels like he’s at church.

    “NeverDie, NeverDie, NeverDie! That’s what I always tell my kids. NeverDie. My wife. NeverDie. My dog. NeverDie. My other kids. NeverDie. My salamander. NeverDie. I say NeverDie, NeverDie, NeverDie! It’s commonsense. NeverDie, people! Wear your NeverDie suits!”

    As A. pulls the camera away, Mr. Sleek sticks his neck out as far as he can and shouts, “NeverDie, NeverDie, NeverDie, NeverDie, NeverDie, NeverDie—” until he finally catches himself before falling, stands tall and smiles. “Great story, huh?”

    Mr. Sleek says, “I know, I know.” He turns to the pile of naked man and goes, “Huh. Wonder why he really did it?”

    “I don’t think he meant to,” A. mumbles, to which Mr. Sleek finally acknowledges him for the first time today.
    “What say you?” Mr. Sleek asks.

    A. gets out, “Maybe he wanted freedom,” to which Mr. Sleek runs out into traffic and gets nailed in the hip by a random pickup truck’s insect-covered grill. Mr. Sleek is launched over several lines of passing vehicles and does a front hip pullover, a front pike somersault and a somi-and-a-half. Several folks, catching glimpses of Mr. Sleek like he’s a diving bird, admire his straddle split. His Swedish fall. His Yurchenko.

    Mr. Sleek comes down hard onto the concrete of the highway. A few Mack trucks and minivans and cars run him over with their soot-encrusted tires before he gets up, pats himself off and struts back over to A. He says, “That’s freedom,” while walking by. “Oh,” he says, sliding into the van, “and you owe me a new jacket.” He underlines the maze of treads zig-zagging across his chest and belly and shoulders and arms before slamming the door shut.

    A. can’t help but think, “Back in the day, especially in fictional stories, everyone, even the main characters, they always died in the end. Now we’ve got side-characters, annoying characters, criminals, wise guys, cocky guys, tough guys and all these shells of humans with little to no purpose living forever.”

    A flood of vehicles spill off from the road and grind to a halt in the dirt. Pissed off people fly out of their dented cars and trucks and vans. They stomp toward A. He points toward his van, so the people stomp toward it. Then they see Mr. Sleek, and instead of looking for objects to kill him with, they start looking for pens and paper and markers, even their kid’s crayons. They line up outside his window and scream, “We love you, can you sign this, touch my hand (if only for one second)!”

    Mr. Sleek shushes the mob of people away with his left hand as his right honks the horn. He screams, “Get in the van, moron!” but A. is stuck in fantasyland. He’s staring at the pile of naked man, watching spit bubbles ooze out of the distorted hole, watching a rare event unfold—an unnatural death.

    “The show’s about to hit the road!” Mr. Sleek yells as he revs the engine.

    Now the thought drops into A.’s mind—the show, life, it’s become stagnant, hasn’t it? Just yesterday, a man came home from work and found his RoboMaid electrocuted and drowned in the tub. The hunk of metal’s rear, resembling a bolted-down buoy, stuck out slightly above the surface of the water. A portable zapper bobbed up and down through a minefield of dead insects. And instead of smelling like sirloin and buttered mashed potatoes, the home reeked of burnt feces.

    The wife, standing next to the tub with the backs of her hands resting on her hips and a smile on her face, said she knew he was having an affair with the RoboMaid. The husband, who had morphed into a tornado of revenge, ripped through the house until he found his rifle, went back into the bathroom and unloaded a dozen shots into his wife’s head.

    The moral of the story is—no one died, but somebody should have. The scenario with the wife and husband, it’s like back in the old times when a wife would say, “How could you?” and the husband would say, “I’m sorry,” and the two of them would cry and go to counseling. Shows wouldn’t stop there—they’d throw in more conflict—more tension—a tablespoon of tragedy.

    Now if a man gets hit by a car, or crushed by a slate of concrete in a construction zone, or attacked by a neighbor’s bear, there’re a few curses exchanged and some nasty gestures, but it doesn’t last long because the thought of something more important pops up and off people go. People, or rather gears, spending less than a fraction of a second on their near-death problems in order to get back to rotating again. Get back to boring. To thrill-less. To routine.

    Mr. Sleek lays on the horn and shouts, “All dumbasses aboard!”
    A. thinks, “Why can’t this pile of naked man be Mr. Sleek? Why can’t the annoying, wise, cocky guy get the axe? Just this once?”

    The fact is, shooting someone or taking a machete to their throat or a broken wine glass to their eye means nothing more than saying, "I hate you," or, "I wish you were dead." Preventing death has prolonged lives. It’s given people a reason to take their time—to put off a lot of things, like chores, promises and dreams. Taking away death has decreased the value of life.

    It used to be, people were so sick of dying that the NeverDie suits became a means of freedom—freedom from fear—freedom from uncertainty. Now the suits are holding everyone hostage. People are scared to take them off. Scared to become the pile of naked man.

    “So we pay our yearly NeverDie memberships,” A. thinks, “I pay my yearly NeverDie membership, go to work to report the news and wind up promoting how NeverDie is the new Jesus Christ. I'm part of the problem. I'm a working gear. If I slide out of place, will I disrupt the machine?"

    “Santa’s elves never disrespected him this much,” Mr. Sleek shouts, and it’s at this point that A. realizes he has his superior’s full attention, so he pulls out a pistol from his back pocket, a pistol he keeps back there, just like everyone else, in case they need to get someone’s attention, and he fires a shot through the passenger-side window. The bullet spider-webs the glass a split-second before knocking Mr. Sleek’s head off balance.

    Mr. Sleek puts the pedal to the metal, and as his van runs over several people, he shouts, “Did you really just shoot me? How original, you unemployed dunce!”

    A. hears, “Fuck you right back! Oh, and expect a bill for my jacket and the window and that camera you’re holding!” as Mr. Sleek vanishes into the distance like the motorcyclist’s naked ass. It’s at this moment that the herd of deserted people begin flocking back to their vehicles. But before they hop inside and speed off, they realize they haven’t cashed in on the opportunity to vent their frustrations. So spotting the pile of naked man, they crash in around him like he’s a sand castle and they’re a just-visiting wave.

    “Thanks for the dents in my van, you jackass,” some soccer mom says, throwing a fist at the air and squirting juice from an orange slice into one of naked man’s open wounds. She turns and starts to walk away while mumbling, “I’ve got to get to the PTA meeting. I wonder if we’ll decide to do the car wash or sell cookies.” She licks her lips. “Cookies, yummy!”

    An old man steps forward and pokes the naked pile of man’s fleshy volcano side with a cane three times and says, “Damn kids! Always going too fast.” He starts to hobble away, mumbling, “I wonder what father’s sermon will be about? Hope I’m not late.”

    While this is going on, A. rummages through the dirt with his hands, and as he’s doing so, he thinks, “If you want to display anger towards your parents for being forced to eat your green beans, you have to leap across the dinner table and stab mom or dad in the heart with a grease-covered steak knife.”

    As some teenager goes off on the naked pile of man for making him late for a class, A. thinks, “Jumping out of a plane without a parachute on is no longer suicide—it’s Troposphere sightseeing.”

    A fat woman yells, “My food! It’s getting cold!” and A., he digs out a big rock sunk in the dirt with his fingers and thinks, “To argue over the inflated price of a mint-colored turtleneck, you have to take a wire hanger and strangle the cashier with it.”

    “May the devil drag you into his kingdom for postponing mass,” says a priest whipping a cross doused in holy water at the pile of naked man. All the while, A. is thinking, “To show how the referees robbed your favorite team of the championship, all you need to do is take a pair of scissors and cut your friend’s opposing team jersey off. When he’s standing there shocked by this rude action, you dump a bucket filled with gasoline all over him and flick a lit match at his face. As he rushes for the pool, his jeans and shoes and underwear and socks raining ashes on your lawn, you knock him over into a big pile of fresh, steaming dog shit. Then, to make your point, you take a chainsaw and cut down a tree so it lands on him, pressing him further down into it.”

    After a minute and a half, nobody is left but A. and the pile of naked man. It’s like this accident was merely a wet spot on a toilet seat now wiped clean. But for A., he can’t stop thinking. He thinks about how a terrorist attack is now property damage. How smothering someone with a pillow is now obstructing their view. How choking to death, well, that’s still choking to death. But a drunk driver hitting a little kid on a bicycle with training wheels is now simply a party foul.

    Everything’s been toned down. Not just the value of life, but also the value of extreme sports and the fear of heights and wild animal wrestling and the result of a simple lapse in judgment. Serial killers are bored, and the ordinary law-abiding citizens feel they need to use more violence to simply say, “Jerk,” or, “Dick.” For a bullied kid in grade school to say, “Enough,” he has to hope his class pet is a piranha and then proceed to dunk the bully’s head into its lair. NASCAR died long ago. Warning labels on sharp objects are extinct. Empty pools have lost their meaning. And wrongful death lawyers are unemployed.

    The closest A. has ever come to a thrill has been shooting his boss two minutes ago in the head. That was a huge step for him. Now he’s jobless and merely a cigarette butt on the side of the road. But he’s about to make one more huge step as he heaves the rock up with both hands and lugs it over to the naked pile of man. “Thank you,” he whispers to the hole and its spewing bubbles and drool and blood and pieces of wet hair. A. gently places the rock on top of the hole, sinking it into the skin, and he watches as blood squirts out the sides. As he leans in close, he can almost make out some words, but he doesn’t have time to decipher them. “Thank you,” A. says, “for giving me the feeling of killing my boss.”
  2. Joe309

    Joe309 Member

    Mar 1, 2011
    Likes Received:
    An interesting and imaginative story line. The descriptive scenes are shocking. Lots of blood, gore, and angry people. There is a definite conflict that A., the only person with feeling, resolves at the end.

Share This Page