Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Alcoholics of the Future


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention held a press conference today to address concerns over the recent spike in cases of alcohol-related deaths connected with time-displacement. Dr. Marcus Fiteegue, a spokesman for the CDC suggested that the number of instances of Hangover Displacement Syndrome (HDS) brought on by increased availability of a range of "Pay now, Party Later" (PNPL) devices such as Pineapple, PaP® and Horkbefor™ are responsible.

"These products allow for easy consumption of dangerous amounts of alcohol, the effects of which are felt before any actual consumption takes place," said the spokesman. He added that college students and social drinkers were the most at risk.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Grand Romantic Delusions, Chapter 27: The Attack


     "You already know, Seth," said Katie. "Think about your dreams."
     "So you think they really are repressed memories?"
     "Not merely repressed," she responded. "I think maybe LaBelle intentionally deleted some of your memories."
     "But, why? And how?"
     "I'm not sure about the how of it, but I'd guess the why has to do with the fact that they canceled the tests. Well, that and the secret and probably illegal nature of the whole program."
     "You mean this TIER thing?" Lewis asked. "Why didn't they wipe my memories, then? And why don't I remember this O'Keefe guy at all? Oh, wait … " His voice faltered.
     "You two have probably never even met before now,"  replied Katie. "I doubt they bothered with your memories, Wright. You were only involved in one small, failed trial. Seth was recruited for the larger program—Strange Animal, I mean—not just TIER."
     "So what is Strange Animal?"
     "It's an enhanced combination of two other programs. TIER was one of them. The other was called WEIRD."
     "Weird Tier," interjected Mary. "'Tier' is German for 'animal', so …"
     "Exactly," said Katie, though she pointedly refused to look at Mary. She was focused on Seth.  "The government has a funny sense of humor when it comes to naming black-box projects. And they love acronyms."
     "So what, exactly," asked Mary, "was WEIRD all about?"
     "Warfighter Enhancement Incorporating Recombinant DNA."

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Grand Romantic Delusions, Chapter 26: The Intruder


     "Bricked? You mean, like …" Nita started, then thought better of it. "What the hell, lady? You have your phone set up with a code that bricks it? Who the fuck are you?"
     "I told you," smiled Katie in a way Nita found infuriatingly smug. "May name's Kathleen."
     "No ID, no keys, no cash, but you have a phone that deletes itself instantly. I want to know a whole lot more than just your bloody name. Out with it!"
     "I'm afraid I can't do that, Ms. Herrera." Katie smiled again. "I mean, unless you just want to know about my taste in food, favorite places to shop, that sort of thing. Though I'm guessing from the knife in your hand and the pulsating bulge in your forehead that you're not wanting to make friends with me."
     "Oh, so you think you're funny, too, huh?" Nita waved the knife about casually and turned to Lewis. "Looks like we've got ourselves a couple of comedians, here. We'll see how funny they think they are when the police get here." She leaned in close to Katie's face. "Assuming they're still breathing by then."
     "Right. First of all, though this would all go far more easily for me if the local authorities actually were on their way, I very much doubt they are." And here Katie gave Nita a particularly infuriating smile, before adding, "Secondly, I don't respond well to threats. So, you might want to put that thing away before you hurt yourself."

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Grand Romantic Delusions Chapter 25: The Questioning


     "What's your name, creep?" Nita pushed Seth into the living room chair.
     "Umm, I'm uh … Hey!" He gave Nita a scandalized look. "I'm not a creep!"
     "Then, why," she asked, "have you been sitting there watching our house?"
     "I wasn't—"
     "Shut up!" Nita scowled at him. "I'm in no mood for lies, pajero."
     Lewis went to the open door, looked up and down the street, and closed it behind him. He said, "I don't see anyone else around. I hope you didn't freak any of the neighbors out too much."
     "I couldn't care less," replied Nita. "Let 'em call the police, if that's what they want. I'll just hand this asshole right over to them."
     She turned back to Seth, "It'll take them a bit to get here, though, and in the mean time, you're going to answer some questions."
     "But … you just told me to shut up."
     "Shut up with your lies, I mean. And don't speak unless I tell you to."
     "Yes, ma'am," Seth said, trying to collect his wits.
     Lewis went into the kitchen and returned with a roll of masking tape.
     "Lewis, honey," began Nita. "I need duct tape, not that."
     "Sorry," he replied. "It's all we have. I can go check the basement."
     "No," she sighed. "It'll have to do. This won't be long, anyway."
     "You!" She pointed at Seth. "Lean forward, hands behind your back."
     "No," said Seth. "You don't have the right—"
     Nita grabbed Seth by the small hairs at the back of his neck and pulled him forward,"
     "Ow! Ow! OWW! "
     "I wasn't asking you, cuca. I said DO it!"

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Grand Romantic Delusions Chapter 24: The Watcher


    Katie decided that before reporting anything more to Hanlon she would take a day or so to see if Seth did anything unusual in the aftermath of their date. Then again, with Seth, how could one tell what was unusual?
     She also reasoned it might be a good idea take precautions to be sure she could find him. He had proven to be wilier than she had expected, after all. She had considered tracing his cell phone, but didn't want to go through the hassle that would entail. She settled on placing a tracker on his car, instead. Perhaps she could manage to finagle a second date out of him, eventually, or—if he was serious about not wanting a relationship—at least get a chance to friend-zone him and an opportunity to visit his home. She hit her downtown hotel room and picked up some fresh clothes, along with the equipment she needed, before heading over to Cortona Road, doing her now customary loop around the neighborhood so as to be ready to exit as quickly as possible without turning.
     As Katie pulled around the corner, she stopped in front of a large tree on the opposite side of the street, but a bit further around the corner than the last time she'd been here. Curiously, there was a different car in the driveway this time: an ancient Toyota Tercel hatchback. This new vehicle was painted in a dirty brown that looked like rust—though parts of it appeared to be the genuine article. As she watched, Seth arrived in his Camaro, and a man stepped out of the brown hatchback. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Grand Romantic Delusions Chapter 23: The Stalker

     "I think that guy over there is watching us ... I think." Lewis nodded towards a table in the back corner of the deli where they'd met for lunch.
     "No, don't look." Nita grabbed Mary's arm before she turned. She and Lewis sat next to one another across from Mary. "If he is watching us, don't let him know we know."
     "So, it's not just me being delusional?"
     "No, Honey, I don't think it is."
     "Great," replied Mary. "Now you're both making me paranoid. Can you at least describe him, for me?"
     "I'll do you one better," said Nita. "Here, let me take a picture of you with your salad. I'll be sure and get him in the background." Mary snapped the photo with her phone, then handed it to Mary. "Though, I'm not sure it'll do much good."
     The man in the photo was wearing a black wool cap and over-sized sunglasses. He was also holding a magazine, which obscured most of his features. A few stray tufts of blond hair poked out from beneath the cap, but there was little else to identify him. His clothes were baggy—a plain, dark grey sweatshirt and blue jeans. He had a cup of coffee on the table in front of him, and some kind of sandwich, which it looked like he'd barely touched.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Grand Romantic Delusions Chapter 22: The Morning


     O'Keefe awoke to the sound of his phone issuing a text alert. He looked around the unfamiliar surroundings, confused, until the memories of the previous night began to assemble themselves in his pounding head. That'll go away, he thought. Just need to find some aspirin and some protein. That had been quite a night. He was surprised how it turned out. He hadn't intended to sleep with Svetlana, but he had no regrets. He'd really grown fond of her, and well, maybe that was just the emotional release he'd needed. She hadn't seemed to mind, either. The part of him that worried he may have taken advantage of her drunken state was quieted by the recollection that she had somehow appeared to be quite a bit more sober and in control than he had been. Russians! Guess their notoriety for putting away the vodka is well-earned.
     His phone beeped at him again, so he picked it up, and tapped his code on the screen. It was a text from Gary which read:
               found her!
               Mary Dagfridchen
               Hillard  ph 555-2336
               u want address?
     Oh no! Mary! What had he done? How could he say he loved her after he'd slept with another woman? He would have to make amends. The first thing to do was to get the hell out of this hotel room. Where was Svetlana, anyway?
     He stood quickly, scrambling around for the clothing he'd so hastily and eagerly shed the night before. He heard the sound of water running from behind the bathroom door. Must be showering. What should he do? Should he just leave? That was just too classless. He would have to face her, tell her last night had been a mistake. It was the right thing to do—the only thing to do. He hoped she hadn't fallen for him too hard. This was going to be awkward enough without that.