The Flow

What would you do for genius?

The Flow Cover

By

Rico Lamoureux

All Rights Reserved

2017

Brandon and his three bandmates were baking, the hot ankle-high sand making it even more difficult to walk as they trekked through the vast open desert playing their instruments. From the two guitars flanking him, rhythm and bass, to the poor drummer at his back lugging a mobile set of drums strapped to his chest, his comrades followed with such loyalty as he led them with his vocals and lead guitar. Vocals that ached, boiled, gave voice to the suffocating torture they were all experiencing, his sleek beautiful Gibson Angus Young SG taking all the fire, all the fury of their journey through hell and helping express such through its electrified scorch.

As the sweltering heat beat down on the four Brandon closed his eyes, trying hard to imagine the pouring sweat falling from his brows being that of cool cascades of water, but when that didn’t work he aimed towards another thought, keeping those lids closed tight and picturing an air conditioner.

No luck, reality painting the image as nothing more than an ol’ beat-down hunk of machinery with wires as fried as he felt.

One more try, just a slight breeze would mean the world…

A vintage fan, large metal blades locked behind a rusted cage. But they’re caked in dust, giving a sign that the ol’ 1950’s style cooling device probably hadn’t been functional since those good ol’ doo-wop days.

So on through the broil he trudged, wiping away, not all away, the sting in his eyes, that unrelenting perspiration soaking him from head to toe, drenching his clothes and making them heavier, coating both the mahogany of his Gibson and the magnetized strings that ran across it.

It took all they had for the band to stay their course, digging down deeper than ever before in hopes of reaching the promise land, where the infinite sands of the earth would finally give way to a body of water so refreshing, so clear and sublime that it would transform all who ingest into beings of enlightenment, gods of genius.

Or so they hoped…

But the more they fought on the more the roasting took its toll.

The devil’s breath, the grit between his teeth, the scalding of his seed as he attempts to rape their beings. But the one thing he cannot get to, their will…

And so they push on, continuing to create while being cooked to the brink as they use such anguish to forge, the power they wield through those Gibsons, that voice, that beat, creating a masterpiece that metamorphosizes from Gold to Platinum, Multi-Platinum to Diamond within its inception.

And oh how sweet it truly is, the oceans of sweat turning into floods of creative juice, the long suffering for their art paying off with such euphoric flow!

And with the outro Brandon and his bandmates are returned to their little box, their oven, their tin can of a garage amidst the hottest day of the summer, having completed the mega-hit that will serve as their ticket to rock god status, a journey they had set out for so many years ago.

~

http://www.gibson.com/

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The Flash Fiction Ponder!

Movie Night

Is love stronger than pride…?

Welcome back my wonderful readers!

Today we visit the human condition of betrayal, and how it can affect someone. When reading this story of substance you might identify with it on some level. If not, consider yourself very fortunate!

Movie Night Cover

By

Rico Lamoureux

All Rights Reserved

2017

It was as much of a part of who they were as a couple as sleeping in the same bed or sharing a bite to eat. At least a few times a week, turn off the phones, turn down the lights, cuddle up cozy and take in a movie. Some were powerful and became instant favorites, while most were average and pretty much good for just one viewing.

They must have watched thousands over their many years together, one of the most special to them being What Dreams May Come. Not only because it was a moving story of substance, but also due to the fact that they shared the same names as the two main characters in the film. Neither Chris nor Annie ever forgot that night when they saw the trailer on TV during that fall of ’99. Their relationship barely six months new, they had just finished showering together (and a little more) and were starting to prepare dinner when the preview caught their eye.

A supernatural drama about soul mates, it indeed compelled. But it was when those two names came up, their names, when they dropped everything and got dressed to head out to the local theatre.

Two months later, it became the theme to their wedding, and every year thereafter, the way in which they ended celebrating their anniversary. Later this year would mark their nineteenth, but Chris felt like revisiting their cinematic treasure tonight, Annie having no idea until she had sat down next to him with a bowl of popcorn.

Normally she would cozy up right beside him, but as of late, for the past two months to be precise, she would sit near but not close, he having to coax her to close the distance. It was little subtle signs like this that he had missed at the beginning, really thinking nothing of it when she had decided she wanted to start working part time at her friend’s new flower shop. After all, he had always thought of himself as a supportive husband, so if she felt she could use a few hours out of the house, why not, late afternoons not really interrupting their dinner and movie time.

But a couple of weeks in and the signs had indeed began to show, whether he had noticed them or not. Looking back, he realized he had, but only on an instinctual level. When once their affection was pretty much fifty-fifty, he now found himself having to initiate their intimacy, both physically and emotionally.

Why so much time on the cellphone now? She had never been one to let such devices consume her, but now she was a screen queen, swiping every chance she got. And why the password? The two lived alone, having no need for such security measures.

“Sometimes at work I leave my cell on a counter or in a drawer. Never know when someone’s gonna pick it up.”

Like me…?

That’s when instinct had finally slapped Chris across the face, suspicion leading him to do something he had never done before, never even thought of doing before. He began to look through her messages. She still had her cell locked, but her facebook remained open on their shared laptop.

An oversight that would change everything.

Scrolling down messages from friends and family, he came upon one from a member with no photo, and as soon as he began to read, his heart not only fell, but plummeted down into his stomach, acid eating away at it…

Where are you babe? Miss you…

I miss you too, babe. Only been cpl dys, but seems lot longer.

The last two in a thread of deceit, betrayal, devastation…

Chris never felt so hurt in his life.

The next week or so was pure anguish. How many days and nights? He wasn’t quite sure, as they were all merging into one long state of torturous hell. Should he confront her, and risk her storming out only to never return? How about going out and trying to even the score? He just couldn’t stop thinking about it, shock never really settling in to become acceptance. How could she be so nonchalant, going about life as if nothing was going on?

“You had to work late again?”

“Yeah, we’re getting a lot of inventory now that it’s spring.”

How could she be so cold-blooded? And lie so blatantly to his face?!

It was at these times, when such pain began to boil into desired self-defense, that he would rack his brain with the thought of finding another. He had no idea how serious the affair was, and the thought of losing her, after devoting himself to her for nearly two decades, was killing him. He had never been one to have suicidal thoughts, but now this dangerous mindset was part of this black plague that had befallen him. At times, ending it all seemed like the only way to end the pain, but then the thought of finding someone to take her place would creep in…

If she could do it, why can’t I? I’ve got looks. Why should I stay in a one-sided relationship? There are plenty of women out there who would appreciate a guy like me.

That’s what he missed most. The intimacy, the willful affection he no longer received. And so he began to scroll the dating sites, contemplating the two famous sayings…

Once a cheater, always a cheater.

The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else.

Were they true? If so, didn’t it make perfect sense to find someone new?

Even with such logic he struggled with the thought of placing his own ad. What if they turned out to be liars too? What if it didn’t work out and he lost Annie forever? It was during these bouts of mental anguish when Chris hated being on these sites, wanting nothing more to do with such desperate searches. He already loved a woman, and had only ever thought of her when envisioning growing old with someone.

Oh Annie, why?! I’ve given you nothing but my everything. Why was I not enough?

Then the sickening thought would reappear. Of her and him, of them, together.

Chris and Annie… What happened to them being soul mates, like in the movie? They were supposed to be exclusive, as any married couple was expected to be, knowing each other on an intimate level like no one else. Advanced lovers that would do anything for the other’s pleasure.

The thought of her taking him inside of her disgusted Chris. He had helped coach her in developing the talent of taking him all the way down her throat, and once there to suckle until bliss exploded into euphoria, and how he loved how she would remain there until consuming every last drop, making him feel beyond special.

To take such a carnal bond that represented such a long commitment and so casually do it with another?!

Yes, it was not only the physical giving that hurt Chris so badly, but the emotional as well. Maybe even more so.

Annie was quite surprised when the movie started, not expecting it to be their movie, but she put on a pretty good poker face, choosing to cuddle up a little closer, like back when things were pure between them.

How would Chris tell her he knew? Of the facebook messages, the texts and late night calls, the secret meetings between him and her…

Fuck facebook! He hated it. Knew many would say it was like hating guns, when in reality people kill people, not guns. But Chris wasn’t so sure. The asshole who had come between he and his love had been from her past, and unlike the ‘ol days, when it wasn’t so easy to find/reconnect with someone from one’s past, nowadays a few clicks could end up destroying a marriage. Yeah, facebook could kill!

How would he tell her he knew about it all, yet had still decided to fight for her? How, like in the movie, he would battle the sorrows of hell for her, that he had been battling the sorrows of hell! How he felt she was still his precious Annie, and he her Chris, just like those movie characters, only real. How he had even secretly already started saving for a trip of a lifetime, months ago, for them to take for their big twenty-year wedding anniversary next year. They would jet off to Switzerland, the place where their movie characters had met, and have the time of their lives.

A trip that he now saw as part of their new beginning.

Would she be on board? Would she regret her recent actions and take the necessary steps to right her wrong?

How would he tell her he knew…?   

By now Annie’s head was lying on his lap, and Chris got his answer when a tear fell down from his eye and onto her cheek…

~

The Start Over: Resetting The Future

If you could have a second chance at reliving your past, would you take it…?

My wonderful readers, here’s the epic conclusion to The Start Over trilogy!

If you missed the first two, just scroll on down, as they’re in order.

Happy reading:)

The Start Over Resetting the Future Cover

By

Rico Lamoureux

All Rights Reserved

2017

The pleasant sound of children playing is truly universal. Go anywhere in the world and to hear such joy represents a community at peace, its future symbolized by these little versions of ourselves. How priceless they are, reminding us of where we’ve come from, the love and devotion we show them our way of trying to secure where we’re going.

Maybe I should have went farther back I wondered as I watched these young innocents play in their school yard. Look how they truly live in the moment, not giving any thought to what has led up to it or what will come after. Not having any prejudice of race, sex, status. The purity of just being.

Is it really too much to want to return to such a state?

But I had proven it was possible. At least until fear took over. Was there some sort of lesson in this?

I watched as a little boy’s face lit up when a tricycle became available. Oh how he ran towards it with such happiness, my own faded memories identifying with his excitement.

As he slid into that small seat, placed his feet against the pedals and grabbed onto those handlebars my ponder took me to the gates of realization, the answer I was so seeking beginning to formulate in my head as the boy used mind, body and space to not really think about taking off for a joy ride throughout the playground, but just doing it.

Perhaps this had been my problem. Instead of just doing it I had placed too much energy into trying, with mind creating fear that I would fail. But again, there could be a large distance to travel between knowing and doing, the old adage Mind Over Matter hovering over me like an authoritative school teacher.

The little boy was having the time of his young life, swerving around jump-roping girls and boys playing dodge ball. How was he able to be so precise yet not really think about it? Eyes signaling to the brain, brain to body, how much energy to apply/not apply, and at such a tender age?

It was beginning to make sense. I would have to steer my being, but not force it. Disable the fear factor yet not immobilize the entirety of my conscious mind. And so I began to plan…

Who would have ever thought I would be so excited to get back to the dentist?! I was about to play a dangerous game with the universe, not really knowing any rules on how to play but fully aware that it could cost me everything if I were to make a wrong move.

Given the estimated time frame, I decided to schedule three fillings, the forty-five minute procedure hopefully being enough time to put my theory into effect. When the receptionist called my name I made a quick trip to the bathroom, downing a cap full of Nyquil and following that up with a swig of Listerine.

Lying back in the dentist’s chair, I went through the common pleasantries before plugging my ears with my headphones, a suggestion made to patients to help try to put them at ease. But my playlist had been specifically made for this date with destiny; a recording of that priceless gift of children at play, to be played on a loop.

Through my mind’s eye I could see every detail of the playground, a universe within itself as the celestial merged with the matter that made up the children at play and all that surrounded them, each and every sound my awareness focused on reverberated by the dentist’s drill.

The rope skipping on green pavement…

The high pitch of a golden whistle being blown…

The red of a rubber ball bouncing from one direction to the next…

Everything was so colorful, so bright, the laughter of fun bringing all together for a melodic palette of youth.

Then the most peculiar of things happened. As the Nyquil began to snake itself around all, my wise ‘ol friend nitrous oxide rose an eyebrow, as if to question what my awareness was up to.

A moment later and I started to feel my heart in my chest. Actually it was the heart of a little boy in my universal playground, me not realizing it was me until I sank down from birds-eye-view and into self.

The heartbeat was becoming overwhelming, too big, too much for my little body. Had I went too far back? Through will of thought I tried to dislodge myself, but the mud was too thick, the rate at which my heart was working to pump blood extending way beyond what it could handle.

Was it the blood that was thickening into mud?

I next felt a free fall, falling back into a wormhole and unable to grasp onto anything, vision turning into a periscope of tunnel vision, which brought into view two separate scenes, alternating with each blink of the eye.

The first, my adult self, now flat on the floor beside the dentist chair, the doctor performing chest compressions over my heart, an assistant blowing air into my lungs.

The second, that little boy on the playground, a couple of teachers working to save his life too, while others cleared the area

Not only could I see both existences, I could feel them too, the compressions to my smaller frame pounding me like a sledgehammer. Naturally, this was the one I was most averse to, but as I began to favor the other my being somehow knew that it was the wrong way to go if I were to accomplish the reset. Not only the obvious, that if the boy were to die, there would probably be no future self, but also a determination that acted as a guide. And so I willed myself to be absorbed by the worst of the two, the more I let it become me the more painful it became, the more real, until I completely let go of my middle-aged self, letting him pass and in turn allowing my full energy to inhabit the five-year-old body, along with the physical trauma it was experiencing.

This scary moment would serve as my first memory for the next nine years, with me having no recollection of what preceded it. Only a natural calling to embrace entrepreneurship. Lemonade stands, newspaper routes, door-to-door sales of mom’s freshly baked cookies. An unexplained instinct to strive, strive, strive.

Unexplained until fourteen years of age, that is. Then fate took me to that dentist’s chair, once again to the embrace of my wise ol’ friend, nitrous oxide. It was then that all memory came flooding back, and with it the knowledge to rip that mask the hell off my face and never go near it again.

Well, maybe not ever…

Maybe I’ll go for another go-round come  mid-life again.

~

Bleeding Perseverance

What happens when a weekend warrior leaves the cushioned safety of his dojo & takes his skills out into the real world?

Welcome back, my wonderful readers!

What a scare factor October was, right?! Now that we’re in a new month I thought I’d start it with a reflection of one of today’s most pressing issues. We all hear of how such turmoil the world is in. ISIS, Syria, etc. It seems to never end, and yet there are so few heroes nowadays. Not to say EVERYONE should be one for EVERY cause, no, that’s just not possible. But we all can do a little heroic act every once in a while. Something as simple as showing a little support by following the blog of someone whose following their passion (hint…hint… Follow button is on bottom right of your screen) can do wonders!

This week we ponder those who possess the physical skills to help put a stop to conflict, and how it could help change the course of things if only implemented.

Shall we get started…:)

 

 t

Bleeding Perseverance

By

Rico Lamoureux

All Rights Reserved.

2016.

With only three years of training under his belt, yet a very diligent three years at that, seventeen-year-old Tobias was now fifth among the highest-ranking instructors at the dojo. It was a rather informal school, with the black belts who taught preferring to just be called by their first names. This included Philip, a mentor who was more like a father to Tobias than his biological one had ever been. It was a near perfect relationship, with the one discord being their belief in the role of the modern day Ninja.

Philip believed that the art had evolved to where it could bring about harmony through peaceful means. To put a stop to conflict with positive communication, while turning to violence only as a very last resort.

Although it was a wonderful idea, Tobias knew that reality painted a very different picture. The truth of the matter was, the world had more people willing to inflict unspeakable harm upon innocent lives for their own benefit than ever before. And for most of these darkened souls, their intent is so strong that any hope for reason is out of the question. That in order to truly bring about that peace and harmony, those who are fortunate enough to possess the martial skills of yesterday must use it today to help those in need.

Such a debate had recently taken place between the two. A string of ‘vigilante justice’ had made it onto the evening news, and it didn’t take long for Philip to figure out who was behind it. After a lengthy discussion, the young pupil realized he had no chance of changing his mentor’s perception and therefore obediently let the conversation end.

For weeks Tobias tried his best to abide by the rules of the dojo, but it was as if the universe had different plans for him. With no shortage of bullying and street violence often crossing his path, the guilt he felt for trying to ignore such injustice was infinitely stronger than what he felt for going against his teacher’s wishes. And so keeping as low of a profile as possible, the young warrior returned to his destined path of putting a stop to the conflicts which surrounded him.

Tobias’ hidden secret remained such for the next seven years before he found himself summoned to Philip’s office for a meeting among the head instructors. By now he held the third highest ranking in the training hall, with only Philip and Shidoshi Fukushima above him. As the eldest and the only Japanese among all the teachers, Fukushima was a vibrant seventy-years-old, giving the dojo a feeling of authenticity with his very presence.

Over the years, the five heads had turned into nine, forming somewhat of a council, with Philip acting as overseer. Although they had regular monthly meetings, this particular gathering felt a little different, and as it unfolded, proved such.

Philip started off with a variation of the lecture he was known for. His steadfast belief that the modern role of the Ninja was to bring peace through peaceful means, and that the blood that had been shed over the past two-thousand years of the art’s history had been more than enough, stressing the fact that he had worked over the past forty years to help bring that about.

He then turned his attention to the computer behind him, logged onto a video sharing site and proceeded to play a video entitled Real Life Ninja Delivers Justice to Street Thugs. Although Tobias had never seen nor heard of this video before, his nerves gave him a feeling of who would show up on the clip as they all waited for it to download.

A shaky frame started to pick up the action already in progress. Cloaked head to toe in the traditional and oftentimes copied black outfit, the Real Life Ninja took on a half dozen gang members at a darkened bus stop while at the same time shielding a teenage victim. Unaware he was being captured on video, the vigilante broke bones, shattered faces and tore ligaments. Devastating, but not fatal. After all, the young punks were nothing more than puppets at the hands of this skilled warrior. The video ended with some of the hoodlums dragging away the others and a bus arriving just in time to pick up the young victim, the Ninja having vanished when the camera panned back to find nothing but darkness.

Closing the window to the video site, Philip continued his lecture.

“Everyone has video cameras in their pockets nowadays, which is precisely why I have that sign out front preventing cellphones from entering this dojo. Fifty-thousand views and counting. Not only does this type of footage encourage such impressionable young minds to glorify violence, but it also gives the false sense of security that they too can go out there and do this, ignorant of the fact that these skills are a result of years of training. You’re like a son to me, Tobias, and like a frustrated father, I just don’t know how to get through to you.”

With some of the instructors shocked by the revelation that it was actually him on the video, Tobias stood to face his Shidoshi’s disappointment.

“As I’m sure you know in your heart, Shidoshi, not only do I feel such love for you as a father figure, but along with our martial art, I honestly credit you with saving the lives of me and my siblings. But all the gratitude in the world can’t change the fact that Ninjutsu was created for the purpose of bringing a stop to violent conflict by the superior use of both mind and body. To be used to protect those in need. I long for the day when your way will be the way that actually works, but all you have to do to verify we are nowhere near the enlightened world we wish to have is to simply turn on the news. Or walk right outside your front door and down the streets of the city you call home. The truth of the matter is, the world needs us now more than ever. And as long as there is such a need, I refuse to idly stand by and play weekend warrior while in the comforts of a cushioned dojo.”

With this hardened truth, all those in attendance felt a certain level of shame, including Philip, as Tobias continued with what needed to be said.

“If anything, we owe it to those who have come before us to keep the true essence of Ninjutsu alive. They did shed their blood, to ensure that the treasured teachings would continue to be passed on from one generation to the next, to actually be used, not mimed, in the service of protecting the weak and innocent. This is not to take away from those who have chosen a more passive approach with passing on the teachings. Many of you here have families, and I completely agree that you should not put yourselves, and possibly your loved ones, in harm’s way. Our roles in this art are just as diverse as the problems out there that need to be resolved. And so we should be working with each other, utilizing these attributes each of us offer to their fullest. Only then are we truly honoring the essence of Ninjutsu. And as far as encouraging the young and impressionable…

“When their only other realistic option is to either be victims of, or infatuated with, gang members, drug dealers, pimps, and any other scum-of-the-earth trash imposing their will in these kids’ own backyards, I can only hope that the exposure of my actions will lead to at least a few of these young people taking the steps to seek us out. Where it is then our responsibility as those who have inherited this great art, to welcome them, guide them, and train them as the next generation of warriors to continue the tradition of putting those in need above ourselves.

“Now if I’m the only one here who believes this, with the utmost of respect, it is now time for me to say goodbye.”

Silence filled the office…

Until Shidoshi Fukshima rose from his seat and headed for Tobias while removing his tenth-degree black belt. He then lowered himself to bended knee, presenting his ranking in the art to the young warrior with a version of the Japanese bow that was reserved for honoring only at the highest level.

One by one the others followed suit, and when all seven of the black belts were at the feet of Tobias their head Shidoshi walked over to his desk, removed a displayed sword from the wall, and presented it to his young protégé in the same fashion as the instructors had done with the items that had represented their time in Ninjutsu.

The katana was half as old as the art itself, and everyone in that office understood the significance of what had just occurred, including Tobias, who now had a few tears in his eyes as a result. The antique sword had been given to Philip by the grandmaster, and by passing it on to this young warrior it meant that Tobias was now the head Shidoshi of this particular dojo.

With mixed emotions, nothing could have been further from Tobias’ true intentions of just wanting to help those who couldn’t defend themselves. But declining such an offer would have been highly disrespectful, so the young divine warrior accepted his new role as head Shidoshi, while at the same time continuing to stay active in his pursuits of bringing order to chaos.

Tobias was not the only one who had such an honor bestowed upon him at such a young age. The current grandmaster had been chosen as successor by the previous while barely in his thirties, despite the fact of there being quite a number of candidates much older than he. This was an art based on truth, not seniority, and in this case, the young leader was the embodiment of such truth.

After a formal ceremony and an official certification coming out of Japan, Tobias Montgomery now held the title of Shihan. With the exception of three new additions to the dojo, he chose to keep his predecessor’s set-up the same. The first change came about as a result of a suggestion by his council. That an ‘urban combat’ class be added to the black belt curriculum, with of course Tobias being the instructor, as he was the only one who actually possessed the real-life experience of putting the art’s teachings to the test. The other two additions came from the new Shihan himself. One, a class that would focus solely on mikkyo, Ninjutsu’s mind science, to ensure the balance of training. And two, that the dojo put on a monthly fundraiser, the proceeds of which would go towards helping those who wanted to train in the art but could not afford to, as well as having some funds set aside for what Tobias referred to as ‘protection insurance’. Which, in other words, meant money that might be needed when putting a stop to conflict.

~

Although this short story can stand alone in its message, which is why I chose to post it here, it is actually part of a longer journey, from my critically-acclaimed novella.

bp

“WOW. Bleeding Perseverance was such a thought provoking read. It’s a short read but extremely enthralling. I didn’t want to put it down to pick my kids up from school, It was very tempting to just keep reading and be damned with the consequences. No doubt earning “Worst Mother of the Year Award”… But I have only just gotten rid of that award, so I had to put it down. 😉

This book was written so well it deserves to be judged fairly. It brought to light all the terrible things that happen around in other countries, that we don’t always get to see. And for that I would give it 6 stars if it was allowed. I’d like to thank Mr Lamoureux for sharing this story with the world.”

-Aimie Jennison, author and Goodreads member

Bleeding Perseverance

Available at:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/620240

After Hours Tat

His ink runs soul deep…

Welcome back my wonderful readers!

Week two in our month-long celebration of Halloween has us exploring the world of tattoo. After this tale, bet you’ll never look at ’em the same way again;)

Enjoy…!

vp

After Hours Tat

By

Rico Lamoureux

All Rights Reserved.

2016

The midnight blue from the neon sign was like a reflective beacon of the sky above, its fluorescent letters illuminating the stairwell of a small shop on an otherwise darkened street.

AFTER HOURS TAT

For a business that was below street level it managed to do just fine in the wee hours of the night, patrons as diverse as those roaming the world during daylight hours finding their way to the nocturnal tattoo shop.

Inside sat Lou- the owner, the lone artist, a dead ringer for the classically creepy actor Vincent Price- preparing his tools of the trade, and the ink that would flow from them, so as to ready them for creating the desires of those looking to get marked.

The little bell above Lou’s front entrance door rang, a podgy fellow with a rim of hair encircling a bare scalp carrying his stocky frame on over to the front counter before placing atop it a small ice chest, right next to an empty one already waiting for him.

“Evenin’ Lou, gettin’ ready for the night owls, I see.”

“Indeed I am, George. How’s the carnivore business treating you?”

“Can’t complain. Keepin’ my blades sharp, that’s for sure! Same number of goat juice for next week?” George asked as he took hold of the empty chest.

“Let’s go ahead and make it a dozen pints this time,” Lou replied, “if you have enough billies, that is.”

“Oh, I got plenty. The barrio I live in? They love themselves some goat head tacos.”

“Great. By the way, how’s Marissa doing? Are things starting to get serious?”

“Well, let’s just say, next time I come in here, could be lookin’ to have you put her name across my heart.”

“Is that so, George? Congratulations! You decide on doing it, it’s on the shop. And if the little lady decides to come in and match you, she doesn’t pay either.”

“You’re one-of-a-kind, Lou.” George complimented as he headed for the door. “A classy breed they just don’t make anymore!”

~

A triad of forbidden sexy where the first customers to walk through Lou’s door that night, their Catholic schoolgirl uniforms modified for after hours fun while secretly away from their divine dormitory.

“What can I do for you ladies,” Lou asked from behind the counter.

Shy but excited the three looked to one another, the bravest of them then stepping forward.

“Um- We’re starting a sisterhood of sorts, and like, well…”

Pulling away a little of the blouse that covered some of her tantalizing cleavage, the girl retrieved a piece of paper nestled in her bra, unfolding it before handing it over to Lou.

“We wanna get this…”

He took a moment to look at the hand drawn image.

“Is this where I think it is? Is this where you want it?”

“Mmm, hmm.” The girl responded. He looked to the other two. With wide-open eyes they nodded as well.

“Ok then, come on back.”

An hour later and Lou finished his last vibrating stroke on the last of the three girls, one more wipe clean before coming up from between her legs.

“Alright, all done,” he said as he switched off his machine, giving the girl with tears in her eyes the space she needed to bring her knees back together and put back on her silk red panties. They were the kind you’d find in a Victoria Secret catalog, not the dresser drawer of a sweet little angel. All three had them, and now all three had colorful wings to their hidden butterflies.

~

When the clock struck midnight three execs stumbled into the shop, more intoxicated on success than the few drinks they had in ‘em. The most obnoxious was naturally the one to speak up first.

“My good man, my good man, we’re lookin’ to celebrate, and if you’re as good as I think you are, you’ll be gettin’ one of the biggest tips of your life by the time we walk out of here.”

“Sounds like a deal, gentlemen,” Lou replied. “What can I do you for?”

The second suit was next to speak up, going for one of Lou’s business cards as he did so. “Well you see, my colleague here, the guy we like to call the-deal-closer, just made us a cool mill tonight.”

“Not bad for a couple hours work, huh good man?!” blared out Mr. Obnoxious.

Looking up from the card, suit two said, “Actually, our good man here is named Lou. Short for anything?”

“Lucifer,” Lou answered, following it up with a clever smile.

They all laughed. “Good one!”

Ironically, the third guy, the deal-closer, was the most tame of the three, “We’re not quite sure what we’re looking for. Something to serve as a remembrance.”

Lou came from behind the counter and walked them over to one of his walls of tattoos, all of them looking over the many displays. “Let’s see… Given the occasion, what do you gents say to this one?”

It was a skull wearing a top hat emblazoned with a dollar sign, a whirlwind of hundred dollar bills swirling all around him.

“I like to call him the Typhoon Tycoon.”

“Fuck waitin’ till we walk out of here,” Mr. Obnoxious declared, “my good man Lou is gettin’ his three Benjamins right now!”

And with that he pulled out a thick wad of cash held together by a gold plated dollar sign money clip.

~

A flash of red with a different hue of blue mixed with the midnight neon as it passed through the shop’s windows. With no warning the glass door shot open, Lou’s little bell ringing hard and fast as a gangbanger flew in.

Once it was clear that the cops had passed the thug took a deep breath.

“Busy night?” Lou asked.

“Always.”

“What can I do for you?”

The shady stranger had a black bandanna tied around his head, moustache and goatee like a pitchfork to his hardened face.

Stepping up to the counter he fished through his coat pockets.

“I need a tat.”

Both pockets produced a handful of items, in one a cellphone, a switchblade and a pair of silk red panties, while the other had a pack of gum, a bus schedule, and a thick wad of cash held together by a gold plated money clip smudged in blood red.

The banger took out a hundred and slapped it down on the counter top.

Lou looked back up to his hardened face, tattooed tear drops dripping from his right eye and extending down over his cheek and jugular, the deadly stream disappearing underneath his coat.

“Let me guess, six more drops…”

“You’re a fortune teller too, pops?”

“You could say that.

“Come on back.

“Where would you like these additions?”

The banger took off his coat and tossed it to a nearby chair, his shirt the next to go.

“Just add to the storm.”

Turning around, his trail of tear drops led to his back, where they expanded into pouring rain, a fallen angel drenched and down on his knees looking up, arms extended out to his sides, wings so soaked they could barely outstretch.

Lou fired up his machine.

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Butterball’s Laughter

Welcome to the first Friday of October, my wonderful readers!

To celebrate the month of Halloween, the stories will be a little darker than usual, but still provoke thought. Think The Twilight Zone!

And now, without further ado…:)

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Butterball’s Laughter

 

By

Rico Lamoureux

 

All Rights Reserved.

2016

He felt like a human accordion, all the air being crushed out of him while his four bullies bounced atop him like a spring mattress. Every rib ached, every air sac in his lungs burned, but all he could do was take it, hoping they’d tire themselves out before he blacked out.

Butterball Billy, fat as all shit,

Butterball Billy, a bottomless pit.

Turkey day, every day,

he eats it all away,

and now Butterball Billy

has to pay.

Why hadn’t he just listened to his mother, who had specifically told him not to go out that front door until it was time to leave? Dressed in his best suit and tie for the reading of his Uncle Jon’s will, he was supposed to have kept clean and pressed this Saturday morning, but he just couldn’t resist the urge to run down to the corner store for a few chocolate gold coins. Ok, maybe it wasn’t a run, more like a fast walk, but he had been sure he’d have enough time to fill his pocket full of candy before Ma was even half way done with her make-up. And as for his dad, college football kept him distracted.

Considered overweight for his thirteen-year-old growing body, Billy wasn’t supposed to be anywhere near chocolate, but for him it was the greatest part of his day, the perfection of sweetness melting over his taste buds and soaking him in bliss.

But as he left the store savoring that first piece the awful soundtrack of his childhood dug into his ears. He tried to ignore it, as if he hadn’t heard a thing, but this tactic never really worked, shuffling sneakers closing in for what would undoubtedly be a painful torment.

“Hey Butterball, why you all dressed up? It ain’t Sunaday.”

“Yeah, and even if it was, you don’t go to church. Who’s your god, Buddha? You’re fat like him!”

They all laughed.

“Buddha’s not a-” was all Billy could get out before being punched in the gut, the four bullies quickly pushing him around to the back alley.

And now here he was, chubby cheek to pavement, fighting hard to stay conscious.

Then, just like that, they ran off.

Billy just laid there for a minute, taking in the air his body so desperately needed, assessing through pain where it hurt the most. A process he was all too familiar with.

“…not a god. Buddha’s not a god, he was a prince,” he said aloud, completing the sentence he had been prevented from finishing.

He thought of asking to use the store’s bathroom to clean up, but after looking down at his torn blackened clothes with empty pocket robbed of its chocolate, he realized it wouldn’t help, and so he just wobbled his way to his feet and made his way home.

~

“And lastly, but definitely not beastly, I leave to my beloved nephew, Billy Thornton, a lifetime of laughter, my treasured Laff Box.”

And with this proclamation, the attorney was finished with the reading of the will.

“What’s a laugh box?” Billy wondered aloud before being hushed by his mother.

~

The next day Billy found the answer to his question waiting for him in the garage.

Frankenstein typewriter was the first thought that came to his mind. It was a clunky box, nearly half as tall as he was, chunky button keys attached to metal veins.

With one of his think little fingers Billy reached out and pushed one of the round keys. The box let out a barrel of laughs, the kind you hear from one of those sitcoms.

He pushed another. This one was accompanied by applause. Then another… And another… All sounds of a joyful audience, yet each unique in its own reaction.

Billy smiled. Something his face wasn’t really used to doing these days. He pictured his Uncle Jon, the one who had always been the jokester in the family. The one who could always get a chuckle out of Billy no matter how bad things seemed.

The inheritance now made perfect sense. Well, not quite perfect. Not yet, anyway.

~

For the next few days Billy was completely consumed by his new Laff Box. He had learned a lot about it online, including the fact that it had been invented by a guy named Charley over a half century ago as a way to edit in perfect laughs for sitcoms. What he couldn’t figure out was how his Uncle Jun had come upon it, along with wondering if this is what helped make him into the jokester he was known to be.

Despite the new joy in his life, Billy still had to deal with the reality of his school life, which, of course, was still dominated by physical and mental abuse. But he was beginning to recognize something odd starting to take shape within him. During the social humiliations his inner thoughts would turn to the laughter, and when physical pain brought about tears he would get the giggles. The bullies didn’t know what to make of it, but when they saw that an increase in their violence only produced more hysterics, they didn’t feel that entertained anymore.

Then Friday came, the day of Show-and-Tell…

~

In his research Billy had discovered a great deal of knowledge about his Laff Box, the fact that fascinated him the most being that although the hardware had changed over time, it was the laughs themselves that were timeless, for no one ever changed ol’ Charley’s original recordings. This meant that the sitcoms of the present were being laughed at by the audiences of the past, now obviously deceased and who knew where. What if at least a part of them still remained in that box, the laughter of the dead reaching out from beyond?

Billy liked the thought of that.

Draped in a sheet, his box of ghosts were heavy, but at least there were wheels on the bottom, everyone staring as he pushed it into the classroom.

“Butterball robbed the cafeteria again,” went one snide remark, followed by, “it’s his food truck,” and, “Nah, it’s a mini frig. He needs it like life support!”

Hushed by their teacher, Billy’s classmates settled their cracking up and gave him their full attention.

“Under this sheet is a box that has the same sounds as the box in your living rooms. The audience reactions you hear on your favorite TV shows are mixed with the laughs of dead people! How? Because they were recorded over a half century ago! And played on this…!”

Like a magician playing to his audience, Billy yanked the sheet off his Laff Box.

“Whoa…!”

“Cool!”

“What the…?”

“Live audiences didn’t always give the right reactions,” Billy went on to explain, “so a guy named Charley Douglass created this Laff Box.”

“How does it work?” someone asked.

Billy pushed one of the buttons, laughter filling the air.

The kids were dumbfounded.

“Do it again!”

“Yeah!”

This time he hit the key that included applause. They had never seen anything like it in their lives, commenting to each other while staring with mesmerized eyes.

Then came the inevitable…

“They’re laughing because you’re so fat!” ridiculed one of the bullies, saying it right before Billy’s finger pushed the next key. The class couldn’t help but laugh along.

“DJ Butterball, playin’ the hits.”

“Welcome to McButterball, can I take your order?

“Yeah, I’ll take an extra-large butter, with a side order of butter!”

The insults kept coming, the timing so perfect that it was like Billy was catering to every one of them, with him even beginning to laugh too.

After a while the bullies ran out of things to say, but Billy continued to produce laughs, his own growing more and more deranged.

Not even the teacher knew how to respond.

One of the bullies began to heave. At first it was mistaken for more laughter, but the more dramatic it became the more eyes shifted from Billy to the taunter, and when he started to cough up brown muck, that’s when those eyes began to widen with fear.

Gravy, with chunks of turkey meat, expelled from the boy’s mouth, his three co-conspirators now experiencing the same uncontrollable vomiting, all while Billy and his box kept laughing.

Turkey bones drove his ghost audience wild, passing through the esophagus of each bully with grotesque difficulty before being spewed out over their fellow students. This sent them all running out of the classroom, and when it was clear that this was indeed an unnatural occurrence, when the muck started to pour out of the four boys’ noses and ears as well, the teacher got the hell out of there too.

Once the floor was covered in chunked gravy Billy’s hysteria finally began to die down, his chubby fingers slowly rising off the vengeful keys he had been feverishly striking.

He looked down to those who had had him looking up to them for so long, their now deceased bodies bone-thin, as if they had thrown up all that had made them human.

Then again, were they ever really human? For being such requires humanity.

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There’s no greater fuel for a pen than life experience, creativity, and a love for storytelling. A fact which led Rico Lamoureux to the realization that he was destined to become an author. From a childhood of abuse and poverty to overcoming life-altering health conditions. From being trained in an ancient martial art to finding his soul mate. With an artistic heart and an ambitious spirit, this diverse journey Rico takes the reader on is indeed an intriguing and unforgettable one!

(Includes nearly 100 color photos)