Son of a Hundred Maniacs

Welcome back my wonderful readers!

Last week we learned of poor Amanda Krueger’s fate in ‘Amanda’s Christmas’. This week, as we continue on with its sequel, you’ll find this is where I take creative license with the whole Freddy Krueger saga. As mentioned in the previous post, I was a really big fan growing up, but I’ve always felt there was one part of Freddy’s story that could have been better.

You see, in my humble opinion, the key ingredient in a great horror story is empathy, so although I love Freddy’s sinister ways, I never fully subscribed to the notion that he’s pure evil. After all, half of him comes from innocence, Sister Amanda.

With that said, here’s my take on the origins of the legendary monster,

Freddy Krueger…!

 

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Son of a Hundred Maniacs

By

Rico Lamoureux

All Rights Reserved.

2016

 

“Mama, what’s it like where you live?”

“Oh, Freddy-Boy, such a place is not important right now. All that matters is our time here, together.”

“But I wanna come stay with you.

“Earl is so mean, and the kids, they always…”

Seven years old and sitting in his mother’s embrace, this was the only time Freddy could visit with her, the two alone in the void of dream, so close he could smell the blood which stained her once pure white dress.

Their separation was always sorrowful, the soft violet surrounding them turning into blood purple.

“He’s coming, Mama. Please don’t make me go back.”

They would hold each other tight, tears falling, the strength of the wind growing as a muffled echo neared.

“You must be patient, my dear Freddy-Boy. Someday we’ll be together.

“Someday-”

“Get up, boy!” would roar out, its gust of anger tearing the two apart and sending young Freddy hurling into the void…

Before being physically yanked up, jolting back into consciousness. Back into the harsh reality that was Earl, to do his bidding while being physically and mentally abused.

“Nobody ever wanted you, boy! You’ve always been the devil’s seed. Son of a hundred maniacs! I was the only one that would take you in. You’re nothing but a state check to me.”

This was all Freddy ever knew. Tormented by his foster father, head janitor at Springwood Elementary, adding to the ridicule from his peers as they would chant, “Son of a hundred maniacs!”

Eventually, scorn from the whole town led Freddy to the local library to try and find his past. By this time he was twelve, but still seven in his dreams, in his mother’s arms.

Of course nobody at the library wanted to help him, but it was on microfilm where he found the story of his mother, Amanda, and how she had died while giving birth to him.

For the first time he couldn’t wait to get home, to do his chores and get to sleep so he could ask his mother so many unanswered questions.

But that night she never came to visit him, nor the night after that and the night after that. Gone, as if their time together really had been nothing but a dream. But he refused to believe it, knowing it had to be real. Otherwise what was he? The monster everyone claimed? And so he continued to lay his head down every night, silently asking but never receiving an answer to his question…

“Mama, why do I have these urges, and have to fight so hard to keep them from taking me over? Why am I so hungry to hear the cries of those who hurt me?”

Another thing Freddy knew in his heart, but could never prove, was that Earl’s viciousness went beyond the abuse he showed towards him. Throughout his childhood he’d find pieces of innocence here and there: school photos of some of the girls in his class… a beret attached to a strand of hair… a small pair of panties… But he was always too afraid to tell someone. What if they blamed it all on him?

By high school, while other students were being mentored by the guidance staff, Freddy’s counselor had a new label for him: autistic. This was supposed to explain why he found it hard to concentrate. Why he always seemed to lag behind his fellow classmates. Instead of having him take the SAT Freddy was placed in a Work Study Program, spending half his school day training behind the man who represented his future vocation, Earl.

On into adulthood Freddy continued to suffer, the emotional hold Earl had on him preventing him from striking back. The only souls he felt a connection with were the young boys and girls at school: innocent hearts that would sometimes play with him as he tended to his custodial duties. Jump rope, hopscotch, Jacks… Nothing but innocent fun. But every now and then an adult would see this and bring an immediate stop to it, warning the children to stay away from the man with the trash bags.

Then came the period of time that would change everything…

The first little girl to go missing from Springwood Elementary was only seven years old. She had been one of the few who had continued to interact with Freddy despite the warnings, and when her little bloody dress was found on the far side of the playground, Freddy was the first to be suspected of the heinous act.

But no solid evidence surfaced, and so public opinion was only left to grow.

The following week there was not one but two small children to disappear, and the week after that, three. The whole town was on edge, many of its residents yelling obscenities and threatening Freddy out in the open. But nothing could be connected back to him.

That is until week seven of the horrific children abductions…

The best thing Freddy loved about his job was when he had the chance to plant a tree. It made him feel like he was creating life, and it also reminded him of an unexplained vision he had always had in the back of his mind: of a little girl placing an angel atop a Christmas tree.

As Freddy dug the earth’s soil his clawed garden tool caught hold of a piece of fabric. He pulled but it wouldn’t budge, so he dug around it.

It was attached to a small arm.

A deep chill shot up through Freddy’s spine, expanding throughout his entire body and causing his hands to uncontrollably tremble.

He ran to the principal’s office..

Couldn’t find the words…

Couldn’t catch his breath…

They followed him to the small buried body.

When authorities arrived Freddy was taken into custody.

~

The trial was speedy, the evidence, overwhelming, bloody instruments, many of which were homemade and all linked back to the poor innocent children of Springwood Elementary, found underneath Freddy’s small work shed. He knew Earl was behind everything, but nothing could prove his claims were true.

It seemed all was lost.

But right before his fate was placed into the hands of the jury Freddy’s court-appointed lawyer discovered a bombshell.

His client hadn’t been read his Miranda rights.

The case was dismissed.

~

To say the town of Springwood was outraged would be an understatement. Freddy even needed protection while leaving the courthouse, police escorting him to the local bus station and strongly recommending him to leave town at once.

But he just couldn’t bring himself to do it. Most of those children had been his friends, the urge to hurt Earl now stronger in him than ever.

The anger steered Freddy back to his work shed, where he spent the next several hours using some of the knowledge he had acquired from Earl to forge a razor-sharp bladed glove.

All the years of abuse at the hands of his foster father was not the spark that ignited his courage. It was the suffering of others, of his little friends, that had finally brought on the inferno.

As if giving voice to his rage, a loud mob could be heard nearing Freddy’s shed.

He peered out. They were coming from all directions. Torches ablaze, fury burning in vengeance.

He looked down at the four evil-looking blades protruding from the fingers of his right hand, half of him feeling repulsed at the sight of what he had created, his other half hungering to put them to use.

He dropped to his knees…

“Mama…?”

A second later and a bottle of gasoline came shattering through the small window of his shed, followed by a dozen more, both inside and out, leaving everything, including him, drenched in the lethal petroleum.

And then came the fire, burning on a rag sticking out of one of the bottles of gas, engulfing Freddy and everything around him in an instant.

The pain was excruciating, infinitely worse than anything he had ever felt as the storm of fire burned and melted his flesh from head to toe, clothes incinerated, the only thing withstanding it all, the bladed glove.

Not for one second was Freddy shown mercy, no numbness from the shock of it all. In fact, it only seemed to be getting worse, the flames of vengeance turning into the flames of Hell.

Images began to take shape within the Devil’s flames, Freddy’s mother forming out of them, followed by the scene of his birth.

It was difficult and bloody, no doubt of that, but Amanda was strong, showing no signs of succumbing as she pushed with unwavering determination.

Once the baby was extracted it was rushed out of the delivery room, the new mother screaming for her child as she was held down.

With this vivid imagery came realization, even through Freddy’s unbearable pain, that, in reality, the church had prevented his mother from keeping him.

The fierce flames then shifted to The Tower at the Westin Hills Asylum, Sister Amanda, unable to rid herself of the grief, standing in the large window frame of its peak. It was from this highest point where she plunged to her death.

Again filled with thoughts of knowledge, perhaps given to him by his dear mother, Freddy knew the church had covered up the truth, for suicide was a sin, and the last thing it wanted was the shame that one of their own had committed it.

It was the power within the flames that now took over the narrative, telling Freddy through the continual burning of his flesh that God had shown no mercy, sending Sister Amanda to the depths of Hell for her willful act against Him.

Only one way to be saved, only one soul to bring it about, she could be sent to purgatory, by the power of Satan, but of course, only at a price. Freddy would have to become his servant, to embody all darkness.

His mother had again taken shape, and with pleading eyes begged her son not to do it. To instead take the other path. The one of light, the one leading to Heaven.

But he just couldn’t do it. He loved her too much.

And so with the power of will he gave over his soul, the last sight of his mother being the pain in her eyes, in knowing what he was about to become as she ascended off to that unknown place between Heaven and Hell.

POWER! Raw dark power was now flooding into Freddy!

The madness of a hundred maniacs…

The viciousness of a hundred Earl’s…

The hatred of those yelling outside…

All soothing the pain caused by the flames…

All making him feel like he had the strength of a god!

Freddy rose to his feet, brought his bladed hand up to his face, and flexed the extreme power that now lay within it.

He looked out to the parents of Elm Street.

~

EPILOGUE

Seventeen Years Later

 

Fast asleep in her bed, Nancy was a beautiful teen with her whole life ahead of her.

Within her dream she walked through a schoolyard garden, its trees lush green.

Off in the distance the sound of skipping rope began to fill the air, and with little giggles intermingled with little jumping feet Nancy started to walk towards the playground.

With each step she took the trees would become more withered, more dark, the sky above turning from soft violet to blood purple.

This was soon becoming the look of a nightmare, and when she got to the little girls jumping rope the song they began to sing sent chills down her spine.

 

One, two, Freddy’s coming for you…

 

~

How about we have a little contest!
(Open to all followers. If you’re not one yet, simply click that lil’ Follow button on the lower right of your screen and become part of The Flash Fiction Ponder!)
The first reader to correctly guess who Earl is named after will win a copy of my 5-star critically-acclaimed novella, The Mirrored Staircase!

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Let me know if you need a little clue;)

Happy Halloween, my friends!

Amanda’s Christmas

Hello again, my wonderful readers!

I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to get this week’s story up in time, but I tracked down an internet cafe that’s up and running. You see, Baguio started the week with a crappy typhoon, with power being knocked out for about 24 hours. Two days later, guess what happens? Another damn typhoon blasts in! And this one’s twice as strong! Power has been out in my neck of the woods for about 40 hours now, and the pics I’ll post to twitter when I have a chance shows power lines and trees knocked over like toothpicks! So yeah, I can only hope that the power is restored asap!

Ok, on with this week’s story:) You know, I’ve never written fan fiction before, up until this point preferring to keep everything original. But given this month’s celebration of Halloween, along with my love of The Nightmare on Elm Street series while I was growing up, I thought now would be the best time to go ahead and delve into a lil’ fan fic!

So… To close out the horror tales for the next two weeks, we’ll take a trip down Elm Street history, starting with ‘Amanda’s Christmas!’ You don’t have to know the film/story line in order to fully understand the two stories I’ll be telling, but if you do know ’em, maybe you’ll appreciate the insight I add to it all. Next week’s tale will be a sequel to this week’s, so be sure to Follow the blog so you won’t miss it:)

Enjoy…!

 

A.K.

Amanda’s Christmas

By

Rico Lamoureux

All Rights Reserved.

2016

As insignificant as it was compared to caring for the less fortunate, Amanda couldn’t rid herself of the disappoint she felt for not having been home on Thanksgiving for the Krueger family tradition of decorating the Christmas tree. For the past fifteen years, ever since daddy had first placed the angel in her little three-year-old hand and rose her up above his shoulders so she could affix it to the top, it had been her annual job to do just that.

“Angel to angel,” he would always say, with each passing year Amanda’s character becoming more and more like one. She couldn’t pass a homeless person on the street without giving them at least half of what she had, couldn’t visit a hospital without consoling every ill patient. A natural instinct to help those suffering, it came as no surprise when Amanda declared at the age of ten that she would one day become a nun.

And now here she was, her first year as a novice, serving the lord by serving the mentally ill inmates of the Westin Hills Asylum. The worst of the worst were housed in The Tower, its crazed residents so far gone that they were left to drown in each others madness, looked over by no more than two guards during daylight hours, with no one to watch over them on nights and weekends.

This was an area not even the convent’s Mother Superior dared to go near, yet something in Amanda’s heart told her this is where she needed to be, and so she had put in the request back in September.

Since no one in the church had any experience with these mad men, Amanda only ever received one piece of advice, from one of the guards.

“Never forget, they’re like wild animals. They can turn on you at any time.”

But right away something seemed to be different when she interacted with the inmates. Behaving like rabid dogs, lunatics of the highest breed while under the authority of the male guards, when it came time for Amanda to visit, an unusual calm would take effect, all beasts tamed by an unseen force, perhaps her kindness, as she tried to communicate with them, console them, pray with them.

This companionship is why she hadn’t had the heart to abandon them on Thanksgiving, but by choosing to stay near she couldn’t help but feel guilty for having missed the tradition of placing the angel atop the tree. She felt she had not only let her family down, but the angel as well. Sure it was just an inanimate object, but it represented the angels in the Kingdom of Heaven. No matter how nonsensical it was, she couldn’t rid herself of the image of these heavenly beings shedding tears.

In the end, Amanda knew in her heart she had made the right decision, which in turn gave her the confidence in knowing The Tower is where she needed to be on the day before Christmas as well. This would be the last day before the celebration of Christ’s birth, the last day she’d have to pass on the teachings to those she looked after before the guards locked them up for the long holiday weekend.

That Christmas Eve afternoon Amanda arrived at The Tower with two full baskets of freshly-baked Christmas cookies. The two guards on duty were the first to taste the warm soft treats, both cheery and excited for the upcoming holiday weekend.

Like a kindergarten teacher calmly controlling her class, once she was in their hellhole Amanda passed out cookies to every inmate there was, eight dozen plus four more to be precise.

Next it was time for the lesson of the day: The Virgin Mary giving birth to the Lord Almighty. All ears listened to their beloved teacher, all child-like eyes transfixed on her.

Once Amanda’s watch read ten minutes to five she had everyone hold hands so she could lead them in prayer.

This was followed by the reciting of Our Father, many of her pupils echoing the title of the prayer as she said it aloud.

Mid-way through and the unmistakable CLANK of The Tower’s caged pin locked into place. Amanda’s chant immediately came to a halt, everyone looking up towards the entrance.

The novice nun hurried for the caged door, the others following not that far behind, her heart now beginning to beat twice as fast as usual.

Indeed the wall-high cage had been locked. A second before Amanda called out to the two guards the heavy iron door of The Tower shut hard and loud, the thick bolts that secured it letting off rusty thuds as they slammed into place.

In their haste to get home for the holiday weekend the two guards had forgotten all about sister Amanda. Her long innocent hands, which were now gripping the wire fencing of the metal pin, started to tremble in fear.

She closed her eyes tighter than ever before and began to pray deeper than ever before, pleading with her God to place a thought of remembrance into one if not both of the guards’ minds.

A hard hand came down on Amanda’s shoulder, jolting her eyes wide open. Trying to keep her composure she turned around, removing the hand and speaking in an authoritative voice. “Now boys, you must behave yourselves. The guards just stepped out to get more cookies. You want more cookies, don’t you? Cone now, how about another story while we’re waiting?”

Their eyes were no longer childlike, now crazed with dark intent, their mouths salivating in lust.

She tried reasoning…

She tried threatening…

The hands of a hundred maniacs closed in.

As they tore away her white dress of innocence, her bridal gown to Christ, she begged, implored Him to somehow save her, but was only answered with images of his battered body being nailed to the cross.

So this was her fate? After having preached on The Virgin Mary, the extreme irony of losing her pureness to a hundred mad men?!

As they tore…

As they ravaged…

The angels above wept like never before.

~

The sequel, Son of a Hundred Maniacs, will be posted next week!

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All followers get a FREE copy of my autobiography, normally priced at $2.99 on Amazon:)

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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

Sometimes Revenge is a Dish Best Served with Gravy.

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.

To support my stories, please leave comments and follow this blog:)

All followers receive a FREE copy of my autobiography, normally priced at $2.99 on Amazon…

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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)

Paper Back

Happy Friday, my wonderful readers:)

Last one of September. Geez, Christmas is right around the corner!

This week’s story is told in First Person.

Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, enjoy with this flash of substance…!

 

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Paper Back

 

By

Rico Lamoureux

All Rights Reserved.

2016

 

My earliest memory stems from preschool, a teacher, whose face I don’t even remember, using a safety pin to attach a folded piece of paper to the back of my shirt before placing me on a school bus to go home. Being the skinny kid I was, the message intended for my mother was like a billboard covering half my torso. I don’t know how they do it nowadays, probably via text message, but this was how they used to get information to the parents of the little ones.

Out of all my memories, why was this one imprinted the deepest? Some people believe life is about coming full circle.

I’ve spent the past few days preparing for the next chapter in my life. Actually, it’s been years in the making when I really think about it. Maybe as far back as that first memory. Part of being a child is being exposed to a great deal of storytelling, for such a tool has proven to work well with the learning process. For most kids it ends up being a building block, to serve alongside other fundamentals of development. But for some, like myself, a special kinship is formed, with story becoming the most important part of one’s foundation. For these few, paperbacks take precedence over toys, hardbacks being the evening entertainment while parents and siblings watch television in the background.

As you can imagine, book reports were my sheer joy, my recess, my show-and-tell. In middle school, targets were set on getting published in the school paper, and by high school my focus was on more widely circulated publications, like magazines and such.

With cap and gown came the decision to go out and earn a degree in Life, concluding that more academic education could be acquired at any time. And so I experienced, lived, wrote.

The one thing they don’t teach you in secondary school and below is what I like to call The Finite Window of Youth. When someone sees a little kid working a lemonade stand, they don’t see it through cynical eyes, as someone just trying to get money out of them. No, it’s looked upon as something to encourage, to support. This societal view of respecting a young person’s ambition continues on through the tween and adolescent years, everyday people having no problem subscribing to a newspaper or buying a chocolate bar.

But then something odd happens. That once grand window of youth, of opportunity, begins to fog up while at the same time falling back, the older one gets, the more unclear and out of reach it becomes, and before you know it, it’s nothing but a faded memory. Add a whole generation to the equation, minus a privileged few but multiplied by new waves of youth and that window is no more than a tiny speck, more distant than a far-off star in a universe that once held boundless potential.

Meanwhile, life continues to happen all around you, and with the sight of a plus sign on a pregnancy stick things are positively about to change whether you’re ready for them or not.

Having tried every trick in the book, (and yes dammit, the pun is intended, for sometimes a sense a humor can mean the difference between keeping one’s sanity and losing it) a storyteller like myself, after facing the extreme saturation of cyberspace black holes and clueless literary insiders, realizes that something drastic needs to come about if the passionate heart is to keep beating, while at the same time taking hold, with cradling hands, this new responsibility.

The novella: long enough to leave quite the impression if written well, short enough to keep costs low enough to turn a profit. And so I print out three of my masterpieces, double-sided, so that when assembled, they’re like little homemade paperbacks. Crude? To the close-minded, yes, but for those who have a taste for fleshly-squeezed lemonade, I just might have a chance.

And so with my ten dollar knockoff Samsonite bag I wheel my future, our future, to a popular freeway on-ramp as the sun begins to rise, my only possible competition being a fellow peddler, this one selling bags of oranges.

The paper safety-pinned to my front, as well as the one to my back, both reading

PLS BUY

MY BOOK

occasionally rustles with my movement or a gentle breeze.

Indeed I have come full circle, and can only hope the circumference of my baby’s will turn out so much wider.

 

*If you enjoy my work, please be so kind as to subscribe. Just click on Follow at the bottom right corner, then enter your email address. Your support really matters:)*

All followers receive my autobiography for FREE! Normally priced at $2.99 on Amazon…

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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)

 

Breakaway Glass

Greetings, wonderful readers!

This time around we ponder the very thing you’re using to read this…!

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Breakaway Glass

By

Rico Lamoureux

All Rights Reserved.

2016

Taking his seat on the empty bus bench, Gene popped open his pocket watch. Two forty and a half. He’d always been in tune with time, being no more off than two minutes at any given period of the day. Perhaps such a talent had been developed as a result of having worked with time pieces for over fifty years. But these days, these decades, had ol’ Gene enjoying the latter part of his life in retirement.

Oatmeal with the rising sun, a walk around the block, tending to his garden, reading the newspaper, all by ten a.m. Then it was household chores for the next two hours, the sounds of his past spinning on an ol’ console record player. Following lunch, Gene would head out to the bus stop, stopping at the corner market long enough to pick up a bag of peanuts, before catching the seventy-nine out to Oak Park.

It was here where he’d feed the squirrels while seated atop yet another bench, his bushy-tailed friends sitting atop his lap as they reached out with their little paw-hands for the shelled nuts before cracking them open and pulling out the prize inside.

Once all had been fed the little critters would run off to their leafy towers, Gene left alone to reflect this grand existence called life.

And so the first half of his daily routine would go. But once a year this deep pondering would expand beyond the borders of the park, Gene’s contemplation lasting the whole day as he turned another year older.

When the long hand of Gene’s pocket watch hit two forty-two he looked up towards the deep blue sky. Ninety years ago to the minute he had entered this world, his mother often telling him throughout his childhood of the sunny day she had given birth to him.

Judging from his alignment with time, he figured he had another good ten to fifteen years in him before it’d be his time to move on to the next stage of existence. One thing was for sure— the closer he got to the end, the faster the hands of his pocket watch seemed to rotate, the ever-changing world around him constantly metamorphosizing into something that looked less and less familiar with each passing day.

Two forty-seven. Bus number seventy-nine was right on time as it pulled up to the curb in front of Gene and opened its door. He could still take the three steps up into it with relative ease, flashing his bus pass before turning to see which random seat would be available. The first ten were supposed to be reserved for the elderly and disabled, but hardly anyone ever observed such long-ago etiquette nowadays.

Gene spotted a middle aisle seat and hurried to it, trying to beat the driver before he hit the gas. He made it just in time, settling into the seat beside a young woman that couldn’t have been much older than his mother when she had given birth to him. As expected her head was facing down, fingers playing with one of those devices that now ruled the world.

Just as the sky was blue on a sunny day Gene knew that no matter where he went— either to the locations of his routine, or, on a rare day, out somewhere else, he’d find the same thing— the overwhelming majority of people staring down into those damn devices. What once felt like a Twilight Zone episode was now the norm, all Gene having to do to prove such a fact was look around him. Everyone but him— even the driver taking a glance at his own every once in awhile— everyone but Gene, a slave to this thing called technology.

He could remember when such a word was something to marvel at, not detest. He had been alive to see the transition from radio to television, black and white to color. But this— this was a bigger threat to humanity than any nuclear weapon, old science fiction stories turning out to be truer than any religious doctrine.

And then it happened…

Starting with the young lady seated next to him, the screen of her device cracking loud enough for a few others to take notice.

Before she could place words to her shock another screen cracked, then another, soon all going off like popping popcorn, “What The Fuck?!”’s spreading just as fast, the expressions of bewilderment seeming to ignite an even bigger effect, at least to Gene, as all the windows of the bus exploded out into the street with great force.

The driver swerved and came to a sudden stop, just about everyone letting go of their devices so as to reach out and steady themselves.

Ol’ Gene could now feel pieces of LCD screens beneath his shoes, the floor covered in ’em. He felt compelled to exit the bus, getting up and leaving behind all those who were still too shocked to react.

In every direction there was the same scene, shattered glass, not one single window left intact. The world was still.

Gene took out his pocket watch. The glass cover was undamaged, but the hands of time stood still. But then, like the beats of a resuscitated heart, they began to tick again.

He felt this deep instinct. The kind that all humans are born with. That little voice inside that is inherently second nature. The one that has been around since primitive times.

And it was telling him to look up…

And so he did.

The deep blue sky was now more aqua in tone, and there in all their glory, like the colorful marbles he used to play with as a child, four magnificent planets, one in each direction, all about twenty times larger than the appearance of the moon, sitting up there as if it were the most natural thing in the universe.

Gene now knew his oatmeal with the rising sun would never be the same again.

~

If you enjoy my work, I’d really appreciate your support by leaving positive comments and following this blog:)

Elements of Film Art

Kicking off the blog with this first piece of Flash Fiction.

Enjoy!

 

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Elements of Film Art

By

Rico Lamoureux

All rights reserved. 2016

 

“What makes a scene emotionally powerful?” Professor Lewis asked as she flipped back on the lights in the classroom. “Is it a character who dies bleeding to death, using his last few breaths to say goodbye? Or someone having finally reached their goal, after striving for it for the entire story?”

They had all just been subjected to a montage of tear-jerkers, a bunch of first year film students who were too shy on this first day of classes to try and answer the teacher. Too uncomfortable beside the peers they had yet to get to know.

“Anyone?”

No one volunteered, so the professor gestured to the guy seated nearest her, everyone else silently relieved that they hadn’t been the one randomly chosen.

“How about you, young man? What are your thoughts?”

Fresh out of high school and sitting at an angle that made his desk look cool, he was one of those Tarantino wannabes who couldn’t wait to stage a shoot’ em up.

Refusing to break his chillax pose, the only thing he gave up was a muttered, “I don’t know,” accompanied by a subtle shrug of the shoulder that swayed his head as well, followed by a finger swipe of the nose as he took a sniff.

Was it a sniff to hold back tears, or just one of being so damn cool?

Professor Lewis turned to the girl seated beside him.

“And you, young lady?

“What is it about a screen with nothing more than a projected piece of film, or memory card, that makes an image so impactful it reaches out and tugs at our heart strings?”

“Empathy?” she replied with a light whisper. So light, in fact, that the professor had to ask again.

“Sorry?”

“Empathy.”

This time when the girl answered her voice cracked and she could no longer hold it in, bursting into tears as sorrow anguished her face.

Professor Lewis looked back to cool kid, the welled up eyes of all in attendance following her gaze.

He was now red in the face, a few tear drops falling from his eyes before he threw his head down and hid in the embrace of his arms.

The sniffles were infectious, spreading rapidly now that the curtain of inhibition had been pulled away.

“Correct, Ms. Stevens,” Professor Lewis said as she walked back to the front of the classroom. “It’s not so much what’s happening to the character herself, but rather those affected by it. The reaction shots of those hurt by the suffering of another. This is what we as an audience relate to more than anything else. This is what we as visual storytellers must keep in mind when it comes time to evoking emotion! A key component among the elements of film art.”

The Professor then stood there quiet, letting it all sink in, her students thinking about the montage, with many of them connecting the lesson to their own lives.

Class was dismissed.

~

All followers of The Flash Fiction Ponder receive a FREE copy of my autobiography!

(Normally priced at $2.99 on Amazon)

Just click Follow on the bottom right of the screen,

enter info,

and receive your free copy as soon as I get the notification!

auto-cover.jpeg

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)