Fifth Transmission: Lemonade Boom

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Greetings from Europa!

You’re not going to believe this, but we’re in the middle of a lemonade boom on Europa. I guess that needs some explaining, doesn’t it? Okay, well, the cultural exchange in my house goes both ways. Usually, I learn Europan culture as my children learn it. My wife is a patient and excellent teacher. But at the same time, I try to sneak in a few Earth facts in along to way, and my children love it.

One time, when they were curious about what I did when I was their age, I told them about how my mom helped me build a lemonade stand in front of our house when I was a kid. They went nuts over the concept and begged me to help them build one here on Europa.

I know what you’re going to ask and the answer is, No, Europa does not have lemons. So we improvised by using a sweet mineral root from the tree that grows in our backyard. I even taught them the English alphabet, or enough of it so they could spell the word LEMONADE. I offered to make the sign but was vetoed. They wanted to write the word itself which came out looking like “JBWQNADB” but they were so proud of themselves that I couldn’t bring myself to correct them.

At first I thought they had set themselves up for disappointment, as passersby only offered their lemonade stand the queerest looks, but my youngest, Nes’Tim bless him, started calling to them, “Hey, come buy our lemonade stand!

Soon people flocked around as my kids poured cups of lemonade and told the story of how my mother and I created this custom on Earth. Again, I didn’t have the heart to correct them in the middle of their sales pitch. People stayed, listened to the story, drank the alien concoction and invited others to join. I’m sure they stayed for the novelty and not for the lemonade. Although made from sweet root, that concoction was the most bitter thing I’ve ever tasted in my life.

The next day, when I thought that the lemonade curiosity had passed, I stepped outside to see a crudely built lemonade stand on each of my neighbors doorsteps. But there was no competition in it. Everyone visited everyone else’s lemonade stand and listened intently as the stand owner related the tale of how I discovered lemonade. Apparently, they thought that the telling of the story was the key part of the transaction and that the drinking of the lemonade itself signaled the end of the story.

Weird, but funny. And I have to run now. I’ve drank more than my fair share of lemonade today and I think I’m going to be sick.

Until next broadcast, this is Captain Edwards, signing off.

©2014 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

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Joey Mac and the Pearlescent Unicorn Uniform Part 1

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His job made Joseph MacDonal II, Joey to his pals, the enemy of the world and a target for assassination. He was one of the few people on the planet trained and licensed to butcher unicorns and prepare their meat for consumption. This also put him at odds with PAUTU (People Against the Unethical Treatment of Unicorns) who accused him of unicorn genocide.

The thing that stuck in everyone’s craw, more than selling unicorn steaks, chops and burgers, was the butchery aspect, though that was the bit they all had gotten wrong. Yes, Joey was technically a unicorn butcher, but the proper definition was:

/ˈbo͝oCHər – NOUN
A person whose trade is cutting up and selling meat in a shop.

which he did. What most folks failed to understand, though it was a matter of public record, was that his license hadn’t included or even allowed the hunting or slaughtering of unicorns or any other animals. In fact, Joey never killed a thing in his life. Insects that crossed his path were the subject of a strict catch, relocate and release system.

At this very moment, Joey sat across from a field news reporter undergoing makeup in preparation for the live broadcast. He found her cute in a cable news presenter sort of way, and probably would have been more attracted to her if she hadn’t that I’ll make my bones off this story hungry look in her eyes.

She ignore him completely, even brushing off his initial “Hello” until the cameraman counted her down. When the station anchor threw to her, the field reporter beamed a smile so unnaturally white, it would have stood out in a blizzard.

“Thank you, Sylvia. I’m here with noted unicorn slaughterer, Joseph MacDonal…” the field reporter said, finally locking her predatory eyes on him.

“Actually, I’m a unicorn butcher…”

“Same difference, isn’t it?”

“Actually, there’s a big dif–‘

“What made you decide to embark on his horrible profession?” she interrupted.

***

The economy had been in the toilet since before God talked to Moses and Joey hadn’t worked in forever. And even though he was one of the fortunate ones who managed to do what analysts suggested and set aside six months worth of salary in a high yield account before he was made redundant at the meat packing plant, now going on his tenth year, all that money was little more than a distant memory.

A Christian in name more than practice, it had been years since the soles of his shoes touched the floor of a church and that time was his best friend’s wedding, a wife twice removed. To say Joey was out of practice with the proper act of prayer, would have been an understatement. His first attempt came off as more of a bitch session, with him blaming his parents for his rotten upbringing and lambasting society for its prejudice of gingers, which, he reckoned, was the chief reason for his being kept down by the man. Surprisingly, he saw no results.

His second attempt at prayer was akin to a letter to Santa, in which he listed all the positive things he’d ever done in life and expected a little compensation for his good behavior. Again, results were not forthcoming.

Third time was the charm, however, when he realized that he should have admitted his sin, expressed thanks for the things he had and humbly requested the one thing he needed most: a job.

He put no expectation on the prayer and went about his normal daily existence, when, a week later, he received a phone call. Seemed that a friend of a friend knew a guy who knew a guy who had roommate who was related to woman who owned her own business and was looking for someone in his line of work.

Joey arrived at the interview, resume in hand, and launched into his well-rehearsed spiel, when the business woman waived him off and ushered him into a small kitchen area.

“Show me what you can do.” she gestured at section of animal carcass, a shank, by the look of it, that rested atop a butcher block countertop.

Joey inspected the meat before touching a utensil. Not beef, nor pork, nor lamb, the texture was something he had never encountered before. A grain like beef, yet soft to the touch like flan, and it shimmered without a light source, as if it were bioluminescent.  “What is this?” he asked.

“Are you interested in the job or not? I don’t have all day.” she drummed her fingers on her crossed arms.

Joey sighed, selected a knife from the butcher block and approached the slab of meat much in the same manner a sculptor would a block of marble, envisioning the cuts before blade touched flesh. With no idea what type of animal he was dealing with, there was no way of telling how this woman expected it to be prepared, so he simply followed his instincts and let the meat talk to him. And in a way, it did.

Every time the stainless steel edge portioned the strange meat, Joey thought he heard a high-pitched tone, like the sound of a moistened finger running along the rim of a crystal goblet. A sound that broke his heart. But in the aftermath, when the tone was just about to become inaudible, he heard a voice inside his head. It said two words:

forgive you

and he felt a permission granted. This had not relieved the wave of guilt that flooded over him but it gave him the desire to do something with his own life worthy of this unknown animal’s sacrifice.

When he was done, the business woman nodded her approval, “Every bit the professional you claimed to be.” And it was a professional job. Every cut was perfect, none too generous, nor too small, and there were absolutely no scraps. He utilized every last bit of the meat.

“I’m curious, what type of meat is this?”

“Unicorn.” she said very mater of factly.

“Uni-excuse me?”

“You heard me.”

“I don’t get the gag.” Joey inwardly chastised himself on his tone. If his dumb mouth cost him the job, he’d…

“I’m quite serious.” the woman took him by the upper arm in a grip tighter than he was comfortable with and led him through a maze of stairwells and corridors, down, down, so far down beneath street level that he expected to see passage markers scratched into the walls by Arne Saknussemm.

Their destination was a room designed to look like a field, complete with grass, trees and rocks. Had he been blindfolded and dropped here, Joey would have sworn he was outside. The room was so vast, he couldn’t see the far wall. The only telltale sign this was in fact an indoor facility were the track-lights that provided sunlight, positioned incredibly high overhead, but even they were mostly obscured by the clouds of the room’s self-contained weather system. But as fascinating as all this was, by far the most mindblowing thing were the unicorns grazing in the field.

“They’re real?” Joey asked.

The woman couldn’t suppress her chuckle, “Our organization, as advanced as it is, isn’t able to manufacture live unicorns.”

“But how is this possible?” Joey took a cautious step into the room and felt the spongy grass beneath his shoe. He moved slowly as not to spook a unicorn no more than ten feet away. The unicorn paid him no mind.

“Some trapper with an overabundance of dumb luck caught the last pair in existence by accident. Fortunately for him, and us, they were a stallion and mare. We made him a very wealthy man in order to breed them in captivity.”

“For food?” there went his tone again, but this time he didn’t care.

The woman shrugged. “There’s nothing else we can do with them. You can’t ride them. Young, old, virginal, virtuous… it doesn’t matter. They simply won’t allow it. Utilize the horn for its magical properties? It’s only magical for the unicorn, there’s no transference of power. Grinding down the horn and ingesting the powder for immortality? Turns out the human body is unable to digest the powder.”

“Then why not let them go?”

“Not until we recoup our investment. And we can’t risk one of our competitors getting hold of them as creating a revenue source we haven’t managed to think up ourselves… yet.”

“This is going to sound strange,” Joey said. “But I don’t know if I can do this.”

To be continued…

©2014 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

Creative Commons License

Shrinking Violetta And Shirley Swiper

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There’s a girl at work who calls herself Shrinking Violetta. In very high demand because she’s the best submissive you’ll ever have the chance to meet. And we’re not talking role play submissive, either. She is the genuine article, a true submissive.

When you hire her, she serves you from the bottom of her heart. None of that pretend nonsense of addressing one another as Mistress, Master or Slave, or negotiating limits of submissiveness. Vi has the uncanny ability to anticipate her client’s needs and fulfill them before they ask, sometimes before they’re even aware they wanted it.

I know this first hand because she demonstrated her talent for me. You must understand I have no desire to control anyone, but the attention Vi paid to my every desire was a heady experience and though I never need to do it ever again, I enjoyed myself immensely and I’m honored that she shared her skill with me.

I plan to talk about Vi and her amazing abilities in depth, with her consent, of course, or maybe give her a chance to vent as a guest blogger at a later date. This post, however, deals with a completely different matter, a non-sexual reality about working this business that saddens me.

I gave you the brief insight into Vi so that you may understand just how popular she is. She’s the only one of us that consistently books clients the instant her high-heeled foot touches prex floor.

So, one day when her line of clients ran out the door and the rest of us fought for scraps, Vi dashed into the changing room to slip into her business attire and left her purse in the room. And she wouldn’t be the first. Lots of girls leave their bags on the table instead of their lockers, because this place had been safe for long time. When she returned to the room, as you might have guessed, she found some of her money was missing.

At first, she thought she misplaced it and looked all over, but it never turned up. It wasn’t a little bit of money, either. It took several days to make that money. She worked prex subbing during the day and hostessing at night. She made that money selling her obedience. She made it selling her flesh that was soft and smooth but now covered with welts and bruises. She needed that money to pay off her loans.

We all had an idea who the thief could have been. Vi, heart as large as the sun, helped out her best friend, Shirley, by getting her a waitressing job at the prex. It’s not the best gig and you have to constantly fend off gropers and develop a thick skin against derogatory comments, but at least you’re not being penetrated by the clientele.

Come to find out that Shirley really isn’t such a good friend because she was extremely displeased to discover a guy she likes was one of Vi’s regulars. Not that jealousy was a good enough reason to steal someone’s hard earned cash, but you could have understood the revenge angle. But other things have gone missing since Shirley started working the prex. Make-up, clothes, jewelry and not the expensive stuff, either. Just junky costume stuff, but still, it was the principle of the thing.

A couple of the girls confronted Shirley Swiper, a name that surfaced almost the instant she became a suspect, but she denied stealing anything and there was no proof so the whole matter was dropped. There really isn’t a point to this other than venting frustration on how shitty people can be to working girls. Even friends. Needless to say we all use the lockers now.

Thanks, Shirley.

To be continued…

©2014 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

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Countdown to Bummed Out

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bummed out

/bəmd out/

adjective
a state of mental abandon that leaves you in poor physical condition through lack of desire and care.

origin
New York, circa 2014, attributed to the Pendant Sisters

I was first introduced to the term bummed out by the Pendant Sisters — not their actual name and though I’m sure they’ll never read this blog, it’s not my desire to put their information on blast — while I was still new to the streets.

The sisters, we’ll call them Sally and Susan, were step-siblings, same mother, different fathers, separated at an early age, who were miraculously reunited on the streets after each had become homeless under different circumstances. I can’t remember how the ice was broken between us but they were the first people who showed me any real kindness, as homeless people tend to either isolate themselves or pair off into cliques within the displaced peoples caste system. It’s not hard to understand why they’re not an arms open wide type of community.

Sally and Susan hipped me to the best soup kitchens in which to get a decent meal on each particular day as well as the prime spots for things like clean public restrooms, free wifi, and places to charge your phone without making a purchase.

They’re what I call arm’s length friendly and I totally understand their caution and apprehension. They are two women having to survive in a city full of sadistic and insane people and I, despite seeming nice, am a still man and a relative stranger to them. As tough as it is simply being homeless, I can only imagine it’s ten times harder to be a homeless woman.

Anyway, one day I was palling around with them as they patiently showed me various no hassle locations (places where cops tend not to roust you for loitering, or being vagrant without a license), their faces dropped when their eyes fell on a man splayed out across a sidewalk bench. Nearly unrecognizable as human under all the layers of caked on filth, you couldn’t come close to calling what he wore clothes. They were tattered bits of ratty cloth held together in places by safety pins. His shoes were little more than cut up sections of newspaper secured around his feet by a series of rubberbands. When they tried to speak to him to see if he was okay, he responded with gibberish.

They were bummed out to see him bummed out.

As we walked away, they told me his back story. He was once an engineer who earned his degree at MIT and owned a successful business for a number of years. Then he stumbled upon a bit of hard luck when he lost several important contracts that bankrupted his business and his marriage of over twenty years ended in a divorce that wiped him clean.

When they first met him, he was a good natured and intelligent man, optimistic about getting back on his feet. They were truly shocked to see him in his current state, which got me to thinking about how homelessness can get inside your brain and make you abandon all hope and allow you to slide further and further away from being a functional member of society.

A truly frightening thought and I wonder just how far away I am from my breaking point, and what will be the final straw that collapses my resolve and causes me to bum out?

Until next time, I sincerely hope I don’t see you on the breadline.

The Anniversary Meal

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As Amantha carefully diced the spleen, she caught herself. Lost in the preparation of the meal, she absently sang a song under her breath. Normally, this wouldn’t have been a problem but she was doing it in her native tongue, a dead language that might have revealed her true identity, had anyone heard it. Not that they’d have been able to pinpoint what she was exactly, but they would have sussed she wasn’t what she appeared to be.

She bit the inside of her cheek as she marinated the kidneys, the pain and the coppery tang of blood in her mouth served as a reminder to be more cautious. The head that had been severed and chilled on ice overnight to preserve its freshness, was placed in the stewpot to dissolve in a broth that smelled faintly of sulfur. She would have to remember to do the same with the hands and feet and all the other body parts that couldn’t be disguised as normal cuts of meat.

Anal to a fault, Amantha arranged all the innards neatly on the countertop and went to work on deboning the torso and limbs, the bones of which would join the head in the liquifying broth. She knew she had plenty of time to get rid of the evidence, but she also wanted time to get dressed and made up before Onathan arrived. It was their one year anniversary and she wanted the meal to go without a hitch because suspected he was going to propose tonight.

“He’s going to propose tonight,” she let slip aloud as she slit open the intestines to clean them. If only she had studied the language better, none of this food preparation would have been necessary.

Onathan’s mother was an important figure in his life, more a best friend than a parent, and he wanted to include her in the anniversary celebration, which Amantha had no problem with because she enjoyed the old woman’s company, she just wished he had phrased his wish differently.

His exact words were, “Do you mind if we had Mom over for dinner? It’s a special night that I want to share with her. Since Dad died, she’s been alone in that house and it’s not good for her.”

“Of course I don’t mind,” Amantha answered, playing the question over and over in her mind. “If you’re sure that’s what you want.”

“You’re amazing. I can’t believe how understanding you are.” Onathan pulled her into him and gave her the biggest kiss. Surely, she had gotten it right this time. The kiss made her confident that her first interpretation was accurate.

Amantha called Onathan’s mother over late last night, after he had gone to bed and she came without question or hesitation. Either she was the most selfless person on the planet or she truly was lonely in that big house all by herself. This would be a good thing.

No stranger to the procedure, Amantha treated her hopefully soon-to-be late mother-in-law to refreshments laced with a two-part toxin. The first substance was mixed into the pâte sucrée and would have passed through her system harmlessly, had it not bonded with the chemical placed in the sherry. Death was instantaneous and painless.

The phone rang not a few seconds later. It was her mother. When Amantha relayed the news and what Onathan asked and what she had done, there was silence on the other end of the line.

A chill ran down Amantha’s spine. Before her mother said a word, she knew she had gotten it wrong once again. English was such a bastard of a tricky language.

“These humans, they’re not like us, Ammie.” her mother said. “Relatives do not sacrifice themselves for celebration feasts nor do they feel pride in eating kin.”

“But what am I going to do, Mother?” the rising panic made her body quake.

“Are you sure she’s dead?”

Amantha prodded the old woman’s arm with her shoe. “No doubt about it. I followed your recipe to the letter.”

“Looks like you have no choice but to tell him the truth.”

“The truth? I can’t do that! Hi, honey, remember your mother? I killed her by mistake last night, sorry. He’ll never marry me now!”

“Then play ignorant.” her mother suggested. “Human females do it all the time.”

“And what about the body?”

“It isn’t a body anymore, it’s evidence. If you intend to live a lie, you’ll have to get rid of it.”

“I can’t move the body, somebody will see me!”

“Who said anything about moving the body?” her mother said nothing further, waiting patiently for her daughter to catch on.

“You mean cook her?”

“You were going to do it anyway.”

“I–I can’t. That would be wrong.”

Turned out she could. After hours of playing out scenarios in her head, she decided she couldn’t live without Onathan and he wouldn’t want to live with her if he found out the truth.

The difficult part was hiding the body until Onathan left for work in the morning. Amantha thought she had tipped her hand when she rushed him through breakfast and out the door. One of his mother’s earrings was on the kitchen floor, right beside his shoe! It was so close that if she made any move to retrieve it, he would have noticed.

But all that was behind her now, as she opened the refrigerator to get the older woman’s eyeballs to mash into a jelly topping for the dessert. But they weren’t there. She searched everywhere she hid body parts, everywhere they could have rolled but there were no eyeballs! She distinctly remembered plucking them out of their sockets last night.

How could she have misplaced them? Amantha knew she had to find them before Onathan came home in two hours. She threw herself into overdrive and tore the house apart, all the while cursing herself for not being more careful. The last thing she wanted was to have Onathan accidentally stumble upon one of the elusive orbs. He might not recognize it as one of his mother’s, but at the end of the day, it was a human eye and while she didn’t completely understand human culture, she was sure finding random eyeballs in your house wasn’t a common practice.

Amantha finally found them, yes, in the refrigerator. They somehow managed to roll off the saucer and landed in the crisper. She breathed a sigh of relief… until she looked at the clock; Onathan was going to be home in less than an hour, and she not only hadn’t finished dinner yet, but now the house was a complete mess.

She prepared the dessert in record time then hopped on the massive chore of tidying up the house. Just as she put the finishing touches on her makeup, the doorbell rang.

Amantha sat on pins and needles the entire dinner. What if he recognized his mother’s taste? A silly concern but it plagued her nonetheless.

Onathan seemed nervous as well, his eye constantly checking the wall clock or shooting over his shoulder to the front door. It didn’t stop him from enjoying the meal and he ate everything placed before him. At the end of the meal. he accidentally knocked his fork on the floor. Amantha was about to comment on how clumsy he was, when he came up on one knee with a ring in his hand. “I was going to wait until mother arrived, but I feel now’s the perfect time, after the perfect meal.”

And that was all it took. The dam of emotions she tried to suppress all evening burst wide open and Amantha began to cry uncontrollably.

“D-did I do something wrong?” Onathan said, confused. “I thought you wanted this?”

“No, no, I do want this,” she said, her breath hitching. “Just not this way.”

“I don’t understand.”

“It’s not you, you’re fine. Really, really fine. It’s me. I have something to tell you…”

Sally forth and be truthful to your better half should you accidently murder themingly writeful.

©2014 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

Creative Commons License