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    1. #1
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      The Altered Reality of Route 66 (NaNoWriMo 2009 Entry)

      Herein will be posted my NaNoWriMo project for 2009. You can also find it at Google Docs (this will be the most up-to-date) or my blog, Hypoallergenic Hallucinogens.

      Chapter I
      A Beginning


      I think I broke reality. I'm not sure, but it seems a reasonably logical explanation for the direction my life has taken. I'm pretty sure that normal reality is a bit more sane, with less blue-and-pink striped elephants and clowns in camel suits and talking ostriches. Then again, maybe this is the real reality, and the one I'd always known was just a bad trip.

      It could happen. But it's not very likely.

      I guess I should start at the beginning. It'll be a bit before we get to the exciting parts, but then I guess that's the way everything is.


      August 14, 2009

      It was morning, and I was at work. I work at a grocery store in a small town, bagging the fattening results of single mothers' foodstamps-sponsored shopping sprees. More milk, eggs and chocolate goes through my hands on a daily basis than a third-world country sees in a year.

      The cashier I was working with that day was cute. In fact, all of our cashiers were cute. That's why they got hired. The Manager, Mike "Crikey" Sykes, was an infamous lecher. The way he figured, the cash registers could do most of the thinking, so the cashiers just needed cute faces, nice breasts, and firm buttocks. Whether he intended it or not, the result was that we got the most business from single (and not-so-single) men of all the stores in town.

      Anyway, Rebecka was cute. She was also smart, and had the most incredible laugh. Unfortunately, she also had a boyfriend. At least that's what she told everyone at the store. No one had ever actually seen him, but everyone had a theory about who he was, ranging from a football player from the local college (that was Marla, who had a thing for muscle-bound morons; yes, I'm bitter) to the governor's son (who lived in Atlanta, over an hour's drive away, but this was coming from Jimbo, who pushed shopping carts in the hot sun all day). Personally, I thought she might not even like guys.

      As I was idly grouping milk and juice in a doubled bag, the woman behind the current customer suddenly let out an ear-piercing scream. It happened to be a one Mrs. Ample, and she lived up to her surname in pretty much every regard. She was a regular customer, and slightly eccentric, but generally a nice lady. She always tipped us bag boys.

      "IT'S ALLLIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIVE!!!" She screamed.

      Sure enough, the bag of dog food in her cart (special only on Tuesdays, on Aisle 7) was squirming, thrashing about the bottom of the cart like a thing possessed. Rebecka promptly fainted, and there was the moment I'd been waiting for since I got this crappy job. In an instant, all the missed opportunities in my life flashed before me. It was a short and rather depressing flash. But this was different. This time I would dive around the counter, slide effortlessly to a stop just behind her as she fell, and catch her limp body up in my strong, manly arms just before she nearly brained herself on the hard linoleum floor. I would be a hero.

      It would have worked perfectly, if she hadn't fallen forward instead of backward, and if I hadn't tripped over my shoelaces (how they got untied is, to this day, a mystery to me). As it turned out, Rebecka wound up sprawled across the cash register, while I fell face-first into Rebecka Bloomfield's firm, perfect, heart-shaped rear. In any other circumstances, this might have been heavenly. In this particular scenario, it was not. On the impact of my nose, chin and forehead (in that order; I was horrifically aware of every nanosecond) in her astoundingly perfect posterior, she was startled out of her faint. After a brief moment of understandable disorientation, she seemed to realize that the bag boy had just face-planted into her ass.

      About the time she started to scream in righteous indignation, Mrs. Ample's chihuahua, Beeboo, burst forth from the bag of Kibble N' Bits, yapping furiously, wanting to know what all the fuss was about. I was still trying to figure out exactly how I'd wound up with my face where it was, and not at all sure that I really wanted to move it anytime soon, but I had the distinct feeling that I probably should. The very hard and pointy heel that contacted unerringly with my groin suddenly told me that perhaps I should have moved sooner.

      That was the day I got fired.

      August 15, 2009

      "Dude, your face is green."

      My face was green. "No it's not," I replied, trying to look less green.

      "If you were a lime, you'd be ripe. I almost thought you were a lime, and I worked at a lime orchard in Mexico once."

      "I'm not a lime. Your mom is a lime, possibly." It was weak, but then, so was I at the moment. A punch to the balls will do that to a man.

      "You're getting gangrene. I bet your balls will fall off."

      "How do you know? I'm not getting gangrene."

      "My dad's a doctor, remember? I know what gangrene looks like."

      "Does it look like a lime?" I hobbled inside, the ancient screen door swinging shut behind me just before Clark caught the handle.

      "No, you idiot, gangrene looks like bacteria and cells and sh-stuff." He retorted, following me inside. He didn't say 'shit' because my mom was in the room, and she didn't tolerate that shit, as she put it. Quite ironically.

      "So you can see bacteria with your naked eyes now? Isn't that one of Superman's superpowers?"

      "Shut up, you little shi-"

      "Would you like to stay for supper, Clark?" That was my mother. She could make the most innocent question, statement or comment a threat, and she made this one a humdinger.

      "Yes, ma'am. Sorry, ma'am." Only my mother could make Clark say 'ma'am'. His own mother tried, and got cussed out for her trouble. Then, her cooking never could compare to my mother's.

      Clark Kent (see why he cussed out his mother?) had been my best friend since grade school. We were like hammer and nail, drill and bit, stereo and speaker. I tossed him around like the little shrimp that he was, and he called me names and cussed me to hell and back in the way that only a best friend truly can. We were inseparable. I was wild, he was crazy. In junior high, I'd stolen his girlfriend the night of the school dance, so he showed up with her mom and didn't speak to me for three days.

      Turning back to me, he waggled his eyebrows in that way he thinks my mom can't see, then coughed guiltily, and spoke as if suddenly remembering something. "Oh! Man, I almost forgot. I have to go visit my uncle in Nevada next week. He wouldn't tell me what for, but he sent me a check for gas money and stuff. You wanna come? I'll pay."

      I took a moment to think it over. On the one hand, I could stay here and rot, alone with my parents for a week, looking for a new job, doing odd jobs around the house . . . or I could go on a roadtrip to Nevada with my best friend to visit his mysterious uncle under even more mysterious circumstances, all expenses paid. Damn, a tough choice.

      "Let me think. Yes. When do we leave?"

      "We can go tonight, my truck's loaded. Just throw some clothes and stuff together and we'll go after supper."

      "Sounds like a plan."

      Later that night, after supper, and desert, and coffee, and afters, and a snack, and popcorn, and another snack, I packed a bag and we left. I was feeling much better, my green face being mostly due to Clark having punched me in the nuts. More on this later. I had thought it would be just me and Clark on our roadtrip to Nevada, but as we pulled out onto the road, my thinking was changed.

      "So, man, you know that girl I've been telling you about?" He had never mentioned a girl before, to my knowledge, unless Whoopi Goldberg counted, and that mention had involved gruesome murder. Remind me never to watch Ghost on late night TV after a night on the town drinking cheap beer.

      "You mean Whoopi Goldberg?"

      "No, fartface, the girl I'm dating. I told you last week. I said, 'Hey man, I'm seeing this awesome girl tonight. We're going to Columbus to the theater and and Chef Lee's. You'd crap your pants at how hot she is.' That's what I said."

      "I don't remember that. I think I would remember that."

      "Look, anyway, I invited her along too, okay? So we're picking her up when she gets off work. Which was an hour ago, so we're late. I'm telling her it was your fault. your grandmother died."

      "Which one?"

      "The one that's dead, you moron."

      "Oh. I thought you just wanted me to make it up."

      "No, I'll make it up."

      "But she died before I was born."

      "No, she died today."

      "Then why am I leaving town? Wouldn't I want to stay for the funeral?"

      "Oh. Good catch. She died last week; the funeral was today."

      "Whatever. Who is this girl, anyway?"

      "You'll see her in like ten minutes, man. She's awesome. She's smart, and hot. Great legs. Firm buttocks."

      "What's her name?"

      "Becky."

      We drove in silence until we were nearly into town, then he looked over at me and asked, "Kier, man, do I look okay?"

      "You look like you always look, Clark. Like a mild-mannered reporter by day, muscle-bound superhero by night." It was a longstanding joke between us. Only I could get away with it; if anybody else so much as mentioned Superman in front of him, he'd go into a ten-minute-long swearing streak, cuss their mother, their father, their dog, and then punch them in the nuts and walk away. With me, he just punched me in the nuts. Seeing as he was driving, he didn't punch me in the nuts now, but instead ignored it and acted like he'd never asked.

      It wasn't long before we pulled into the grocery store parking lot, to find Rebecka Bloomfield waiting for us. Clark indicated that I should get out, and let her slide into the middle seat, over the gearshift. This was going to be awkward.

      I got out, looking down as if i found the pavement oddly fascinating, and then sheepishly smiled at Rebecka. I guess now I knew who her mysterious boyfriend was. "I guess now I know who your mysterious boyfriend is." Shit, I'd just said that out loud, hadn't I? "Shit, I just said that out loud, didn't I? I mean hi!"

      She studiously did not look at me, ignoring me so thoroughly, in fact, that I began to wonder if I was really still there. "Am I still here?"

      Crap, I did it again. I have a tendency, you see, to speak whatever I happen to be thinking when I'm nervous. This has, at times, got me in quite a bit of trouble. I tried not to think anything else as I clambered back into Clark's old beat-up F-250, careful not to slide in too far, hanging close by my door.

      "Becky, you know Kieran, right? He used to work here. He quit because of something about pears." I'd not not anyone of the exact circumstances behind my recent unemployment, instead leaving it open for guesswork. My mother had decided that I'd left because they were trying to sell rotten fruit for the same price as good fruit. Apparently that struck a nerve with her when she came in to buy some pears, and had decided to assume that my moral upbringing simply would not allow me to work at a place where they sold rotten produce at unfair prices, so I'd quit. I hadn't bothered to correct her, so that basically became the unofficial official story.

      'Becky' glanced sidelong at me with a look of something akin to disgust, and my balls winced in memory of the kick her three-inch heel had delivered.

      "I know him." Her voice was not cold, as I expected it would be, but falsely warm. It promised torture and misery to me, and warmth and pleasantry to Clark, all in those three little words.

      This was going to be a very interesting roadtrip. Little did I know...

      [2091 words so far, with a Flesch Reading Ease of 82.55 and a Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level of 4 according to Google Docs.]
      Last edited by Man of Steel; 11-07-2009 at 10:30 AM.

    2. #2
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      The fact that you have named your main character after me I find both disturbing and flattering.

      Also, I am liking this. I laughed out loud several times, and the style of writing kept me engaged, but that may just be because I'm retarded.
      A turd with a bullet in it ain't exactly 5 O'Clock News Ray

    3. #3
      Veteran of the DV Wars Man of Steel's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Kiza View Post
      The fact that you have named your main character after me I find both disturbing and flattering.

      Also, I am liking this. I laughed out loud several times, and the style of writing kept me engaged, but that may just be because I'm retarded.
      Who said I named him after you? I could know lots of people named Kieran. >_>

      Also, thank you.

      ***

      Chapter II
      Worrisome News & A Detour

      August 16, 2009

      It had been several hours since we'd started the trip, and was now well past midnight. First we'd had to swing by Rebecka's place and pick up her bags (there were three, each bigger than the one before) then we made our way back out to the interstate. I think we got on the wrong one, and had to backtrack or something, but I really wasn't paying much attention. Nobody had spoken more than a few words since Rebecka got into the truck.

      "I need a bathroom." That was Rebecka, in the middle seat over the gearshift.

      Clark looked thoughtful for a second, which was something he was good at. "I think we're coming up on a town, we could stop there."

      "That would be great." She said, with absolutely no discernible hint of sarcasm.

      Sure enough, five minutes later we entered the city limits of Hogshead, Tennessee. I knew this because of the sign that said HOGSHEAD, TENNESSEE CITY LIMITS.

      It occurred to me to ask Clark why we were going to Nevada through Tennessee, but by then we had pulled into a tiny, ramshackle gas station with pumps that looked older than time itself. As the truck rumbled to a stop in front of the pump, a ridiculously fat man dressed in rags, with long lime green dreadlocks came out to to meet us. He moved surprisingly lightly for a man that must have weighed nearly as much as a very heavy sort of thing.

      "Fill her up, will you?" Clark said blithely to the fat man, as I opened my door to slide out so that Becky could venture forth toward the surely inhospitable restroom facilities.

      The fat, dreadlocked man grunted and shook his head. Lime green braids flew in a short-lived halo around his rotund face. He mumbled something that might have been, "Don't work here," and kept walking.

      Clark looked at me, we shrugged in concert as only lifelong friends can do, and he went about unscrewing the gas cap. At that exact moment, the voice of Mandy Patinkin came from my pocket, saying, "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

      After a moment, he repeated himself: "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

      Then I pulled my cell phone from my pocket and answered it, after checking the caller ID—Private Caller. "Refreshing Scrubs Carwash, Pablo speaking?"

      "Kieran? That you, man? Not the greatest time for jokes. That is you, isn't it?"

      I recognized the voice, so I cut the Mexican accent. "Morgue? How the hell have you been? Haven't heard from you since the time you autopsied that guy in a coma! That was a real fi-"

      "Kieran, I need your help. I'm in some deep trouble, and you guys are the only ones I can turn to. Is Clark there?"

      "Yeah, why, what's going on?"

      "Look, how soon can you get to Chicago?"

      I paused, thought for a second, then called over to Clark, "Hey, how soon could we be in Chicago?"

      He in turn paused, thought for a second, and answered, "Eight hours, maybe seven if I can coax her up to ninety," and went back to idly staring at the gas pump as it slowly but surely filled the truck's reserve tank.

      "Call it seven hours, Clark says," I told Morgue. We called him Morgue because he worked in the morgue, first as coroner's assistant, then took over the job when the coroner died in a bizarre accident involving rabid armadillos and a hay rake.

      "Damn. That may be too long, I'm not sure I can hold out. There's a lot of doors, and some even have round knobs, but . . ." He sounded worried. This from a man that regularly had to put together the pieces of a body before he could take it apart again to find out what had made it dead.

      "Morgue, what's going on? What kind of trouble are you in?"

      He coughed. "I sent hatemail to Steven Spielberg."

      That didn't sound so bad. "That doesn't sound so bad."

      "Suffice to say that if I told you, you wouldn't believe me, but I need your help, and all the firepower you can bring. I know Clark keeps a shotgun in his truck. Bring extra ammunition."

      He sounded remarkably serious. Then, Morgue always sounded serious. He wasn't known for his light-hearted sense of humor, bright and cheery moods, or knock-knock jokes.

      "We'll be there as soon as we can, Morgue."

      He thanked me, made a squishing noise that sounded suspiciously like he'd just dropped the phone into a chest cavity again, and hung up.

      I looked over to Clark. "We're going to have to make a detour. Morgue's in trouble, and he needs our help. And your shotgun. So we need to swing by Chicago."

      "Chicago? That's six hundred miles out of the way! What the f-?" He didn't finish the curse word because, presumably, he didn't want Becky to hear. She was back from the restroom, and looked slightly unsettled, as if she hads seen things she never, ever wanted to see again.

      "I saw things in there I never, ever want to see again." With that, she climbed back into the truck and sat there shivering.

      Deciding not to go there, I turned back to Clark. "Something about hatemail and Steven Spielberg."

      "Oh. Well, that's different. After War of the Worlds he should be expecting it."

      I agreed, but kept silent. Something about Morgue's voice . . . he had sounded more than merely worried. More like terrified, and possibly panicked. Morgue was not an easy person to worry. Not an easy person to scare. He kept his lunch cold in freezers that held dead bodies, and once smiled at a grizzly bear on a camping trip. The grizzly was so unnerved by that smile that he loosed his bowels before he ran. Morgue said he was just marking his territory, but I knew he was just being modest.

      No, Morgue was not easily frightened. For something to make him as worried as he'd sounded, it would have to be something serious. Deadly serious. Something worse than killer armadillos, worse than hungry grizzly bears. But what?

      I was torn from my musings by the sound of the truck cranking. Beck leaned out the door and asked, "You coming?"

      Yes, I was. I hurriedly got in, shut the door, and we were off again.
      Last edited by Man of Steel; 11-11-2009 at 05:25 AM.

    4. #4
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      Quote Originally Posted by Man of Steel View Post
      Morgue was not an easy person to worry. Not an easy person to scare. He kept his lunch cold in freezers that held dead bodies, and once smiled at a grizzly bear on a camping trip. The grizzly was so unnerved by that smile that he loosed his bowels before he ran. Morgue said he was just marking his territory, but I knew he was just being modest.
      This part is very wonderful.

      Not to say the whole this isn't amazing. Because it is.
      Bollocks.

    5. #5
      Veteran of the DV Wars Man of Steel's Avatar
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      Why thank you. You should see my notes for this thing . . . I seriously have no idea how I'm going to fit it all in just 50,000 words, or stay motivated enough to finish this monstrosity.

    6. #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by Man of Steel View Post
      I seriously have no idea how I'm going to fit it all in just 50,000 words
      Write the whole novel, then.

      or stay motivated enough to finish this monstrosity.
      Coffee and good music.


      That was my pro advice for the day.

    7. #7
      Veteran of the DV Wars Man of Steel's Avatar
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      I just might, at that, Invader. I just might, at that.

      Chapter III
      The Road to Chicago is Paved with Good Indentions


      August 16, 2009

      It was three in the morning before Becky quit shivering. I almost felt sorry for her. When she finally broke out of her wide-eyed shell-shock from whatever she'd seen in that gas station bathroom, it was sudden and obvious. She sat bolt upright, quit hugging herself, and glared suspiciously at me. Then her eyes wandered to the upcoming sign (more like a plaque, really, conveniently illuminated) that said Welcome to Bowling Green, Kentucky, and asked in a somewhat querulous voice, "Umm, guys? Why are we in Kentucky?"

      Clark looked at me, as if he expected me to field this one. Sighing, I spoke up, "An old friend called. He's in trouble and he needs our help. He's in Chicago."

      I felt it best to keep it succinct, and leave out all the unnecessary details, like how we hadn't heard from in three years, and how he may or may not have set killer armadillos on his boss.

      "An old friend?" She looked at Clark.

      "Yeah, we haven't even heard from him in, what, three years? And he may or may not have set killer armadillos on his boss." Thanks, Clark. "But you'll like Morgue. He's cool."

      Becky looked like she didn't really have anything to say to that. " . . . killer armadillos?"

      She shook her head, shaking off that admittedly rather disturbing thought. "Wait, never mind the armadillos. Why do you call him Morgue?"

      "Because he works in a morgue. Well, he's the coroner. A coroner, I guess. I'm pretty sure Chicago has more than one coroner. I mean, imagine all the dead bodies a city that size must produce . . ." Clark trailed off, looking thoughtful again.

      I broke in before he could start actively calculating the annual body count of one of the most crime-ridden cities in the country. He could get a bit . . . carried away . . . sometimes. "It's just a nickname, don't worry. He's cool." I left out the fact that the nickname fit him like a glove. He was cool, calculating, scary as hell, didn't talk much, and saw more bodies than most serial killers.

      "It fits him like a glove, though. He's cool, calculating, scary as hell, doesn't talk much, and has probably seen more bodies than most serial killers," Clark chuckled.

      I wished Clark would stop doing that. It was always a little creepy when he said exactly what I was thinking, almost word for word, right after I thought it. Even as long as we'd been friends. Shaking my head bemusedly, I decided to change the subject before this topic got out of hand. Explaining all the intricacies of Morgue's personality could be . . . daunting. You really had to meet him to get the full effect.

      "Hey, is anybody else hungry? I'm sure Morgue wouldn't mind if we took five to hit up Taco Bell . . ."

      "Ugh, Taco Bell? Your taste in food is worse than your pervy fetishes. I could do with a burger, though," volunteered Becky.

      "A burger sounds good to me," said Clark.

      "So, Krystal?"

      We all agreed that Krystal sounded good. At three in the morning, we didn't have a lot of choices. By now we were driving through the town of Bowling Green, and the familiar red and white sign made an appearance just up ahead. I pointed it out, and we pulled into the nearly empty parking lot. Finding a space near the door, we all piled out (can you pile out if there are only three of you? I always thought that sounded more like something a car full of Mexican immigrants would do, really . . .) and headed for the door. Clark got there first, and started to open it for Becky, playing the gentleman, only to look like an idiot when the door wouldn't open.

      The sign on the door informed us that the inside closed at 1:00 am on weekdays, but that the drive-thru was open 24 hours. None of us felt like piling (okay, yes, I really just like that phrase) back into the truck, so we got the bright idea to just walk through the drive-thru. It went fine up to the point where we got to the window, and then they realized we weren't in a car. Then they had to refuse to give us our food. They said it was policy.

      Clark threatened to call the manager. Turned out we were talking to her.

      Clark threatened to call the police. Turned out they already had.

      Clark offered to pay double. Turned out they hadn't really called the police.

      Clark realized he mysteriously didn't have enough money. Turned out I did.

      Crisis averted.

      We took our burgers, chili pups and fries back to the truck, sat on the tailgate, and stuffed our faces, laughing our asses off. Becky even forgot to glare at me for awhile, and it felt nice. She must have remembered about the time I thought that, or just read my mind, because she glared at me. I smiled back, stuffed in another slider, and drowned it with another gulp of Coke. She rolled her eyes and turned to Clark, who was doing exactly the same.

      "So, how long have you guys known each other?" Becky asked suddenly.

      "Since second grade," we both replied in one voice, then laughed and both called, "Jinx!" at exactly the same time.

      Becky burst into giggles and asked, "Do you do that often?"

      "Not really," we both said together, grinning.

      She looked back and forth between us, then said, "That was on purpose."

      Our grins gave it away. "We're best friends. Kier is like the little brother I never had, only shorter." Clark rested his elbow on my head.

      "Little brother? I'm pretty sure my birthday comes first, Supes!" I laughed, grabbing his arm and pulling him into an arm-lock before he could punch me in the balls.

      Clark growled laughingly, and looked at Becky, "See what I've had to put up with for fourteen years?"

      I released him, scoffing, "Suck it up, boyo."

      Becky just shook her head, and said, "Are you boys done with your queer male bonding ritual, or do you want me to give you some private time so you can light a candle and talk about hanging curtains?"

      "You know I've only got eyes for you, babe," Clark was quick to smoothly answer.

      "Not just eyes, I hope. I like your other bits too!"

      "Oh, get a room."

      "I don't think we have that kind of time . . ."

      We all laughed, myself somewhat more uneasily than them, and finished scarfing down our food. Nothing else eventful happened, so we piled back into the truck and hit the road again. Soon Bowling Green was just another town behind us, and we were once again making good time toward Chicago, wondering what sort of trouble awaited there. I don't think either of the others noticed the fat man with green dreadlocks sitting behind the dumpster, and I didn't pay much attention myself. I wouldn't even recall it until later . . .


      [4373 words so far, with a Flesch Reading Ease of 85.13 and a Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level of 3.00 according to Google Docs.]

    8. #8
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      bump.
      Bollocks.

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