Older Works – The Righteous Fart – 04

Gordon walked in the room casually. He knew that he was late, but then again, he didn’t really cared. He was Baxters right hand man, and Baxter was running the place. This made him a big deal. Also, nothing new was supposed to happen today. Just another day to kill. He was wearing yesterdays clothes, last weeks beard and last nights breath. His head was just one size smaller than it should have been. At least, that’s the way he was feeling. “Man, I should have not drunk the entire bottle…” he said to himself. He managed to get hold of a bottle of Solomons stuff. Nobody knew from where the man was getting his merchandise, but there was not much else to chose from. And last night Gordon was in the mood to kill some brain cells. So he went out to his favorite spot, sat down and started drinking. Now, he was paying the tax for it. But, it was nothing new to him. Certainly wasn’t his first time being hung over at work. As he walks by the desks, some people look up by the corner of their eyes, but they all know the drill, they do not say a word. Not that they would care to. Gordon opens the door to his small office, sits down behind the desk, puts his feet up the desk with his left over the right and tries to not to feel his head.

“Man, you look like shit.” Baxter is standing in the doorway. “I’m surprised that you are even vertical this early. Was it worth it?”

“mmm…. best entertainment in town…”

“Solomons stuff?”

“Yeah… about a bottles worth….”

“ What, are you trying to off yourself? What’s in that stuff anyway?”

“Fuck if I know, but it knocks you out like a fucking train. Why, you worried?”

“Neah…. But if you do decide to leave this merry place, do me a favor and give me a heads up, will ya?”

“Deal…. So, is there something on today’s agenda or can I hit snooze for the day?”

“Donno, you tell me. A ship should come in this morning, the Bad Seed.”

“Ah yeah. Is that today? Forgot about that. The Bad Seed… now that’s name you look forward to. Hey, Toby!”

“….downstairs” answers somebody.

“Of course he is” mumbles Gordon as he picks up the phone and dials in a number. “Yeah, give me the turtle… Toby? There is a boat on today schedule, the Bad… ship, boat, like I care whats the difference… just get your ass up here and give us the rundown of it, OK?. And Toby? Make it sharpish.”

Ten minutes later Toby walks in the room reluctantly. He really does not wants to be there, but that is all right, the other two men don’t want him there either. So this will be fast.

“So? The Bad Seed?” asks Gordon somewhat impatiently.

“The Bad Seed. Ship. Brings regular supplies. Food, medical supplies, some spare parts, couple of guys for grunt work.”

“So nothing unusual” concludes Baxter.

“No, nothing unusual. Except for the other guy”

“What other guy?” asks Gordon, while he sits up straight.

“Some guy named Gruber. His name was not on the supply list but on additional note later on.”

“An additional note for somebody they sending over. Hm… That’s actually is somewhat unusual, wouldn’t you say Toby? Let me see that note.”

Toby hands over the paper to Gordon. As he starts reading it, Gordon seems to have difficulty comprehending some part of the text at first, but as he reads it again and again he just gets madder and madder.

“Toby, why haven’t you said anything about this before, huh?”

“You haven’t asked.”

Gordon is ready to jump over the table straight to the boys neck, his face is displaying multiple shades of red and purple. Baxter finds this scene both funny as hell and worrisome. But for the time being, it is the best show in town, so he just takes a step back and enjoys spectacle.

“You idiot! I swear to fucking God, I could kill you right now! I couldn’t care less that a frigging boat, or SHIP, comes with supplies. I don’t have to ask you about that. But when you get a paper like this, you don’t just sit on it! I can’t ask you about them because I don’t know that they will come, now do I? You come to me and tell me about them! Do you understand me you fucking moron?”

Toby nodded his head.

“Now get the fuck out oh here! And how many times do I have to tell you not to wear that fucking pod everywhere on your back. Put it the fuck down. Makes you look like an idiot. Not that your not.”

Gordon could have yelled a good ten minutes more if his head wouldn’t have hurt already like hell without this. Toby dragged his feet out of his office and disappeared somewhere. Gordon sat back behind his desk and started searching around in a drawer until he found a bottle of pills. He popped the bottle open and swallowed quickly two of them pills. Baxter was still watching, but his curiosity started to get the best of him.

“You know, you really should talk to some of the grunts. They could teach that snot a lesson or two.”

“Neah, already tried that. For some reason, they don’t want to touch him. Like he has the plague or something.”

“Don’t tell me now that somebody has this pussy’s back. He sure in hell can’t defend himself.”

“I don’t know and I don’t want to take the effort to find out. Eventually, I am going to beat the living shit out the turtle myself. Don’t care if somebody has his back or not. His ass is grass and I’m the lawn mower. “

“Good man.” said Baxter amused. “Now tell me, what gives?”

“You are not going to believe it. This Gruber character is to be our new warehouse manager. He is going to be in charge of our entire inventory. Everything that is on storage will go trough his hands.”

“You are absolutely right Gordon. I don’t believe you.”

“Well, here. Read it yourself.”

Baxter took the paper. But there it was, black on white. The new guy was there to stay and he was management material.

“What do you make of this?” asked Gordon.

“Must be some hothead that screwed himself royally. Like challenging some heavy name on the open. Otherwise it just doesn’t make sense to create a high level job here that isn’t even needed. Did we ever had a warehouse manager?”

“No, never. No need for one. If you put something there, you are in charge of it. Worked just fine until now. You know what this means, don’t you? Headaches.”

“Might be. A lot of people will be angry over this. We just might have to earn our keep for a change. Go out, meet this Gruber fellow. Size him up. Oh, and do me a favor. If you happen to run into Solomon, tell him that I would like a couple of pairs of his sausages.

Older Works – The Righteous Fart – 03

The ship was moving but you could not tell this. The fog was that dense. Grey everywhere you looked. It was like being stuck in time. Gruber was on the deck for only an hour, but it felt like a week. Some other folk walk around occasionally, but everybody kept it quiet, for their selves. Gruber was bored out of his mind. He was used to crowds, noise, lights, big city life. This…. this was a graveyard. The people ghosts. He pulled out a cigarette out of his pocket, put it in his mouth and lit up a match. Smocking always calmed him and right now, it also gave him something to do. But he was down to his last two packs. And there will be no more cigarettes where he is going. Fucking hell… where is he going anyway? They never told him, not really. Just that he is being reassigned.

“Pack your things son, you just got promoted!” the division chief told him, “You leave tomorrow morning. But don’t take too much with you, just about a backpack worth, everything else that you might need will already be there. Go on, make us proud! You lucky bastard, you…” The grin must have been ear to ear on his face. Gruber would have bet good money that his former colleagues even threw a party because he left that place. Those bastards. But than again, he knew that his promotion was not really a promotion. It was a death sentence. There were various degrees of punishment in the company for doing wrong. You had your slap on the wrist, you average screw with your pants on, you could have been demoted and you could have been fired. Some even got killed. But all of these options were favorable in comparison of this promotion. But sleeping with the bosses daughter? Now that had to be exemplary. And there you go, being the new warehouse manager of the righteous fart. What does that even mean? The righteous fart? Sounds like something that a twelve year old would laugh to… damn….

“So, ready for the righteous fart?” asked Dino. Dino was the ships clerk, but you could have not guessed it by the looks of him. His hair was in dreads, round sunglasses on his eyes and his clothes looked like they were on him for the last 5 months. Probably they were too.

“Huh?” asked Gruber somewhat rattled “Jesus, man! Where did you come from? I almost lost last night dinner in my shorts!”

“Chill dude… I just climbed onboard. I was down below, counting the inventory, making sure that everything is set for our little stay at this months lovely pit stop.”

“You climbed up… from where?”

“Uhm…see that rope over there? Like to you left..” Gruber face was of complete disbelief. “Man, you need to relax… too much tension will kill ya… you know what you need? Some of this stuff right here” points to the joint in his mouth, inhales strongly and releases a smoke as grey as the fog around them. “man, I am telling ya, this stuff is better than any blowjob a woman can give you. Cheaper too…”

“Let me get this straight. You climb all over the place without any safety measure, you are in charge of who knows how valuable cargo and you are stoned all the time. How are you not fired?”

“Pff…man, like they care. I mean they care, but only about the bottom line. As long as the deed is done and the money is there, I could dress up only in a sock. And I really would like who else would come to replace me… yeah that would be the day…” and Dino blew out the smoke from his lungs in the shape of circles.

“I see….” said Gruber. “Hey, tell me, what is this place exactly?”

“Your shitting me, right?” it was Dinos turn for disbelief “You come this purgatory but you don’t know what it is? What, you lost a bet or something?”

“Worse, I’ve got promoted.”

“Man, you are fucked.”

“OK, I AM! Now will you tell me at last what this place is?”

“Geez man, don’t have to bite my head off. Kinda see why you have been promoted.” Grubers eyes started to stab Dino “Ok, ok. So, basically, you remember those pictures of oil rigs, from before everything went down the toilet? Well, this place is something like that. The company had a couple of those one next to the other around here. One day, in they infinite wisdom, the people upstairs decide to tie them rigs together, making one big one to bring something else up from the ground. Not oil, something much trickier.”

“Like what?” asks Gruber “fuck if I know. Something expensive. I like to keep things simple, you know. The stuff is rare, expensive, hard to get to. That’s enough information for me.”

“Aha… And what’s with the name? Righteous fart, what’s up with that?”

“Yo, what time it is?” asks Dino “Are going to leave hanging like that?” asks Gruber back. “Listen man, if you want to know what you want to know you will tell me what time it is.”

“Whatever…. it’s nine, happy now?” but Dino was not “Like, nine sharp?”

“Yeah, nine sharp. Sharp as a coffin nail.” Dino shook his head with a serious frown on his forehead and reached for another joint. As he lit it up a huge flame torn the sky in two, much to Gruebers surprise.

“There’s your righteous fart, son. Every hour a machine releases a flame. Something to do with pressure regulating. But it looks like a powerful fart. Smells like on too. So the name stuck.”

Dino started walk away, but after a couple of steps he turned around. “You know, your kinda an asshole, man.”

“Yeah, well we’ll see about that when I will be running this place!” shouted Gruber back.

“Good one, man, good one. You know, I’ve been coming to this place for years now, always bringing fresh meat for labor, but not once have I seen somebody coming onboard for the trip home.” Dino started to walk away again and with his back facing Gruber concluded “you might be a cocky son of a bitch son, but no match to the sewer rats that run this place…”

“yeah, well we will see about that…” muttered Gruber to himself…

Older Works – The Righteous Fart – 02

“Hey, Jessup! Come down here you worthles piece of garbage!” shouted the man from the doorway as he entered the establishment. The room he entered was covered in darkness. As he walked across the place he could still sense the night before. The people who were there, where they stood, who they stood with. Spend enough time in a place and you don’t need to ask questions anymore. Your senses will tell you everything you want to know. He kept walking until he reached the windows. There, he pushed a button and the shutters started to roll up revealing one mesmerizing view. You could see the heart of the machine that kept everything alive, such as. All the cogs and wheels turning. All the grease and the dirt. All the flames and all the darkness. Everything in one glorious, infernal, view. He pulled up a chair, sat down next to the windows ledge. Afterwards, he took down his bowler hat, placed it on the ledge, stroke down his beard and has rolled up the sleeves of his shirt. He took out his pocket watch and looked at it. It was an image that pleased him. The small, clean, see trough, elegant machine in his hand while in the background there was one big, dirty, beast of a machine. The contrasts between the two were powerfull. The image pleased him. The time that watch told him however, did not.

“It is 7:20 Jessup. Now, tell me again, at what time were you suposed to be here?”

“Come on, Solomon, nobody is here at six in the morning…”

“Come closer, I couldnt hear you…” said the man as he stood up. He was of average height, somewhat wider than most, but next to Jessup, he was a giant. Even if Jessup had a couple of inches on Solomon, Solomon comanded obedience with a single glance. And if that were not enough, he was always ready to back up the glance with a couple of powerfull punches. Sometimes out of necessity, mosty for pleasure.

“Yes, you are right Jessup. Nobody is here at six in the morning. Thats because you are nobody. And you are here at six because I have told you to be here at six. Or you wish to take some medical leave?”

“N-no Solomon… I will be here at six”

“Good. Now go on. Bring me a cup of coffee. And clean this place up. They really did a number last night.”

“Yes, Solomon, right away…”

“And bring the latest reports. We did get the latest, right? Want to know what comes over here in the coming days.”

Older Works – The Righteous Fart – 01

It was raining. The fact that it was dawn too was not helping. Toby just looked at his watch, growled something silently, then rolled over. Now, facing the wall, all curled up like a fetus, he was lying still, with the eyes closed, listening. For 5 more minutes he cancelled out the world in his mind. There was nothing else there but rain. Finally, he opened up his pod. He stood up. The desire to stretch out was suddenly overcome by the cold that was outside. It was a hard thing living outside on the streets. His sleeping pod kept him safe from cold or rain, but only while he was inside of it. Once stepped out, it was a different story. Toby popped open a canned shower, spread whatever was left inside of that recipient on his body and quickly dressed back up. The empty can have rolled in a corner, forgotten in an instant. Toby then proceeded to wrap up his pod in a neat package, which fitted easily on his

back. It looked like a turtle’s shell. Because of this, many people called Toby ‘turtle Toby’ or more simply, the turtle. But Toby did not mind this at all. That pod was his most prized possession. And his only one as well. Inside of it was the only place where he felt safe. All he needed was to find small place that is out of sight. Somewhere, like behind a large container or under an overpass. He would set up his pod, snuck in, and everything was all right. Like a caterpillar in a cocoon. Except, there was never a butterfly emerging from this cocoon. It was always just the caterpillar. And like so many mornings before, the turtle put on his shell and started walking the long, narrow corridor that led towards a bleak day. Because such was the life in the place called The righteous fart.

Older Works – Urban Fables

The hole in the wall

First shot: the room. Small, bombed out, windowless room. Music in the background from the PC speakers. One can se one wormed out couch, one messed up coffee table, some other platform in the corner with some sort of PC on it. Somebody is laying on the couch.

Seconds shot: The coffee table. Ashtray filled with cigarette buds, some empty beer cans, other generic trash laying around. The somebody’s leg on the couch in the background.

Third shot: The PC. Old, dirty piece of junk. CRT display. The keyboard is more an ashtray than a keyboard. Some booze around, only the cheapest, and some plastic cups.

Fourth shot: Guy laying on the couch (showed in profile), careless, absorbed by the music.

a shout from a distance

Jules

ANDYYYYYYYY!!!!

Andy (the guy on the couch) looks around surprised.

ANDY

what the fuck…

again, from a distance

Jules

ANDYYYYYYYY!!!!

ANDY

YEAH! What?!

JULES

Can you come here my friend? I need your help…

Andy reluctantly gets off the couch

ANDY

… fuck me…..

New shot: narrow corridor, small door at the end. Jules is on the other side of the door. Andy is standing by, annoyed.

ANDY

Yeah, I’m here… What do you want?

JULES

Great, my friend! Say, do you have any paper?

ANDY

Paper?

JULES

Yeah, like toilet paper, or… or paper towels… Maybe kleenex. Yeah, kleenex

will do. Do you have some my friend?

(in the mental box – ANDY: this “my friend” verbal tic of Jules is really annoying. Everybody hates it. But he thinks its cool for some reason. Than again, he never was the smartest guy around. Or any kind of smart, for that matter…)

ANDY

NO, I do not have an paper. What is this anyways?

I thought you’ve been gone for hours…

JULES

Yeah, well, I needed to take a dump, and I there’s

no toilet paper in here and I didn’t see that…

ANDY

Idiot. And what, you have been sitting inside there for hours?

JULES

I fell asleep…

ANDY

(baffled)

You ARE an idiot!

JULES

Ah, man! Come on! Help me out! My friend?

ANDY

Sorry, pal. Can’t help ya out.

(looks at his watch)

Anyways, I’ve got to split. Smell ya later.

JULES

(desperate)

My friend! Come on! Don’t be lame! You can’t just leave me in shit!

What am I supposed to do now?

ANDY

(easily amused)

You can take a nap!

END SCENE

SCENE

Shot: Andy standing in the tram station, waiting for the next tram. He checks his watch, while nodding his head to the beats of the music blasting from his ear buds. A girl walks up to him.

KRISTA

Yo Andy!

(no reaction)

KRISTA

Earth to Andy! Hello! Batman at eleven a clock!

ANDY

Huh? Oh, sorry Krista, didn’t noticed you there.

KRISTA

You don’t say…

ANDY

So, what’s new?

KRISTA

Mercury is in retrograde.

ANDY

Come again?

KRISTA

Its something that one of my room mates said from the dorm.

Imagine, they have synced they’re periods, so now,

once a month, the three besties are one beastly pain in the ass.

Guess in which week are we right now?

ANDY

Wow. Synchronized periods? How do you even do that?

KRISTA

I don’t know. I did asked one of them. She said,

“Mercury is in retrograde” and then winked. So, there you go.

ANDY

Well, isn’t she all mysterious…

KRISTA

Yeah… Say, this reminds me. Is the hole in the

wall free these days? I really don’t want to be in

my dorm room while Mercury is in whatever.

ANDY

(smirking)

Huh, retrograde? I guess its free. Not like we

do reservations over there. But better buy a

couple rolls of toilet paper for Jules

on your way if you want to crash there.

KRISTA

How so? What did he do this time?

ANDY

He took a dump in the toilet without checking if

there is toilet paper, which of course there wasn’t,

and he choose to solve this problem by sleeping it off.

KRISTA

(baffled)

Your kidding, right?

ANDY

Nope. Scouts honor. But why do you ask “what

did he do THIS time”? Was there another time?

KRISTA

Oh, yeah…

ANDY

Hmmm, do tell!

KRISTA

Couple of weeks ago, there was this lecture. For some

reason Jules has picked up this philosophy course.

He is failing but he can’t drop it either. Anyways,

during this lecture, the professor went on and on

about how misleading religion really is. And of

course, he had to brought up Nietzsche

and his famous quote of “God is dead”.

ANDY

Ok…

KRISTA

Well, one kid in the audience, some born again

Christian, did not take it so well, because right

after the quote he said out loud to the professor

the God had disproved that argument, seventeen

years later by saying “Nietzsche is dead”.

ANDY

Well, who would have thought… A cheeky born again Christian.

KRISTA

I know, right? Well, the two started to really hit of,

and about a half an hour in the debate, Jules

intervenes with an argument meant to help

out the professor by discrediting the kid.

ANDY

Jules intervened in a philosophical debate?

Whit an argument? This must be good.

KRISTA

He said that the kids arguments are invalid since he

isn’t really a follower of God. How can he be a follower

of God if, and I quote, “he doesn’t have a twitter account?”.

Moment of silence, cricket sounds in the background

ANDY

And they say that population control is an abomination…

KRISTA

yeah…

ANDY

I am curious though…. Who has won

the debate? The kid or the professor?

KRISTA

The kid, eventually.

ANDY

Yeah? How so?

KRISTA

He brought his older sister to the next lecture.

Tall, blonde, great wrack, matching behind, all

packed in a summer dress. Now, the professor is singing

in church every Sunday, right next to the blonde bomb shell.

ANDY

Huh…What a hypocrite. Big time university professor loses

his conviction at the slightest chance of tail. Makes you wonder

about all that money spent on your education. Still, that kid

is going places.

KRISTA

I wouldn’t be so sure.

ANDY

Why do you say that?

KRISTA

He only has ONE sister.

END SCENE

The room

It is a quarter to one in the early afternoon. He has been on his feet and out in the cold all day long. It has been raining. The show only starts at 1 P.M. But he is already in the auditorium. He likes it there. It feels like home. For the first time in a very long time, he has found a place where he belongs. It is the first screening of the day, so usually there aren’t as many people in the room as later in the day, but since it is raining, he got the entire place to himself. That feels good. The room is not heated, but it is dry and there is no wind either, so our man feels better in an instant. The seats are old, uncomfortable, covered in red velvet that by now is faded and dusty. But it doesn’t matter. He sits down. Finally, some rest. Ten more minutes to go. The screen is blank, and the room is poorly lit. He

sits alone in the room, in the 5th row from the back, smack down in the middle, looking straight at the centre of the screen. Some music is being played through the speaker boxes. Oldies. Some he recognizes, some he doesn’t. But they are pleasant non-the less. And he sits there in stillness, enjoying the moment. As if the movie he bought a ticket for doesn’t even matters any longer. Just let him have this piece of peace. It is perfect. 5 more minutes. Somebody walks in, another spectator. Alas, the room is no longer his alone. But it is still ok. The newcomer sits down at a distance, and minds his own business. There will be no trouble there. What movie is on again? Oh, yes, that thriller he read about in a magazine. Supposed to be good. What about after the show? He probably will be hungry so that needs to be taken care of, after which he still needs to kill at least 2 more hours before he can return to his room. That will be tricky. But it doesn’t matter right now. The room just went dark and the projector started making noise. The movie starts. And everything else ceases to exists for 2 hours.

1.02 Joe

Somebody has laughed out loud. This sudden noise woke Joe up. He was having a nice nap, but alas that is gone. Still, he was comfortable. He has found just the right way to sit on his seat, the train car was pleasantly warm and had a smoothing rocking to it. Even the other passengers were quiet, except for this sudden outburst he just heard. It was a gloomy Monday morning and everybody was heading to work. The car was not more crowded than usual, but it was dirtier. You could smell the trapped body odour, cigarette smoke, breath of cheap beer and the stench of the filthy lavatory. This unholy cuvée of odours kept on ageing in the car like wine does in the barrel, and just like every barrels wine is different, so was the smell of every old train car. They all stink, but if you travel them long enough, you learn to distinguish between them and to appreciate, of sorts, the different shades and nuances of stench. The hint of coffee that comes from the disposable cup from the trash bin. The dash of chlorine used in the failed attempt to clean up the car a couple of hours ago. The aroma of sweat oozed by the seats during a hot summer. All elements of an olfactory adventure that would knock you out on your

first time, but as time goes by you get comfortable with. It is an acquired taste, in a negative way. Joe, just like all the others he was traveling with, had acquired this taste and occasionally, he even missed it. It was a strange feeling. Long ago, when he was forced to ride this train on a daily bases he would have done everything to escape it. By his own admission, he would have even sucked a dick just to escape his daily commute and everything else connected to it. His job, the bills in the postbox, the maxed out credit cards in his wallet. Everything. And now, now that he no longer needs to worry about all those things ever again, he finds himself wondering back to the very same train and taking the very same ride with the very same people he had despised for so long. He is back here, as if nothing would have changed.

The train conductor came in the car to check the passengers for tickets. He went trough everybody, except for Joe. Joe was sitting alone next to a window. He was staring at the conductor but the conductor looked right trough him and went on to the next passenger. Eventually the conductor moved on to the next car. The sun was already up and Joe could tell that they will arrive shortly. About 20 minutes later he got off the train and made his way out of the train station. On the platform he passed a pack of stray dogs. The dogs proceeded to bark heavenly towards him as Joe passed them by to the big surprise of everybody else around. Joe was still surprised about the fact that such a large pack of strays were allowed to roam unchecked in the heart of the city, inside of a major train station non the less. But his surprise quickly faded away, as this was nothing new under the sun. Anyway, this was no longer any of his concern. Outside of the station, on the street, Joe took a good look around while he was deciding where to go next. It was a cold February Monday morning, just about rush hour. Everybody was going everywhere. Across the street a whole bunch of people were waiting for the tram, all grouped, one next to the other, like penguins, trying to conserve heat in a snowstorm. In the intersection, a maze of cars, each trying to get ahead, to drop the kid off to school and to get to work on time. Some old man clearly does not know what he is doing behind the wheel, as he is keeping up everybody behind him. The light is green but he is afraid to take the turn due to the cars coming from his left. Eventually, the light turns back to red and an orchestra of horns starts to play just for him as gratitude. After 3 painful minutes the light is green again, but alas so is for the pedestrians that are crossing the street on his right. The second act of the traffic symphony dedicated for this man begins to play.  Finally, Joe has decided where to go next and starts walking across the intersection, between the cars in the traffic. From there he heads towards the bridge. After about 30 minutes of walking he arrived to a market place which is followed by a street filled with shops on the ground level. None of the stores are anything spectacular, thrift shops, household items, greasy fast food joints and other questionable business ventures that makes one wonder if the owners are crazy or if they are laundering money. Not like these options are mutually exclusive. After 5 more minutes Joe arrives to a gate that despite being large enough for a full sized truck to go trough it, somehow is discreet enough not to be noticed at first glance by an occasional bystander. They usually spot either the sex shop on the left or the Shawarma joint on the right. Who would care for a dull, big gate that is covered partially by old, faded event posters on one hand and by rust on the other? Especially in such select company, I mean, really? But still, Joe is no occasional bystander, he knows the gate well and goes trough it, into the inner court. He takes right, then a left, opens a door, goes down some stairs in the basement and goes in the room. There is no floor in there. No carpet, no tiles, not even concrete. Just the bare, dirt ground on which the very first row of the buildings bricks were layed upon. Across the entrance, an old refrigerator that was most likely salvaged from some two bit bodega decades ago, the kind in which milk and other perishable stuff was kept.  Now it is filled up to one third with some cheap kind of beer and about 2 stacks of disposable cups. Where the storage place is limited, one has to improvise. Next to that there is a busted counter and and equally busted boom box, which due to some miracle is still able to play cassette tapes. Up on the wall a neon light is blinking, asking for a friendly slap on the side to resume its normal way of working despite being a decade over its warranty. To the left, there were some tables with some do it yourself type of benches, the ones that are made of two logs, a couple of two by fours and some nails. All these placed small holes in the walls, like cubicles. This place original was used to store fire wood back in the days when the building was constructed. Now that wood is no longer used for heat, the spaces are empty, just good enough for some off the book dive bar. But, given that it is Monday morning, the place is empty, save from Zeke and some other fellow that Joe has never seen before.

“Hi Zeke” said Joe and sits down to their table.

“Joe! Long time no see! Had enough of the country side, had ya?”

“You could say that. Who’s your friend?”

“Ah, he is new in our realm. Doesn’t have all his bearings right. You know how it is at the beginning.”

“yeah, yeah, I do.”

“I am sorry” finally the new guy speaks up, “they call me Chocolate bar. “

“Chocolate bar? That is a strange name. I mean you do not resemble one, in shape or colour either. Who gave you that name anyway?”

“They. I do not remember who exactly. I do not remember much of anything. This is all so confusing…”

“There, there, its okay” said Zeke” We have all been there. Me, Joe, the whole lot of us. You will find your way, don’t worry. Hey Joe! Care to help me out explaining to our new friend the facts of life as we know it?”

“Well first, let us not call them facts of life. It is misleading. They should be the facts of death. I mean we are all dead, right? What good can the facts of life do to a ghost anyway?”

1.01 George

It is 6 AM. The sun is not even up yet. The bus station is filled with its regular morning commuters. George is waiting a couple of feet away from the bus for the driver. Finally, a couple of minutes before the bus was supposed to leave, the driver shows up. He is coming slowly, as one would expect for somebody his size and waistband. His eyes are small, beady, hiding behind some tiny glasses. You can tell that he is not in the mood for driving. As the driver unlocks the bus and gets behind the steering wheel, the commuters line up before the bus door. George instructs his daughter to put his stuff in the trunk of the bus and then they both get in the line as well, the daughter up front and George behind her. The girl rushes to a window seat up at the front of the bus while George is paying for the tickets. The distance is short so the tickets are cheap, not that George would share this opinion. He searches his pockets for his money with only one hand while in the other he is holding his prized fishing rods. They will go fishing. His favourite thing to do. He does not have a wallet so

the search for the money is not easy. In one of his pocket he finds some coins, in the other he finds a used up paper tissue and on the second try a banknote. He pays for the tickets and sits down next to his daughter. He hold the fishing rods firmly between his legs and looks around once. Some commuters are chatting, some are buried in their phones. One guy a couple of seats in the back looks at him in disgust. The guy clearly does not likes what he sees. But George does not sees this. He just turns back front and scratches his head. His hair is curly and dirty grey but no on can tell if that shade of grey is natural or just because George washes his hair just about as often he goes to the dentist, which is next to never. But George does not care about this or that he looks like a slob. He is going fishing and he is taking his daughter with him. Everything that matters to him is there.The girl has her head pressed to the window. She could not be older than 15 years old and bears no resemblance to George whatsoever. She is clean and dressed up neat, well as much as she can given her circumstances. There is a look in her eyes. One of resentment and helplesness. It is Wednesday morning. She should be getting ready for school. Instead she is here.She looks at her father. He happens to look at her as well. George sketches a faint smile on his face. That line of grey hair he wears above his lips as a mustache does not help. The girl turns back to the window and lets out a silent moan of surrender. The bus engine roars up, the driver closes the door, shifts into first gear and the bus leaves its terminal. The guy in the back puts on his headset and proceeds on with a quick nap. The sun is almost up. And George is happy. He is going fishing. He will be dead before the year ends.