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f[R]ee

“Stiffs and Straits.” The character was clad in gold and white fleece, “Thats all they are, they dont get it man you see thisl set you free think about it they cant let this loose unregulated ited undermine their entire empire!” his hand flew up above his head and he leaned back in the chair. ” You see it! I see it in your eyes! Its in there! I can see it! Thisl bring it out man itl set you free the kind of free they cant give you they wont give you they can do it but at the cost of their control and thats all they care about their control!“

“Hey, I don't know. A night out on the town is one thing, but this? This is. I've. I've just never done anything like it before.” I turned in my chair, angling myself towards the door before he started talking again. I spoke again”I just, My wife will be wondering where I've been, Its long past when I said I'd be back and I still need to pick up some groc- ”

“You see?!?! they got you man they got you! You think you want this life. 9 to 5. monday thru friday thru monday thru friday man then you go out, have some drinks with the guys, she goes to a book-club and drags you to church on sundays, she makes you give up everything that makes you an individual, everything that makes you you, everything that makes you free for what?” He leaned forward in his chair, poising himself for a one two punch or some sort of mind bending line that would alter my reality for the rest of my life. “ You trade your freedom because you've been told it the right thing to do. Every movie every show every book everything tells you that the bad guys are alone, the bad guys do bad things, the bad guys sleep around and hang out in the seedy clubs. The good guy wins a woman's affections and settles down to have kids. You bought into that. That that that that that that that fantasy and look look where it's brought you. Your here.” It wasnt exactly mind bending, but it was food for thought.

He motioned with his hands at the darkness around us. I gave the small room a good look for the first time. To my left I saw a small desk with papers all around a strangely clean space in the center. To the other side was a rusted door, which I had came in through. It seems to have been at one point green, but had faded from years and years of wear and tear, as well as what looks like some large dents near the bottom. What could have made that? I wonder what kind of history that door has. I turned my head back to the gold and white clothed man. He was digging in his pockets for something. His eyes widened as his hand jerked a green leather pouch from his left breast pocket. He fumbled with the bag a bit before managing to wrench it open, revealing its contents only to him. He stared for a moment or two longer before closing the bag and holding it tightly in his left hand. He looked back up.

“Well you havent left yet, that means youre not as hive minded gullible like like sheep like as I thought.” He smiled deviously as he stopped, presumably to catch his breath. I didn’t move. He studied me for a moment before opening his mouth to speak again. “Does this dus this mean youve made you descision? The decision to join our free ranks and to leave the employ of those most oppressive of unions?” he leaned back again almost as if he was boasting about a victory. I didn’t care, everything he had said resonated with me on some twisted level. I felt it all. How I had almost been lied to. I've been told I want that new car, so I worked extra hard to get it. The extra work frayed me at the seems. I felt like I needed to get out and live a little. And now I was here.

“I'll take it.” I reached into my pocket and pulled out my wallet. Opening it exposed what was left of three hundred dollars after a week of ordering three meals and seven coffee's a day. I slapped the bills in his hand and grabbed the little leather pouch. I pulled the pouch open, pulled out the small rocks and dropped them into my mouth. Oh S***.


“Good-morning” Her smiling face was less than an inch from mine.

“germehering” I managed to mutter back. My brain had expanded to twice its original size. I took a deep breath. My lungs were filled with tar and concrete.
“When did you get back in last night? I don't remember hearing you come in.” she sat up on the edge of the bed and pulled on a loose green lantern T-Shirt of mine. I rolled onto my back.

“Hon, do you remember what happened last night?”, I lifted the covers and swung my legs over the side of the bed. It was really cold out from under my blanked. Oh. . . . that makes sense. I reached over to the dresser on my left. My hand dug around the drawer for any article of clothing before my fingers clasped onto a pair of sweats. I hastily pulled them on and stood up.

“You had your night out with the guys. You weren’t back on time, but I just figured you were getting the R&R you missed all last week, so I popped in a movie and fell asleep.” She pulled on a pair of sweats and turned towards me. She paused a moment and looked me over.”Then, at some point in the night, you came home and, well. Things happened.” She smiled nervously at me and sauntered towards me.

“Good things?” I asked as she neared me, just speaking set my throat on fire. She giggled nervously as she grabbed me and kissed me on the cheek.

“Very good things.” She pushed me playfully and skittered towards the kitchen. “Any special requests for breakfast love?”

“Not especially, thanks though, actually, could we do some coffee this morning? I'm feeling a bit lagged.”

“Sure, mocha machine or black?”

“Black if its not too troubling.” I grabbed my laptop from the coffee table and set down on the table, pressing the power button. As It began booting up I laid my head down on the table. Run. Run. Run. I leapt from my seat and set a full boar sprint for the bathroom. As I pulled into the toilet and let lest nights food and drink come back up, I made sure to close the door behind me.

Once there was nothing left I sat down next to the toilet and caught my breath. I looked around the bathroom. A lot of stuff had happened in this room. I stood up, feeling even worse.

“You ok in there babe?”

“Yea,I'm fine. Just a bit of hangover.”

I turned my head towards the sink. That's when I saw it. It was a shock, something I never expected. My light blue dress shirt I had worn the day before was laying in the sink soaking wet. I crept over to it. There was a certain stench to it I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I reached down and grasped the shirt. There was something in it. Something soft but with a solid core. My mind started to spin. As I picked up the loosely wrapped package, the contents spilled out. Red.



I burst through the door and sprinted down the stairs.

“Honey?” She shouted as she rounded the corner overlooking the stairs and doorway.

“I'll be back later! Love you.” I shouted back at her as I leapt through the door.



The parking lot was pretty much abandoned as I pulled in. My brand new Audi was a stark contrast compared to the backdrop of dilapidated buildings and rusted steel. I got out of the car and made my way towards the vaguely familiar rusted green door. I had questions. As I neared the door I began to evaluate how I was feeling. It was terrible. Worse that when I had first woken up. At least ten times worse. My head pounded, my heart raced, my eyes were having a had time focusing. Then something caught my attention. Around the bottom of the door frame I saw a fluid dripping out from the crack.
Red


I leapt the last three or so feet between me and the door. I grasped the handle in my left hand, bracing my arm against the door. Then I hesitated. What am I doing? I can hardly think strait, my heart is about to explode out of my chest. What's happening to me. I figured the best way to find out was through the door. Clutching the shirt package in my right arm I slowly opened the door. The small room housed only five things. A cluttered desk. Two battered folding chairs. A gallon zip-lock bag filled with smaller leather bags, and a man. I bent down to the man. He was still alive and still clothed in the ridiculous white and gold garb of the previous night.

“Asshole.”he whispered to me as my head neared his.”Idiot. You people need to learn” he stopped and coughed a bit,”that there's no cure all. There's no easy way out. You gotta work for true freedom. Speaking of freedom. . . Feeling free my friend?” his left hand crawled towards the bag of drugs. I could feel my mind getting smaller and smaller. Smashing and shrinking and hurting. I could feel my heart coming apart. Stretching and stressing and burning. The bag. I reached for the bag, tore it open sending a shower of smaller leather sacs around the room.

“My man, do you feel the freedom?” I grabbed onto one just as it hit the floor. My fingers tore into the leather and pulled the small dusty crystals out of the bag.

That flavor. It was odd, but sweet. I stood up. My mind was clear as day. I turned to the man lying on the floor. He was as good as dead. In all the chaos I had dropped the shirt package. I walked over to the door where the package lay. I bent down and picked up the package, slowly unwrapping it.

“I'm guessing this hand belongs to you” I tossed the contents of the package onto his now lifeless corpse. “Guess you wont be needing it any more though.”

I dropped the bag of dusty rocks into my trunk and pulled out my cellphone. No. cellphones are traceable. I quickly scanned the parking lot for a pay phone. I spotted one and quickly walked over to it.

911 how may I help you.
Yes, Please help, I. I . I think I've just seen a murder. Or at least someone's dead.
Where are you at?
I. I'm at the corner of 1st and 3rd street. Please come quick.
Police and EMT's are on their way, please stay on the line until they arrive. Hello? Hello are you still there?




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