The Jar

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In the deep, gloomy silence of the night, Ted walked out of the aging drive-in movie theater, after falling asleep in the middle of an old twenty year-old movie with a half-empty bottle of an unknown substance in his left hand. He had found the dirt-infested bottle gathering dust and cobwebs in the back corner of the concession stand, which was long since relevant and taken over by rotten tacos and dead maggots being consumed by a myriad of other insects. The decaying stand served its life confined to a shack in even worse condition. Once belonging to the richest homeless man who had ever lived, it’s eerie walls were now covered with nacho cheese and grease stains that were more appealing than anything even slightly edible the concession stand had to offer. There was a large spray painted “Ken was here” on the wall in big graffiti letters. The paint was chipping, along with the walls, leaving a large opening behind the stand, allowing the usual swarms of red fire ants to march in and salvage anything not already taken by their enemies: cockroaches the size of one’s palm.

In that shack was where Ted had found the bottle. The very bottle he could no longer detach from his fingertips, so immovable he could feel the insects lodged inside the bottle crawling up his hairy, scab-covered arm. They lurched up his slimy chest, which was already bleeding, and then wrapped themselves around his rib cage. They raced down his legs, leaving even more insects and puss in their wake. Ted felt them pushing into his spine, and gasped for air as he suffered an immense amount of pain.

The insects submerged his face and head, which was zit-infested and puss-covered, along with even more terrifyingly disgusting features no one dared look at, which was the most plausible reason for not owning a mirror, being as afraid as he was at what would watch back in an indifferent stare.

Bugs, by the hundreds, possibly thousands, flew down his throat, preventing his breath, although arguably giving him the greatest meal he’s had in all the years of his horrid life.
He violently jerked his entire being in a futile effort to relinquish himself of the feeling of million spin legs pricking against his skin. Soon the weight of the myriad of bugs was so much he couldn’t even hold his own frail frame upright in the manner he usually does: hunched over, with his limbs appearing to be out of sync with the rest of his body.

His legs crumbled under him and he fell to the ground, still violently convulsing. It was no longer voluntary, however; for the insects were now lodging themselves into his skin, and with more still crawling from the accursed bottle. With every spastic seizure that coursed through his body, the more he felt life retreating from him. In one last desperate attempt to save himself, he opened his eyes to the world around him. The bugs that were invading his flesh were only his imagination, and he could no longer see his demise before him. Relief flooded through him, and as he regained control, he found himself fatigued with such severity that he couldn’t move for the rest of the night. And when the lone employee of the drive-in theater returned in the morning and woke him, Ted felt he had slept so well that previous night that he decided to remain there, on the dirty New York street, a few minutes longer. His seemingly eternally drooping eyes quickly flew shut, and they didn’t open until late that night.

When Ted awoke, he was devastated that he has slept through the day; however when tried to lift his heavily sleep-laden body off of the cracking pavement, he found he couldn’t even lift a finger. He felt the gum on the oil-stained streets pressing against his back like pieces of glass, a pain he regularly endured, as his the sleeping arrangements of his many hovels were usually covered in glass shards or puddles of water. He was still so weak and fragile that even the slightest breeze would send into a motionless fit of intense pain, so strong that if he was ever to recover from this madness, he himself would surely go mad. He still felt insects rattling around inside the bottle, echoes of vibrations so small, so harmless, yet so unbearable for him.

With the final morsels of his energy, Ted pried his dry lips apart from each other with his even drier tongue, and let out an earsplitting wail. But his desperate cry for peace was all but audible, and he quickly lost consciousness. The darkness engulfed Ted so thoroughly, that even a dark room deep under the surface of, in his opinion, the h***-hole billions of worthless lies infested, as well as his own. There was nothing; he couldn’t even feel his own body, nor the litter-ridden streets that he wasn’t able to remove himself from. Soon he felt his memories fade from him, every shred of thought he ever had, incinerated in a void of nothing that wasn’t even there. His quickly waning mind had but one image remaining: the shack. The same bug-infested shack the accursed bottle of the unknown substance resided in. Only something was different. Ted had found and passed out with the rustic bottle at night during a showing of a twenty year-old movie. The gaping hole in the mossy wooden shack gave way to a foggy morning sun a reel of French commercials.

Ted found his view to be hiding in the corner of the shack, watching the door as the decaying door knob covered in slime was turned, and the door pulled opened. In walked a thin, scrawny man, wearing a white t-shirt, with hairy arms covered with scabs. He legs looked like they barely held up his frail frame, and he looked ready to pass out. Once belonging to the richest homeless man who had ever lived, it’s eerie walls were now covered with nacho cheese and grease stains that were more appealing than anything even slightly edible the concession stand had to offer. There was a large spray painted “Ted was here” on the wall in big graffiti letters. The paint was chipping, along with the walls, leaving a large opening behind the stand, allowing the usual swarms of red fire ants to march in and salvage anything not already taken by their enemies: cockroaches the size of one’s palm.


He glanced over towards the corner of the room, a dusty cob web ridden piece of the hut that looked even more saddening and gruesome than the hole in the wooden wall that no longer looked like wood, a hole brought on by a lack of quality food for the community of insects living but a few inches away outside. The man walked over, and on closer inspection, Ted could see, although through an odd purple tint that distorted images, an upside-down nametag most likely embedded in the man’s chest that read Jose. He suddenly reached towards Ted, and he felt like he was being lifted up. He was no longer capable of speech or thought, because he had ceased to exist the night before, however he was still in the corner of the shack, being held aloft by this bum Jose, who looked even more hopeless than he himself had.

Jose began to walk out of the shack, and Ted felt his unexplained sight waning. The man walked toward the screen projector, which was still reeling French commercials, although now they resembled trailers for movies from the 1800’s, which was quite impossible and most likely the work of some snotty college student looking for a good grade in film class, in his most endearing opinion, and passed out in front of it, after a few moments. He remained there, in the junked car that looked like it had been slept in a few nights ago. Jose’s arms were plastered over his face, which was zit-infested and puss-covered, along with even more terrifyingly disgusting features Ted didn’t dare look at. He shut his eyes as hard as he could, and did not dare open them until he felt the man return to consciousness, which he did with a convulsive spasm. Jose exited the freshly slept in junked car with years of stains and raccoon droppings sprawled out on its’ floors. The windows were tinted with gum and splattered insects, most likely killed out of sheer blindness as they flew into the fog that encased the car eternally, a remembrance of over 100,000 miles of driving, and straight into the window. He glanced over at the projector, which had been it on fire while he was asleep, and now in ashes all around the lot. He looked toward where he thought a horrifying wooden shack had been, although nothing ever existed, nor ever will, in that spot.

In that shack was where Jose had found the bottle. The very bottle he could no longer detach from his fingertips, so immovable he could feel the insects lodged inside the bottle crawling up his hairy, scab-covered arm. They lurched up his slimy chest, which was already bleeding, and then wrapped themselves around his rib cage. They raced down his legs, leaving even more insects and puss in their wake. Ted felt them pushing into his spine, and gasped for air as he suffered an immense amount of pain.

The insects submerged his face and head, which was zit-infested and puss-covered, along with even more terrifyingly disgusting features no one dared look at, which was the most plausible reason for not owning a mirror, being as afraid as he was at what would watch back in an indifferent stare.

Bugs, by the hundreds, possibly thousands, flew down his throat, preventing his breath, although arguably giving him the greatest meal he’s had in all the years of his horrid life. He violently jerked his entire being in a futile effort to relinquish himself of the feeling of a million spiny legs pricking against his skin. Soon the weight of the myriad of bugs was so much he couldn’t even hold his own frail frame upright in the manner he usually does: hunched over, with his limbs appearing to be out of sync with the rest of his body.

His legs crumbled under him and he fell to the ground, still violently convulsing. It was no longer voluntary, however; for the insects were now lodging themselves into his skin, and with more still crawling from the accursed bottle. With every spastic seizure that coursed through his body, the more he felt life retreating from him.

In one last desperate attempt to save himself, Jose opened his eyes to world around him, and he heard a voice in his head, one that seemed like it had already existed where he himself was ending, and screamed, “No, I will not have it!” and in that split-second, bugs crawled up over his eyes.





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