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Cat People

By Kobus FrankenKim Nieuwoudt All Rights Reserved ©

Thriller / Humor

Blurb

If I could rock and roll your soul right now you'd be thrown out with the cradle, baby. Six is the number of sin. Nine is the amount of lives you have to complete this sinful exercise. Kissy! Kissy! From the sensational mind that brought you the everlasting Morning Glory: Sixteen and Dead, comes six brand new stories all laced in his particular brand of hypersexualized, lancet driven, party drug form the early 90's. Fueled by the exciting notion that happiness truly is the only way to heaven. Welcome back, Jakobi Kid - Sunshine, We missed you.

Cat People

“We’ve all heard this story before. Celebrity goes out in public, they get accosted by asshole, vulture, paparazzi. Calling them reporters would be a sin. They try to be nice, they try to ignore them but they are baited, and they are pulled into a confrontation, most likely to gauge money out of them like the gold diggers they all are. But the seasoned of us know how to handle them. We know how to handle ourselves. You treat them like petulant children and hope they go away. But they never do, do they? They are a tenacious sort. That would claw at your very being for just a little acknowledgement. But they are disrespectful and rightly deserve a beating that you are not legally entitled to give them. I don’t have that problem. I’m from South-Africa and I just don’t give a fuck.” The man in the rubber Clint Eastwood mask with the thick Afrikaans accent has brought silence to this street corner full of hooded men with iPhones. They were having a royal time with Hollywood legend Cameron Parker before Eastwood got here. Cameron Parker was a big deal in the 80′s. A very big deal, but as all stars fizzle eventually so had his and he seems to be hanging onto nothing more that life support. Coasting along on that one genre film he made that spun off into a mildly successful franchise. He goes to fan conventions not because he wants to but because he has to. These bills won’t pay themselves, and he’s on his fourth wife so you can imagine what that must be like. Cameron Parker just received a lifetime achievement award of some sorts. Handed to him by some twenty something with bright eyes whose smile was testament to the amount of cock she’s had to suck in this awful town. Early days still. To Cameron Parker, an award like that gave him conformation that his time was up. That Tinseltown was done with him. And at 56 years old. He wasn’t having any of that. It was bad enough as it is and now to deal with these pricks as well? Well, not tonight, as this monologue would tell his aggressors. The man with the baseball bat was here to party and he was in the mood for some drum and base.

“What the fuck?!” A hollow thud hits the first fat, hooded figure with the camera flash against his head, he comes down hard. “Who’s next?” This guy is laughing. They aren’t. “It’s the man with no name!”

“Let’s get the fuck out of here!” Their feet are faster that their mouths, they disappear into the night, leaving their buddy behind. Cameron’s trusted right hand man is unsure of what do. He’s just standing there, stunned. Cameron has seen worse so he is the first to speak. “You’re that guy?”

”What guy?”

“The one on the news.”

“Could be?”

“The one in the Eastwood mask going after Paparazzi.”

“That’s me, yes.”

“Are you insane?”

“I’d like to think so.” The fat man at his feet starts to groan. “You seem to have done a number one him?” Eastwood looks down. “Nah, this is nothing.”

“What happens next?” Eastwood leans down and takes the iPhone from the incapacitated paparazzi. “What would you like to happen next?”

“I’d like to get out of here before the cops arrive.” Eastwood tosses the phone at Cameron.

“What’s this?”

“An iPhone?”

“What do you want me to do with it?”

“Whatever you want, it’s yours, you’ve earned it.”

“So that’s how this works.”

“Almost. Need to finish him off.”

“Seriously?”

“Seriously.” Eastwood pulls out his GLOCK G30SF Gen 3 .45 ACP Semi Auto Handgun. He points it at the man rolling around at his feet. Cameron tries to intervene but he’s too late. The sirens are already coming for them. Eastwood is laughing underneath his breath. He pulls the trigger. Brains everywhere. “Oki-doki.” Cameron is in shock, Charlie - his right hand, wants to get him out of there. Eastwood puts away the gun and walks right up to Cameron, coming up real close. “Please...”

Eastwood speaks. “Like shooting fish in a barrel.” He pulls up his left hand, Charlie pulls out his gun. Eastwood lifts up the rubber mask to reveal his face. “Hi, my name is Karel Naude. But you can call me Kees. Like the cat.” He sticks out his right hand towards Cameron.

Cameron responds in kind. “Keys?” The man underneath the mask has the face of a star, yet his status betray his striking features. Long brown curly hair, the kind the sixties took for granted. Big brown eyes, the kind that haunt lesser men and women’s dreams at night. A deep menacing, thought provoking smile, what does he see each time his lips pull apart like that? What fills this man’s violent heart with this much joy? “No, you drive.” Eastwood gets into the SUV.

“Cam?” asks Charlie concerned. Cam shrugs. “I guess he’s coming with us?” Cam gets in and they drive off.

The police cars zoom past them into the night, unaware of the danger lurking in the SUV they are leaving behind. Cam watches them closely as they drive away. His eyes drifting towards Eastwood as he wonders why he isn’t showing any fear. “Aren’t you scared of being caught?”

“Who’d turn me in? You?” Cam has to think on it for a second. He comes to a realization.

“No.”

“And you want to know why not? It’s cause I’m doing what you all only dream of.” Cam sits back, he knows this is true. He’d have killed every one of them by now if he had the balls to do so. But he doesn’t. So he’ll celebrate silently while Eastwood goes about his business. Like every other celebrity out there working the beat today. Eastwood switches on the television in the back seat. He starts flipping through the channels intently until he finds what he’s looking for. CNN. He sits there, listening as Anderson Cooper and friends discuss the recent paparazzi killings, as they discuss him. “Listen to this.”

This isn’t right, Anderson, and you know it!

I’m not arguing with you?

I have a question. How do we know that it is not Clint Eastwood doing these killings?

He’s clearly wearing a mask in the video, it’s a Halloween mask for God’s sake!

Please, Anderson. Let’s not rule it out. Would you deny the fact that Clint Eastwood is capable of these things? Of going out there and killing a bunch of innocent kids?

Some of these people are our age?

Are you saying Clint Eastwood couldn’t be capable of these atrocities?

No, I mean, he’s like eighty years old or something?

Anderson, he made it clear who he’s supporting in this election campaign didn’t he?

I believe he said he’s endorsing Donald Trump for president, yes.

Now you wanna come up in here, Anderson, and you wanna tell me - an intelligent full bodied woman, that Clint Eastwood could not be behind these killings?

Listen -

No. No! He’s voting for Trump!

Calm down -

No, don’t tell me to calm down. He’s out there, Anderson! He’s probably out there right now, this racist old man, stalking some poor defenseless kid just trying to make a living.

No, listen. This goddamned campaign has just about robbed myself and this once respected news agency of almost all of our credibility. When did journalism turn into this? Who the hell are we pandering to? This is supposed to be a democracy. We shouldn’t be for sale! This is not journalism!

You done?

I have a reputation, that’s practically ruined because of what we’ve done!

You supporting Trump now, are you?

What?!

You want to grab me in my vaginal area now, Anderson? Is that it?

Maybe we should go to a break?

You want to push me up against a wall and kiss me, Anderson?

What? No.

You want to force your mouth onto mine, Anderson?

No!

You want to steal a kiss, is that it? You sexist pig!

Go to a commercial!

You anti-Semite! You piece of shit! Look at you, with your grey hair and your immaculate face, you’re probably a white supremacist as well, aren’t you? You sexist! You pro-life son of a bitch!

This has gone too far!

I’m with her!

“This is insane.” Cameron can’t believe what he’s seeing. Eastwood’s mouth pulls apart once again as a grimace befalls his face. “If there is one bitch in this country that deserves a bullet right in her gut, it’s that one.”

“But she’s not?”

“Have we been watching the same program? Your main stream media is nothing more than professional paparazzi. It’s been like that for a long time. Spectacle, Sensationalism and Lies. Look at them. It’s a joke.” Eastwood turns back to the television somewhat lost in thought. “It makes me sick to think that my country isn’t far off.” His grin fades when that thought decides to linger. “Not good, huh?”

“Stop here.”

“What?”

“You’re gonna miss it. Stop the car.” Charlie looks back at Cameron. “Ye-Yeah, pull off here.”

He does. “What’s going on?”

“I’ll be right back.” Eastwood opens the door and gets out. “You want me to go, Cameron?”

“I can’t decide.”

“What is there to decide? This guy is a maniac.”

“Yeah, but for now, he’s our maniac.”

“What do you want to do?”

“This kid’s gonna turn our luck around, Charlie. He’s our ticket to ride.”

“You sure?”

“As pie.” Eastwood returns with a big green sports bag. He leads with it. “Move up.”

Cameron complies. “What’s in here?” Eastwood closes the door. “What do you think?”

“I don’t know. That’s why I’m asking?”

“Guns, pal.”

“Guns?!”

“Yeah.” Eastwood smiles slyly at Cameron. “You want to take a look?”

“That’s okay.”

“Go on. They won’t bite you.” Cameron gets uncomfortable. “I don’t particularly like, uhm, guns.”

“Why the hell not, they are powerless without a finger on their trigger, go on. Take one out.”

“I, I can’t. I lost someone, I mean I know someone who got shot and killed.”

“Who?”

“This kid I made a movie with. He, uh -”

“He what?” Cameron rubs his fingertips over the green canvas. “Got high and offed himself.”

“I see, and now guns scare you?”

“Not scare, I just don’t like them.” Eastwood grabs the bag, he zips it open. “Take a look.” He pushes it back out towards Cameron. Cameron tries not to, but he can’t help it. “The darkness is beckoning to you. Reach in and slide one into your hand.” Cameron looks uncertain but he does what Eastwood wants in anyway. Slowly his fingers disappear into the canvas dark. He exhales sharply as he reaches the shiny, black gunmetal. “You like that, don’t you?” It stings his fingertips. “Hmm.”

“Now, I want you to grab hold of it.” He exhales again.

“Now, I want you to pull it out. Come on. Show me what you’ve caught.” Cameron presses his eyes together. He pulls his arm up to reveal the black Tec 9. “That’s a bad one.” Eastwood is enjoying this too much. Cameron drops it back into the bag. “Don’t drop it now. Your grip needs to be firm. Pick it back up. Cameron does what he says. “Good. Now hold onto it with both hands. Good. Now open your eyes.” He does.

“It- It’s a machine gun?”

“Yep, just like the ones in San Andreas.”

“It’s so heavy.”

“No, it’s not. Your fear is heavier than this gun.” He starts getting used to it. “You see, it’s not that bad.”

“This ain’t right.”

“You damn right it ain’t. Do you like it?”

“Y-yeah.”

“You wanna know why you like it?”

“Yeah.”

“We crave power, like we crave sex. If you’re not too fucked up with materialism, that is. You’ll realize that all that glitters is cold. To know that is to know life itself.”

“I don’t get it?”

“Don’t worry, I don’t blame you. Just know a gun makes you a God. With that you can take a life. With that you can save it. It’s an extension of our will. It’s the choice which sets us apart from the animals. It’s the choice which makes us Godlike.” Cameron is suddenly excited with the possibilities. He’s laughing like a child. “Now you get it.” Eastwood just can’t help himself, he’s always had trouble hiding his intentions. Hiding his feelings. He grins. “I think I’m hard.”

“Well, that’s how our bodies work, Cameron.” Eastwood notices a woman walking by on the sidewalk. It’s a paparazzi. Purple hair, piercings everywhere. Perfect. “Cameron.”

“Yeah?”

“Reach into that green bag again and pull out a mask.”

“What?”

“Do it.” He does. He pulls out another rubber mask.

“Who is this supposed to be?” Without looking Eastwood answers. “It’s your way out.”

“Isn’t this Lee van Cleef?”

“It is. Put it on.” Eastwood slips back on his mask.

“What, why?”

“Come with me.” Eastwood opens the door. Instinctively Cameron follows. “Cameron?”

“Just wait here.” Charlie looks concerned.

“I’m not going anywhere.” Eastwood slams the door. He already has his gun out. He looks over to Cameron. “Slip on your mask and bring the Tec.”

“What are we doing?” He reaches in and grabs the machine gun.

“The mask. You don’t want someone to see your face do you?” Cameron finally complies. In a hurry as well. He closes his door. “Come with me.” He walks around as Eastwood heads after the girl. “What are you doing?”

“Taking you on your first hunt.”

“What?!” Eastwood motions to the paparazzi on the prowl for a victim. Eastwood looks around. It’s quiet. “You don’t mean to?”

“Take off your mask. And give me your gun.”

“I thought you said?”

“Do it.” He does. “Now call out to the girl.”

“Wait...”

“Do it.” Eastwood takes Cameron’s gun and moves in behind him. “Do it, now.”

Eastwood out of sight, Cameron calls out to the purple haired girl.

“Sorry, miss...”

“Louder.” Eastwood pushes Cameron forward. He follows close behind unseen. “Miss! Sorry, darling.” She stops. “Sorry. Aren’t you a paparazzi?” she speaks. “What did you say?”

“I asked if you were a paparazzi?” Eastwood knew this was going to happen. “Here it comes.”

She turns around. Finger waving in the air. “What did you say?!”

“Should I repeat myself?”

“Just hang in there, it’ll be over soon.”

“She looks angry.”

“Among other things.” She runs up to Cameron. “You are a paparazzi right?”

“You called me “miss”!”

“And “darling”?”

“Darling is not the problem, old white man. Miss is!”

“So I’m white? You’re white as well? We’re both white. I’m not that old. I’m younger than Robert Downey-”

“Shut the hell up!”

“Okay.”

“That’s right, I’m in control now, listen up, white privilege. I go by non-binary pronouns. Do you know what that means?”

“I’m thinking computers maybe?”

“No! Not computers! Not computers!”

“Calm down.” Cameron wants to reach out but she slaps his hand away. “No! Don’t you dare touch me! You don’t have my permission to do that!”

“You said quickly. Things are spiraling out of control.” Eastwood drags his fingers over his gun. He doesn’t respond. “You’re damn right it is! Now are you going to apologize or what?”

Cameron is taken aback. Never in his life. “Apologize? Little girl, do you even know who I am? I was in Goodfellas!”

“What? Little girl?”

“What?! You’re female aren’t you?”

“No! No! No! I don’t identify with gender!”

“What the fuck does that even mean?”

“It means I don’t identify with gender. You stupid or something?” Cameron is embarrassed for her. He really is. He shakes his head. “I’m sorry. Truly. I didn’t know you were mentally ill. If I had known I would never-”

“You arrogant fool! You’ve just assaulted me!”

“You mean I’ve hurt your feelings?”

“Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!” Her cat glasses are busy fogging up. She’s having flashbacks to a genocide she was never part off. She’s imagining what it must feel like being black. Black, gay, trans and in Texas - all at the same time. It’s all too much for her. “You okay, girl?” She yells out in frustration. “Non-binary, you asshole!”

“Wow she’s angry.” Eastwood is just about ready to come out of the shadows.

“Aren’t they all?”

“What would you prefer I call you then?”

“Something gender neutral?”

“Like “dude”?”

“No!”

“Like “dude”?”

“What?”

“Because dude isn’t what it used to be. You can call women that now and they won’t mind.”

“I prefer “mx”.”

“Mx?”

“Mux?” This is the cue Eastwood has been waiting for. He walks out from behind Cameron, gun raised. Right in her face. Her knees go weak when she sees that mask. “You know, in my language “muks” means mother. Something your kind seems to take for granted more than anything else.”

“Oh, God.”

“See, Cameron. What did I say?”

Cameron walks around. He stops behind her as her knees finally give in. Eastwood throws Cameron his mask. “You’d better put this on.” He catches it.

“Why?”

“This is your first time. If you don’t like it. You can remove yourself from the situation.”

Cameron hesitates for a moment. He realizes he’s not that strong yet. He slips his head into the mask. “I had trouble finding your motivation for these killings.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah. I mean, I knew why you’d want to kill them, I mean we all do. But I can’t tell why you hate them so much?” Eastwood looks away from the girl. He brings his head up to Cameron.

“You misunderstand. Hate? I don’t hate anybody.”

“Then why? It makes no sense?”

“I’m a positive guy. An Idealist. The most dedicated kind. But I’m also Afrikaans. There’s the contradiction. Traditionally we are a very angry people. Anger doesn’t work with Idealism. Not the way I’d like it to. There are some of us - like myself, who’s found various ways around this little hindrance. Exercises that help us reach a somewhat tranquil state. Sex, drugs, religion, ignorance, exercise. I myself prefer a much more physical approach. I get my kicks by killing scum. It’s the greatest high, and if savored, lasts much longer than any opiate. Much longer than any hallucinogen. Feed the ego. I need to be at peace if my Idealism is to grow into a tree. This is how I do it, baby.” Cameron is deep in thought. This sounds familiar to him. A bit fractured but familiar. “Mister, mister. Please. Please, don’t kill me.”

“Why not?” Her hands immediately fly towards his zipper. He shakes his head. “Please, mister. Let me-”

“No.”

“But-”

“This encounter won’t work like that.” She can feel the tears of helplessness bubbling up.

“But-” She tries again. He shakes his head. “Look at you. What happened to all that spunk and superiority? You want to tell me it was all an act?” She cries. “You’re more fucked up than I thought. I’d ask what you are hiding underneath all of this. But I don’t care. You know what’s funny about your type? You fight against genetics. Your false superiority is so laughable because you put on such an act. Always on the defensive, always such an act. The big bad white man hates us. He hates all women. You’re the victims, right? Not because it’s true, but like your black buddies, feel empowered in that position, right? Feel safe? You wear all this to hide your weakness don’t you? It makes you feel powerful? Like these masks are supposed to give us a false sense of power. But I’m white and I have a gun. So I don’t need this mask. But I wear it because you won’t understand my face. Your ignorance astounds me, woman. Here you are at the feet of The Patriarchy, attempting to suck its cock. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. You ever think there’s a reason for its existence? I mean you have to wonder right, why we’d still need it in 2016? Well the answer is simple. We’re still stronger than you. Still faster. We have more potential than you for growth. Less emotional and we don’t walk around with our cocks hanging out to prove a point. The Patriarchy exists - and unlike some men, I don’t deny it. The Patriarchy exists because the horrible truth of the matter is you ain’t shit. And your movement ain’t shit -”

“No!”

“What? How are you possibly going defend yourself after all that?”

“I’m not like that!”

“What?”

“I’m powerful!”

“What?”

“I have potential!”

“What?”

“I deserve your respect.”

“I see no reason to.”

“I deserve your respect!”

“You ain’t no Boudica Warrior Queen.”

“No!”

“You ain’t no Cleopatra.”

“No!”

“You ain’t no Athena.”

“No!”

“You ain’t even no Queen Victoria!”

“Please!”

“You’re just a little girl who’s acting out cause she doesn’t like the hand she’s dealt herself. You’re just pissed off, like so many of your kind cause you don’t know how to play this game. And you expect me to respect you? Based on what? Your victim mentality? Your predilection for safe spaces? Or your one true weakness? Words.” She’s had enough. She can’t hold her pain back any longer. And she lets loose. Cameron passes Eastwood on his way back to the car.

“I’ll wait.” Eastwood just continues. “You have one chance. One chance to live.”

“Please, I’ll do anything. Anything!”

“Anything?”

“Yes!”

“Tell me what makes you are more special than me?” She tries. “I am a strong independent woman in my sexual prime!”

“No! Try again, it’s the first thing I said to you when I laid my eyes upon you.” she reiterates. The shot lights up the neighborhood. Eastwood turns around and walks back to the SUV. Cameron is waiting for him. But the doors are locked. The window slides down. “What’s this?”

“This is me having to think about what I just saw.” Eastwood won’t argue.

“Thinking is good.” Eastwood lifts his mask.

“Yes. I’m going to an audition tomorrow. I want you to come.”

“Fine.”

“You are in the industry aren’t you?”

“I am.”

“Good. Here take my phone. I’ll call you tomorrow.” Cameron hands him his cell phone.

“A lot of names on here.”

“Won’t interest you.”

“Tomorrow then?”

“Wear a suit. You have one, don’t you?” Eastwood replies dryly after handing Cameron the Tec 9. “Cameron, I’m Afrikaans. We all have a suit.” Cameron laughs and they drive away.

The next morning Eastwood and Cameron enter Crumholdt Productions. They are on their way to reception.

“What are we auditioning for?” Eastwood fixes his shirt, Cameron notices him fiddling with the back of his shirt. “You aren’t carrying are you?” He’s got a suit like he said. A nice suit as well. Both of them looking pretty good. Cameron has a blue tie and Eastwood, of course, a red.

“Of course not, so what are we auditioning for?” Cameron lets it go. “It’s a new film by some indie director called Balthazar. No surname. I’m auditioning for the father and you are auditioning for the part of my son.”

“What’s it about?”

“Son takes estranged father on a cross country road trip, they start off apart, but end up together. It’s the feel good hipster comedy of the decade.”

“That sounds like the plot of a Seth Rogen movie.” They reach the elevator. Cameron presses the button. Fifth floor.

“I wouldn’t be surprised. Hollywood hasn’t done anything original since the 70′s. So, what’s your poison? You an actor like Alice Krige or a director like Neil Blomkamp?” The doors slide open, they walk in. Eastwood turns around, he answers. “Film is what I’m good at. Doesn’t mean it’s what I’d like to do.” The doors slide shut. The elevator begins to travel upward.

“Okay? Still doesn’t answer my question.” Cameron reaches into his pocket and takes out a packet of Camel Blue. He offers it to Eastwood, but Eastwood has no interest. “Suit yourself.” He punches one out onto his hand and puts it between his lips. “I’ve worked mostly in European countries on Video on Demand features.” Cameron puts the packet away and proceeds to light his cigarette. “Hmm. Anything I’d have seen?”

“I doubt it. VOD and DTV features doesn’t have the best of reputations in this country.”

“Try me.” Eastwood sighs hopelessly. “I’ve done a few features with Lorenzo Lamas called the Samurai Black Trilogy.”

“Hmm, Hmm, Lorenzo Lamas. Sounds familiar.”

“Did one with Lou Ferrigno called I Am Not The Hulk. It’s his JCVD.”

“Hmm, what else?”

“Did one with Michael Dudikoff called White Ninja. Did Undefeatable 2 as well.”

“I’m seeing a pattern here.”

“Tried doing a film with Steven Seagal but that asshole Keoni Waxman kept blocking my attempts to make contact with him. He apparently doesn’t want anyone else to work with him except for the great Keoni Waxman himself. And he’d go to great lengths to keep that status quo intact.” Eastwood drags.

“Anything mainstream?”

“I was once attached to direct the Akira adaptation.”

“The cartoon?”

“Don’t let them hear you say that. Yeah. But I got into trouble with the producers when I refused to have Rebecca Black do the theme song.”

“Who did you want?”

“Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross at first. They said they’d think about it. I said what about Duran Duran or Kim Wilde? Or Kate Bush. They lost their shit.”

“At which point did you lose yours?”

“When they asked who Martin Gore was.”

“Who’s that?” Cameron watches for a reaction. But he gets none.

“I’m a more forgiving person now than I was then.” The doors slide open on a very busy floor. They get out and a large group of people rush in. The doors slide shut behind them.

They begin to walk. “What else?”

“Pitched a comic book show to Netflix. Those are popular right now, right?”

“Yes, very. I’d love to land one of those.” And he ain’t lying either. “Which comic did you pitch?”

“X-Factor.” They enter an office.

“Never heard of it.”

“Like I said. Much more forgiving than before.”

“What happened?” They reach a double door and push it open. They walk on through into the reception area.

“They said that I should stop wasting their time and that Neo Noir isn’t a real genre. No one cares about mutants who own a detective agency. I’m not William Friedkin and this isn’t 1986.”

“Too bad.”

“For them.” The doors close behind them.

They move into the waiting area. It’s already packed with all kinds. Some looking for their big break, others for their comeback or even their next shot at fame. Eastwood stands out like a sore thumb. Between all of these beards and ‘David Beckham Haircuts’ he seems to stand no actual chance. Cameron on the other hand looks almost exactly like every other fifty-something currently mulling about in Hollywood. Eastwood finds an open spot next to some millennial looking twenty-something. He doesn’t notice this but this millennial looking twenty-something is actually someone who’s been in the business for quite some time. He acknowledges Eastwood. “Yo.”

“Hey.” Eastwood takes a seat while Cameron converses with the secretary signing them in.

Eastwood is a restless waiter. He leans over to the little table in the middle of the room. The potential intended sitting all around it in a rectangular circle. He grabs a magazine. People.

He shakes his head. He puts it back and parts the little magazine mountain ranges with his hands until his fingers find something interesting. It’s old. About twenty years or more. He pulls it out from underneath the mess he’s made. He takes a look at the cover. Marilyn Manson is on it. “What is this?” He flips it open on the index. “Let’s see what the universe wants from me.”

He closes his eyes. He picks up his left hand. He points downwards. Eastwood spins his finger over the page. He drops his finger but before he reaches the page he is stopped. The guy next to him has grabbed his finger and stopped it inches from the page. Eastwood’s eyes shoot open. The rich kid next to him speaks in a condescending tone. “Please don’t do that.” Confusion strikes Eastwood for a few seconds. “What does this mean?”

“Probably means you’re going to have to pay attention to me now, buddy.” Eastwood’s face drops back into a scary sort of calmness. He turns his head around to look at the man who’s decided to intervene in Eastwood’s prewritten scene. “Apparently so.”

“Hey, it could have been worse.” Eastwood decides against biting so the dark haired man awkwardly continues. “You could have been looking down on your cell phone.”

“I don’t have a cell phone.”

“How’s that possible?” He pulls an unseemly face. “I don’t parade my chains around in public.”

“What? What if someone needs you?”

“That’s not how my life works.”

“Come on now?” He spits out an unsure laugh.

“If I have a need for them, that need will arise in them.”

“What if there’s trouble?”

“Like what?”

“Family trouble?”

“I only experience fortune. That’s all I desire. And that is all I receive in that regard.”

“Are you insane or something, bro?”

“I’d like to think so, yeah.” Eastwood leaves him cold. Cold and silent.

“Well, this was a waste of my time. I wonder what could have attributed to it?”

Eastwood looks down on his forefinger and then back up at the guy holding onto it. He refuses to let go. Eastwood tries to pull loose but he’s giving just as must resistance. He finally shoots free with the momentum driving his finger downward onto the page. He is far off his original course. Corrected if you will. He looks down on the index number and the article. Page 22: 19 reasons why Satanic Bake Sales go well with Democratic Demagogues and Evil Empires: Inside the Inner Sanctum! See what really happens at a rich kid’s black mass.

Amazed Eastwood turns his head back to him. “22:19. That’s my lucky numbers! Thanks, dude!” He recoils his hand in disgust and fear. “Freak!”

“You know that verse, don’t you?”

“What?!”

“Never mind.” Eastwood smiles knowingly as he flips the pages to his article. Cameron comes waltzing in with a clipboard. He takes a seat next to Eastwood. “You seem relaxed.”

“It’s cause I got laid last night.” Eastwood grabs hold of the pages and proceeds to tear them out. “You shouldn’t joke about these things.”

“Yes I should.” Eastwood folds up the article and puts it away in his jacket pocket.

Cameron hands him the clipboard. “I almost put Eastwood on this.” Eastwood takes a look.

“It says Keys Eastwood?”

“So I did.” Eastwood fixes it as the guy next to him is called. He gets up and squeezes by. Cameron greets him with a nod then leans back, legs crossed just lounging. Cigarette smoke still rolling from his mouth. “Doesn’t me smoking bother these people? I’m half expecting someone to tell me the year?”

“I’m guessing the stress takes precedence over your c-stick.”

“I guess so.” Eastwood puts the clipboard down on the pile of scattered magazines in front of him. Cameron pulls hard and lets go. “You know the kid that just got up here?”

“Not personally no.”

“Started off in porn.”

“Nice.”

“Moved on to have a hit show on the Disney Channel or something.”

“Nic-na-nic-nic-na-nic-nic-nic.”

“Yeah. But this was before the Hannah Montana’s got their piece.”

“Todo para la familia.”

“Now look at him.”

“He’s a big boy now.”

“Looks that way, doesn’t it?”

They are both called in at the same time. They close the door behind them and lock it. It’s a big white room. In the middle of the room there’s a black table. At this black table there are four women and one man. All in very flamboyant dress. White feathers, silver vinyl, glitter and white leather. The stuff of nightmares. Everything seems so very disconnected.

Eastwood is the first to comment. “Did we just enter a Stanley Kubrick film or something?”

Cameron concurs “My God. This must be what it was like to be Andy Warhol?”

The casting director speaks. He’s the guy that looks like he just walked out of a cocaine cocktail from the 70′s. “You may approach me.” His cohort giggle as he signals them towards him with his smooth voice. They proceed forward. Eastwood is getting excited. “This is going to be interesting.” Swan motions them to stop. “That’s far enough.” Now only a few inches from the sleek black table. “State your names and the parts you wish to play.”

Cameron goes first. ” Cameron Parker and I’m auditioning for the part of Tony Franco.”

“Welcome Cameron Parker we look forward to your audition.” They all turn to Eastwood now. Eastwood scratches the back of his head and answers. “Karel Naude. But you can call me Kees. Like the cat.” They are a bit taken aback. Cameron is embarrassed. He whispers to him. “Why do you keep saying that?”

“Which part?”

“The last part about the cat?”

“Misinformation breeds curiosity?”

“You have done this before, right?” Cameron is busy losing it. He somehow thought this would be a good idea. “The roles are usually reversed.”

“You have acted before right?”

“I direct myself.”

“Oh my God.” Swan can’t take it anymore. “Gentlemen. Gentlemen, please.” They turn their attentions to Swan. “Let us not bicker. Please, master, Keys, was it?”

“No.”

“Tell us who you are auditioning for.” There’s a few seconds of awkward silence and then Eastwood finally speaks. “The son. Obviously.”

“Yes, but what is the character called?”

“I don’t know? I haven’t read the script?” This comes as a shock to everybody in the room. Except for Cameron of course, since he hasn’t read the script either. His agent did and gave him the gist of it though. Swan tries to calm everyone down. “Now. Now. That’s quite enough of that. It’s not that important really. I’ll tell you his name then. It’s Carl Franco.”

“Okay, thanks.”

“Now, master Keys, without having read the script, how will you audition it for us?”

“Don’t you have a page I could read from?”

“No, master Keys, we do not.”

“Well, then, we’ll just reenact something from a film we’ve both seen?” Swan agrees.

“Fine. It’s not ideal but it will have to do.”

“It’s relative.”

“Excuse me?”

“Never mind.” Swan chooses to ignore him. He shifts his attention to Cameron.

“Are you comfortable with this, master Parker?” Cameron shrugs

“Yes. Hopefully he’ll chooses a film I’ve been in.” He tries to lighten the mood with a joke. It’s not working. Cameron shifts his attention back to Eastwood. “You got something?”

“Yeah.”

“What?”

“The last fight in Bloodsport.” Eastwood gives way to more teeth.

“You love your action films don’t you?”

“I’m with Mel Gibson on that one.”

“Well, okay, then. I’ll be Frank Dux.”

“I think you should be-”

“Wait a minute you want me to be the Chinese guy?”

“You’re an actor, you should welcome that shit.” Cameron goes deep into thought. “You’re right. I do. Okay.” They move into positions. Swan wants to stop them, the thought of someone reenacting a scene from a Canon film in front of him brings up dire memories and emotions from when his aunt molested him by accident in New Hampshire as a teenager. They were on a family vacation. He was stepping out of the bathtub having just taken a shower. His aunt was drunk and incoming, she slipped as she came running and flew right into him. They fell back into the bathtub. As the embarrassment was too much, all little Swan wanted to do was get out of there, he started fighting her. Her head slipped down onto his lap and his general genital area slipped into her mouth. The more she tried to get up the more he pushed her head back down as he tried to get over her. Soon, he was hard and in shock and she wasn’t fighting it anymore. They broke the law on two counts that day. Never spoke of it again. Whatever happens on a family holiday in New Hampshire stays on a family holiday in New Hampshire, everybody knows that.

So they start without any intervention from Swan with Eastwood falling down to his knees and yelling out as if he was just blinded by Cameron. At first Cameron is stunned by his performance but then quickly jumps into character, but all he really does is pose and posture. It’s so loud that some of the hopefuls outside decide to hit the road. It escalates quickly when Cameron finally throws that famous punch and Eastwood reaches out and grabs it in mid air. Eastwood leans back but is immediately stopped by the sound of Swan’s fists hitting his table. They turn to look. He is crying. “Get out!” it turns south fast. “Get out you imbeciles!” Cameron looks down on Eastwood in disbelieve. Eastwood smirks. Cameron’s face drops. “This was a bad idea.”

“It’s relevant.”

“Just. Don’t, okay.”

“Wanna go?”

“I think that would be a good idea.” Swan has lost it completely, yelling and slamming his fists down on the table. “Get out!”

Cameron helps Eastwood up and they exit the room, closing the door behind them.

Outside the waiting area has been cleared, even Reception has put up a sign.

“What was that all about?”

“Swan is known to be a bit of a drama queen.”

“You don’t say.”

“Want to grab a bite?” Eastwood shrugs. “Why not?”

They continue through the doors they came through. They find the offices vacated as well. “Was this all because of us?” They hesitate for a moment, looking around the obviously quickly vacated room. “This is weird, Keys. Really weird.” Gunfire ring through the building. “What was that?!” Eastwood takes out his gun from the back of his pants as another shot rings off. He heads back through the doors. And another. “So you were carrying?” Cameron follows. And another. Eastwood is running at an alarming pace. And another. He breaks through the door that leads to the audition area first. Cameron reaches him but stops. “My God.” He grabs at his mouth in shock. They are all dead with Swan holding the smoking gun slumped over the pile of dead groupies. Eastwood tries to find reason. “What does this mean?” He walks toward them. “Keys, wait.” Cameron’s words mean nothing. “This has to mean something. Has to mean-” He reaches Swan’s body. Lying there lifeless in all his glittered glory. Eastwood notices something weird. He leans in. Swan seems to have written something in blood. The origin up for debate. “What is it?”

“It looks like he wrote something here.”

“He had a pen on him?” Cameron goes to Eastwood’s side.

“No.”

“Oh.”

“What does it say?”

“That looks like an M?”

“No, that’s an N. New Ham-”

“New Hampshire.”

“What’s that?”

“A State?”

“Of?”

“This country?”

“Oh, what does it mean?”

“Who knows? Should we care?”

“I haven’t decided yet.” They are interrupted by that same guy from earlier who grabbed Eastwood’s finger. He just took a picture of them with his iPhone. Cameron reacts. “What the hell?” There’s an awkward silence. Eastwood reacts. He points his gun at him. The guy panics and takes flight. Eastwood follows immediately. Cameron shakes his head “More running.”

He puts foot to floor.

Eastwood tries to think what might have brought this on, he tries to retrace his steps as he chases this former amateur porn star through the offices of Crumholdt Productions with his gun pointing the way. He has an idea, but he can’t be sure. His life suddenly got off at an intersection. A busy one. And the one universal truth he subscribes to dictates that there’s only one person to blame for this: Himself. The guy with the iPhone hits a wall. Eastwood stops.

“Look, look I’m sorry, okay. I won’t tell anybody about-” Eastwood corners him in a projection room. “About what?” The lights are on but it’s deserted. “About, you know. How you shot those people?”

“It was a murder-suicide.” Eastwood’s gun still following him around.

“But you’re still alive?”

“Exactly.”

“You can have my phone.” Eastwood ignores him and grabs hold of his head. “I can’t let this get to me.”

“What?”

“I was diverted to that page.”

“What?”

“If you hadn’t grabbed my finger, those people would still be alive!”

“What?”

“But that’s just it, isn’t it? There was no way that you would not have grabbed my finger. Even if my finger had reached the page, even if I had picked up another magazine. I’d still find my way to that article. The numbers alone tell me that. 22:19. 22:19. You know what that passage says?”

“No?”

“It says But you, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me.” Eastwood wants him to understand with every fiber of his being. But he just doesn’t. “Don’t you understand?”

“No, dude. I don’t.” Eastwood sighs. “That’s okay. This is what I wanted. This is how this game works. As above, so below, right?”

“Dude, please. Don’t kill me. Please.” Eastwood feels the laughter building from the pit of his stomach. “I can’t not kill you.”

“Why?!”

“Let’s call it a down payment for what’s to come.”

“What, what’s coming?”

“I guess that’s up to me, right?” Eastwood unloads his gun on the man who wasn’t much more than a nudge in time. Cameron, out of breath finally catches up to Eastwood. He leans in through the door. “Keys?!” Eastwood falls down to his knees. The smoking gun at his side like a teddy bear. Eastwood closes his eyes and brings darkness to the screening room. His eyelids pulling heavy on the light switches. He prays. “Where to next, God?” God replies the only way he knows how. In secret messages. The projector clicks on and it fills the room with light.

Eastwood just sitting there with his eyes closed, waiting on an answer. He obscures some of the image as the sound paints Eastwood a picture. Cameron looks up at the silk screen as images foreign to him jump from one animated frame to the next. The little girl that runs around in the mountains, like she would so many times on her stay there. The theme song starts and it’s in the language of Eastwood’s parents. The language he grew up in. The language that shaped him and made him who he is today. And it brings tears to his eyes. Eastwood whispers. “Dankie.”

He comes over as he loses control of himself. “Are you okay?”

“Yes!” Exclaims Eastwood joyfully with tears in his eyes. “I am.”

“What’s this?”

“Our childhood.”

“What’s it mean?”

“That we are going to New Hampshire.”

“Why?!”

“Because of what it leads to.”

“Oh yeah? What?”

“Our deepest desires.”

That night they are back on patrol. Cruising for something to hit. “What exactly are we looking for?” Cameron is driving. It’s been decided that Charlie doesn’t need to be anymore implicated than he has been. “I thought you read the article?”

“I tried. But it was way too trashy for my tastes.” Eastwood shakes his head in disapproval. “Fine, I’ll give you a crash course on what’s going to happen.”

“Good. I like crash courses.”

“Okay. Here it is. We’re looking for someone worthy. Someone who looks like they might have something to offer. Someone with potential.”

“Why?”

“Because they are worth more.”

“Makes sense. But I doubt you’ll find anyone like that here.”

“There’s bound to be a paparazzi here who’s got some aspirations beyond terrorizing celebrities for money.” And at that moment someone special does walk on by Cameron Parker’s brand new BMW. There’s a party up there. He’s late. Getting to the front now will be killer. He doesn’t look like he wants to be here. At the mere age of twenty, Jason Stevens is learning that sometimes you have to wade through mud to get to some diamonds. He’s blasting Metallica over his headphones. He’s not necessarily one of those kids. But he sure dresses like them.

“What about him?” Cameron nudges Eastwood to look. He does. “I wish someone would tell him My Chemical Romance doesn’t make music anymore.” Cameron slows down as Eastwood rolls down his window. He leans out. “Hey, kid.” He doesn’t respond, the music is too loud and he’s too angry. “Try again.”

“Hey, kid!” He stops. Frowns and then walks on. Cameron honks his horn. Jason stops and turns around. He looks confused. Cameron is just sitting there with his headlights on. “Want me to close in?”

“No. Let’s see what he does.” Jason seems curious but he decides against investigating. He turns around and walks away. “Smart kid. Go.” They drive up next to him. This time he looks interested. “Hey, kid.” They stop.

“Y-Yes?”

“You a paparazzi?”

“Yeah. It’s my first day.”

“Cool. Tell me. You have dreams right?”

“Yes I do. What’s this about?”

“You’ll find out soon enough. These dreams lie outside the realm of tabloid trash and bitch blogs, right?” Jason gets serious. “Yeah.”

“What is your name?”

“My name is Jason Stevens.”

“What is your goal Jason Stevens?” There’s a silence that befalls the neighborhood. It’s like everything falls away and only Jason and Eastwood is left standing. There’s a cold wind blowing. Jason speaks. He’s never told this to anyone before. But he’s going to tell it to Eastwood.

He parts his lips. “I’m going to be President of the United States of America.”

“I see. And how do you hope to achieve this?” This time Jason doesn’t hesitate. “By killing Barrack Obama.” That cold wind sweeps through again. Jason is looking for a response. He gets one as Eastwood reveals teeth. “Then we are cut from the same cloth. Get in.”

Jason steps forward, also in much better spirits than before. “Where are you going?”

“New Hampshire.”

“New Hampshire?! What’s there?”

“The kind of arcane knowledge that could put a hip into both our steps.” Jason takes a minute. “Wait, you guys want to help me?” Eastwood shakes his head. “No. We want to sacrifice you.”

“Sacrifice me? To who?”

“In simple terms. The Devil.”

“How can I kill Obama if I’m dead?”

“I never said I was gonna make your dreams come true.”

“But where you’re going, presumably.”

“You can. Yes.”

“Hey, you might change your mind?”

“Hey, the circumstances might change?”

“Open up.” Cameron does. He gets into the backseat. He shuts the door.

There’s a silence and then Cameron speaks. “You want to kill the president?”

Cameron looks in his rearview mirror. “I wanna have his job. But I don’t wanna be a puppet.”

“You know, I voted for Obama.”

“We all make mistakes, bro.”

“Why would you want to kill a sweet guy like that?”

“Why wouldn’t I?”

“Anyway. I’m starting to reevaluate my dreams.” Josh notices something familiar about Cameron as he examines him in the rearview mirror. “What? Why?” Asks Eastwood surprised.

“You two have these impossible desires, and here I am just looking for another Academy Award. Maybe another Scorsese film? A reboot? Hell I’d even take a role in a Zack Snyder movie!”

“You are him!” Exclaims Josh. They quickly turn around. He continues. His mood completely altered into something positive now. “You’re Tanner Bogaard!” Cameron smiles.“Yes, I am.”

Josh loses it completely. “I fuckin’ love you, man!”

“And I love you, Kit Kat.”

“Oh, shit! He just called me Kit Kat! He just called me Kit Kat!” Cameron turns to Eastwood.

“Are you not impressed?”

“Not really. I’ve always been an Aliens guy myself.”

“Oh, what do you know.” Jason jumps to Eastwood’s defense.

“Hey, Aliens was a good movie. Let’s not kid around. But Shodan City. My God. Shodan City!”

“Was just Aliens on earth mixed with Blade Runner?” Cameron and Jason concurs.

“Was just Aliens on earth mixed with Blade Runner!”

“Okay, okay. I’ll give it this. It probably does have the greatest soundtrack of the 80′s. When was it ’87?”

“16 December 1987!”

“That’s right, Jason. 16 December 1987. Came out right after Music for the Masses.”

“What’s that?”

“An album by Depeche Mode.”

“What?”

“Martin Gore. His band did the music for your film.”

“The guy from before?”

“Exactly.”

“Hey! I kinda see it now.”

“I know my stuff.”

“What?” Asks Jason intrigued. “Akira. I was attached to direct it at one point. Got kicked off because I wouldn’t play house with them.”

“Wait a minute. You’re that guy.”

“What guy?”

“That guy who did those awesome Netflix movies.”

“Which ones?”

“Uhm, Samurai Black, White Ninja. Church Girls Are Easy is like my favorite fuckin’ slasher film of all time. Although, that name doesn’t make much sense.”

“Why not?”

“It has nothing to do with religion at all.”

“I’m glad you like my work, Jason.”

“Hell yeah I like it.” Cameron leans over to Eastwood. “You know we can’t kill him now right?”

“I’m aware of that, Cameron.”

“So, guys, how is this all going to work?”

“Well, I’m going to ask Cameron here a series of questions. Well, one or two, and based on his answers we’ll know how to proceed.”

“Oh, okay. But just so you guys know, I’m an Atheist.”

“You’re not a Vegan as well, right?”

“I tried it, but no.” Cameron turns around.

“Why would you even tell us that?”

“Why wouldn’t I? It’s important.”

“For who?”

“You guys want to sacrifice me to the devil. I’m just letting you know I don’t believe in that stuff.”

“Son, you have a lot to learn.”

“Don’t tell me you guys are like-”

“Like what, kid?” Cameron has lit another cigarette. He puffs as he asks his question.

“Like, heavy Christian or something?” Cameron laughs. “Well I was raised Catholic, but I converted to Judaism for my second or third wife. They wanted to circumcise me so I converted back to Catholicism. Then in 2002 when Scientology started to become popular I denounced Catholicism in the hope that this science cult or whatever it is would get me roles.

But then I realized that I had a better job of finding work sucking cock. Which is no lie, you come out of the closet one day the next you’re nominated for seven or eight Academy Awards. That or becoming part of some child sex ring. You’d be shocked to find out how many of your heroes in film are actually professional pedophiles. I don’t fuck children so I became Catholic again. Besides, Scientology is weird. They wanted me to divorce my fourth wife and marry some twenty year old girl who likes to clean a lot. Seriously, it’s like some sort of weird Cool-Aid cult. She had this vague, far off look in her eyes. Scared the hell out of me.” Josh looks over to Eastwood.

“Don’t tell me you’re on that Jesus Juice?”

“Me? No. Well. What I’m sipping on is not for sale in a Seven Eleven, I can tell you that much.”

“So, you are religious then?”

“No.”

“What then?”

“I’m an Idealist. That’s my way of life.”

“What?” Cameron tries to help out. “It’s like Hinduism but with a lot of self righteousness and monologuing with a gun in his hand.”

“I don’t understand?” Eastwood continues. “Life is a game, Jason, and I have all of the cheat codes.”

“IDKFA?” Eastwood is surprised. A guy his age to reference that? And it’s Eastwood’s favorite videogame as well? “You are dangerous. Aren’t you?” Jason smiles. “Yes I am.”

“Okay, so. Question time.”

“Hit me.”

“Cameron, in the fifteen minutes you were actually famous.”

“Low, Keys. Very low.”

“Did anybody ever approach you with something weird?”

“I did a lot of cocaine back then, you have to be specific.” Jason has a question. “What’s weird about cocaine?”

“If it ain’t white. It ain’t right.”

“Oh.” Eastwood continues. “No, I mean, in relation to the article?”

“Oh, you mean the Freemasonry stuff?”

“Yep.” Cameron tries to think. “Well, there was this one time in ’92. I was at this party with Cindy Crawford or someone -” Eastwood interjects. “Cindy Crawford or someone?”

“What? I was a big star? What did you expect? My wife?”

“Who was?”

“I think I was married to Siobhan Fahey?”

“The girl from Bananarama?!”

“Yeah and Shakespeare’s Sister?” Jason looks confused. “I don’t know any of these women.”

“You can’t be perfect, kid.”

“You keep calling me kid. Aren’t you like twenty seven or something?”

“Yeah? And?”

“That’s like seven years?”

“So? In my country you’d be calling me sir?”

“I’m not calling you sir, dude.”

“You don’t have to, kid.”

“Will you stop?!”

“Yeah. So you were married to this world famous pop star yet you decide against taking her to this party?”

“Yeah, but it was a short marriage and as far as I can remember not a very happy one.”

“Was it you or her?”

“Well, the coke didn’t help, but mostly, okay, look, she’s supposed to be English, right? I mean we speak the same language?”

“Supposedly.”

“I couldn’t understand a word she said. We got divorced cause she said I had no feelings for her and I never listened to her, and, Jesus, that cost me a lot of money.”

“Moving on.”

“Okay, so, there we were in-between all of these rich people, half of which I didn’t even know. Actors, Directors, Producers, Musicians, The freakin’ Rolling Stones, guys. Super Models, Business Men and a bunch of really old people. It was packed. The first thing I do, this is before I got clean of course, I’d ditch my date, get a drink and go look for something to snort. It was mostly coke but sometimes you’d find something a little more dangerous. There was a way of asking for something this illicit. I mean, you don’t just walk up to Keith Richards and ask him for some blow. You talk around it. Pussyfoot a bit, you know? So you dance on over - and this is what I always did, to a super model. They were bound to have some coke. I mean coke is used for more than just getting high, you know? So you inconspicuously dance on over while Deee-Lite is grooving over the stereo system. Drink in hand, you go up close. If she starts dancing with you - and make sure it’s a she, never go for a guy otherwise you’ll have to awkwardly explain that while you support gay rights you unfortunately won’t be able to tenderize his rim for that line of premium he just let you do off the back of his hand. So if she joins you in dance, the chances of her sharing is about 90%, sometimes they just like to dance. I’d drop her right there if that was the case. So you’re dancing, and things are getting sexual. I’m not saying Patrick Swayze, but it does get hot. You bend down and then you whisper in her ear. Hey, baby. Can Christmas come early this year? Sometimes they know what you’re talking about. Sometimes they take you into the powder room and suck your cock. Sometimes they reply that they’re Jewish. So you try making something up with Hanukkah, but it’s never as effective. Besides, Jewish girls don’t do coke for some reason. I can’t tell you how many freakin’ times I’ve had to decline a joint. Seriously. That’s what you get for referencing Hanukkah. So this time I do all that, she’s grinding up against me, a real piece of work this girl let me tell you - red dress, high heels, black lipstick, red hair. A real knockout. And I whisper in her ear. Baby, it’s cold outside. And nothing. I try the Christmas line and nothing. Now, this is weird cause this chick was so high she had blood on the top of her lip, eyes like this. So I try again, getting real frustrated by this point. I lean in again and I go: George Michael says hello. Obviously referencing that Wham song. So I look up and you won’t fuckin' believe it. It’s George Michael. And he goes. You know where I can find some blow, mate? And I’m completely taken aback. So this fuckin' girl leans forward and grabs hold of his bejeweled hand and starts pulling him into the powder room. Thanks, mate! Is what he said. So all pissed off I return to Cindy. She’s busy with Bronson Pinchot, that guy from the Beverly Hill’s Cop movies and Perfect Strangers. Guy was always a hit with the ladies. I didn’t like him. She ignores me cause she saw me dancing with that cock teaser from earlier so I down my drink and grab another one. I walk away. Pissed off I start dancing on my own. I don’t exactly know what was playing but I was tearing up the dance floor. I was a bit of an asshole back then. Not long and I get approached by this kid. I look down and it’s Judd Nelson, that guy from the Breakfast Club. Yes, that guy. He’s like Hey, man. Liz Taylor wants a word with you. I stop and look up. It’s her, Gene Wilder, Alice Cooper and Liza Minnelli of all people. I go, Cleopatra wants to speak to me? Stars in my eyes and in disbelieve I point to myself as Judd answers, Yeah, man. Be cool. So I follow him into the area of the room where Old and New Hollywood got together. This is what parties were like back then. You had the 40′s, 50′s and 60′s in one corner then you had the 70′s in the other. Old and New Hollywood, almost impossible to imagine this today. But there was a time where some of these people were revered almost like Gods? Like Elvis Presley. But with something more. I can’t explain it really. There’s no one I can compare them to. Not today in anyway. So there I was in front of Cleopatra of all people. The others had left when I arrived. So we were alone together.

She spoke first. Do you know why I have called you over here, young man? I shook my head.

It’s because you interest me. So regal. Have you seen my films then? I ask, probably out of turn. But that was what the 80′s did to people. It made us disrespectful. This time she shook her head. She had this faint smile on her face, the way she looked at me, thinking back now, it makes me a bit uncomfortable. She spoke again. I want you to meet me upstairs in five minutes. I gulped. Old Hollywood wanted to fuck me. Bring something up to drink with you. I’m thirsty. And I don’t like it. She leaned forward. I thought we were going to kiss. But she whispered something sinister in my ear instead. Something I’ve never repeated. But I’ll repeat it tonight. Soft as silk, hot as fire her words tore through me like angels tear through hell. God is watching. She whispered. She left me ice cold as she shuffled off in that black dress that was probably worth more than my life. I was stunned for a few minutes before I actually realized what had just happened. Cindy came waltzing up to me. She wanted to know if I was okay. I told her that I wouldn’t be needing her services any longer and then she slapped me. I shook it off, stole a bottle of Chardonnay, not even knowing what that was. Took two glasses and headed upstairs after her. I reach the second floor of this glorious looking mansion. It’s all red, everywhere. Red Carpet, red lining the walls. Brown doors leading to bedrooms. At the end of the hall there was a room. Guarded by two men in designer suits with sunglasses. I remember they had earpieces on. Both of them had guns. That must be hers, I thought. And went on up to it. They didn’t even look at me. I told them that Liz wanted me in there. So they stepped aside. I knocked. No answer. I then put my hand on the giant golden knob and proceeded to push the door open. Inside I found a bedroom. But this bedroom already had occupants. Five old men in suits. Liz was there as well. Sitting on the end of this heavenly bed that looked about two hundred years older than her. More red. Her eyes flirting with me, beckoning me towards her. What is going on? I thought. That question would soon be answered by one of the old men in the room. Well, at that time he wasn’t that old, he only looked old. Anthony Hopkins, the guy who played Hannibal Lector asked me to shut the door in a very polite English accent. So I did. I asked him what was going on. So he told me. Apparently all of these men had paid Elizabeth Taylor a healthy sum to see her take part in a sex act. These men, politicians, business men, corporation owners and diplomats had contacted him to make this happen. So he organized it. I asked what my part was in all of this. He said that they had seen Shodan City and had become obsessed with it and my character, Tanner Bogaard. And not in a typical fanboy way either it seemed. They had found some kind of spiritual relevance in my film and that the film itself had already become somewhat of a cult hit among very wealthy traders that would screen it for each other every so often. I couldn’t believe my ears. Cults had apparently sprung up around it as well and I had become some sort of messiah figure, well my character had. So, I asked him what he wanted me to do and he motioned to Liz. She started crawling towards the top of the bed. There she’d look at me once more with these hungry eyes. She’d lie back, spread her legs and slowly started pulling her dress upward, revealing every bit she wanted me to see. The men had taken their seats. A Japanese fellow began applauding when he saw me. I couldn’t understand what was going on at the time. I was too young. About Keys’ age. Anthony told me what to do. I would like you to undress yourself. I didn’t want to. He said I had no choice. That these men had information about me. They knew my family, my friends. They could turn my life upside down if they wanted to. So I complied and got naked. I mean seriously? What was I gonna do? Anthony asked me to put down the glasses on the dresser. And so I did. He asked me to take the Chardonnay with me as I walked towards the bed. I turned around to see what these men were looking at. They were looking at me. Elated. Like children. I was so confused. Liz had started to touch herself. Anthony told me to proceed. He went and took a seat next to the other men. I was a bit hesitant at first but I soon got on top of her. My naked body spread over that expensive dress of hers. We were staring at each other. I looked into her eyes, and asked her if she was high. She said no. I asked her if this was really okay? She whispered come here, and I did. I went in close. Our noses touching. And she spoke. Do this, and you shall live forever. See things other people never see. Hear things they can only dream off. Know things that are deemed untrue. Look upon God and see that mirror reflecting only you. Anthony called to me again. He called me Tanner at their request. I looked back after a few moments of looking for reason in her eyes. He said Tanner, be a dear and empty some of that Red on her. I look back. She wanted it. I popped it and I could feel her whole body vibrate underneath me. The men were applauding again. I put the cork down next to us. I picked the bottle up. She parted her lips. Begging me. I could hear her breath. I tipped the bottle. And she drank until she was satisfied, she stopped swallowing and the Chardonnay began to dam up in her mouth until it leaked over onto her cheeks. Staining her nose, her chin, her neck and her hair. Such an unforgettable image. I still dream about it to this day. She closed her mouth and I stopped. She smiled. Her eyes so thankful. Anthony called again. Tanner, I’d like you now to feed her other mouth. I thought about it for awhile and then decided to move downward. I could feel her squirm and heard her sigh underneath me. She spread her legs further apart. I reached her. I looked at her like no other man has before. I thought. I touched her. She squirmed. I tasted her. She tasted like nothing I’ve ever had in my mouth. Like no pussy I’ve ever smelled either. It wasn’t unpleasant. Just strange. I tipped the bottle and the red ran over. She started to scream. I could hear Anthony urge me to drink from her. And so I did. Licking it all up as it tumbled down onto her open soft. Like breast milk. It fed me. And it turned me wild. Soon I was on top of her. And I was inside of her. And yes, she was inside of me as well. At the end I had done what had been asked of me. She was out cold by the climax. I got off. And they were dead silent. Some white in the face even. Drenched in sweat. Anthony called me aside as I proceeded to put back on my clothes. He told me that they were thankful. That they were apparently somehow different after witnessing that. And that they’d like to reward me somehow. I said I’d like them to shower me in gold. Anthony shook his head. He said that they believed that material things were for the weak. The masses. The few were satisfied otherwise. So I asked what they had in mind? He answered with a number. A number that he forced me to memorize. A number which I still know to this day.” Eastwood was able to keep up with most of that. Josh on the other hand “What the fuck, dude. Was that word dump necessary right now? Couldn’t you have shortened that shit?”

“What? You were bored? You could have interrupted me at any point?”

“We thought we’d give you the respect to finish your story we just didn’t know it was going to be your life story.”

Cameron turns to Eastwood. “Was it really that bad?”

“No. But I have an attention span.” Josh continues. “Also, I just Googled your Liz Taylor, bra. Guess how old she was in 1992?”

“Like forty five?”

“Forty five?! She was sixty years old! You ate out a grandmother’s pussy! You got fucked by someone’s grandmother, dude!”

“It’s Liz Taylor. I’m not embarrassed by it.” Eastwood sympathizes. “And neither should you be.”

Eastwood asks his second and final question. “Could you recite that number for Josh so he can Google it please?”

“I can.”

“Wait. Just opening it up.”

“Ready?”

“Shoot.”

“Well, it was 5413967500.” Eastwood looks in the rearview. “You got that?”

“Yeah, it’s searching.”

“What did you find?”

“It looks like a cell phone number?”

“How could that be?” Asks Cameron confused. “It’s not. It’s a landline.”

“How could you possibly know that?”

“Wild guess. Josh, who’s number is it?” Josh frowns. “A courthouse or something in a place called -” He bursts out laughing. “COOS COUNTY!”

“Why is that funny?” asks Eastwood quickly. Cameron leans back. He looks at Eastwood and says. “Coos is pussy, Keys. Coos is pussy.” Eastwood turns around. “Where is Coos County located, Josh?”

“I’m looking. I’m looking.” Cameron smiles. “You already know the answer don’t you?”

“It’s on the Canadian border.” Cameron shows teeth. “Ah.”

“It’s in-” Eastwood finishes the sentence. “New Hampshire.”

“Yeah? How did you know?”

“Like I said, Josh. Cheat Codes.”


What are we doing here?

Don’t you already know the answer?

I knew the answer before I even asked the question.

So what’s the problem?

Be careful what you wish for. You just might- Cameron nudges Eastwood awake.


“Hey, buddy. We’re here. We’re here wake up.” Eastwood opens his eyes.

“Already?”

“Yeah.” Eastwood sits up he looks around. “We’re on the border?”

“Yes. Here, I got us some KFC whilst you were sleeping.” Another constant in Eastwood’s life. At least the chicken tastes the same. Cameron holds out the bucket. Eastwood chooses a drumstick. He shoves it into his mouth. “You like that?”

“Hmmm.” Eastwood turns around. “Where’s Josh?”

“He’s outside. Speaking on the phone.” Eastwood leans down. They are in a strip mall’s parking lot. The sky is grey. Josh is out there. He sounds upset. “What happened?”

“He was watching the Alex Jones Show again.”

“Who’s that?”

“A very popular conspiracy theorist on YouTube. He has this radio show and quasi news thing going for him.”

“Conspiracy Theorist? Like The X-Files?”

“Exactly like that. Only he’s loud and he’s from Texas. Gotten a lot of attention during the Election because of his vocal support for Trump.”

“I see. What upset him?”

“Obama just declared war on the Russians. Putin apparently shot down some American planes or something.”

“That’s bad.”

“Yes. Very.” Josh ends the call. There’s tears in his eyes. He walks around to Eastwood’s side. He bends down and knocks on the window. Eastwood rolls it down. “What’s wrong?”

“It’s Obama, dude. He’s fucked us all.”

“What do you mean?”

“The New World Order wants us dead, dude. They want to wipe out a large part of the population with nukes, so we won’t care anymore.”

“Calm down.”

“No, dude. We have to turn back. I have to do something.”

“Don’t say that.”

“I have to kill him, dude. Him and Gepetto.”

“Gepetto?”

“The puppet masters, dude. The ones in the shadows controlling everything.” Eastwood turns to Cameron. “Is he talking about the Illuminati or something?”

“Yeah.” He turns back to Josh. “Listen, Josh. Just because things look dire doesn’t make it so. You want to change the world, don’t you?”

“Yeah.”

“With all your being?”

“Hmm.”

“Then you will. Listen to me. If you believe it hard enough, it will come true.”

“Even this?”

“Focus on the positive. How would you change America?”

“I’d give people hope again. I’d destroy this Evil Empire and make it anew. Lead America into its golden age.”

“Good. Focus on that. Focus on the outcome. Not the actions. It’s hard, ask me. I struggle with it, but it’s gotten better. Focus on America. See your vision realized. The rest will come on its own. You get in on the ground floor, you fall asleep and you wake up on the top floor. It’s that easy.”

“You really think so?”

“I live my life by it. Get in, dry your tears. Eat some chicken. When we’re done we’ll go confront our destinies.”

“Okay. Okay.” Jason gets up and back into the car. Cameron hands him the bucket. He takes out a piece and eats it. Eastwood gets quiet. He thinks. “Jason.”

“Yeah?”

“There’s a green sports bag behind Cameron’s seat.” Jason looks.

“Hmm?”

“Pick it up and put it on the seat next to you.” Josh wipes his hands and does as Eastwood asks.

“What’s in this?”

“Unzip it and find out.” Josh leaves the chicken in his mouth. He unzips the bag. He pulls it open. His eyes grow wide. “What’s this?!”

“There’s three masks in there.”

“And an arsenal!”

“Two of them already have owners.” Josh takes them out. “Wait a minute.”

“That’s right. The Clint Eastwood mask is mine.”

“Oh my God. You’re the guy going around killing paparazzi!”

“The Lee van Cleef mask belongs to Cameron.” Josh picks up the Clint Eastwood mask. “I can’t believe it.” Eastwood continues. “The Eli Wallach mask is yours.” Josh looks at the other two masks. “I don’t know these other two?”

“Just close your eyes and let your finger choose for you.”

“What?”

“Trust me.”

“Okay.” Josh closes his eyes. He picks up his finger and begins spinning it around in the air. He drops it on the Eliah Wallach mask. He opens his eyes. He picks it up. “This one?”

Eastwood doesn’t confirm but Cameron does. In the rearview. “Yup.”

“Now reach back into that green bag and pull yourself out a gun.”

“Really?!”

“Yeah. Whatever you pull out is yours.”

“Can I use both hands?”

“Whatever you feel like.”

“I’ll do it like this again.” Josh closes his eyes and proceeds into the darkness. He pulls out two yellow Desert Eagles. “Heavy!” He opens his eyes. “Oh my God!”

“You know for an Atheist-”

“Desert Eagles, dude!”

“You ever fire a weapon before?”

“Yeah. My cousin tried to rape me so I took my father’s rifle and stuck it up his ass.”

“Jeez, must have done wonders for family relations.”

“Yeah, Christmas was never the same after that. He held me down while our parents were out. He was twenty four and I was fourteen. Pulled my shorts down while Transformers was on. Stuck his finger up my ass a few times. Grabbed at my cock. Finally loosened his grip, broke free. Ran away crying. Came back, he was sitting there on the carpet where we used to wrestle, smelling his fingers and jerking off. I hit him against the head with the rifle. He fell over, bleeding heavily. I pulled down his skinny jeans and then his yellow Hello Kitty panties he had just pissed in. Slumped over I put my barefoot against one ass cheek, spread it open and with tears in my eyes I pushed my dad’s iron up against his asshole. Called him a faggot and pulled the trigger. Our parents found me on that same rug, sitting next to his dead body, his stomach all over the floor, playing DBZ on my PS3. If it wasn’t for the nanny cam I’d probably be more fucked up right now than I already am. So yeah, I have.”

Cameron lights a cigarette. “He got what was coming to him.”

Eastwood stares out the window. “Yeah, he did.” There’s a cold insincerity to his words.

“Well, this is it.” They are all standing in front of the court house. It’s midday and it’s rainy.

The place is pretty busy. They are working a few cases it seems.

They are all packing. Their masks hanging from their sides. Guns hidden underneath their shirts.

“So, what now? Do we go in?” Eastwood looks up to the sky. “I’ll handle it.

Eastwood closes his eyes. He flips open tomorrows diary. “What’s he doing?”

“I don’t quite know. This is only the second time I’ve seen him doing this, Jason.”

“Looks weird.”

“It probably is.” Eastwood starts reading the first page. Raindrops suddenly appear, and then it starts to rain lightly. He reads on. She appears on the court’s steps just as the storm clouds break open. He reads on. The street is cleared of people. “Where the hell did all this rain come from?” Jason wants to duck for cover. Cameron is just protecting his salon quality hair. The figure on the steps closes in. Eastwood doesn’t turn his face away. He lets the rain wash all of his negative thoughts away. The pounding helps him pull the heavens down to his feet. He reads on, it rains harder, She walks right up to Eastwood. He brings his head down and opens his eyes. Her nose almost touching his own. It’s that cocaine girl from Cameron’s story. Older, but still as explosive looking as he described her. Even dressed just like she was in his recounting. Cameron notices her. “Hey!” Makeup smudged, she speaks. “Coos hasn’t been this wet in a long time.”

“Is that so?”

“Hmm. You’re flooding it.”

“I have my moments.”

“It looks that way, follow me.” She grins and proceeds back in the direction of the courthouse. Eastwood follows. Josh motions to Cameron and they follow along as well. They enter the courthouse and Coos experiences its biggest storm in a hundred years.

Inside, people who sought refuge in the courthouse from the storm is making such a commotion that they don’t even notice them walking past. Not even the security who’s busy themselves trying to get two woman from not pulling out each other’s hair. The redhead leads them past so many doors before they finally reach a wall at the end of a very long corridor. It would be naked if not for a sculpture of a raging Medusa head mounted on it. It’s quite striking actually. “Look guys, it’s Uma Thurman.” Jason obviously thinks it’s funny to reference a film like that, but the rest of them react with disapproval. Cameron shakes his head. “I know you mean well, but there is a cutoff date when referencing movies.”

“What? When?”

“Blade 2.” Everyone seems to agree with Eastwood except for Jason. “You guys are tripping.”

The redhead responds. “Not yet, kid. Not yet.” She places her left hand on Medusa’s head.

“Is this supposed to be a scarecrow or an omen?” She smiles at Eastwood as she pushes the head to the right. “Both.” Medusa groans and the wall slides to the left. It reveals a red velvet curtain. She speaks. “Pass those only that are worthy. Pass only if you understand that what has passed has passed. And those who are worthy are content with not chasing yesterday. Those who are worthy looks to tomorrow with bright eyes. With the sun on their backs.” She leaves them confused. “So, can we go in or what?” She nods. “You may. But you’ll have to put on those masks.”

They all find it to be a fair request and they comply. “Now you may pass.” She steps aside and they all pass through the curtain. “Guess they were all worthy?” She follows on through and the wall slides shut again, leaving the Medusa head in the positon they found it.

Inside she leads them down an old flight of stairs. All lit by candlelight dancing in the walls. “You know. This is actually the one Hillary belongs to.” Jason sharing some of those conspiracy theories with the rest of the group. “Hillary Duff is in the Illuminati?!” The redhead stops suddenly. Eastwood steps back. “She must be a Hillary Duff fan?” She’s not happy with something. “Firstly. Your assumption that Hillary Clinton is part of this chapter is false. She isn’t even a member of the order.” Cameron isn’t very impressed with the fact that she’s this well spoken. “I prefer you on cocaine.”

“That makes two of us. Secondly. There is no such thing as the Illuminati, okay. They don’t exist anymore, there are offshoots, sure. You’d probably find Hillary’s name on one of their mailing lists. Not since 1962 when their members were finally discovered having infiltrated various different societies since the mid 19th century. Each society dealt with this problem in their own way. We skinned our problems alive and then fed them to our saber-toothed tigers.”

“Say that last part again, please.”

“The part about the tigers?”

“Yeah?”

“That’s right, Eastwood. We have those here. Among other things.” She continues down. Not long and Jason is at it again. “You think they have dinosaurs here?” Silence. She answers. “Not at this chapter, no.”

Downstairs the talk of oddities becomes physical. “Bro, what the hell is that?”

“That, Jason, looks like a spaceship.”

“Yeah, that’s what I thought.” There’s two large wooden doors upfront. “No flash photography please. ” She playfully commands as they reach these doors. Jason puts away his iPhone.

“The moment you cross this threshold your lives as you thought you knew it will change course and correct itself based on your inner and utmost desires. A fair warning though, if it’s good it’s going to be wonderful if it’s not, well, it’s your life. So be sure you enter here with a clear conscious, any chains will just become heavier once you step through here. Do you understand?” They all nod. “You have a clear vision of what you’d like your life to be like?” They nod. “Good. Now comes the fun part.” She holds out her hand. It’s a Vape pen. They all look down on it. “What’s this?”

“It’s a hipster's best friend.”

“We know that, but what do you want us to do with it?” Eastwood already knows the answer but he wants her to say it.

“I want you to smoke it of course.”

“What’s in it?”

“What do you think?” Eastwood thinks for a bit. He starts shaking his head. “What’s wrong?” asks Cameron concerned. “I can’t. I -”

“You have reservations?” Eastwood answers her.

“I do.”

“I understand your fears. But you must overcome them if you wish to advance through this door.” Eastwood’s eyes reach the pen. “I’m not ready to know.”

“They are ready to know you.” Eastwood looks up. “They’ve been ready for a long time, Kees.”

Jason is brave. He walks forward. “Don’t worry. I’ll do it.” He grabs the pen out of her open hand. Her eyes unmoving. She keeps staring at Eastwood. Eastwood looks away, he wants to see what happens to Jason. Jason puffs. “Come on, it’s not that bad.” He coughs. Jason hands it to Cameron. “I guess I have no choice this time, do I?” She answers him. “And I’m not even Jewish to boot.” Cameron pulls. He coughs. “This doesn’t taste like no weed I’ve ever had.”

“Neither did her pussy.” She’s smiling. Eastwood swallows. She continues, “Your turn, lover.”

Cameron hands Eastwood the pen. “I asked for this.”

“Yes, you did.” Eastwood puts the Vape pen into his mouth. He pulls hard. An then blows out the smoke. “How long?”

“It should kick in any moment now.” She steps aside. The doors open and they head through.

She follows and the doors close.

Inside they find a large cave. In the middle of the cave there is a circle of fire and in the middle for some there is someone, and for others, they aren’t even in the cave. Josh is the first to start freaking out. “Ah! Help me guys! Help me I’m falling! Help me!” The redhead walks over to comfort him.“Don’t worry, I’m here.” She puts her hand on the back of his head. They stop. She holds it there. “I’m here.” Her eyes unmoving from Eastwood. Cameron is experiencing something different. “What a beautiful forest. Oh my God. What is that?! That thing is definitely not human. Are you guys not seeing this?” Cameron stays behind, playing with the mandrake people. Eastwood walks towards the lady sitting in the fire. He walks up to her and then stops. About a meter away from the ring. She’s not paying attention to him. She is naked. The only thing that’s been covered on her body is her eyes, covered by the bluest silk you’ve ever seen. The fire dances on and off of it. Her giant black Mohawk springing ever so slightly up and down with every slight movement of her head. She’s listening to music. Music only she can hear.

The softest, whitest skin sitting there just listening. Eastwood wonders what she’s listening to. He’s always loved music more than he’s loved most people. He doesn’t have a bible or a scripture, he has music. His Psalm is an album from the 80′s. She finally looks up. Revealing her black lips. She’s still tapping her head. Eastwood replies by trying to imitate her, maybe the music will come to him this way? She parts her lips, and he can’t help but do the same. As soon as her cheeks reach her eyes the start button is hit for Eastwood as well. Eastwood closes his eyes as he tries to compensate for this sensation. He’s gone deaf to the outside world, every other sense numb, and all he experiences is this song. His lips move now as well, as he starts mouthing the lyrics.

“Punctured bicycle, On a hillside desolate, Will nature make a man of me yet? When in this charming car, This charming man. When the leather runs smooth. On the passenger’s seat?

I would go out tonight, But I haven’t got a stitch to wear. This man said “it’s gruesome

That someone so handsome should care” Ah ! A jumped-up pantry boy

Who never knew his place, He said “return the ring” He knows so much about these things

He knows so much about these things.” They are dancing together now, only separated by the fire, their bodies moving in motion, there’s a sweetness to it, something beautiful. Dancing with a Goddess, such as this. A mere mortal should see this side of an unforgiving all seer? And yet there is no pretention, no arrogance or ego, just two bodies moving to an unrelentingly beautiful, almost sad beat. The redhead has never seen something like this, and she most likely never will either. That she would at this age, so far into her life, should witness something so strange and meaningful. That she should bare witness. To be in this man’s presense. The boy who dances with Gods.

This would continue deep into the night. Not having spoken one word, Eastwood somehow knew exactly what needed to be done. To communicate in a language long forgotten by modern man. Antediluvian in nature. To speak without speaking, to converse without uttering one word. To use thoughts instead of sound, to be loud and soft at the same time. She told him using no words at all, that he didn’t need her power to accomplish that which he seeks so dearly. That his power alone would give him what he desires, and, her influence would be nothing more than the cherry on top of the cake. He had to come to grips with himself before he could take what he wanted. To exasperate the process won’t bring him any closer to it. Choice. To choose. To be able to decide to wake up. To wake up and do what your heart craves. No matter how violent, to better the lives of the ones you love. That is something Eastwood has struggled with up until now.

To be comfortable with these thoughts. This power he seems to have. As a young boy he would blame himself for so much that would go wrong. Because he would think it and then it would happen. Even to this day he’s afraid of having a nightmare. Nightmares are the worst prophecies and he’d rather do without. Like thoughts, dreams do become true for Eastwood. He used to think that he could see the future, his future. He knows now that he’s just reading pages from his own diary from days still to come. He’s written it in thought, his body just needs to catch up with it. That’s why nightmares scare him so much. Because it’s so real. And it’s never something small, it’s always cataclysmic. These days especially. Visions of a future on fire. In that way he’s just like Jason. It feels like he’s being pushed to make an early choice. To stop something terrible from happening. And the more nights he spends dreaming the more the choice he has to make is fleeing. “What are you going to do now?” They are all outside again, it’s still raining but not as hard as before. Sitting on the steps outside the courthouse they watch people running by looking for shelter. The redhead is sitting next to Jason on one side and Eastwood on the other. Cameron is sitting on his own. Smoking a cigarette, lying back, staring up at the sky. Eastwood answers her reluctantly .“I’m going to help them.”

“What about your dreams?”

“I’ll go home after that and deal with them.”

“Will you be able to say no?”

“That even I don’t know.”

“How many does she want?”

“One Thousand.”

“That’s a tall number.”

“Yes, it is.”

“You have any ideas?”

“Well. Jason gave me an idea earlier.”

“Oh, yeah?”

“Let me ask you something about your elections.”

“Okay.” She strokes Jason’s back. He’s still tripping hard.

“During an election period, if your current president declares war or vice versa, does it nullify the election or does it just go ahead as planned?”

“They don’t want Obama anymore. That’s been made abundantly clear by the way they’ve pushed Hillary. If he declares war, it’s because he wants to stay.”

“Will he?”

“Did Kennedy? Did Lincoln? If they want you gone, they won’t hesitate, Hillary will be our new overlord. It’s been in her cards since the mid 60′s. If they screw her now, she’s going to do something drastic.”

“So, what you’re saying is, the inauguration will still take place?”

“That’s exactly what I’m saying. If there’s a war, she’ll be giving the orders. Why?”

“There’s going to be a lot of celebrities there.”

“Yep.”

“A lot of paparazzi.”

“It’ll rain for centuries.”

“Yeah. It will. Good fortune for all who pray.”

“And when the time comes to reap your rewards?”

“I’ll stay outside the room.”

“And if she calls you?”

“I’ll come.”

“If she asks you why?”

“I’ll answer.”

“By the way, my name is Carla. What’s yours?”

“Kees, like the cat.” Eastwood turns his head to the grey heavy skies. He closes his weary eyes.

Jacobus Gideon Louis Nieuwoudt 2016

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