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It's Just A Game Mods ([personal profile] itsjustthemads) wrote in [community profile] itsjustagamerp2013-04-28 09:50 pm

Experiment #41 - Atlanta Nights - Chapter 12

Atlanta Nights - Chapter 12
By Travis Tea

[Sam walks into the theater and glances around, looking unimpressed, per usual.]
Sam: I suppose it was just too much to hope that I wouldn’t have to come back here again...

Namine: Well, Joel is on his way, so this might be the last time?
Harvey: It better be. I don’t know if I can last another chapter of this...
Namine: Is this the only one they’ve made you read?
Harvey: Kid, the last time I read this, it lit a pony on fire.
Sam: And having to come back at all is one time too many!

Bruce Lucent limped out onto the patio in the hot light of the late afternoon sun, carrying a tray where a mound of freshly chopped up hamburger gleamed red and wet like a pile of bloody spaghetti,

Harvey: Bon appetit.
Sam: Aren’t those typically found in haunted houses for children or something?
Namine: I don’t know; I didn’t know haunted houses were for children.
Sam: Fake ones are, anyway.

and put the tray down on the gleaming glass patio table with its matching set of six wrought-up iron chairs, where Penelope Urbain sat with her long legs as graceful as the fronds of a willow tree crossed in a provocative pose that made him think about last night and the passion they’d shared hour after hour till the turgid light of dawn folded down over Atlanta like the petals of a bloody rose and they were both too exhausted to move another muscle.

Sam: You can’t just try to stick five sentences into one!
Harvey: *holds head in hands* I can’t believe Iron took my scotch...
Namine: I have some popcorn. *offers*
Harvey: *accepts disconsolately*

Maybe, he’d thought as they sank into sleep like two swimmers who’d just won a race across the English Channel, just maybe things were going to work out after all. Maybe they could get it together at last. Seeing her now, as beautiful and fresh as a sunny morning in May, even though it was August, his heart skipped a bat.

Namine: Was it counting them?
Harvey: One, two, THREE bats! A ha ha ha!

“Hey, babe,” Bruce offered. “Wanna grill some hamburgers?”

Sam: This story better not be full of awful pick-up lines. Those are not decent!

The happy expression fell off of Penelope Urbain’s finely featured visage.

Sam: It must not have been fastened on well.
Namine: Maybe they can get the doctor to fix that.
Harvey: I’d call in Pinkie.

She pressed her slender hand to her moist red lips and shook her lustrous red hair back over her shoulders, bouncing like the vibrant mane of a thoroughbred horse.

“Is that . . . meat?” she gasped, her eyes, the color of a warm blue sky in springtime, falling onto the tray. “Red . . . meat?”

Namine: No, it’s pink.
Sam: Clearly it was red spaghetti.

“Yeah, babes,” Bruce affirmed proudly. “Bona fide 100% sirloin.”

Penelope fluttered, her corn flower blue eyes still stuck to the tray. “It’s really grizzly.”

Harvey: I always prefer my meat panda.
Sam: They shouldn’t be consuming any endangered species!
Namine: Those poor bears...

“Honey, don’t you like hamburgers?” Bruce wanted to know, crestfallen. “That beef is chalked

Namine: Because they used chalk to write the word protein on it.

full of protein!” Bruce grinned contagiously. “And we could both use some protein, after last night! If you know what I mean!”

Sam: Do not explain it further, thank you!

“But . . . don’t you remember, Bruce?” Penelope reproached, her sapphire orbs now grasping his. “I’m a vegetarian!”

Sam: Please explain to me how orbs can grasp one another.

Bruce’s lungs ricocheted with shock, causing him to let out a gasp, and remorse swept over him in a stunning tide. Darn, he exclaimed to himself. How could I forget that?

“Wow, babe,” Bruce stumbled, “I’m . . . I’m really sorry. I...I guesses should have picked up a carrot or something while I was at the store.”

Harvey: ...what, you don’t got anythin’ in the house that ain’t meat?
Namine: He’s really a tiger in human form. He has to eat meat.
Harvey:’s got tiger blood?
Sam: Shouldn’t he be alone in a lifeboat, then?
Namine: The author couldn’t find one to use in the story--that other author was already using it.

“It’s . . . it’s OK, honey,” Penelope tried to smile forgivingly, but he could see the betrayal in her limpid azure eyes exactly like she’d said it out loud. “I’m . . . I’m not really all that hungry. I’ll just watch while you and Isadore eat. He . . . he is coming, isn’t he?”

Sam: I hope he isn’t planning to bring extra ellipses, seeing as they already have plenty.

“He’s Enright right now.”

Harvey: That ain’t much better than Isadore, but hell - I can go with it.
Namine: He’s going to be Marcus tomorrow.

“Good. I...I was hoping he would,” she commented softly.

Sam: Maybe he will be considerate enough to remember some carrots.

Bruce Lucent put the tray down on the table. He began to shape the hamburger patties, shaping the meat into round, circular shapes with his strong hands. Usually he caressed the hamburger like a lover, loving the way the soft red meat squished yieldingly between his hands and the sensuous sucking sounds it made when he pulled his hands away

Harvey: ..I ain’t sure this is appropriate for the kid.
Namine: I was going to say, I don’t think I should be reading this...
Sam: *Reaches over and covers her eyes*
Harvey: *covers her ears*
Namine: Thank you.

once he got the round shapes just the way he wanted them, not too thick and not too thin, not too wide and not too small, but just right, like the Three Bears, except it was hamburger and not porridge.

Sam: I was about to make that comparison, and then the story went and made it for me. I’m so disappointed.

He was an artist with hamburger, everyone said so.

Sam: Warhol, maybe.
Namine: I never tried making things with hamburger...
Harvey: ‘Least he’s better with meat than words?

But today it wasn’t good like usual. The way Penelope’s exquisite features had fallen when her eyes swooped down onto the meat had taken roots inside his brain like the tentacles of a poisonous black spider.

Harvey: Those damned tentacled spiders! I blame Australia.
Namine: They do have a lot of odd animals.

I let her down again, he berated himself savagely. I betrayed her. Again.

Sam: Maybe if he actually cared, he could go and find something for her rather than just standing there making his hamburger masterpieces.
Namine: But that would make sense.
Harvey: Everybody betray her! She fed up wif dis wurld!

Why didn’t I remember that she’s a vegetarian? he ruminated to himself worriedly. This must be the fourth time I’ve forgotten. Or is it the fifth? But I’m forgetting a lot of things, his thoughts veered off on a tangent. So many things I can’t remember since my accident. Like . . . like making hamburgers with my mother.

Namine:...That’s...kind of a mood shift.

He remembered a lot about his mother. Too much, in fact. The alcohol binges. The beatings.

Sam: ...Uuuuuuggh. *he buries his face in his wings*
Harvey: *grips the armrests, visibly fuming*

The way she’d sit in front of the TV smoking crack and watching infomercial.

Sam: Just the one, I suppose.
Harvey: Head-on: Apply directly to the forehead!
Namine: Or maybe the one for Oxi-Clean.

The time the cops had to come to the house because she’d set the dog on fire. He’d loved that dog--Fluffy, his name had been, and there were times when he’d been sure that he was his only friend.

Harvey: This. Book. Is. Evil.
Sam: I agree. Now you see why I did not want to be here?
Namine: *kind of wibbly* That poor dog. I hope he got better.
Harvey: *gestures to Sam and takes up his position covering her ears again*
Sam: *does the same with her eyes*
Namine: Thank you again.

The time she went into his closet and cut up all his clothes. The time she stole the money he’d saved up from his crappy evening job at the roller rink and spent it all on nail extensions.

Sam: Those must have been the longest nail extensions in history.
Harvey: When she wasn’t drinkin’, she liked to cosplay as Freddy Krueger.

The way her fat legs bulged inside her spandex stirrup pants, so different from Penelope’s slender frond like limbs.

Sam: With fronds like these, who needs anemones?
Harvey: Well, y’know what they say - frondship is magic.

The way she’d cut him down all the time, laughing at him, telling him he’d never amount to anything, never get anywhere in the world.Well, ma, you aren’t laughing now, he asserted to himself. I’m not a pimply wimp anymore.

Sam: Or a wimply... *he pauses* ...I’m not finishing that.

I’m a stud, a rich businessman, with a fabulous house and a voluminous redheaded girlfriend and lots of friends. How does ya like them hamburgers?

Sam: And memory problems, apparently.

He’d always wanted to shout those words into her fat face, her ugly fat hateful face with its garish caked on makeup and glittery paste on eyelashes. But she died before any of the good stuff happened and he’d never gotten to yell it into her fat face like he wanted. She’d choked to death on a cocktail frank while watching infomercial. He’d found her there the next morning, stiff as beef jerky.

Harvey: Then he went and sued Billy Mays.
Sam: .....Uuuuuuggggh. *facewing once again*

I remember all that, his thoughts continued, squashing the red meat between his fingers

like he was squashing his mother’s throat.

Sam: Stop that imagery this instant!

I remember it like it was yesterday. But not the

hamburgers. I...don’t . . . remember . . . the hamburgers? Why? Why?

“Sweetie, are you . . . , IS your OK?”

Namine: Is your what okay?
Harvey: I don’t even wanna know.
Sam: The answer, of course, is no. No matter what it is.

came Penelope Urbain’s soft voice, sliding into his tortured thoughts like a cool shaft of evening rain into the fiery heart of hell.

Harvey: ...wouldn’t that just make a ton of steam?
Namine: I think so.

“You look like you’re trying to crush it or something!” she exclaimed worriedly.

Sam: That actually is part of what’s required with meat patties...

Bruce Lucent gusted a sigh that siphoned up from the bottom of his heart and hoisted his thoughts up out of the black stinking mineshaft of memory.

Harvey: I ain’t sure his thoughts ever leave.
Namine: Maybe not. But memories don’t make mineshafts, they make links in a chain.
Sam: No, they make my head hurt.

Mom was dead. She’d never
laugh at him again.

Harvey: Instead, we’re gonna do it.

That part of his life was over. He didn’t have to think about her now.
Who cared if he couldn’t remember the hamburgers? He’d learned how to make them
himself. Yeah, ma! He affirmed. A contemptuous smile squirming across his well shaped
lips. I learned it all myself!

Sam: *deadpan* What a difficult skill. We are so impressed with you.

“Howdy folks!” resounded a cheery voice from inside the house. “We grilling yet?” Isadore Trent came striding out onto the patio, his washboard abs tight as a drum

Namine: That sounds like it would hurt.
Sam: Someone should remind him to breathe.
Harvey: ...naaaaaaah.

underneath his skintight white tee shirt. His red hair in its ponytail hung down his strong muscular back like the vibrant mane of a thoroughbred hose.

Harvey: You already used that metaphor!
Sam: I’m pretty sure last time it was an actual animal.

“Isadore!” cried Penelope, her soft tones vibrating joyfully.
“Is . . . ,, is it you?”

Sam: Or just an ellipses of my imagination?

“One in the same!” Isadore cried.

Harvey: I am thou, thou art I?
Namine: I am not what I am?
Harvey: I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together?

“It’s . . . it’s so good to see you!”

“Great to see you too, Pen!” Isadore exclaimed, turning to Bruce. “Say, Bruce, great patties!”

Bruce Lucent’s head gave a stiff nod. He didn’t like the way Penelope had said hello to Isadore. Why was she so glad to see him?

Harvey: She probably thinks he brought her some goddamn food.
Namine: Food that she can eat.

She hardly knew him. Or at least . . . he thought she hardly knew him.

“Guess I’ll get these on the grill,” he informed. The two of them didn’t seem to notice. He picked up the tray and walked over to the grill. Opening the grill, he put the tray down on the table beside it and put the patties on the grill.

Sam: It’s starting to not look like a word anymore...

They hissed and spattered from the grill

Namine: They’re angry about being cooked.

while behind his back Isadore and Penelope were talking about vegetables.

Sam: Funny, where I am from vegetables are perfectly capable of holding their own conversations.

“What’s your favorite, Pen?” Isadore wanted to know.

“Oh, I . . . I don’t know,” Penelope responded breathily. “I...I think maybe lettuce. Or a broccoli. I...I like them to be green.”

Harvey: ...what exactly do you eat?
Namine: I don’t think we want to know.

Bruce flipped the spluttering patties on the grill with an expert flick of his strong wrist. Inside his chest, his hart seemed to splutter too.

Sam: And yet even more terrible mental imagery. Thank you, story.

Why were they talking about vegetables? he wondered darkly. Well, Penelope was a vegetarian . . . but he'd never known that Isadore cared about things like that.

Harvey: Geez, this guy’s a jealous a - *glances sidelong at Namine* - jerk.
Namine: I guess so. Isadore’s just trying to be nice...

“I’m an artichoke man myself,” Isadore declared. “Give me a good artichoke anytime. You know . . . ” his confident voice kicked down a notch. “It's the way you have to peel them. One leaf . . . after another . . . and by the time you get down to the heart, the soft warm luscious gleaming heart, you’re . . . ready. Really . . . ready.”

Harvey: *horrified*
Namine: He’s really a Heartless?
Harvey: Yeah, let’s go with that.
Sam: *decides to go with covering Namine’s eyes again*

“Isadore!” Penelope fluttered with her soft voice. “I...I didn’t know you were so poetic.”

Sam: About artichokes? I beg to differ.

“There’s lots of things you don’t know about me, Pen,” Isadore asserted confidently. “Lots of things.”

This is wrong, but Bruce's thoughts told him. It was all going wrong. And he didn’t know why.

Harvey: Well, just from here, it’s probably because he actually pays attention to her interests, while you forgot she can’t eat meat. Again.
Sam: There’s also your long internal diatribe on your mother, lest we forget that.
Namine: It seemed long--I didn’t get to read it.
Harvey: Trust me, kid, you didn’t want to.

Bruce Lucent piled the now-over-cooked patties back onto the tray and carried them over to the patio table where Isadore and Penelope were now laughing hardily at something Isadore had said.

Sam: Perhaps something entertaining involving cabbage.
Namine: Or Brussel sprouts.

He banged the tray down on the table, the glass making a ringing sound that echoed the ringing that was sounding in his ears. A ringing of fury. A ringing of despair.

Harvey: I think that’s just your phone.

He was losing her, but he knew it.

Namine: Well, yes, he does. Otherwise he wouldn’t be saying so, would he?

Last night had been an illusion. Some briefs spurt of happiness that was all. It hadn’t meant anything--not to her. It was all going wrong.

“There,” he growled, his tone of voice betraying his deep seeded anger. “The burgers are cooked.”

Sam: Thank you, Captain Obvious.
Namine: I thought he was General Missing the Point.
Harvey: Pretty sure he’s Colonel Moron.

Penelope drew back from his rough behavior, her lovely face shaping itself into puzzled lines. “Honey,” she ventured, “you . . . you sound so angry.”

“I’m not angry!” Bruce denied.

Sam: And he’s not shouting, either!
Harvey: You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.
Namine: Or any other time, either.

Pulling out his wrought iron patio chair with a clatter, he hurled himself down onto it, his actions contra punting his words.

Namine: *headtilts* What was the author trying to say there?
Sam: Awful things.

He shoved the tray toward them. “Go on. Eat them.”

Isadore surged to his feet, his rock-hard muscles rippling and his red tail bouncing.

Harvey: ...wait, is this guy a furry now?
Sam: Considering the other two are horses, are we really that surprised?
Namine: Not really.

“I don’t think Pen wants to,” he barked.

“Oh no?” Bruce shot back. “And how would you know?”

“Because,” Isadore tilted forward, his eyes clutching Bruce’s like pincers, his tone low and menacing. “I know she’s a vegetarian. Which you, my friends, seem to have forgotten.”

Namine: That’s...the second time he’s forgotten? Or maybe the third?
Sam: It’s as if Dory the fish were a creepy, badly-raised, meat-eating man.

Penelope let out a soft gasp. Bruce sat like a statue turned to stone feeling despair engulf him like a black blanket of horror dragging itself over all his senses.

Sam: Soap operas would consider this contrived.
Namine: Really? I never got to watch them.
Harvey: They’re a hell of a lot better than this crap.
Sam: And you shouldn’t watch them anyway. Go read a good book instead. ...Not this, obviously.
Namine: Okay. Maybe I can ask one of the others for ideas...
Sam: Well I can name off some for you right now! There’s Huckleberry Finn, The Red Badge of Courage, Moby Dick, The Last of the Mohicans, The House of Seven Gables, Little Women, The Scarlet Letter, Tom Sawyer...
Namine: Little Women sounds good...Why is the letter scarlet?
Sam: *reconsiders* Well...perhaps not that one. But you should definitely be reading some classic American literature!
Harvey: Yeah, that definitely sounds great! *leans over and whispers* I’ll get ya some real books, kid. Somethin’ they don’t make ya read in school.
Namine: *nods, whispers back* Can we get some with lots of girl main characters?
Harvey: Sure thing.

Isadore is right, he acknowledged to himself in heart rendering misery.

Harvey: Rendered in HD! Great! Now we can see every pixel of his sufferin’.
Namine: At least it’s not 3D.

I did forget. It’s all my fault. “Ready to go, Pen?” Isadore demanded masterfully.

“I...I guess so,” she hesitated.

Harvey: So they sat there waitin’ for the burgers to cook that whole time when they knew she wasn’t gonna eat ‘em? Why did we even have this chapter?
Namine: To give us background on Bruce?

Isadore gave Penelope his arm, his rock-hard biceps bulging under the sleeve of his white tee shirt like potatoes in a flour sack.

Namine: Wait, they’re made of rock? I thought they were animals.
Harvey: Maybe they’re Pokemon.
Sam: Potato sacks do not make for convincing muscles.

Hesitatingly she took it. Together they strode out of the patio and vanished into the night,

Harvey: ...just how long was he cookin’ those?
Namine: Too long.

leaving Bruce sitting forlornly at the table staring at the hamburger patties on their tray, smoking like the charred ashes of his dreams, while inside his head he was listening to his mother’s laughter.

Harvey: Two, three, FOUR charred dreams! A ha ha ha!
Namine: I think I liked counting bats better.
Sam: I’ve never felt so much pain as the result of so little happening!
Namine: At least it’s over now? *gets up to go*
Sam: Never soon enough.
Harvey: I just wish we had an actual copy of this thing so we could burn it. I hear that’s satisfyin’.
Sam: While normally I would be opposed to the very idea of burning literature...I rather doubt this even counts as ‘literature.’
Namine: I think most of what we read here doesn’t count...