Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Around the time the North Carolinians stole the honor of "First in Flight" from the Ohioans by stamping it indelibly on their mint and license plates, a young man from the city of Wright sat in his supercharged car. It didn't look fast, but it was—that was the whole point—for it was a getaway car.

The young man's hands were sweating. It wasn't that he hadn't done this before; something else was causing the autonomic response. If one had access to his thoughts at the time they'd go a bit like this: "It's not that. It's just nerves. It's just adrenaline. It's definitely NOT that!" Unfortunately for the young man, it was that, and he realized he couldn't lie to himself about it any longer. What he didn't realize was how pathetic his planned remedy for that was.

He reached into his glove compartment and got the small plastic bottle lying on its side that occupied the aforementioned space. It had the telltale label of having come from a pharmacy. The sweating young man sitting outside the branch office of a major chain bank had the condition known as RLS, or restless leg syndrome.

How many pills he consumed in the few minutes he sat waiting is unknown but the shivering and twitching legs relaxed, and the burning cramps subsided for the time being. He sat and waited.

Why, he wondered, was his partner-in-crime taking so long? This was Dayton, after all, and bank robberies certainly weren't a novelty to the metropolis. Everyone knew their part by now, didn't they? A man with a gun and possibly a mask would walk in, wave the gun, demand money, and everyone else would lie down, go running, or faint. What was taking so long? He turned off the idling motor.

The driver took to reading the up-till-then neglected list of side-effects which kept the bottle company. The list included: Light-headedness (especially when quickly standing up); fainting; drowsiness; auditory, visual, and/or tactile hallucinations; weight gain; its opposite, weight loss; nausea; trouble sleeping; unusual body movements, such as twitching; and general weakness. An ancillary list was found below the dominant one. It warned of compulsive gambling, hypersexuality, and overeating. With nothing left to do but wait the young man began to worry about some of these side-effects hampering his ability to drive.

He had been taking this medication for quite some time, he told himself, and hadn't experienced any of the adverse effects. Not only that, he continued to tell himself, but many of the side-effects seemed counteractive to one another. How could someone be both drowsy and have trouble sleeping or be nauseous and overeat? What's more, how could twitching be a side-effect for a drug that was designed to keep twitching and restless legs at bay? The young man dismissed the fears before being overwhelmed by drowsiness. He kipped, a relaxing breeze blowing in the open, driver-side window, cooling the drool dribbling down his cheek onto his shoulder…

"Go! Go! Go! Go!" The car door slammed shut and woke the napping man. His accomplice had four bags with him, presumably full of money. The gun was still in his hand and the ski mask was turned up, exposing his wide-eyed face.

"Huh?" The getaway driver rubbed his face. "I jus' had thuh weirdest dr~"

"What da fuck d' I care 'bout dat!? Get da fuck outta here!"

The driver's instincts took over. He cranked the ignition and the engine came to life. He threw it into gear and stomped the gas.

1st gear—The tires screamed, throwing dust into the air and leaving a patch the police would later use as evidence. The tires bit and the car jolted as the whole body leaned to one side. The tachometer shot up and the massive engine began begging for mercy, producing a loud, unpleasant throaty sound. He shoved down the clutch but his foot twitched and slipped off as he jammed the shift lever into second. A loud crunch was emitted from the car and the vibrations ran up the driver's arm while the car lurched forward from the lack of acceleration. He disengaged the clutch and slammed it back into second but his foot slipped again.

2nd gear—The tires screamed again and the ass came out as he was making a left on yellow, cutting in front of the oncoming traffic. Smoke began rolling off the tires. The steering wheel felt limp in his hands and he loosened his grip to let the front tires find their path. The rear tires, warming up, bit a second time and the rpms dove down as a mean growl came from the front of the car. The light poles on the side of the road passed with increasing speed and second ran out in a smooth fashion, the car going straight ahead since the turn.

3rd gear—There were no sounds from the tires this time but the ass sagged down and the front of the car tried to stand up, obstructing the horizon. The torque could still be felt twisting the car but it held true. By the time third ran out they were going over a hundred.

4th gear—A low rumble steadily came from the front of the car now. The climb in pitch was much slower than with the previous gears and loose parts of the interior and dashboard began to shudder from the frequency. The driver tapped the brakes three times hard.

2nd gear—The rpms flew back up and the tires let out a steady whine over the long, smooth right-hander. The driver looked in the rear-view mirror while shifting into third.

3rd gear—"Jesus Christ man! Cawm da fuck down!" The passenger was gripping onto what he could. The driver shifted into fifth, the engine rested, and they merged onto the highway.

5th gear—As the car slowed down to blend in with traffic dialogue ensued…

"Awwww sheeit! Man, we's in da loot!" The passenger was holding up one of the bags. "I bet we got's more 'an las' time!"

"How much?"

"Sheeit, I don' know, maybe fifdy thousan'."

"No, no, no. I mean, how much ya wanna bet?"


"How much d' ya wanna bet? We got a lot las' time. I reckon there's 'bout thirty-fi' sittin' in dem bags."

"Dat's still a lot!"

"So, how much ya wanna bet?"

"Man, I don't give no shit 'bout no bettin'! We's splittin', fifdy-fifdy." The passenger was starting to get aggravated.

"Aww, come on. You ain't a pussy, are ya?"

"Man, you best shut da fuck up before I change my mind and make dis here ALL mine."

"Pussy!" The driver said the first syllable low and then quickly rose in pitch for the second syllable, letting it ring out before spitting out a chain of them, "Pussy, pussy, pussy, pussy." He added, "And get yer damned hand off my leg, that shit ain't cool."

"Fool, I ain't got no hand on your fuckin' leg. You smokin' crack? Sheeit." The passenger let out a chuckle, hoping the awkward situation had abated and all this silly talk about betting would cease. He began to look through the bags for any dye packs, though had any been mixed in with the money they'd surely have gone off by now. He simply hadn't had time to look while his getaway driver was driving in a more erratic fashion than usual; he just wanted something to do so his buddy wouldn't talk to him for the time being. He thought about saying something to the driver about his awkward behavior but decided against it.

The driver began to run through the list of side-effects in his head and got worried. He shut up and kept his eyes fixed straight ahead, afraid even to give a furtive glance askance. His hands renewed their efforts at wetting his palms and he clenched the steering wheel. He began to hear the jingle of an ice-cream truck coming from behind. His stomach growled and all he could think about was food. The advertisement billboards that littered the sides of the highway stood above everything else. There were requests for the passing, potential customers to try a variety of services from matchmaking to legal council. All was advertised: gasoline, diesel, doctors' offices, fast food, dieting, local news channels and their Doppler capabilities, banking institutions, mortgage companies, cash advance lending agencies, bankruptcy and credit card debt assistance, educational facilities, churches and character readings, a whole slew of do-it-yourself stores, do-it-yourself self-help TV shows, suicide prevention hotlines, plastic surgery, demolition and construction. What grabbed the attention of the driver most were the food ads—each a seductive siren song urging him to take any exit that promised salvation from the void in his stomach making itself presently felt. The passenger was more interested in the police cars gaining on them and the money at his feet.

"Step on it, man! 5-0! 5-0!"

The driver peeked in the rearview mirror. He saw no police, only an armada of ice-cream trucks quickly gaining on him. Police or not, he wasn't keen on the idea of succumbing to the fleet tailing them and he downshifted and floored the throttle.

3rd gear—The engine gave an aggressive growl that steadily increased in pitch. The cars in front of him appeared flat and 2D, making it difficult for the driver to negotiate traffic. The engine red-lined and the tachometer bounced a few times before he shifted.

4th gear—The ice-cream truck jingle started to fade and before long was unnoticeable over the roaring engine. He swerved left and tried to fit between two cars, splitting the lane, and ended up swapping paint with the one on his right: a large, red SUV. The passenger side mirror was smashed and flayed about in the wind, seemingly ready to abandon the car at any moment. His legs started to shake convulsively.

"We need t' get off thuh highway," he informed his passenger.

3rd gear—The car leaned forward as he held the brakes steady.

"You okay, man?" The passenger had just buckled his seat belt. "You don' look so hot."

"I'm fine." Sweat was pouring down the driver's forehead and he appeared to be all but fine.

2nd gear—A red light greeted them at the end of the off ramp with two lanes packed full of cars. He chose the left shoulder, putting his half of the car in the gravel and dirt while the other half stayed on the pavement. This made braking tricky and he clutched out into neutral because the car was getting wobbly. Once he got past the stopped traffic he spun the wheel to the right and floored it, forgetting he wasn't in gear. He put it back in second and popped the clutch. The tires screeched, the ass wiggled, and the driver got the most solid erection he'd ever had.

3rd gear—Shifting was now a chore, his pants feeling tight and any movement of his legs pulled and tugged callously on him. The thoughts running through the young man's head were ineffable and he started to cry.

The passenger shouted, "Yo man, jus' let me out. I'll take half an' meet up whitch ya lata!" When the passenger saw his driver quickly becoming ashen he repeated his request, adding that the driver could take three bags as long as he let him out.

The driver proceeded to slow down but the deceleration upset his stomach which now wanted anything but food. He threw up—some coated the steering wheel while most of it ended up in his lap. His hands slipped in it and the sweat on his hands didn’t help either; but the warm pool of vomit in his lap produced quite a pleasing sensation on his throbbing crotch. The passenger, now aware of the driver’s erection, began wondering if he'd survive a jump from the car. He really didn’t want to jump but saw few other options.

"Slow down, man! Lemme da fuck outta here!"

The driver, smiling while crying and confused beyond the point of sanity, was given respite from the crazy thoughts racking his brain, the serenity of which blocked out all of his partner's pleas. There before him, like a holy icon, was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. It was another billboard, this one advertising the anti-aging effects of Botox. The model's luscious, if not swollen, lips, the smooth skin, the nape of her neck, the small depression just beyond her clavicle, her tender earlobes and ripe cheeks, all those features of the fairer sex called to him and him alone. He heard nothing and his vision tunneled. She winked at him, the curled eyelashes beckoning him thither. The car slowly swerved off the road in a gentle arc, hopped the curb, and bounced carelessly as it approached its target: the goddess upon the billboard.

Reality, in the form of the large post holding the giant advert up to the sky, crashed through the center of the car, tossing the devoted, admiring paramour through the windshield. The passenger was kept in place, held by the restraints, but his insides lacked such useful contraptions and were thrown against his ribcage with such force that he died shortly thereafter.

The police arrived at the scene to find stolen bills sailing softly in the air and their suspects dead: one recumbent with the remnants of a grin on his face, the other twisted, rigid, and with a countenance betraying unadulterated fear. No charges were ever filed.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Bus Ride: Episode I Part 3

The question of what happened to Adam is answered. New questions arise and the reader will have to wait for the answers. The episode ends so that another, in good time, may begin.

Could Adam die? Wasn’t he already dead? Yes, he was already dead. Dead wasn’t the right word; he didn’t die again. He reset. That’s a more appropriate way of looking at it. He awoke, just like he had after seeing the elbow and the ass, after he was crumbled up with the other passengers on the bus. He woke up to the commands of a man pulling him from a bed by his hair and throwing him into the ranks of a line going through roll call. What had been built of the pyramid no longer remained and all that anyone could see was sand. Of course, the self-inflicted wounds remained, left scars and joined all the others already residing upon his body.

That was the last time Adam tried to kill himself—he only needed one instance of that to learn his lesson. There was no escape for him. So he spent his days working and building the structure he claimed was impossible for humans to build so many times at so many parties. He found that the stones weren’t that hard to move on barges floating in water, or when they slid on greased logs, or when they were placed in some of the ingenious contraptions he had at his disposal. Levers were employed and the way the pyramid was constructed, the manner in which they stacked the stones, allowed them to spiral upwards. When this wasn’t enough to get the job done, he and his crew built a ramp with a rough slope of 1/4. It was hard, grueling work, often accompanied by massive thumping headaches from sun exposure and dehydration. He was spared of cutting the stone out of the quarry for the most part and only had to spend a few months doing that. He learned how to work with the copper tools and how to shape the stone, and more importantly, how not to handle it. It was always a sad moment when one of the stones cracked after having had so much care bestowed upon it and so much time spent moving it. Not only had he wasted time and effort when one of regular blocks became irregular, he then had the added task of clearing the half-ton chunks of stone away from the worksite.

When Adam wasn’t hating his coworkers he envied them: they got to die. He saw them come and go. Time passed slowly. No seasons ever came around to change up the monotony. The only thing he got to look forward to was completing the pyramid. He could remember the day when the man-made mountain reached a height where it cast a shadow back to the complex of huts early one morning. He wanted to celebrate but that was impossible, out of the question. Adam thought that maybe this, the changing pyramid, would be something new for him, something to break the monotony, but alas, the change was too slow, too imperceptible to notice. He would have to draw on memory that the stack of stones piled with such perfection weren’t always there, that there hadn’t been anything but sand there once before. Twice before, he realized with a shudder.

Sometimes Adam would try to engage in conversation with his coworkers but they wouldn’t have any of it. They were too busy speaking about things like escaping the bonds of slavery, or a more lenient ruler, or better working conditions, or learning the magic of reading—pipe dreams really. It made Adam sick to hear such talk, such weak pinko talk, even when it was clear it was in his best interest to wish for those same things. It never dawned on Adam that the only one who shared his viewpoints were the ones beating him senseless—the work-lords.

Adam once spoke against his coworkers, disagreed with them in the open. He gave one of the rants he was apt to give when he himself was a boss, and how he missed that. The feeling it gave him made him almost feel free, like a weight equivalent to one of the thousands of stones he had help haul up the ever growing pyramid had been lifted from his chest. His coworkers just stood in shocked silence. That night, however, the shock had worn off. They burst in on Adam grinding away at himself and dragged him, kicking and screaming, to the center of the room. They threw him down on his belly without any concern for the rigid protuberance sticking out the front of Adam and when he landed on the ground he could swear he heard a pop, much like the sound his throat had made when he stabbed it with the copper chisel. If he didn’t hear the sound, he definitely felt it, and his dick was never the same after that night. But Snoppen wasn’t thinking about that at the moment because these men, the ones he had dared speak against, had brought with them torches. They used the fire that he kept to his back and would cast the convulsing shadow in front him to light the torches and burned him with them, never saying anything, just holding him down and burning him repeatedly. This was long ago, before we caught him doing just what they had caught him doing, and explains the last set of scars on his back: those round, hardly healed wounds.

Ever since they had burned him in the middle of the night his coworkers had a nickname they preferred over Immortal. They called him Queerbait Birdshit, for when they were holding him prostrate and burning him with their torches they noticed a stain or odd birthmark of some sort on his rump that appeared to be bird shit, or a wad of manseed spread about his ass, never before noticed.

Well, the time went by, at least it will for us in recounting these events, but it must be kept in mind that it passed ever so slowly for Adam. The tedium never became a routine, the work always changing in subtle ways. He would outlive his coworkers, their lifespans being rather short in comparison to the work-lord who had it easier than the rest of them. Eventually the passing on of the name Queerbait Birdshit from one slave to another ended and he was just plain old Immortal again. The work-lords would eventually die and a new young one would replace the old one, just when their whip’s sting had lost some of their previous bite due to old age and old arms. They would die and their strapping young son would step in and take to his job with extreme vigor, the bite of the whip stronger than ever before.

Snoppen did finally get to sleep with the work-lord’s daughter. Long after her father had died and she herself was an old lady, having outlived her husband and was the old mother, grandmother in fact, of the current work-lord, a powerful old dowager, she had snuck into his room one night and caught him like everyone catches Adam at night. The embarrassment never diminished despite the numerous intrusions he suffered and she smiled a toothless grin, licked her gums and pounced on Adam as well as any 80 year old, syphilitic senior could. Even though Adam was disgusted by the frail skeleton in stretched leathery skin, giggling not so much as a means of mirthful flirtation but as a mocking laugh at the deformities of Adam’s scarred, callused and crooked cock, he could not help but react to her caresses, his libido overpowering his revulsion and nausea.

"Make me immortal, Immortal," she whispered into his ear. Her dried, chapped desert lips nibbled on his ears and her sagging breasts grazed against his unaging chest. Her tongue was parched and rough like a cat’s, yet he would not push her away. And finally, after she had her way with him and he was soon to finish himself, she rolled over, gave one last laugh while pointing at the scarred man and died. He went limp and couldn’t even finish himself off in his corner before his hut was raided and the body of the old matriarch was found. It goes without saying that he was punished like never before, this time forced to undo much of the work on the pyramid himself after having received the whippings.

O’ how we’ve wasted time on Adam. I wish I could say that other characters won’t get as much attention as Adam, but I’d be lying. Many will have much shorter stories but a few, one in particular, will get even more time bestowed upon him than Adam here has gotten. But we’re not on them yet, we’re on Adam and we’ll spare ourselves with the dreariness he was daily facing and the narration will now pick up its tempo.

After around 6000 slaves and 35 or so work-lords had expired helping and guiding Adam with his construction project, he finished. The last few years spent disassembling the scaffolding and rampways didn’t feel like work, because Snoppen could see an end in sight. What was to come afterwards he hadn’t a clue but he knew something was coming. And so it did.

The next morning after the completion of the pyramid he woke up and waited for the shout for roll call, but no such shout came. He walked out of his hut and saw the grand structure there before him, the morning sun obscured by the huge arrow pointing heavenward. The base was worn from the sand and wind, having been completed long before the small crew of forty some slaves plus Adam finished the top; but it was beautiful, nonetheless.

He felt the giant talon that passed down from father to son fall upon his neck, but it didn’t squeeze and drag him to the post like it had every other time it fell upon him. It was almost a pat, a display of camaraderie, as much as a slave driver can exhibit in any case. He had with him a scroll and unrolled it as he positioned himself in front of Adam, between him and the completed pyramid. He cleared his throat.

“The one called Immortal, the man who never ages, Queerbait Birdshit.”

Adam shuddered and hung his head in shame when he heard this second name even though it had easily been eight hundred years since he had heard it last.

“The one called ADAM SNOPPEN,” the work-lord stumbled over this name, it never having been used before. “See before you what is possible by the hands of humans. See what can be done when one works with your fellow man. When there is a wealth of knowledge and no dearth of information, be mindful that there is no excuse for ignorance. Forevermore, let the lesson be learned, let the knowledge you gained through long and trudging work be remembered. Let the scars upon your body remind you of what you have learned among us in the desert. Learn that…”

Adam couldn’t believe his ears and it was too much for him to take. Was he really getting a lecture after having completed this task, after having spent no one knows how many days withering under the sun lifting stone after stone, working his hands raw? The work-lords hadn’t raised a finger to help though plenty of whips had been raised. Adam stopped paying attention to what the work-lord was saying, rambling on, reading from the lengthy scroll. And then it happened. Snoppen hadn’t even said it, just thought it—a moment of silent rebellion, of thinking a defiant thought. With the quality of a child being lectured about some wrongdoing, he thought to himself: I may have built this one but I still think aliens built the…

The work-lord stopped reading. Adam didn’t even get to finish his thought and for the first and only time he witnessed a work-lord hang his head, displaying a sign of submission, and the large man before him sighed. Just then the sun peaked over the top of the pyramid and the bright light blinded Adam. His vision was completely bleached out. He raised his hand and tried to block it out but it was to no use. Eventually the brightness faded, but instead of his eyes finding the scene he had just seen before him, it kept getting darker and darker until it was pitch black. That was when he heard the shout to wake up and get in line for roll call. Snoppen’s gut sank and he jumped to his feet, rubbing the crust of sleep and sand from his eyes, oblivious of the morning rush of blood erecting his broken and bent phallus, and ran outside to find nothing but flat desert and sand as far as the eye could see.

Adam spoke little the next thousand years. Well, a thousand minus a century or two, since he had learned not to reset his life and so completed his task a little quicker than he had the first time around. He had also learned not to sleep with the withered old work-lord females, but whenever one presented herself he couldn’t resist and so received his whippings and had the momentary loss of having to periodically undo a few days work every 20 years or so. This was Adam Snoppen’s hell but we shan’t make it ours. We’ll spare ourselves the narration necessary to give some sense of how long a time Adam endured his stay there in the desert.

Eventually, after many moons, after countless days under the heavy sun, after sweating rivers worth of perspiration, after thousands of pounds of skin lost to shedding and peeling from one round of sunburn to another, after practically an infinite number of nights of Adam trying in vain to pump out the irrepressible urges that built up in him daily but had no outlet save old withered women who spent their days of privilege under luxury provided by their work-lord fathers, husbands, sons, tempting and teasing him with their ripe bodies and alluring glances in their youth and haunting him with their senile and demented evening romps before their deaths, always resulting in a brutal bout of corporal punishment, eventually he stood there before his work-lord again.

And with all his will, all he knew to be true, after all the lessons learned, Adam most certainly no longer believed in aliens or that any had ever built any pyramids. He swore to it, affirmed it in any way he could imagine, thought it silently to himself and asserted it out loud to the proud and smiling work-lord standing there between him and the completed pyramid. Not only did he claim not to believe them, he truly did not. He would be the first to raise a voice in opposition should someone claim what he had once claimed, having learned through the long and painful process of building them himself, seeing how such a feat was accomplished, not just once to completion, but twice. He believed it more than anything else.

The work-lord finished his lecture this time. When he finished the sun crested the peak of the pyramid once again and blinded Adam. He couldn’t muster the energy to scream, to sigh, to cry. His knees buckled and he collapsed there before the work-lord, his memory able to recall what had happened centuries ago. But the work-lord kept his smile and there was no sigh from him. He walked past Adam and patted him on his scarred back. Winds arose and sand flew into Adam’s eyes. He tried to block out the sun and was successful this time, because it wasn’t the sun. A space ship descended before Snoppen and he felt the talon claw of his work-lord grip his neck, pick him up and drag him toward the vessel while he was frozen in fear and confusion.

And so, after approximately two millennia toiling away in the desert Adam found himself on a space ship with creatures beyond description being hauled off to some interstellar wormhole, some warp where the concept of time ceases to exist and suffered the most excruciating tortures and procedures. Here is where we shall leave Adam until we find it necessary to return to him, for he has another stage yet before we will be done with him.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Bus Ride: Episode I Part 2

Adam Snoppen’s new found situation, what he now spends his time doing and those he finds in his company are revealed.

How long has it been since we left Snoppen? It is difficult to say because time has an awkward way of expressing itself in the afterlife for those who have one. Nevertheless, we shall transport ourselves to the appropriate setting immediately.

The sky is riddled with brilliant stars and the arching band, the luminescent dust of the Milky Way spanning the sky, thought by some ancients to be the breast milk of a goddess spilt out amongst the heavens or the backbone of some large creator god, is clearly visible. The clarity of the sky hints at a remote location, from a time long ago—no light pollution obscures the celestial objects and the bright crescent moon’s edges are crisp and clearly defined, missing the surrounding corona provided by our modern pollution. But perhaps it’s not a lack of pollution that offers this view; perhaps it’s a lack of moisture. And so it is, for when we let our eyes drop, far beneath us we see sand, pale and calm in the moonlight, in all directions to every horizon.

A small grouping of lights disturbs the monotony of the landscape. As we descend we see a dark, regular shape, that of a square. Adjacent is an isolated collection of shelters with some small fires among them, providing warmth and light. Inside these stoned enclosures we would find slumbering slaves, a few workmen and their families, but those don’t contain the one which draws our interest. As we descend further we focus on one hut in particular that resembles all the others. The only thing special about this hut is that it is the only one that contains a single occupant. Lowering more, we see the dark cloth roof bouncing about lightly in the small but steady breeze and we begin to hear rhythmic sounds and the grunts of a man before passing through the roof and seeing Adam Snoppen in the corner, naked, on a three legged stool.

He is hunched over, abusing himself and silently cursing the sand, always everywhere, in his food, in his sandals, grit in between his teeth, stuck to the sweat of his palm and rubbing deeper with every stroke. His shadow dances before him in the corner—he has his back to the rest of the room and the fire flickering in the corner opposite. And what a back it is, covered in sweat and grime, with large circular, hardly healed wounds spread about an irregular lattice of crisscrossing scars. His hair is disheveled and his tan even darker. He no longer bears the watch the young lady on the bus found so attractive, nor does he have in possession his most recent wedding ring. Something intriguing has happened though. Where he once hid them while pursuing other women they have left marks. On the left side of his chest just beneath his nipple, the spot where his shirt pocket would be, there are two circular scars next to each other. He has two similar marks on his hips, one on each side, corresponding to the location of pants pockets.

Since Adam hasn’t finished grinding sand into his most sensitive of areas, scarring the calluses he’s built up over his nights spent here, we’ll discover the last set of scars on his body. Where the watch once resided on his left wrist a small but prominent, transverse scar is visible. A puncture mark can be seen on the left side of his neck roundabout where his jugular vein is, appearing almost like a comet with its short tail pointing towards the center of his throat.

Snoppen is now one of forty or so crewmembers building a Great Pyramid. This crew consists mostly of slaves, criminals, and unfortunates. Don’t get fooled into thinking Adam was transported back in time because he was not part of a community or sub-city working to build these great monolithic tributes to the gods and pharaohs. There was little harmony and work was done by just this one crew, not tens of thousands of agreeable people working in unison. True, there were some workers and accompanying families, but they were there more to keep the slaves and work-lords from starving, providing food and transporting water throughout the day.

Most of the scars upon Adam were from a whip, a whip held by his work-lord, the man who took great pleasure in abusing Adam. He is the third work-lord Adam has had, a job attained through heredity. Snoppen has been here quite some time. During this time he has acquired many nicknames from the scores of slaves that have been worked to death, those that replaced them and eventually died themselves, and by the work-lords. The most common of these names was Immortal, the only one that stuck for the length of his stay, the other names temporary fads that came and went with the successive generations, those that helped Adam with his task of constructing one of the giants of architecture he firmly believed were made by aliens. When he first arrived and the two scars on his chest from the wedding rings were discovered on his body, not much thought was given them by his captors though their origins were obvious to Adam. However, when his body refused to age and he outlived all his coworkers, and eventually his work-lord, the next one in line dubbed him Immortal. The two scars were given new significance then, for they were close enough together to resemble ∞, the symbol for infinity. This didn’t keep his work-lords from routinely whipping him though. Immortal or not, he was often at the wrong end of that whip.

One time Adam had been unfortunate enough to get caught trying to speak to the first work-lord’s daughter, a pretty young thing whose only talent that surpassed her beauty was surreptitious flirting. Adam, it seems, had not only been cursed with the unbearable task of building one of these great monuments in the blazing desert sun; he also found his libido had grown to inhuman proportions. As soon as one word came out of Adam’s mouth, directed to the young little coquette, even when he knew with every ounce of his being that speaking to her would bring nothing but trouble yet couldn’t resist the temptation, the chance, no matter how farfetched, that he would get to have his way with the svelte beauty before him, he felt the hand of a giant grab his neck. This giant, his work-lord, tied him to a post, whipped him for three days, and forced him to watch the rest of the crew disassemble instead of assemble the pyramid. It was shortly after this, when his back was still sore, that the tease made eyes with him again. He couldn’t resist the urge building up in him, and he started to speak to her, when, again, he felt that same large talon of a hand grab his neck. But Adam had had enough and quickly turned and escaped the large work-lord’s grasp, snatched his whip from him, and started to whip the man as hard as he could. The monster of a boss seemed unfazed though and marched steadily toward Adam, backing away and whipping as hard as he could; but his work-lord never made it to Adam because the daughter had walked up behind him and smashed his head with a rock. When Adam awoke, he found he was tied to a post and could hear the crack of the whip before the slow dull pain became acute and sharp. In front of him he saw the work crew disassembling more of what had been already built, all giving him looks that expressed their loathing and resentment. In between cracks he heard the unrelenting giggling of the work-lord’s daughter.

As soon as Adam was untied he made a beeline straight for the nearest work bench but his knees buckled and he resorted to running as quickly as he could on all fours, grabbed one of the copper chisels and attempted to slit his left wrist; unfortunately for Adam, he had never been taught that you never cross the street but run up it. The work-lord saw this and started stomping his way towards Adam. Desperate, he plunged the chisel into his neck and pulled it as hard as he could towards his throat. The popping sound made by the chisel surprised him more than the pain did. He passed out and died.

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