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What did he say?” Janet’s face suddenly loomed between the stainless steel counter and shelf. Her eyes were wide, larger than normal with her hair tucked into a cap.
I shook my head. “Nothing you need to know. I split the order ticket and slipped it over to her. “Don’t put onions on that burger. The guy is allergic.”
Come on, don’t avoid the subject.” Janet smirked, her upper lip curling in that distasteful smile. Why did I always tell her my secrets?
I clicked my tongue and tossed my hair over my shoulders. “He said he’d do it. ‘Easy stuff.’ Says it’s actually a pretty regular request.
Janet’s jaw dropped open and she gave a little yelp. “Really? Boy, I would never…” She dwindled off, her thoughts gravitating in that little head of hers.
Hey!” An old man appeared just inside the swinging doors, his face crude and unshaven. “I’ve been waiting fifteen minutes out there just to get a cup of coffee. Do you think that’s a possibility or what?” Spit flew from his mouth as he spoke.
Sorry about that, sir.” I replied, forcing a smile. “I’ll be right out.”
Good,” he grunted, swinging the door hard behind him.
I rolled my eyes and took a seat on the old wooden chair we leave in the kitchen for breaks.
Aren’t you going to help him?” asked Janet, the sound of popping grease started to fill the room.
That grump can help himself.”
Janet laughed. “Just hope that Tommy doesn’t walk in. I’m sure you remember what happened last time, “she added with a serious undertone.
I shrugged. Tommy was as horrible a manager as she was a waitress. I sat back and pulled my cell out, maniacally scrolling through my friend’s latest updates.
So that’s it. You’re really going to do this?” Janet peeked back through the counter. “Don’t you think, you know, there are other ways?”
I shrugged. “It’s gotta be done. Easy stuff,” I repeated with a grin.
Hmph!” I heard the rattle of a basket and paper as she plopped the burger in. I stood up to retrieve it, happy that at least would have one satisfied customer when I walked back out. Maybe even a decent tip for once.
Janet range the bell giving me a sharp look then slid the order over. I hated that damn bell and she knew it. As I grabbed for the basket, she kept her hold firm on the other side until I finally looked up at her. “Just remember,” she said in a low tone, “once it’s done, there is no coming back from it.”

I pinched my lips and gave her a slim nod. Janet may be nosy, but she was always looking out for me. I often wondered what I would doing if she had never moved in next to me. Probably still laying on my couch waiting for my mother to call. A few bottles on the floor, a few pills down my throat. 

She let go of the basket and turned back into the kitchen, giving out a loud sigh.

“Don’t worry,” I said. “I can handle it. One more week and it will all be over. I promise.”

She looked up and gave a a weak smile. “I hope so.”

I left the counter, feeling somewhat better about our conversation.  It wasn’t until I had crossed through the double doors back into the main room that I realized the burger had onions on it. And the grump was talking to Tommy.


Not sure where I want to go or if I’m even going anywhere on this one…but that’s just what excerpts are…

My back was aching again. I pushed the fabric cart forward trying to diminish the pain, but it kept sweeping up my spine. Pausing in the hall, I lightly pressed my fingers on the lower part of my back and straightened.

Four more hours to go. These sheets weren’t going to wash themselves.

I stooped back down and headed for the elevator.

A young girl waited there, dressed in a yellow pleated skirt holding tight to a small blue purse. Her face was scrunched as she stared down at the patterned carpet of the hall.

Hello.” I smiled warmly.

She glanced quickly at me and then brought her eyes straight back to the floor. I frowned. I usually at least get a smile back from young ones.

The elevator dinged and slid open, inviting us into it’s dull metallic shimmer. I waited for her to walk in and then shifted my weight to slide the cart across the threshold, feeling by back tighten as I pushed.

Stubbing in the plastic button for level one, I turned and asked, “What floor, hun?”

She shrugged and continued her downward look. Her right hand tightened on her purse.

Alrighty,” I whispered under my breathe. “Hopefully one it is.”
A strange, nas
al whine began to come from the corner where she stood as the elevator began it’s descent. Her face wrinkled and tears began running from her eyes.

Surprised by the girls reaction, I asked, “Do you have a fear of elevators or something?”

She shook her head violently, wiping her hand across her nose. “No….it’s just…”

My eyes widened as I waited for her to finish the sentence, which took some effort as she struggled to composed herself.

I’m pregnant,” she finally said.

The elevator dinged as the shiny doors slid open. Unsure of how to reply, I stood at the doors motionless. Do I comfort her? Or should I be looking for her parents? Why was she by herself anyway?

But before I had decided on the answer, the girl rushed past me in a daze and began sprinting down the hall. I watched as she ran out the glass door and turned towards the street.


I woke up with a start, shocked at my surroundings. When I had laid down last night, it was in my small uptown apartment on a stuffed down-pillow wrapped with one thousand thread count sheets. But where I laid now was far from that.

A hard, starch white elevated bed with what felt like a rock for a pillow. The bed had been placed in the center of a round room with padded walls. Sunlight streamed in from the glass ceiling above, filling the room with more unnecessary brightness. My eyes started to throb from the numbing intensity.

I looked at my clothes to find them changed as well. A grey tunic hung loosely about my chest with a matching draw-string pant. The fabric had a rough texture to it, leaving my skin to feel dry and slightly irritated.

I flipped myself up onto my side and swung my feet onto the floor. But as soon as I tried to stand I felt my legs give from weakness and I plummeted onto the ground. I let out a moan as I tried to stand back up. Every part of my body felt as if it were mush, fumbling and releasing any tension in the muscles. Why was I so tired? I gave up after a while and lay on the floor, finding it surprisingly as comfortable as the bed I had been placed.

Questions started to fill my head but I was unable to do anything about them as even my mind seemed to feed off the exhaustion that had captured my body. So I relented and began to doze off. Just as the heaviness of sleep came upon me a small door opened up through the padding and a woman dressed in blue entered carrying a clipboard and a book.

“Oh no! Mr. Urnst, you’re not supposed to be up. It’s all rest for you right now. Thank goodness for this padding, right?” She flashed a smiled and quickly walked over to me. After a few heaves, I was back on the bed laying stiff as a board.

“Okay, now.” She started writing on her clipboard as she hummed a tune and walked around me, every so often poking a body part. After a while she nodded and then walked up to an area directly in front of my bed. She gently pressed a square next to a small inset in the wall. A release in pressure sounded and a cabinet-sized door swung open from the panel. Inside was a number of switches and lights. She flipped one towards the far right and instantly a thin white ledge began to protrude from the wall, about the height of my bed.

A click was heard as she shut the cabinet door. “This is for you when you’re ready,” she said as she set the book down on the ledge near me. “It’s everything you’ll need to know about the first phase. And then some.” She smiled.

“Miss?” I had finally charged enough energy to speak “Can…can you te….tellll….llll…” I lost the sentence as I spoke, finding myself breathing deeply.

The woman chuckled as she shook her head. “You testers. All of you are always so surprised. I can just never figure out why. I mean what did you expect? Oh well, just how it goes.” She winked and began walking towards the door. At the last second she turned and said, “I almost forgot, this is your first awakening. Silly me.” She straightened her back, lifting her chin awkwardly and said, “On behalf of the Untouchable Staff, welcome to the training facility. You have officially started you’re testing to become an Untouchable. Or as some of us like to say, a superhuman.”




Two young men lounge on an old, flowered couch. The room is musty and dirty. Bottles, greasy paper food bags, wrappers, and other miscellaneous trash litter the coffee table and floor around them. In the center of the table is a glass bong, warm from recent use. Rock music can be heard softly in the background.

STEPHEN, wearing a yellow, flat bill baseball cap with the black letters SWAG written across them, leans forward to take a hit. He inhales deeply and releases the smoke lazily into the air.

STEPHEN: Yeah, man. That is some good stuff.

JAKE, with a long, scraggly beard and a dark blue sleeveless t-shirt, big-rimmed lime green glasses atop his head, nods his head and smiles in appreciation.

JAKE: The purple haze will always get you good, my man.

STEPHEN chuckles: Oh, yeah…. Hey, man, did you see Tristan’s sister other day? Woo (whistling out low) She’s grown up into something.

JAKE, nodding slowly: Something is one way to put it….You know, there is something about that word. You know? It’s like some but thing at the same time.

STEPHEN: Yeah, it is a strange one. Because how can something be some and thing be one thing at the same time?

JAKE sits up excitedly.

JAKE: Yeah, man! That’s exactly what I was thinking!

Jake leans back. The two sit shaking their heads, staring into blank space in front of them.

STEPHEN: Hey, man.

JAKE: Yeah? (crosses arms)

STEPHEN: Sometimes…when I’m alone…

JAKE, interjecting: Hey, man. I don’t know want to know what you do when your alone. That’s like…that’s way too personal. You know what I’m saying? You and your little man or whatever, yall can keep it to yourself.

STPEPHEN, rolls eyes: No, no. Nothing like that.

JAKE, furrows brow: No?

STEPHEN: No, man. This is something totally different. Not like last time with…with…well you know last time.

JAKE, raises his eyes: Unfortunately, yes. But go on (motions with hand).

STEPHEN: Ok (swallows). Sometimes, when I’m alone…I try to move stuff with my mind. And, like (lifts eyes up to ponder momentarily, looks back down), nothing moves but I keep trying, man.

JAKE, drops jaw: Like Carrie and shit?

STEPHEN: No, man. That chick is bat-shit crazy. I’m more like the nice kind, you know?

JAKE: I gotcha man. You’re like a good mind-mover, not a ‘I should kill everyone with buckets of blood’ kind of man.

STEPHEN: Right. If I ever do get the powers, I’ll use it for good. I’d become like one of those X-men.

JAKE: That’d be some cool stuff. Moving shit with your mind. You would definitely be an X-man. They could call you Mind Man.

The two sit in silence for a moment, thinking about the X-man concept. STEPHEN imitates fast movements with his head.

JAKE, turning head slowly to STEPHEN: Are you sure it hasn’t worked before?

STEPHEN, stops moving erratically: I don’t think so. I thought I got a paper to move once, but it turned out to just be the AC coming on.

JAKE: Your AC does have some great power though, huh?

STEPHEN: Truth in that (they bump fists)

JAKE: But really though, it’s never worked for you?

STEPHEN, shaking head: No. But I’ll keep trying.

JAKE, sighing: That’s too bad. It has worked for me. In fact, I’ll even show you right now.

STEPHEN, moves to the edge of his seat: What, man?! It works for you. How have you not told me this before?!

JAKE smirks: It’s one of my best kept secrets.

STEPHEN waits eagerly for JAKE to show him.

JAKE: It’s simple, man. You just got to think about what you want. Concentrate – real hard – on exactly what you want. In fact, I’ll show you. Right here…Right now…But – before I begin – do you mind grabbing me a beer (coughs), I’m about as parched as they come.

STEPHEN: Sure, no problem.

STEPHEN gets up and walks off camera to the kitchen. Sound of refrigerator opening and closing. JAKE remains motionless on the cough, smiling. Stephen returns with the beer, un-capped and hands it to JAKE.

JAKE takes a long drink and sighs.

STEPHEN: You were going to show me your powers?

JAKE: Oh, right. I just did it.

STEPHEN frowns: Oh, man! I missed it. What did you move? (glances expectantly around the room)

JAKE, grinning widely: This beer bottle.


The sounds of the highway grew distant as the group climbed the hill towards the old town cemetery. There was still a good amount of time before dawn and the pace began to slow as they neared.

Francis always looked forward to this evening, for it only occurs one time a year. It always felt good to stretch out the soul and wonder about their old stomping grounds, seeing all the new faces. So many things had changed over the years, it was hard to believe that it once had been called home.

“You should of seen that girl’s face. White as ash, she was, hah!” Pete jousted to the group. “She kept on rubbing her eyes, then pulled a blanket tight around her. Like that would help!”

Gretchen chuckled. “Flicking the lights is always a good trick. I myself preferred slamming doors this year. It always gives cozy couples a good jostle.” She gave a little smile, wrinkling her nose.

“I just stuck with my old haunts this year.” Charles added, his broad shoulders towering above everyone else. Age hadn’t taken anything from his stature. “It’s nice to see some of my old favorites; little Amelia is already married with two of her own now.”

Francis circled his foot on the ground. “It is good to see some new views,” added Francis. “I do get bored with our usual one.”

The group echoed a resounding “Humph” in agreeance, each wearily looking from one another. The chatter began to quiet as they stood.

“Well, I thought this night was awesome!” The young (if fifty may be called young to your age) man, John, spoke up easing the mood. It was only his first year. Francis had never seen a bigger grin.

“Get some good screams, did you?” asked Pete.

John laughed, “Some of those and some funny incidents, too. I managed to tip a few drinks on some unsuspecting dates.”

Everyone laughed.

“There’s a new twist to this day,” said Gretchen.

They finally crested the wooded hill that opened to the wide high prairie holding the cemetery. Below them, the dulling lights of the city rolled onward into the dwindling night.

“All,” announced Pete. “Until next year, my friends.”

Everyone nodded, uttering little words of farewell to one another.

Francis waited back, watching for a glimpse of the rising sun. The hint of a red gleam braced the far horizon, hinting at its approaching return. He gave a quick salute to the awakening world and then wisped back into the ground that held his world that stirred beneath it.


Does she know that I dream about her every night of the week?

Elise walked coolly toward the file room, hips swaying to some unknown rhythm that I so desperately wanted to become part of. From behind my stack of papers in Accounting Department C, I watched her.

Everyday. 10:32am sharp. There she was appearing from those dull elevator doors to file Monty’s notes from the morning meetings. She was Monty’s assistant the rest of the time, but from 10:32 to 10:36, she was my pleasure for the day.

There was nothing else interesting about this office. What else was a man of my age to do? Stare at Wendy over in cube three who doesn’t even understand how a hair dryer works? Or try to make conversation with Phil in cube nine that spends most of his time looking up cats dressed in knitted sweaters? Or Fran in two that always wants tell you what little Maurice did at school today? Hell, there wasn’t even a window in Accounting Department C to look out. Not even a god-forsaken cloud could save me from the cesspool of boredom that creeped around this place.

But Elise, on the other hand, was some kind of shining star that just lit up the place. Everything else could be put behind me when she walked in. Her blonde curls bouncing around that elegant face, so perfectly manicured. Tailored dresses and skirts that were skin tight, but to the point that it was classy, none of that trash that other girls try to pull. Putting her in a room makes it tens time better.

No. A hundred times better.

She is what makes this place bearable. But then, just like them all, that light is swallowed by the ding of the elevator and the click of her hills tapping on its slated floors.

The room becomes darker again. The sound of monotonous clicking and buzzing phones reemerge, complementing the ever graying walls.


I saw her again.

This time I was driving, clocking well over eighty and that feeling–god that feeling–it passed over me like a shadow. This tremble goes up my spine and I put all my effort towards focusing on the road. My hands start to hurt from the grip on the wheel.

Like always, I couldn’t stop it. I start looking around at the cars around me.

To my right an older gentleman, his head full of gray and face speckled by the sun. He was hunched over, peering at the road rather than actually seeing it. He looked lonely.

In front of me, the soccer mom’s staple mini-van. A liquorish red with stickers of her children dotting the back window. Pride shines through the dust laden paint.

And on my left was her. It’s always her.

She was there, all blonde and beautiful in that little, blue car. Her windows were down and she was singing. Some new pop song, most likely.  She wore that slim lime green tank top; her nails painted to match. A miniature teddy bear dangled from the rearview mirror, ever so often colliding with a newly added tassel from her graduation. ’05 is what it said.

She was so carefree, so young. A new glowing light, dancing to the rhythmic traffic of a city.

The fleeting feeling of peace fades with me when I remember what happens. I had seen this too many times before. Over and over it plays in my head.

I motion to her. I scream at her. I plead with her. But she can’t hear me. She never does.

The pretty blonde smiles for an instant. And at the end of that moment she barrels into the back end of the stopped car in front of her.

Time speeds up then as that little blue car is crunched with her in it. A shockwave of forces spreads through the cars in line, totaling more than her. But she’s all that matters.

Dead instantly. From the bloody carnage of her that was left tangled in that metal jungle, I wanted to desperately believe it. I could never live knowing if she went through worse pain. If she thought about me in her last breathe. If she called for me and I wasn’t there.

An officer handed me the only pieces left intact the day after. I cried when I saw that bear and tassel. They were gifts from her mother and I. Gifts that we had given her just two days before.

My beautiful daughter was gone. Her life lost to a congested, unforgiving world. And a future robbed from me.