We Have to Be Here,
So This City is a Pyramid Somewhere
By Jon Pelletier
This novel is woven around the question of whether we are alive or dead. In his manic dreams the author decides he is trapped between lives and in deep trouble. When he finally learns about himself, a creature saves him from the myth that is haunting him. Our hero is finally released from limbo into a city he used to dream about and soon falls asleep to find he is working for the higher power, much to his dismay, perhaps trying to become a righteous ghost.
Why is he being chased through lives by a creature trying to trap him in a sack? Or are these mystic creatures only trying to scare him straight? How does one escape from the trappings of strange realms? This work of fiction is a novel represented as a collection of short stories, to connote the absurdist realities of such spiritual topics. Nobody can know for certain any belief, as it uses concepts and words created by an imperfect human.
On the back cover it must be made clear that the protagonist is always the same person. Although his name and form sometimes change the story is being told of one man dieing many times as he is quickly passing from Earth to some other place. The deaths are sometimes hidden, sometimes abrupt, always cunning and lightly dosed with humor, allowing our hero to learn lessons about his personality and soul’s eternal weight.
This is fiction by a young and distinct writer. Although I am just beginning to send my work away to publishers and agents, I have entered five contests in the past 5 years. I won an honorable mention from the 2006 CBC Short Story Contest with one of the stories that is in this book and I won the three-hour writing contest earlier this year, receiving college credit. I have rarely been published outside of Okanagan College, but I am hoping that I could begin to make my living by writing books. My plan is to pay my way through further schooling by royalties and published work. I also have two other completed books, one fiction and one non-fiction.
I Should Call My Mother Suzanna:
I should phone my mother, as I was hit with a bad flu.
It has been a coughing matter sent towards dead landscapes. I was clearing air and doing things purposefully. It is the Jabberwocky show, a perhaps poltergeist. Dear, I have been ill, smoking too much, cold, bad fever. But I have been surviving. My immune system is stronger after the battle. The battlefield is torn and smoking. I have a hair bottle and a dearly hated man in my sights. He lives upon smells, hair, small kids and death kneels but he made it, too.
And here I am doing nothing. Do I want to be here?
Who is the leader of this next story? She is eighteen. She is a dear to me meditative battle, filling my head with angst and medicine. She is a shoulder to cry on, a white spell farting on the Jabberwocky television show. We are flying over Canada in an airplane, looking at outlandish cities sticking out of the landscape like a cartoon and boundaries or map-lines below.
Is she the girl from Jabberwocky? Is she here to talk with me and tell me my dreams? Or does she do this to everyone? She has a dark name. Black is bluer with her on my troubled mind. But these words are just personal freedom.
This may be a turning point. The sun peeks through the clouds and my window. Good times should follow this, sir. All will be well again. First I must relate this story as best I can. I should be better at hiding my beliefs. If I had been, all this would have been avoided.
These were cheap prayers from a man developing sloth in order to save my reign and tear a whole new man out of this blueprint. They continued, though it seems rather arbitrary as I have little room and much to say. I hold the inner light but am afflicted with one upheaval. It was a scummy little bar that had a bad habit of playing Tijuana brass. And I had but one simple refrain, my true and dear simple prayer.
Truly I bow to this reckless wish. He held a red gun. I had a stapler. His knees hurt and they were not hiring weirdoes. It is sad because I feel like a daft able man next to him. The righteous consciousness joins another while they sleep.
An utter and disparaging loneliness seeps into me. So I drink beer. And she laughs, because she loves me. Another round pull my eyes together like glass orbs or a knife hurting me such as John would stab hunger through me. Sirens wail in the distance.
But I hope I haven’t left you with the impression this story is about me.
The man leaves down the stairwell and out the door. The beginning light of every day chases this man to his car and he runs towards it in a black suit. The knife is thrown on to the seat and he starts the car. The black Cadillac pulls into the dawn. This dark man smiles and lights a cigarette. I had not seen him every before, or since, for that matter.
He is now sitting with Mother Suzanna. The dark man is wearing his black suit with a dark fedora. It is hard to tell if it is also black, as they sit near the back in a booth and write silly lines back and forth. The technical spark is myself, a loner with failed knees. His heart sank.
He reached for the bell and was swatted by Mother Suzanna. His hand flew back in fear. Mother Suzanna wrapped her hands of this diner booth, “It’s a shame we can’t smoke in here.” The man never wore anything but black suits. He smoked three packs a day. Mother Suzanna didn’t smoke. She also wore black suits.
Later, the halo on his windshield shone in brilliant purple and red. The crack up the middle separated the bright sun. He sniffed a quick line and drove a little faster. He felt burnt and reached for his cigarettes. He lit one and adjusted the mirror so he could look directly into his eyes. It is about what Mother Suzanna sees, so she can report it. The man had wasted an hour on the freeway so he pulled into an exit leading to a park where his car wasted no time slowing to the point of idle recreation. He had very little to do. He imagined ghouls banging on metal tables and hooting into the wind. A smile broke over his lips.
He knew what she would tell him, “I looked into the secret life of plants. I left a shutter camera out over a few days and watched how they moved and manipulated their environment. I watched how flowers form.”
The man sat coldly staring over his dashboard and into the empty green space. He knew that somewhere a femme fatale held a wine glass. A ray of dusty sun shines off the coffee table made of glass. But all parties are afraid to look.
“People make mistakes, sir,” the man would have to tell his boss, “I was left to the wolves. What else could I have done?”
And his boss would laugh. He would sip his morning coffee and say, “You will never flee these ghouls.” The man choked and heard his boss continue, “The grim reality is that you are scared.”
“They won’t get me,” the man said aloud to the empty car and green space.
He heard the femme fatale chime in, “Don’t let them, kiddo.” She stood from the high table. She excused herself and marched quickly out the front door of the shop. She passed the newsman with a smile. She passed a beggar at a quicker pace. Two men who worked a construction site whistled. And the man was still alone in his car.
The ghouls stayed with him. He had heard the noise and came across two laughing men and a pool of blood. Happy days and shared interests, one supposes. The ghouls vanish and the man has little to do but laugh maniacally.
Our hero writes a brief list for me:
1. Call a gargoyle.
2. Three perfect crystals.
3. I sleep in fame.
4. Death becomes me.
5. There is little I can do yet a prayer may send us past it.
Conspiracies and cutting jobs, dark asking and jewels, hard line carnies and festival lights, happy gnomes and figurative laughing, it was a generous banquet. I am the writer who orders another beer, watching, waiting and trying to find the ghouls.
Mother Suzanna shone a green light upon him. The man was watching THC flow through his veins and he looked puzzled. It was beginning to darken in the late afternoon. He thought of the queen. Was she still the Queen? He needed to discipline himself. The writer had many empty books to write in, and the man could tell they were all about him. So he struggled with his coffee and laughed about his press pass. He had sent many manuscripts away, yet very few had been accepted.
He prayed he could pay his rent. He had $2000 dollars to his name, $1400 hundred to play with and $600 to keep at all costs. He was smart but socially awkward. He may have been famous in past lives, but that is neither here nor now. His goal is to have his work studied after his death. It had been his goal many years when it finally happened. The man should listen because the advice was golden. He shattered parental tension. He failed at gatherings. He had the economy. He could transform.
Casual encounters first, then taking steps for breathing. He sheltered himself from the mid-day sun but now that it was gone he was thinking of the Tijuana brass music that leaked out the diner doorway at about three in the afternoon. He was a sometimes prophet but paid five dollars for roaches he found in an ashtray. He had the blues.
He was found near the entrance of the alleyway sucking on a filtered cigarette. He had given up cigars for his health but felt obliged to continue smoking for the sake of his aches and pains. He had worked at a smelter his whole adult life. Now it was closing and his town would change. His friends would leave, finally. They had been threatening relocation for years.
He owned a thoroughbred horse. The thought at the time was that it was a success and an investment. It had paid little in cash but it was a good social detail. He would talk of it when he needed to increase his class or if the time was right. He told himself to feel good. He had food in the cupboard, a roof over his head and the need for at least two quilts. He was doing things on purpose.
But we were all his pawns. We all move according to his whims. In the end we will all work for him. The refusal to love Mother Suzanna has repercussions. Things are illegal due to the divine word and some are illegally against that. The infinite word is one that many ghosts and gargoyles protect. Many people fight this infinite word and fail to become trapped in the world they have created. Some become trapped as ghosts. Some leave this world to find a reception of pain. It is ill advised to deserve this.
The word of man is not the word of the above world. This world is tainted. Men have a common trait to waste time slowly. Men are tainted by ego and self-deprecation. The divine think past those menial words. They spew out into a thought that the femme fatale is yet to find. It is of the unknown. It is the elder of the two that is determined to be correct in his varied situation.
This so enraged the gargoyles that they put a guard in the air to follow the man in the black suit and Mother Suzanna as if they raced against him. The goal at the end would be a million dollar purse. The gargoyles had the man pass through empty and invisible gates to track his movement. And there the man sat, in his idling black Cadillac.
So he put the car in drive and moved it through the dirty street when he realized that the gargoyle had set a trap inside his car. He heard two children laughing and it kept him up at night. It didn’t matter much what his personality was like at this point but he lived trying to get it back. It was the same as it ever was, as if he knew any better.
The car turned and was headed west, chasing the sun as it fell behind a skyscraper in the distance. He lowered the blind and adjusted himself in the seat. He turned the wheel and headed north to a shady thoroughfare. It was here that he would ask a man for money.
As he pulled into the bar parking lot he noted how empty the block was. He quickly made his way inside, away from the world.
“Could I have a glass or juice,” he croaked, “And perhaps a chocolate chip cookie?”
Enter the two cats from the battle of Emregon. They were two cartoon-like light green balls with goofy eyes and lanky legs and spent their time tracing around the man and his femme fatale. They had brought little reaction from her or the barman. The one on the left held a staff and laughed at bad jokes. There was something about anti-humor. It always seemed to break the ice.
The barman handed him juice and a cookie. “Thank you,” he said grittily. He sipped it as if it were dark scotch and turned to the woman to his right. She placed her hand on the table and the small green men stopped marching.
“Now we’re sucking the government teat,” she said.
The man giggled and asked her to call Whacky Chris.
She pressed a speed dial button on her phone within two rings he was on the other line singing a fancy song.
She asked him to take the two green men from the barroom. The man was sure of this because they laughed and moved towards the doorway.
The man smiled at her, “So the deal is on it’s way through?”
Later he felt like he may have wronged the woman, and it was tearing him up inside. He felt certain that he had a heart. He imagined the way she talked, her attitude, the way she looked, eyes that were tremendously blue and she wore a Government of Canada suit and smock. They were friends of the old tie and demanded the kids to listen. They lived in warehouses on plushy pillows. Their families were the other kids that lived in the warehouse. He had always banked on that. He always wanted those opposite things. He was well fed now but had not always had such luxury.
The light changed and he pulled his vehicle through the intersection. He looked for an audience, smiling as he waved. The distance traveled down the road and back allowed him to unravel. He was passed the asteroid belts and far worlds.
He recalled trips to Vegas as his car slowed down. But a banshee trapped him, wailing towards him so he could murder the poor. A still light and whole worlds left him bare, as if a sectional sofa was left in the deep woods on some island that was only his.
He felt successful and accomplished. He felt disenfranchised and tough. He had a butterfly knife to swing around his knuckles. The banshee wailed just arms length away from him. She was old and haggard around the face. He held his place and swung the knife twice at her. The first she did not flinch, the second swing ripped through her arm. It was another apparition for this man.
And even harder mathematic equations created a torrent. Idle muses haunted him by the evening, as the Gods plan a new sun. He wanted to capture the example he had played by. He thought of other work, but his madness continued with a simple rapping at his window. It was keeping him up at night.
He needed to sell his idea to the subscribers, or perhaps move in and conquer someone else by video taping an artist, asking him interesting questions. If he could mask himself later, this first draft would not hold his own.
This was not our hero’s point, although it may be circumstantial. At this point it might be good to state that the protagonist of this story was the whole time in contact with these varied and symbiotic characters and was in fact a thief.
The others were spellbound by his beliefs, resolve, determination and guile to face the world that treated him so poorly. The inspiration he had promised the other young artists came like a flash and in a moment he had left. For this they could do little else but thank him, not to his face or in a letter. But under their breath they thanked their luck in anger that they had not become so jaded that they treated the charity of others in such a way. This man in effect saved the others from squandering the life they were so blessed to receive.
The man had nothing of value except a blues harp and was motionless sitting in an empty lot of a rail depot that had seen far better days. There was nobody near the man. He held his grip tight and blew in the lonely silence. He had a secure petition and a lovely instrument. And though he had not thought of his mother in years, suddenly she became rather prominent. She was killed early in his life by a man she owed money to.
He was on his own in a tired and dreary world. He found friends in the urgent city somewhere in the poorest depths. But the murder was never investigated. She was his only mother and the police did not recognize the crime. One like so many, flying through the dead bureaucracy in this ill-fated city. She had words like the others but this fell unknown to his self and it made dark reminder of his youth.
He stole to provide a drug habit but never really drank. He never laughed nor cried. He split the page in two. He lit the night sky and looked at his letters. They were unopened and drafts blew into his house and perched on a round glass table. The other chair moved though it was empty and the man approached the second chair. He shivered as a force that would leave him approached. He boarded with energy and noted the door was unmoving and in fact was a deep sphere.
He read his favorite prayer by memory. If hell was what he favored he thought he would be mighty happy. It had no impact but he prayed for insecurity that the man held his aim through. He had prayed for her enough that tidbits of the Lord strained a lonely backseat with roses crumbling at half-mast. He had it this time, he thought of the two friends talking.
They would have been sitting there but they were not. It was probably for the best. But that little smiling girl from Jabberwocky was placed on the window or a turn of the candle. She danced like his world across the wall as the light flickered and landed somewhere beside the man who killed me.
Neither of us showed it, but we would race passed the trees, brooks and fences. We took liberty to slide on the bike tires as we strove to love our Father. We found nothing in obsessing over various trends or mercenary movement. Various people would raise our liberty and show that nobody and no force would take our measure as lead. In the end, your soul with all its earmarks will come to rest like mine. The faithful always claim to live in the light.
“So how do I know you are not a freemason?” the man asked.
“Had they taken them in fascist states?” I replied
“Answer the question,” he spoke firmly.
I stood motionless and surveyed his face. He rapped against the table and stated his demands again flatly. I struggled to respond.
“I believe they are mostly harmless.”
He struck the table again, “You God damned fool, get out!”
Civilization started with indoor plumbing and genocide because the Creator is cool as shit. This is a literal handbook. They hold all of his artists. They each took three days to incorporate the influx. The trouble with humor is that the President and other evil people holding guns drive Cadillacs. Do you think he will kill again? It is a topic that never left our opinion, but perhaps these men are chosen well in advance.
But one hundred years of genocide is enough. The literacy rate is higher now and many are happy to work. He was an accountant once again. Three years of school and he knew the technology of the world before. He was an accountant then, too. It is best to be near money, “Maybe I can hold some,” he thought.
It is a textbook case of literacy.
I suppose he read for the fun of it. A servant of the dire lord, I take it for granted that I eat daily. So thank you. There by I am a disgrace to all living men. The only illness you fall into is a blank line spending three days in a coffin and if you fall asleep you chase a demon. This ill will is finally your torture. Did you ever notice the TV screen?
The man’s cigarette broke and the cherry fell out, “Damned thing can’t light,” he muttered under his breath. He was malarkey living like C. S. Lewis writing Alice in Wonderland. And perhaps it was all for a child in the same way.
Of course, near the end of all time, the Actual Freemason is the still around guy. A still around, stuck in a staying around kind of mood, the still around guy at the end. “That’s my goat-boy,” she said.
They asked me to leave and I left rather quickly. I held them to it, saving the last of the paranoid. The overwhelming reality of their true cause made idle small talk with those who were true journalists. They held him to it, folding less of the paranoid. Only the reasonable, the witty and the idle judged the irresponsible. And only the lonely are idle. The red tape and pants are a gonzo truth.
Real writers are much obliged.
Real writers need to be watched.
They told the man nothing. It was utter gibberish, garbage. Magic impulses and manic outcries, though he believed it all. Only the reference held a man half interested in believing. He sat idly searching and pulling words from other’s thoughts. He would never leave Los Angeles again. I take that back, the LA of the north, Vancouver. It is a city of only red cars, but then we found this black Cadillac.
He needed coffee like he needed a bag of hammers to the side of his head but he stopped in anyways. The delusion was grated and the dreams succeeded to make sure he belonged to Mother Suzanna. The whole beverage was on her dime. So he asked to put “The Needle and the Damage Done” in the CD player. He never imagined it would keep him up at night. It was just the scratch of the minute where he stared out the window. But that never kept him up at night. She would, she might grab his arm.
It was a classy joint, he thought, the Devil’s burnouts and white trash. He argued with the cashier enough to turn the next page. The whole restaurant turned on him. It was as if his fly was undone as he paced the counter with a smile. He had to leave and go elsewhere. The highway would be right. He could just drive away.
There was nowhere he could hide. He struck the steering wheel and allowed his car to drive itself down the straight and narrow highway. It was for the best.
His person conquest was one that trailed off. The turnpike was draining him. Traffic was getting worse and he knew that if he wanted to run away he had to do so now. He would do what the doctor would not. The damned were noted and two of the acid trips he had done recently caused an accidental ghoul. The draw of nicotine and coffee would save his note. If he ever left the depression the jitters would come. There was nothing up the middle or at the window.
Nothing would keep him up at night.
INTRODUCTION TO STEVE SPECTICAL:
Maybe if I find the ape he will guide us away from the wolves. It was the chance we missed last time.
I simply asked for salt and explain that everything we reply could very well be a false statement. I explain that the drink is strong and the salt eases in down. So far we feel fine but expect these dire wolves to close in abruptly. The Doctor remarks we are again entering Pawn County, if the man sitting in front of us keeps calling us down.
The Doctor was calm and deliberate stating, "Righteousness that was the issue last time. We searched for the wrong people. Our first mistake was making plans to find traces of an orgy of metal and smoke on an airport runway. Do you think that?”
Steve Spectacle replies, “The issue is we forgot to check with the Mole-People."
I remain silent a moment and recall the old story.
Moleman is a myth based around the workings of a homeless man who takes people and puts them in a large burlap sack. They say he is very apparent in Las Vegas. We even heard he works to save souls.
At this time disgusting arrays of people tell us we are breaking every rule of the air and sea. In defense we explain we are good law abiding citizens of Festin, like all the others. The Doctor was misinformed.
"The trick," I tell him, "Is to beat these fools literally."
“Maybe we should test you when we land.” Dr. Misinformed shouts towards a conversation he is not part of.
Fools think the trouble with Las Vegas is the homeless folk cannot help their stature in life. We are soon to discover the intolerant majority is the problem. The men and women of the street seemed afraid of the lights and sounds of the casino district.
But did they even realize it was there?
We asked many people on our tapes to define the American dream. The broad consensus of people told us the American Dream is opportunity. The others told us it was gambling. Most of the homeless mole people had never heard the term. Once, we had a quick reference from an obviously cold-dead woman. She may have been trapped in the dream once, or maybe she worked around that burnt lot in the center of the city.
So is Moleman is real or a myth? They say around my hometown that he lives alone in the darkness of the hills. But as of yet I have not mentioned that he refuses to take souls of those who hold sage. The people of earth told me this story as a child growing up. But this is Las Vegas, and we were about as far from perdition as you can get.
Is Moleman heroin in perdition? It may be the only issue on the minds of parents of teenagers, as the mayor has admitted that he sold the dope through the police in the 24-hour store parking lot next to the main local High School.
He had always mentioned the name with a tone of, "High's Cool." I had never noted that in writing, but I admit the whole town was cloaked an odd silence as he attempted to kill me. That is the trouble with running for office if you have enemies in high places.
But back to the point:
"This America is not what we want it to be." He told us. Somehow he referenced a word or two about Britain. This was strange enough at the time for me write it down. These homeless rarely talked of anything of the like. The debate whether Britain existed was quite a hassle on our recorded tape. This was recorded from memory, as it was only static when we listened later. I may have been shaking. I was scared from the ghosts we were seeing.
Was the mayor a mole person?
Why the city police pick him up just as we left?
Was he the Moleman we requested?
I came back to tea across from a strange Santa Claus having trouble keeping illicit admissions private. I looked his way as we sat peering at crack dealers outside and a very nice Australian woman.
And we are on the streak that got us into trouble last time. But we know better now. We left our casino before losing our path and shopped quickly at the staple store. On the street as we left the casino one of these strange mole people told me we must, as the key was to attach papers together. Though we cannot find the person who told us this. We bought one for us and one for her. I also bought a satchel to hold my modern disk for various files that I know about but these people seem to not.
The Australian lady accused me of stealing as we paid. I told them I worked very hard for my disks and she noted that I had no way to pay. A thief outside the Stapler Superstore had lifted my credit card as we crossed a fake placid light and camera filled void known as Las Vegas Boulevard. The doctor didn’t mind the twenty-dollar bill. I paid him back later, as it was the righteous thing to do.