The Suicide of Martin Weir – Conclusion

Martin Weir clawed at his skull, hoping his fingers would find a way past the bone and brain so that he could dig out the burning pins that had been lodged there. The girl in the yellow and pink pajamas continued to cry out, and the pain in Martin’s head continued to push deeper and deeper.

In amongst the agony there was a brief moment when Martin was almost happy that he was going to die, lying in the middle of an empty street. Death was, after all, what he wanted. He would have preferred to leave this world in less crippling pain, but he thought it would soon be over. Martin figured that eventually his body would give in to the piercing sound of the young child’s screams that were ripping his insides to shreds. Then it would be over and he would finally be at peace.

Except his body didn’t give in. Martin tried feverishly to dig out the sound that was ripping him apart, but to no avail. It was too much. He couldn’t take it anymore. Martin soon realized that the pain would ever end. Not unless he took action.

Martin reached for the Bowie knife attached to his belt. He unsheathed the blade, brought it up to his temple, and began to push.

Then, without warning, it was over. The scream ended and the pain in Martin’s brain was gone. He returned his weapon to its holster and climbed back onto his feet. Once he was standing, Martin realized that his eyes were shut tight. When he opened them, he felt a stream of warm tears roll down his cheeks. He looked back up at the window to see if the little girl was still there, but she was gone.

Did that really just happen, he wondered, or am I just going crazy?

It took a few seconds for Martin to remember that he was on his way to find a Weregorilla before he almost stabbed himself in the head. He walked back to the building, and when he got to the door he remembered that it was locked. He shook his head and turned to head back to the car, but paused before taking a step. Martin decided to try to open it again. He turned the handle and found it opened without a problem.

Something is fucking with me, Martin thought. He stepped inside the building to begin his search for the monster that he hoped would kill him just as it started to rain again. Yeah, something is definitely fucking with me, he conceded. Hopefully I’ll be dead before I have to deal with that.

When he was inside the building, Martin pulled out his flashlight. He pressed the button, but nothing happened. He rapped the bulb a few times with his free hand until the light came on. The dim beam that appeared made it a little easier for Martin to see, but he still found himself squinting as he methodically scanned each room, looking for a sign of where the Weregorilla could be.

The wind picked up. Martin heard both the rain slamming against the dirty, paper thin windows of the building, and the air forcing its way through the cracks in the walls. With the noise echoing through the empty structure, Martin didn’t think he was going to be able to hear the monster skulking around, so he was forced to rely on his tired old eyes and a barely functioning flashlight.

Perhaps this is better, he thought. If I don’t see the beast coming, maybe it won’t hurt as much. Martin chuckled when the thought crossed his mind. Of course getting murdered by a mindless hell spawn is going to hurt.

When Martin realized that the Humanoid Sub-Creature he was looking for wasn’t on the ground floor, he began to search for an entrance to the basement. Weregorillas tended to nest below ground. That was fine with Martin. He thought that if he went downstairs he would be less likely to run into the girl that had made him want to scratch out his own brain. He had no interest in seeing her again.

It took a few minutes, but Martin eventually found the stairwell. He slowly made his way down the stairs, a creaking sound accompanying each step. The stench of death hit him as soon as he reached the basement. The smell was so strong that Martin felt himself about to gag, but he managed to keep the contents of his stomach down. Martin recalled that when he was a rookie this sort of thing would have had him throwing up all over his shoes. The ability to hold down half digested food was one of the perks of being in the job as long as he had. Also, with what he had already endured that day, dealing with the smell of rotting flesh was a minor annoyance.

Martin looked around his immediate vicinity and saw the remnants of what looked like seven dog carcasses and hundreds of tiny rodent bones strewn around the ground.

Any time now, he thought. Any time now and this will all be over.

Martin continued further into the basement, methodically scanning the rooms. After a few minutes of searching, his light clicked off. At that moment the sound of the rain crashing against the building seemed to disappear. It was eerily silent as Martin tapped the flashlight with his free hand. He hit it three times, but nothing happened. He shook it quickly, hoping that the batteries had not completely died, but again nothing happened.

God damn it, Martin thought as he hit the flashlight as hard as he could, not knowing whether it would turn on or shatter in his hands. Much to his surprise, the light came on and spread itself across the far wall.

That’s when he saw it.

It was hunched over, facing away from Martin. Its attention was fixated on something near the ground, so it didn’t notice the dim light that highlighted its massive, disgusting form. The light gleamed off of the beast’s oily tufts of hair and brown, leathery skin.

This is it, Martin thought. The moment of truth. Be the man you want to be, he almost said aloud. Don’t be afraid. It’ll be over soon.

Martin wanted to speak, but he didn’t know what to say. He was in the rare situation where he would be able to choose his final words. He thought about it for a moment, but came to the conclusion that he shouldn’t say anything. He decided it would be better if his last words were to Jeff, the man who would replace him as the Sergeant of the Humanoid Sub-Creature Pacification Unit. The man whose job it would be to find the creature that killed the previous Sergeant. He was sure it would be better that way.

Martin shook the flashlight at the monster until he got its attention. It stood up and faced him. This Weregorilla had the typical bashed-in nose and the mouth full of ragged green teeth that poured spit like a waterfall. But this one was bigger than usual, standing closer to 10 feet, by Martin’s estimation. This one also had red eyes, which Martin had never seen before.

The beast let out a low growl. Good, Martin thought, I’ve interrupted him. He’s super pissed. Maybe he’ll skip past tossing me in the air like a rag doll and get straight to killing me.

Martin guessed there was about 50 feet between them. Based on their average speed, Martin guessed that once the Weregorilla got going, it would reach him in about six seconds.

Six seconds will seem like an eternity, Martin thought, but when it’s over, I’ll never have to wait for anything again.

The creature took a step towards Martin. Martin immediately felt a sense of calm wash over him, as if slipping into a warm bath. As the Weregorilla took another step towards him, then a third and a fourth, Martin thought that he should close his eyes. He may have wanted to die, but he certainly didn’t want to watch it happen.

Just as he was about to shut the rest of the world out, and welcome the cold embrace of death, he saw something move behind the creature. At first he saw what appeared to be a scrap of yellow fabric floating behind the monster, but as the Weregorilla swayed, he saw it for what it really was.

She seemed smaller than she was when she floated towards his car. Even smaller than when he saw her in the window. She was sitting on the ground, her hair matted to her face with sweat, dried tears and blood. Her yellow and pink pajamas were muddied. Martin had trouble making it out, but it looked like she had numerous defensive wounds on her arms.

Even in the face of imminent death, this brave little girl still fights for her life, Martin thought. She deserves to live.

He was so fixated on the girl who was now looking straight at him, Martin almost forgot about the 800 pound monster that was bearing down on him. It was about three quarters of the way towards him and still picking up speed when Martin went for his knife. The Weregorilla let out a roar that filled the entire building as it pounced. Martin fell backwards, the monster on top of him. Martin’s head hit the cold damp concrete and he could feel the warmth of his own blood spreading across the back of his head. He thought it was over. He was going to get what he wanted, but still he failed. He had failed his wife, his kids, and now this little girl.

He didn’t know how long he was out, but Martin eventually opened his eyes. He gasped at the sight of ragged green teeth mere inches from his face. Martin gagged as pungent saliva dripped into his mouth. For a second, Martin wasn’t sure exactly what had happened. When he tried to move his hands he realized that they were still holding onto his knife, which was stuck deep into the Weregorilla’s chest.

“Lucky shot,” Martin chuckled to himself.

After failing to lift 800 pounds of dead monster weight off of his body, Martin awkwardly slid out from underneath the creature. Once free, he grabbed the back of his head to see how badly he was bleeding while he limped over to the little girl by the wall. He was still looking at his hand when he started talking to her.

“Hello, sweetheart. Are you…” Martin’s voice was caught in his throat. He found himself looking at a boy, about twelve years old, with tear stains on his cheeks, and dirt and blood on his white t-shirt and blue jeans. Martin did his best to compose himself before speaking again. “Are you okay?”

The boy nodded, still too afraid to speak.

Martin smiled as best he could. “It’s okay. Everything’s going to be fine.”

Martin wrapped his arms around the child and struggled to lift him up. He could feel the boy shivering in his arms. Martin headed towards the stairs to go up to the main level. As they were about to exit the building, Martin looked around to see if she was there. When the young girl with the yellow and pink pajamas didn’t reveal herself, he took the child he was holding out into the cold night to live another day.

It’s okay, Martin thought. Everything’s going to be fine.

The End


The Suicide of Martin Weir – Chapter Two

Martin Weir shut his eyes and grabbed at the shards of glass that had dug themselves into his skin. After a few moments of clawing at glass that wasn’t there, he found that his heart had settled down to a normal pace and that the knots in his stomach had untied themselves. He looked out the windshield to see if the little girl in the yellow and pink pajamas was still standing in front of his car. When he saw that she was gone, Martin rested his head against the driver’s side window. He wondered for a moment if she was ever really there at all.

Must be nerves, he figured.


The sound made Martin’s entire body jump. He jerked his head to the left and saw Jeff Redding, the only other person who worked with him in the Humanoid Sub-Creature Pacification Unit, flashing a big toothy grin through the driver side window. Jeff knocked on the window again and motioned for his boss to roll down the window. Martin obliged and tried to smile. The rain was coming down hard again.

“Morning, Jeff.”

“Morning, or evening?” Jeff replied, as the rain streamed down his face. As usual, he had forgotten his umbrella. “You get any sleep lately? You look like hell.”

“I feel like hell,” Martin replied, “but that’s pretty much par for the course. What are you doing here? I thought you were working another sighting.”

“I was,” Jeff said, wiping the rain out of his eyes. “Stupid Norsehoof was seen down by the boardwalk.” He had raised his voice so Martin could hear him over the rain, which had started to pour down even harder, thundering off the roof of the car. “Thing must have been starving,” Jeff continued, “it was ripping through dumpsters and screaming its damned-fool head off. Wasn’t too hard to find.”

“You put it down?” asked Martin.

Jeff nodded. “For good. The lab says they know everything they need to about those ugly sons of bitches.”

“Good stuff,” Martin responded as he used his right hand to search for a pack of cigarettes in his glove box. The same hand slammed it shut when it didn’t find any. “So what brings you out in the middle of this piss storm?” he asked Jeff.

Jeff smiled as he continued to wipe the rain off of his face. “I got some more details on the HSC we got in there. I got a call that they couldn’t get through to you on your radio. Also, I like seeing your pretty face.”

Martin couldn’t help but chuckle. “Yeah, this stupid thing hasn’t been working right since the last time I punched it.”

“The radio or your face?” Jeff asked Martin with a smile.

Even though Martin spent most of his time thinking of ways to kill himself so he could be rid of his horrid life, he couldn’t help but laugh at the question. He was really going to miss Jeff.

“So what am I going to have to deal with tonight?” Martin asked with genuine interest, as he hoped whatever it was would be able to help him reach his goal of never going home again. Jeff handed him a file. It was so wet from the rain that it almost fell apart in Martin’s hands.

“It’s your favourite,” Jeff said, sarcasm dripping from every word.

Martin opened the file, carefully pulling the pages apart to make sure they didn’t rip. “Christ,” he said, “a goddamn Weregorilla.” Martin had dealt with a lot of Weregorillas over the years. He tried to remember what their technical name was, but it didn’t come to him. Weregorilla was just something that someone in the office thought up at some point. He was pretty sure that person was killed on the job. Martin thought that guy was a lucky bastard.

On average, Weregorrilas were about eight feet tall, and about half as wide. With brownish-grey leathery skin, tufts of scraggily hair coming out in no discernible pattern, and yellowed nine-inch nails protruding from their boney, varicose vein-riddled paws, they looked like something straight out of a nightmare. But the worst part, Martin thought, was their faces. He could deal with their sunken eyes, their huge foreheads and their snouts that looked like they had been bashed in by a baseball bat. What he couldn’t deal with was their green, ragged teeth, and the waterfall of drool that poured out of their mouths. Just the thought of their disgusting, putrid mugs made Martin want to gag. While Martin’s mind wandered, he didn’t notice Jeff get in the passenger seat.

“Christ, is it ever pissing out there,” Jeff said. Martin nodded as Jeff began listing off the things that his boss should remember to watch for when searching for the creature. Things like where they like to nest, and how they like to attack. Martin already knew everything he needed to know about these monsters, so he didn’t pay much mind to what Jeff was saying. Weregorillas liked to play with their prey, like a dog that catches a rabbit. It’ll kill the rabbit, but not without tossing it up in the air a few times first.

Martin briefly thought about putting things off for another night, for a time when his Jack Kevorkian wouldn’t be slightly more unstable than Leatherface from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but that moment passed quickly.

No, Martin thought, this thing will definitely be up to the job. It’ll have the courage to do what I don’t. In this world, beggars can’t be choosers.

“Hey, Martin?” Jeff’s voice pierced Martin’s thoughts. Martin wasn’t sure how long Jeff had been saying his name.

“Yes?” Martin replied, trying to sound as though he had been paying attention the entire time.

“Are you feeling okay?” Jeff asked. “You don’t look so good. I mean, you never look good, but you look especially bad tonight. You want me to take care of-”

“No,” Martin interrupted, “I’ve got this.”

“Alright then,” Jeff nodded and pointed towards an entrance to a building across the street. “So I think we should head in over there by the trash bins, and-”

“No!” Martin interrupted again. “I said I’ve got this.”

“I don’t know, Martin. I mean, I know you can handle these things by yourself, but…”

“It’s okay, Jeff,” Martin said as calmly as he could. He found Jeff to be a bit of a worrier, so he was used to trying to alleviate his colleague’s concerns. He put his hand on Jeff’s shoulder as he continued, “you already had to deal with one freak tonight. Let me take care of this one. Go ahead and go home.”

“You sure?” Jeff asked.

Martin nodded. “Definitely. Everything’s going to be fine.”

Jeff had a look of concern on his face, but he forced a quick smile and opened the passenger door. He slid out and jogged quickly to his car, which was parked a few yards behind Martin’s. Martin watched through his review mirror as Jeff got into his vehicle, and pulled out into the street.

When Jeff was gone, Martin took the picture of his family off the dashboard to study again. He took one last look at his wife and his kids, memorizing every detail of their smiling faces. When he finished, he wrapped the photo in the letter to his son and wedged them both between the sun blocker and the roof of his car.

Someone will find them there, he thought hopefully.

Martin let out a loud cough and opened the car door. The rain was coming down even harder than when Jeff was there. Martin could barely see three feet in front of himself. He walked around to the trunk, keeping his left hand on the car to guide him. He felt the water rush over his fingers, like they were pebbles in a brook. When he reached the trunk, Martin slid the key in and turned it until he could feel it unlock. He opened the lid and started moving his empty liquor bottles around until he found what he was looking for.

Martin picked up the brown leather case and unsheathed his weapon. He studied the blade of his twelve inch Bowie knife starting at its tip, and continued down to its walnut handle. Over time, the varnish had worn off and the wood had become stained with the blood of countless freaks of nature. He wasn’t sure how many times this weapon had saved his life. His wife had bought him the knife when he first got the job in the HSCPU. Martin thought about when she had given it to him. She had said that every good hunter should have a good knife. He had no intention of using it that night, but the thought of having something his wife had given him made him feel better.

Martin sheathed his blade and attached it to his belt. He then reached down and picked up his flashlight and tucked it into his left jacket pocket. After a quick search for smokes failed, he cursed himself for not stopping beforehand to pick up a pack and slammed the trunk closed.

Martin hurried across the street towards the entranceway that Jeff had suggested. When he was part way there, Martin realized that he was walking with a sense of purpose for the first time in a long while. It almost made him feel good. Almost.

Martin tried to open the door, but it was locked. Martin chuckled to himself. It couldn’t be easy, could it, he thought. Martin had picked more than his share of locks, but he left his kit back in the car. He debated trying to kick the door in, but he really didn’t want a broken foot to slow him down once he got into the building. He wanted to get this done as quickly as possible.

Martin started to head back to his vehicle when the heavy rain suddenly stopped. But he realized very quickly that it hadn’t really stopped. It had just stopped making sound.

Martin found himself standing in silence. He could see the rain pounding the black wet pavement, and he could see it bouncing violently off of the roof of his car, but not a single sound was making it to his ears. He stood in the middle of the street for a few moments, looking around, wondering what was happening. The silence was soon interrupted by a faint whisper that seemed to rise up from the ground. At first it seemed to be coming from in front of him, but soon moved in behind. Martin turned around to try and hear it better, but the whisper kept moving all around him. Martin couldn’t make it out, but whatever it was he could sense a tremble in its tone. The sick feeling Martin had earlier crawled back into his gut. The whisper got louder and Martin could finally start to make some of it out.

“…aa baa black sheep, have you any wool?”

Martin listened while trying to keep the contents of his stomach down.

“…yes sir, yes sir, three bags full…”

The voice got louder and louder, as it whirled around him.

“…one for my master, one for my dame…”

Martin wheeled around, trying to find the source of the sound. It was becoming harder and harder to keep the bile from rising into his throat.

“…and one for the little boy who lives down the lane…”

“Who are you?” Martin tried calling to the voice, the taste of vomit covering his mouth.

“…baa baa black sheep, have you any wool?”

Martin found himself completely enveloped by the voice’s fear. He tried to speak to it again, retching between every word. “What… do… you… want?”

“…yes sir, yes sir, three bags full…”

Martin’s insides felt like they were going to explode. He sucked in a gulp of air and screamed, “WHERE ARE YOU!?”

The voice dissipated. Martin was about to bolt back to his car and drive home, but paused when the rain stopped. The tension in his chest and stomach melted away. Martin closed his eyes and took a deep breath. When he opened them again he was looking straight at a second story window in the building he was trying to get into. The little girl with the yellow pajama top was there, staring straight back at him. Her lips moved, but Martin heard nothing. He wanted to call to her, but the words wouldn’t come. He wanted to run into the building, but his legs wouldn’t carry him. The girl’s mouth opened wide. After a pause, Martin heard her scream, “HELP ME!”

Her cry pierced Martin’s skull, causing him to fall to his knees. He felt a million needles dig their way into his brain. He gripped his ears so tightly he thought he was going to crush his own skull.

No, not like this, Martin prayed. Please, not like this.

Martin was certain her scream was going to last forever. The needles were going to tear him to shreds. This is how he was going to die. Not heroically. Not in a way that would make his family proud. He was going to die lying in the middle of the street, with tears in his eyes. Alone and afraid.


End of Chapter 2

The Suicide of Martin Weir – Chapter One

Martin Weir stared at the letter he had written his son weeks earlier, but didn’t have the courage to send. He’d been sitting behind the wheel of his rusty silver sedan long enough for the air around him to be almost as cool as it was outside. As the warmth left his skin, the hairs on the back of his neck stood on end. Martin could hear the rain bouncing off the roof directly over his head, but it sounded as if it was a million miles away. As he continued to stare at the slightly crumpled sheets of paper in his calloused hands, his eyes relaxed to the point that all the words blurred together. He had been focusing on the line “No matter what happens, and no matter what has happened, I want you to know I love you.”

No matter what happens, indeed, Martin thought. He knew exactly what was going to happen that night. He was going to die.

Martin had wanted to kill himself for a while now, but he could never bring himself to do it. He’d thought about hanging himself, slitting his wrists, or poisoning himself. He even considered putting a bullet into his brain, but he didn’t think he had it in him to follow through on any of them. In Martin’s estimation, it would take effort and conviction to take his own life, and he was just too damned tired to have either. He also didn’t want his family to hate him any more than they already did. Martin believed that having a loser for a husband or a father was one thing, but having a loser for a husband or a father who offed himself was a stink you couldn’t just wash away. He decided he wouldn’t put his wife and kids through that. But it didn’t change the fact that he still wanted to be dead.

The air around Martin became so cold that it snapped him out of the fog in his mind and caused him to remember where he was and why he was there. Just before getting the call that led to Martin being parked in a piece of shit metal box in one of the worst neighbourhoods in the city, he was sitting at the foot of his bed in his bachelor apartment. With the sink full of dishes, walls full of roaches and empty bottles scattered around the room, the best term Martin could find to describe the place was sad. Most people would be sleeping at 3 o’clock in the morning, but, in Martin’s eyes, he was not most people. Most people didn’t stay up all night drinking by themselves, thinking about their job and what new hell it would bring the next day. And even if they did, they certainly weren’t thinking of a job like Martin’s. But it was that job that made him think that maybe there was another way out his life. A way that would make his family proud.

Martin tossed the letter onto the dashboard and reached into his jacket pocket to pull out his black leather wallet. He flipped it open to look at the shiny metal police badge that was hidden inside. Sergeant Martin Weir was the head of the Humanoid Sub-Creature Pacification Unit of the Palisades Police Department. The other officers on the force called it the Monster Squad. Martin wasn’t given the job because of his 20 years of exemplary service, or his ability to effectively manage people. In fact, there was only one other person in the HSCPU that he had to manage, and that person hadn’t been in the unit nearly as long as Martin. No, Martin was made head of the HSCPU because most people don’t want to spend any more time in the Monster Squad than they have to, and the few individuals who do want to be there usually die before the chance of a promotion comes up. Martin was lucky to have survived as long as he had. No one would blame him if that luck were to eventually run out.

Martin was off duty when the call came in, but Jeff Redding, the other member of the HSCPU, was already out on another call. Martin didn’t mind. It was better working than trying to live with himself. And there was always a chance that he could run into something that was worthy of giving him a good death.

Martin let out a loud sigh, and, without looking, reached up with one hand and pulled down a faded photograph from his brown-stained sun blocker. It was a rare picture of Martin’s family where everyone was smiling.

Beth looks about six, Martin thought, so that would make Marcus… three? Or four maybe? Martin couldn’t quite remember. He looked at his daughter and his son for a few seconds, but his gaze lingered on his ex-wife, Helena. He looked at her and took in every detail. He studied the long blond hair caressing Helena’s shoulders, the black turtleneck snuggling her neck, and the perfect white teeth peaking out of her perfect mouth. Martin thought about the time when the photograph he was holding was taken. He didn’t think that two people could be happier.

“That was a long time ago,” Martin whispered to himself.

A few years after the picture was taken, his wife gave him an ultimatum: Her or the job. At the time, Martin thought he had made the right choice. He thought that what he did was important. He thought that lives depended on him. Helena didn’t see it that way, and in the time since she served him with divorce papers, Martin began to see that she was right. He couldn’t make a difference. He couldn’t save the world from monsters.

Martin felt a shiver run through his chest. He raised his head from the photo in his hand and tried to look out the front windshield. The inside of the glass had fogged over, so he used the sleeve of his jacket to wipe away the condensation. He could see something standing about 15 feet in front of his car, but the rain was coming down so hard he couldn’t make out what it was. He strained his eyes, but it didn’t help. Martin tossed the photo next to the letter on the dashboard and listened to the THUNK sound his door made as he unlocked it. He intended to get out of his car, but as he reached for the handle the rain seemed to subside, and the thing that had been a fair distance away started to float towards him.

The little girl, who could be no more than eight years old by Martin’s estimation, was wearing a yellow pajama top and pink bottoms. She slowly made her way towards Martin’s car, her arms never leaving her sides and her legs remaining perfectly still. As she got closer, Martin could see the little girl’s mouth moving, but he couldn’t hear anything coming out. The rain had stopped and Martin found himself surrounded in silence. The child came closer and closer, her pink bottoms dragging along the wet concrete.

Martin had seen a lot of strange things in his life, but nothing like this. He couldn’t make sense of it. His gut told him to run, but he was too terrified to move. He watched in silent horror as the little girl made her way towards his car, her mouth still moving, her mouth still silent.

When the girl stopped at the front of the silver sedan, the air around Martin turned thick. A sick feeling crept inside his belly. He wanted to reach for the door handle, but didn’t for fear the slightest movement might make him wretch. Martin looked at the girl and wanted to ask her how she was doing this, but he didn’t dare open his mouth. He just stared at the little girl in her pajamas while his stomach churned and knotted.

After a long moment of Martin and the young girl looking into each others’ eyes, the child’s mouth stopped moving. It was shut, but Martin could hear her scream, “HELP ME!”

Martin’s eyes grew wide and his heart started pounding in his chest. He found the courage to move again, so he reached to open the car door, but was stopped by a flash of white light that blinded him, and an explosion of shattered glass that cut into his face.

End of Chapter One

The Suicide of Martin Weir – Prologue


I’ll cut right to the point. I’m a terrible father. I used to be a terrible husband too, but since the divorce I guess I don’t have to worry about that anymore. Now all I have to worry about is being a terrible dad. Of course, that’s assuming you or your sister still think of me as a parent. I wouldn’t blame either of you if you didn’t. I wasn’t around much when you guys were young and now I see you even less. I can’t even remember the last time I saw or spoke to your sister. Beth must hate me for what I did to the both of you. And for what I did to your mom.

I don’t want to waste your time, so I’ll try to keep it short. Don’t waste your life on things that aren’t important to you. The last few times I’ve seen you, I’ve seen a look in your eyes. It’s the “I don’t want to be here” look. Don’t worry, I’m not offended. To be honest, it’s the same look I see when I look at myself in the mirror. I just want you to be happy, and if that means you and me not spending time together, so be it. Don’t get me wrong, I like seeing you, but I can tell that it just doesn’t interest you. I completely understand. I wouldn’t want to spend time with me either. I’ve had 22 years to connect with you, and it hasn’t happened. That’s my fault, not yours.

I’m not sure if you’ll bother to read this letter or how it will even get to you. It’s taken me a while to get the courage to write this, but I don’t know if I’ll ever be brave enough to drop it in a mail box. It’s sort of funny, actually. Most people don’t have the stones to do what I do for a living, but I’m too chicken shit to take a walk to the post office. That’s life for you, I guess.

I don’t want you to feel bad for me. I’ve lived a difficult life, but that’s my fault. We’re all responsible for the choices we make and now I have to deal with the consequences of those choices. Part of that is being a failure as a father and as a husband. But maybe the biggest consequence of my choices is being a failure as a human being. Maybe that’s why I gravitated towards the field I’m in. I’m a cop who fights real life monsters. I couldn’t handle being a human being so I spent my time dealing with things that are less than human.

I’d like to think I’ve done some good in my life, but I know that in order to do that good, I turned my back on what should have been most important to me. I’m sorry it took me so long to realize something that would have been obvious to most people. Unfortunately for you, your dad is one of the dumbest people around.

After this, you won’t hear from me again. But I want to leave you with one last thing. Please don’t make the same mistakes I have. You work so hard, but what good is it if you don’t have anyone to share it with? Love and family. I can tell you from experience that those are the things that are most important. In the end, work is just to pay the bills.

No matter what happens, and no matter what has happened, I want you to know I love you. I always have and I always will. I hope that if you read this, you’ll tell your sister and your mom that I love them too.

Again, don’t make the same mistakes I have. You’re too good a person to end up like me.

I love you so much.



End of Prologue

The Drowning, Man – Conclusion

Read The Drowning, Man – Part 1 Here!

Read The Drowning, Man – Part 2 Here!

Read The Drowning, Man – Part 3 Here!

Read The Drowning, Man – Part 4 Here!

Holy poop, I thought to myself. There I was in front of the man who tried to drown me in the very lake that we were standing next to. It was dark and there was no one around. The air smelled damp from the rain that had just ceased. There was nothing stopping him from finishing what he started. But first, I wanted to know why.

“Why?” I screamed, half hoping that someone else would hear and come running to my aid. “Why are you doing this?”

“Why?” Rod mocked. “Well, you said it yourself. You are the world’s biggest asshole and you shit all over everyone you meet. You don’t deserve to live.”

I couldn’t argue that point, but I wasn’t going to lie down and take it. “Maybe not,” I said. “But who are you to carry out my sentence? I may be unworthy of life, but who are you to deem yourself as executioner?”

“I am the one who hears all. I am the one who sees all. I am the one who knows all. I. Am. All.”

“That makes you sound pretty high and mighty, Rod,” I told him.

Rod’s lip curled. “Why do you keep calling me that?”

“What? Rod?” I asked. “That’s your name, isn’t it?” The person who I thought was named Rod shook his head. “Oh, well, it’s something like that, right?” I guessed. “It’s, like, Rod or Claude or Maude or G…”

Then it hit me like a brick wall. My brain started putting everything together. The comfort and and help he provided me in my time of need… Hearing, seeing, knowing and being all… Rendering the ultimate judgement… Not to mention getting on my nerves at the drop of a hat.

I whispered to the person in front of me. “Are you… God?”

The man looked at me like I was a complete idiot. “My name is Craig.”

“Oh,” I said, feeling a little let down. “That was a little anticlimactic.”

“Sorry to disappoint you,” said the man who was not God.

“No worries,” I told Craig. “Anyway, I believe you were going to kill me or something?”

“Kill you?” Craig sounded taken aback. “Oh no, I have no intention of killing you.”

Now I was confused. “So then what the serious fuck, Craig? Isn’t that what all this is about? Isn’t that why you brought me back here? To finish what you started?”

“Yes,” he said. “I brought you back here to finish what I started, but what I have started does not end in your death.”

This fucking guy, I thought to myself. Now I was getting pissed off. “So, tying me up, dumping me in a lake and leaving me to die wasn’t meant to kill me? Gee, I guess I read that situation wrong.”

Craig’s comforting eyes returned. “The purpose of this little exercise was to make you think about your actions and how they affect others.” An empathetic smile appeared on his face. “In that regard, I think today was a success, wouldn’t you agree?”

“Yes,” I told him. That much was true. I had definitely thought about my actions and their consequences more that day than I had at any other point in my life.

“And how did today make you feel?” he asked.

“Like shit,” I replied as I looked down at my feet and the slick ground. I raised my head back up when Craig put his left hand on my right shoulder.

“Yes,” he said. “Developing a conscious tends to feel a bit awful.”

My nerves were shot. I was exhausted and I just wanted to go home. “Alright, enough of this,” I said as I smacked his hand off of me. “What’s the end game here? You wanted me to think about how shitty I am to other people, and I did. You wanted me to feel bad about how shitty I am to other people, and I do. Mission accomplished. What I still don’t understand is why you? Why did you decide to teach me this lesson today?”

Craig’s eyes changed. Where I previously saw comfort was now replaced with what appeared to be sadness. A little light bulb went off in my head. “I did something to you, didn’t I?” I asked. “I did something and I don’t even recognize you. Ugh, I am the worst! Look, whatever I did to you, I’m sorry, okay? I am so, so sorry.”  Tears were welling up inside me. It wasn’t long before I could feel a couple of them rolling down my cheeks. “Please forgive me.”

Craig smiled. “I have nothing to forgive you for, Chris,” he replied. “You have not wronged me.”

“Then why, God damn it?!” I screamed, more tears forcing their way out. “Why did you do this to me?”

“Honestly?” Craig continued to smile. “Because I like fucking with people. And you, sir, needed to be fucked with.”

I really didn’t know what to say. Even after everything I had gone though that day, all I could think about at that moment was the fact that Craig was still wearing a full tuxedo. “And why are you wearing a tux, again?” I asked as I tried to wipe the tears off my face.

“Because when I’m fucking with people, I like to wear a tux,” he responded.

I felt a red hot rage burning up inside of me. I was already getting angry, but for some reason Craig wearing a penguin suit while he messed with me really made me mad. “I’m inclined to drag you into that lake and drown you,” I growled, trying to sound intimidating.

“Good luck with that,” he laughed. Then he put his hand on my shoulder again. “Anyway, Chris, I hope you learned a lesson from all this.”

“Don’t take rides from strangers? Yeah, I got it.”

“No,” he said. “The lesson is that you should endeavour to be a better person so that, in time, you will become the best person you can be.”

That’s a nice sentiment, I thought. Tying me up and leaving me to drown was a weird way to go about conveying that sentiment, but it’s nice nonetheless. Then Craig spoke again. “Also, and maybe more importantly, you shouldn’t be so rude and crass all the time.”

You have got to be fucking kidding me. I stood there with my mouth agape. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. This is why this fool decided to put me in a situation where my death was a realistic possibility?

“Rude and crass?” I slapped his hand off of me as hard as I could. “Rude and crass? You did all this because I’m rude and crass!”

“Yes,” he said, calmly. “And my psychiatrist thinks I may have some kind of mental disorder.”

“Well that makes sense,” I told him.

“I’m also a ghost. Goodbye,” he said as he began to fade away.

I was stunned. I couldn’t believe what I had just heard or what I was seeing. Craig was simply vanishing before my eyes.

“Wait!” I called out. “This doesn’t make sense. You touched my shoulder. You slapped my face. You interacted with all those other people. Shouldn’t you have just passed right through me? And shouldn’t I have been the only one who could see you?”

As he continued to dissipate into the moonlit night, the man who I thought was named Rod, but was actually a ghost named Craig, gave me one more warm, comforting smile before conveying his final words to me. “That’s not how ghosts work, stupid.”

And with that, the man who tried to drown me in order to teach me a lesson about being a better person was gone, vanished into the night.

“I totally knew he was a ghost,” I said out loud to no one. I stood there for a while trying to process everything that had happened. But then something else occurred to me. “Wait,” I said out loud to no one again. “Ghosts wear tuxedos and have psychiatrists? Crazy.”

After a few more moments of standing by myself next to the lake, noticing the moonlight glittering off the small ripples on its surface, I walked home.

The walk back home was pretty uneventful. The first thing I did when I got back to my apartment was head to the bathroom (because I really had to pee), but after that I found the Milky Way that had inspired me to keep living that day. It was sitting on my nightstand, right where I left it. I picked it up and held it between my thumb and forefinger.

“Thank you,” I said just before I ripped it open and consumed it in three bites. It was the most delicious thing I had ever eaten. Even though it had that white stuff on it that old chocolate bars get sometimes.

After all that, my adventure was over.

You may be wondering if I actually learned anything from my little ordeal. Well, I’d like to think so, even though everything that happened to me was caused by a nut job of a spectre. Since then, I try to think about how my actions will impact others, and I try to choose my words more carefully before I say them (although I’m still working on that part). All that to say, every day I just try to be a little better than I was the day before.

So, I know what you’re thinking. You want to know why I’m telling you all this. I mean, no part of this story really painted me in a positive light. Well, the truth is I wanted to convey something to you. One little lesson that I think everyone should know. And that lesson is this: Be considerate of other people’s feelings. Because if you don’t, a mentally unstable ghost will try to kill you by tying you up and dumping you in a lake.

And one final thought that just occurred to me: If I was right about Craig being a ghost…

What else was I right about?

The End.


The Drowning, Man – Part 4

Read The Drowning, Man – Part 1 Here!

Read The Drowning, Man – Part 2 Here!

Read The Drowning, Man – Part 3 Here!

My new companion, Rod, and I were on our way back to Waterloo to see my ex-girlfriend, whom I strongly believed tied me up and tried to drown me in Waterloo Park earlier that day. Having already questioned my mortal enemy, Jin, and my former best friend, Lawrence (whose mom I had banged), I knew in my gut that it had to be her. The thought of seeing her again terrified me, but if I didn’t confront her I knew I would be living in fear for the rest of my life.

I directed Rod to drive us to the King Street Trio; a quaint little open concept restaurant in an old, what some may call historic, building located on, funnily enough, King Street. When we arrived, the sun had completely set and it had started to drizzle. Great, I thought as I felt the rain sprinkling my face. Now I’m all damp again.

I saw her as soon as we got through the front door. Long blond hair flowed gently down her back. Her curves were highlighted by the little black dress she was wearing. The red, open-toed heels she wore added three inches to her already tall frame. Her blue eyes and bright smile flirted with a couple male patrons who were in the process of paying their bill. She looked beautiful and happy.

Then she turned and saw me.

She immediately charged at me, much faster than I would have expected someone wearing those shoes could. As she got to me, I tried to put on a brave face by acting normal. “Hey Laura, how are things?” I said.

Then she punched me in the face.

The next thing I knew I was looking up at the wood paneling and industrial piping that covered the restaurant’s ceiling. I rubbed my jaw as I got back to my feet. “You call that a punch?” I asked, trying not to sound like an 18-wheeler just hit me in the face. I noticed that Laura wasn’t in the immediate vicinity anymore. “Laura?”

“You’ve been out for 20 minutes,” a voice from behind me said. It was Rod, who was now sitting at a table. “People have literally stepped over you to get seated.”

“What?” I asked, still rubbing my jaw. “I’ve been unconscious for 20 minutes and you didn’t do anything?”

Rod smiled his warm, comforting smile. “Of course I did. I had a salad,” he said as he motioned to the empty plate in front of him. I was not particularly pleased with my new friend, especially since I was starving and he didn’t bother to save me any of his food. But at least he saved me the trouble of calling Laura back over. “He’s up now, Laura.”

Laura returned, looking a little less furious than she did right before she knocked me the fuck out, but still pissed enough that I thought she might slug me again. I could hear the venom in each word she spit out at me. “What are you doing here, Chris?”

I was certainly afraid of getting my bell rung, or worse, but I had to know. “I want to know why you tried to kill me.”

“Please,” Laura snarled. “You’re a big boy. You can handle a little punch to the face.”

“No, not that,” I shot back. “I want to know why you tried to drown me in the park. I know things didn’t turn out well, but surely trying to kill me was a little, well, overkill.”

Laura looked at me like I was speaking another language. “What the hell are you talking about? I didn’t try to kill you. What, you think I’m some lost little girl who can’t live without you? And that if I can’t have you, no one else can either? Is that what you think of me!?”

I had to consider my answer to this carefully. It could be a trap of some kind. I had to tread lightly. “Um. Yes?”

And then I was on my back, looking at the ceiling again.

Rod leaned over into my line of sight. “You got knocked out. Again.

“How long?” I asked, still lying on the crusty restaurant floor.

“Not long,” he replied, his warm eyes trying to comfort me. “You took it much better this time.”

I rubbed my head as I sat up. When I made it to my feet I noticed that Laura was now sitting at a nearby table. I slumped myself into a chair to join her. My new friend did the same. Laura began speaking to Rod at once. “So, new guy who is for some reason wearing a tuxedo and is by default a better man than Chris, I’m guessing he told you that we used to date. Did he tell you how he ended it?”

“No,” Rod replied.

Here it comes, I thought. The thing I dreaded most about coming here. “Laura-”

“So,” she said to Rod, “Chris sends me an email saying he wants to get together one night. Not just any night mind you, it was my birthday. Says he’s got a big surprise for me. Now, I think, being the naive person that I am, that maybe he’s going to bring me dinner from my favourite restaurant, or maybe he got a little present for me, or some flowers. But more importantly, what I really want, and what I genuinely believe at that point in time is that, after almost a year of dating, he is finally going to tell me that he loves me. That’s all I really wanted. I loved him, but I didn’t have the courage to say it out loud. I thought that if he said it first, it would be easier for me to say. So there I was, in my apartment, anxiously waiting for him to come over, and what happens when he does? He smiles, takes my hand, brings me over to the couch, sits me down, locks eyes with me and says, ‘I don’t know how to do this, so I’m just going to come out and say it. Laura, I-”

“-want to bone your sister,” I finished for her, sheepishly.

There was an awkward pause for a moment before Rod looked at me. “That’s a joke, right?”

I looked away and sighed, giving away that it was certainly not meant as a jest. If it wasn’t obvious, Laura hammered the point home. “It’s my goddamn birthday and he tells me he has a surprise for me, and then this asshole blurts out that he wants to hook up with my sister? I mean can you believe that shit?”

In typical me fashion, I tried to break up the tension with a little joke. “I don’t know why you’re so upset. I mean, you technically were surprised, right?”

I raised my hands up in anticipation of another right cross, but it turned out my defensive posture was unnecessary. Laura just sat there with her perfect hair, her perfect face and her perfect smile. And she cried.

My heart broke a little. “Laura, I am so sorry. That night, I was trying to use humour to diffuse what I expected to be a difficult conversation. I… I should have chosen my words better.”

“I don’t care about the words, you idiot,” she managed to get out through her tears. “I care about the fact that at a time when I loved you with all my heart, all my soul, you were thinking about how great it would be to be with my sister. My sister for Christ’s sake! It still bothers me. Even after all this time.”

I really didn’t know what to say to that, but my impulse to say something led me to spurting out something asinine. “If it makes you feel any better, I never did try to pursue anything with your sister.”

“Oh wonderful,” she said, the hate returning to her speech. “What a great person you are. All is forgiven. Please leave.”

Her right hand sat on the table. I reached out to take it. “Laura-”

She pulled away and yelled in my face, “I said! Fuck! Off!”

I glanced around and noticed that everyone in the restaurant was now looking at us. Even Rod started judging me. “You know, I don’t use this type of language much, but I think it may be appropriate in this case. You’re a real dick, Chris, you know that?”

I did know that. “Yeah. Yeah, I know. C’mon, let’s go. I’ve done enough damage here for one day. Good bye, Laura.”

“Eat shit and die,” she spat.

I turned back towards Laura as we exited the building. It was obvious that she was still upset, but she was doing her best to pull herself together and get back to work. Watching her in that moment broke my heart just a little bit more.

“That was bad,” Rod offered as we made our way back to his car, which was now slick from the rain.

“Yes, it really was,” I replied. “I should have let myself drown.”

“Why do you say that?” Rod asked.

“Are you serious?” I said in disbelief. “Did you see what just happened in there? Did you hear what I did? And were you paying attention to the other people we confronted today? Jin is a good guy and I treat him like garbage. Lawrence was my best friend and I chewed him out because he was passionate about something, never mind the fact that I slept with his mother. Let’s face it. I am the world’s biggest asshole and I shit all over everyone I meet. I don’t deserve to live.”

Rod gave me a faint, pitiful grin that bordered on a grimace. “Get in the car, Chris. I’ll take you home.”

We drove in silence while we made our way towards my apartment. I was too busy watching the rain streak across the passenger window and feeling sorry for myself to notice ahead of time when we were coming up to my street. “Oh, hey man,” I said to Rod. “We just passed my place.”

“I know,” he replied.

“You know?”

“I want to show you something,” he said, his face lacking expression.

I got more and more nervous with each street we passed. My stomach tied itself into a giant knot when I realized he was taking me back to the spot by the lake where he picked me up earlier that day. “What are we doing here?” I asked.

“Get out of the car,” instructed Rod, his voice completely devoid of emotion. We both exited the vehicle and my companion started walking down towards the lake. I followed, but not because I wanted to. No, what I really wanted to do was run like hell the other way. I followed because I felt an overwhelming urge to do so. Like I was a dog on a leash and my owner was dragging me behind him.

When I arrived at the shore, the rain had stopped and Rod was facing the water. I finally got my nerve up to say something as I approached him. “What is this?”

“Ah. There it is,” he replied, not bothering to turn and face me. “It took an entire day of me driving you around place to place, but I finally got it.”

I was confused. “Got what?”

“Your attention,” he said as he turned towards me, his calm blue eyes now lost in the darkness. “You have been so focused on yourself you have barely even noticed me. You haven’t noticed what I am.”

“And what are you?” I asked, trying not to sound afraid.

“Do you think it’s a coincidence that I was here the moment you pulled yourself out of the water? Do you think that I am just a good Samaritan who happened upon a man in need of assistance? No, Chris. I found you because I was already here.”

“What are you saying?” I asked, not able to keep my voice from wavering.

Rod moved towards me. When he was close enough I could see that his eyes had been replaced with empty black holes. “What I’m saying, Chris, is that I’m the one who tried to kill you. And it’s time to finish what I started.”

To be continued.

The Drowning, Man – Part 3

Read The Drowning, Man – Part 1 Here!

Read The Drowning, Man – Part 2 Here!

Once I told my new friend, Rod, that we were going to see the ghost of Wilford Brimley, he braked the car so hard my head snapped forward. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. This was a guy I had just met, and who agreed to come with me as I searched for the person who tied me up and tried to drown me in a lake. Telling him that he was about to meet a ghost was probably just a little too much to handle.

“I’m sorry, did you just say we’re going to see the ghost of Wilford Brimley?!” he gasped.

“Yes,” I snorted as I glared at Rod for giving me whiplash.

“The actor, Wilford Brimley?” he asked.

“Yes,” I replied.

“From the Waltons?”


“The guy who was in those Quaker Oats commercials?”

“For the last time, yes,” I said. “Now, I’m going to try to get some sleep, so just head east on highway seven. I should wake up before we need to get off.” Then I closed my eyes and muttered. “Hehe. Get off.”

“Grow up,” Rod tried to say authoritatively. He then continued. “So where are we driving to?”

“A haunted diabeetus research facility,” I responded as straight-faced as I could before I started chuckling under my breath.

My friend’s expression changed from surprised to disgusted as he realized the joke I was playing on him. “Ugh. That’s terrible.”

“But funny,” I insisted. “No, we’re not really going to see the ghost of Wilford Brimley. Besides, Wilford Brimley isn’t dead. We’re just going to see someone who looks an awful lot like him.”

Rod thought for a moment before speaking again. “So you had sex with a guy who looks like Wilford Brimley?”

It was my turn to sound authoritative. “No! Just… ugh. Wake me up in half an hour.”

“Fine, fine. Have a good sleep,” Rod said.

I most certainly did not have a good sleep. Instead I dreamed I was drowning again, but this time I couldn’t get out of the ties that bound me, and the calming sensation I felt as I began to accept my fate transformed into a feeling of dread and despair that sucked the remaining air out of my lungs. All the while I could feel myself sinking to the bottom of the lake.

Then I would feel nothing.

After about a moment’s peace, the dream would start over again. I must have had the dream a hundred times in those 30 minutes. Drowning. Dread. Nothing. Drowning. Dread. Nothing. Over and over again.

The cycle finally ended when Rod shook me awake. “Okay, Chris, it’s been half an hour.”

I peeked out the car window and surveyed where we were. “Good timing,” I yawned as I sat up and rubbed the sleep out of my eyes. “Take the second exit and head north. He’s not far.”

We were heading towards a farmhouse in the area surrounding Guelph, Ontario. The person I was looking to confront had moved back into his parent’s house after he dropped out of school.

“So what’s the deal?” asked Rod. “If he’s not an ex, and he’s not the ghost of Wilford Brimley, who is this guy?”

“His name is Lawrence, and he’s a friend,” I told him, but then I corrected myself. “Was a friend.”

“What happened?”

“Does it matter?”

“It might,” insisted Rod. “We’re out here in the middle of nowhere, about to confront someone who may very well have tried to murder you. Before I face the real possibility of being killed and buried in the woods, I think I have a right to know what I’m getting into.”

It was hard to argue with him. “Fine,” I began. “It was the summer of 2006-”

“You mean last summer,” interrupted Rod.

“Yes,” I confirmed.” Lawrence and I were looking forward to the new Superman movie that was coming out-”

“The one with Brandon Routh?” Rod interrupted. Again.

“Yeah, that’s the one,” I confirmed. Again. “Anyway, we were really excited. Especially Lawrence. He loves Superman more than anyone, and it was really important to him that we have the best seats for the premiere. So we waited outside the theatre for days, and of course it rained, and it rained, and it was unseasonably cold for June. It was completely uncomfortable, but Lawrence didn’t notice. He was just so excited for a new movie with the Man of Steel. I, on the other hand, got more and more pissed off. I mean, I wanted to see the movie too, but it had to be pretty damn great to make up for how miserable I was becoming. And then, finally the time came when we could finally go in and watch the movie.”

“And how was it?” asked my new friend.

“It. Was. Awful,” I told Rod. “But what made it even worse was that Lawrence liked it. He actually liked that piece of cinematic garbage. It made me so mad that I just unloaded on him, berating him for liking such a stupid movie and for liking such a stupid character in general.” Then I smirked a little bit. “Hehe. I said unloaded.”

My companion tried to be authoritative again. “Grow up.”

And I of course resisted. “No. Anyway, the point is after that he hated me and we stopped being friends. We lost touch.”

Rod seemed puzzled. “That’s it? You and your friend stopped talking because of a movie? You think that’s enough to make him want to kill you?”

“Yup, pretty much.” There was a brief pause between us before I continued. “And I banged his mom.”

“There it is,” Rod said as if he expected it.

We pulled up to Lawrence’s family’s farmhouse just as the sky began to dim to a purplish hue. The house was located on about 25 acres of land, most of it taken up with soybean plants. As both my new friend and I exited the car and headed towards the front door it occurred to me that we were about five kilometers away from the closest neighbours. If something happened, no one would be around to help us. This was not lost on Rod. “Is coming in the front a good idea?” he asked. “I mean, if this guy did try to kill you, aren’t you about to make it easy for him to finish the job?”

I tried to keep a brave face. “It’s important to face your fears head on. Otherwise, they’ll always keep sneaking up on you.”

“That’s… actually good advice, Chris,” Rod said, impressed.

“Thanks. Oh, and Rod?”


I smiled. “You said coming in the front.”

Rod wasn’t as impressed with my wit. “Spending time with you is like spending time with a child,” he said.

Once we made our way up the three squeaky wooden planks onto the porch, I reached out and pressed the little white button next to the door. This caused a booming DONG sound to vibrate through my bones. It wasn’t long before we sensed movement inside the house. My heart started to beat a little faster when I heard a series of thundering steps approaching us. When Lawrence opened the door, I was reminded that while he looked like Wilford Brimley, he was a six foot, three inch tall Wilford Brimley, with a big bushy brown moustache that made it clear that he was a much younger version of his clone.

The moment he saw me I was hit with that fiery gaze of his. It was the kind of look that an alpha lion might give a sickly member of his pride if it was foolish enough to try to eat a scrap of gazelle before its turn. I was certain my chest was going explode. That, or Lawrence was going to finish what he started and punch a hole in my head.

This was a bad idea, I thought. We shouldn’t have come here. Confronting Jin was easy. I could take him in a fair fight if it came to that. If Lawrence did try to kill me, I should count my lucky stars I survived and I should get as far away from him as possible and hope he assumes I drowned in that lake. What am I doing here?

I started cringing as soon as Lawrence opened his mouth to speak. “Chris, is that you? Hey man, how are you? It’s been a long time. You look… damp.”

I was relieved that my brain didn’t explode. “Thanks. And yeah, yeah it has been a long time.”

“So what brings you out to my neck of the woods?” Lawrence asked. “I know how much you hate the country.”

“Oh, you know,” I started without really knowing where I was going to finish. “Something happened today and it made me think about you and I thought it would be a good idea to come by and see how you are doing.” That could have went worse, I thought to myself, proudly.

Lawrence paused for a second before responding. “That really doesn’t sound like you.”

“Yeah,” Rod chimed in. “I just met you and I know that isn’t you.”

Alright, maybe it wasn’t perfect, I conceded.

“Who’s the guy in the tux?” Lawrence asked, sticking his thumb at Rod.

“Oh hey, yeah, this is my new friend, Rod. New friend, Rod, this is old friend, Lawrence.”

Lawrence and Rod exchanged nods.

“You know, you look a lot like a younger Wilford Brimley,” Rod felt the need to tell Lawrence.

“Yeah, I get that a lot,” Lawrence replied. He really did get that a lot.

After a few minutes of looking at each other awkwardly, I decided to try to end the conversation. “Well, this has been fun, Larry, but we oughta be going. We’ll talk soon, kay?”

I tried to leave, but Rod decided to stop me. “That’s it? Aren’t you going to ask him?”

Lawrence looked puzzled. “Ask me what?”

I came this far, I figured. I may as well ask. I tried to mutter as quietly as I could. “Um. Did you try to kill me?”

“What did you say?” asked Lawrence.

Did you try to kill me?” I said a little louder. Oh boy, I thought. Here comes the death punch.

“What the hell are you talking about?” asked Lawrence, sounding a little insulted.

“Someone tried to drown Chris today,” Rod informed him. “Tied him up and dumped him in the lake in Waterloo Park.”

Lawrence looked a little flabbergasted. “And you think it was me?”

“Well, maybe,” I answered, sheepishly. “You know, after how things ended between us.”

“What, the Superman thing?” said Lawrence. “Dude, I don’t hate you for that.”

“You don’t?” I said, finally feeling confident that the Wilford Brimley looking dude in front of me wasn’t going to bury his foot in my ass.

“Of course not. I mean, Superman Returns is the most underrated film of all time-”

“It’s not,” I interrupted. “But continue.”

“But thanks to you,” continued Lawrence, “I realized that the Man of Steel isn’t everything. By challenging me on my blind devotion, you forced me to think more critically about my interests, and realize there are more things in this world to appreciate. As a result, you helped me find my new passion. I no longer need Superman to make me happy.”

“Oh, that’s great, that’s really great,” I beamed. “What are you into now?”

“Green Lantern,” replied Lawrence.

My beaming turned to rage and confusion. “Green Lantern, are you shitting me? Green Lantern is even worse than Superman!”

“What are you talking about?” Lawrence insisted. “Green Lantern is incredible! He has a ring that can create anything he imagines, and it runs on willpower!”

“Yeah,” I mocked. “And all he ever imagines is boxing gloves and fishing nets. Green Lantern is incredibly stupid and lame.”

“Well, he’s definitely cooler than Batman,” said Lawrence, as if it wasn’t the stupidest thing that anyone had ever said in the history of everything. Everyone knows that Batman is the greatest superhero of all time.

“You take that back, you son of a bitch!” I yelled as I took a step towards Lawrence, ready to punch the giant in his stupid moustached face. Thankfully Rod got in between us, because Lawrence probably would have ripped me in two.

“Whoa Chris,” Rod said, his warm eyes calming both Lawrence and I. “I think it’s pretty obvious Lawrence here didn’t try to kill you. But let’s go before he starts thinking it’s a good idea.”

“Fine, fine,” I agreed, but I still wanted to figure out who was responsible for trying to take my life, so I decided to ask Lawrence if he had any ideas. “So Lawrence, any thoughts on who would want me dead?”

Lawrence didn’t hesitate. “Well, I imagine most people want you dead, but there is only one person I can think of who would actually take steps to make that a reality.”

“Really? Who?” I asked Lawrence.

He answered with a single word. “Her.”

A chill ran up my spine. It was so obvious. Why didn’t I see it before?

“Her?” asked Rod. “Her who?”

“I’ll explain on the way, c’mon,” I told Rod before turning to Lawrence. “Thanks, Lawrence. I’ll see you later.”

“See you. Nice meeting you, Rod,” Lawrence said as he started to wave goodbye to us.

“Nice to meet you, too. And by the way, my name is-” Rod started to say before I grabbed his arm and pulled him towards the car. Why would he feel the need to repeat his name? I thought. Did he hit his head when I wasn’t looking?

Rod and I had started to take our leave, but it still really irked me that Lawrence thought Green Lantern was better than Batman. It bothered me enough that just as we were about half way back to the car, I turned back towards the farmhouse.

“Geez,” I said. “Where are my manners? Hey, Lawrence?”

Lawrence was now back inside the house, but had yet to close the door. “Yeah?”

A Cheshire cat-like smile stretched across my face. “How’s your mother?”

Lawrence’s fiery eyes appeared again. Now I was the gazelle. “You son of a bitch!” yelled Lawrence. “I’m going to rip out your arms and beat you to death with them!”

As Lawrence started to bound towards us, my companion and I hightailed it back to the car, and barely managed to get out of there before the younger, burly version of Wilford Brimley could catch up with us. We took a few moments to catch our breath as Rod drove away before he started up with his questions again. “What did you do that for?”

“Because I’m a gentlemen,” I answered matter-of-factly. “It would be rude to not ask about a woman I had relations with.”

“Yeah, right. So, who is this ‘Her’ you guys were talking about?”

“She’s my ex-girlfriend,” I told him.

“I take it things ended badly,” Rod guessed.

“You have no idea.”

“So what happened?” Rod asked.

I really didn’t want to talk about it. “I really don’t want to talk about it,” I told him.

“Listen, Chris, I’m happy to help you on this adventure of yours, but if I’m going to continue you’re going to need to give me something here. What am I about to jump into?”

“You’re about to jump into a hornet’s nest,” I said. “It makes sense that she would be the one behind this. It should have been obvious from the get go. Maybe I just didn’t want to believe it.” At that moment I hung my head and started looking at my still damp shoes.

“Alright,” Rod said. “I’ve come this far already. Guess I may as well stick with you until the end.”

I smiled a little, but I didn’t lift my head up when I responded. “Thanks. I appreciate that.”

“So, where are we heading?” Rod asked.

I raised my head to look at my companion. “To the hornet’s nest.”

We continued driving for a few moments before Rod decided to break the cool silence we had going. “So, is that, like, a bar or something?”

To be continued.