Henlo my dudes,
I’m using ‘dudes’ like california people do now, it’s gender neutral over there.
So what is up? Haven’t been that busy recently if I’m to be honest still kind of coming out of that funk, dealing with the constant and ever present rejection of literary agents, I never know if I should respond, maybe send them bags of burning dogshit, I dunno. But honestly I didn’t expect TOTCB to get much traction, that’s big brain nibba stuff for sure, way above some fucking cat lady literary agent who’s just looking for a new harry potter but with more preferably non-white vag to stock her portfolio with.
But I’m getting the editing wrapped up with Nat and I’m working on a second draft for Diana and trying to decide on a title, taking this one much more seriously. I have high hopes for it, it ticks a lot of catlady boxes and I enjoy writing it and subverting their expectation. It’s like writing a harry potter book where harry drops out of wizard school to join the third reich and do meth. I dunno haha.
Like it fits these normie cat lady parameters but in doing that it lets me slip in a lot of my own counter-subversive hyper-sanity. If that makes sense (I know it doesn’t).
So yeah, just underway with that and playing the surge, which you won’t be getting a review for because I actually like it, it’s like an awesome mix of dead space and dark souls. Gets that risk and reward hierarchy down perfectly, I actually returned prey and got this in exchange from amazon, only paid postage on the return so I’m really happy. Traded one shitty sci-fi borefest for an all out grindcore balls to the wall sci-fi dark souls action rpg.
That’s all, enjoy the stuff haha.
Also my book is on sale as if you care haha. www.hyperurl.co/kcio3t
He took me back to his place in French court, about a two minute drive from the Starbucks. It was a nice little bungalow that looked like it should have a picket fence but it didn’t. It was a small red brick building with white trim and a brick chimney. The small patch of lawn in the front was of course neatly manicured. The bushes I suspected were tested with a spirit level. The house was pristine, it looked brand new, could have single handedly raised the property value of the entire neighbourhood which had seen better days. He lived directly opposite the elementary school he went to as a kid.
The area wasn’t too bad, well-kept palms, and lawns. It was quality middle of the road Mediterranean style housing and home to some of the best seafood in the OC. There was a restaurant called Ambrosia he seemed very proud of. It was a beacon in the least shiny part of Orange County. The birds chirping on resilient in their fortitude for this too to be a slice of paradise. Nonetheless they all had wrought iron fences guarding their lawns, except Paul’s house. Just a small white porch with roman style pillars. There was something about it sitting on the corner like that, looking like a model house. Like a house sitting on a nuclear test site about to be blown up, full of wax fruit bowels and mannequins sitting at dinner tables. It didn’t look lived in, it looked like it was a trap house begging for someone to step on that carefully trimmed lawn. Teeth gnawing and clicking and tensing against each other. Praying the mailman would plant a foot off the path and then something could be unleashed, some dark righteous fury bottled up just for this moment. But it never came. The birds just chirped on incessantly.
It was Sunday so the elementary school was quiet and still, which I’m sure was a welcome change. We got out of the car. Parking it in the lot behind the house and he lead the way into his cool still house. “Come on in” He smiled.
It was a show house alright. I can’t remember the last time I was in here, funny enough. I didn’t spend a lot of time with Paul, despite being my boyfriend he and I didn’t really know what that meant. We appeared places together, we were together at school but when the curtains came down the actors went back to their trailers and rested. Nothing more.
That was really as far as our interactions went. A pantomime for an audience of slack jawed watchers probably begging to be us and having no idea about the truth. I guess, we just liked our own space.
He cleared his throat and threw the keys down on a Formica top kitchen counter and said. “Well?”
I smiled and took in a lungful of the cool musky air in his house. It didn’t smell bad or like dust, just old leather and new plastic and rubber.
“Well what?” I sighed.
“What was that all about?” He asked, almost stuttering.
I sat at a small functional kitchen table and said “Some weirdo just tried to grab me, it’s nothing”.
“Some guy tries to grab you and that’s nothing?” He almost coughed and screeched. His face became a shade redder and his tone was strangled off by some violent shifting of gears in his throat. “How are you- I mean how is-?” A clever aside from ‘What was it like to see severed human heads’.
I looked up at him with a raised eyebrow and massaged my temples. “I’m fine”.
The house was oddly dark and cold. Even though none of the blinds were drawn it seemed shaded somehow. It was pleasantly cool, like the underside of a rock. Probably just the position of the house relevant to the sun.
I took out my phone completely displacing his concerns, they seemed too banal for me to even want to press. Why should he care if Skeletor tried to grab me with a boney claw and what could he have done to prevent it? And he most certainly couldn’t make me un-see the heads with a back rub or a sonnet and moreover- I wouldn’t want him to.
Did the posturing and planning make him feel better, should I embellish him just for his own ease of mind? Wasn’t I the one who had been through two supposedly traumatic events? Why should I be responsible for setting things right in his world? Humans, why do I bother?
Who was that strange metal pincher man, my mind instantly drawing back to one of those toy grabbers you get at the beach arcades. I guess that made me a hapless stuffed animal. Deer in headlights Diana. Did he really know about me? What was there to know? A naughty search history, a little amateur hack magic, hardly seemed enough to raise the dead. And hardly the most alarming thing to happen to me all week.
I swiped on my phone back to twitter and I pointed the screen at him.
“Do you know this guy?”
He took the phone off of me with a curt urgency, what did my phone do to him?
He turned the screen back to me and pointed at it and said “Is this the guy who grabbed you?”
“He lives around here?” I asked.
“Yeah I know this scumbag, deals dope out of a house in Central City, has these wild parties” He trailed off.
“How do you know him?” I asked with a raised eyebrow.
“We went to the same elementary school, he dropped out”
“He dropped out of elementary school, see a future in orange sherbert or something?”
“Or something” He sighed. “He’s a pretty bad dude, heard a lot of – rumours about him, I guess.” He shook his head and scrunched up his eyes as he said it, like he really wasn’t sure.
Central city for the uniformed was the unofficial gang hub of Orange County. A veritable hive of scum and villainy. Surely every nice little berg has one. You could get almost anything down there, drugs, unlicensed guns, prostitutes maybe even human lives and knock-off levis. The kind of place someone goes when they haven’t discovered you can get all that stuff on the internet without having to leave your mom’s basement.
“So?” I asked in my best pixie dream girl voice.
He held up the phone and then caught himself “You wanna go there?” He asked agasp, ruffling that long handsome brow of his.
I nodded and started to kick my feet like a kid on a swing set. Trying to hide a rising tide of dark angel trumpets calling me. A shrill laughter in the dark depths, a shock doing a Mexican wave across the invisible microscopic fine hairs I failed to pluck. I wax too, I said feminism didn’t interest me. Hairy pits in California heat? No thanks.
“Tonight?” He said, his voice almost shaking, with something I couldn’t quite fathom. Was he afraid, or was it something else? The way he said it, it was almost like a challenge.
“Is he having one of the parties tonight, it’s a Sunday” As soon as I said it, I felt decidedly dumb once again. Getting to be a bad habit today.
He made a hissing sound in his mouth. “Every night, these people don’t have jobs to go to, or school.” It was a school night.
Of course I knew that. I just felt awash with some new profound feeling of the unknown and the fact we had school in the morning made it seem twice as delicious to try tonight. But why would I go there? Just to see him for myself, and then what? ‘Hey Antoine, have you been leaving a trail of body parts for me to follow?’ Did I even think it was him, no, well I didn’t want it to be him, the twitter activity alone shattered a lot of the mystique around him. If he was the one I’d feel decidedly deflated. And what would he do when he saw me? Would it be ‘off with her head’ or ‘Hi friend, you got the message, let’s play’?
Either way if I could get Paul to go along it would be to my advantage, if only to be a distraction in case I needed to run far and fast away. Was I really that callous? Maybe, maybe not.
“Ok?” I said, rising to this illusory challenge.
He shook his head and let out a breathy laugh. “Sure.”