Entry #22

Officers Parker and Bishop shuffled down the steep scree field, sending smaller rocks racing out under their heavy feet to the bottom of the coulee. They had parked behind the ambulance, which itself had been parked behind the fire chief’s rig, which was further parked behind the logging truck that had first stopped and called in the crash. The guardrail was severely mangled, like a great beast had come along and shredded its rusty contours with razor-sharp claws. It was that time of day where the sun had just begun its travels off to other parts of the world, and the mountains and trees were casting jagged shadows that danced as the emergency service lights all spun around at different speeds. The bottom of the ravine was home to numerous small shrubs and a creek that gurgled by gaily with little to no regard to the horrendous addition the mangled truck had made.

 

Both deputies had heard over the radio who exactly it was that had been ejected from the driver’s seat. Both couldn’t help but think it was related to the Nice case, yet both were determined to not let the paperwork from this incident join that growing pile of shit.

 

The firefighters were tending to the crumpled vehicle, which still released small pops and hisses and glowed with demonic embers in some places. They were rather nonchalant as they tended to their duty, splashing fire retardant foam here and there and chatting about how lucky it was this happened in the dead of winter. They had a point, the Lower Withering Pine Fork river and all the streams that fed into it created thick webs of foliage that would have led to one hell of a wildfire if it was any drier. Then again, even Officer Parker thought their attitude was in bad taste.

 

About twenty yards away from the mangled, slightly charred truck, closer to the streambed itself, two paramedics were fussing over the body of James Halvert. The cops approached the dead body, both struggling to maintain their composure. Deercliff had always been easy policing, and both had always felt like they were good cops, but some parts of the job never became easy. Dead kids, those never sat well, those never got easier.

 

“Parker, Bishop,” The male paramedic stated as the two drew near.

 

“Hey Bill, I, well, what do you got for us,” Officer Bishop asked.

 

Bill stood up from his work, removed his gloves and shook both officers hands. Bill’s partner was in the midst of pulling a plastic sheet over the body, although that didn’t stop either officer from getting a good glimpse of Big Mac. “A fucking mess is what I got for you. You guy’s know who this is?”

 

“Yup,” replied Officer Parker, looking away from the shapeless plastic, “Got an idea what happened here?”

 

“Sure, I can speculate for you. Kid was out on a bender, not all that unusual given his family, always reckless. Now, that corner can be treacherous during the late afternoon, sun hits it at just the right angle and you go blind. I was saying that to Jens, wasn’t I? As we were coming out this way, I said to you that corner out there is fucking blinding, didn’t I?” Jens, the squat woman packing up her medical bag by the body, nodded half-heartedly. “So maybe we give him the benefit of the doubt, say he was loaded and is driving along and then bam, it’s too bright and kid goes flopping off the side of the road. Maybe. But, truth officers, I think the kid was just checking his phone, sending some stupid fucking text when this happened. Know how much of that we see these days? Kids, these bright kids, all beat to shit, cut up, running into shit that isn’t even moving cause of their fucking phones. I mean, ain’t that some shit? Y’all need to do some PSA shit regarding that, go into the schools or something and show them pictures of crap like this, kids will think twice about using their phones on the road…”

 

All these words drawled out of Bill, who was busy packing a chunk of chewing tobacco into his lower lip and making a hell of a mess of the whole process. He looked expectantly at the officers as he chastised their lack of safe driving pamphlets, until finally, Officer Bishop said, “Yea, ok…”

 

“So, where was I. Ok, whether it was the sun or the phone that did it don’t really matter, kid was looking for answers at the bottom of a bottle anyway, and he goes crashing over the side of the cliff. Now, that’s a good thirty feet. My guess is the car came off at an angle, the guardrail preventing him from going straight off and down. Vehicle starts rolling, maybe three rotations, before skidding off and landing where it did. Passenger side door has a pretty good chunk of the guardrail still jammed into it. This poor S.O.B didn’t stay with the car through all those rotations however. First roll probably collapsed a good chunk of his cabin roof, and the kid must have raised his arm to protect his face. Course, that arm, and hand were still holding the whiskey bottle, which shattered and cut up his arm. By the second rotation, he was either partially or fully outside the driver’s side window. Probably not his choice, that. Body got flung from the car at that point, so probably a twenty, thrity foot launch before touching down here on these river rocks. We mostly cleaned it up, but you can see where he initially landed and how far he skidded. Probably still some skull fragments back that way a few feet. Pretty much every bone in his body is shattered or broken, he’s suffered deep lacerations on his right arm and upper left thigh, neck’s broken, and his skull is essentially caved in. this won’t be an open casket funeral, I’ll tell you that much.”

 

“Jesus.”

 

“Yea, that fucker didn’t seem to be willing to take the wheel. Probably texting.”

 

“What?”

 

“Oh, nothing. I’m going go call in to the stations, leave you boys to your detective work.”

 

“Thanks, Bill,” Officers Bishop and Parker said in unison. The two paramedics slunk over to the firefighters, joining in a conversation that involved far more smiling and laughing than you would think.

 

“You know, Bill is a strange strange man Bishop,” Parker said, casting his eyes across the landscape. The grass was perpetually blonde and brown on those rolling foothills, and the sharp pines grew straight up in the same fashion. Everything out there, just straight up and down, growing tall, racing to the top for a better view. Parker didn’t see the beauty of it, he couldn’t, but it was better than looking at the plastic tarp that was next to his feet. “What the fuck do you think the kid was doing out this way?”

 

“I don’t know Parker,” Bishop replied. Unlike his partner, he couldn’t look away from the hazy outline of the boy. Several parts of the tarp were speckled with blood, draining from the body and spreading across the inside of the cover. Bishop couldn’t help but think of when they blurred out bits of people on TV. James Halvert, track star and local bad boy, reduced to a misty chunk by a creek.

 

“Think it was suicide? Think he couldn’t take what happened to Maggie? Think he did all that shit to her and was overcome by guilt?”

 

“No. I mean, I don’t know. My gut says no.”

 

“It’s possible though. Could clean up a lot of stress round the station if that was the case. Need to find the kid’s phone, see if he was texting. Hell, maybe there is a confession letter around here somewhere.”

 

“Stop it Parker.”

 

“What? I’m just asking logical questions. This could make things a lot easier for you and that hot little black number you’ve been shacking up with, her kid being involved and everything. She’ll be calling on you a lot, be her knight in shining armor.”

 

“Parker…”

 

“Just trying to make sure my boy gets his smash on.”

 

“You should have been a fucking firefighter…”

 


While the officers set to work looking around the scene for anything that might resemble a clue, and the other rescue crews talked casually about which bar to frequent that night, the biggest of clues hopped on past. A great number of frogs were to be found during the warmer months frolicking about the creek beds and rivers surrounding Deercliff. It wasn’t uncommon for kids to head off with BB guns and spend all day sniping amphibians, getting early lessons in the life cycle. So as the response team sent out to Big Mac’s crash site wandered about, they didn’t really think twice about the jumping creatures moving downstream towards town. Had they, they might have noticed the odd, crackling sound the frogs were making instead of the tried and true ribbit, or seen the electricity dancing in their eyes.


 

The power stopped going out when Maggie Nice returned to Deercliff. This was a coincidence that Ethan Largo didn’t put together. No one had told him that Maggie was back. Hell, no one had told him anything for days. He had been quarantined in his own house, without access to his phone or computer. His parents said Mr. German had recommended that, “Course of action.” Ann Marie, Reggie, Jackson, even Big Mac hadn’t come by to say hello to him, to check on him after his return from the city. He had been excited the first few days to tell them about the feminist protestors attacking the law office, but when no one showed up his excitement faded and turned to concern. He couldn’t help but feel abandoned, a feeing that had led him to hiding out in his own room.

 

He emerged to pee or for food, but otherwise was in a solitary confinement of his own making. It was better than the phony cheer his parents were trying to put on. His dad wouldn’t shut up about the promise that lawyer brought with him, and his mom just puts on this weird smile every time he walked into the room. He had taken up playing his guitar again, strumming lazily the three chords he kind of remembered, and gotten into staring out the window at the lazy life Deercliff led during the work week. For the most part, the same cars and people moved past every day, at the same times. A green Subaru, older model, had begun showing up later in the day, sitting outside his house for varying lengths of time, and then peeling off, but Ethan thought nothing of it.

 

He was sitting on his bed humming a made-up tune (or perhaps it wasn’t made up) and strumming without care when his mother walked in and informed him of Big Mac. Tears were streaming down her eyes, and she fell on her son, pulling him into a tight embrace. She held him for twenty minutes, babbling incoherently through her sobs. Ethan tried to consul her, patting her back and repeating, “It’s ok,” like it was his personal mantra. When she finally separated from him, she offered the same odd smile yet again. The tears had caused her makeup to run and smudge, and the smile was hideous. Ethan was disturbed by her presence, by her attempts at protection and connection.

 

“Go away mom… please.”

 

“Oh… oh sweetheart… Ok my love,” She said, standing up to go. She stopped in the doorway, looking at him with her smeared and ghoulish face, “I love you so much, Ethan. I love you.”

 

“Yea, you too.”

 

The door closed with a soothing click. Ethan wiped at the mascara stains on his shoulder, but his white shirt had all too eagerly soaked up the darkness. He stripped it off and lay back in bed, thinking about Big Mac.

 

He wasn’t sad. Ethan couldn’t put a finger on how exactly he felt, but he knew it wasn’t sadness. Ethan figured it was maybe like he felt empty, or part of him had been emptied. Some chunk of his experience, which had had a permanent tenant in the form of James Halvert, was now vacant and something new could move in.

 

Their friendship had been based solely upon propinquity. Ethan and James had always been together, not out of a mutual interest in each other or friendship, but always together nonetheless. Ethan’s parents were close with James’s. They went to the same daycare, the same pre-school, had had all the same teachers, been to all the same sports camps and summer camps and community festivals and the roller skating nights at the fairgrounds and every possible event and school function was a shared experience for the two boys. And at all of those things, James had been the star. Ethan was a background player in the saga that had been James Halvert’s young life, a sort of henchman riding on the coattails of someone far more likable than himself. A parasite feeding off the social scraps left by an apex predator.

 

Ethan figured he might come to understand sorrow regarding the death of Big Mac in due time, it was tragic after all, but the current void almost felt refreshing. It validated so much of his recent confusion and angst. This was why his friends hadn’t checked up on him, this was why Ann Marie wasn’t sneaking into his window again. He wasn’t forgotten, he had just been overshadowed by Big Mac for the last time.

 

Ethan sat on his bed, rubbing his face and running his hands through his hair and feeling empty into the late night. The sun had set in its grand winter fashion, pulling heavy grey and blue clouds around its naked form. The streetlights created cones of fireplace soft light, pillars of human opposition to the grand blackness of the starless and moonless night. A few solitary joggers and dog walkers popped in and out of the bright sanctuaries before returning to the colorless spaces, leaving trails of steam from their frosted breath. It was a quintessential November night in Deercliff, simultaneously cozy and eerie.

 

At midnight, Ethan stripped down to his underwear and slunk to his bathroom to brush his teeth and get ready for bed. The person looking back at him in the mirror was gaunter than he had ever been before. His eye’s had large purple bags under them, and they seemed shiftier. Ethan felt like he looked guilty like he looked like a bad kind of person. He hadn’t hurt Maggie, he hadn’t hurt anyone, but the man in the mirror sure looked like he could have.

 

Ethan thought back to a lecture he had heard on perception. The speaker had been a friend of his English teacher, Mr. Solomon or something. A large, bespectacled and bearded man in a too-large brown corduroy suit, he had looked like a cross between a stereotypical old fisherman and professor. Mr. Solomon was some sort of self-help guru, at least that was what he said, and he had taken a full class period to droll on about the difference between the person you perceive yourself as vs. how others see you. His grand thesis was that it was the synthesis of these views in which reality exists, that neither solipsism nor the rule of the masses by itself could be accurate. Essentially, your own perception created your ambition and intention, it shaped your actions and words. Others filter your “you-ness” and build a concept of you out of that self-concocted intention. Both of these views need the other, according to Mr. Solomon, and reality was created out of the mixture of everyone’s self-perception and intentions with the reactions of others to that concept. Give in too much to your own creation and you will be narcissistic, let others control your narrative too much and you simply will reflect whatever they need at that moment in time. Actualization could only come to those who balanced both their internal and external “you-ness”, said Mr. Solomon.

 

The man in the mirror sure seemed to reflect how others viewed him, and it sure seemed real to Ethan. He finished brushing his teeth, swished Listerine around, and walked back down the hallway to his bedroom. The hallway walls were littered with pictures of Ethan’s childhood. Most were pictures of him on his grandparent’s ranch in Eastern Oregon, a place now owned by some bank, a place that Ethan would never return to. They showed a smiling, happy, chubby kid, eyes and nose red due to a hay allergy his grandfather had always said was a load of hogwash. They also showed a other person, a reflection of what his family had wanted him to be. “Mr. Solomon don’t know shit,” Ethan said out loud as he walked back into his room, for no reason other than to say something, and was very surprised to get a response.

 

“Hey lover boy,” Maggie Nice said. she was there, butt naked, sitting crisscrossed on his bed like she was meditating. She motioned with a single, seductive finger for him to come closer.

 

“Maggie, what the fuck?”

 

“You can call me whatever you want, Ethan Largo,” Maggie said, running her hands down her body and spreading her legs. Despite his confusion, Ethan felt himself growing hard and he moved his hands to cover his crotch. “Now, don’t be modest Ethan, I need you for something big,” she said, again motioning for him to join her.

 

“What the fuck is going on,” Ethan babbled, but still he took two steps towards the girl. As he got closer to his bed, he started to notice that he was sweating profusely, beads running from his armpits and forehead and that the whole room was growing intensely hot.

 

“You are going to help me, Ethan Largo, help me get back at the people that hurt me,” Maggie growled, her voice getting deep as she mentioned the people that hurt her. She tossed her hair off her shoulders, and Ethan was startled as a shower of sparks flew behind each strand of curly hair. She smiled at his surprise and began leaning towards him, licking her lips as she did so. Small bolts of lightning danced across her red lips, following her tongue like a wake does a boat.

 

The heat was becoming unbearable. Maggie had crawled down the bed and was now only a few feet from Ethan. She reached out with her hand, straining for his bare chest. Ethan was frozen in place, blinking through his own sweat which was running rapidly down his face. As her hand came into contact with his flesh, the door to his room slammed shut, and the light began a frantic seizure of on and off. Every electronic device did, flashing and creating a sort of strobe light effect in his room. Where the girl touched Ethan, his flesh burned. He could hear the sizzling of his own flesh, smell the burning hairs and sweet odor of cooking flesh, but he couldn’t feel anything save the great heat that surrounded him.

 

She pulled him the last few steps forward until Ethan was mere inches from her naked form. The lights became crazy, several bulbs shattering with great sound and fury. When the lights flickered off, Ethan saw what really had a hold of him and a horror overcame him. In the brief seconds that darkness reigned Ethan became mad, he desired to scream and to run, to leap from the window and run until he collapsed, he wished for a sharp object to gouge out his eyes and prevent ever being able to see this thing again. Then as the light shown on the girl again, Ethan was brought back into himself and remembered his arousal, the throbbing member pressing against his underwear, and he wanted nothing more than to please the girl. To do anything to make her happy. These things all happened in seconds, and all these things seemed to last eternities. Static electricity danced back and forth between their two bodies, all of Ethan’s hair standing up straight. His flesh continued to burn, the fat cells under what had been his skin sizzling and popping, joining the sounds of the enraged electronics.

 

Ethan struggled, but he managed to push the words out of his mouth, “How?”

 

“How what, Ethan Largo?”

 

“How do I help you?”

 


The Pilgrim Falls recreational area was a large clearing, about the size of a neighborhood cul-de-sac. The forest gobbled up both sides of the clearing but had been cut down right next to the actual waterfall, to allow for a better view. The “mountain” the river cascaded down was more a massive hill, and trees grew up its sides, roots exposed and clinging desperately. A wooden fence kept people from leaving the clearing and getting too close to the waterfall, and a wooden gazebo with a stone platform provided the most aesthetic view of the waterfall. Several shadowy figures stood in the gazebo, barely visible outlines given the lack of stars and moon.

 

Todd was breathing heavily as he cleared the last switchback and entered the clearing. He immediately caught sight of the several shadows, and he grew concerned. He stopped at the end of the trail, not wanting to move further into the clearing until her heard or saw Delia.

 

“It is ok Todd, I’m here,” One of the Shadows called out over the thunderous falls. It was his cousin’s voice, but Todd still didn’t like anything about this meeting.

 

“I thought we were meeting alone Delia,” Todd shouted, trying to inject some confidence into his voice. This whole thing was too creepy and macabre for his taste, but it certainly fit Delia’s whole goth gimmick. One of the shadows moved out from the gazebo and came towards Todd. As the shape became clearer in the darkness, Todd saw it’s vague feminine shape, and then a lighter flickered in the shadow’s hand and revealed his cousin’s face as she lit a cigarette. He walked forward a few feet, putting him and Delia about fifteen feet apart. He could barely make out her features except by the flashes of her cigarette, but she looked pretty much normal.

 

“Those are just some friends. They offered to back me up. You kind of scare people Todd, you know that?”

 

“You said we were meeting alone. Plus, I mean, come on, you know me, Delia.”

 

“I never said I was scared of you. Ha, quite the opposite. Not everyone gets the chance to know the pussy underneath the bestial body. You know you’re a freak Todd, this isn’t anything you haven’t dealt with before.”

 

“Did I come all this way just to find out my cousin is a bitch?”

 

Delia laughed and took a long drag on her smoke. The ember revealed a large smile on Delia’s face, and she winked in it’s dying light. “I’m a bitch, you’ve got a deformity, the world has always been hard on our family hasn’t it cuz. You seem to have gained a pair though, glad to see you fighting back a bit. Actually, I’m surprised you are a part of this at all, figured you would have turned the phone into the police right away. Why didn’t you?”

 

“Why have you been texting Maggie Nice?”

 

“Doesn’t matter. I’m gonna need you to give me the phone now Todd, and forget about this whole thing.”

 

“Why have you been texting her? What did you mean by it worked?”

 

“Can we avoid the whole stand off cliché, please? Give me the fucking phone and go home Todd, this isn’t something you need to be caught up in. You aren’t a hero.”

 

“I need answers before you get the phone.”

 

Delia sighed in the darkness, “You don’t need answers Todd, you need to be very fucking careful.”

 

Todd was growing angry with his cousin. She continued to puff away, the shadows behind her shuffling and swaying. Todd, who was already shouting to make himself heard, began screaming at Delia, “Cryptic goth shit and some creepy ass friends won’t scare me D, a girl got hurt. I saw her, Maggie Nice got totally fucked up by something on Halloween, she was cut to shit. She was raped. She was fucking raped Delia. I… This whole thing is so fucking fucked up, and you want to play at some midnight occult shit out in the woods? Fine, fucking fine, but cut the bullshit and answer my fucking questions, or else I’m leaving. With the phone. You know something about what happened, and we need to know.”

 

“We? Are you working with that gaggle of preppy kids now? Playing Scooby Doo? Jesus Todd, I thought even you were cooler than hanging out with those kids. Well, let me be the first to tell you, Maggie was no angel. Your new friends can confirm that for you. Maybe this was something Maggie wanted to happen, maybe Maggie knew exactly what was happening.” One of the shadowy figures, hearing the growing resentment in both voices, began approaching Delia.

 

“Fuck you Delia. Have fun with your goons and Ouija board, I’m out of here,” Todd shouted, and turned to leave. As he turned, a beam of light struck his back, and he looked back. The shadow had joined Delia and was shining a flashlight on him. whoever it was, they were a full foot and a half taller than Delia, and they wore a dark black robe and hood. Glistening incarnadine runes were stitched into the robes and danced in the flickering beam from the flashlight.

 

A man’s voice spoke from under the hood, “Mr. Sizemore, I presume?”

 

“Again, fuck off, I’m leaving.”

 

“Please, stay. Your cousin has been under an extreme amount of stress, you must forgive her. Let me answer your question if that is your price for the phone.”

 

“Who are you?”

 

“We are the hand that holds the sword against the darkness, the servants of Baal, the knights of Moloch, the chains that bound Lucifer in his damnation and the hunters of Lilith’s children. We are the few willing to do what must be done to prevent the horrors of the cosmos from raining apocalyptic fire upon the world of man, the unseen and unheard warriors of a war far too complex for you to understand.”

 

“Nerd alert,” Todd yelled back, not really sure why he felt so antagonistic but proud of his quip the same.

 

“Was that your only question, Mr. Sizemore?”

 

“No, it wasn’t. What the fuck does all this dumb crap have to do with Maggie Nice?”

 

“Ah. Maggie Nice, of course. She is a brave girl, who should have been spared the pain she will now suffer. She was a sacrifice, a willing sacrifice, Mr. Sizemore. She was heroic and willing to stand up for what is right, and something went wrong. Now, please, hand over the phone and let go of any notion that you can do anything to help. This whole horrible affair will be over soon, before anyone else gets hurt. Unless someone ends up needing more encouragement,” the shadow called, walking toward Todd with its last few words.

 

“Was that a threat,” Todd asked, standing his ground as the shape approached him. A well-manicured, open hand protruded into the flashlight beam, fingers covered in large rings with rough-cut gems and crystals.

 

The man was now several feet from Todd. As he walked closer to him, the figure began inexplicably growing taller and larger, blocking out Todd’s view of his cousin or any of the other shadows. The large hand was blocking out more and more of the meager light cast by the flashlight, and a booming voice, lathered with scorn cried out, “Yes.”

 

From the trees surrounding the clearing, a great rumbling came. The sound of something sliding across the dead foliage that made up the forest floor overpowered the roar of the falls. Todd turned and began to run, noticing in the shadows cast by the flashlight which followed him a mass of slithering things. Great, shadowy tentacles creeping from the edges of his vision to grab him. He made it to the trailhead at a full sprint, trying to leave behind the cursed beam that lit him and the mass of things reaching for him, and ran straight into Jackson, causing both boys to fall down.

 


Trent Halvert had been sent home two days before being redeployed to Afghanistan when news of his brother’s death had made its way up the ladder. The news had him shaken up, and he returned to a broken home. His father was in a deep depression and spent most of his days sitting in James’s bedroom, howling a sorrowful tune of despair. His mother seemed to have taken a vow of silence, and hadn’t said more than three words to her oldest son since he walked in the door. The funeral was in two days, and most of the arrangements had fallen on Trent. Amelia was in Costa Rica with her girlfriend, and try as he might; Trent still hadn’t reached his little sister.

 

All in all, Trent’s homecoming was shit. Deercliff was in a weird state of high alert, and everyone seemed to be consumed by the strange events that were plaguing the town. Trent spent much of his days driving the roads of his childhood, looking at the strange, fearful looks that most faces now wore. Driving around town had become somewhat difficult, as an odd number of frogs seemed to have claimed the roadways as their own, and many drivers didn’t have the killer instincts to needlessly run the amphibians over, which made for regular stops. At night, he went to the Gretel and drank.

 

The bar had a sort of German or Nordic pub pastiche, all old wood, round tables with wooden seats, big steins for the beers, and a whiskey special every night. Trent, who was only ever home now during the holidays, was used to seeing the place packed with familiar faces all home to see parents, and seeing the bar in the midst of winter before any of the holiday cheer found it to be a fairly empty, somber place where one could drink away pain in solitude.

 

He walked in, as he had the past three nights, and took a seat at the bar. He was one of three or four other patrons in the bar. An old man was playing the guitar on the raised stage in the Eastern corner of the bar, singing in a low baritone voice. Other than the noise from the kitchen, the performer was the only voice currently working in the pub.

 

He asked for the usual, and the bartender brought him two shots of Jameson and a Coors Light. Trent quickly downed the first shot, careful to tap it on the bar, raise it to some fictitious companion, tap it again, and then slug it back. The second he treated more respectfully, letting the Irish whiskey linger on his tongue before slurping it down.

 

The old man sang on.

 

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded

Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed

Everybody knows the war is over

Everybody knows the good guys lost

Everybody knows the fight was fixed

The poor stay poor, the rich get rich

That’s how it goes

Everybody knows

 

Trent couldn’t place the artist the old man was covering, but he knew the song. His fingers drummed along, and he raised his other hand to motion to the bartender that he wanted another drink. He watched the whiskey tumble from the bottle into the shot glasses and caught eyes with a young man sitting further down. He had a scraggly, unkempt beard, and his hair was somehow both too long and too short for it to look acceptable. He threw a small wave at Trent, who returned the favor before grabbing the two shots from the bartender. He must have mistaken the wave for an invitation, because the young man left his seat and walked over to Trent, plopping his doughy body down next to him.

 

Everybody knows that the boat is leaking

Everybody knows that the captain lied

Everybody got this broken feeling

Like their father or their dog just died

Everybody talking to their pockets

Everybody wants a box of chocolates

And a long-stem rose

Everybody knows

 

“Hey, you’re Trent Halvert right? The Army guy?”

 

“Uh, yup. ‘Fraid I don’t know you though friend, so why don’t you just head on back to your seat.”

 

“Sorry, I’m Trevor. Trevor Nice. My Sister knew your brother. I just wanted to offer my condolences.”

 

“Oh… Well, thanks Trevor. I, I uh heard about your sister. That’s terrible man.”

 

“Yea. yea it is.”

 

The two sat silently, both downing their drinks without really thinking about it. the bartender already had drinks prepared for the two young men.

 

And Everybody knows that the plague is coming

Everybody knows that it’s moving fast

Everybody knows that the naked man and woman

Are just a shining artifact of the past

Everybody knows the scene is dead

But there’s gonna be a meter on your bed

That will disclose

What Everybody knows

 

“I suppose there is some healthier way to deal with our problems,” Trent said, looking at the disheveled kid next to him and wondering if he looked as pitiable, “But I sure don’t fucking know what it is.”

 

“Truth, brother, truth.”

 

And they clinked their glasses, and downed another round. Trent called out the bartender, who had the bottle of Jameson in his hand, that he would just have beer now.

 

“Say, you wouldn’t happen to know what the old man is playing, would you?”

 

“Leonard Cohen. R.I.P”

 

“Ah, you’re a gentleman and a scholar.”

 

Trent and Trevor both laughed for the first time since they had been home, and the door to the Gretel opened, and Amanda Sanders, her hair cropped into a sharp pixie cut walked in, causing Trevor to smile widely and motion her over.

 

And Everybody knows that you’re in trouble
Everybody knows what you’ve been through
From the bloody cross on top of Calvary
To the beach of Malibu
Everybody knows it’s coming apart
Take one last look at this Sacred Heart
Before it blows
And Everybody knows

 

Everybody knows

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