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The So-Called Agent of One Tyler Wendell Englehart — Part VI

(A/N: based on the story seed “bison stampede” from Seth. I have only the vaguest idea of where this is going.)

“HOLY FUCK.”

I’m on the phone with Tyler, and to say he’s flipping a shit is the understatement of the century.

“FUCK FUCK FUCK HOLY FUCKING SHIT GET ME THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!”

Nothing I say at this point is particularly important. In fact, I’m not entirely sure why Tyler’s still on the line during this freak out unless it’s just to demonstrate his creative use of the word “fuck” in various grammatical contexts.

I should explain. I should explain, but honestly, I can’t. I don’t have a clue what’s going on at the other end of this phone call. Last I’d heard, Tyler had for some godforsaken reason hopped on a plane to Wyoming, of all places, and no one had any idea why. I understand that Tyler has to get creative with his job title of “Senior Palaverous Correspondent” for that blog conglomerate he writes for these days, but really? Wyoming? What the hell kind of story was he looking for in Wyoming?

But I guess when you think about it, his “get me the fuck out of here” revelation may not be specific to the situation unfolding on his side of this phone conversation; it could just be the fact that he’s in Wyoming came up and slapped him in the face. What’s in Wyoming anyway?

“Elk,” my brother informs me from across the living room when I pose this question out loud.

“Elk?”

“Elk. The Boy Scouts make arches out of the antlers.”

Somehow I don’t think Tyler’s steady stream of “fuck”s has to do with elk antler arches, but I suggest this into the phone anyway. Tyler doesn’t seem to hear.

“OH MY FUCKING GOD THE FUCKERS ARE FUCKING—OH FUCK!”

My best guess now is that the “fuckers” he speaks of are either the elk antler arches or the Wyomingites in his immediate vicinity, but it’s kind of hard to tell. There is some kind of vague pounding noise in the background, which logically should be attributed to Wyomingites as opposed to the likely static and silent elk antler arches—but if the arches were falling apart in a tumble of elk antlers, I could see them making whatever that noise is. In fact, considering Wyomingites have historically been described to me as pleasantly quaint, this certainly throws more weight behind the deteriorating elk antler arch theory.

“OH FUCK FUCK FUCK I’M GOING TO FUCKING DIE.”

“He’s quite liberal with the word, isn’t he?” observes my brother. He’s bending over the back of the couch to listen in on the call, in hopes of helping me identify the background noise. He is, after all, the leading expert on elk and elk antler arches in the room.

“Liberal, creative, same thing,” I say, scratching around a mosquito bite behind my ear.

My brother pulls a sorrowfully contemplative face as he scrutinizes the sound under Tyler’s monologue. “He’s really polluting the soundscape,” says my brother disapprovingly. “But if it is one of those elk antler arches falling over, you should tell him to stand back so he doesn’t get impaled.”

I suggest this to Tyler, who of course ignores me.

“You know, those could be hooves,” my brother says. “Maybe he’s betting on a horse race and he’s losing.”

I remind Tyler of the dangers of gambling, rattling off the names of some people who got in too deep betting on ponies. Admittedly, we wouldn’t even have Lucky Number Slevin if it hadn’t been for unlucky betting, but take the subsequent bloodbath as a cautionary tale.

None of this advice seems to have any effect on Tyler or the running of his mouth, so I glance at my brother, shrug, and hang up. If it’s really that important, I’m sure he’ll call back.

[untitled]

She’s a girl used to her hair being longer than it is. You can see it in how she gathers it over one shoulder, flipping it, like there should be more. I’m watching her from across the coffee shop — watching her type for a bit, then frown and stare out in my general direction before gathering her hair over her right shoulder again and typing studiously. The papers I’m supposed to be grading are nursing a coffee mug stain in the upper left corner, but I can’t stop watching this girl, wondering what exactly it is she’s missing.

(A/N: Nothing like procrastination to get me writing/posting regularly again. This was originally written as a note on my phone, might continue it later.)

Closure

(A/N: I started writing this in December 2009, and only recently managed to finish it. This is probably the most personal story I’ve ever written — based on things that actually happened, though skewed out of recognition in the story — and wasn’t ever meant to be spectacular writing. I’m posting it because I’ve been working on it, and who knows, maybe a strong story will come out of it. For now, it’s just me wrestling with corner-of-the-mind demons through fiction.

Also, a note on names: this uses the Roosevelt Kaleidoscope characters as themselves but in different circumstances. However, the main character that was Daniel Adelson didn’t feel right, so I tossed in a different name.

7/12/11 update: now the names are feeling weird. Changed it back…)

The night felt colder than usual to Esther as she slipped out the back door. The party inside was getting a little too crowded for comfort — at least out here she could breathe, and the deep thumping of the music was dampened by the door. She shivered and took a deep breath of night air, savoring the feeling as the cold seeped into her lungs. She exhaled slowly from her mouth. The thin cloud of condensation rose and disappeared into the night. She shrugged on her jacket and stepped out into the yard.

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Karma’s a bitch

You better be drunk, boy. You better be drunk and feeling shitty about every girl you ever messed with. You better be miserable over her, you better be pathetic over her, stumbling over her, sobbing over her. You better be floundering, knowing you should call me instead of her, instead of fucking up again, but your body can’t listen. You better be desperate. ‘Cause boy, karma’s a bitch, and you’re gonna need to pay for all the hell you’ve caused by feeling a lot of hell and you might as well get started tonight. And shit, boy, you’ve got a long way to go and a load of virtues to learn before you can even think about clawing at my door for a therapy talk. So you better keep drinking and you better get drunk and drunker, ’cause you need to keep feeling like shit before you can wade out like a man.

(A/N: Not really sure where this came from/what it came out of. Originally written as a note on my phone last week. And if you were scarred by the language, I’m sorry.)

The Ancient Road

Exercise for English 190: “Take one of the images that you came up with in class, and spend a few minutes ‘dream storming’ on it in your notebook. Come up with a first sentence for a story based around that image. Move to your computer and write the first 100 words of that story (but no more than a 100!).”

He didn’t see it at first, the vague winding space among the trees. They’d been trudging through this overgrown wilderness for weeks, falling into an endless cycle of forging and backtracking, forging and backtracking, until none of them cared where they were going anymore. But the government wanted this done, and if it meant paying some outsider to charge into the jungle, so be it.

And that’s who Matthew was: an outsider. His brown hair and light skin betrayed his foreignness, as if his glasses didn’t already. The guides called him “mantou” — bread bun — because it sounded like his name.