That’s My Jam

That’s My Jam

By Linton Bowers

So you want to know how I ended up chained to this chair?

It started earlier today. I was sitting in my conveyance, one of those on-a-budget automated hunks of plastic and aluminum, jamming out to my favorite radio station. The song ended then the D.J. announced a new premier song. This did not sit well with me. New songs are hit and miss, usually a lot more miss these days.

The first few notes of the music were magical. I felt like my soul was getting a sensual massage. Until the words started that is.

The band, one I enjoyed immensely, sounded great. The problem was the words themselves. They matched a song I had written years ago. To the best of my knowledge the song I wrote had never seen the light of day, but there it was.

A small part of me was excited to hear the way it was artfully produced. It was exactly what I heard in my head as I wrote it.

“Car,” I said out loud, ” change course to Devon’s house.”

“Course correction acknowledged,” the pleasant female voice of my ride responded. “Warning, this will make your timely arrival at your place of employment impossible.”

“I’m aware, continue with the new destination.”

“Destination confirmed.”

The vehicle slid out of its lane and onto a new street. I called Devon as the trip progressed.

“Devon, did you hear the new song on the radio this morning?”

“Oh yeah, man. That shit was righteous! I gotta gets me a copy,” Devon said.

“Its my song,” I replied tersely.

“I know, man, its my new jam too.”

“No, dude, I mean I wrote the damn song!”

“Wow! You’re gunna be rich, like Oprah Winfrey the third rich.”

“No I’m not, at least not yet. I didn’t sell the song, someone stole it.”

“Oh no! That’s bogus, dude. What are you gunna do about it?”

“What are we going to do?” I asked.

“I don’t follow.”

“I’ll be at your place in five. Fire up the Engine. I need to find out what the heck is going on.”

Seven minutes later Devon and I stood in front of the Engine.

“Dude, like… Dude! I don’t know about this, I mean, you know what happened last time. We barely made it out of there. My ass still hurts when I sit down too hard, dude.”

“I’m will to take the chance that you may never be able to sit on your ass again, man,” I said.

“I hear that, dude. Wait… What?”

“Shut it and fire it up, Devon.”

“Its on, we just have to get in. You sure, dude?” Devon rubbed his rear as he asked. I could tell from the far off look in his eyes he was reliving an unpleasant adventure we survived.

“Yeah, get in,” I replied.

The Engine consisted of two pods barely big enough for a grown person to curl up in tethered to a black box the size of a rubix cube. I have no clue as to where Devon got it and he ain’t talking. What I do know is that getting into the main pod and concentrating on what I need to know will transport us both to the answer. And that it doesn’t work unless there are two people.

I waited for Devon to crawl in and his hatch to close before getting in the other pod. Had to make sure he didn’t chicken out. The hatch of the master pod closed, sealing me into darkness.

I focused my thoughts onto the song, letting it play in my mind once more, feeling it wash over me. I remember the sheets of paper stuck in a shoebox in my closet. The words I wrote that match exactly to the song we heard on the radio.

The engine doesn’t take long. A few seconds after the hatch closed the pod is filled with blinding light, then the hatch slid open.

My body ached from the transition. I uncurled myself and spilled out of the pod. The blasted thing managed to make a few seconds of discomfort feel like ages. I stood and stretched my back. Devon was doing the same.

“Where are we, dude?” Devon asked.

“Looks like some sort of warehouse,” I replied.

“Wonder why it took us here,” Devon said.

“That is what I would like to know,”  came a deep voice from behind us.

I spun and froze. More guys than I cared to count stood in a loose semi-circle with wicked looking black weapons leveled at us.

“Dude! Are those P727 Night Hawks?” Devon asked as he took a step forward.

The man closest to Devon shot probes from a module mounted on the underside of his barrel. Before the muffled thud of the shot could clear Devon did the dance of the tazed. He crumpled to the dirty cement floor and moaned.

“Yes it is,” the guy said.

I raised my hands above my head.

This takes us back to where you found me chained to a chair. Our assailants lead me to the room with said chair and secured me to it. They tied up Devon and dropped him on the floor next to me.

Hours passed with no one coming to visit. I think it was hours anyway. Hard to tell when your sitting in one spot with nothing to do and unable to check the time. I was just beginning to doze off when the door unlocked with a loud click.

A man in slacks, a white shirt, and a lab coat entered. He stopped a few feet from me and sized up Devon and myself.

“Why have you come?” He asked.

“I’m the one asking the questions here,” I said in a low bark.

“Is that so?” One of his neatly trimmed eyebrows rose. “I can always come back in four or five days when you’re thirsty and hungry to ask again?”

“You stole my song!”

“What?”

I could see confusion written on his face.

“It was on the radio this morning. I wrote it three years ago and some how you stole it. I want what’s mine!”

“Ah, I see now.” He tapped his ear twice then spoke again as he turned his back to me. “Scan local proximity for nanoworm signal then send me all relevant data.”

“Huh?” I said.

He ignored me.

“Ah yes. Now I see. Tell you what,” he said as he faced me. “Since you are of no use to me I’ll leave you with a final thought before you die. When you vacationed in Cancun you drank something with ice. That was your downfall. You were infected with my nanoworms. Little devices that transmit to me every creative thought you have. In your case I have only received one transmission from you. Since you have not had a creative thought since then you are no longer useful to me. Good day.”

He turned and walked out of the room. The lock snapped back into place. Naturally we would have to sit in the most boring room in the world before dying.

“Damn, dude, that was harsh.”

“Devon! You’re alive!”

“No doubt, dude. Guess what.” He said as he sat up.

“What?”

“Those dweebs forgot to check me and take the engine remote.”

“What does that mean?” I asked.

“It means were getting out of here, dude.”

 

Not Jake

Not Jake

By Linton Bowers

Jake placed his hand against the push bar and stopped. Opening that door and going in would erase all he’d worked for these long hard months . The tip of a glass and one small sip would send him back to day zero.

“What are you doing, Jay?” Jake asked himself.

Jake stepped away from the door.

“Am I really going to do this?”

Deep in the dark corners of his mind dwelled something that used to be a part of Jake. He was at one time whole. A normal man going about life doing normal things. Then those damned terrorist dicks decided to crash some planes.

Jake was among the first in his town to sign his life over to good ol’ Uncle Sam. He became a hard-assed, ground-pounding, stone-cold Marine. Like so many others, he was changed by the things he witnessed. What came home wasn’t what left.

The darkness he runs from answered his questions.

Would you like to get a good night’s sleep?

Passing out in my own piss and puke is not sleep,” Jake replied.

It’s better than crying like a bitch til the sun comes up.

How could he respond to that? The truth, as painful as it might be, is still the truth.

“I’ve come too far. Worked too hard.”

And for what? To spend all your time reliving what you did? When is someone going to come up with a thirteenth step to make all the nightmares go away, Jake? When are you going to catch a break from me?

“It’s a process, it takes time. One small baby step at a time.”

That’s a load of horseshit and you know it. How many times did your dick get hard when you put a 5.56 into some dude’s brain housing group? How many times did you almost cum in your tight whites while you watched the pink mist drift away in the breeze? Huh? There is no fixing you, Jake. You’re too far gone, man. The kid you used to be fractured and fell to pieces on the hot desert sands. We need a break, Jake. We need to forget for just a little while. Please, Jake.

Jake fell to his knees. The pain of the collision with the unwavering pavement a minor inconvenience compared to agony he felt inside.

“I don’t know how much longer I can take this shit,” Jake whimpered.

Then get the fuck up and go inside. The respite we need is just inside that door and it comes in any flavor we want. Come on, man, we need this and you know it!

Jake let out a sob. He was done fighting, tired of it. He climbed back up to his feet, the sins of the past pressed down on him. He went to the door, placed his hand against the push bar and paused.

Don’t puss out on us now, Jake.

Jake pushed the door open and went inside.

The bar was dark.