freeway entrance

I have a glitch in the matrix story for @sixpenceee!

So a couple of years ago my friend and I were taking a small road trip from Tennessee to Ohio, stopping at a few sights on the way, so by the time this story takes place, we were nearing home but still about 2 hours away, and it was really late at this point, about 2 or 3 in the morning.

So, being that we were only a couple of hours away from home, we mostly knew where we were going by following the freeway signs. We had the GPS going but since it was pretty much a straight shot at this point it hadn’t needed to direct us for a while.

All of a sudden, signs start popping up that the road is closed ahead. Now, construction isn’t uncommon in Ohio, and lane closures are super common, but since this is a pretty major freeway it’s weird that it would be closed entirely. But sure enough as we keep going there’s clear signs of road construction: orange barrels, concrete barriers dividing the lanes, men working under bright lamps, all of it. Nothing seems particularly strange about any of this except that the freeway is definitely closed, and the concrete barriers pretty much force you to take the up coming exit.

So we take the exit, a little confused and annoyed, and off the freeway we have no idea where to go from there. It’s not an area we know the back roads of very well, and this exit leads to a stretch of farm road; dark and empty.

Our game plan was to just turn around, get on the freeway going to opposite direction and backtrack until we could figure out a way around the construction. Except we can’t do that, because there is a semi truck parked on the freeway entrance, facing the wrong way with his load slanting across the entire road. There’s a couple of guys standing around the truck talking, but they don’t really acknowledge us or seem to notice that we’re trying to get by. We eventually have to give up and head down the dark road instead.

The GPS isn’t really helping us now, so we turn it off and I pull up the map on my phone, guiding my friend back to the freeway. We’re both a little weirded out right now, and completely lost out here in the middle of no where. We decide our best bet would be to get back on the freeway heading towards home and ask the construction crew if they know of a detour when we get to them.

It takes about 45 minutes to get back to another entrance to the freeway, but we finally do. We get on the same freeway, going the same direction, and we’ve backtracked a bit. We read all the same signs along the way as we did before…

Except there’s no construction signs. There’s no construction equipment, or workers, not even so much as a cone. It was like all the concrete barriers and machines had been packed up and shipped out in the 45 minutes it took us to get back there.

We have no idea to this day what happened. It’s not possible for us to have gotten on a different road, and he had definitely backtracked and not somehow gone around the construction. When we tell people about it it’s met with a lot of skepticism, and maybe it was just a trick our tired brains pulled on us, but honestly that didn’t make it any less freaky at the time.

OctoberFicFest: Mama Scully’s Party

The series is as follows :

Mama Scully’s Party …. MorningUnderwearsMapsNachosFoul BallPromisesStayPhone CallsFlannel InterruptionAwakeningFriendly CompromisesScrabbleApart …  A Long WeekLightningMissing YouInterimStuffWaitingGoingHandsUnsteadyFearFastSlowRegardlessInto the DarkLightSurfboardsCurbsShowersBordersCanyonsSoakedIce CreamNever HappenedDeep SouthAlmostBlue-Suede ShoesUnwelcomeRemarkableStarsDoorbellsM&MsKnees … Home

___________

Why they had to use the hammock in the first place was comedy enough but watching them try to get in there had been priceless, at least according to Maggie, who spied on them until she knew they weren’t going to either kill themselves or each other.

It wasn’t a big party by any means but it was Thursday and Mulder and Scully, aka Fox and Dana, were there as well as several ladies of the neighborhood along with several decks of cards. As had become the Thursday evening staple, Mulder was leading the charge on Gin Rummy points but tonight, however, he was nursing his Rum and Coke faster than normal.

Given the case they’d just returned from on Wednesday and the fact that they told Maggie flat out that they wouldn’t, shouldn’t and couldn’t tell her anything about it for fear of giving her nightmares, Scully hit her glass of wine pretty hard … or should we say, her bottle of wine. No one judged them, no one questioned them, no one asked more than if they wanted a refill or another slab of ribs.

Mulder had come to truly enjoy his weekly card games at Maggie’s house. The Scully’s were his family, regardless of if he ever managed to work up the nerve to kiss Scully, then marry her or ask to be adopted by Maggie. Both had about the same chance of happened at this point in his life and, though he’d rather marry his partner, a set of adoption papers bearing Maggie’s signature weren’t the shabbiest backup plan in the world. He thought about this yet again as he whooped the two old ladies to his left and buried Scully into the ground with his winning hand, ignoring that she had enough alcohol swimming in her veins to have had to ask if 5 came before or after 6.

By his third Rum and Coke, however, he was having trouble holding the cards together in his hand, having to resort to propping a tablet of paper against a canister to shield his cards from others as he lay them down on the table, attempting to sort them in his more than intoxicated state.

Mrs. Stein or Betty, smiled gently at him, patting his arm, “if you need to Fox, I’m sure I can help you put out the cards you need to.”

Beaming a brilliant smile in her direction, “you are the best Betty ever.”

Not ten minutes later, he lost his hand so miserably that he carefully stacked his cards when it was over and solemnly handed them to Ellie, the woman on his other side, “can you please deal me out, Ellie? I think I’m a little too drunk to play right now.”

She laughed as she took the cards, “of course, Fox.”

Looking around, he finally noticed Scully suspiciously absent from the room, “Maggie?”

From her chair two over from his, “yes, Fox?”

“Where are you hiding your daughter?”

“She went outside.” Glancing through the backdoor glass, “she’s sitting out on the deck.”

Squinting out along Maggie’s sightline, “I don’t see her. Are you sure?”

“Bend over a little, dear. You probably can’t see her because of the window frame.”

Mulder did as told, then, “ah-ha. You were right. She’s right there.” Pointing into the darkened backyard as he turned back to Maggie, “I see her. I’m going to go sit with her.”

“Go ahead, Fox. Just be careful on the steps, all right? I don’t need anyone falling down.”

“Aye-aye, Mama Scully.” Making his way unsteadily out the door and across the porch, he didn’t get to hear the gently laughter of the women inside or Maggie’s heartfelt, “he’s a good boy, my Fox.”

Once Mulder had maneuvered the wide spread of deck, he teetered once, then managed to drop down beside Scully, “how you doin’, partner?”

Scully, her chin propped on her hand, precariously balanced on her knee, flopped her head in his direction, managing not to tip over in the process, “not too bad, partner. Yourself?”

“I’m pretty sure I’m a little bit drunk.”

“Oh, hell, I passed drunk an hour ago. I just meant I’m not passed out yet so I’m doing damn fine.”

“You are damn fine.”

As if the alcohol wasn’t making her cheeks hot enough already, now he had to go and make a comment that sent them up into triple digit temperatures. About to come back with some lame response to get his mind away from that dangerous line of thought, she instead noticed that his eyes seemed to be the softest shade of green she’d ever seen. How had she not noticed this in all those years of staring at him without looking like she was staring at him?

He always knew she was staring but he sure as hell wasn’t about to tell her that.
When there was no witty or unwitty comeback, he gave her a grin, “made you speechless, didn’t I?”

“No! I just … I didn’t know what to say.”

“We call that speechless, Scully, out here in the real world.”

She bumped him with her shoulder, causing her to lose her hold on her chin and leaning both of them against the railing post. Discovering that she was fairly comfortable smushed against him, she made no effort to move, enjoying his large arm and his intoxicating, Mulder smell. Before she knew it, she’d buried her nose in his sleeve, taking a good long inhale before giggling, “with everything you drank, you don’t smell anything like Rum or Coke.”

He laughed at her, “thank God. What do I smell like then?”

After another deep breath, “you smell like Irish Spring soap and Old Spice deodorant and BBQ sauce and,” with a third sniff, “a little bit of sweat and a little bit of me.”

“You?”

Rubbing her cheek against his shirt, “yup. I’ve marked you, Mulder. You’re mine.”

“Calm down, calm down, calm down …”

“What?”

“What what?”

Scully looked at him over his shoulder, keeping her face against him, “you were whispering ‘calm down’. Was that for you or me?”

Well, now, this was embarrassing, but given his mental acuity at the moment, he couldn’t think of anything but the truth, “for me.”

“Oh.” She tried to figure that out but her brain was somewhere five steps behind and the lag was getting worse by the minute so she promptly forgot about it, “I’m tired, Mulder. Are you okay to drive home?”

“Are you kidding me? I’m not sure I can navigate to the bathroom at this point, let alone remember how to use a freeway entrance ramp. I’m assuming you can’t drive either.”

“I could but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t get us further than the tree across the street and Lillian loves that tree.” Scully’s eyes drifted even further out of focus, “it’s a really great tree. Been there for decades. Ran into it once on my bike, Bill fell out of it a lot, broke his arm, Lillian’s kids used to dare us to see who could climb the farthest up. It’s a maple tree, I think. Turns really red and orange in the fall. I wonder if we could get syrup from it. I should go ask.”

Mulder held her down with one finger on her knee, “we’ll ask later.”

“Ask what?”

Okay, she was way worse off than him and he was cruising for a five-alarm hangover as it was, “come on, Dana Scully, we need to go sleep this one off.”

“You said my full name.”

“I certainly did, buttercup, now let’s go. I need to have somebody point the bathroom out to me.”

“It’s through one of the doors downstairs.” Not moving like he wanted her to, she remained sitting, “I’ll wait for you here. It’s a nice night. We should sleep outside.”

Bladder urgency overtook her statement for the moment and shuffling as fast as he could, he got inside, got directions to the bathroom, then assistance by Maggie after he attempted to go into the pantry and became confused.

Once out of the bathroom, Mulder stumbled his way to the table, searching each face intently until he found Maggie’s, “is it all right if we here sleep tonight?”

Knowing they had been going nowhere for the night once they’d both poured their second drinks, she was ready for them, “which rooms would you like or would you prefer the couch? I can get Dana upstairs if you want.”

Mulder rubbed his face, recalling Scully saying something earlier, “I think Scully wants to sleep outside. I’m not sure where but she definitely said outside.”

“Um, all right. Well, the only places are the hammock or the porch chairs. Did she say exactly where?”

He had to think hard about this one, “no. Just outside but we’ll figure it out. Blankets? Can I borrow a pillow? Is it supposed to rain?” He walked to the sink and gulped down a giant glass of water without waiting for any answers, then turned back towards them, “g’night, ladies. Sorry to have drank too much but when there’s more heads than bodies, you kind of have to.”

With that, he disappeared outside again, leaving the five women dumbstruck, Ruth finally breaking the silence, “did he just say what I think he said?”

Maggie looked towards the back porch with such sympathy that it was nearly palpable to the rest of the room, “yes, he did. I’m going to go get them some blankets, if you don’t mind waiting for the next hand.”

Lillian came to help and soon, there were two pillows and two thick comforters stacked on one of the chairs. Mulder and Scully were once again sitting on the stairs, Scully leaning her head on Mulder’s shoulders and Mulder’s head leaning along the top of hers.

Coming up behind them, Maggie crouched down, kissing first one, then the other gently on the cheek, “g’night, Dana. G’night, Fox. I’ll leave the back door unlocked for you.”

Mulder’s response of, “thanks, mom,” made her stop, then smile as she returned to the house, making sure her chair faced towards them so she could help them if she needed to.

It didn’t take long before her daughter and Mulder were on the move, standing, then heading towards the framed hammock on the side of the deck. Well, swaying would be a better word but for now, at least they were moving in a forward direction. The first thump then giggle brought the ladies in the house to the windows, worried at first that someone had hurt themselves, but noticing a chair now far out of place, realized someone had kicked it on accident, causing the noise. No one, however, moved back away from the windows, given the inebriated pair was now attempting to get into the hammock, together.

“Maggie? Will the hammock hold them both?”

With a smile, “it will and more.”

“But should they be, oh, Jesus, I thought she was going to hit her head on the rail, should they be attempting that without some …”

Maggie finished her sentence, “parental supervision? Probably not but if we go out to help, I imagine Dana will just get stubborn and do something silly to prove she’d not as drunk as she is.” Watching the hammock swing wildly for a moment before Mulder got a hold of it, “but I think we should keep an eye on them just the same.”

Ruth shook her head, “how long do you think until they realize they’ve forgotten the pillows and blankets?”

“I give her another minute or … ooh, God, did someone remember to take their guns away from them,” wincing as Scully bumped into Mulder and he flailed wildly for a moment, “please tell me someone took their guns away?”

“I did. I had them put them in the safe in my room.”

There was a quiet thunk and another burst of giggles from Scully as she, having managed to roll herself into the hammock, immediately rolled out the other side, dropping to the ground. Mulder, tangled in the hammock trying to help her up, flapped his arms and finally extricated himself from the cloth nightmare.

“Maggie, next time, we need to make popcorn if we’re going to watch the circus on your back porch.”

With a smile, “remind me.”

It took another few minutes and several more hilarious incidents before they both managed to wedge themselves into the swing. Then another few antics once they remembered the pillows and blankets. In this case, however, Mulder seemed to have made an executive decision and ordered Scully to stay in the hammock while he retrieved the items.

Two loud swears and three muffled ones later, both were settled in the hammock, pillows under heads and comforter pulled up, snug as bugs in rugs. Janet nudged Maggie, “we really should have told Dana to use the bathroom before all that.”

With a shrug, she smiled, “they’re adults … of sorts at the moment … they’ll figure it out.”

Just as they were wrapping up the cards and cleaning up an hour later, the door opened and Scully sleepwalked her way through the crowd, nearly taking out the trashcan in her trek to the bathroom, which, luckily, Janet had shoved out of the way just in time. Moving back through the crowd a minute later, eyes still closed and hair wild, Scully headed outside, all the ladies scurrying to the window to watch how the hell this was going to work.

To their great, collective surprise, Scully slipped right back beside Mulder, who held his arms up to her and pulled her close, setting the hammock gently rocking but spilling neither of them to the ground. Ruth spoke for the group, “he loves her, Maggie. When is she going to figure it out?”

“She has. She just won’t admit it yet.”

“Your child better figure it out quick or I’m sending my daughter over here to snap him up.”

“You wouldn’t dare.” Smiling in the direction of her friends, “next week, ladies?”

“Of course.”

-save me from shitty dates au-

for nikki n-ewt ; merry christmas bae uwu

Alby gets the call around nine. He’s already settled into his sweats and a bowl of cereal for the night, but he can’t say he’s exactly angry about being interrupted.

He unlocks his phone, tucks it between his shoulder and his ear, and asks, all business, “Didn’t work out?”

“Well, hello to you, too. How’s your night been? Mine’s been great, thanks for asking. Asshole.”

Alby answers while chewing. “If that were true, you wouldn’t be calling.”

There’s a pause, and then Newt sighs into the receiver. “Correct. I’m hiding in the bathroom. They’ve got very cute soaps in here. Shaped like little shells.”

“At least the guy’s got good taste.”

“Well, that’s one thing going for him.”

Alby laughs, low and short, and puts his bowl in the sink. “I’ll be there in ten. You can tell me what happened when I get there.”

“You’re an angel.”

“So I’ve heard,” Alby says, and he hangs up.

Keep reading

People complain about immigrants taking jobs acting like they want to be the ones on the side of the freeway entrance selling flowers and fruit, working in fields, mowing the lawns, and cleaning the houses. Stop acting like this system allows them to have significant upward mobility. 

I was parked under the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The driver’s side window was open a crack and smoke from my cigarette trailed up, then took a bend near the roof like it had a mind of its own and disappeared out the window. The whooshing sound of cars and the clack clack of tires came down from the viaduct overhead. The sun was about to set and it beamed in from the west, reflecting off the Sound.

I’d been making a lot of money. After expenses and what I was shooting I was pulling in close to a thousand dollars a day. It was way too much to safely have lying around, so for the last few months I’d been meeting my mom once a week, usually in a grocery store parking lot. She knew about my drug use and the dealing, I’d never tried to hide it from her. There was no use pretending anymore, never had been, really. At first she was worried that the cops would come after her, but I convinced her it was safe. No one would suspect my mom, a typical sweet church going old lady, of being in cahoots with a drug dealer. And besides, she didn’t have a choice. It was the only time she got to see me. I didn’t have a choice either. She was the only person I trusted. I certainly wasn’t going to put my money in a goddamned bank.

I’d never been able to do anything for very long. But I had made this last, for seven years now, like I had finally found out who I was and what I was supposed to be doing in this life. I had found a level of existence where I could function and thrive. I had found stability in a world where there was none. I didn’t feel smug, and I didn’t run around flaunting my new wealth, it was simply that for the first time since working on my uncle’s farm, I felt useful. I knew what I was doing. The ground was solid, not always shifting. 


I knew it was against the law. But the laws regarding drugs were inconsistent and arbitrary. I had seen much more mayhem, pain and suffering come from booze, and if they were going to keep saying that drinking was just fine, even encourage it, I was going to make up my own rules. I also knew that I was destroying myself, and that it would probably end badly. But I was willing to pay that price. It was better than being nothing.

I enjoyed it, having people need you and count on you and coming through for them. At the very least it kept me busy, and it inspired in me less despair than anything else I’d done for a living. I loved the driving around town all day, never in a hurry, but always with a destination, completely outside the madness of the rat race. This must have been how things used to be, I thought, in my dad’s day. You left home, kicked around for a bit, then found a job, something you were good at, a simple job where you could make a decent living. This must be what people meant when they talked about ‘financial security.’ 

Kurt and Dylan stood across Alaskan Way waiting for a break in traffic. The cars finally let up, they started across and I stubbed out my cigarette. I’d been giving my customers nicknames, there were so many it was just easier that way, but with these two, Kurt in particular, it was impossible. Everyone in the world knew who Kurt Cobain was. He’d established a name so big that it was impossible to call him anything else. 


They got into the car, Kurt in front. He was wearing a plaid coat and ripped jeans, his hair was greasy and he had big sunglasses on. I hadn’t seen him for a while, and asked him how he was doing. He looked tired, and mumbled something about those fuckers in New York, then looked at me for a second, smiled a bit, and then stared out the window. Dylan explained. Nirvana had played Saturday Night Live the week before and when they’d arrived in NYC, there were limos waiting, hordes of music and TV people everywhere, photographers, fans, cameras, all rolling out the red carpet, fawning all over them. Kurt had ditched everyone, taken off in a cab and split, throwing the music and TV people into a panic that went on all day until he walked into the studio for the show that night. 

I handed Kurt a piece of heroin and he handed me some money. It was a shame that the only times we met were under these conditions. I didn’t feel much solidarity for most people, even junkies, but I had the feeling we could have been friends given half a chance. The times we’d met before, in a hotel or one of his houses, he’d often sit and talk to me, most of the time about nothing, but obviously trying to keep the conversation going as if he didn’t want me to leave, like it was an immense relief for him to just sit and talk with someone who didn’t want something from him. It was very strange, he was one of the most visible people on Earth and I was the most invisible, and yet I had something he needed. Sometimes, I had to awkwardly tell him I had to go, and then extract myself.


The sun was setting over the Sound, and people had started gathering on the pier. Kurt’s face was kind of haunted, but he managed a smile. Then he broke my gaze and stared out the window again. Dylan and I finished doing a deal, and Kurt handed me a backstage pass to the show that night, something MTV was filming called Live and Loud. He extracted his lanky body out of the car, and flipped up the back seat. Dylan climbed out, shut the door, leaned in the window, “You should come back down for the show,” he said. I told him I probably would. They would probably want more heroin by then anyway. Kurt hunched up his coat, like a turtle retreating into his shell. They waved, and walked back across Alaskan Way, disappearing into the glare. 

My beeper had been vibrating in my pocket for a few minutes. I turned on the car, lit a cigarette and got on First, turned left, then up Cherry Street to the freeway entrance and got on Interstate Five going north. Cars sped past me doing about eighty, tailgating and changing lanes like madmen. The irony hit me. I was the only polite and considerate person on the road, the only one observing certain laws of society. The only one not in a hurry. 

A couple of exits later I got off and drove down to the Eastlake Deli-Grocery. The sun had just gone down but the city still glowed a little like it does at twilight. The streetlights had come on but it wasn’t really dark yet. I looked out at the shimmering surface of Lake Union and then at downtown on the other side. It was my town now. I knew it like the back of my hand. I was in my element. There were no complications, glitches, or surprises. If my car broke down or I nodded off and crashed, which had happened a few times now, I just left it there and got my backup, or bought another. I had money stashed to get me over any rough patches. If Beto or another supplier went away I had more. I was a businessman, and my business wasn’t that much more dangerous and risky than many others. It was odd, when I thought about it, that I’d found a measure of security selling heroin. It didn’t make sense, but as I was finally discovering, in this world not very much did. At least it was stable, not many people worked the same job for ten years anymore. Everyone else was just sitting around being entertained, giggling along with canned laughter as they were all reduced to underpaid temp workers. After using the pay phone to set up some deals, I crossed The University Bridge and followed the winding road along the north shore of Lake Union past Gas Works Park toward Fremont, a neighborhood of old hippies, nudist sun worshippers and hemp-wearing weirdos.

Humpty Dumpty got his name because he was shaped like an egg. He had fallen off the wall and right into the arms of heroin. His girlfriend answered the door, a gorgeous girl who sold lingerie downtown at Nordstorm’s or someplace. Humpty and his girlfriend were one of the great mysteries of the western world. After, I headed down Aurora Avenue to meet Pumpkinhead by Tower Records. He got his nickname because he had a huge head of red hair. I had been trying to weed out the customers like him. He ran around town all day every day stealing whatever he could from one place and then selling it somewhere else. He always wanted to meet on the street, and his huge red hair stood out like a beacon. Most of the time I ignored him and didn’t call back, but I had decided to go back to the show and figured what the hell, he was on the way. Of course he only wanted a fifty, the smallest amount I sold. And more often than not, he would act surprised when he only had forty-two dollars and some change and then make up some story about a hole in his pocket or the dog ate it or something. He was a bad actor.

My last stop was in Belltown to see The Prez. The President of The United States of America was a good customer, one of the best. He shared a name with one of the first US Presidents and lived in an old brown and white apartment building. He and his girlfriend Steff had moved up here from Atlanta. The Prez had a regular job and a regular habit, he was reliable and trustworthy, and was never short with the dough. He was well groomed, humble, and seemed like a guy with some integrity and self-respect. How he could have a regular job and a heroin habit at the same time I didn’t know, but whatever. Some people could do that. Not many, and none for very long that I’d ever seen.

I got back to the waterfront and parked under the Viaduct. A cold breeze was blowing in off The Sound. I wasn’t used to being out working this late. There was a large crowd of people milling around on the pier. When I got to the door, I flashed the backstage pass. Inside I wandered around the crowd for a while. Something had changed the last few years. I used to know half the people at shows, but now I didn’t recognize anyone, not one person. It’d happened in a moment it seemed, like I’d taken a nap, woken up and everything had changed, suddenly instead of ten bands in town there were five hundred, and instead of two clubs in town there were two hundred. It made me feel a little old and out of place. 

Nirvana eventually started playing and I wandered out front, then through the crowd to the back of the hall. Pat Smear, the old guitar player from The Germs was playing with them. I listened for a few songs, hoping they would play Something In The Way. That had always been my  favorite Nirvana song. Something in the way…mmhh…hmmm, Something in the way, yeah…mmhh…hmmm. There was definitely something in my way. Probably me. Shouting into Dylan’s ear, I told him I was leaving. There wasn’t any point in staying, this wasn’t my world anymore. It probably never had been. As I walked out I looked up at Kurt, on stage. It would be the last time I saw him. In a few months he would be dead.

Excerpt from the book, American Junkie by Tom Hansen, reportedly one of the drug dealers for Kurt Cobain.