Trough

An Epic Rise and Fall Story

Written by Aidan McGuire

Prologue

Connected by Stereo MCs.

Ryan Buchanan was at one point a member of one of the most well known groups of people of any subject of any cause of any occupation. He helped define a decade. He helped lead an internal revolution with the youth of western society. His stories are worth telling, and his life is one worth remembering.

Ryan Buchanan was a slacker from Washington.

Now he's driving a sports car with flip-up head lights.

With a lot of money in his pocket.

He smoke's a cigarette, twirling it in his mouth whilst listening to white boys rap with emphasized bass thanks to the radio DJs in his neon lit car that cost the highest price and has the lowest miles per gallon, just to show how much of a fuck he doesn't give.

It has spoilers and a lifted back, exposing the car's ass.

And yet, at this point in time, he isn't happy. What gives? With the multiple bank accounts maxing out with $250,000 so if the banks get robbed, he's covered, how can he be unhappy? The events leading up to this moment, one might find them interesting, or one might find them completely dull, it all depends on one's ability to recognize a masterpiece in storytelling and literacy to decide on that. But I digress.

The interior of a car suffocates the sound inside, giving Ryan a headache.

The liquid reaches your bloodstream all throughout my body. Your glutamate is reduced in your cerebral cortex, causing defected reflexes and making your decisions impaired.

He wasn't going anywhere in particular, though he decided to drive down the poorest part of Seattle to, again, show how much of a fuck he doesn't give.

He travelled the world, inspired people to dumb down their skills and still be successful. He's not a leader, and he's not talented, which makes histime the most ironic time ever molded by mankind. This is of course debatable. Everything is debatable, but will your side come out victorious.

If you look at the facts, no, you won't.

There is also an increase in dopamine, causing a euphoric state and a drastic increase in caring.

The lights on the sides of the brick, unlit buildings make it seem that I'm driving down some red light district. A multi-layered man with a beard that hasn't been shaved since 1982 walks with a shopping cart only perfecting the image of it all.

He wanted to open my sleek window and yell out to him Why don't you do something with your life like I did? It was easy for me!

But that would have been foolish. He needed to get home. He really needed to take a shit. If his car was of any lower quality, he wouldn't mind laying eggs right then and there. But the fact his car was too good for the public to lay eyes upon makes that statement irrelevant.

A possibility in a decreased body temperature and a dropped heart rate is most definitely possible, but you don't know for sure; you don't care. But when you wake up, you will most likely experience heart burn, inflammation of the esophagus from toxins, severe headaches, and a general feel of sickness and diarrhea.

He approached a deserted four-way intersection. The light is red, but who the hell is going to stop him, the darkness? So he just presses harder on the acceleration.

Of course, say that all like one in a medicine commercial, advertising a product that will only make you feel worse with the slightest exceptions.

He speeds up.

A semi-truck for a supermarket comes barreling down from his right, and he doesn't notice him right away. His car meets the center of the intersection, and the truck slams on its breaks, the red neck driver that he could definitely imagine with a thing of straw in his mouth honks his horn. The supersonic sound startles Ryan awake and gives him just enough time to look to his right and see his end.

Then you'll ask yourself What the hell happened?

That's how getting drunk works.

The semi hits him straight on near the back of the car. His car flips diagonally to the left. Gravity brings it down on the left headlight. He slide, then falls on the roof and continues to slide. He stops by a curb with stick in disguise of a tree that wobbles from the impact outside of a closed Wal-Mart.

The truck screeches to a halt after making deep skid marks lasting fifty feet. The driver hops out and hobbles his fat ass to his car that is now in the shape of a metamorphic rock.

If you get that reference, I'm proud of you.

He stares down his shattered window opening which is too bent out of shape for Ryan to crawl through.

His injuries from this event; three broken ribs, one dislocated shoulder, a cracked head, one completely broken face, and a steel bar impaled through his left thigh.

That's worse than getting shot, trust me. How he didn't bleed out while it took the police to rush their asses over there in fifteen minutes is beyond even the doctors. But you just go with it when you're unconscious.

He looks like he just got out of a pool of pure blood. Out from under a pile of bodies during some war in some other country besides America.
That shit doesn't happen here, but still, some pretty weird shit happens here. In America.

1989

Chapter 1

Cameron, his partner in crime, was on the same track as Ryan. They both knew it, they accepted it, and they went with it. Life took them to where ever it wanted. Like leaves in the waves. There was no particular reason that they only passed high school with a 1.8 GPA besides the fact that they knew something that no one else seemed to realize. If you're a failure, the world will still be here. Your friends and family will still be there, music and movies will still exist, you can still simply go out and walk, you can make people laugh, you can crush people, create entire worlds with pen and paper. There also was the fact that at seventeen, Cameron won the lottery that granted him $5,000 a week for five years.

Ticket cost him forty dollars. It was pure luck.

They conserved the gas in their car. They only bought our clothes at the Salvation Army. Theylimited our general purchases. Saving the environment while hurting the economy. Preventing the money to flow.

Go to a preacher, he'll tell you about religion.

Go to a hippie, he'll tell you about the environment.

Go to a stock broker, he'll tell you about the economy.

He wouldn't be alive when the Earth burns from pollution and he wouldn't be here when the economy truly fails.

He doesn't know what to say about religion. He doesn't kill, He doesn't hurt, He doesn't steal, so he thinks he's okay.

It was raining on that late-November day, like it does six days a week in Aurorn. That was the fourth day of the raining streak, and yet he doesn't remember the exact date besides late Novemebr, 1989.

Both of them were bunkered down inside a street corner video game arcade playing some fighting game with kids about five years younger than us surrounding us as we played. The owner of the store didn't like the fact that they were there a lot, considering our repulsive appearance of skinny jeans and long, dyed hair with sunken and baggy eyes from sleep deprivation. Cameron was certainly more into their little match than Ryan was. He did this to pass the time, and Cameron took these things way to seriously. Maybe he likes the attention from the kids, Ryan doesn't know. But something about pixilated fighters duking it out on an angled screen gets him going.

The building has been there since the 1960's, originally used as a small food market. The owner once told them whilst explaining how they had to leave because the arcade was closing that the floors used to be cold concrete instead of the dented wooden floors they are then and now. The aisles have had their places taken by the rows upon rows of arcade games spanning all genres but identical in shape. Where the bill-to-coin machines are was where the cash registers used to be.

Neither of them had jobs, or even girl friends for that matter. They were both virgins, though Ryan had more action doing other things compared to Cameron. They could be considered a waste of space. A waste of recourses with what little they used up. They generally made the money flow through a small slit with a clink, beginning another fight to the death with Cameron's snake demon man with a long battle axe and Ryan's cyborg ninja with electrical powers.

Ryan wins every time.

Cameron pounds the controls in humiliation and friendly frustration.

"Freakin dammit!"

"What can I say, don't mess with the best."

Ryan leans back with his arms out and shoots his head forward, close enough that he could lick him.

"Gggrrrrraaaaahhhhh! That's the sixth time! The sixth freakin time! This doesn't add up!"

"Oh sure it does; I'm all around more talented and handsome than you are. You can't lose with a cyborg ninja."

"Play another round!" Shouted a kid of fifteen or so.

"Yeah, play another!" Said another.

"What do you want to do," Ryan said, "you want to be done or do you want to get embarrassed some more?"

"I think I'll be done." Cameron said. He looked up at the wall clock above the pinball machines. "I kinda want to get something to eat."

So his dashingly good looking opponent is Cameron Larkin, and he is the most insert compliment here man I have ever met. He's the kind of guy who enjoys the occasional, and by occasional, he means constant, snort of anything he can afford. And while he sucks at them, he loves video games.

"Play another game!" cried the kids.

"No my kiddies, I'm afraid we must leave you now. The entertainment requires nutrients!" Ryan said over them, hand raised exquisitely.

"Kiddies?" Cameron whispered to me.

"Minions, whatever you want to call them."

Ryan puts his hands together and brings them out, using his non-existent psychic powers to make way through the crowd of over excited kids. They walk outside of the brick building, expecting them to follow, but they stop once they see the falling rain.

"Huh, they usually follow us everywhere." Ryan said.

"Wannabes."

Ryan just looks at him, then they both start to laugh at the ridiculousness of the idea.

Over the same leveled buildings of one are the grassy hills, ever green and ever packed with due. A radio tower stands on the top of one of the hills. Then more hills. Then another city. Keep going and you reach the Pacific after at least a hundred miles.

The puddles take up both ends of all of the streets, running into the gutters like waterfalls. Some guy blasting New Wave as he splashes a poor woman behind us in his SUV, driving way to close to the sidewalk. They don't notice, and they don't notice the rain. They've been in that state for long enough to not even think twice about precipitation.

They walk around the corner to this diner. A very small one with only white walls and the stereotypical old female waiter. She takes their orders and they get the same thing every time; Ryan gets chicken tenders and Cameron gets two hamburgers with onions and bacon. Ryan eats his civilized, and Cameron eats his like a dog that hasn't digested anything in days. The waiter makes no complaints. She was cool like that, but she could be dead for all Ryan knew.

After Ryan finishes after approximately eleven minutes and Cameron finishes after nineteen, they head out again. They cross two intersections and reach their bikes chained to a bike rack in front of a library. A statue of some guy holding out a flintlock pistol, Ryan doesn't know who, someone who founded the place or something. Ryan's bike was a BMX bike with pikes on both tires. Cameron rode a hybrid bike. Blue, with the name of the company entitled along the steel support rod going across the entire frame of the bike.

"Where to now, friendo?" Ryan asked him.

"Jerry's?"

"Jerry's. Again, really? Weren't we there just yesterday?"

"So?"

"You'll fry your brain smoking all that hash."

"I'm already a lost cause. Don't worry about me, good sir."

"No, you're not cool enough to call yourself a 'lost cause.' Maybe slack job. Yeah, slack job just about sums you up."

"I like the feeling it gives me, therefore I do it."

"That's some pretty crappy reasoning."

"No one lives forever."

"Even shittier reasoning." He pats my handles.

His disheveled facial hair repulsed him. It was patchy, varying colors of brown, black, and tint of red down at his chin. His hair no better, uncombed and shaggy, and curly. Ryan's used to be straight and down to his shoulders. He would dye it blonde, making himself look like some street rat.

"Okay, what do you say we should do?"

"I don't know."

"Jerry's then?" Cameron asked.

"Fine… Jerry's place, the shit hole in Northern Aururn, U.S.A."

"That's right."

They begin to ride down Johnson Boulevard. It was about four miles to his house, considering how small Aururn was.

Aururn started off as a mining settlement during the 1800's. There was a period of time between the 1880's and the 1920's that it was completely deserted. But during the Great Depression, more and more people came and hid out in the abandoned buildings to avoid property taxes that they couldn't pay. When World War Two came around, the military moved in and set up shop for a while, making bombers in the warehouses down by McDreary Avenue. The Atomic Age rolls around, and people in search of a bright and colorful weather pattern head to California. The overpopulation pushes them all the way up to Washington, then East of Seattle to Aururn, population 60,270 as of 1988.

He showed off his abilities on his BMX in pot holes and low, brick walls that he developed since he got the damn bike at thirteen. They turn left on 10th street.

Their car was at another mass parking lot down the street from their apartment. They shared an apartment on the fourth floor of a ten story building. It was on the way to Jerry's, and they didn't even bother stopping and getting the car because they needed the exercise. And they didn't mind the rain.

Chapter 2

Jerry's place, the shit hole in Northern Aururn. It had it all; brown grass, cracked driveway, stained outer walls and a bee hive near the front door. They hoped to god that the bees were dead. They throw their bikes on the lawn and sneak up to the front door, cautiously. They were dead; the whole hive fell into the bushes to the right of the front door, and they heard no buzzing of any kind.

Ding-dong.

The door opens to a twenty year old version of the Big Lebowski mixed in with Eddie Vedder, with the same cool, surfer voice and look like he hasn't gotten out of bed not twenty minutes ago, and only got on half of the clothes required to go out in public. Not an appealing man, but one who simply enjoys the small things in life.

Like the hash.

"Eh-he-he! What's up guys?" Jerry asked. He leans against the door frame.

A kid down the road drops his ball and it rolls into the gutter. He gets on his knees and reaches down for it. His hoar mother runs out, grabs him, and pulls him back to their lawn, and gives him a stern talking to about something unreasonable.

"Got any more hash, man?" Cameron asks, "I'm starving."

"You'd have drugs as a meal?" Jerry asks, mildly amused.

"We already had breakfast." Ryan said.

"Then how are you hungry?"

"I'm hungry for hash, not food."

"You'll O.D. one of these days."

"On a herb? I don't think so."

"You think you know what you're talking about?" Jerry asks, annoyed now, "I would know considering that I sell them to you, I want to keep my customers safe. There's a very long process that I have to go through to get you grass and the like, and I learn a few things along the way." He leans into Cameron, eyeing him.

The mother is still yelling at the child, and he cries. Monkey Gone to Heaven by The Pixies booms from inside the house.

"I'll sell you some more, but only a little this time. Man, you need to cool it with the drugs man, and even I'm saying this; I'm a drug dealer."

"Fine, fine." Says Cameron.

For one more second, Jerry eyes Cameron, making the mood tense. But then he motions them in with his finger and they walk in. Ryan throws his jacket on the couch when he sits down.

Jerry's house, the shit hole, is pretty close to the actual thing. A dark house with all of the blinds closed. No pictures on the walls, no decorations of any kind, and only a couch and a lazy boy in the center of the living room. Then a TV on a stand in front of the main wall. A cabinet next to it. Then that's it. That's the only room they ever went in.

Cameron sits down next to him on the couch, and Jerry towers over us.

"More weed, Cameron?"

"That would be preferred, yes." Cameron says like a smart ass.

Jerry gives him a look and walks into the kitchen. A cabinet door opening. Ryan looks around at the bland room with a brownish tint to it due to the blinds being closed. Cameron goes into slouching and twirls his fingers. Then Ryan stares at the blank TV screen in front of them.

Jerry comes back with a bong and a lighter. The bottom of the bong is stained with what looked like ash, and the glass is stained. He hands that and the lighter to Cameron, and he sets up his euphoric state. Then Jerry sits down in the chair and smoothes his long hair back. "You want any, Ryan?"

"No, I don't do that stuff."

"You never get anything, it'd be on the house."

"No thanks."

"Suit yourself."

Cameron clicks the lighter, and in no time, a steam like gas emits from the glass tube. Cameron huffs it in, then leans back, satisfied. It angered Ryan a little inside that Cameron was so clueless on the effects of the things that he does. Ryan wasn't the brightest boy in the bunch either, but he knew drugs were usually bad news if they didn't come from a pharmacy.

"Guys want to watch a movie?" Jerry asks them. He leans in with his elbows on his knees, his hands held together in anticipation of our answer.

"Uh, yeah, sure." Ryan says when Cameron doesn't answer. "I don't know how long we would be staying."

"We don't have to finish it." Jerry gets up and walks to the cabinet, slides the top drawer open, and fishes through his VHS collection.

Jerry's dog, Milo, scampers down the six-by-six steps going down then taking a right, and storms into the living room. He jumps on Ryan, tail wagging and tongue dangling. Ryan begins to rub his belly, and he flips over and rolls around on his lap awkwardly, but in joy.

"Doesn't that stuff just fry your brain?" he asked Cameron.

"Want to see for yourself?"

"I'm good."

"Okay guys, I got: Crocodile Dundee, Ferris Bueller, King 'a Comedy, Jaws, Jaws 2, Die Hard- d'ya guys see Die Hard?" He holds up the tape.

"I already saw that twice. Everyone's seen that." Cameron says after a puff of the gas.

Jerry turns to Ryan, and he nods his head, and he keeps going. "Then I have: Evil Dead 2, Commando, Terminator, a bunch of other Arnold movies, Lethal Weapon- You guys see that? Lethal Weapon?"

"No, I missed out on that."

He looks to Ryan.

"I already saw it, but I'll watch it again." he says.

He takes the tape and pushes it into the built-in VHS player and drags the TV stand closer to the couch. He turns the music off. He falls between them, and they both have to move fast to avoid being sat on. Then Jerry picks up the remote, presses play, tosses it back on the chair, and flips his hair back.

And then the opening commercials.

So they did things like this much of the time, mainly because their brains weren't capable of coming up with any more creative activities than just watching Mel Gibson kick the crap out of drug dealers.

Ryan scratches his balls. No one notices. Milo moves for him and begs for another belly rub.

By the time the movie ends, the temperature dropped twenty degrees and the rain had turned into hail. It felt like little prickly needless hitting their necks as they walked out to their bikes. Ryan turned around and waved bye to Jerry, who leaned against the door frame again. He almost disappears inside until he has a moment of remembrance and shoots back out and actually runs outside, still in his morning clothes, even though it was about 5:40 in the afternoon.

"Oh guys, I think you should meet this one guy that I, ya know, do business with. I'd think he'd like to meet you guys."

"Why? Who?" Cameron asked.

"The guys name is Michael something, I don't remember his last name, but he usually comes over and we just chill on Thursday afternoons."

"Did he ask for us specifically?" Ryan asked.

"No, but he was looking around for people who would want to be in his band that he's forming."

"A band?" Ryan said.

"Yeah, some punk rock band or something. Ask him. You guys don't have jobs, right?"

"That's right…" Ryan said blandly.

"Well hey, I like dicking around too, but even I have a job, the drug dealer. You should come by this Thursday and talk to him. I'll call you guys up when he comes, okay? Maybe you guys could make some money off of this, make your old friend, Jerry, proud, eh?"

"Let's not jump to conclusions."

"But is that a plan?" Jerry asked him.

"Yeah I guess."

"Right on, man." Jerry gives Ryan a bro high five, and brings their shoulders together, bump them, and pushes him back. "'Aight, see ya."

"Yeah." Cameron said.

And then they walk off. The kid and the mother are gone. Down the road, Ryan rides over a surface of ice and skids and falls on his leg. The pegs Cut through the ice. Cameron stops and laughs, and Ryan jokingly attempts to kick him off his bike after they start to ride again.

Chapter 3

Thursday, 4:32 in the afternoon. It's very bright out. Very unusual, but pleasant nonetheless.