Three. To each number a letter. Five. How many times did they smash? How many did they crunch? Eleven. Something that grew that should not stand so tall. Twelve. Count the words. Thirteen. A crossword, first and even. Fifty-seven. What begins and what ends placed together. Not all beginnings have ends, some stand on their own. Fifty-eight. Animals are what matter. Fifty-nine. This should be easy – period. Sixty-two. Place, Direction, Journey. Put together and they make the final destination a thing seen.

There couldn't have been any other outcome. Inevitable. Truly inevitable. He wished he'd seen it coming. He should have seen it coming. It was so obvious, clear as the moon in an empty sky. Moon. He chuckled.

Eight hundred and Five-thousand. Only Twelve left. Sixteen in the last hour. Thirteen in the hour before that. Another shot and now there's only Five. Should he kill them, he wondered. A mercy, a necessary act committed by a friend. Burning alive, not far behind him, was Croaker Joe. Face like a frog, now all he did was croak and choke and not die.

"Mary had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb. Cooked her up, for a man, one last man in Dead Man's Land." Elizabeth sang that tune zo sweetly for long the words were a comfort amongst a horror-struck silence of walking corpses.

Smash. Smash. Smash. Smash. Smash. Smash. Smash. Smash. Smash. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. Scream. Smash. Cough. Hiss. Shwoop. Vap. Cry. Die. Beg. Beat. Meat.

"You ever hear the joke about the dead man at the funeral?"

Grinning, Tom turned and raised a hand with no fingers but three thumbs.

"No, wassa joke."

He shrugged. "He looked tasty."

Tom laughs his laugh, not a care goes. Care is long gone. Tom's laugh is all that he has left in the empty shell.

Eggs. He mostly wondered about Eggs. Eggs and time. When was the perfect Time for Eggs? Breakfast? Protein's good foR the growing boy, and breAkfast is the most important meal of the day. But what about dinner? What about lunch. Thoughts of lunch and a Packed bag with cheese and Pickle sandwiches made his mouth water. He shook his hEad. Focus, he thought. Eggs go nice with fries and sausages. He Decided Eggs' were always good.

He, name, rank, place, position…what were they again. Flashes are true. False. Theodore at a bar mid-day, Vic who kills cops and sells stolen street drugs. Or maybe I'm someone else entirely, the elder Cagney who makes jokes, or maybe he's, she's, they're none of them. Maybe he is a she? Maybe they is an I, Who tells this story, or is it one thing or many or just none? Too much confusion. Damn. Could it be that there is no way to truly no one's identity in this life? No, there must be something.

Tom leaps over a fallen lamppost, pulls out his knife, slices clean through an enemy arm. The heroic action is what they need to bring back the moral. They'd been pushed back, but brave idiot Tom Sarter always fought to win by any means. This was his home. As the enemy screamed he quickly removed the blade and then, promptly, sliced the throat of the vicious soldier. It's far from a quick death, and fairly deserved. There were rules to war. Civilians are never targets. so sacred was that rule that Tom showed no mercy to anyone who broke it. He didn't see the grenade, but the impact sent him back several paces, tripping over his own feet. Exactly as he saw death about to take him, he was struck by luck as something whizz past him He laughed. Not from any more mirth or any joy. He laughed because, simply put, he had no tears left.

"Ileyne's the name, fuckings the game!"

Four men in an alley starring at a woman, barely clothed, skin pale as snow, shaking furiously as though she were about to explode. The men looked awkwardly between each other. Who would speak? Who should speak? There was never a worse time to be wrong.

"Oh come on boys, why so glum, this your first time as a group?"

"Umm, no actually we're not…

Not listening she moved forward, extending her arms and seeming to engulf all four men until the were wrapped in the, surprising, warmth of her bosom. Closer now they realised she was not so small or so slim but large and filled with warmth. The women's pale skin and dark clothes seemed to hold an illusion from allowing her true visage to be clear.

"My, my, my what handsome men. You'll definitely have a good time with me. Tell you what you pay now, I'll through in a blowjob each for free."

The men couldn't speak. Not out of embarrassment or shame. She was much stronger than she first appeared, each one of them was slowly changing colour and not for a good reason. Eventually one broke free enough to speak.

"Ma'am, we're police officers."

"Dirty boys in Blue," She whispered huskily. "I do hope you brought your cuffs with you."

"Ma'am we're here on official…police business. Your cousin died last night…on another note, how much for the four of us?"

"Is it real?"

"I don't know."

"Who said that."

"Well who do you think said it?"


"Knock knock?"

"Who's there?"

"The question you should be asking is, who left the door open."


"We're all inside."

"Inside where?"

"Christ I knew you were thick but come on!"

"There's no need to be rude."


"No, you're right. I apologise. There's no need for cruel words."

"Thank you."

"You're welcome. Are you ready to leave."


"Yes, leave. It's someone else's turn."


"Hush, hush now. It's about to start. Popcorn?"

Lights. Camera. Action. A thousand-year war, the most brutal war to have ever commenced in history. No mere mortals battle in these. The most chaotic of skirmishes. For a thousand years the gods fought furiously amongst the heavens until victory or eternity of shame in realm of Hell and its inhabitants.

It was the day that, so long ago, the war began. A celebration for some of triumph, for others a day of shame. For Pedarius the Bold, it was a day of mourning. He, King of the Gods of Justice, had reigned supreme amongst the players. There victories were owed to his father, King before him, who died, not in battle, but in an orgy. To die amongst your soldiers in arms, no matter their rank, was the greatest of honours. It was one his father would never be able to claim.


The King of Justice turned to face his most loyal advisor, Lord of the Shadows, High Executioner, Sole Survivor of the Night of the Doomed Chaste, his oldest friend, Kyle.

"Kyle." Pedarius acknowledged, his voice betraying the sadness he felt.

"Today of all days should not be one of mourning my dear friend." He told him, placing a hand on Pedarius' shoulder.

"Mourning, tis good for the soul. If we do not mourn, then we do not grow in strength."

"Wise words my King," he told Pedarius, precuring a rose from behind his back and placing it on the grave of the fallen king. "Yet it is not words alone that will save our Empire. The Lords of Aqua have been moving with a ferocity across our lands. Day by day we lose more soldiers. The time of pretty words is over my King. Our people, they need a warrior, not a poet!"

Pedarius nodding, replied. "You are right, as always Kyle. I've been weak, another shame to my family. All this time, I feared to befall the same fate as my father."

For several moments they stood in silence, Pedarius looking to new horizons and promising not to fail his people any longer. Kyle…well Kyle kicked Pedarius in the balls.

Sitting at the bar, ordering a single disarano. Many people. Only three bartenders, two young men and a middle ages woman. Every seems to be having a good time, except one guy sitting on his lonesome drinking a bottle of pop. Lots of crumbs on his table. Another man, a bouner, walks up to him and escorts him out to the cold March streets. End.

The man killed the tiger. The man was eaten by a hippo. He then sold ecstasy to the elephant.

"Umm.. is it Vernadium?"

"No wrong answer, the correct one was Iridum. Honestly if you don't study how do you ever expect to succeed?

"Dumb luck?"

"You'd be better off taking a Uranium bath to gain supper intelligence than passing your exams with luck fool."

"Sorry Teach."

I beg your pardon?!"

"Sorry, Doctor Teach."

"Thank you, now which of these can be found as bright yellow crystals at room temperature?"


"Well done! I told you, you'd get it eventually. Ok now, can you remember the what the atomic symbol 'I' stand for?"

"Umm, damn umm…io…no, umm, shit I can't remember what it's called!"

"Well you're close, it's Iodine. Not that down. Well I'd say that's enough for today. Good work with Sulphur, now let's try getting more than one answer correct next week."

I will live, I will not die. I live this creed cause it is my life. I can't breathe but I will survive. I gotta make it back to you. Stolen moments shape my soul in the dark. Beaten, broken, bloodied words form my heart. I made a promise with the light of revenge. Take back nothing this fight only starts again. burn them all, save them now, make them holy, break them down, The words I said, mean nothing now, I'm the king of mercy's crown. So, know, you can break my bones but not my soul.

She looked onward at the setting sun, the last glimmer of natural light guiding her down Highway 29. At least she thought it was Highway 29, the last thing she recalled reading was 'Orlando, 120 miles'. It all blurred together, and with the sweet nectar of heroine in her system it didn't matter. 'Turn Left onto Highway fuck-a-duck who cares', 'Detroit one-billion miles behind you ya dumb slut'. She turned at the next Intersection her semi-stable sight could see.

"No turning," she mumbled. "Who put that there?"

There wasn't a way to turning. Or was there? Fuck she was so done for, and already jonesing for the next hit. Her mind flashed back to her first time high on the road. Gas station, she thought, that's what I need. There was always a junkie at a gas station. It was as though the two came hand in hand, like racism and an inability to spell any words in the English language.

A Viking horn sounded in the distance.

"Shit am I in Minnesota?" she wondered, suddenly filling with rage. The last thing she wanted was so meat headed Vikings fan ruining her high with their incessant need to talk about how great they were.

"Exit in 12 miles."

She fell into her seat, jerking the wheel and causing the car to swerve. She let it for an all brief four seconds. Four seconds where the thought of escaping her prison was stronger than her fear of what held her back. What did it matter anyway? 'Baltimore', 'Atlanta', 'Chicago', 'Kansas, the city not the state' but what did it matter? Everything was always going to be same, same stories only with different people. No escape for her beyond madness.

For four seconds, she let freedom dangle in front of her. Then she grabbed the wheel and reached for it.