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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Mall-Rats Fall Into Enemy (Zombie) Hands ...... 4/24/14

They didn't hear anything. You'd think Opal would have screamed, or yelled... but nothing. It all happened so fast. They grabbed her. They took her and she was gone. Sophia and Sybil just walked. 'Tip toed' would have been a better word. No words. No noise, just two, little skinny ninth grade girls locked in a dim, shadowy mall. 

Sybil whispered - Where'd they go? Where are they?... Sophie shook her head. She didn't know. Then she bent down and tried to lift the open grating in front of one of the stores, City of Brassieres, I think it was. She couldn't do it. They were all like that. Every store was sealed off and locked via an electronic system that kicked in sixty minutes after closing. Most people, staff and all, were long gone by then. Restocking and vacuuming happened early in the morning from seven thirty to nine thirty. Even in winter it was daylight by then. That made it safer. Think it was an insurance rule and all that.... Sophie barely even whispered. Mostly she just 'mouthed' - We have to find a place to hide.... Sybil didn't say anything. What was she gonna say? That girl's 'beta' all the way. Let Sophie take the lead. Let Sophie save her.  Sophie, God, Jesus, or The Lord... somebody.

By now they had to pee, only restrooms were dead ends. No way out. Couldn't go in there. Can you imagine silently opening the door. Then the motion sensitive light goes on...big light...harsh light... florescent light. If anyone (or any 'thing') was watching, they'd see the flash. How could they miss it? Restroom doors are heavy. Take a long time to close. You really can't push it..... Imagine being in a stall, sitting on a toilet with your pants down. Both can't pee at once. Somebody's got to keep watch. Pisser sits there doing her thing. Maybe she has to poop. You know, it's been a few hours. Lookout whispers 'hurry up.' Pisser goes - OK.... But then the bathroom door opens. Lookout screams. Pisser can't see, but she hears. They grab the lookout, crack her head against one of the shiny, white porcelain sinks. Not a sound you want to hear. Then a thud, as her body hits the floor. Pisser just sits there quiet as a mouse. Lifts her feet. Maybe they won't see? Maybe they won't know? Prays and prays and prays and prays. Hears them drag the lookout away. Sees a stray, little red, rivulet of blood run down a grout line 'tween the tiles and make it's way into her semi-enclosed sanctum. And finally, at the last moment, somebody reaches back inside and manually clicks off the light..... You know how dark a windowless mall restroom is with no light? Graves are brighter. Egyptian slave girls sealed in the tomb with their pharaoh see more. ... Do you sit there? Do you ever so quietly zip up your pants and leave?... What would you do? ... So the two little ninth graders climbed up into one of the big planters, really more like densely landscaped islands, hid among the trees and bushes and drizzled. The lights were low... tiny security bulbs here and there. Who could see? 

But they weren't dealing with a 'who.' Sophie and Sybil were up against a 'what.' 

Besides, that's when they heard the scream...


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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Malls With Zombies Got Especially Bad Cell Phone Reception... 4/23/14

They tried to call out, but you know how it is. For some reason, malls got lousy reception. They don't want you to communicate with the outside world. They want you to stay and stay and stay and stay. Then, when you spend your last dollar, the mall zombies come and get you.  Most people still don't know this. But some do, 'cause you can hear beleaguered mom's threatening their delirious offspring with - You better shut your mouth, you little son-of-a-bitch, or the mall zombie's gonna get you...... What? You think zombies draw the line at fourth graders, or even babies? Well, they don't. Humans don't. Look at the sobbing, little, bare and vulnerable toddlers they scrapped into caustic gas chambers with rakes in the nineteen forties, or the decapitated tiny corpses from another continent two generations later. Bingo, that's it. Earth folks in a nut shell. Zombies just ain't hypocrites. That's all. But sometimes they like to play, like cats with little mousies, or bow-wows with low flying birds.

The three ninth graders huddled right up against the glass waiting for the security guys to come by. They didn't talk, or make a sound, just trembled and breathed real, real quietly. Every so often one of them would slowly turn around and check the point where the exit passage meets the main thoroughfare. But so far, nothing.... Part of a fountain... A Disney Store and the 'abandoned' cottage-like, rabbit hutch where Peter Rabbit, the Easter Bunny used to live.

In her tiniest voice Sophie whispered - They'll be here soon. They have to.... But the security guards, in their shrink-wrapped S.U.V. never came. And for at least three hundred feet beyond, the parking lot was empty. After that, the woods. Sybil thought she smelled something.... a body?... blood?.... a sweet, thick, mildew, sour smell. But she didn't say a word. And Opal just crouched there. Here feet were numb. Her legs were numb. You think she cared? Come on. She just wanted to live. Who the hell needs feet?

But Sophie saw something. The cottage... The rabbit hutch... It was hard to tell in the gloom, yet wasn't that door closed?... Not the front door. Not the sparkly one near the throne, but the smaller one facing them. The one the kids came out from after they got their Peeps. Mall used to give out chocolate. Peeps are cheaper. But the door... the door was open. And not all the way, only part way. That was worse. 

Then, a sound. A car. The security guards were coming. Opal sighed. She exhaled, frosting the glass door before her. Sybil pressed her forehead hard against the cold, clear surface. Tiny orange lights glistened from the far off woods.... a deer family off on a wee hour jaunt. The world was real. There was an 'outside.' The shrink-wrapped S.U.V. pulled up. It stopped. Somebody set the break. They heard it. And three, little ninth grade hearts unclenched as two moonlighting, or retired cops hauled themselves out of the not quite large enough bucket seats, hitched up their pants and sidled over. 

They banged on the glass. The guards saw. One chuckled, as they stepped up onto the sidewalk and approached the door. Sybil went - Yes! Yes! Yes! ... Sophie  laughed with manic glee. Poor, little Opal with her stiff, numb legs stared wide eyed as the first guard put his hand on the door. It was over.... 

Til the second guard looked up over the heads of the squealing, little mall rats. But Sophie caught that and turned . Fifteen yards down the passageway in the shadows, two figures approached.... tall and spare, in long dark greasy raincoats, with stiff, blood-caked hair straight out of Japanese anime and eyes just as orange as those deer.

The guards simply stood there watching , neither startled, nor surprised. But, then again, they'd seen it all before. Some patterns are well established.

And three little not quite rescued mall-girls, down on the faux marble floor, trembled and sobbed, as pale, gray, long nailed hands reached from filthy, dark raincoat sleeves, pushing two aside before grabbing Opal's ankles and dragging her away. 

Sophie looked through the glass at the guards. They saw it all, checked that the door was locked, got back in the shrink-wrapped S.U.V. and left. 

Time passed. Neither one moved, til she remembered the 'girl scout'   homemade flame throwers and got up to give chase.....

Four heartbeats later Sybil struggled to her feet and scrambled after her. 


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Monday, April 21, 2014


{we're back where we were about three nights ago, in the dark, mall food court, after midnight. the mall-rat girls perch atop a twenty foot metal scaffold, using cell phones for illumination, as they peer into the space between the drop ceiling and the concrete 'true' ceiling above. Something's up there. They snap pictures. Sophie,  who fronts the group, looks down to see a cadaverous being glide out of the shadows and maul Gary (the weird, nightwatchman waiting down below).  The fiend looks up. They lock eyes. No one makes a sound. that's where we are.}

It looked like Johnny Depp from when he was Edward Scissor Hands.... white skin... dark eyes... severe features... wild hair... And oddly, not so sinister. More tragic, like it was bound to do these things. ... She didn't say a word. Hardly moved. Just stayed there, locked in position. 

Gary's sprawled on the white, tiled floor. Blood pooling everywhere. Neck a pulpy mess. Left cheek gone. Left eye gone. Skull shattered. And he must have butt dialed something when he fell, 'cause the girl from Zeppo & Lucretia's wants to know what kind of pizza he wants.... A last meal he'll never get.

The Johnny Depp thing backed 'way to make room for another one. And Sophie looks, as the pair of them silently drag him away, leaving a big, wide, blood smear in their wake.... Sybil, one of the other two up there with her, turns 'round to watch. Opal just whimpers. They stay like that for maybe an hour, either in denial, or shock. Then moon beams stream down through the skylight, gilding the scene in a gray, somber wash. All is silent, except for an occasional rattle from the heating ducts. Sophie exhales and whispers - Opal, you still got the two cans of Aqua-Net?... Opal nods... And the lighters?.... More nods... Sophie goes - Give 'em to me. Not all of them, just one can and one lighter. Come on. Come on. Come on.... She takes them, sprays some out (away from the others) and lights it up. A respectable, homemade flame thrower.... Sybil goes - What are you gonna do? ..... Sophie starts to climb down and whispers - What do you think?... Five heartbeats later, Sybil screws up her courage and follows. Twelve heartbeats after that, Opal quickly scrambles after them. Nobody talks. Just three pair of ninth grade, sneaker clad feet silently making their way through the dark.

Sophie leads them passed the shoe stores. It's like a mezzanine up there. One side's all footwear. Causeway goes to the other side. But that side's all ladies' wear. Full of manikins. More places for night fiends to hide. Sophie figures them two zombies must be holed up somewhere chompin' on what's left of good, old Gary. Ain't no blood smear. Must have gone the other way. So they tiptoe to the stairs and sneak down.... First level's got more benches, plants, trees and fountains too. Locked up, little carts for sunglasses and all that.  Thing is, you gotta get passed them to reach the exit and you know that's locked. Mall's got other exits, but that's the first one. Off duty cops patrol the outside, cruisin' 'round in special, compact S.U.V.s. Maybe they can wait, crouched down by the floor, til cops go by. Bang on the glass when they check the door. Only thing is, Sophie don't know the outside crew ain't got no keys, or key cards, or nothing. Pee in the little Crispy-Creme Doughnut joint out in the parking lot. Got keys for that. Well, even so, maybe there's something they can do? Who knows?

So the girls just keep on going, passed the pretzel stand, passed the sticky bun place, passed the particle board, paint and glitter Rabbit Hutch where the Easter Bunny was. He's gone now. But something else has taken up residence and it ain't no rabbit. They can't see in the darkness, but four red eyes is watchin' from a little window with like a Pee Wee's Playhouse flower box under it and no glass. Zombies in there gnawin' on Gary. Don't know how the management'd feel about that,  'cause they don't even like no Gypsy fortune teller.

Girls position themselves by the glass exit door, down a little passageway between some grill place and a reclining chair store.

Trouble is, them what gnawin' on Gary can see 'em. Oh, yeah, they can see 'em all real good.

Can even smell the blood...


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Saturday, April 19, 2014


Better able to channel 'the zombie message' than I was last night. Here's what went unsaid .~~~> There was a burst of North American Zombiism in the nineteenth century. A rising population played a part. The spread of Spiritualism and gothic literature also contributed. Before that age mass communication was limited. Newspapers, although in existence, were rare and passed 'round like scripture. But the mid eighteen hundreds witnessed burgeoning media on all fronts. Daily publications, many featuring the unbelievable novelty of photography brought everything to everyone and just as now, people like blood. 

Tales of premature burial were everywhere. That sad and horrific, though rare, event usually stayed hidden to avoid mass hysteria. After all, who would know? Something happens. They move a grave, uncover a coffin, only to find a splintered lid. Sometimes the body was gone. Sometimes it wasn't, revealing cadaverous and terrifyingly contorted victims. Eyes gouged out. Foreheads crushed. Dried blood on shredded, satin lids. Dislocated shoulders and cracked vertebrae. Escape was nearly impossible... but not always.

Yellow Journalism loved tales like that. Front page news, complete with photographed 're- enactments' featuring ghoulish models... kohl smudged eyes... sharp, serrated teeth... shriveled lips... claw-like hands  and gray, blue veined skin. 'Tableau Macabre' they were called. John Wilkes Booth made a few. So did Edgar Allen Poe. Mary Todd Lincoln staged midnight tableau in Washington. Not at The White House. The Domestic Staff wouldn't have it, forcing The First Lady and her attendants to decamp to Admiralty House, current Vice Presidential residence, where notorious, shadowy spectacles transformed the vast conservatory into a fiends' paradise.

Thing is, one cold January night with a lesser British royal in attendance, plus an equally aristocratic Ottoman bey, a certain 'actor' tucked into his 'leg-o-corpse' with manic, uncontrollable ardor. Those witnessing the performance gasped and swooned at the authenticity of it. Though when they cleaned up after, the human leg bone proved to be real and not the usual pig meat upholstered ox bone substitute. And two hours later, a certain young woman in the bey's entourage asleep upstairs became Turkish Delight in her own right. Important guests are still shown the stained bedroom carpet today. Some claim to have seen a torn, sobbing apparition crawling 'cross the floor and passing through a wall where a door used to be one hundred and fifty years ago. 

The offending ghoul was never apprehended. Members of The Secret Service did find a lair, deep within a dark, forgotten cellar, littered with old bones and other, shall we say, moister refuse. But the discovery was hushed up, what with The Assassination and all.

'Zombies' are real, crazed survivors of premature burial.... insane and infected in so many ways. They say certain pathogens in the soil cause it.  And as Earth warms, it's growing.

Secret brotherhoods (sisterhoods too) foster the spread, purposely throwing drugged 'sacrifices' into damp, deep graves, sans casket, covering them up, tamping it down and waiting. According to renegade cognoscenti, three hours later you have a heaving, terrified, wide-eyed, panting zombie... that is if they survive.  Sharp thorns are mixed into the soil to pierce the skin and draw the blood.  Subsequent 'sacrifices' often fill the same grave, since it's already peppered with the necessary contagion.

And there you have it. That's how it is. Who knew? The denizens up in the ceiling over the mall food court were made that way... at least most of them were. 

Next time we'll sneak back and, hopefully, show you more. Oh, there's a stench too.... You'll see.


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Friday, April 18, 2014

MOMMY, Where Do Baby Zombies Come From?.... 4./19/14

The nineteenth century was a golden age of Zombie-ism. They had other names for it then, at least in America and Canada. Called them 'ghouls' ... 'graveyard fiends'... ' really hungry, ugly scuzzy people.'... 'turd breaths.'... I'm talking about the less formal parts of the nineteenth century. But substance trumps labels... And when it comes to substance, zombies are full of it. But unlike vampires, they do poop on a more or less regular basis. In Tang Dynasty China, dried zombie spoor was a delicacy... No, wait, not a delicacy... an aphrodisiac. I believe they snorted it. The zombies of Quimoy and Maitzu made quite a bundle in the trade.

Oh, I can't do this. Sorry. Too tired.  Slept like four hours or less the last two nights. Literally micro-sleeping as we speak (snort... you say something?)......<~~~ see those dots? They represent fourteen minutes spent staring at this screen, listening to 'market reports' on some PBS station. Moss Hart was a poor kid from the Bronx who made it big on Broadway and married Kitty Carlisle too... And Saturday night is Brit-com night. Plus decoy carving is being passed on to a new generation.. 

OK, enough of that. Gotta go to sleep a bit earlier, 'cause Saturday Night Live is on tomorrow night and I'm hoping to see myself as host. They don't tell you ahead of time. You gotta tune in. That way it's like a big TV surprise party. 

Lorne Michaels is the Aaron Spelling of American Comedy. Nobody laughs unless he says so. And eleven and a half hours (at least) of weekly programming wafts out of his laboratories.... Not counting the reruns of 30 ROC, which I think are on endless loop...Oooh! and PARKS AND RECREATION, which is STILL in first run. 

><> ><> ><> ><> ><> ><> ~~~~~~ see them fish?... They represent a catatonic interlude spent listening to a dirge-like violin solo on some non-Lorne TV.

I'm gonna drink diet decafe orange iced tea (right from the plastic jug) and go to sleep (yawn... stretch... sigh) 

I love the shore, but I hate saltwater taffy (although the rest of the family reveres it)

Good night. that's it.


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Thursday, April 17, 2014


They had to wait under the beds a long time, because as soon as the mall closes the cleaning women come through. Well, some of the cleaning ladies are men, but everybody says 'cleaning women' because that's like traditional.  It was scary too. They dry mopped and vacuumed right up to the dust skirt. Sybil almost got caught. She's allergic. Lucky the cleaning 'person' had ear-buds in. You know how some people keep the volume so high it's like they're crunching cereal and can't hear anything else? A country station I think it was. Never heard her sneeze. Sophie giggled nervously. Opal farted. Never heard none of it.  They texted each other for forty five minutes when the vacuuming stopped, because whoever it was might still have been dry mopping.

Wonder if the cleaning staff knows about the zombies? Maybe the zombies just leave them alone so they don't get kicked out. Devouring a raw, dead, or almost dead body's gonna make stains and you know management would probably have a fit over that. Sybil had to pee real bad. Couldn't help it. Had to come out. She was real quiet, though, so the others never knew. They had a big, shiny resin pot in the next furniture tableau. You know. Supposed to be ceramic, only lighter and cheaper? Guy was supposed to put a silk tree in it, but he cut his finger real bad on a serrated plastic edge on the toilet paper holder in the stall. Had to sit there dripping blood all over and yelling for Charmin. Couldn't  clean himself. Couldn't stop the blood.  Floor's all white tile, so you know how that looked. New sneakers got all ruined. Then when some guy finally did come he banged the door in and bashed him on top of his head. Had to wheel him out on a gurney. Grabbed a box a Peeps from the candy counter 'cause he wanted them.... But anyway, the resin pot was empty, so Sybil peed in it. That's when Gary caught her..... What the hell you doin'?! - he goes.... Sybil almost died. Got like a butt burn on her heinie when she slid off the rim, 'cause, you know, that resin's got a tacky feel to it.  She makes him turn around. The other two peek out from under their beds. Gary goes - It's OK. It's alright. You can come out.

Ten minutes later they're wheeling the two story, metal, scaffold thing out from the storage hallway and struggling to  position it under the stain. Can't move the tables, 'cause they're bolted down. But the aisles are just wide enough for the scaffold. Wheels squeak and make noise. The thing rattles a lot. Lights are real dim to start with. You know, those little floor level security lights places have? Mall -rat girls gettin' nervous. Opal keeps whispering - Oh God. Oh God. Oh God.... Then when it's all set up and the wheels are locked in place, right where they want it, Gary-the-addle-brained- watchman goes - Shit, no. Not here. We gotta move it over a little..... The mall-rats look at him... Can't have it right under the stain. Something might be wedged up there.... So they inch it over a few feet and lock it down. .... Everybody just looks at it. Then the girls look at Gary. He whispers - What?.... Sophie goes - Ain't you gone first? Thought you'd know how to snap the ceiling tile out and all..... He goes - It ain't hard. You can do it. I gotta stay down and steady it. Not like you gonna carry nothing. Just take a picture. That's all...... The girls look at each other. He ain't gonna move. They can see that. So, Sophie says - I'll go, but I want you two right behind me. OK?... Sybil nods. Opal goes - Yeah, sure.... So they start climbing. Got a rail around the edge up there. Plus no room for standing. Can only get up on your knees. Ceiling's right there. Guess that makes it safer? Gary makes like he steadying it. Be he ain't doin' nothin', 'cept bein' scared.

Sophie uses her phone for light. Tiles look real tight. Sybil whispers - Now what? ... Sophie goes - Here, take this... Sybil grabs the phone. Almost drops it. You know,  people get afraid to move up there. Ever climb up a ten meter diving platform?... It's terrifying. Light-changing platform ain't that high, but still, high enough. ..... Gary whispers - You girls alright up there?.... Sophie says - Yeah, shut up.... He's happy too. Grabs one of the legs like he's hugging it. Not like he walks around every night. Mostly locks himself in that little room reading comic books and  glancin' at security monitors when he has to. Sometimes in June and July when it ain't dark til nine-fifteen and it gets light at five or five thirty he'll make a fast round at nine and another at dawn. Wants a get one a them Roomba robot vacuum cleaners and duct tape a camera on it. That way he don't have to walk 'round at all. It's scary being all alone in a dark, in-door city. Too many shadows. Air ducts rumbling. Manikins and all. Worse is when a pigeon or a crow gets locked in at night. Don't make a sound, just flaps around all night, like the Kah in an Egyptian tomb. 

Sophie pushes up and snaps one a them rigid, acoustical ceiling tiles out a place. Then, real slow, she slides it over and stows it on top of the next one over. She stops, freezes, listens. The others listen too. Gary whispers - W-what are you doing?...... Sophie whispers - Nothing, shut up.... Then she shines her phone into the space between the tops of the tiles and the concrete ceiling. Now a body could be wedged up there, 'cause the grid that holds the tiles is  the heavyweight, industrial kind. Screwed up into the concrete real good too. But her phone keeps going out and it barely cuts the blackness, as it is. For a second, less than a second she sees something. Not a body, but a small dark shape. At least the part toward her is dark. She freezes, afraid to move. But she snapped it. She got it. She took the picture. The phone goes black. Then it flickers on again, just as a white hand darts out of the void and snatches whatever it was. But she instinctively presses the switch and gets that too. Then she sits back down on the platform heaving and shaking.... Sybil and Opal just stare. 

Gary goes - What'd you see?What happened? Are you OK?..... And she looks down to answer, as a shadowy figure glides out of the darkness, grabs the poor, young man, spins him around, kisses him hard and rips out his tongue. 

Seconds later another being appears from the gloom to claim his share, as Gary convulses and sobs. 

But Opal screams... and the first ghoul looks up... 


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Tuesday, April 15, 2014


I am completely indifferent to the machinations of those coarse, base children. 'Mall rats,' I think they style themselves. Let them play. Let them tip-toe through the shadows with that addle brained 'Gary.' They are but gnats to me. I will kill them when it is necessary and convenient. I will rip off hunks of their flesh and swallow it. Let them tremble. Let them scream. Lobsters scream too when they're boiled... and they can't even close their eyes. 

Sebastian must be fed . You can watch. Look , like a medieval dragon-thing guarding treasure he is... Been here for generations, dining on British Fusiliers in the War of 1812 and stupid, hate riddled belligerents during the Kensington anti Catholic riots of 1844. I believe he took some tourists during the Centennial Celebration. That was 1876, for the numerically and historically challenged. Too many dates. Too many dinners. Those are just some I remember from the early days. He swallows things approximately every four months. And the things he swallows are 'you'... humans... What did you think? Takes five or six to fill him up now. Some nights I climb down and sleep with him. I straddle his back, just behind the neck, lie down and hug him. Got a head like the serpents on Aztec pyramids. So cold. So smooth. So strong. He doesn't purr. I do. 

He'll take a victim foot first when they're trussed up just right. More of a show that way. They groan. They scream. Takes a few minutes to suffocate in there. We stagger them. One foot-first. One head first. So they can shriek in each other's faces til they die. 

We have a good one tonight... a college kid... a verifiable 'student prince'... plucked from the cobbles of Penn's Campus. I believe he was part of that tragically misguided vampire, Tomas' resurrected 'Junto.' Good deeds, improve society and all that. Well, pity... Would have graduated next year. Now he's a snake's dinner.  Got two tiny cameras Krazy-Glued on his body. One on his head. We shaved that. And one on his foot. The right instep, I believe. Tiny things they are. Made for espionage and surveillance. Oh, they have pin lights too. Whole thing's gonna be streamed right to his father's smart phone. Maybe even You Tube. Who knows? My 'techie' zombies take care of that. Why does the world insist on thinking we fall apart like pot roasted chickens and shamble around all the time? Well, let them. Makes it easier for us. Element of surprise and all that.  Do you think the dad will watch? Oh, initially he won't. But I'd bet, after a while, he will. He'll sit there in the dark, by himself, late at night. The house will be quiet. Then he'll slip the phone out of his pocket... so big and heavy for a 'pocket' device, but that's where most men carry it, and he'll activate it... Hold it in his hand and watch. He'll see the quivering.... He'll hear the screams... the prayers... the coughing... the groans... but mostly just the shrieks... then breathing... then silence. But the battery lasts for hours... a long slow shot of an incrementally dissolving son. No, wait. That's not what he'll see. (Sigh), too late now, but next time we must mount the cameras differently.

I can't tell you exactly where we are. But I will give you a bit of a description.  The place used to be an ammunition factory. Molten dollops dropped from a height rocketed down a huge, round, brick ... well, 'chimney' I suppose you'd call it.  Twenty stories high, at least. By the time they reached the bottom, they were done... 'mini balls'... lead shot... slashed in a pool and collected later. No pool now. Just a pit. A vast, deep, smooth cement pit. That's where we keep the snake. There's a few cat walks up above and an eight story building abuts the tower.  All quite visible from The Delaware Expressway. 'I-95' I think they call it. Officially empty and deserted. Not the road, the building. Some historical society owns it. Do they know we're here? Well, in a word, yes. The director's youngest son is a zombie. Father hates it all. Doesn't approve. Still wants the kid to 'control' himself and take a seat on the exchange. You know, there's a stock exchange in Philadelphia too. Quite a respectable one. Kid took me once to pick out a meal.

Please excuse me for rambling so. But I do love to meet new people.  Though I've just received a note. The 'mall rats' and their addle-brained friend are in position. The scaffold is in place. They're climbing up. 

(Sinister smile) Soon they'll get their 'prize.'


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