The Heist

A little boy pedaled his rusted red tricycle down the sidewalk toward Venice Beach. The street was deserted. Surfers, vendors, and street performers weren’t awake, much less at the boardwalk at sunrise.

Brakes screeching to a stop beside a No Parking sign, he slipped off his backpack and retrieved a bike lock. A chill ran down his spine. His mother always cautioned him about his overactive imagination. It was impossible to hear an irritated, whispered conversation when he was the only person on the boardwalk.

“This is bullshit.”

“It’s part of initiation –”

“Hazing. It’s part of a hazing ritual.”

“If you can’t handle a simple task, then –”

“– I’m not daring or scary enough to haunt with you. I know the rhetoric.”

“How can I be your mentor if you won’t let me ment?”

“That’s not a verb.”

“Quit stalling, ghoul.”

“What is it with ghosts and puns?”

“You’re also a fool.”

“Whoomp, there is it!”

“Ford.”

“Nixon.”

“The compatibility test was inaccurate. The Head Haunter appointed you as my mentor because we both had the misfortune of being named after terrible American presidents.”

“Can you be serious for one minute?”

“Who assigned our Fright Crew to haunt Venice Beach? These assholes just think their hallucinogens are extremely potent — they never get scared.”

“It’s a weird gig, but someone’s gotta do it.”

Nixon motioned for the younger ghost to follow him. Nixon and Ford hovered behind the suspicious little boy. He locked the back of his tricycle to the No Parking sign. Beaming, he sat on the curb and rummaged through his backpack for his iPad.

“The kid’s got an attention span of a flea.”

“You’re not gonna be able to spook him by rattling the sign or something. Get creative.”

Ford sighed and circled the little boy closely. The boy shuddered, but remained focused on his Candy Crush game. Ford dove and snatched the front wheel from the boy’s tricycle.

The boy gasped. “Hey!” He grabbed fistfuls of air, but Ford evaded him and dangled the wheel above his head.

Nixon smiled at his protégé. He cocked his head toward the hills, where the Haunting Headquarters cave was hidden. Ford flew past, tricycle wheel held above his head triumphantly.

“Kids these days –” Nixon snickered.

“– they should know better than to improperly lock their bikes, lest some ghosts steal their wheels.”

 

*Note: this story was inspired by this photo I took while in California last week.

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an apology for my unforeseen hiatus

I apologize for not posting lately. A couple weeks ago, my MacBook crashed. The hard drive died after five years. (It outlasted every other computer I’ve had.) Ceddy has fixed it and now it works better than ever. I also have been doing a bit of traveling (Destin & Panama City Beach for Ames’ bachelorette party weekend and LA & San Francisco with Andrea and Shaina), so expect traveling photo posts, as well as new poems and stories.

What we got left is just me and you

“I’m the worst.” Gemma sighed, her shoulders stooped in defeat.

“Should I guess what you did while you wrestle with your guilt?” Adelaide locked the door behind them and sat on her couch.

“Isn’t that what best friends are for?” The taller girl flung herself to the floor.

“Are your theatrics warranted this time?”

“Yes.”

“Last time, you just shrank that cardigan you wore every day freshman year –”

“I lost my car key. Clicker too.”

“Don’t you have a spare?”

“Lost it last year. Instead of getting another made, I swore I’d never lose the original.”

“Where did you last have them?”

“…”

“Gem.”

“Ade, I had half a bottle of tequila –”

“– and lost your car keys in Chad’s pants.”

“Chad’s apartment. Or somewhere between the street and his apartment. I’m not really sure.”

“Call him so he can find them.”

“I dunno know where my phone is.”

“Use mine.”

“Don’t have his number memorized.”

“Y’all hook up whenever either of you need drunken ex comfort sex!”

“I took your advice and started using technology more — I had his number saved to my iPhone favorites.”

“Facebook message him.”

“He’s not on Facebook.”

“Being a Luddite is yet another reason that asshole should be denied your time and pussy.”

The doorbell chimed.

“You should get it, Gem.”

“Your house, Ade. I’m your guest who’s comfortably laying on the floor.”

“You’re closer to the door.”

Fine.”

Gemma didn’t bother checking the peephole before swinging the door open.

“Chad.”

“Gemma.”

“I’ll be in my room avoiding this awkwardness if you need me!” Adelaide left the non-couple in the doorway.

“You forgot your keys and phone when you bolted this morning.”

“How’d you know where I was?”

“You and Adelaide always go to each other for help. Or to talk shit about us terrible dudes.

“We don’t talk shit –”

“…”

Okay, we do — only when it’s well-deserved.”

“I know I messed up before, but I meant it when I said I was sorry.”

“You apologized for hurting me. Really, you just felt bad that you got caught fucking someone else.”

“But –”

“Don’t call me –”

“What about –”

“No drunk texts, no stoned smoke signals, or no sober letters sent by carrier pigeon. It’s over.”

Five minutes later, on Facebook:

Gemma Johnson: The greatest part about losing my keys & phone was witnessing a grown man(child) sprint away from my “menacing” best friend as she threatened to punch him with brass knuckles. 

44 likes, 1 comment

Adelaide Jacinto: #badgirlsdoitwell

Akihabara: Tokyo’s otaku cultural center & electronics shopping district

Ceddy and I went to Akihabara because it’s the district where many electronics are developed in Tokyo. It has a huge selection of electronics stores, as well. Akihabara is also known as the otaku cultural center of Tokyo. Otaku refers to people belong to fandoms, particularly for anime, manga, and video games.

So much anime. Tokyo, Japan.

So much anime & so many video game ads. Tokyo, Japan.

There were skyscrapers belonging to electronics companies, as well as electronics stores.

Tokyo, Japan.

Tokyo, Japan.

Ads with sexy anime ladies. I didn’t get a photo of the girls in maid costumes who handed out flyers for maid cafés. Those cafés are a subset of cosplay restaurants where the waitresses act as maids to their patrons.

Tokyo, Japan.

Tokyo, Japan.

Tokyo, Japan.

Tokyo, Japan.

There were street vendors selling manga books, anime prints, and even hentai porn.

Tokyo, Japan.

Tokyo, Japan.

The electronics store we went to wasn’t anything special — it just had several floors. Ceddy is a technology nerd and heard exciting things about Akihabara, but didn’t think it lived up to the hype. We did find a store that sold old school Nintendo games for super cheap, though, which he enjoyed. I was more interested in the fandom aspect of the area, which was alternately cool and creepy.