God of Squirrels – Chapter Seven: Freedom

As Dr. Merkel is suddenly lifted off her feet and levitated onto her back, she thinks there is never any reasoning with these Greys. She rises toward the ceiling and just as she’s about to bump her forehead on its asbestos laded popcorn texture, an intense orange light surrounds her and she passes right through the ceiling and through the building’s roof and out into the fresh late morning air. Cherry blossoms bloom below, scenting the air with spring.

High above her is a saucer ship with an open portal in its underside. As she’s lifted toward it on a beam of light, she says, “All of this is really unnecessary. We can take my car. It’s parked in the building’s garage, and Burgerville is just down the road a short ways. Why always so elaborate? Call my office, make an appointment, we can take my Mercedes. I won’t even charge you for mileage.”

But the Greys don’t respond, and as she brought inside the ship, she takes one last big breath of fresh flower scented air before being enclosed in the stink of their ship and the doors seal closed beneath her.

*   *   *

Buck hasn’t felt this free since spring break thirty years ago in Mexico when he took magic mushrooms and ate the worm out of the bottom of a bottle of mescal. Continue reading “God of Squirrels – Chapter Seven: Freedom”

God of Squirrels – Chapter Five: Velvet

“I mean, can you imagine it? Winning the Tour de France seven times?” Buck Junior says. “And in a row at that. Quite an achievement. Whenever I get in a tight spot, I ask myself, what would Lance do?”

As Velvet locks her bicycle outside the building where their pick-up is, she wishes the newbie she’s training would shut up about Lance Armstrong. She doesn’t give a bat’s fart about what Lance would do. “You do know he doped his way to all seven tour wins?”

Junior looks taken aback. “Yeah, I know that. It shows dedication, don’t you think? Winning at any cost? Something this country has forgotten how to do.”

“Spin it however you like, it’s still cheating,” she says, locking her bike.

Junior locks his bicycle too and follows her lead inside. “Maybe, or you could say he was simply leveling the playing field. All of the big names from Lance’s era got busted at one point or another. And remember, he was betrayed by a teammate, not caught, he should be commended for that, for being such a good cheater. He’s just plain good at everything he does. If that Judas Floyd Landis had kept his mouth shut, no one would be the wiser and Lance would still be a national hero.”

Velvet knows it’s pointless to argue with a true believer. They’ll call a dick a clit if it will keep their world outlook straight. She presses the up button for the elevator. “A word of advice, newbie. I get it that he’s your hero and you’ve got a big man-crush on him, but if you keep going on about him like this, especially in front of the other messengers and drivers, you’re going to get tagged with a nickname I doubt you’ll like.”

“Cool, a nickname? I’ve always wanted a nickname. How about Lancet?” he says as the elevator arrives and they get on. “I’ve never liked being called Junior.”

“Junior may be lame, but preferable to Lance’s Apprentice.”

“What’s wrong with that?”

Velvet looks at him. He’s maybe a year younger than her but it seems like a lot more, and sort of dumb in a likable way. “I’m being kind. It’s your first day. Believe me, it’ll be much worse.”

When they return to their bicycles with the pick-up secure in Velvets all-weather backpack, Velvet catches sight of a strange craft hovering silently over the building across the street. “What in the world is that?” she says as she pushes back her skullcap, and as she does, the craft disappears.

“See what?” Junior asks, looking where Velvet is looking.

“I don’t know. It’s gone.” She shakes her head and pulls her cap back on. As she does, the craft reappears over the building. She pulls the cap off and it’s gone. “Fuck me,” she says and tosses Junior the cap. “Put that on and look over there.”

Feeling the dampness of the skullcap, he hesitates. “Why?”

“Because it’s what Lance would do, Apprentice.”

He puts it on. “Holy cow, what is that?”

“So you see it too? Then it’s not some sort of magic mushroom flashback.”

“That’s no helicopter. That’s totally scifi.” He pulls the cap off. “Now it’s gone.” When he puts the cap back on, it reappears, but this time a woman is floating in the air below it. “It’s about to eat some woman.”

Velvet grabs her cap from his head and pulls it on just in time to see the woman disappear inside the bottom of the craft and for it to fly away at immense speed. “It’s gone. It took the woman and it’s gone. I wonder if it’ll bring her back.”

“I want one of those hats.” Junior wipes the residual dampness on his head where the hat was with the back of his hand. “What else can you see with that thing on?”

“I don’t know. I only got this morning. It was a gift from my dog nanny.”

“Dog nanny?”

“Yes, I have a dog nanny. Come on, let’s go.”

Next chapter – Side Effects

Previous chapter – Burger and Fries

First Chapter: Buck

God of Squirrels – Chapter Three: Dr. Merkel

Buck’s wife, Tanita, sits across from her longtime therapist, Dr. Merkel. “I tell you, he’s crazy. I sleep all night long, like a rock, in our bed, and he accuses me of sneaking out to have an affair. Why would I do that? I don’t even like sex. And what does he care? He gave up touching me in that way years ago. All we do in bed together is snore and fart, and that’s just fine by me. I don’t need to seek that elsewhere.”

Dr. Merkel nods her understanding and glimpses at the clock strategically located on the wall behind the patient’s chair. Twenty-five minutes passed ten, only five more minutes of this and then her escort stud of the week will arrive to roger her back to life after being drained by Tanita’s deeply depressing outlook on life. If a negative spin can be put on an Easter egg, Tanita is the woman to do it.

Dr. Merkel notices Tanita looking at her like she should be saying something, so she nods her head some more, then poses with her pencil eraser against her chin and says, “You need to ask yourself if you want to be with Buck or go out on your own. You need to resolve your relationship ambivalence before you can move passed this.” Her favorite phrase. Clients love to move passed things.

She speaks on autopilot while her thoughts are on the approaching encounter with the escort, Ricardo, a new one she hasn’t had yet. He has his own exercise channel on YouTube. She was sold after watching the first few minutes of a video where he bounced a silver dollar off his ass.

The irony of being a therapist to mostly married people when she has never married, nor ever wanted to, amuses her everyday. She wears a ring with a rock on her ring finger and has framed family photos on her desk, but it’s all Photoshop and stagecraft to create empathy and trust. Dr. Merkel is a realist and knows she’s not much more than a human placebo, there to listen and to prescribe the illusion of progress, of moving passed.

Tanita pulls on a strand of hair and checks it for split ends. “But how can I get passed my ambivalence if all I feel is ambivalence?”

“Did you try the meditation technique I suggested?” Few patients did.

“It was awful. I don’t know how anyone can sit still like that.”

“You do every night when you sit in front of your television screen.” Dr. Merkel gave up watching television years ago. It was too much like visiting with her patients but without getting paid. She may have started out as a therapist to help people, but she soon “moved passed” her early dedication and it became about making money. She helped where she could, but she wasn’t going to be naive about it.

“That’s different.”

“Is it? You simply watch the thoughts of your mind as if they are one of your television shows. They’re quite similar, really.” But Dr. Merkel knows it’s pointless to attempt to convince Tanita of this. Tanita insists on constant distraction from exactly what she’s suggesting she face, herself. She decides to bring up the regression therapy she’s been considering for her. “Are you familiar with hypnosis?”

“Like the Mad Russian who hypnotizes people to quit smoking?”

Dr. Merkel smiles at the notion, or bark like a dog. “Yes, something like that, but deeper. With you in the proper state, we could ask your unconscious what it is that you truly want to do with your life. It may even share what your life’s purpose is. Please consider this for your session next week.” At the very least, Dr. Merkel thinks, I’ll hypnotize her into an hour long nap and be spared her negativity for a session.

The intercom on Dr. Merkel’s desk beeps and her receptionist, Johnny, a nice piece of man himself, says, “Dr. Merkel, your ten and a half appointment is here.”

Ten and a half, that wicked boy, she thinks, mildly frustrated that he doesn’t swing her way.

Next chapter: Burger and Fries

Previous chapter: Buck Junior

Chapter One: Buck

God of Squirrels – Chapter Two: Buck Junior

Buck Junior loves cycling so much he has sworn an oath to himself that he’s going to do everything he can to be the next Lance Armstrong. Dope, blood transfusions, doesn’t matter, if it gets him on that center podium in Paris. So last night as he hung out with his best friend, Doxie, smoking bowls of prime Snoop Dogg brand weed, supergluing his feet inside his cycling shoes seemed like a brilliant idea. The logic is fuzzy now in the morning, something about having more time for riding because he’s never waste time searching for his shoes, but it made more sense in the moment and isn’t everyone telling everyone else you need to live in the moment?

He really needs a shower because he totally reeks like a grow house, but now he is wasting a lot of time trying to pull his skinny black jeans over his bike shoes and if he doesn’t hurry this up, he’s going to be late for the first day of his summer job as a bike messenger. He still can’t believe they’re going to pay him to ride a bike, almost like turning pro. It doesn’t get any cooler than that. Scoring this job made him a total believer in a higher power being on his side. He doesn’t know if it’s God, or The Force, or string theory, it only matters that it likes cycling because a career in football isn’t an option for a guy of five feet six inches and 130 pounds unless he wants to be the towel boy.

Well, the jeans aren’t going to fit over his shoes and the shoes aren’t coming off his feet. Shittle fizzle, he thinks, what would Lance do? So with his pants around his ankles, he drags them behind as he goes in search of a pair of scissors and some more dope.

Next chapter: Dr. Merkel

Chapter One: Buck

God of Squirrels – Chapter One: Buck

Buck stands in the exam room under the claustrophobic low ceiling and puke green walls with his pants and boxers around his ankles, trying to figure out what to do with his hands. If it had been his wife sitting on the short stool in front of him, he still wouldn’t have known what to do with them. They’d never had any chemistry in the sex department.

Christ, Buck, don’t think about sex while Doc holds your testicles in his palm like a pair of cream eggs, he tells himself. Count the age spots on top of his bald head. Is that the Big Dipper?

“Turn your head and cough,” Doc says.

“Hack, hack.” This is pointless, Buck thinks, looking down at Doc’s bald head. Maybe that’s Orion. What does the state of my balls have to do with indigestion or anxiety? He’d had a panic attack on the freeway and just wanted Doc to give him a quick fix.

“Turn around, please, and lean over the table.” Doc reaches for a latex glove and a white tube of lube. “Now try to relax.” Continue reading “God of Squirrels – Chapter One: Buck”