Tales of the Storage Space, Part 111

The Storage Space considered the occupants of its lobby.  Most assuredly a lesser-evil choice of where to squander its attention but at least a shred better than watching some cop interrogate a drunk.  Or worrying about those now-only-occasional slithers.  Or…

Hadn’t anyone the least grounding in the theatre these days?  Did it take an inanimate object, a building no less, to spot the jealousy all over he of the rainbow shoes and remarkable collection of suitcases?  Or that the object of that ridiculously overacted jealousy was the pregnant teenager’s father, who had his arm wrapped around that equally ridiculous Fifi of the Pink Hair?

Who the fuck cares?

The Storage Space was no longer aghast at such language.  But it was determined not to squander its attention on such.  Or…

None of them dumb shits ever played their cards right!

The Storage Space ignored the slithering.  Or the temptation to deign to squander its attention on a sharp response.  Or…

It reattached its attention firmly to the occupants…the still-alive occupants…of the lobby.

That Fifi creature was chattering away madly to the teenager’s father about, as far as the Storage Space could tell, absolutely nothing.  The smile plastered to the father’s face looked like pancake make-up dissolving under bright lights.  Finally he snapped out something about letting him go, that he had something important to do.  Then he jerked back from Fifi, telegraphing to such an obvious degree that he was about to hit her…or him, or whatever Fifi was…that any director would have told him to find a new job in vaudeville.

Didn’t any one see it?  Other than…just maybe…Rainbow Shoes?

But then the teenager’s father caught himself, plastered his smile back on with an apology to Fifi, and left her in the lobby as he clattered up the stairs to Unit 38.

I repeat, who the fuck cares?

The Storage Space was caught off-guard this time, its attention broken.  It’s better, it found itself answering, than thinking of you.  Or…  Or…

And then it all came crashing down, like that beloved tea room long since gone, and the Storage Space knew what that “or” it had been avoiding was.  It was better than thinking of Karen.

Tales of the Storage Space, Part 110

Hank choked back a few sobs, a sure sign that he needed another drink, and fumbled for his bottle with shaking hands.  That data stick he’d found after they took that pregnant teenager out fell out of his pocket first.  It clattered all over the floor just as a cop showed up.

“Who’d you steal that from?” the cop spat in disgust, scooping up the data stick and sticking it into…what were them things called?…a tablet.

Hank didn’t care.  He’d only vaguely thought he might be able to sell it to someone in exchange for a few bucks toward his next bottle.  What Hank cared about was that this cop, who’d been sniffing around the storage space building all day, probably wouldn’t take kindly to Hank’s taking a swig of liquor.

“Elections R Us,” the cop read off his screen.  “Serving the greater good since 2001.  A Florida-based corporation.”  He yanked the data stick out of his tablet and threw it at Hank, hitting him square in the face.

It stung, just missing his eye, but again Hank didn’t care.  It didn’t sting anywhere near as bad as the memories of a lifetime of defeat that were his only reward for sobriety.

“Not possible in this fair land,” the cop snorted, still looking at the data stick.  “Bad joke.”  Now he was looking at Hank again.  “But you look like you’ve sobered up nicely since I first saw you this morning.  So I have a few questions.”

Hank now had his hand on the promised land, his bottle.  “I…I need a drink!”

“Not till after you’ve answered my questions.  Because of recent developments in San Francisco we’re re-opening an investigation into a disappearance and possible homicide here.  We’re in the process of ruling out homicide due to our failure to find any evidence of a body, but we need to locate a blonde woman named Karen for interrogation.”

Tales of the Storage Space, Part 109

Karen couldn’t stop screaming, even though they must have taken that man who’d been jerking off out of her room when she’d passed out, yet again, at the sight of…

Frank, her Frank!  All this time she’d thought she had to forgive him for a murder he hadn’t committed, because, somehow, that skinny, effeminate, little Brit Martin must have turned the tables on Frank and it was Frank who was…

Karen screamed and screamed until a nurse finally came in.

Frank!  Dead!  Endless memories of their making love in his apartment in Sausalito cut through her like a swarm of knives.  For all the pain of thinking he was mad at her, for all the pain of thinking she would never see him again, none of this was anything at all compared to the finality of his being…really, actually…dead.

She screamed one long, loud, endless scream.  Vaguely she noticed that the nurse was preparing an injection.

Dead!  It was only in the face of Frank’s death that Karen realized that no matter how convinced she was that she would never see him again there had always been at least a teeny chance for something she now realized could not possibly happen ever, not even in her dreams.

The nurse was fiddling impatiently with her IV and dropped something that shattered on the floor. “Will you please stop screaming?”

Vaguely Karen remembered something she’d read off her phone once about this being the worst hospital in the city.

“That ‘transsexual’ sick perv, who is an affront against the Lord Jesus Christ, is gone,” continued the middle-aged nurse.  “So you have nothing to scream about.”

Something must have gotten into her IV, a lot of something, because Karen could feel herself losing consciousness what struck her as way too fast.  She thought she heard herself mumbling something about how that wasn’t a real transgender person, only a “sick perv” of a heterosexual man.

“Okay, this time I’m going to get an injection in your IV, and this time it’s enough to knock out an elephant.  Not spending the rest of my shift listening to this nonsense!”

Karen felt like she was on an elevator that’s cables had just snapped and was now plummeting down a hundred stories.  Her last thought was for Frank.  Whether or not he’d ever forgiven her or she’d ever seen him again, how unbearable that he had lost his life.

Tales of the Storage Space, Part 108

Martin was six.

Was he dreaming?

His mum’s garden.  Kent.  All was as prim and proper as the primroses.  Even Martin.  It was years before he fell in with what his Daa called “that bad lot.”  Years before he was so desperate to fit in and impress the girls that he’d do anything “that bad lot” told him to.  Including all those hallucinogenic drugs…

His mum’s garden.  His Daa started watering with the garden hose.  For some reason the water coming out of that hose terrified Martin.  But his mum picked him up and swung him around in the sunlight, laughing.  Then she stopped, hugged him tight, and nuzzled his neck.  Martin could smell the scent of her soap, which she would also use when she scrubbed him clean.  It reminded him of fluffy clean towels, bed linens, and cozy bedtime stories.  Then they were on the ground, with his folks stealing a kiss over his head before they all three got busy weeding and patting the ground down around the flowers “just so.”  The earth was warm and wonderfully alive with the scents of the plants growing in it.  Martin was happy, surrounded by his parents, watching their six hands working in that warm, rich dirt together.  Making everything in their world all neat and tidy.

This was so much better than all those hallucinogenic drugs…

But with that he knew he wasn’t really in his mum’s garden, hadn’t been there for…decades.

Where was he?

He was on the ground, and there was dirt on his hands.  But this dirt didn’t smell good.  There were two bigger people surrounding him, but they were both men.  For a moment he caught a flash of his dirt and blood-covered hands buried in a foul littering of dirt and garbage scattered over a hard, concrete floor.  But then he spotted a pink and pudgy-cute T-rex winking furiously at him.  There.  That was much better!

Tales of the Storage Space, Part 107

Imogene had like two effin’ choices, stare at the still-wet, water-leak stain on the acoustical tile right over her head or stare at her ugly sleeping roommate with, like, gray skin and no effin’ hair.

Finally the door slammed open again.

Imogene prayed it was the super-sexy-cute guy again.  Or even that nurse that was always Draking…if she brought a TV.

It wasn’t either of them.

It was a cop.  Almost as old as her roommate.  He pulled a chair over next to Imogene, took out a tablet, and like blabbed a bunch of dumb preliminaries before getting down to it.  “I understand, little lady, that you came in with another patient?”

“Cray cray bitch from the storage space building?”  Imogene was wondering if she could get to Snapchat on that tablet…

“Excuse me?”

“That blonde bitch.  Cray cray.  Def not woke.”

“Actually the young lady in question is no longer asleep.”

“Like I didn’t mean like literally asleep…”

“And quite upset.  Won’t stop screaming.”  He rolled his eyes and looked disgusted.  “Thinks she saw a ghost.”

“Like I say, totally, like completely, cray cray.”

“‘Cray cray’?”

“Crazy!  Don’t you know anything?” Imogene snapped, then caught herself.  “Like, sorry, officer, but I like get carried away because like that cray cray…sorry…really truly totally crazy bitch is always at that storage space building, like works there, and is so def not woke…that means so definitely completely out of it…that she thinks all kinds of cray…crazy things and was probably so out of it that she thought she was helping when she like stabbed that guy with that scalpel!”

The officer didn’t respond, too busy struggling to take notes on a tablet he was obviously def not woke about using.

So there, thought Imogene, that should get that cray cray bitch locked up for, like, forever.  She turned away to look back up at the still-wet, water-stain on the acoustical tile right over her head.

“That poor, beautiful blonde…”

Compassion?  Understanding?  Those were like not at all the effin’ responses Imogene was expecting.  Or wanted.  She was about to look back towards the cop, and maybe think of something else she could say to make the cop hate that cray cray bitch as much as she did, when a drop of water splashed right into her eye.

“And in the worst hospital in the city,” said the cop sympathetically.

Imogene looked back at the cop.  He looked up from the tablet and clapped a hand to his mouth, like he hadn’t realized he’d been talking aloud.  She was pretty sure his sympathy over the effin’ hospital hadn’t been about leaky ceilings but about that effin’ cray cray bitch Karen.

Imogene could have screamed.  She opened her mouth to speak but couldn’t think of anything to say, so she turned back to the ceiling.

A water drop splashed into her other eye.

Tales of the Storage Space, Part 106

The Storage Space would have screamed with pain when its front door was slammed open against the wall, if only a building could…

Why was it deigning to think in human terms again?  Why could it not free itself forever from even the last vestige of association with those wretched, vulgar creatures?  Why couldn’t it concentrate solely on objects with dignity, id est inanimate?

The Storage Space thought of art, that upstart Claude Monet’s multiple paintings during different seasons of that bridge in Giverny.  It thought of architecture, that oddly sensuous new movement also coming out of France:  Art Nouveau.

It thought about how it could be argued that all these inanimate objects might in some vague way be associated with humans.  Such an insidious consideration was firmly swept aside.

“May I help you?”

That beautiful voice.  Human!  Well, yes, but some humans were…at least tolerable.

“Hey, sup?”

Unlike others.

“I beg your pardon?”

Amelia of the beautiful voice.  But did the Storage Space detect a hint in her voice of the revulsion it shared?

“I beg pardon,” the intolerable other mimicked.  “How are you this fine day?”

“Fine, thank you, young man.  That’s an awful lot of suitcases, even for a storage space.  You…believe in quick getaways?”

“Really!”

Another voice, forced high and dreadful, along with all the speaker’s pink hair.

“Fifi…you know this guy?”

The pregnant teenager’s father, with his arm around this…Fifi creature.

“I’m so innocent.  Really!” Fifi protested, squirming within his embrace.  “Rainbow Shoes, here, with all the suitcases?  I was just talking to him on the street when I was waiting in your car while you took care of…  What’s your daughter’s name?  Really!  I just can’t remember these things.”

“Imogene.  I can’t help it if it took a while.  My wife beat her up again.”

“But isn’t Emily, Imelda, Whoever in the hospital now?  Really!  I remember that!  So what are we doing back here?”

“Nothing you need to worry your pretty pink head about, so you wait here.”

Tales of the Storage Space, Part 105

Sebastian couldn’t stop thinking “god-awful” when he contemplated his discovery about Fifi in Unit 3.  Bad enough getting head from a middle-aged woman with two-tons of makeup and pink hair…he’d only agreed to it as a goof because with her tacky clothes she managed to match every color in his rainbow platform sneakers…but to discover that she wasn’t even a woman!  What an idiot!

Still, he couldn’t stop thinking about her, him, them, whatever.

And he needed to concentrate on what he was doing.

It hadn’t been easy to weasel his idiot girlfriend Carmen into letting him “borrow” all her big, wheeled suitcases…which of course he had no intention of returning.  Idiot didn’t even admit to being his girlfriend, or to liking the sex he kept having to force on her.  Or the little, fun, slapping around he had to give her to get the suitcases.  But here he was, on his way back to that storage space building he’d stolen all those keys from with enough suitcases to do a whole shitload of shopping.

Lights, cameras, action…he was about to swing through the door where he’d have to pass reception with a ton of giant suitcases, a fistful of stolen storage unit keys crammed into a pocket in his skinny, reveal-all jeans and what…a big, shit-eating smile?

He froze for moment outside the door, thinking yet again about all the shit he had to go through to make a living in such a god-awful world and the idiots who kept jacking up the prices for the substance abuse necessary to make it tolerable.  Then he remembered “he who hesitates is lost” and “carpe diem” and crashed through the door.

Tales of the Storage Space, Part 104

Karen clung to her dream, not wanting to wake up.

Frank, she was in bed with Frank.  She loved him so damn much she didn’t care that he’d murdered Martin; she couldn’t care, no matter how wrong that was.

Something caressed her thigh lightly.  Then she heard Frank whisper in her ear, “But do you care if I’m no longer alive?”

She shuddered.  Was it Frank’s words in her dream, or had someone really moved her sheet a bit, exposing even more of her thigh to a sudden chill.

A scream snapped her eyes open.  The ceiling and walls were all so very far away.  It wasn’t her storage space.  Where was she?  She couldn’t remember.

It was night; the room was dark.  The wind whistled outside, whipping the shadows of tree branches that flowed across the ceiling into a frenzy of rustling leaves.  The curtains over the window had been pushed back.  A street light outside spotlighted her exposed thigh and butt.

Karen reached for the sheet to cover herself, but was brought up short as metal clanged and cut into her wrist.

Handcuffs.

The hospital bed.

She thought she caught movement in her peripheral vision.  Turning, she saw a broom with a handle long enough to reach between the two beds drop to the floor, its closest end pointing toward her exposed butt and thigh.

Another scream.  More metal clanging, but these weren’t her handcuffs.  It was all coming from the other bed.

And then she saw it, rubbing her eyes over and over again because she couldn’t believe it could be true.  On the other bed was…why had the hospital allowed this?…a man.  He too was handcuffed to his bed.  She gathered he’d been jerking off but was flaccid now as he stared up at…

Frank.  In all his muscular glory. Furious.  No doubt because this guy had pushed aside Karen’s sheet with that broom handle.  Frank, every bit of him just as she remembered except…   He was floating over the handcuffed man’s bed.  The same streetlight that spotlighted Karen’s partial nudity was shining brightly through Frank, who was nothing more than a green and endlessly undulating…cloud.

Tales of the Storage Space, Part 103

Martin couldn’t believe they were booking him, about to haul him off to prison to wait till either someone bailed him out…he couldn’t imagine who, not his Calvinistic mum or dad certainly…or he went to trial.  A real cock-up.  All that running.  Three thousand miles.  And all he ended up being in the end…all he’d ever been all his life…was an utterly pathetic damp squib who couldn’t do shit.  Unable to bear it, he looked away from the ink the cop had managed to get on Martin’s vintage Frank Sinatra shirt while fingerprinting him.

Two dese/dem/dose-type Brooklynites were also being fingerprinted while they smacked what was probably vintage Hubba Bubba gum.  They must have weighed over 20 stone…each.  When they caught Martin looking them over, they looked him over, then leered and winked.

A thin-shouldered, “effeminate” Brit in prison?  And to think he’d once imagined it would be preferable to a lifetime of picking up Jennifer’s dry cleaning.  Or even paying off her debts.  Or even…

Speaking of Jennifer, where was she?

Jennifer.  Her phone she’d left in his apartment!  He’d been so distracted by that porn with her on it that he only now realized the men involved were politicians he recognized.  And…the rest.  That stupid little bitch had actually been instrumental in throwing a major election!  If he wasn’t such an incurable damp squib he would have, instead of confessing, silenced Jennifer back in that bitch detective’s apartment with just one mention of what he’d seen on Jennifer’s phone.

Bollocks!  Bloody fucking hell!  Was the only thing in his life he could possibly be thankful for that he’d finally stopped hallucinating?  He looked up again.  Right into the eyes of one of the gum-smacking monsters they’d just finished fingerprinting.  The monster took a step closer.  No one stopped him.  He smiled.  Martin cringed.  Maybe there were things even worse than hallucinating…

And then it happened.

Martin was almost relieved to see Jennifer ride in on top of a T-rex.

Tales of the Storage Space, Part 102

Imogene thought she could like never, ever hate anyone more than that cray cray blonde bitch who’d come with her from that storage space building to the hospital.  Cray cray bitch had the def-not-woke hospital peeps thinking Imogene was pregnant too!  So now she had to lie on her back like to keep from miscarrying when…duh!…that blood must be her period, proving she couldn’t be pregnant.  Even worse, OMG, they effin’ wouldn’t let her use her phone!

Hahaha.

Imogene was staring at the peeling paint on the dirty white ceiling, but she was thinking about ^URS, who always made her laugh.

Hahaha.

How would ^URS Snapchat-filter this ceiling?

Ha…

She couldn’t do it.  She couldn’t imagine how to Snapchat-filter that OMG ugly ceiling.  She couldn’t make herself laugh.  She couldn’t do anything to escape OMG ugly Real Life!  She couldn’t do anything without ^URS.

The door slammed open.  Some nurse was Draking about how there was no room in Oncology.  Some super-sexy-cute guy shoved a gurney through the door, heading for the empty bed by the window with a bunch of other peeps in white.  Thirsty, Imogene craned her neck to watch him, but they like yanked the curtain separating the room’s two beds and all she could do was listen to her new roommate Draking about how much getting transferred to the bed hurt.

OMG Real Life was ugly.

Finally the super-sexy-cute guy came out from behind the curtain.

Imogene did her best to look super-sexy-cute herself, though it was hard when all she had to work with was that her chest had gotten bigger lately, for no apparent reason.  “Uh, like, could you please help me?”

“Sure.  What’s up?”

“There’s, like, not even a TV in this room.  They told me I’m supposed to lie on my back, but that’s only because they, like, think I’m pregnant, and I’m not, and…”

“Sorry, no TV in this room.  Sorry, gotta go.”

What?  Not even a TV?

The last nurse to leave pulled the curtain back.  Maybe Imogene could at least, like, talk to her new roommate, who, like herself, was def not pregnant…way too thin.  But they must have like given her new roommate something to shut her up.  She was all out cold with her tongue hanging out.  Besides she was all gray and, worst of all, she was really, really, really old.

Real Life was cray cray ugly.