Tales of the Storage Space, Part 97

Imogene couldn’t like understand why she was the one on a gurney, being like carried down the storage space building stairs. After effin’ all, one of the emergency peeps was the one bleeding all over the place, and that blonde cray cray bitch who’d thought Imogene was pregnant was the one crying as they dragged her down the stairs too.

Imogene started to laugh again, but then she spotted the look her father gave her when no one else was looking.

Imogene like didn’t have anything to laugh about. Except that, with a father like that, she was like very glad she’d never had a mother.

Real Life.

Her father looked away.

Imogene fumbled in her pocket, came up with a handful of data sticks that she thought had something to do with that elephant she’d broken, and found her phone.

WTFwasImogeneCoca:  U there?

Nothing from ^URS.

WTFwasImogeneCoca:  Really long sec!

Nothing from ^URS.

Imogene like didn’t have any effin’ idea of what to do. One of the effin’ emergency peeps tripped on the last stair.  One of the data sticks she hadn’t shoved all the way back into her pocket did a little dance across her gurney and clattered to the floor as they turned toward the front door.

WTFwasImogeneCoca:  Where R U?

Nothing from ^URS.

WTFwasImogeneCoca:  I like really need U!

Nothing from ^URS.

Tales of the Storage Space, Part 96

The Storage Space thought it felt slithering again and would have been most horrified over what it gathered was the return of Le Grand Rat, but just then an extraordinarily noisy emergency vehicle made a deplorable mess of parking out front. Next a veritable horde of extremely inelegant individuals added to the racket by clattering up the stairs.

The teenager’s father was the first to address them: “You must save my darling daughter!”

Never, in all the years the Storage Space had been a grand old theatre, had it heard a line delivered with such utter and complete ineptitude.

The emergency workers each tried to question the teenager about her baby’s father, but she kept denying she was pregnant. They started murmuring among themselves about something called DNA testing.

The teenager’s father stiffened. “And, when the baby’s born, you can prove with DNA testing, or whatever it’s called, that my daughter was impregnated by…my wife’s boyfriend?”

Did one have to be firmly grounded in the theatre to pick up the telltale tremble of fear with which that last speech was positively riddled?

“Don’t you worry now…”

Remarkable that one of those inelegant intruders had a voice like silk.

“…we’ll find out who impregnated your daughter. But the thing to concentrate on now is… Hey!”

“I tripped!”

“If my colleague hadn’t moved like lightning, you would have hit your daughter…quite hard, I might add…in the lower abdomen!”

“Edward! Oh Edward!”

That last speech… Not the emergency worker with the sometimes silky voice that spoke last. Certainly not the inept pregnant teenager’s father. Her. Not speaking aloud yet. Way too small. Way too weak.

But just as the Storage Space wanted more than anything to concentrate on her, it found all it could concentrate on was Karen. Something about witnesses again. Oh it was all too tiresome. The Storage Space simply wouldn’t pay it any attention, simply chose not to think about it.

Karen raised the scalpel she somehow still had and plunged it into an emergency worker’s back.

Tales of the Storage Space, Part 95

Irwin had played his cards right when he got out of that fucked-up storage space building.

Finally, in the gym two blocks away, one of the naked girls in the Women’s Communal Shower spotted him in his big green-snake shape. She screamed before slipping on the sudsy floor, failing to regain her balance, falling face down on the hard tiles, and starting to bleed while all the other naked girls screamed at the top of their lungs.

That was when Irwin really knew he’d played his cards right, because this could only be heaven.

But just then a naked man rushed in from the Men’s Communal Shower. “What’s wrong?” He spotted the bleeding girl. “Sonia!” He dashed over to scoop her off the floor, touching her huge titties as he did so and showing off what a big dick he had. “Sonia, darling, talk to me, please!”

Irwin desperately tried to distract him by turning into a green monster with an even bigger dick, but Sonia was unconscious and nobody else could see the dead.

The rest of the girls weren’t screaming anymore. Instead they’d turned off all the showers and were wrapping towels around themselves and getting dressed.

Maybe this wasn’t heaven.

He slithered out through the ventilation system with the last of the steam and found himself in a children’s playground next door. Two twin boys spotted him, and he had fun chasing them around till one of them collapsed, turning blue as he struggled to breathe. But his mother started screaming something about asthma, fixed it with an inhaler, and took them both away.

Next Irwin went off in search of drivers on the fastest roads who could see him, till he’d managed to cause what he was pretty sure was a fatal accident.

But somehow it wasn’t enough…

Tales of the Storage Space, Part 94

Karen hurried over to help Amelia with the laughing teenager, horrified by the circle of blood beneath her. The cop in Marie’s sweater joined them. Slyly, slowly the father joined them too.

No one else seemed to be in the building. Except every now and then between the teenager’s laughs Karen thought she might be hearing a man and a woman talking in reception…but it was so faint she wasn’t sure.

“I know I’m not your mother…” Amelia started.

“Never had one,” the teenager barked, before resuming her laughter.

“…but please lie down,” Amelia continued. “And please stop that constant laughing.”

Amelia tried to lean the teenager backwards until she was lying down, but the teenager fought…and the rate at which the circle of blood was growing increased.

“Lie down, Imogene…Sweetheart.” The father’s voice cracked, almost as if this soft voice was one he’d never used before and he didn’t quite know how to use it. It worked though, but in a way that surprised Karen.

In recoiling abruptly from her father, Imogene ended up flat on the floor. She also stopped laughing.

The growth of the circle of blood stopped.

“Could just be pooling inside her,” Amelia said to no one in particular.

Karen gulped, envisioning the discovery of Irwin’s body and other unpleasant consequences from more outside intervention, but still forced the words out: “Need an ambulance! Someone call 911!”

“Anyone know who and where the father is?” asked the cop.

Karen watched Imogene’s father stiffen at that, probably ready to kill the father of his daughter’s illegitimate child.

Tales of the Storage Space, Part 93

Martin was still talking. And talking. And bloody talking. He was telling No Name all about all the money he stole from the charitable organization he and Jennifer both worked for, and how he’d stupidly told Jennifer about it. He was explaining how he needed the money to fund his addiction to gambling, and how he’d gotten more money from Frank, the really dangerous loan shark he’d killed. And how Frank had turned out to be the husband Martin’s friend-with-benefits Karen was escaping when she showed up at Martin’s apartment.

No Name’s hands were shaking when she handed him her first, home-made-for-him, vanilla latte.

It was terrible, but Martin took one look at Jennifer, who was still leaning against the wall where the T-rexes had been and guzzled it gratefully.

Glaring at Jennifer, he told No Name about how Jennifer had blackmailed him into getting back together with her, but that he’d found “stuff” on her phone that meant he was actually in the better position to blackmail her.

But for all that talking he knew there was something important he’d forgotten to say about killing Frank, something important about how he’d been justified, and something else important, something about No Name’s name.

“Mo chuisle! My darling!” No Name was all over him.

But what did something that she’d said came from some overly violent American Clint Eastwood film have to do with “my darling”? Something about her name… Something about her trying to trick him…

“Let me help you!”

Yeah, sure. Tears in her eyes and everything.

“No one else needs to ever know. We can go away!”

Where? And then it came in on him: Who was this No Name anyway? Women… Karen, married to Frank the ruthless loan shark. Jennifer… And now No Name? What did she want? Was he always so taken in whenever some woman was gobsmacked with him that he never saw women were nothing but trouble?

He swatted the vanilla latte, spilling the rest on the floor. And he talked even more, talk he felt sure would un-gobsmack her. He told her about his past over-indulgence in hallucinogenic drugs, what his parents said, and all the hallucinations he’d been seeing recently. Then he yelled at her for letting Jennifer into her bloody flat.

No Name wrinkled her brow, and looked around…obviously pretending she couldn’t see Jennifer. This made Martin furious. He tried to think quickly of some place, some possible place in his life, where no women would ever be allowed. “There’s only one place I’ll be bloody safe!” he yelled at her, amazed to find he was both yelling and crying at the same time. “Prison!”

Tales of the Storage Space, Part 92

Imogene like felt the kicking and like felt all that gross blood like spilling out of her onto the floor. She even kind of heard something. Not out loud but in her mind. Something like a desperate plea. But she couldn’t stop laughing.

Real Life was funny! That’s what RL was! Funny!

“A summer’s day…”

It like hadn’t been said aloud. It was like part of that desperate plea. It was…funny!

There, there!”

It had been said aloud, in that beautiful voice the old woman holding her had. Amelia was her name. Then Amelia pressed Imogene’s head into the crook of her neck, forcing Imogene to close her eyes. At first she smelled bandaging and Bacitracin but then something funny happened…not really happened, just in her mind like that desperate plea…and there was the scent of a different woman sparking odd…were they memories of a snuggly long ago when someone else sang to her?

She was being rocked, still imagining things…like that Amelia, the source of the desperate plea, and that different woman were all three singing to her. But a harsh thought she couldn’t quite grasp broke the spell, something about how someone might never again hold her tight.

She felt something like shadows shift about in her mind. Something like optical illusions first appeared one way, then another.

Imogene grabbed at one of the shadows in her mind, something from long ago. Part of it seemed to slip through her fingers such that she might never again grasp it, but she did come away from it feeling like a child and did remember that she always liked shiny things.

“Where’s something more I can use to keep her warm? Like a blanket.”

Amelia speaking. Everyone else was looking around, away from Imogene, who’d flickered back to the present at the sound of Amelia’s voice but now slipped back to being the child who liked shiny things. An…elephant…that’s what it was next to her. Broken. But a bunch of shiny things had fallen out of it. Imogene grabbed a few when no one was looking.

“Nothing? No blankets anywhere?”

Amelia’s voice again. Imogene saw she was holding a handful of data sticks she absentmindedly crammed into her pocket before she slipped back to being a very small child who squirmed because her diaper needed to be changed.

“Blood! Look at the floor!”


“She’s miscarrying!”

Shadows shifted about in Imogene’s mind again. An optical illusion snapped the other way. Like who was like miscarrying? It couldn’t like be her because she wasn’t pregnant. Those pains were effin’ menstrual cramps. Where was her phone? Where was ^URS? These others were like ridiculous. Real Life was ridiculous. They were talking about her mother. RL was so funny. Imogene laughed and laughed and laughed some more. Didn’t they know she’d never like ever had a mother?

Tales of the Storage Space, Part 91

The Storage Space was appalled, simply appalled. It had heard, and had tried to avoid hearing, a lot of voices in its day:

Her, the most precious of all, the one the ghost of Edmund would forever mourn, the one Amelia was descended from.

And the lovely old adjoining tea room that was no more. Yet even still it somehow managed to linger, grieving for the sensual yin and yang in the kaleidoscopic, ever-changing mix of lemon and sugar spilled across its porous old floors.

Le Grand Rat…

That Frank.

And, of those still living, the lovely Karen who loved that Frank.

And, going back to the days of grand old theatre, that firefighter who’d staggered in that awful night The Brooklyn Theatre burned, already burnt so badly he couldn’t survive, whose body beneath a grand old staircase was never discovered…and never removed.

But what was this new voice, so weak and small? Yet with the cadence of Shakespeare, pleading for another chance to fret and strut another hour upon the stage? Clinging, desperately clinging…to what?

A huge, bloody rope attached to its teeny belly, connecting to something liver-like attached to a living, pulsing wall that kept quivering with insane laughter and bleeding…partially separated now from that wall…the blood spilling out to puddle on the floor of the poor, long-suffering Storage Space.

The Storage Space heard. The Storage Space knew. This new voice, so weak and small? With her feeble kicking unheeded? It was none other. It was her.

Tales of the Storage Space, Part 90

Fifi really couldn’t be expected to wait any longer. Really! She’d reapplied all her makeup over and over again until she couldn’t even remember how many times she’d done it or whether or not she’d remembered to put that special stuff the Botox doctor had told her to put under her “Super Pink” sparkled lipstick on or not. She’d even got through that whole long, complicated article about what was new in Plastic Surgery in the National Inquirer. Really!

So Fifi took action. She got the really big mirror out of her purse and brushed her hair…and firmly decided that, the next time they didn’t get her hair pink enough, she was going to let them know. Then she redid her makeup…and was sure she remembered to put the stuff the Botox doctor had told her to put under her lipstick this time. Then she pulled her sparkly boots up and her skirt down, just enough to cover her butt. Who said a 44-year-old couldn’t look sharp! Really!

Then Fifi got out of the passenger seat of the car, nodding to herself sharply. So there! She’d even noted where her boyfriend went this time, so she just followed him into the building. Really!

Immediately she looked around for someone who could help her. Independence felt good! She was proud of herself when she spotted what must be an employee. Fifi cleared her throat, reminding herself to speak in a high voice. “Excuse me?”

The employee jumped, which seemed odd. It was then that Fifi noticed his rainbow platform sneakers and couldn’t help explaining, “Nice!”…though she forgot to keep her voice high.

“God-awful!” he exclaimed, looking back at her, though Fifi couldn’t imagine what he was talking about.

It was then that Fifi noticed…enviously…how skinny he was in his skinny jeans as he skittered behind the counter. He’d been trying to pry a strongbox open with a ragged piece of metal. Poor thing must have misplaced the key.

“I can only help you,” he now said from the other side of the counter, “if you pay your bill first.”

That sounded reasonable to Fifi…though she wasn’t sure what bill he was referring to since she’d never been in there before. But she remembered to keep her voice high. “How much?”


“But I only have fifteen.”

“I’ll take it.”

Fifi gave him the fifteen. She was taking action. Really! “So I’m looking for my boyfriend who came in here a really long time ago, looking for his daughter Imogene…”

Tales of the Storage Space, Part 89

Karen watched the teenager almost choke on her own, endless, insane laughter while Amelia rocked her.  Karen could hardly hear the lullabies Amelia tried to sooth the girl with, or the extraordinary beauty of that old homeless woman’s voice, over the teenager’s sharp, jarring laughter.

The mother…  Who would have thought…

Karen bowed her head, feeling her cheeks burn in shame as she realized they’d all run off to get the cops to protect the teenager from the wrong person.  Why hadn’t they stayed long enough to see who struck the first blow?  Then she felt a strong but gentle hand on her shoulder.

“You all thought I was the one who beat my daughter, didn’t you…”

Karen looked up into a face full of rage that suddenly changed to pathos, pain, and the hurt of indignation.

“Your wife…”

“Her boyfriend does that, not me.  He even takes turns beating my daughter.”

It wasn’t just the odd tremble in the voice; it was something in that hand still on her shoulder that froze Karen’s blood.  Still, none of them had seen him lay a hand on his daughter.  But they’d all topped the stairs in time to see his wife hit him in the head with the lever Karen knew had been enough to kill Irwin.  How had she found it?  What else had she found?

“I know,” he said, biting his lip so hard she was afraid he’d draw blood, “it’s that terrible temper of mine.  I can sure shout up a storm, can’t I?”  A fierce pride was just barely smothered by a sheepish shrug, and a weak little pleading smile.  “But you know what they say about the bark being so much bigger than the bite.”

The teenager’s laughter escalated sharply at that.

The teenager’s father clutched Karen’s shoulder and got closer to her.  “I can’t stand it.  They both have the same laugh.  They’re both off in la-la land.  You can’t believe a word either of them say.”

“You mean like her denying she’s pregnant?”


The hand on Karen’s shoulder tightened sharply.

It was then that Karen looked over to where the teenager sat on the floor and noticed that she was sitting in a widening puddle of blood.

Tales of the Storage Space, Part 88

Martin knew he was awake. Bloody hell, he could smell the inaugural vanilla latte No Name was so busy making him in the kitchen…which would never be as good as Starbucks.

But he looked around the room again just to be sure: No Name’s bedroom in San Francisco. Again, nothing was undulating.

Slowly, very slowly, he looked out the window again at the eucalyptus trees.

Jennifer was still there, but this time she was staring straight up at him.

Martin jerked back from the window so fast he fell out of the bed on the other side and hit his head.

“Mo chuisle! My darling!” No Name was all over him.

His head pounded with pain, but he figured he better not let on because then he’d have to explain Jennifer. So he shrugged her off of him and did his best to act playful, first tickling her ruthlessly, then kidding around as he called out to her, “Officer Worth!”

Although convulsed with giggles and trying to get away from the tickling, she looked up at him immediately in that way that no one would unless they were really…

Martin’s mind froze mid-thought, when he noticed the wall behind her.

It was pink.

It was undulating.

“No!” he screamed, turning away from that wall.

But the opposite wall was suddenly covered with wall paper that he knew hadn’t been there before. Dinosaurs. And the T-rexes seemed to be all waking up together and opening their eyes.

The doorbell rang.

Martin knew who it must be.

No Name looked as startled, surprised, and scared as he was. But for a moment Martin forgot about the doorbell as he struggled to remember something important about No Name’s real name. Something from just a minute ago.

But he forgot about it again when No Name answered the door.

There she was, standing in the hall just outside their door. Jennifer.

No Name was talking to her. “Look I don’t usually open my door when there’s a strange man on the other side, but…”

Martin tuned out the rest. He was staring at Jennifer, shaking all over now. Jennifer was staring at him.

No Name went on, something about thanking Jennifer for bringing a heavy package up to her door, and Martin thought he heard some guy say, “No prob,” but the only one in the hall was Jennifer.

Finally No Name closed the door on Jennifer.

Martin was so relieved he almost laughed, turning back toward the wall with the T-Rexes, figuring what were a few T-Rexes compared to…

The T-Rexes were gone. Instead, standing against the wall, was Jennifer.

Martin screamed. Then he talked: “Bloody hell, I did it! I stabbed Frank through what must have been his jugular with a piece of broken glass and I killed him.”

He heard a gasp and turned to see No Name still by the door. It was hard to see her face beneath all the purple caterpillars but he was pretty sure he’d never seen a human face twist itself through so many different, conflicting emotions until it settled into the greatest sorrow he’d ever seen.