Tag Archives: story


One of my plans was put into effect today. A battle plan that is. That’s what I do. My job. I work for the military.

On TV, on the news, you always see all those guys running around, tanks going here and there, aircraft swooping to and fro. They never tell you really, but those things don’t happen on their own. Every piece on the board, from pawn to king, has a direct designated place he goes and thing he does, everything is scripted. Really all you see out there is a theater production on some grandiose scale. The tricky part is scripting the guys on the other side.

The show must go on, they always say. And yeah, it always does go on. At some cost though. The show works a little different out there. It isn’t just for fun, or for a review, for ticket sales. It isn’t just to entertain an audience or inspire a thought or aspiration. It is about lives. If you respond the wrong way, if you get “stage fright”, if you miss a line and have to improvise, it doesn’t just mean you’ll be in the paper the next morning, mentioned in a poor review. You’ll be in the military obituary instead. They will say you were “struck down in your prime by a foreign menace”, They will say you died “bravely in combat” or “in service of your country”, but that’s a sugar coat. That is an easy answer, that is the easy take miracle pill. It isn’t the truth. The truth is that your son, your daughter, died because of me. I killed them. Their script told them to go to Point A. They went to Point A. But Point A was under artillery fire. Or there was a tank at point a that was pointing at them. Or a pilot missed his mark on a bombing run, and Point A is nothing more than a crater. People make mistakes, right? Life is all about learning from our mistakes, isn’t that it? Continue reading

Laurum Hills, Part 4: The Unwalking Old Man

(previous chapter can be found here: http://thejohnrillos.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/laurum-hills-part-3-the-eggenning/)

“Hello most decrepit and foreboding gentleman of small stature and startling, crippled appearance,” little Giuseppe Gustavio Jr. cried with glee upon gazing at the wheelchair-ridden stranger behind the heavy oaken door, “Please do wheel yourself in, we would be most grateful to make acquaintance with someone so advanced in age and misfortune as you. You look ill sir, and perhaps a tag angry, would you like me to fetch you some water, or perhaps a bottle of peppermint schnapps? We aren’t quite sure what it is, seeing as we are nothing more than a ragtag conglomerate of less than well-fed, bathed, civil, or even remotely endearing orphans. But we do have an excess of this schnapps stuff if you happened to…”

And at that very moment, the wheelchair-ed mister scooted his way into the orphanage. Silence fell upon the impoverished entourage, as the highly vocative Giuseppe Jr. fell to the floor in a fit of deranged sputterings and spasms in a manner most similar to his older namesake. The unwalking old man, or Unwalking Old Man as he will soon be called, or the Old Man for short, or The Old Man if you are fond of capitalization, slowly crept forward, eyeing the blue onions. The multitude of orphans made not a peep.

After the lengthy persistence of an agonizing silence, apart from the raspy whisp of a breath that barely extended past the lips of the Old Man, and the muffled sobs of a now-seizing Giuseppe, The Old Man spoke.

“Your dwelling place is most quaint, most quaint indeed. However. You must leave. At once. You must come with me, it is time.” 

The words seemed to float from the Unwalking Old Man’s mouth, they were soft, but empty like a less-than-perfectly inflated air mattress. The words seemed to drift throughout the interior of the orphanage, grazing the walls in slow motion. The air gently hummed as the words touched it, or rather, it shuddered. His voice was one of great authority, but more like the authority of a possessing spirit. The way he spoke demanded cooperation, it demanded action, but it crept along your insides like the slender arms of a wraith, chilling and consuming. His voice was that of the cold, and the orphans reacted as such.

“Bring what you can carry, and we will depart at once…” The Old Man remained frozen in place, waiting for the children to respond. There was a slight shift of the crowd, yet the children did not know quite how to respond. They looked to one another, as their minds were slowly enfeebled by the grasping tendrils of a very scary adult’s command. And just as they had almost made up their minds to go gather their less than humble belongings, a tenor ranged male voice piped up, and a boy stepped forward.

“Gee sir,” John Rillos said, “Not that we disrespect your sudden authority in our lives or anything, but isn’t it a bit strange that we should bend to your rule uncompromisingly? I mean, we have done quite well without adult influence in our lives.” He gestured to the rotting walls with blue onions nailed about, the collapsing ceiling, the shallow pools of tears collected in the corners, and little Giuseppe Gustavio Jr. exquisitely convulsing next to his wheelchair. “We have really done well for ourselves. You can’t just expect us to follow your bizarre and unexpected leadership on a whim? How can we trust you, most gracious and aging mister of less than stellar physicality?”

“Perhaps I should show you a magic trick.” The Old Gentleman said, and at the tip of a hat, he tipped his hat, which was previously unmentioned.

A vortex pounced from the darkened underside of his top hat, and consumed little mister Rillos in a flurry of furry white, twisting doom. The child’s scream was only audible for a moment, as it was instantly drowned out by the high-pitched squealing of the twisting doom tornado. John, the child of moderate height and width, was lifted into the air, and crushed as easily as a grape, and the vortex swallowed him up into the depths of the Old Man’s now mentioned magical hat. Then, as suddenly as it appeared, the vortex receded. He jovially popped the cap back on his head, gave it a good spin, lifted it back off. With a cartoonish and endearing pop, a tiny head that mildly resembled John, but not quite, popped out and rolled across the floor, followed by the distinct scent of bacon grease and some currently undubbed hot beverage. All of the children applauded, with the exception of John Rillos, who was now quite dead.

“Now pack your things at once children, and we will be off.” The Old Man hoarsely whispered in italics.

The children all obeyed without hesitance, even little Giuseppe Gustavio Jr., who had just slipped the little head of the person who was not quite John into his little pocket. Soon, they would be off.

Laurum Hills Part 2: The Fire Hydrant, the Floutist, and the Wheelchair

(Previous chapter can be found here: http://thejohnrillos.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/the-tale-of-laurum-hills/)

It was a Saturday afternoon, and little Lucy Lue was lolloping along the street, as she did every Saturday most every once in a while. The sun was hot, and beat on little Lucy’s face like a deranged child playing with a soup can. But little Lucy bowlinskogged along just the same, making her way to God knows where all the same, completely ignorant of the most unfortunate coincidence that was about to befall her.

Lucy played the flute. She would often play whilst prancing around the forest, interacting with all the wonderful and cuddly creatures to be found amongst the trees and shrubbery. Often times a small parade of rabbits would begin to trot along behind her,  but she would always shoo them off, as she was the teensiest bit suspicious of the plausibly diabolical nature of the rabbits. She much preferred chipmunks and raccoons anyways, and even squirrels or small mountain lions.

But today Lucy was not playing the flute, or prancing, or in the forest, or collecting mushrooms. Lucy was shaboinging through the city today, and happened to be rounding the corner where the certain doom of her leg was about to be realized.

As she wangabocked forward, she noticed a bear trap sitting in the middle of the sidewalk, conveniently aligned with a fire hydrant.

“Hmm, this is most peculiar.” Lucy said to herself in italics, and proceeded to disarm the bear trap, place it in the nearest government regulated bear trap recycling unit, and continued to dundwing forward, past the completely harmless fire hydrant and the extremely sinister Lollypop Livery.

However, the lies of the previous third person narrator (who has just been replaced by a far more intelligent, hardworking sort) became immediately apparent when the previously mentioned fire hydrant rocketed out of the ground in an extremely harmful manner, its red tippity pippity aimed directly at Little Lucy Lue’s sternum.

In the flash of an eye, in the blink of a wrist, in the knee of a bear, Lucy completed a perfectly executed double reverse aerial somersault (complete with a bow-tie and a side of waffle fries) over the death rocket fire hydrant, and proceeded to vaporize it with a well aimed burst of her laser vision.

A moment should probably be taken to explain what made this seemingly ridiculous, obscure, random, and unexpected manuveur possible. Little Lucy Lue, the flute-playing-soon-to-be-dismembered-protagonist-of-this-story, is the youngest of a culturally nondescript family of particularly notable mutants. She is gifted with superb reflexes, laser vision, inhuman flexibility, telepathy, flouting prowess, and infinitely regular bowel movements. Her stunning wit and perfect physical form make it possible for her to accomplish less than possible feats, such as conjuring waffle fries and bow ties whenst carrying out highly complicated, plausibly fictional acrobatic maneuvers.

Lucy fell back to the sidewalk with a majestic twirl, sticking the landing and bringing tears to the eyes of the untold masses who witnessed her spectacularly, which happened to be 13 people. She turned to face her gaping audience, taking several bows and accepting their praise and monetary benefits as she reveled in her own glory, completely unaware of the seismic anomaly occurring directly beneath her left leg.

With a single satisfied gulp, the earth beneath her swallowed up both of her legs, and with a single whimsical chomp, crushed her bones into oblivion, and other sorts of tiny particles.

Even though this situation already appears to be most horrible, her horror had only just begun (even though it would shortly end.) A fountain of rabbits began to pour from the gap in the earth, where her now totally destroyed left and right legs both rested. (Note:The previous, now deceased narrator failed to mention that Little Lucy Lue in actuality would lose both legs while loping ‘longside the Lollipop Livery.)

The furry mass slithered all across her as tens, hundreds, thousands, sevens of rabbits poured from the salsa gap in the earth. She was pelted by the pelts of an unending torrent of carrot devouring creatures who, assumedly, had just risen up from the depths of hell.

Lucy contemplated letting out a dramatic scream, as to express her displeasure in losing two of her limbs, but decided not to as her neck snapped in two due to an unrelated happening. A man in a wheelchair finished his trek across her now totally jacked up corpse, one wheel lumping over her disconnected head.

“One step closer to It, my children,”He said in a raspy, dissonant monotone, “One step closer.”

(Go on, read the next chapter: http://thejohnrillos.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/laurum-hills-part-3-the-eggenning/)

Chapter One: Meet Frank

For many years, I kept a private notion that those in life that face a great misfortune, particularly a physical one, are so far influenced by that misfortune that it leads to “enlightenment.” Through their injury, those afflicted folk become something greater. They become the most caring, kind, and hardworking sorts. Even with crippling wounds, they carry on with unfaltering resilience, never giving into negativity or sorrow, and despite all odds, they would always succeed. (Mind you, this was all in my head.) As I watched these silent sufferers passing by in life, I was inspired. I was inspired by their archetypal quest, by their epic under-dog-ery, by they way they faced such a cruel fate with such bravery. In my eyes, they were gods among men. And I respected them, any and all of those hurting folk, to the highest degree. The respect I had for them was one that never faltered, diminished, or failed. Until I met Frank.

Frank was a dick.

Frank was a paraplegic dick.

Allow me a moment to summarize Frank as the sub-human being he was, and is.

Imagine Tiny Tim. Not any of that “God bless us” crap, but Tiny Tim’s physical figure. This is the basic exoskeleton of Frank. Seems pleasant enough, right? Now cut off Tiny Tim’s legs. Ooh, creepy, but he is still just a rather small and frail child. Now, add 45 years onto Tiny Tim, inject his belly with a good 40 pounds of alcohol-derived blubber, and hang a picture of a permanently scowling, ruffled older-than-his-age man over his face. Now, in place of the good will for mankind and hearty kindness residing in Tiny Tim, place in him instead a burning, psychopathic, aimless rage, a rage only quelled by belittling whatever misfortunate person, or thing, Frank decided should be put below his crippled self. Add an inferiority complex comparable to a self deprecating Tyrannosaurus, the common sense level of a dodo bird, and a bad attitude comparable to Lucifer himself, on a bad day.

To say the least, Frank was an unpleasant person.

I first met Frank when I was working a graveyard shift at the local garbage heap of a fast food restaurant, The Shack. If there was food to be found at The Shack, it was sub-par. It was a ratty, ugly, flea-ridden hole of a miserable estate. I often use it to justify the highly unfortunate state of the planet Earth. You get the idea.

At about midnight, someone pulled into the drive thru. If only I had known the horrors in store for me. The headset beeped into my ear, awakening me from my fast-food trance (those of you who have been employed at a fast food restaurant understand) and my mind snapped into half gear. The lightbulb over my head buzzed.

“Welcome to the shack. Just… Go ahead and order.” I hated working there.

“Excuuuuuuse me… sir.” a voice slurred, “I came through earlier….” A long break. I sighed. “And I have a… complaint.”

If only I hadn’t responded.


The soon to be catalogued voice whipped into instant fury.

“Watch your tone mister, or I’ll make you regret that you’re still a virgin, you half…….. Moron!”

I winced. The headset shrieked with metallic malevolence.

“Listen man, we close in like.. ten minutes, why don’t you just cool your…” A click. He was gone. I shrugged.

A crow bar asserted its way through the glass of thr drive-thru window.

“MOTHER MARTHA!!” I exclaimed with fearful vigor. (I am still unsure of the identity of Mother Martha.) I recoiled in horror as I stared into the wide, blood-shot eyes of the the hockey-masked face of Frank. He looked displeased. And drunk.

I raised a hand halfway to my gaping mouth, where it remained suspended awkwardly, leaving me in a pose one would only observe in a award winning foreign interprative dance. The masked man in the wheel chair threw his arm out, and pushed the smashed window inwards.

“Come over here boy, and ill give those sorry nipples of yours a good twisting!”

I felt like I was in a long lost Monty Python skit.

I fumbled for the work phone at approximately the same moment the crow bar hit me in the face.

When my eyes peeled open, it was 12:23. I slowly sat up.

Glass from the broken window was spread across the floor. The register was ripped open, and tattered Washington’s and Lincoln’s fluttered in the cool evening breeze. The lightbulb over my head buzzed. It appeared as if Frank had relieved himself through the window, into the restaraunt, and some of the puddle had reached my legs. I rubbed my thouroughly swollen left eye, wondering how a man with no legs managed to pee through an open window, near the level of his head, and hit me at such a great range.

I fumbled for the phone yet again, and dialed 911.

“911, state the nature of your emergency.”

My drive-thru was just ransacked by a drunken cripple!”

The you-just-got-hung-up-on fairy began its monotone solo. I’ll admit, in that secretary’s shoes, I would have hung up too. Working this late sucked. And that particular sentence was not one of literary genius.

The next call I made did not go so well either. To summarize: after a short conversation, the owner of The Shack made a late night visit. After I explained the story to him, he gracefully bestowed a stunningly accurate synopsis of my character upon me, using a very poetic, rhythmic repitition of several choice words, and sent me home. Several days later, I received a phone call from a charming man, whose name I have forgotten, but title I have not.

The Lawyer.

One lawsuit later, I was out of work and out of dough. The appartment followed the rest of my minimal fortune through the window. I spent some time in a homeless shelter, thinking up my own character synopsis for Frank, heaven forbid I meet him again.

Sure enough, I did.

Who would have thought next time it would go worse.


Here’s a little writing excercise we did in class today, writing about smells!:

“How does this smell?”

“Hmm… Quaint.”

“… What?”

Larry Jenson had a seemingly designless system of describing things.

In this case, his definition of a perfume scent, Curve by Liz Claiborne to be exact, struck him as quaint. However strange this might seem to an outsider trying to properly align the reasoning behind him saying this, there was in fact much reason behind that definition.

Continue reading

Tie (Personal Narrative, Draft 1)

It was a crisp autumn day. I was sitting upon the leaf-ridden earth, under a shelter of dying foliage. light was collecting on the drooping leaves, pooling around the cracking edges. It spilled from the cracks, dripping onto my face. My surroundings were marked by a web of twisting shadows etched by the sun, through gaps between the leaves. I sat there, face twisted tightly, tending a broken ankle.

The day was of moderate temperature. The sun brought some warmth, but the wind caried an eery coldness, and dusted the land with it. A chill that put goosebumps on my skin. I was sure I could not stand.

John and I were playing tag. I was never as fast as him. But I had tried, all the same, to match his pace. This was my reward. The pain was shooting arrows from my ankle all the way up into my guts and chest, leaving me immobilized, nothing to do but to rest in crumpled, lifeless defeat.

I was sure this was the end.
Continue reading

Chapter Nine- A Private of the Rebel Army


Wilde seemed bewildered by my tale, but she remained stoic in manner all the same. I could see her eyes measuring my words, testing me like one might test an untrodden bridge. Jackson entered the room with a look of grim expectancy on his face.

“Well, welcome aboard Will.” Jackson’s jaw dropped like a sack of bricks. Even Quincy’s beady eyes seemed wide behind his round spectacles.

I stammered. “But…”

Wilde cut the words from my mouth. “But what? Do you intend to deny my hospitality? You crawled into my home, my fortress, like a rat through a crack in the wall! You’re on my turf! Your wretched presence eked out of my tunnel! You do not get a choice, and you shouldn’t need one anyways.” Continue reading

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