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When I grow up, I want to be Nothing At All
Topic Started: Aug 27 2017, 11:13 AM (160 Views)
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And I am still hungry.
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Min-jae Parker continued from Battle Royale))

Time passed. There was an occasional rumble of thunder off in the distance as the light filtering through the kitchen windows grew grey. There was a storm brewing out there somewhere.

Jae had always heard that you weren’t supposed to mix alcohol and painkillers, but so far he wasn’t feeling anything more than a pleasant buzz. Maybe enough time had passed in between taking the pills and deciding to crack open the bottle, or they weren’t strong enough to react with it. Jae couldn’t say, and he didn’t really care. As far as he was concerned, the alcohol was doing more to ease his pains than the medicine from the first-aid kit ever had.

He set the bottle aside once he had worked his way through about a quarter of it and lit a cigarette. He might be dying, but hell, he was dying in style, right?

Yeah. Covered in blood, chilling with two corpses and a bottle of whiskey. That was some kind of style.


Jae closed his eyes and he saw Henry’s body on the floor. He opened them again and saw Kimiko’s body sprawled in front of him.

He took another gulp of whiskey and tried to recall what he had said to Asha as she grew cold in his arms and whether he had ever gotten any answers after the fact. Probably not. Jae had screamed and raged and questioned, and the powers that be never answered.

There were no answers that would ever be good enough for him. No justification for why this had to happen to him, why anyone would think it up in the first place. No rhyme or reason to who lived and who died. He was here holding himself together with bandages and obstinacy, and those were still working by pure luck.

That was all they were, him and everyone else still walking around. Lucky, insert pseudo-philosophy on whether it was good or bad luck here. Lucky to see another evening, lucky to see and hear more of the freshly dead, lucky to have hope dangled on a string in front of them, knowing that it would be yanked away at the last moment for all but one, if that.

Jae closed his eyes and he took a sip of whiskey and pretended that it was champagne in the mouth of a boy that he hated, someone who would live because he was stupid enough, lucky enough, to play hooky on the day that they were all sentenced to die.


He was feeling warm now, though the building was still chilly and rain had begun to patter against the windows, dripping in through the one that Fiyori had left open. His fingers found the fabric of Asha’s hairpin, still clinging stubbornly to the lapel of his jacket.

She would live again. Everyone would. Asha, Henry, Nadia, Hazel – maybe they would meet each other again. Maybe they would remember, somehow, and they would miss the boy who had been their friend in another life.

Jae didn’t expect any of them to forgive what he had done, but he hoped they would miss him.


Jae wanted his mom.


You can’t ever take anything back. The things you did, the things you didn’t do, they stayed with you forever. The people playing to win – did they think it would all just go away?

He had never asked who it was that Kimiko thought she was living for. He hadn’t wanted to know, to put a possible name and face to the shapeless, anonymous audience on the other side of the cameras.

Everything was harder when you had to remember that other people really were people.


Jae curled up on his side, drunk and sleepy, and idly wondered if Fiyori would come back and put a bullet in his head if he let himself fall asleep. Probably not, if catharsis was still what she was after. Fuck her.

If he had known that Brendan was going to have so many wannabe avengers running around, well…

Well, he probably still would have pulled the trigger.

He drank some more, ignoring the bit of alcohol that missed his mouth and trickled down his chin.


Jae wanted to go home.

He had always wanted to go home, ever since he first woke up in that godforsaken room, not realizing that he was already taking the first steps towards his own ruination. But he had never wanted to play by their rules to get there.

He could have, he was sure. There were so many things he could have done, people he could have killed, bodies he could have stepped over to get there, one more walking corpse shambling towards that winners’ circle drawn in blood. Nobody running this thing cared about his personal resistance. They probably didn’t even know it was occurring.

Hazel wanted someone to love her and mean it, Asha wanted a good friend, Jonathan wanted a villain to slay, Fiyori wanted something to amuse her. Jae had been unable or unwilling to fit into any of their molds, time after time.

He didn’t even know what he himself wanted to be, just that it would be his, his choice and nobody else’s. Nobody else got to tell his story, whatever their intentions.

So here’s the deal, self: this plot is out of your control. Always has been, always will be, the wheel of the universe turns on and on, uncaring. You were never the one in charge, no matter how much you wanted and tried to be. People will love you or hate you. They will hurt you, and you’ll hurt them back. That’s human nature, and suffering is the way of the material world. Nobody makes it out alive in the end, but that’s the point, isn’t it?

And here’s the thing, self. The people who put you here?

They’re goddamn fucking losers.

They’ve been such goddamn losers for their entire lives that the only thing they could possibly come up with to get any sort of respect was to cut and burn everything in their paths, and the kicker here is that the only people who would possibly have anything approaching respect for it are fucking losers just like them. They’re the people who write letters to serial killers in prison to say how much they want to suck some guy’s cock because he killed a bunch of strangers. They’re the people ranting into the ether about how someday they’ll show everyone, just you wait, oh yes they will, stop laughing at them or they’ll fuck your mom.

In other words? They aren’t shit.

They interrupted your life, forced you into a different story than the one you were supposed to be living, and they think they can make you bend over backwards to suit them, but they’re not the ones who control how it ends.

Jae was so, so tired, and frankly he was too mellow from the drink to even try to be angry. But that thought clung to his foggy brain and refused to let go.

He had spent way too much time trying to talk himself into giving up, honestly. Time to find a new hobby.


“…and so, when the swan is like, halfway across the… the river, you know, he’s halfway across, and then the scorpion stings him. Just like the swan said.”

Jae gestured vaguely at Kimiko’s corpse with the half-empty bottle of whiskey. His words were quiet, slurred. “And the swan is like, ‘What the hell did you do that for? Now we’re gonna… we’re both gonna die.’ Because he’s dying from the poison, see, and the scorpion’s gonna drown since the swan can’t get to the other bank. And the scorpion is just like-” Jae made the best approximation of a careless shrug that he could while drunk and laying on the floor.

“And he goes, ‘I can’t help it. I’m a scorpion.’”


Jae dozed, and he saw Lily face down on the floor, begging him to come back as the life seeped out of her body. Rain pattered at the windows, some of it blowing in in places where the glass had been shattered and through the one that Fiyori had left open. He thought of the sound of something moving through the asylum’s flooded basement.

He thought of Hazel’s body laying somewhere outside, getting rained on, laying in the dirt with no cover and no company.

(What had happened to Jordan, again? Was he dead? Jae couldn’t remember.)

Hazel had made her choice at the end, even if Jae couldn’t understand it. There were so many things he would never have the chance to understand.

He wanted someone to understand his choice when he made it – if he could bring himself to make it. He wanted them to know that they couldn’t have him.

Yeah. Yeah, he could. He had to. When the time came…

On his own terms. That was all that mattered now.

((Min-jae Parker continued in Rivers in the Desert))
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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