Month: October 2013

MANILA ALARM CLOCK

(The following is a portion of another deleted chapter from my upcoming book.  The chapter as a whole was a dud, but I like this opening scene, because it really happened and still cracks me up. Enjoy.)

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Dead drunk and passed out. Snoring.

Something grabs me. I’m shooting back, reeled in like fish on a line, dragged out of the molasses of dreamland and into the unwelcome movie of here and now. It’s a piercing noise—robotic and military in its rhythm—drilling straight into my skull and crackling down the lightning rod of my spine.

DWEEP-DWEEP! DWEEP- DWEEP! DWEEP-DWEEP!

I come to and gasp.

“Whahhh???”

I open my eyes, I think, but only see black. Where am I? I thrash and kick in the dampened sheets. My body is slickened with greasy sweat. My mouth’s sapped of saliva and tastes like a cat box. My insides gurgle–sour, gassy and bloated with beer.

I release a rumbling, prolonged fart, but the beep screams on.

DWEEP-DWEEP! DWEEP- DWEEP! DWEEP-DWEEP!

The glow of a light simmers in the black, drawing my bleary eyes. Malevolent red digital numbers. They read: 3:23

Someone moans: “Turrrrrrn it offfffffff!!!”

“Wha… what?”

“Turn it offfffff!!”

“Where am I???”

“Manilaaaa.”

I know the voice. It’s Sam, of course.

“Turn it offfffffffffff!!!”

“Okay okay okay…”

I roll over on the bed and reach through the dark toward the digital numbers. I slide my hand onto the plastic surface, searching, like a blind man reading Braille. I locate a line of buttons and begin to tap.

DWEEP-DWEEP! DWEEP- DWEEP! DWEEP-DWEEP!

“Urrrrrrrrgggggghhh,” Sam grumbles.

Nothing.

“I can’t… get it!”

I stab wildly. This seems to do the trick.

Silence.

“Ughh…” I exhale a burp. “I’m still really fuckin’ drunk.”

“You drank like fifteen San Miguels”

“Ya betcher ass I did…at least fifteen…mebbe sixteen… eighteen… nineteen,” I mumble, slipping back into sleep.

Time disintegrates. A minute passes, maybe three, until:

DWEEP-DWEEP! DWEEP- DWEEP! DWEEP-DWEEP!

I’m jolted back into my lager-logged body.

“Fuck!” I yell, fumbling for the light switch.

DWEEP-DWEEP! DWEEP- DWEEP! DWEEP-DWEEP!

I grope and grasp until I find it. Suddenly the lamp on the table comes to life and illuminates the scene. I feel like someone just took a flash photo inches from my face. Spots dance in front of my eyes; my vision is blurry from sleep and booze. I look over to Sam; he’s sprawled-out, flat on his stomach. He clutches a pillow which buries head.

I examine the wailing alarm clock. It’s part of a great console that is literally wired into the nightstand between our beds. I can now make out the buttons underneath. I see a long one marked, SNOOZE. I tap it multiple times.

Nothing. The computerized screech continues.

“Can’t you turn it off???” Sam bellows, his voice muffled by the pillow.

“I’m trying! It’s not working!!” Frantically, I jab some more, which quickly turns to a wild slapping.

Suddenly, silence.

“Did you get it?”

“Yeah, I… think so.”

I turn off the light and roll onto my back, breathing heavily. Adrenaline is now coursing through my veins and into my muscles, and sleep comes more slowly this time around. But the monster dose of alcohol ingested just a few hours earlier easily overwhelms any natural chemicals, and soon I find myself again falling down the wormhole… …only to be jerked back up like a bungee-jumper at the end of his fully-stretched chord.

DWEEP-DWEEP! DWEEP- DWEEP! DWEEP-DWEEP!

“Fuck!!!!”

I leap out of the bed like a frightened cat, crouching in the dark, facing the console head-on. I am overcome with primal, violent urges. I thrust my hands forward and feel the clock’s slick, inhuman buttons. I bat them madly with my fingers, but it has no effect. The wake-up siren blares on.

DWEEP-DWEEP! DWEEP- DWEEP! DWEEP-DWEEP!

“Fuck fuck fuck FUCK FUCK!!!”

“What the HELL IS GOING ON???” Sam now yells.

“I DON’T KNOW! I DON’T KNOW!” I am now banging on the buttons with some force.

DWEEP-DWEEP! DWEEP- DWEEP! DWEEP-DWEEP!

I feel my right hand clench, possessed.

“Fuck it.”

BAM!

I strike the clock with all of the drunken, middle-aged strength I can muster. I do this repeatedly, smashing through the thin cover, feeling the satisfying crunch and snap of plastic and wiring as my fist lays vengeance and waste.

BAM! BAM! BAM!

“Dude! What are you doing???” Sam clicks on the lamp, which again floods the room with light.

Just then the clock goes silent.

I cease my rampage, and stand before the scene of destruction. My chest heaves. I’m wearing nothing but an old, chewed-up pair of black boxer briefs.

“Dude…it’s okay… It’s dead… I… I killed it. We can sleep now.”

“You destroyed it is what you’ve done. And tomorrow you’re going to have to pay for it.”

“It wouldn’t stop. It just wouldn’t, fucking, stop.”

Sam turns off the lamp and settles back into the bed. I follow suit, less gingerly, letting myself fall hard into the mattress and sheets. Once again, my limbs turn leaden, and I am pulled toward the abyss…

DWEEP-DWEEP! DWEEP- DWEEP! DWEEP-DWEEP!

Sam bellows: “WHAT THE–??”

“I DON’T KNOW! I DON’T KNOW!”

Once again I fumble for the light switch, this time finding it easily.

DWEEP-DWEEP! DWEEP- DWEEP! DWEEP-DWEEP!

We’re both now on our feet, crouched down and staring at the decimated, bashed-in alarm clock, amazed at the device’s apparent resilience. I crane my neck and look in further, utterly flummoxed by this seemingly possessed little machine. As I move in closer, trying to make sense of the cracked shell and mangled wiring, Sam taps me on the shoulder.

“Dude… I think you’re looking in the wrong place.”

“Huh?”

“Look.”

My eyes follow his pointing finger, stopping at the telephone, which sits next to the lamp on my side of the nightstand.

DWEEP-DWEEP! DWEEP- DWEEP! DWEEP-DWEEP!

“Oh man…”

I can see clearly now that the phone’s receiver is slightly off-kilter. It has been knocked off its mount. I must have somehow clipped it during my fitful, drunken sleep. The thing’s simply off the hook. The hellish beeping never came from the now-defunct alarm-clock, but rather from the phone’s receiver, loudly telling us to hang the thing up in periodic bursts.

DWEEP-DWEEP! DWEEP-DWEEP! DWEEP-DWEE-CLICK!

BOOK NUMBER 3

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I guess I can announce this now: I’m just starting work on my third book (this time as a co-writer) with legendary MMA fighter Jeff “The Snowman” Monson. I know Jeff from back in high school, and he’s a total badass with a really unique story. I’m going to have to learn a lot while working on this project, but obviously it’s a pretty big deal and I’m truly stoked. 

I’ll let you know more as things develop.

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