The Erased Ones

The Erased Ones Final

The Erased Ones

Tero is a member of the Third. Threes are the slaves of the Twos and the revered, mythical Ones. Tero lives in the twelfth worker enclave near the mines and the black leaf fields where he works as a harvester. His companion, Bram works in the mines where he discovers an ancient tunnel running from the worker enclave into the mountain and as they follow tunnel they find themselves in the city of the Two’s, Atlen. Tero and Bram try to remain inconspicuous while taking part in the harvest festival behind Atlen’s walls but when they are discovered Bram is lost while trying to escape the guards and Tero is knocked unconscious. Tero awakens beyond the walls of Atlen and beyond the enclaves, even beyond the mountains and the mines, in a land called Tul where everything he thought was true will be challenged.

Read the first 17 chapters of the new novel: The Erased Ones.



An Ontological Discussion With Matt [Short Story]

An Ontological Discussion with Matt
by Joel Nickel

“Every person is actually the same being experiencing reality subjectively,” Matt pulled the cup to his mouth. His words were spoken as though they were mundane and ordinary; some trivial conversation about some idle piece of gossip.
They sat down in the café after both had ordered drinks.
Lillith was so shaken by the enormity of Matt’s words that her body convulsed as though her whole body was doing a comically exaggerated double take for some hammy vaudevillian act.
“Holy fuck? What?” She immediately covered her mouth. “Sorry,” she looked down, embarrassed. “I meant, to say . . .”
“I think you meant to say ‘holy fuck’,” Matt grinned.
She chuckled shyly and then tried to sit up straight. “Okay, I’m going to think about this critically. Convince me.”
“I think humans are identical pieces of the same being, but are represented in the physical world separately by each person’s consciousness. And only in that way are we differentiated. If we went back to the spiritual world we’d just be part of that same being. All consciousness is supplied by one being hosting separate bodies; a meta-subjective view of reality.”
“Hmmm, so that thing is everybody?” she swirled the coffee around with her brown plastic stir stick.
“Yes, but I think it’s a single being from a duality. There is good essence and evil essence inside us. When one of the essences controls another being more than the other that person becomes good or bad.”
“That would explain why so many religions are built around the idea that the world started by God for humans. Maybe consciousness developed when this entity was able to harness the body of the homo sapiens and insert it’s consciousness onto it,” she took a drink from her coffee.
“I believe that the first modern man and woman were given consciousness by just such an entity. So the Bible’s Adam and Eve were actually just the first two homo sapiens that had consciousness. And that explains how there were other homo sapiens for Cain and Able to mate with. They were just mating with homo sapiens who hadn’t attained consciousness. Maybe the first consciousness was only in Adam and Eve, but then through birth it separated from Adam and Eve into Cain and Able. And then was transferred to the rest of humanity through Cain. Eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was a metaphor for homo sapiens attaining consciousness. Both good and evil energies existed together as one in both Adam and Eve, but when they had children the energies were split apart. Cain contained more evil than good and Able contained more good than evil. But then Cain killed Able and the majority of goodness was lost from the timeline and the rest of humanity is filled with the evil energy that Cain propagated through the generations.”
“What if Adam and Eve have a good son that was hidden away?”
“Woah. What if he wasn’t written about again until Mary, but rather than the virgin birth, Mary was actually part of the biological line of the good son of Adam and Eve had hidden away from Cain’s evil lineage. What if in that isolation from Cain the good energy lineage exercised a kind of sexual selection where only those with a high amount of goodness were allowed to procreate until we reach Jesus who was almost entirely good energy. When Jesus became aware of the way that the Jewish religion had been distorted as a system of control over the people through the influence of an elite few, he decided to expose humanity to the real message. Everyone is a subjective piece of God’s consciousness.”
“What if the context of what Jesus said was altered by the people who reprinted the Bible? The original Hebrew was changed to Greek and then from Greek to Old English, right? I’m pretty sure that’s right,” it had been a long time since she was ever in Sunday School and she really didn’t know that much about religion so she decided to stop herself and Matt continued.
She looked down at the floor.
“There are single words in certain languages that represent whole concepts. Since word is a whole concept, it can only be translated as a sentence when there is no equivalent word in the language it’s being translated into. Although, actually I can’t think of an example in English,” he paused, scrunching his face together and looking up as though he were trying to peer inside his brain with his eyes and that somehow that would help him remember. “Well, the French have a word ennui. And ennui, means . . . actually,” Matt pulled out his smartphone and entered the word into the search engine on his browser. After an unbelievably short time, which wasn’t appreciated or even acknowledged as being as miraculous as it was, the smartphone gave him the knowledge he was desiring. “Ennui is the feeling of weariness and dissatisfaction. That one word actually means an entire concept. And the word petrichor! That is the scent of rain on dry earth. Both are concepts condensed into one word. What words in original Hebrew were like ennui and petrichor? Maybe the meaning conveyed in those original words were mistranslated when the scriptures were transferred over to Greek. And then again when the Bible was translated into English? I always wondered if when Jesus said ‘we should love another as yourself,’ he wasn’t meaning you should love one another as separate, disconnected individuals. Maybe he was saying you actually ARE the other person. Only you are subjectively viewing existence and have a different individual past that we have named as our self to which we tether recollections of events as having happened to that self. But it’s only because we’ve had different experiences from one another that shape our behaviour and the way we interact and perceive the world. There’s that atheistic argument that religion is dependant on where you are born. If you’re born in the US you’re probably going to be a Christian. If you’re born in China you’ll be a Confucian or a Buddhist and if you’re Japanese you’ll probably be Shinto. Those cultural designations and expectations will colour your experience of reality.”
Lillith remained silent. Staring, unblinking, contemplating.
Matt continued: “rather than being separate and antagonistic we should recognize that while we are only experiencing the world subjectively, our consciousness is the same consciousness as any and every other person experiencing reality subjectively through their body. That’s a pretty intense idea for the whole of humanity to posses if a certain amount of subjective experiencers want to retain their individuality and their control and power over others. So what did the Pharisees do? Well they killed Jesus and then made it seem like he was a heretic. He was going up against the control, the influence, the power, and the evil that Cain’s lineage stood for. Cain’s influence as the evil force even ended up usurping the spiritual message that Jesus true followers were trying to get out. The church instead used Christianity the religion to control the masses. Not to free them with knowledge. In the Dark Ages only the clergy and noblemen could really read. Why? ‘Cause knowledge. That’s why! Those who possess knowledge possess the power to shape the perception of those who do not have that knowledge. Have you ever told a lie and you knew it was a lie but the other person you told trust you so much that they believe that you are telling them the truth. In that moment you have altered their experience of objective reality. With words, you have changed that person’s awareness of truth. You have made an illusory film that obscures the other person’s awareness of the true, objective reality. So yah, if most people can’t read, they can’t verify whether what the bishop at the front of the church is actually reading is written on the pages of the book in front of him, or whether the speech and its meaning are simply propaganda that aims to control the thoughts and actions of others for the benefit of the elite. That’s why whenever I hear something I also put the information through a prism of critical observation. Who is telling me this information? Why are they telling me this information? Could the messenger have a motive or a bias?”
Lillith continued to stare at him. She was aware now that he was emitting a subtle light that danced in the air around him. She felt a recognition of understanding in his eyes and then she felt an odd sense of deja-vu. She remembered this experience. She remembered this conversation but she remembered it through the subjective experience of Matt.

The Puppet Shaman – An Ouroboros Short Story

“Einstein proved that time is relative and that there’s no reason why time should always be moving forward. There’s the time’s arrow thing; that something happened before and it caused this. But, what if they’re not sequential moments in time but are momentary snapshots that we, because we have memory, phase into and out of in a linear way,” Alex said excitedly.

“Okay, maybe I’m just high, but I didn’t understand any of that, Alex,” Greg giggled. After the service, those of the Mokeyists who indulged in hallucinogens stayed behind for a kind of second service. Usually, it was only Alex, his girlfriend Faith, and Greg. Nathan and Laura usually attended the second service but he hadn’t heard from Laura since the breakup and Nathan would only just be arriving in Korea.

“Okay,” Alex paused. “What if every moment in time exists simultaneously however we can only experience one snapshot at any one time and after we phase through that one snapshot it goes back to the whole where every snapshot in time exists simultaneously.”

“Sweet!” Greg’s unfocused eyes were almost completely dilated. Alex knew Greg had grey eyes. But the three of them had just taken mushrooms so now the colour was swallowed by pupil. Part of Alex wanted to check the mirror to see if his eyes looked like Greg’s but he knew that mirrors were often unfriendly on psychedelics. While all that was going on inside his head, he’d forgotten that he had a body outside of his thoughts and just sat there with a slack spine, staring into Greg’s eyes.

“Posture!” Faith reminded him sweetly, stroking his shoulder lovingly. Continue reading

ARCH – novella (excerpt)

A.R.C.H. – Applied Research and Controlled Habitat

He couldn’t figure out how it could’ve happened, and how it could’ve happened to the ARCH’s armory and a select few cryo-pods. The ship’s Security Officer, Greg Scott, figured it was sabotage. There was no one on board except those on the ship’s manifest and EVE1 would’ve told them if there had been any stowaways though that idea in itself was ludicrous. They were in cryo-suspension for the last twenty years and only a skeleton crew had been removed from the cryo-pods to manually land the ARCH. They’d only just started waking the others.

Brenin Klihp was the Chief Engineer in charge of the Hyperspace Tunnel and with Arty North, the Systems Analyst for EVE1, occupying one of those cryo-pods destroyed, Brenin found himself in charge of far more than he’d agreed to. The landing was dicey but EVE1 helped a lot. When they woke SO Scott, Brenin wished they hadn’t. He could still hear Scott’s acerbic voice ringing behind his temples.

“Am I expected to have sexual intercourse with all the men on this ship?”

A flat, expressionless voice inquired from behind him. The content of the words and the fact that his fourteen year old daughter was saying them made him whip his whole body around to face her.


“I’ve menstruated and am capable of becoming pregnant. Am I supposed to repopulate this planet if the humans from Earth . . . “ his daughter paused, tapped her fingers three times on the nearest flat surface and clacked her teeth down in one decisive jolt. Brenin always worried that she would damage her teeth doing that. He thought she’d stopped doing that but it was a tense time, and her nervous ticks would present themselves whenever she was, “. . . for some reason can’t make it here?”

“Oh Jesus.” In all the frantic rushing around he’d forgotten how anxious this whole situation must be for Kitty.

Kit Klihp just stared at her father, waiting for the rest of his response.

“Where’d you get an idea like that, Kitty?”

“I’m 14,” she said, somberly. “I know about human sexual reproduction.”

“Well, no! God, no! Kitty. Don’t. And you don’t have to! And if anyone tries to,” he paused in disbelief that he was about to utter the words to his fourteen-year-old daughter, “engage in sexual relations with any of the men on this ship. And if they do try anything, please tell me. You’re 14!”

“But biologically, I’m capable of-“

“But Jesus! You’re 14!”

“I never thought you were so religious, Father,” she stared at him. In the silence she sniffled, and then immediately touched her nose three times; another one of her ticks. “Because you keep mentioning God and Jesus.”

“No, I . . . I just . . . Kitty, this is making me really uncomfortable.”


“Just, just got back to reading, sweetie. And no sex talk until you’re . . . 25,” he started to swivel back in his chair but his daughter’s voice stopped him.

“Why 11 years?” She furrowed her brow and looked off to a space beyond her father, through the flight deck and into the wilderness of Gliese 581g. “That seems arbitrary. Is there something about human anatomy that I missed in my research that presents itself at 25?”

“Go read, honey,” Brenin said softly. “Or go see Victoria and ask her.”

“Does she know something more about sexual intercourse that you don’t, Father?”

“Well . . . she’s a woman,” Brenin said, hoping that’d be the end.

“Good point,” she said flatly and turned on her heels to exit the room.

“See you at supper,” he called after her.

She stopped at the door, “I’m glad I don’t have to be sexually intimate with any of the men. I find the whole idea disagreeable.”

“Remember, it’s always your choice,” he looked at her to make sure she was focused on his voice. “Kitty, don’t ever do something you don’t want to do. Always do what you think is right!”

She nodded silently and stepped into the hallway. The automatic door hissed closed behind her.

The Dark Crystal – The Shape of the Sacred – Chapter 3

Chapter 3 – The Theft of the Daggar

      The Daggar of Absolom had begun to hum the moment Jax had taken it from the pedestal. The glowing was something new though. That had only started after he’d left the Spriton clan territory and entered the Swamp of Sog.

While the rest of the clan was celebrating the addition of his older brother, Jek, to the Spriton brotherhood, the order of warriors, Jax had snuck away in search of Rel.

Jek had never seen war, but then again neither had most of the citizens in the Spriton capitol. Only his uncle Rel had ever known what war truly was. Yes, the Woodland and Spriton Gelflings despised one another, but only Rel had witnessed any violence.

Jax couldn’t understand why the Spriton’s would need an army if they never fought. And it angered him that when one of their own needed them they celebrated instead. Rel had not returned home for almost seven blinks of the Rose Sun. At his old age he must be in trouble, or lost, or worse. Everyone seemed to shrug it off as unimportant and immersed themselves in the decadent celebration that signaled yet another Spriton boy had become a man of the brotherhood.

No one was even guarding the daggar when he went to take it. At first he’d just wanted to address the council of the Dark Woods for guidance and reassurance that Rel was not in danger. He had been one of the strongest and bravest of the brotherhood, but that was long long ago. Instead, Jax arrived to find the chamber still and soundless. At least until he removed the daggar, that’s when the hum began.

Jax stared at the now daggar as the light it cast off drove shadows from the swamp around him. The bark of the weedtrees that lined the path pulsed with pale blue light as he passed, journeying deeper into Sog.

“Rel?” he called out into the blackness beyond the reach of the daggar’s light. “Rel, it’s Jax. Are you okay? Do you need help?”

Jax was four cycles of the Greater Sun away from becoming part of the brotherhood. Well, three and three-quarter cycles as of the last pass of the middle moon. Though seeing how disinterested they were in Rel’s wellbeing he didn’t think the brotherhood was one to which he’d ever wish to belong. It had been almost an entire triad of dark and light since he’d left with the humming, and now glowing, daggar. Two of which were spent still within Spriton territory. Part of him wished that the Order of Warriors would follow after him. That was why he’d gone slower than he would have, something he was now regretting. The time he’d wasted dragging his feet might have put Rel in more danger. He was aware of his slow pace through the Swamp but that was more fear than any voluntary action on his part.

The Swamp of Sog was the womb of terrifying monsters that he’d been warned of again and again.

The Daggar of Absolom began to hum louder with an added nauseating resonance that made his teeth tingle. The weapon’s pulsing blue light shone brighter and lit up more and more of the swamp with each buzzing swell. Around him, the night gurgled and spat stinking plumes of thick mist. The smell was unlike anything he’d encountered. It was so strong it was attacking his thoughts and overpowering his senses. His whole body felt heavy like something was filling him, adding to himself and maybe even taking him over. It was the smell of the swamp. He was sure of it. The light continued to pulse and Jax gripped the hilt of the humming blade tighter in his hand. He used his other hand to press the fabric of his sleeve tightly against his nose. The coughing fit leapt out of nothingness and struck him like a Land Strider hoof to his chest. He couldn’t breathe behind his sleeve, but the scent of the swamp was viscous and heavy and oppressive. It felt like every breath was not a breath but a swallowing of liquid Sog.

He tried to think of something, anything to get his mind off of the taste of the swamp. He tried breathing only through his nose but the liquid air engorged with the stench slithered into his nostrils, scraping along the hairs. It burrowed deeper inside him before dropping down into the chasm that fell away into the larger expanse just before his throat where it rested on the flesh of his tongue.

The fortified walls, his tightly pursed lips and gritted teeth, defending his tongue and taste buds were all for naught. The sneaky liquid scent had circumvented them all the same.

The Siege of Ebrie!

Even old Rel’s hot, sour breath would have been sweetly fragrant aside the swamp. Jax remembered that fled his mouth through the rotted bars of green teeth would have been sweetly fragrant when compared to this noxious swamp. Rel had cackled on through the incomplete cage of teeth about the adventures and terrors from a time now at the mercy of his degrading memory. The time of reverence and respect for the heroic Blue Knight had long ago given way to dismissive and disdainful tolerance. No one believed his stories anymore.

No one but Jax.

He remembered the story of the Siege of Ebrie. Rel would sit by the flames of his hearth and Jax would intently experience Rel’s stories from a meditation mat on the floor.

the Dark Crystal – Author’s Quest Excerpt

I’m working on a 7,000-10,000 word short story for the Dark Crystal – author’s quest contest. Here is the first chapter.


The world was indeed darkening. It stretched further past the plain of Skarith at a far faster pace than she had hoped; than she had feared. Even the wise urRu Ritual Guardian, urZah, had not foreseen the extent to which the blight was raking its brittle, dusty fingers across their world. It had reached the Gnarled Stonetree.

            The Gelfling sighed. Maybe urTih had miscalculated. Though she couldn’t blame her teacher. It was her responsibility to gather and compile knowledge about the putrid darkness consuming Thra. When she’d left the Vapra clan’s ancestral city in search of the Valley of the Mystics she was called Kin. Her journey traced across the world to the east where she was to train with the urRu alchemist, urTih. Spending her adolescence under the guidance of her mentor, Kin grew into Kyn’ae, the Gelfling Alchemist of clan Vapra.

Newly reborn, Kyn’ae assumed something had gone wrong. She did not feel any differently than before the naming ritual and the supposed completion of her training with the urRu. She still felt like Kin. Worse actually. In fact, she felt less confident and less capable the more she thought about it.

Staring out at the withering black limbs and cancerous knots that dotted the skin of the Gnarled Stonetree, Kyn’ae wished that the Vapra Elders could’ve chosen another to train with the urRu. Of course, Kyn’ae knew that there was no other. The next Vapra Alchemist was always the daughter of the last.

Her failure ate at her insides. She resentfully cradled the knowledge that the Vapra Elders would receive her in silent disappointment upon learning her charged task remained incomplete.

            Mother left only to train, she thought through gritted teeth.

The hallow wind whistled as it spit grains of dust across the skin left exposed by her alchemists robes; robes she felt unworthy of.

Mother had gone away expected only to return as the next Gelfling Alchemist of the clan Vapra. Ky’nae, however, was laden with the added trial of revealing the name and meaning of the growing darkness that leeching out from its seat in the plain of Skarith.

Ky’nae felt the crippling responsibility that pressed down on her for the nameless blight yet remained so. She had begun to wonder if the force that stalked her world always remain so discouragingly inarticulate in its purpose, so frustratingly undefined in its substance. All this was regardless of her own impassioned efforts and those of the Mystics with whom she’d spent so many years.

Her thoughts were so loud that she almost didn’t notice there was an unfamiliar signpost thrust into the dry ground. It marked the path to the Swamp of Sog to the North, the Caves of Obscurity to the South, and Claw Mountain to the West, and the Valley of the Mystics pointed back the way she’d come. Someone must have erected the markers recently since when Kyn’ae had been Kin she had to rely on deciphering the clues embedded in the bark of the Gnarled Stonetree, which was the purpose of the ancient tree, to reveal her desired path. She stepped closer to the Stonetree and touched the twisting, arthritic black bark with her slender white fingers. Her fingertips burst with a bright empathic ache that shone a dull red. The throbbing glow, while to her was almost too much, only revealed the faintest expression of the true pain the blight was causing her world. Even so, that subtle and incomplete awareness was more than enough to jolt her hand back sharply. She cradled it near her racing heart.

Kyn’ae said some words of healing that urIm, the Healer, had taught her and the red glow shifted from a dull throbbing to a soft radiant blue that hummed with a restorative benevolence before fading completely, leaving her fingers warm and once again white. Her words had also begun to heal a patch of the Stonetree’s bark which glowed a prestine grey, the way it had been when she’d first encountered it all those years ago.

Kyn’ae was mesmerized by the division around the grey spot where it met the charcoal black of the blighted bark. Charged with the blue energy of urIm’s words of healing, the division looked to her like a defensive wall holding back the black blight. The blue barrier crackled and sparked and she saw it was trying to expand over the blight, to dispel it and restore the Gnarled Stonetree.

As the blue barrier expanded outward along the trunk she saw a solitary triangle and she remembered.

The symbol shot through her guilt and pessimism and exposed the faintest glow of hope. But, faint as it was, it was indeed hope. The blue barrier expanded further and revealed yet another triangle that encapsulated the first, only this one was oriented the inverse of the other.

“The shape of the sacred,” Kyn’ae whispered to the nothingness in the dry air.

            As the glowing blue barrier continued to stretch out along the skin of the Gnarled Stonetree, she counted seven triangles. Each one fit inside the other. Each one larger than the one before, and each rotating between upright and upside-down, each regressing until the last disappeared completely from view.

Originally, these markings were left to guide wanderers to safety. For Kyn’ae (then Kin) it was meant to lead her to her education in the Valley of the Mystics. But fate had imbued the markings with an added purpose for Kyn’ae, and her alone. The markings had sparked her consuming fascination that remained unnamed until urSu viewed what she had simply been calling curiosity. She was in fact searching for the knowledge of shape and form. A quest that had only ever been undertaken once before and which the Mystics had assumed had ended long long ago. Incomplete then and impossible if ever attempted again.

When she’d first seen the retreating triangles as Kin, something flashed inside her mind in such a profound and visceral way that could never be articulated in such a feeble and coarse manner as speech. Not even when she recounted her experience with Master urSu through dream fasting could she even attempt to pay the revelation the importance it commanded.

            How does one even express in words such a moment?

The experience had seemed to encompass years of Kin’s young life, staring with unfocused yet tautly alert eyes at the markings yet only seconds had passed in truth.

UrSu had connected with her frequently during the course of her training in hopes of gleaning more insight into her experience with the interconnectedness of shape and form. She’d wondered then as Kin, and now again as Kyn’ae, the Gelfling Alchemist of clan Vapra, whether the increasingly smaller triangles really vanished at all or if they continued off in an invisible state  of unendingly smaller and smaller shapes.

She remembered urTih’s expression when she’d first inquired about that possibility. She’d smiled at his straining to remain somber and calculating, but his eyes betrayed him.

“You speak of the twins and their quest for the shape of the sacred,” urTih had said after a prolonged and controlled silence.

“The twins?”

There was a loud, angry pop that jolted Kyn’ae back further from the Gnarled Stontree. Its black bark sizzled and smoldered sending acrid plumes of opaque smoke rising up around the edges of the blue barrier. It floated up through the rigid black fingers of the Stonetree’s branches, escaping into the hoarse screech of the winds above its enormous bulk.

The blight was pressing back.

The blue glow sparked violently in opposition to the blights counter-offensive as it reasserted its dark possession over the old tree. Very quickly the bright markings that had filled her with the faint, but encouraging hope she so desperately needed, the triangles were once again swallowed by the sinister black bark.

She felt the dull red pain again but when she examined her fingers they were still the white, slender fingers of a Gelfling woman of the Vapra clan.

The twins. Kyn’ae stared long at the aged and wind beaten signpost jutting out from the ground.

It may have been a tired, resentful, and discouraged mind grasping out for the delicate, immaterial strands of hope floating just beyond her fingers, but regardless of hope’s legitimacy, it was still hope and it glowed a bright benevolent blue that charged her with optimism and purpose.

She smiled and turned to follow the marker that pointed north, toward the hope she’d already convinced herself was a tangible and knowable thing. A thing that waited silently to be recovered from its womb in the Cave of the Ancients beyond the Silver Sea.

The Trash Bin – 4 Conversations

This is a short story I wrote to get my brain working in preparation for November’s National Novel Writing Month. It’s told completely through dialogue in 4 different conversations.


D and R at home


“So, I was thinking that we’d go to G’s on Saturday night.”

“Nope, can’t.”

“What do you mean?”

“What do you mean, what do you mean? It’s L’s wedding social. I told you about this a long time ago. Remember L?”

“Right, L the lawyer. And your ex, p.s.”

“Yah, but that was a long time ago. I mean come on we’re going to a wedding social.”

“You know what, D? It’s not normal for people to go to their ex’s wedding social.”

“What? Why not?”

“Well, I mean you used to like . . .”

“Fuck her?”

“Uh yah.”


“So, you shouldn’t be going to her wedding social.”

“I don’t follow your logic.”

“It’s just, weird.”

“What? We’re adults who used to have a relationship. Obviously she’s moved on since she’s getting married.”

“Have you moved on?”

“R. It was over 4 years ago. I was over her long before I met you. Oh shit. I still have naked pictures of her on a USB.”

“You what?”

“Oh, god. I better go delete them.”

“What? No. Um, we should see them at least once before you delete them.”

“Why would you want to see naked pictures of L?”

“I’m just curious.”

“Well I’m sorry those picture were something special she and I had. I’ve never shown anyone and I’m not about to start now.”

“Come on.”


“Is it ‘cause it’s embarrassing? Was she fat? She was fat, wasn’t she?”

“No, she wasn’t fat.”

“Or maybe she had a really disproportionate torso. Did she have man feet? That’s probably it!”

“You want her to look ugly?”

“No, I just, I’m trying to imagine what she’d looked like.”

“Well there’s an awfully negative bent to your imagination.”

“I just have no idea what she looks like. Not one time have you shown me a picture of her, ever.”

“Exactly why you shouldn’t be worried about L and me.”

“I’m just curious. A girl you’d share naked pictures with… what would she look like?”

“You’re gonna have to keep guessing.”

“You said they’re on a USB? Could you help me out with a colour? Brand name would also help.”

“You really wanna see L naked.”

“Is it so much to ask?”

“Okay, assuming I even remember where I put that USB, I’ll have to locate the files in the finder. I guess, if you should happen to see the thumbnails of the pictures I’m about to put in the trash…”


D and R at L’s wedding social…


“So tell me more about L.”

“You know quite a lot about L already. Definitely too much for someone I’m involved with.”

“She obviously meant a lot to you. You held out a long time before letting me see the photos.”

“Well, they were a special thing between L and me. And I tried really hard to keep that. If it weren’t for you I would’ve.”

“Oh you.”

D introduces R


“D, showed me naked pictures of you.”


“I’m sorry. I just-”

“No, no, no. Okay, R. I was hoping it wasn’t going to come to this, but you’ve become uncomfortably clingy and shit like this just isn’t acceptable. You’re a nice enough girl but, fuck, you need to be less intense. I’m sorry, but I think you should leave.”


“You should go, R.”


R departs leaving D with L




“I thought I was getting so good at spotting the crazy ones. 2 months. I’d really hoped that she wasn’t a crazy bitch but for the last little bit it was beginning to get scary.”

“After 2 months?”

“Yah, red flags, right?”

“You’re taking this very well.”

“Oh my god, I’m just glad it only took 2 months of my life.”

“You’re a very different person than you were 4 years ago.”

“Well, I should hope so. That was 4 years ago.”

“So it’s a shame you don’t have those pictures of me anymore.”

“Well, I never said I emptied the trash bin.”