Chapter 1: Settle In

First and foremost, I should introduce myself. I’m… A historian. Of some sort. It’s my job to chronicle every event ever. Everything from everywhere. This requires a lot of energy and takes up a lot of time, so please, keep your questions to a minimum. None at all, preferably.

Quick Q&A: Yes, this is a true story. Yes, I’m writing this as it happens. Yes, you have a front seat to history in the making. Yes, you would have to be incredibly stupid not to stick around and witness… Something. I’ll admit, I don’t much know what’s going to happen. I just know it’s going to be big.

Every story with this family is.

While I desperately wish we had more time to chat (I don’t), I do believe it’s starting now. So sit back, relax, and get ready to witness the most important event to ever take place in any timeline of human history ever.

“Oh, but you should have seen her!” Henry (blonde, attractive, stupid, Demi-God) strutted exultantly across the aisle, waving his arms wildly.

“She was perfect for me Bill! God, just the look of her! The way she… was. Oh it was exhilarating!”

“Alright.” Not upset. Just disappointed. Bill (brunette, not necessarily unattractive, slightly above average intelligence, but so slightly that he would look like an asshole if he pointed it out, human) had thought that on his wedding of all days he would have been able to avoid being assaulted by his friend’s over the top romantic pursuits. “Did you talk to her?”

“No,” A sigh clambered tiredly from between Bill’s lips. It was like this every single time with Henry. He had the most inane fantasies about women he never even bothered to talk to, and then Bill had to hear every excruciating detail. Every detail. The most upsetting part was his overall success with women in spite of his antics. “Look, she wanted me, I just didn’t have the courage to talk to her. It was late at night and I didn’t want to creep her out. You see, I was going for a run-”

“You were going for a run?” The two men exchanged a knowing glance, but Bill decided to let his friend win this one given his hyperbolic heartbreak. He would have another chance to undermine Henry’s bottomless self esteem in no time.

“I was going for a run late at night and she just walks into the park I’m sitting- Running in and, and, and she… She just sits! In the middle of a patch of grass! Oh, I could hardly even see her. Just the brown on her legs, the curls of her hair. Names, voices, faces, fuck ‘em! Those all pale in comparison to the color of her sweet, sweet chocolate skin.”

Bill felt a hand lightly grip his shoulder and turned briefly to see his nephew sitting behind him, a look of childlike excitement on his face. Who could blame him? What 13 year old wouldn’t want a piece of what Henry was describing?

In moments like these, one can’t help but doubt their decision making ability. Why in god’s name would he ever invite Henry to a formal event? A formal event packed with his entire family and all of his future in laws, no less. Turning around to be submersed once more in his friend’s excited gesticulation and immaculate story-telling, his wonder only intensified.

“I tell you Bill, it’s just my lack of self confidence,” He had no such issue. “I know what she was thinking. She was thinking ‘Ohhh My’.

Unbeknownst to him, a foam lined metal harness slid over Bill’s head, locking him into a roller coaster he had never intended to ride. As Henry slipped on his ‘lithe and sexy’ voice, Bill beckoned his nephew to him and covered the boy’s ears as best as he could. “‘Henry- I mean, stranger whose name I don’t know, you sure look lonely.’ and I would say something like ‘Oh yeah baby, but I’m not feeling too lonely anymore’ and she would be like ‘Stranger, Henry, fellow! Take me in your big, m- muscular, sweet, big, big, uh, large arms. Do to me what you do to, um, to the… The dirtiest broads, Henry! Oh! Oh man, err, oh baby! Make… Uh, make love to me!…’ I need to sit down.”

“What is wrong with you?” He glared at his best man, reminding himself that even though it was frustrating now, his confusing, fabricated exaggerations were one of the most lovable things about him. Just… you know. At any other time.

“Alright I’m ready again.”

“No!” But it was too late. Henry’s mind had already prepared a whole new film of absurd sexual diction.

“‘Come on Henry, get- uh, get me good. You– You’re a big dude Henry,‘” He couldn’t help but laugh as his friend continued his provocative spiel with an immersion that was both impressive and disturbing. “‘I just want you to… Just want you to… I don’t know, get me hard? No, not that. I need you to, to- to- to- to fuck me in the Oedipussy, Henry! That’s right, get all up in my Oedipussy!’ No!” He broke from his self inflicted reverie, staring in betrayed shock at Bill.

“I don’t know what that was dude, brings up bad memories,” His eyes darted to the floor, seeping shame. “That’s what one of my moms used to say to me.”

“What?” The word sputtered from the groom’s mouth, barely fighting it’s way between laughter that he still didn’t quite understand the cause of.

“Nothing. That was a joke. Classic gaff. Got you! Ha… ha.”

“Alright, man. I’ll just go ahead and pretend that didn’t happen. But I get it. You’re really, really into this girl who you’ve never spoken to or seen in the light of day. I’m glad to hear it and I wish you the best. For now, you should focus on me and the woman I’m really, really into,” Come to think of it, maybe that wasn’t the best thing to think about. At the moment, the thought of his wife to be only served to stress Bill out.

As of yet, the bride had refrained from making an appearance at the wedding.

“If she ever gets here.”

“Yeah, man, we’re really running out of time.” Henry groaned. Running out of time for what? Bill was willing to wait here all night if it meant he was actually getting married. She was only an hour late so far. Her family was here. She would definitely make it. Right?

Other than that, the wedding was going perfectly.

It was all working out. Denise’s father had even been kind enough to pay for the whole thing. Although they had a classic love hate relationship where he loved his soon to be wife and her dad and himself hated each other immensely.

Despite that, her father was still the most pleasant person in her family. None of the others even spoke English. Any time Bill tried to talk to them, he received distant confused stares in compensation for his efforts. Her father could at least speak English, even if he was an asshole.

But he also wasn’t Denise’s biological father. Probably. Every time he asked, Denise got incredibly defensive about it.

‘No, he’s my real dad! I won’t hear anything else about it!’ But… Bill didn’t want to offend anybody, but her father was, well. Quite black. He looked like Steve Harvey, actually. Like, an uncanny resemblance. And she was white as the driven snow.

“At this rate I’m never actually going to meet your wife.” His best man groaned, leaning on the pew in front of him.

“Oh, come on. This isn’t the end of the world,” Why was he having to say this? Wasn’t that Henry’s line in this situation? He wasn’t the one being stood up at his own wedding! “You’ll meet her eventually.”

“Uh, yeah, it kinda is the end of the world. We’ve talked about this. I figured that was why you planned your wedding today,” Bill didn’t understand the joke, but he hadn’t understood it the past two hundred times either. It was just a quirk of Henry. He had been making that joke since the two met in college. “And it’s been two years, man. I’m beginning to think she doesn’t want to meet me!”

Imagine that. Who wouldn’t want to meet this guy?

Admittedly, it was suspicious how she always disappeared when they made plans with Henry. Double dates were out of the question after the fourth time he was abandoned with his friend and his flavor of the month girlfriend after Denise ‘couldn’t make it’. To be fair, it was easy to understand her position. He didn’t appeal to ladies unless he tried, and he only tried if he wanted to rush them off to bed.

“Doesn’t matter anymore,” Henry casually glanced at his watch, and then decided he had somewhere else to be. “I’ve got a speech to give.”

“I hope to god you don’t mean here. You don’t give your best man’s speech before the wedding, dude. Wait till the reception. Please.” Honestly, it would be best if he gave no speech at all, but he would consider it a personal affront if Bill asked him not to. He would whine and moan about it for weeks to make Bill feel as guilty about it as possible. But, by the reception, all the extended family would scram and he would find some pleasure in the mortification of those who stayed.

His warnings were ignored. Suddenly, Henry was on the stage. It felt surreal. When he had promised him that he could be his best man back in college he was absolutely sure that he would never get married. A lot of the things he did in college came back to bite him in the ass at one point or another. At least Denise wasn’t going to be here for the speech.

“I just want to start off by saying that I’ve known Bill for a long time,” So far so good. He hadn’t complimented anyone’s ‘bangin’ double D’s’, (a phrase he deeply adored) and no profanity. For Henry, that was an impressive sentence. “And you know what, I’m just so glad he could have today. His happy day, you know? It’s likely to be the last day he has on Earth.”

A few scattered laughs sprouted up around the room. At least somebody got the joke.

“I really don’t get you people. Everybody laughs at that. I know Bill always does. I guess nobody wants to be faced with their imminent demise.”

A couple more people chuckled, but it was wearing thin. With eight years to think, he hoped Henry had something a little more heartfelt up his sleeve.

“Anyways, I guess I should say some of the things I loved about Bill. Some of the things I’ll miss. I love the way Bill talks. He’s just got such a way with words. One comes after the other, and in the end they form a sentence. It’s impressive, really, it took me years to finally understand it. And the way Bill managed to thrive on this planet. I mean, Bill wasn’t all that impressive when we first saw him, you’ve all read a history book, you know how it is. He was just some shitty little amoeba or something. I don’t really understand the science all too well. Yet, somehow over billions of years Bill has made space ships, Bill has made computers, Bill has made so much.”

He hadn’t made any of those things, but it was best not to interrupt Henry when he was like this. Somewhere, far, far beneath the nonsensical words was a wonderfully sincere sentiment. Probably.

“God, I loved Bill. He may have been my favorite of all of them. You know what I’m gonna miss the most about Bill? His bangin’ double d’s,” There he went.”His thunder thighs, his jiggly bits! I’ve never seen anything like it. None of the other, um, well, the other guys, I guess, got me going like that. There was something about you guys. You know what’s up! You got lucky! No tails, just two eyes, just two of those arms and two legs. It’s perfect all around! You should see some of the things I’ve seen. Don’t get me wrong, Bill, and I mean real Bill, has been a good friend to me for a long time. There’s definitely something to be said for that. But the thing I’m saddest to say is that I’ll never get to fuck Bill again. That one’s grand scope humanity metaphor Bill, by the way. Anyways, I guess all I can say is I’m sorry…”

“I think I may have killed you all.”

A long stretch from what anybody would ever suggest for a Best Man’s speech, but it definitely could have been worse. Most importantly, it was over.

For the most part Henry was received by silence, but a few of his fiance’s rowdier friends threw in a couple of claps and hollers sprinkled amidst childish laughter. He clapped a little himself. It wasn’t like Denise was here to be ashamed of him. It wasn’t like Denise was there at all.

Where the fuck was Denise?

Finally, Henry bowed in an overly grandiose, sweeping gesture, and the entire wall exploded into minuscule fragments behind him.

Two thoughts went through Bill’s head, the first being What in the everloving god damn fuck? Then he wondered if his new father in law would cover the damages.

“Come, Bill. As in the man, Bill, not all of you. Come take my hand!” He wasn’t sure what kind of plan Henry had, but he couldn’t go along with it now. Blowing up the damn church was a little far for a joke. It was comforting to know that his brain still had enough energy to pretend there was even a chance that this was a joke.

“Henry, what the hell are you doing?”

“I’m offering you a chance to join me. To stop all of this. You know, fight your own heart and emerge victorious! Or some gay shit like that. Really, you’re fighting my heart. Or like, eight other hearts that have conflicting desires to mine, or… Well, something like that.”

“What? No! Why? Wait! Wait, wait, wait! Wait! What?” Bill’s cheeks glowed red with shame as he shouted across the entire wedding hall to his friend. There was a pretty good chance Henry would lose that status by the end of this.

“C’mon, get your bags. You did pack, right? I gave you plenty of time to prepare!” Bill’s face was a canvas clouded with stroke upon stroke of water colored befuddlement. “Jesus it’s like you haven’t been taking my warnings seriously at all!”

“No! No I haven’t! Why the fuck…? Why the fuck would anybody ever believe you?” For some reason he found himself having to shout louder to be heard over the noise around them. What noise? It sounded like a blusterous, billowing gale, but he had no clue where it could be coming from. It was mid day in August. This was supposed to be the hottest day this month!

“Damn it, that actually explains a lot. That’s my bad, sorry dude. Shit, I mean really. Total mess up by me. We still do have to go before you, like, die and all though. Y’know?” Crickets. “Just come on and grab my hand!”

With a bountiful spring of relief bursting in his gut, Bill realized he was asleep.

The wall behind him had collapsed as well, turning the church into a long hallway. The wind tore through the hall, stripping the room of all color and leaving a bland black and white template behind it. Finally as a last display of absurdity, the people around him began to detonate just like the walls had, their diamond chunks flying like confetti through the air.

At this point there was really no reason not to grab Henry’s hand. He could finally have one of those ‘lucid dreams’ people seemed so excited about, and then he could wake up and make sure his wedding went a whole lot better than his dream wedding was going. Maybe he would just uninvite his friend and make up some speech so he could be his own best man.

Yet as his hand touched Henry’s and he felt the cold, densely textured flesh of the other man, he began to deeply question whether or not this was really a dream.

Par for the course, really. Wait… Where are you?

No! Wait! Please don’t leave! I get it. You don’t believe me. You don’t believe that this is really happening. If this were really happening right now, wouldn’t you know about it? Wouldn’t you notice the world ending? The simple answer is no.

Bill and you. You live in different worlds. Same people, same places, almost the same everything. Just different timelines. There’s another Bill in your world. But he’s different. He’s not marrying a Denise, I can tell you that. He’s not friends with a Henry, either. The words that will soon fill the following pages, they’re true.

I know what you’re thinking. ‘What’s it got to do with me?’. I can see how it might look like this won’t effect you at all. Trust me, it all comes around. Sooner or later, this will happen to you too.

So stick around. Read the story. Figure out where Bill fucks this up. How he dies, or is maimed or enslaved or captured like every Bill, Clyde and Thomas before him. And make sure not to do that.

 

 

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