Friday, May 30, 2014


As Sean and Clark enter the hospital, they come across a poster of Roger Ebert, taken for the February 2010 issue of "Esquire," in which he uses text-to-speech software and chicken scratch to communicate his thoughts about life and death.  His jaw is missing and his face is sculptured like a plum.  On the poster, they see a thought balloon over his head saying "I can't talk anymore."  And then below his jaw, another thought balloon says "Cancer has robbed me of my voice."

And underneath the poster, written in bold black letters, is the tagline "Don't End Up Like Roger Ebert."  And under it it says, "Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit today.  Remember, you can quit."  After they pass the poster, someone walks along and tears it off the wall before tearing it in pieces.

"Fucking Ebert!" the man says.  "They're using that jerk to stop us smokers from enjoying what we love."

As he throws the poster into the trash, a janitor sitting nearby claps his hands and says, "Applause!  Applause!  Sieg Heil!"  The man comes over and belts him in the jaw, sending him straight on his back.

"Sieg Heil My Ass, motherfucker!" he says.  And he walks out of the building before anyone knows about the incident.  As he disappears into the night, we hear him saying this:

"We don't care
if you choke!
We got rights,
and we're gonna smoke!"

"Thank God you're here, Mr. Harrigan," the doctor, a 50 year old balding man says.  "Caitlin's ex-boyfriend rode in on his motorcycle and started shooting.  Your daughter was hit in the face 3 times before he went on to shoot some of the others."

"How is she?" Sean asks.

"We did all we could, Mr. Harrigan," the doctor says sadly.  "We lost her."

"Oh, my God!" Sean screams before breaking down and crying on the floor.  Clark walks to a nearby chair and collapses, crying with his hands in his face.  3 or 4 other families are being told about the deaths of their children.  More victims are coming in by the minute as the death and injury toll mounts.

Back at the Store, Prema has locked up and is walking down to her car when one of the cops comes over to see her.

"Prema, did you hear?"

"No.  What?"

"Caitlin Harrigan was killed by her ex-boyfriend at the prom this evening."

"You're kidding!"

"I'm not.  Some bastard came in and shot her and several others before taking off.  Some of his bullets caused the equipment to overheat and catch fire.  One of my men shot him as he was going down the street.  He got hit and crashed into the Pemex USA station just off Rte. 53.  The place's been totalled."

"Oh, my God."  Prema bows her head in sadness at the news.  "What about the rest of the gang?"

"Nearly 50 are dead, 110 are injured.  The fire exits were chained by the management, so they had to jump out windows to save themselves."

"What's happening to this town?"

"I don't know, Prema.  I just don't know."

By the time the morning papers come out, the death toll stands at 57, most of them high school students on the verge of graduation.  More than 110 more are injured, some of them with life threatening injuries.  As plans are made for the mass funerals, people across New England are asking what happened, how it happened, and why it happened.

Tyler, who's on his way to visit his wife in the nursing home, meets Marvin.

"Did you hear?" Marvin asks.

"No, what?" Tyler asks.

"Sean Harrigan's daughter's dead," Marvin says.  "She died at the prom last night."

"My God," Tyler replies. "How'd it happen?"

"Her ex-boyfriend burst into the prom on his cycle, shot at her and most of the other students before setting the place on fire."

Suddenly, the man who tore the poster at the hospital passes them by.  Marvin looks look suspiciously at him.

"What are you looking at me for?" he tells the two men.  "I didn't do anything.  I wasn't even near the high school last night."  And he walks away.

"We didn't say you did, buddy," Tyler says sarcastically.  "We were talking about someone else."


To be continued...

Monday, May 26, 2014


Tyler's been released from the hospital, but he's under doctor's orders to law low for the rest of the weekend.  Later that evening, he's watching news of the tragic fire at the high school when he decides to change the channel to one that's carrying a movie.  As the movie begins, a male choir sings:

"Fuck Hitler!
Proudly Presents A Film
By The Nutzi Party
In The U.S. And Canada!
Pro-duc-ed By Jaing Zemin!
Cre-at-ed By Raul Castro!
Dir-ect-ed By Hugo Sanchez!"

"What?" Tyler yells.  "A Nazi song sung to the 20th. Century Fox Fanfare?"  And he sees the listing in the TV section saying, "Hark!  The White Faced Angels Sing."  It goes on to say, "The First Nazi Movie Ever Filmed In America And Given An NC-17 Rating!"  The movie's about a group of unemployed Nazis running a plantation in modern day Georgia, where poor blacks are being used for experiments.  Tyler switches the channel back to the news.

"Well," the weather man says, "we can expect another depressing weekend of rain and cool weather with temperatures hovering near the 60s.  Some thunderstorms are expected later Saturday and Sunday as a hurricane is expected to hit Cape Cod on Sunday morning.  Hurricane Alex, the first named storm of the season is expected to hit the Cape this weekend, and that's why we've posted hurricane watches from Eastport, Maine to Plymouth, Massachusetts.  And a hurricane warning is posted from Plymouth, all through the Cape, clear down to Block Island, Rhode Island."

"You gotta be shitting me!" Tyler says.  "We're gonna get hit with a hurricane this early in the summer."

At that moment, Marvin Ellis appears at the door.  "Hey, Tyler," he asks him.

"What is it, Marvin?" Tyler replies.

"There was a fire over at the Rockland earlier tonight," Marvin says.

"I just watched it over on the news, Marv," Tyler says.  "What's the situation there?"

"Really bad," Marvin replies.  "About 45 kids are dead and a hundred more are injured.  And it's all because the big boss chained the fire exits.  Everyone had to break the windows and go out!"

"Well," Tyler replies.  "I've had a couple of bad days with my wife being taken to an assisted living facility and now those poor kids are probably meeting their maker.  I hope they died in the state of grace."

"I hope so, too," Marvin agrees.

Meanwhile, news of the fire has reached the national airwaves.  The networks cancel all late night shows to report on the fire and the tremendous loss of life.  The death toll rises from 45 to 62, many of them high school students.  When the firefighters are asked how high the toll might go, they banish the reporters from the scene.  A live picture appearing on TVs across America show the burnt out remains of the Rockland Ballroom and the numbers of injured partygoers outside the complex licking their wounds.

At the Periwinkle Village General Store, Sean Harrigan is closing the place down for the night when someone rushes in.

"Sean," the boy, an 18 year old lad, says.

"Is that you, Clark?" Sean says.  "I thought you were at the prom..."

"It's Caitlin," Clark says.

"What...?"  Then Sean realizes that his daughter Caitlin was going to the prom with him.

"She's in trouble," Clark says.  "Big trouble."

"What are you talking about?" Sean asks.

"There's no time for explanations," Clark says.  "You've got to come with me to the hospital.  Right now."

"Okay," Sean says.  Then he turns to Prema, a young Indian woman living in Duxbury, who's been helping run the store tonight, "Prema, I've got to go.  Something's wrong with Caitlin and I've got to find out about it.  Please lock up the store for me."

"Okay, Sean," Prema says.  She watches as Clark and Sean take off in his new Cadillac.  As the car speeds down the road, Prema prays that the girl will be all right.  Meanwhile, someone is coming into buy some cigarettes.

"What'll you have?" Prema asks.

"I'll have a box of Virginia Slims," the guy says.

"That's for ladies like me," Prema responds.

"Hell with you, then," the guy snarls.  He walks out without anything.  Meanwhile, Prema is swearing in Hindi.  Your guess at what she's saying is as good as mine.

To be continued...