Author Topic: Fleming Storage Unit #59: Tantalizing Tapes  (Read 1414 times)

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Fuckin' Cage. I swear that guy has been a pain in the ass for the longest time, and of course he said he wasn’t able to clean his shit out of our storage unit. Me and some buddies decided to rent a storage unit together after graduation, a place to keep some of our stuff we didn’t want in our apartments. But Chris and Jack only occasionally paid the rent for it, and why should I have expected Julian goddamn Cage to pick up his end at all? When I got the email saying that the units were closing, it was a bit of a relief because that was one less fee I needed to pay, and all I had to do was clean out my shit. The only day I could collect my stuff from the unit was October 11, so when I told the guys the news, I said we should all go down then. Of course, they said they couldn’t do that day. Then Cage chimed in and said he was out of town and  couldn’t go at all and that he'd "super appreciate us packing up his stuff.” I told him to fuck off. I considered asking Lily to come along, but I ended up deciding against it. As much as I’d love having her with me, I didn’t want her to be there in case any of us had stored some weird shit. I hadn’t been to the unit in a while, and I couldn’t remember most of the things I’d put in there, let alone what the guys had stored. So, there I was, an hour past the units opening, on my lonesome to collect my things and leave. Probably only would've taken me an hour. I opened the door to the storage unit and realized that my stuff took up the least amount of space. I have good friends, fucking great friends. Thanks for sticking the rent on the guy with the least shit.
   All I had in there was some books, a tube of tennis balls, other tennis supplies, and some boxes I don’t really care to elaborate on. I took one of the tennis balls out of the tube, extended my wrist forward, and bounced the ball up and down. I decided to see how much space my stuff took up compared to everyone else’s. Chris had some ratty old chair and miscellaneous boxes. He took up just a little bit more space than me, so I gave him a pass. Cage, on the other hand, took up pretty damn close to half the space. He had a shelf in there filled with pottery and other sculptures, stuff I think he made in high school and college. It was all actually pretty well done, if I'm being honest. Cage had always had a talent for that kind of thing, I guess. He also had stacks of sketchbooks, drawing mannequins, a big box filled with tapes, an old video camera, and one of those portable CRTs with a VCR attached. That was pretty fucking sweet. I didn't have to go anywhere that day, so I said fuck it and pulled up Chris's chair, checked if the CRT had any battery life (it did), put it on the shelf, lit a Pall Mall and put on some tapes.
   I watched through a couple of the tapes and was like damn, just this once Cage pulled through. I went back to the box to grab another tape, and I noticed one that was unlabeled. I figured it was a home video or some vintage porn. Either way, it could be used to embarrass Cage. I made sure to close the door and put the tape in.
   The tape opened on a blue screen with white text spelling out "COLLECTION". I groaned in disappointment, thinking it was gonna be some shitty indie film. I decided to keep watching in hopes that it was some video project Cage had worked on and was too embarrassed to tell us about. The screen cut to more text, this time spelling out the word "LIFE". This cut to a shot of a vase. A hand holding a stack of Post-it notes slowly filled the screen. The thumb lifted the pages to the bottom note on the stack, which had a drawing on it, and began fluttering up the pages. Turned out this was a flip book. It featured a man sitting in a chair watching a TV. The man laughed and an onomatopoeia of the laughter "ha ha" appeared around his head. He made a motion like wiping a tear from his eye and calmed down. The man continued to watch the TV and he gradually aged and aged and eventually decomposed into a skeleton. The skeleton turned its head away from the TV and faced the viewer. It opened its mouth, and a fly came out and flew away. The fly was halfway off the page when the flip book ended. If I was a teenager or high this probably would have impressed me, and I probably would’ve thought it was deep. As I was when I saw it, well, it didn’t really make too big of an impression, though the drawings weren’t too bad.
I debated whether to continue or not. I couldn’t really see it getting better, but with nothing else to do but clean out my stuff, I decided to continue watching. The next title appeared, "HOP, HOP", and then cut to a wide, kind of artsy shot of a dimly lit bedroom with a woman sleeping in a bed, her back facing the camera. On a bedside table was the same vase from the first film. It stayed like this for a little while until the door to the left of the bed cracked open a bit, and a large bunny head—one of those faceless ones you'd see on a stuffed animal or a porcelain doll at an old lady's garage sale—stuck through the door and turned toward the woman. It stared for a little bit before fully opening the door, revealing the head to belong to the body of a man in a tracksuit and black gloves. I laughed a bit when this happened. Given how the mask looked, I’d honestly expected the body to be a bit furrier or maybe well-dressed. I definitely hadn’t expected the body to belong to a jogger. The bunny jogger closed the door and turned to face the woman again. He stared, breathing gently. During these breaths, I realized that this room looked very familiar. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it then, but it left a nostalgic sort of lump in my throat. The combination of this foreign entity in this vaguely familiar place made me feel exposed, I guess. Eventually, he stopped his staring and took short, stealthy steps to the front of the bed and laid down on the floor. He lifted his arms slightly and tilted his head towards the camera. He army crawled under the bed and disappeared into darkness.
The shot stayed on this for quite a while. Still, silent. A woman sleeping, unaware of what lay just beneath her. The familiarity of the room still nagging me. If the shot had been better lit, maybe I could’ve recognized it. As sappy as this sounds, the woman kind of reminded me of Lily, peacefully sleeping there, innocently undisturbed. It cut to a text screen, the title this time being "THIS IS TENNIS".
   This one opened on, yet again, that fucking vase. This time it was in a field on a small table. What the hell was up with that vase? This quickly cut to a shot of the corner of an alley, the camera person holding the camera very shakily. He (assuming the camera person was a he) peaked the camera out of the corner to now have the back of a woman fill the frame. She looked familiar, a brunette with mid-length hair, nice figure and—shit. It was Lily. I thought maybe if it was a video project of Cage’s, it’d be possible he’d asked her to be in it. The two of them always got along, though I couldn’t imagine Lily not getting along with anyone, even a flake like Cage. What followed was a series of shots following, stalking her. I kept reminding myself that it was just some stupid art project Cage had worked on. It all led to her opening the door to her apartment, hand twisting  the door knob unaware of her stalker. This cut to a gloved hand putting a key in her door, unlocking it, arm twisting it open. He walked in and turned the corner, and there she was in the kitchen, back turned, cooking. He slowly, stealthily approached her. He sensually grabbed around her waist and gently placed an arm on her shoulder. Lily said, "Oh babe, I didn't know you—"
She was cut off by the fucker placing his hand over her mouth. This made me jump out of the chair, consumed by the thought that she’d been abducted. I knew this wasn’t true. I had texted her earlier that day, but the thought wouldn’t escape my mind. Why hadn’t Cage or Lily told me about this?
The next shot was of her laying down naked on her bed, playing with herself. Why the hell did Cage have a tape of Lily masturbating? The fear of Lily’s abduction turned into a rage against Cage. If he wasn’t involved in the filming, then why the fuck would he not tell me about the tape? And there was no way Lily would voluntarily do this in front of someone. I convinced myself that the fucker in the tape had drugged her, and if he did anything else, I could show this to the police. She was in her bedroom, the same bedroom in “HOP, HOP”; how the hell did I not recognize it then? The shot was set up the same, only this time the lights were on. Out of the darkness from under her bed crawled out a man wearing a dalmatian mask and morph suit with a massive white dildo protruding from where it would anatomically make sense.
I could see where this was going. The edges of my mouth quivered as I felt a nameless emotion. A fusion of anxiety and melancholy, drowning paired with the sun setting on the last day of summer. I remember feeling tears well up. I nearly stopped the tape. I couldn’t watch this thing “take” my sweet, innocent Lily. Then, she sat up and reached her arm out, inviting the dalmatian man onto the bed. The dalmatian man took her offer, grabbed her hand, and crawled on top of the bed, on top of her, forcing her to lie back down. She looked the mask in the eyes and that tiny smile of hers formed as she slid her arms up around its neck. She arched her head up and kissed the nose of the mask and whispered, "Please."
I was beyond disbelief. I didn’t understand how to process this. My mind went into a numb state, feeling like it was blowing in the wind. She wasn’t drugged. She wanted this. The dalmatian grabbed the mock dick and in a belligerent motion slid it inside her as she let out a pained entrance moan. The text "COLLECTION" appeared over the footage of Lily being ravaged. The tape ended not long after the text appeared.
   What the fuck? I didn't know and still don't know for sure how Cage had this tape, and honestly, I don't care. If it wasn’t even him in the tape, he still had footage of my girlfriend cheating on me. I wanted to punch Cage's stupid fucking face in. I wanted to call Lily and tell her to meet me at the storage unit and fucking gut her. My mind was exploding with thoughts like these, my heart forming a black hole and pulling itself in. I threw a tennis ball hard, harder at the door, my wrist flicking downward over and over till it hurt. I almost texted Cage about the tape but then decided not to; fucking flake would probably just pretend that he didn't get the text. I wanted to snap the tape in half, but that would’ve been too irresponsible, probably only would’ve made me feel better for a moment before returning to anguish. I ended up deciding to keep the tape; I planned to confront Cage about it later. I texted Cage that I was only able to safely fit his tapes and portable CRT in my car, but I’d ask Chris and Jack to get his other stuff.
   I packed up my stuff, took the tapes and CRT and put them in my car. I closed the door to the storage unit around three, my mind still fuzzy about the whole thing. Cage should be coming back in town soon. We’re planning on playing a couple his tapes when he gets back for a movie night with Lily, Chris, and Jack, as well. I’m planning to play the tape in front of everyone.


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on: 12:59 PM, 12/ 8/17
Nice! I feel much more connected with the narrator this time around.
I also like the narrator's conclusion, what he's going to do with the tapes. This is a very angry person, and he's going to use that anger.
Good job!