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Messages - urkelbot666

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I like this one quite a bit. It's got a lot going on and lots of little details. The non-linear narrative is interesting and keeps a reader on their toes without being too confusing. I think it makes good use of its short length, though I tend to personally prefer slower pacing and more detail. Good grammar and dialogue formatting as well! I think this one is going to be a contender! Good job :)

EEEEE! I know that people keep them as pets, and many are probably not dangerous, but I'd still be a little freaked out if this happened to me. I think this touches on a fear a lot of people have, and an experience that most people have had. Something they don't want crawling on them, is crawling on them.

It's a short one, but I think it more or less accomplishes what it sets out to do. Some more detail might help it a bit. Not sure if I'm missing something as to why only a friend who had to drive 12 hours was qualifies for the job, even when Emily was nearby. But that might just be to add to the overall unpleasantness of the situation.

EDIT: Also, The rules say that you have to have your narrator opening the unit in the first paragraph, just in case you wanted to make an alteration there :)

Pretty exciting so far. Though I feel like I'm having a little trouble following a few parts of it. Or actually, after rereading, maybe just one part. So the narrator sees someone looking in his window, and the old guy talks to him through the door, the narrator gets a gun and goes into the bathroom, then comes out of the bathroom. At that point, I got a little confused, he comes back out and the guys have gotten into his room and stolen his briefcase. I feel like it might be a little clearer if maybe from the bathroom he hears them break into his room or something. If I'e misunderstood, I apologize. I am a bit tired while reading this x3 There are also some typos that threw me off a bit, but nothing too bad. It's a WIP after all

Anyway, I think this has a lot of potential to be a fun, action packed story with some intrigue

Seems like an interesting setup. It reminds me a little of this artist who, after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's began doing self portraits. By the end his grasp on form and his capabilities had dwindled so badly that they're heartbreaking to look at.

In any case, there are some typographical and wording issues I'm going to make note of. This might just be a style thing, but you seem to use the word "had" a lot in places where (to me) it feels unnecessary and makes the sentences read a little clunky. In many places it's fine, but things like After the padlock hit the ground, I had squeezed my fingers under the metal door to allow myself access into my storage unit. feel like they might read smoother without "had" in there.

Also, the phrase you're looking for is "lest they be sold at an auction" instead of "less." I'll be interested to see where this one goes :)

The plot is sort of intriguing so far, feels stalker-ish. I found the writing a little odd at parts, and at some points the narration seemed a little mechanical. Like "I did this, I did that. I did this." Maybe mixing up the sentence structure would make the narrative more interesting? ^^' I like the interaction with the girl at MooMoo's, and Princess the bunny :)

Looks promising so far, I'm intrigued to see where the stuff with the notebooks is leading :) Likable narrator as well. I'll just echo what Oxygen Thief said about some of the sentence structures and typographical stuff. Two things I did notice were in the first part I'm not going in that place, some dead was in there! needs another word or some clarification, and in the next part I tote the boxes to my room, I think just needs to be past tense

Fleming Storage Units WIPs / Re: Master List of Summaries
« on: 09:13 PM, 11/ 8/17 »
Mustard and Meat
Narrator is co-owner with ex-BF
Narrator will be opening unit

Narrator's ex-BF has old, foreign survivalist stuff hidden in unit including rations. Ex-BF eats some of rations and starts acting a little weird. Contents of unit transferred to new unit in next town over. Ex-BF continues to get weirder Narrator drops him off at home before going to new storage unit. When Narrator returns, Ex-BF has found a flamethrower among the other survivalist stuff and is acting crazy. Nothing good happens from there.

I liked it :) It got really exciting and fun to read in the middle. The supernatural stuff felt vague enough that it didn't turn me away. I thought it referenced itself well and felt satisfying. Nice work

   The place was a goddamned madhouse. I thought waiting until Wednesday would mean less people, but it was still more crowded than I hoped. We parked by Inspector Moomoo's Malt Shop at the Plaza and just walked to the unit. Number 17. I got the key from Russel and unlocked it. The door screeched and rattled as I hoisted it up into its track, and a cool, stale breeze swept over my face. It was sparser in there than I remembered.
   "I still don't get it," Russel said.
   "What?" I asked, stepping into the cold steel-and-concrete enclosure.
   "Them making us take all our stuff. Our unit isn't even near where they found that guy. And Fleming not even offering us any compensation or anything. It's bullshit. What if I was out of town and couldn't--"
   "I get it. It's a terrible injustice against all mankind and the universe owes you an apology for making you get up before noon with a hangover. Just be glad there isn't much stuff in here."
   Russel glared at me through half-lidded eyes. “I'm not hungover,” he muttered. We didn't get along too well these days, but we could still manage to be civil.
   I took a quick stroll around the unit, trying to figure out what was worth taking back home. There was only a handful of cardboard boxes and plastic tubs which I had remembered leaving pushed against one wall, but were now strewn about the floor. Russel was never much for being tidy. He must have stopped in here sometime in the past few months to look for something. "Hey," I called out, "thanks for moving all my shit around."
   "Why are you always blaming me for stuff?" Russel said. "You think that maybe the cops moved your stuff around when they were searching last week?" I hadn't actually thought of this, and felt a bit bad for assuming the worst, but I didn't want him to know that.
   "Well, did they?" I asked. Russel turned away.
   "No. It was like this before. Whatever." He knew I hated when he said "whatever." He used to do it just to tick me off. But that's not my problem anymore. So whatever.
   I sat and searched through some of the boxes while Russel went back to the truck for a minute. Probably to light-up, but that wasn't my business anymore. Most of what was in the boxes and tubs was holiday decorations that neither of us wanted, and some of my old college stuff. Textbooks and notebooks mostly. One of the boxes was full of old toys as well, G.I. Joes, Ninja Turtles, and pro wrestling action figures, along with some Pound Puppies, My Little Ponies, and a bunch of Little Mermaid stuff. The former were attempts from my parents to get me to play with things "for boys," though the wrestling dolls may have backfired given my eventual fascination with well-built, shirtless men.
   I stepped outside for a smoke and looked down the rows of units. Still some folks tittering around. A couple of cops were wandering around, helping people out or just observing. I hoped they'd leave us be. As I was finishing my cigarette, I saw Russel returning, tossing a screwdriver up and down in his hand while weaving around people. When he got closer I saw something sticking out of his mouth and was horrified that he might be smoking a joint in what was effectively, an active crime-scene. It turned out to just be a lollipop stick.
   "What's the screwdriver for?" I asked. He just shifted the lollipop from one side of his mouth to the other and passed by me, walking toward the back of the unit. "Okaaaayyy..."
   "Close the door," he called from the rear of the room.
   "No. Why?"
   "Just do it please," he replied annoyed.
   "If I shut the door it will be pitch dark in here."
   "Shit. Well, could you lower it like, halfway then? I just want some privacy, you know how I get in public places sometimes." I didn't feel like arguing, so I just did as he asked. "Thanks," he murmured.
   I dragged the box of old toys near the half rolled-down door and sat down to examine them further. The box had a pleasant old, musty wood smell leftover from my parent's attic. Some of the dolls were actually in pretty good shape. A couple were still in their packages, duplicates of ones I already had. I knew that in the plaza there was a place that did Magic the Gathering, or D&D games or whatever people played these days. Some kind of nerd shop. I figured I'd swing by and see if I could sell any of the toys. They might be worth something to someone. I picked the box up and stood from the freezing cement floor.
   Russel was in in the back of the storage unit, standing near something I hadn't seen before. Leaned against the wall was my old bicycle, a sky-blue Huffy Deluxe Classic Cruiser. White wheels, tan pleather seat, front basket, no gear shift, no wheel shocks, looking like something right out of 1975. Only a few minor details betrayed its youth. It's a lady's bike, but who cares? It's goddamned gorgeous. "Russel!" I called, "I'm heading to the plaza for a bit. Would you set that bike aside? I want to take it back home, thanks." He was facing the back wall, but waved his acknowledgment.
   I walked out of the FSU complex and up the sidewalk to the Plaza. Stars and Bards, that was the name of the nerd-shop I was thinking of. I entered and walked to the counter and set my box down next to the register. Someone walked from somewhere behind me and looked into my box.
   "Oh, what have you got there?" He asked.
   "Well, I'm not sure. I found some stuff in my storage unit, bit of a cluster over there."
   "Yeah. Real shame about what happened, and now you guys are stuck getting everything out in, what... four days?"
   "Something like that."
   "I'm Gregg, I'm the proprietor of this humble shop,” he grinned. "Some pretty cool stuff you've got here."
   "Yeah, I was wondering if any of it was worth anything, I don't really have any use for it," I said, hopefully.
   "Sure, I'll see what you have and do some research. Maybe you've got something good. Feel free to check out the store while I look at  some of these."
   "Thanks," I said as I turned and took in the place. Strolling around the various displays of cards, figurines, and comics, I came to a stairway. I could hear some familiar, unmistakable sounds coming from the basement, and quickly went down the steps to take a look. A very small video arcade was bleeping and flashing away in the dank room. Among the handful of old machines was Metal Slug, a favorite of mine from my teenage years hanging at the cheap arcade in Hi-Line Lanes bowling alley. Russel and I had gone on a few dates there. That was years ago.
   I walked over and leaned on the smooth control board of the machine and watched the title screen and demo game. I could feel the hum of the fan in the back of the machine and smell the hot dust in the air around the cabinet. The little man on the screen ran and slaughtered all the bad guys in his path, shooting bullets, then rockets and generally causing mayhem. Then he got the Flame Shot, the best weapon, in my opinion. It was so satisfying to shoot through entire waves of baddies and watch them writhe while screaming and burning up. FWOOM! Incineration. I watched the demos for a little while before checking some of the other machines (nothing quite as much fun as Metal Slug) and heading back upstairs.
   I saw a rack on the wall of older video games. "Oh, hey you've got old games here, too?" I called to Gregg, but he was busy checking things on his computer at the counter, and didn't reply. I turned and saw a young woman also looking at the display of games. A cute little thing in her twenties. She said something about how old all the games were. "Yeah, a lot of these are more from my era. I don't know much about anything post N64. But I'll whip anyone at Bubble Bobble"
   "I wouldn't doubt it," she said with a giggle. She was polite to laugh at my dumb joke about a game she was probably too young to remember, a nice change from being with grumpy Russel all morning. She went on, "I think one of my friends had one. My first video game system was a Gameboy Advance. If you don't count those times at Blockbuster where I played with the PS2."
   "I never played much PS2. I had a cousin who owned one. He was really into this 'Breath of Fire' game for awhile. Some RPG about fire breathing dragons, it looked pretty cool. So, what brings you in here today, if you don't mind my asking?" She told me she was from the storage units, looking for games for the Playstation 2 she had found there. We chatted a bit before she suddenly became serious.
   "Do you know what happened to the man that died there?" she asked.
   "I haven't heard anything, and as long as there's no psychotic killer running around town, I'm not sure I want to know." This was something I had been trying not to think about. "But if it was just a death of natural causes, I suppose they wouldn't be closing the place down, or having everyone move their stuff out."
   "It makes me wonder..." she trailed off in thought, her head turning to the displays in the windows. There was a woman in a green jacket that was walking by with two white carry out boxes. "Oh I have to meet up with my mom. Bye." She said suddenly then left the store in a hurry.
   After a few more minutes of perusing the store, I went back to the counter to see what Gregg had to say. "Well?" I asked. "I know nothing about this stuff, so you can totally hustle me here." He chuckled.
   "Most of what you've got here is pretty standard stuff. The Ninja Turtles aren't worth much, but they come back in style every now and again. The Pound Puppies and the ponies are all a little too beat up to fetch much. The wrestlers, I could get a few bucks for. The G.I. Joes though, there's some money there. The loose ones, I can probably get ten, maybe twenty dollars for some of those. Maybe more for a few. What I'm really interested in are these that are still in their boxes. You've got Blizzard, and a Tele-Viper that I can probably get forty or fifty for, and you've got a Blowtorch that might get up to two-hundred dollars."
   "What?" I couldn't believe my ears.
   "This guy here,” he showed me the box, it contained a tiny man in a brightly colored flak-suit next to an array of accessories: a respirator, a flamethrower and a backpack to hold the fuel for it. “The package is a little messed up, so it might be more like one-fifty, but collectors will pay good money for unopened Joes." He smiled.
   "So... what can we do here?"
   "You have any interest in keeping them?"
   "Nope, I'm planning on walking out of here empty handed or just giving them to my nephew."
   "No, no," he said, a little abruptly. "Don't do that! I'll take this stuff off your hands. Hmm... I can't get much for a lot of it, but I hate to see it go to waste." He thought for a minute. "How about two-fifty for the box?"
   "Wow," I laughed. " I expected to come out of here with twenty dollars at the most. Yeah, two-fifty sounds great to me. Some of the easiest money I've ever made!" He seemed somewhat relieved that I accepted his offer so graciously.
   "All right then, you've got yourself a deal, eh?"
   "Oh, sorry. I'm Dan," I said. "I've never been here before, I might have to come back sometime and pump some of that two-fifty back into your Metal Slug machine downstairs."
   "Well, she'll be waiting for you if you ever feel like giving her a go," he said while counting bills out of a zipper-bag from under the counter. "Pleasure doing business with you." He handed me the money.
   "Thanks again!" I said. Then I turned and left the shop. I was actually excited to tell Russel about the sale I made, and about the Metal Slug machine. I got back to unit 17 and hoisted the door up. "Hey Russel, you know tho--"
   "Shut the door!" He snapped, interrupting me. I stepped in and lowered the door back to halfway closed.
   "What the fuck?" I barked at him. "What's your problem? And what in god's name have you done here?" There were panels of corrugated sheet metal lying on the cement, and two-by-fours running along the floor and sides of the unit.
   "Okay, so like... just listen a second," he said. "I got some stuff that I had to store someplace. It was too..." he searched for the right word, "'hot' to keep at my house. I didn't want to worry you, and I was sure you wouldn't let me use the unit if you knew, so I like... just hid it here."
   "You did what?" I'm not sure if I was more angry or confused at this point.
   "I just like, got some metal from Home Depot, the same kind they use for the siding in here. I glued some lumber around the floor and walls and kind of built a new wall in front of the stuff I was storing. Only about two feet in front of the old wall, so nobody really noticed," he said. I was stunned. I couldn't believe he would do something like this, storing god knows what in our unit. Except, I could actually believe it. This part of his personality was one of the reasons we weren't together anymore. And though I hate to admit it, I was sort of impressed with his creativity. He always had that going for him. He was good with his hands, and clever.
   I stood and looked at the rear wall of the room for a while. There was a stack of boxes, most identical, about two feet long by one foot deep and tall, with a few others larger or smaller. They each had some text printed on them that I couldn't read in the darkness of the unit.
   "You're unbelievable," I said. I think he fought back a smile for an instant. "Well, I mean... we can't leave it here now. Not with the police lurking around and snooping. But you can't keep it at my house. No way."
   "It's okay, I've got a place now. Another storage unit in Chinook."
   "How many do you have?" I asked, not really wanting to know the answer.
   "A few."
   "Well, what even is it?" I asked, kneeling down to look at the boxes. They looked old, and the text printed on them was in several different languages. The identical boxes of which there were probably eighty to one hundred only had one bit of text on them which I could read as English. It read MUSTERD AND MEET.
   "I'm not entirely sure," Russel began, "The guy just told me it was some old survivalist stuff from like, the Ukraine, or Russia or some shit. Rations and gas masks and tents I guess. He just wanted me to hold it for him until he picked it up. That was like, almost a year ago. I already got paid though, so..." He trailed off as he knelt down and pulled the peeling tape from one of the MUSTERD AND MEET crates. Inside it, in vacuum sealed plastic was some kind of brownish-yellow, viscous liquid. On further inspection, the bags also had solids in them, hard strips that looked like tree bark. Russel suddenly pulled from his back pocket his butterfly knife, which always used to make me nervous. He flicked the blade out and cut a slit in the top of the bag. An acrid, overpowering smell immediately filled my nostrils.
   "Oh my god!" I coughed. "That's vile! It's like someone fed Guldens mustard to a... a wild boar, then gutted the thing two hours later." To my horror, Russel pulled one of the solid bits from out of the bag and bit off a chunk. "What are you doing?!" I shrieked.
   "Settle down," Russel said while chewing.
   "Is it even food?" I asked. Russel held up the bag and turned it to show me that on the other side of the bag was printed a crude pictograph of a person putting food in their mouth. "Well, it must be ancient. It can't still be good."
   "Aw, this stuff never spoils. It's vacuum packed, it lasts forever. And to be honest, it doesn't taste half bad." He pulled another strip out of the bag. "It's just what it says, mustard and meat. It's like jerky." He held out strip of the “meat” as if to offer it to me.
   "No thanks," I said, jerking my head back and holding my breath. "But why did you have to hide it? What's so unsavory about old, disgusting food rations?"
   "Don't know," Russel said, his mouth now full of the putrid food. "He just told me to make sure that no one else found it or took it."
   "Fine, let's just get this stuff loaded into my truck and over to your other storage unit. I still can't believe you're eating that. If you get sick in my truck, I swear..." I saw his lollipop resting on one of the boxes. "Couldn't you at least find a garbage for that?" I reached to grab the candy, but he put his hand out and snatched it away, popping it back into his mouth. "Ew, you're especially gross today, man. On top of mixing mustard with whatever flavor candy that is, that thing has fifty year old Ukrainian dust all over it now. If you insist, I'll buy you a new lollipop."
   "Not one like this. And you don't suck em' for the taste anyway." He smirked, and with the lolly stick poking from his lips, I remembered why I thought he was so cute.
   "I don't want to know. I don't even want to know what kind of lollipop that is, what's in it, or where you got it. Let's just get started, there's a lot of boxes here, and we're parked far away."
   For the next two hours we lugged stuff from the unit to my truck. The crates of MUSTERD AND MEET were heavier than I thought they would be, so we each only carried one at a time. We got about fifty of them in my truck, a few in the cab, and most in the bed, tarped and strapped down. My bike was on top of the load, I wanted to bring that home with me. We drove the twenty miles to Ham's self storage in Chinook, to drop off the boxes. Along the way Russel insisted on keeping a bag of the mustard and meat up front, eating it and sucking his fingers after every strip of jerky. I drove with the windows down, despite the chill breeze blowing.
   As we unloaded the truck to his new unit, I told him about the money I made from the action figures and about the Metal Slug machine. "Holy shit," he exclaimed, "you can get two-hundred dollars for a G.I. Joe doll? I wonder if I've got any lying around."
   "I guess it's only certain ones, and in-the-package is better. This one was called Blowtorch, and he was in his box. I never opened him, he had this awful jumpsuit that was blindingly bright red and yellow. Garish and ugly. I guess didn't want him associating with the other, more fashion conscious guys." I laughed. So did Russel.
   After the work was done, Russel ran back into the unit and took two more packages of the rations, walked to my truck, then turned and got a third. He was going to be staying at my house tonight. When we got back to my place it was getting late in the afternoon. I showed Russel to the guest room, then went to my own bedroom and shut the door. I was a little worried that if I spent too much time with him, I might do something stupid. I just lay in bed and watched Netflix. I went to sleep early and hoped Russel did the same.
   The next morning, I was up at about eight. I figured we could get started on the rest of the unit at around nine or so. It was Thursday, and we still had until Saturday to get our stuff out of the unit, but I wanted to finish it as soon as possible. I gave Russel until about nine thirty before I knocked on the guest room door. There was no response. I opened it, he wasn't there. The bed was unmade and there were three empty bags of the mustard and meat meals on the floor.
   I looked around the house, but I knew he wasn't there. I stepped outside to have a smoke and saw that my bike, that had been leaning against the house, was gone. I drove around for awhile wondering where to even start looking for him. He hadn't brought along a cell phone, so I couldn't think of any way to get in touch with him. Eventually, I just drove to the storage unit to at least start loading in case Russel showed up later. I parked on the side of the street, closer to the Fleming Units than yesterday. When I got to unit 17, Russel was there, pacing back and forth, my bicycle was lying on its side on the ground.
   "Jesus, where have you been?" He said.
   "I was going to ask you the same thing! You just leave without saying anything? Did you bike all the way over here? That's like, what? Eight miles? What's going on?"
   "I wanted to get some more of that mustard and meat stuff, it's really good. The cops wouldn't let me in until the place opened. Then, they wouldn't let me use their bolt cutters even though I told them I'd buy you a new lock."
   I closed my eyes and tried to comprehend what was happening. "What time did you get here?"
   "Like four, maybe. Can you open the storage unit now?"
   "You're insane. There's something wrong with you," I said as I unlocked the door and slid it up. Russel ducked under and into the unit before the metal gate was all the way up. He ran to the back and ripped open one of the boxes, quickly looking in it before dumping it and opening another. The first box lay torn open on the floor. "What's that?" I asked.
   "I dunno," he replied through a mouthful of meat; oily, speckled-yellow sauce coated his lips. It was foul. "This stuff is really good, you should try some. It's been a whole day and I didn't get sick from it! I told you it was still fresh."
   "No thanks, and I don't think you should be eating it anymore either."
   "Okay, look," he said earnestly. "You know from the lollipop yesterday that I'm not totally clean, but I stopped drinking. The lollies help take the edge off when I start itching for a drink. Anyway, since I'm not boozed-up all the time like, you know,” he paused and looked ashamed, “... before, now I get these weird food cravings. You must have noticed the weight I've put on." It was true, he was thicker than I remembered him being. "For a couple weeks it was white chocolate peanut butter cups, then it was saltines and Slim Jims. It's never really anything nutritious, but my body is like, craving something. And this stuff is really hitting the spot for some reason."
   "But getting up in the night and biking eight miles? That's not normal," I said, concerned.
   "Yeah," he laughed grimly, "can't sleep so well either since I got 'on the wagon.' I thought that instead of just lying awake I could take a ride down here. I didn't realize it was so far away." I wanted to be furious at him, but at the same time I was touched that he seemed to be at least trying to take better care of himself. The drinking was pretty bad at the end of our relationship.
   "Well, you could have left a note or something," I said sternly. "Let's get to work. We've got better than half the stuff gone already." I bent down to pick up the box that Russel had tossed aside in his frenzy to get his MUSTERD AND MEET. It was heavy, and when I looked inside I saw why. It wasn't another box of rations, it was some kind of tank, or metal vessel. It had tubes attached to it and valves and gauges like maybe it was some kind of diving equipment or respirator tank. I set it aside and started grabbing the uniformly sized boxes of which we knew the contents.
   The loading took longer than I had thought it would. I figured we'd go faster than yesterday since we had less stuff, and I parked closer, but it took just as long. Russel seemed to be having trouble keeping up, and seemed sort of distant at times. Of course he kept munching on that disgusting survival food. A few times it sounded like Russel was talking to himself, or maybe singing something. It wasn't something I was used to from when we were together. Maybe a new habit he had picked up. It was a little unnerving, like he didn't know he was doing it.
   We finally got everything in the truck, including a few containers filled with gas masks and more of those heavy, metal oxygen tanks. It seemed  this was just old survival gear, and nothing else. I couldn't figure out why it had to be hidden or anything, unless it was just some international customs snare. We made sure that the unit was empty, aside from the few things I was leaving in there just to get rid of. I left the sheet metal in there too, thinking that we still had another day to remove any trace of the false wall Russel had built. It looked all clear and as I was about to shut the door, Russel whizzed by me into the unit on my bike.
   "Wheeeeee! Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!" he shouted.
   "Hey, be carefu--" He got to the end of the unit, turned too widely and crashed into the left wall. "Jesus." I ran to him. When I got there, he was face-down laughing hysterically. I grasped his shoulders and he got into a sitting position. Where his face had been on the floor there was a wet spot. Drool. I looked into his face and spoke.
   "Hey. Hey Russel. Are you okay? You're freaking me out." He choked out a few words between fits of laughing.
   "I'm just... This past two days has been great!" He stifled more laughter, then leaned in and kissed me. I pulled back.
   "No. No, no. That's not okay. It's been nice seeing you too, but... No." He just gazed at me dreamily with an innocent smile. Part of me wanted to kiss him back. "Come on, let me help you up." I was trying to sound collected and comforting instead of concerned and confused.
   We walked back to my truck, Russel wheeling the blue bicycle alongside himself. We loaded it on the back with everything else and strapped it all down, then got in the cab. "I want to stop at the house first and drop off the bike before we go to Chinook," I told him. He didn't respond, just stared forward and scratched his cheek. On the short ride back to my home he turned on the radio and flipped through the stations one at a time, spending probably ten seconds on each one whether it had music, talk or just... static. When I asked him what he was doing, he just gave me a big, dumb grin. We pulled up my long gravel driveway and I parked.
   "Russel," I said, "are you okay? You're acting sort of--”
   "I know, I'm just not doing too great right now. My head is kind of squirrely."
   "Why don't you wait here while I drive to the other unit? You can nap, or take the bike for a ride if you think that will help."
   "Yeah, I think I might actually do that," he said, rubbing the side of his face. "Yeah, I think I might actually do that," He repeated. "I've got a half a lolly left in my bag, that should help. And a ride on the bike will burn off this nervous energy. I think I might actually do that."
   I unstrapped the load and he took down the bike and, of course, a couple of boxes of the mustard and meat. "Are you sure you ought to eat more of that?" I asked.
   "It's like I told you, just a weird craving. I'll feel better with a full stomach." He did seem calmer when he was eating that garbage. I let him keep two of the boxes and we re-strapped the rest to the bed of my truck. He gave me the key to his other storage unit.
   "I'll be back in probably an hour and a half or so, maybe a little longer," I told him. "Don't go too far on the bike."
   "You haven't got any booze in the house, right?" He asked.
   "No. None."
   "Good," He seemed honestly relieved. "I don't want to be tempted. I'll see you soon, okay sweetheart?" He stopped suddenly, catching himself falling into an old habit. "I'll see you soon."    I got in my truck and started down the driveway, watching Russel shrink in my rear view mirror.
   It was a tough ride. I kept wondering if I should just turn back, if leaving him there alone was the right thing to do. But he had been taking care of himself on his own for a while, he was an adult. I got to Ham's Self Storage and unloaded the rest of the crates into the new unit. I wondered if Russel was going to do the same false wall trick in here. But that was none of my business, I didn't need to worry about what he did.
   After getting everything in and locking the gate, I got in my truck, then thought of something. I went and retrieved one of the ration boxes to take with me. I drove back to Havre, and because it was sort of along the way to my home, I stopped at the Fleming Plaza. There was some survivalist, gun-nut who owned a shop in there, and I wanted to see if he knew anything about the stuff that Russel had acquired. I parked and walked into Hopper's Firearms and Consignment carrying the box I had kept from the unit.
   The place wasn't very inviting. It was just sort of a jumble of all kinds of tools and supplies, and it smelled like old concrete and WD-40. One of the signs I had read said that he carried rations here, so I felt a little hopeful. I went up to the counter and saw who I assumed was Mr. Hopper tinkering with some unnecessarily lethal looking firearm. "Excuse me," I said. He looked up.
   "Yeah?" He replied, then added, "we don't sell butterfly catching nets here, son." A real class-act.
   "I'm sure... I was wondering if you could tell me anything about this." I presented the box and he seemed to perk up.
   "Oh, what have you got there?" He grabbed the box from me and started turning it over in his hands. "Looks Soviet, where did you find this?"
   "Um, my friend brought it back from uh," I searched to think of someplace feasible that we were at war with, "his deployment. He's a veteran."
   "He's a good man." Mr. Hopper seemed to almost swell with pride for a moment.
   "Yes... so um, he brought it back and he's not sure exactly what he's got. It's some kind of food ration or something, you can open it." Hopper produced a small switchblade from his back pocket and flicked it open. He smirked.
   "Like her?" he asked.
   "...Cool," I said trying to sound somewhat interested. He sliced open the box and pulled out one of the vacuum sealed bags, inspecting it closely. He put it down and reexamined the box, seeming to brighten. He whistled.
   "Hoo boy, this the only box he's got?"
   "I think he has, um, one more," I lied.
   "Shame. This stuff could pull in a pretty penny from a collector. Fairly rare stock. Of course, you wouldn't want Uncle Sam finding out about it."
   "But what is it?"
   "Well, back in the 80's the Soviets were at war with the towel-heads. So it being toward the end of the Union over there, things were a real mess. You had part of them fighting the Afghanies, and part of them trying to help." He pointed to the text on the box. "This here is a crate of the humanitarian aid they were sending to the camel jockeys; Mustard and Meat, I don't think I'd eat that even if I were starving!" I doubted that. but didn't say anything.
   "But here's the beauty. The Russians were playing both sides. See this here?" he pointed to a spot in the corner of the box where an X had been drawn with a permanent marker. "That X there, that was a sign for the reds, that meant that this one was spiked. Clever old bastards."
   "Spiked?" I asked, getting concerned.
   "Yeah, if there was an O there, it meant it was good to eat. No problems. But the X shows that the food was poisoned. Some kind of nerve agent to soften the civilians up for the next wave." He sounded giddy. "Get em' all fucked up and crazy. Make it easier to take them out or capture them."
   "Oh my god," I said.
   "Yeah, this is a rare find. They only pulled this scam for a few weeks back in 81'. It's way outside the Geneva Convention. Hey, where are you going?" I was running out of the store. When I got outside I heard someone calling
   "Hey! Hey, Dan!" It was Gregg from Stars and Bards. "Thanks again for that Blowtorch! I've got a bit of a bidding war flaring up here for him!" I just ran to my truck and peeled out of the lot.
   I sped home and as I was coming up my drive I could see black smoke rising over the trees. I smelled a sharp, tar-like odor thick in the cold air. When I got to the house, I saw Russel. He was on my bike, riding around in circles, something held in his hand, strapped on his back. Some kind of backpack. There was fire all around my lawn and driveway.
   "Russel! What's happening?!" I shouted.
   "Hey! Check it out! That thing we found wasn't a scuba tank or anything like that. See?" With his hand that wasn't on the handlebars, he pointed up in the air, a black tube coming from his fist. Then a large plume of fire exploded from his arm, like a burst from a fire breathing dragon. "It was fully loaded too! That's why it was so heavy!" He laughed madly while continuing to circle on the bike.
   "Russel!" I shouted, starting to cry. "Russel stop! Get off the bike. The food is poisoned, it's messing with your brain! Oh god." I wanted to run to my house and get the fire extinguisher but the ground was patchy with burning gel fuel, and Russel was still shooting off his Soviet flamethrower all around. "Please, Russel!" He wobbled on the bike, bringing his hand holding the weapon down to grasp the handlebars when he did, a small jet of flame spat out and ignited the front wheel of the bicycle. The tire burst and became a ring of spinning fire, leaving a burning snake trail in the dying autumn grass.
   I saw Russel's face, the left side drooping with a string of drool hanging from his mouth. His cheeks were rosy and glistening with sweat. He turned toward me long enough that I could see part of his scalp was red and raw, the hair having been burnt off. He shot me a toothy grin with the half of his mouth that still worked. He waved to me, and when he lifted his left hand from the handlebar, it brought with it several long strands of tan, melted plastic from the hand grip. Burning fuel was splattering from the front tire onto Russel's pants, onto the body of the bike. Its beautiful baby blue pain began to peel and flake off.
   There was a moment of quiet in which I heard the flames crackling. Then, FWOOM! The tank of the flamethrower on his back had ruptured and erupted into a giant cloud of smoke and fire. I watched it rise for a moment, a column of billowing flame. It was blindingly bright red and yellow. Garish and ugly. The bike toppled over and Russel was engulfed entirely in wild flames. I heard him scream and he writhed for a few seconds on his knees. He screamed and writhed and looked just like he had been hit with the Flame-Shot in Metal Slug. Then he went limp and hit the ground. I ran to the house, dodging burning puddles of fuel. I ran to get my extinguisher, but I already knew there was no hope. There was nothing I could do.
   I went out and feebly sprayed at Russel's immolating body, sobbing, then collapsing. My brain snapped clear momentarily and I grabbed my phone to call 911. I told them what was happening through choking sobs and they sent the fire department. In the minutes until I heard the sirens, I sat weeping in the warmth of my burning man who had kept me warm on past October evenings. My lover. My friend.
   I spent some of the next day in the hospital for treatment of minor burns, and most of the rest of the day on the phone with people. Friends, family, trying to explain to them and to myself what had happened. Why I shouldn't have left him alone. I couldn't sleep that night. The smell of ash and chemicals hung heavily all around my house. I would need to stay in a hotel or with family.
   On the morning of October 14, the second day after the incident I remembered the Fleming storage unit. I drove down there, down to where this had all started. I just wanted to officially close my account. Never go there again. Someone from the office came with me to do a final inspection of the unit. I opened it and explained that anything left in there was fine to go to police auction or a dumpster. I didn't bother to hide or even say anything about the extra sheet metal and lumber from the false wall. I knew that everything would come out in the open now. I knew that I would relive these past few days countless times, and maybe for the rest of my life.
   I was tired. I signed a form for the person from the office and then rolled down the door to the unit for what I hoped would be the last time. When it hit the ground, it made a sound that was harsh and hollow.

Fleming Storage Units WIPs / Re: Location Collaboration
« on: 08:49 AM, 11/ 8/17 »
Dan from 17 will be at Hopper's Consignment On Wednesday the 12th at around 4:30 PM. He speaks with Hopper for a few minutes before running out of the store, seemingly frightened, or harried about something. Once outside, Gregg from Stars and Bards yells to him "Thanks again for that Blowtorch! I've got a bit of a bidding war going on here for him!" (Blowtorch is a G.I. Joe figure.) But Dan just runs away to his truck in the parking lot.

I like it :) I'm not sure if the title gives away too much. I had sort of an idea of what was coming, but that didn;t ruin it for me or anything. I think big twists are kind of gimmicky anyway. Regardless, I don;t think there's any way anyone could anticipate the gas pump nozzle, which I think is more of a shocker. I might go into a little more detail about that, but it still works as is.

I think that the repression and self loathing are believable in context here. It's a short story, so we can;t go too far into the narrator's past experiences. Giving some of the facts, and saying how he feels about himself works here, I think.

I think the story works as it is without more sex details. It might go from provocative to gratuitous. But if that's what you're looking for, go for it!

At the end you say "A whistle escaped my list" Is that a typo or just something I'm not understanding? There are some spots where words are capitalized following dialogue where it's unnecessary, but that didn;t really take me out of the story at all. Anyway, This is short, quick, and I think gets its point across. I like the descriptor about the fear of seeing someone who knows you better than you know yourself. I think it's good and relatable. I also like that the mannequin has nicks and scars on it, I think it;s a nice touch.

Fleming Storage Units WIPs / Re: Screaming Into The Void
« on: 12:02 PM, 11/ 4/17 »
Yeah, when I first saw the video I was like "Jesus, how many rules are there?!" But I like getting out of my comfort zone, so I'm excited :D

Fleming Storage Units WIPs / Re: Location Collaboration
« on: 11:08 AM, 11/ 4/17 »
Dan from Unit 17 here - On October 11th at about noon I'm going to be taking some old toys from the unit to Stars and Bards to see if they're worth anything. If you're interested in 80's toys (GI Joe, Ninja Turtles, My Little Pony, Pound Puppies) and happen to be there, or see me walking to or from the plaza with the box we can have a short interaction :)

Fleming Storage Units WIPs / Re: Location Collaboration
« on: 10:26 AM, 11/ 2/17 »
This is Dan from Unit 17! If anyone has a broken or unneeded clothes dryer in their unit, available for the 13th or early the 14th, I'd be willing to take it off your hands. I need the drum belt... We can work out a dialogue exchange to be used in either or both stories if needed.

EDIT: nevermind x3

It's Halloween! As promised I have the results from the contest. I want to just start out by sincerely thanking everyone who expressed interest, entered and submitted stories. This is the best turnout I've ever had running this contest and the quality of stories was higher than I've ever had too. I was surprised with how good all the stories were, I was honestly expecting a few stinkers, but there truly were none. Every story had its good point and its own merits, which made it very difficult to chose a winner.

I want to thank Abysmii also for offering to put up an additional prize, and for helping with the talk of judging. His input was invaluable and without it I'd probably still be trying to figure out who to crown a winner. But enough about that, you're here for results!

After much evaluation and rereading of stories, we felt that the one that stood just a tad above the rest was SciGuyHatz's Fair Day at St. Ursula's ( available to read here's-(2017-trick-or-treat-challenge)/ ).

We felt that this story made good use of the "treats" given, was intriguing, spooky, well written, creative and felt very much in the spirit of the contest. Congratulations SciGuy!

We narrowed it down to one runner-up because the judging was so close for so many stories, and if we did a winner, runner up and honorable mentions we'd have almost every story submitted x3 The story we chose for runner up was Knadire's Assisted Living ( Available here ). Like I said, it was very close, and this story also used the treats creatively, was written well, and had a tragic and intriguing ending.

Abysmii will be shelling out the prize to the winner shortly, cha-ching! I'm going to be doing a narration of the winning story for my youtube channel. I will hopefully have that done fairly soon, and I'll post it on the forum. Also, as I said, I'll be happy to write short reviews on any stories that are posted here on the forums! Again, thanks to everyone who wrote a story! I had a lot of fun, and I really hope you did too. Happy Halloween, don't eat too much candy!

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