The following stories are in the order they appeared in a small, local (San Francisco) underground publication, The Twisted Mirror. The main character, Bruno McAvoy, was born out the need for an apple fritter (see the first story for details.) Bruno is a simple man, a maintenance worker for some metropolitan region of Hell. It's always a challenge to create new stories, due to the fact that I'm often scared to define the handyman's world. With every new day his surroundings appear to be getting a little more twisted.
Then again, aren't we all?...
( y a w n )
Bruno McAvoy awoke with the taste of an apple fritter in his mouth. He hadn't eaten one the night before, yet now his senses screamed to be bathed in the smooth, tangy taste of a hot fritter. This feeling pleased him, a foreshadowing of the fritter he was going to buy and eat later.
Precognitive taste buds.
He could afford the fritter. The previous morning he woke with the taste of the hand-rubbed Italian leather, found as upholstery in Lambourghinis. His income
wouldn't allow the car, so he rubbed the morning sunshine around in his eyes and imagined the cinnamon after-taste, the sticky fingers. It was going to be a good day, unless the High Lord of Retribution sent him headlong into the Twelfth Realm of Darkness again. That, or the bakery being out of apple fritters...
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( d r i p )
Bruno licked the salty perspiration that was building upon the rim of his upper
lip. The situation looked confusing. It wasn't a question of how he drove the six-inch nail through the thumb of his left hand. The answer was in the form of a massive bolt gun that was laying on its side only a few feet away. The question of when was solved as Bruno's gaze shifted upwards from the tool.
A clock was propped up against the off-white wall. The scene reminded him of a
wandering eye. The glass from the clock littered the place and a two-inch nail
protruded from the area between the four and the five. Bruno figured he must've
been unconscious for a good three hours, and that behind the clock four inches of nail was driven into the wall. The only question in Bruno's mind was why...
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( s l u r p )
Water started to pool at Bruno's feet, turning the earth into a thick brown soup. With every step the ooze made a sucking noise, almost sexual in nature, as if the ground was calling out to him. Beckoning him. His arousal was well hidden underneath the plate mail that sheathed his form in steel. His grip tightened on the cricket bat. This time he would hit that tether ball. Send it back to the hell from which it came. Sheets of rain obscured his vision, the demon's heart seemed to circle in slow motion. Bruno's pulse quickened. Nerves on fire. It swung around the pole towards him.
As he stepped in for the death blow, the soft embrace below his feet gave way. He was being introduced to gravity. On his way down, he lunged at the tether ball pole, hoping it could hold him up. He whispered an apology to it. The pole accepted and met his grasp. At the moment of communion, a bolt of raw electricity sheared through the sky.
As the energy ripped apart his synapses, Bruno wondered if it was an alternating or direct current.
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( t a p )
Bruno was almost certain that he had narrowed the choices to one of three faulty pipes. He shifted in his crouch. Two of them would cut off plumbing somewhere on floors six and seven. The third would stop the flow of fresh blood to the garden that the Avatar of Suffering so gently cared for. A chill crept down Bruno's spine at the through of being slowly turned inside-out for botching a repair job on a clogged drain.
Bruno swallowed. The Fear slipped down his throat and into his stomach. A sour taste. He closed his eyes and rested his hands on two of the three pipes. His inner vision would guide him through this mess.
Fingers danced. Metal moaned and seals cracked.
When he finished, he opened his eyes and sat back in a triumphant glow. Somewhere above a man washed his hands in a sink of B-positive plasma. Deep below, the Avatar watched his favorite chrysanthemum wither. As a tear of pure Hate ran down his cheek, he decided to have Bruno's inner vision checked for far sightedness after sucking the marrow out from the handyman's bones...
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