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OMEGA | Clae Sea
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Clae Sea

17 Mar Clae Sea

YOKO

 

As Chuck hovered over Africa from Brazil, he rushed through a Portuguese dictionary and some scribbles in his notepad—phrases that he hadn’t grasped the understanding of—in a desperate attempt to concoct a one liner that showed his romantic intent to Rose.

Acho que estamos bem juntos.

Any other attempt would be of no use—his eyes were drying shut and his mind sloshed of free wine as the plane dipped and divvied in the sky. The stewardess rolled the food cart over, and a steaming meal sequestered itself onto his workspace.

He woke up in Bangkok, relieved of fatigue, and hungry.

**

Morning had blared in his studio apartment. He woke to soft plucking of Rose’s guitar. Her voice rasping, waking up, finding keys to her gentle strum. He walked to the bathroom tip toed not to disturb her, but she would not be disturbed because she had deserted the world to be in hers. She sat in a trance, topless on Chuck’s tarnished sofa, in his sweatpants. The white Siam sun beamed on her pale skin. Her sparse freckles accentuated.

Palm trees sweated from the heat, towers blinked, motorcycles whined, and servants of other houses below melted, beading. The air-conditioning fogged up the windows.

**

The Meiji Shrine was singing with people and chatter, the first stop of the Tokyo media tour. Chuck was flown there with a couple other writers to cover a collaboration between a liquor brand and a prolific rapper called AK. He kept moving through the crowd to stay awake, and picked up a Japan Times.

The headline story spoke of a woman dousing herself in kerosene and lighting herself on fire. After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, she fell into deep depression. Her husband sued Tepco, the company who owned the nuclear power plant one million yen, and so did a bunch of other families. He folded the paper and sat on the curb, shielded his eyes from the weak sun and squinted.

He wondered if the suited guy walking through the crowded marketplace was a salary man picking up some coffee and something fried coming from a bender after showing clients a good time; if the old shop keeper selling throwaway cameras had a diaper-only party with his mates last weekend; if the girl in the kimono will stare out of the window for hours and contemplate life tonight. He wondered how many Samurai next-of-kin are hooked on Starcraft. He wondered if they still played Starcraft here, or some other more technical gaming experience his Western mindset couldn’t understand. He was looking for someone to vanish.

Chuck closed his eyes and tried to dissolve his past reality, and tried not to deny the world in front of him a common existence. Raindrops fell in slow staccato and felt like baby oil when it touched his skin.

**

Draft beer slid down Chuck’s throat like puffy clouds. Sunset came more vividly, and the brilliant orange light shone reflected onto his empty glass. He ordered another, and the realization crept up while seeing the sun break into the sky it’s multiverse light, that he had loved Rose looking into the Siam light as he did watching the Tokyo sun fall. He had loved her while ordering one more, while paying the tab, slipping on his shoes and walking, disoriented, into the foreign street. He was a dead man. A black taxi had waited for Chuck for a good two minutes but he hadn’t noticed. Headlights fought off the darkness of the empty street. Street lines blurred into one.

**

Back at the hotel, Chuck roomed with Putt, a young, fully bilingual Thai writer, a Dickens reader.

After five minutes of silence, Putt asked, ‘What sort of questions are going to ask him?’

‘I’ll probably ask OK about his controversial lyrics, or something.’

‘AK you mean?’

‘The questions are set, anyway.’

Putt returned to his reading material, Chuck to his beer. Tinder loaded slowly, Chuck read the instructions meanwhile, and a couple of real life columns in lifestyle editorials. The first girl that popped up had a symmetrical name, Yoko Koy, and her photos were symmetrical. He swiped right, and hoped for a response. After ten minutes of waiting to see what happened, he threw his phone on his bed. The ceiling was traced with squares. He crossed his eyes and turned two into three. The ceiling’s grooves became technicolour and alive, then into snow. Into the wind he ran in knee-deep powder as light as air. His skin wetted from the snow, breath heavy, singular flakes grew in numbers until it became one white void. A siren blows and he trips into a white abyss that choked him like the first time he rode The Drop of Doom.

Chuck squinted and squares formed from the void. One message flashed on his phone: a notification from Tinder, saying he had a match. Yoko had friends in Bangkok, and Chuck responded saying he knew or knew of all of them, which, to some extent, was true because Chuck agreed with Yoko in that the world is small, therefore Bangkok is smaller, and he’d probably meet them anyway in the future. After five minutes of belligerently asking her for a drink, she agreed.

Chuck felt a strange resistance lathering his body with soap, running his fingers through his hair, cutting the stubble off his chin, his neck. He felt an invisible entity trying to psyche him out as he traced the grooves of his neck with a cheap razor he bought from 7-11. As he rounded off his chin, he felt the razor lift a strip of skin, and blood ran down to his Adam’s apple, and welled on it. Chuck wiped his face and borrowed some of Putt’s aftershave. When Chuck opened the door, Putt’s eyes left the computer screen and stared at the wall.

‘I’ll be back,’ said Chuck

‘I didn’t want to bunk with you, either,’ said Putt. ‘No offense.’

**

The girl with the crazy pink skirt. The girl with the crazy pink skirt. That was the only description, and a low res photo of her face hidden in shades. Chuck was to cross Shibuya square and wait at a café beside Viron. Red lights turned the sidewalks into flesh walls, flush to the curb. Flashing lights and images, people in love, a girl running away, a man chasing, a shared refreshment and enlightenment. A greater existence. Logos, logos, logos. Red, white, blue, green. Men slung suits on their shoulders, loosened their collars. Women in bundles. Flashes of foreign characters. Live dolls with big eyes. Soundtracks clash and blurred Chuck’s attention into introspect and the lights went green. Walls of flesh dispersed into the center, shoulders rubbed, human contact after human contact, clashing and bumping in miraculous randomness, a man with a loosened collar and suit jacket slung around his shoulder, women in bundles, beatniks with berets, skinny kids in basketball jerseys, a black-clad white couple with neon pink hair, a man muttering something while hoisting GoPro over the crowd, girls drunk and eating falafels. Slowly, Chuck moved through the crowd towards Viron, meeting waning eyes of passerbyers. The open sky visible only by looking straight up, was black and empty, an incomprehensible vacuum.

**

Soft drops of rain slowly turned to piercing crystals as the night set. Black-clad yuppies walked passed Chuck, sometimes the street was crowded, sometimes it was empty, and then the rush, cold, empty rush, he couldn’t feel the organic heat of them, just entities, moving entities, one, two, three. Couples walking seriously beside each other, the known destination, muscle memory, not even looking at the street, crossing diagonally, hands clasped, neutral faces. After five minutes, Chuck thought about turning the corner and vanishing. Distinctly, an authoritative clunk grew from the end of the road, and underneath a headlight, a flash of pink dashing through it, like a flamenco dancer’s dress walking straight to him in perfect, straight line, no deviation, as straight as her straight black hair. She lobbed a ‘hey’, into space and it echoed.

‘Yeah, I’m that guy you met on the internet,’ I said.

Unamused, she waved Chuck to a nearby bar, lit up like a grocery story, and seemingly in a perpetual state of closing time. She ordered a Watermelon Mojito. Chuck fumbled with the menu and ordered the same and waited for the drink which seemed like hours. Distracted, he asked her questions on how she met their shared acquaintances, and bought some time before the drinks arrived. By the time they got there, the glass greeted Chuck’s lips like a desert child. The remains tricked down his chin to his open wound. His eyes blurred and as his brain made sense of the alcohol, he saw Yoko, staring at him with large eyes, shocked, amused, estranged.

‘Oh, okay,’ she said.

‘Sorry, I was thirsty,’ said Chuck.

‘Me too,’ she said.

Chuck suggested another place, and Yoko, with the same unimpressed air asked Chuck if she assumed she would pick the place.

‘As tourists do.’

‘I wanna explore!’ Yoko, sarcastically and walked forward.

Footsteps echoed, the flowing snowflakes seemed to flow away from her. Her warmth magnetized Chuck, so he stood by her. He watched her hips sway and imagined her walking down the street with nothing on but her black boots filling the space with a clunk, clunk, clunk. Her long, slender legs cascade in and out of light, her full ass wobbled with the stomp, her black hair saddled on her back, arms flowing gracefully, she disappears in between street lights and looks at me with these expectant eyes, stunned, I say nothing, and she reappears.

Her dress flowed across the street. Chuck followed it like a knowing bull, wary of impending doom.

**

…this was in like mainland china. Like there was nothing else around. So anyways we were getting ready and we kind of got a bit side-tracked, and we all decided to wear all-black for some reason. For some reason we all had see-through blouses on, so naked. Anyways, we’re at this bar, and there’s these really short Italian guys talking to us, and they probably thought we were soo interested but actually we were the only ones in the bar that could actually speak English… 

…You’re going to take the blue shot or the red shot…

…you choose…

…I choose truth…

…red always has more…

…you already knew the answers…

…wait, so that’s it…

…no man listen, so these Italian dudes get up and were like, okay, time to go…

…and you went like that…

…my friend was like super excited for some reason. Anyways we start driving like outside of the city to this hotel like in the middle of nowhere. All of these people were like waiting and started beating on the car. And one of the guys said, ‘okay’, you guys go through the back. At this point, it’s too late, we’re stuck there. Then the Italian dudes left the car and swarms of people start begging for autographs, and we drive away from the mob. Then the driver started getting really mad, yelling at us, telling us how stupid we were. I couldn’t understand any of it because it was all in Chinese, but my friend said that we didn’t know what we were getting into. It turns out they’re these famous soccer players who all had wives, and you know how they’re so serious about their players in Europe…

…the situation changes…

…I’m not sure what they were doing. When we get in, they were like putting on music, and one of them was like..okay! Massage time! And took off his shirt, so we had to massage them too. And it was so funny because they were so into it, like they thought we were so ready to go. We had to wait for my one friend who hooked up with one of them, so I slept for like an hour on the couch, and it’s like daylight out at this point, and we had to leave with our slutty get ups through this mob of Chinese fans…

Her lips moved slowly, and eyes squint as reminiscent moments spring at her, eyes looking through the compass of her mind, eyes wandered in a calm lost. Her lower lip, full like a slice of raw pomelo, stretched as she half-smiled. Chuck’s hands were heavy, beer after beer flew by, and Yoko began to sink in to his mind as someone who is not due to expire.

They sat with their legs touching in the cab. Chatting, grazing forearms, aware of the warmth of each other’s skin. Yoko left the cab, Chuck stayed in.

**

3:41am Chuck tried to not open his WhatsApp, but couldn’t resist finding out when Rose was last online. 3:30am.

**

The club was loud, everyone suited up, AK in the lights, at the center of the stage, dreadlocks down to his waist. A tennis hat and dark shades shielded his eyes. His muscles rippled in the limelight, beads of sweat ran down his tattooed biceps.

They call me the trinity
First the father of the martyr

Auteur of the moment

Cuz Reality shift

When I spit

Everyone listens

this epitaph of the son

heat, no awning

the second calling

A loud bass rumbles and in it, staccato rhythm. Hypnotized, the crowd bobs its head in synchronicity. Chuck joined, half-consciously.

The holy ghost is a goblin
The rich I be robbin’

My loud ass hollerin’

Heard through the heavens

Stars explode

Break through black holes

Missed call: Hawkins

If Science is logic

Explain why this mystical voice

Got your girl wet

Erogenous

Liquor poured freely and the intimate crowd moved more freely. The bass felt heavier as Chuck’s head felt lighter with each shot. Brown liquor poured down his throat until the lights blurred.

Chuck saw ghosts. In the crowd, curly-haired in the distance, face white, eyes like sunken suns, which could only be Rose’s. Chuck stumbled through the crowd and spilled a drink on a tall woman’s legs, apologized profusely, while a stout man said some things in Japanese. When he looked Rose was gone, so he reverted back to the bar for more to drink. He thought back to the woman’s flesh and felt warm, and the image of Yoko filled his mind.

**

Yoko was active on Tinder 30 minutes ago.

Rose was online on WhatsApp 30 minutes ago.

**

The rising sun shined down on Tokyo. Onto the heads of Harajuku’s skyscrapers. Shadows cascaded on its streets. The streets were quiet, with the exception of a mahogany-furnished coffeeshop. Cameras everywhere crowding a small group of writers, who were huddled around AK’s publicists, who were huddled around AK.

Flashes, flashes, flashes. Shutters snapped like dog jaws.

Chuck adjusted his cap and mined feverishly in his iPhone for bits of information. Putt sat beside him reviewing his notes. A soft man in a dark suit charged through the madness, whispering in people’s ears, prompting them to do things. Sometimes, the camera would point to him.

He stood to the right of the crowd, and everyone hushed. He spoke: ‘Good afternoon, everyone, this is a very exciting moment for our brand, but more importantly, for art. Our company has over 150 years of heritage. The recipe of our spirit has not been altered from the original. In the 1800s, it was made from the grains of France, and now, it still is. What you tasted, last night, in large quantities, is not just a smooth, magnificent drink, but an idea, that we can create things that go on to live longer than our own selves. This is why it thrills me to announce our newest brand ambassador, a man who revolutionized the world music with bold ideas about its genre. Meet AK.’

An applaud pitter-pattered and camera flashes droned the room. A man stood up and ‘wooo’d.’ Slowly, the crowd’s hand softened. Chuck felt lead in his mouth as he mistakenly gnawed off the eraser of his pencil.

A petite public relations employee from Thailand, with bleach-blond hair and a sideways hat that said ‘Girls, Money’ asked questions for a half-hour.

How did the collaboration happen?’

‘..’

‘What inspires you to write music?’

‘..’

Putt folded his book and adjusted his glasses. An earnest intern whispers within ear-shot of Chuck that the group has ten more minutes to ask questions. The group is silent. A slurp from a cup of water was heard.

‘Tell us about one of your favourite books,’ Putt said.

‘However poorly written, greatly realized, they’ve all effected me in some way.’

Chuck, in half-consciousness snickered at the ambiguousness of AK’s response. AK snickered as well. Chuck felt the eyes of the PR managers piercing him.

‘Can we see your eyes?’ said Chuck, in effort to lighten the mood.

‘What for?’

‘You know, because you’re always wearing those shades.’

The camera readied to AK’s face while he adjusted them through his thick dreadlocks.

‘You don’t need to.’

‘..’

‘Do you need to look at me in the eye for any reason? Are you confronting me?’

‘I mean, you don’t have to.’

‘Trying to prove something?’

‘So why did you want to become a rapper?’

‘Trying to be brave?’

‘There’s gotta be some sort of danger to prompt bravery.’

‘You see, I don’t need to look at people in the eyes. It’s not brave to look at someone in the eyes if you were not born with the urge to join eyes during confrontations. It is not truth if I take off my shades.’

‘..’

‘See through my mind, match me verbally. Close your eyes and be heard. Your word is concrete.’

‘..’

‘I choose to express myself verbally. I do not need to see. My words are altruistic.’

‘It worked for Ray Charles.’

‘Yes sir.’

‘..’

‘Okay, I’d like to thank the media for joining us on this very fine day,’ said the suited man.

The crowd shuffled out of the café. It got colder, and darker quickly. Streetlights snapped on with the same force as the dying sun.

Chuck felt a nudge from behind.

‘Want to see something?’ whispered AK.

Chuck turned around and AK tilted his glasses. AK’s eyes were empty blank spheres shifting around his sockets as if they drifted on ice. Heavy veins protruded the incandescent white of the eyeball and seemed to trace around his iris-less orb like it were a basketball.

**

Rose was last seen online yesterday, 03:30.

Yoko is online now.

**

Chuck waited for Yoko to say ‘yes’ to one last night in Tokyo. They met at a small bar, completely black. Two men with towels over their heads danced maniacally, crashing into people walking in. A few others walked in and made it a packed night. Chuck bought Yoko a beer and he drank at a ratio of two per every drink of Yoko’s. By the time Yoko finished her third beer, the crowd had pushed them arm-to-arm. The drone of dark techno seemed to melt. The walls melted. Everyone looked still in relativity to the thrashing men. Slow, slow minimal beats embedded itself into Chuck’s eardrums and nestled until it became one long beat, essentially a vibration. The DJ wore all black and had a grimace on his face, while bobbing his head slowly. He checked his watch. Chuck’s ears weren’t attuned to the nuances of minimal house, but judging by the crowds reactions, things were happening.

Chuck tried working his ‘game’ by trying to break the touch barrier, by rubbing shoulders when they spoke. Yoko flashed a smile that made him choke on his beer. Chuck instantly regretted categorizing the gesture as ‘game’, thus tainting the moment so he went back to the bar to grab two beers. He grazed her shoulders again but this time because he wanted to and not to work ‘game’. They both stood looking at the DJ as if it were a concert, and momentarily thought the whole scenario was a bit ridiculous, Chuck chuckled to himself. Chuck was about to ‘neg’ Yoko but stopped himself from smelling her hair and asking her when the last time she washed it was. ‘Asshole,’ Chuck said aloud by accident.

‘Are you alright?’

**

‘..the older you get, the more complicated things become..’

‘..like it’s magic in the beginning but everyone has oversized baggage..’

‘..and we can’t seem to check in and enjoy the ride..’

‘..are we really talking about love through airport metaphors?..’

‘..you started it..’

‘..red one or blue one..’

‘..i already know..’

‘..to truth..’

‘..to our pending complications..’

‘..we’re already in too deep..’

‘..what are we even talking about..’

The bartender had switched the quantities on Yoko and Chuck, who were both unimpressed, but the bartender stood there, cross-armed and virtuous. The bartender winked at Chuck. Chuck ordered another shot.

Her palms upended, her veins green, her blood pulsated. Chuck’s lips pulsated.

After a few more shots, the bartender begrudgingly kicked them out, and apologized like he had failed them. Chuck had given him tips throughout the weekend and he had collected them in a cup, and presented it to Chuck, telling him it wasn’t customary to tip. Chuck accepted, relieved, also guilty.

**

The taxi’s headlights shone into the empty streets. Black all around, towers were imposing shadows cutting into cloudy smoke lit up by a full moon. Chuck’s blood ebbed and flowed in waves as Yoko’s home came closer.

It came to a full stop that made Chuck and Yoko’s drunk-slurred bodies slink onto the back of the front seat, and then together, arm to arm. Yoko leaned into Chuck and kissed him on the cheek. A cascade of hair, the scent of powdered rose and dried figs, sweat and cigarette. Gravity pulled back Yoko’s hair and the violent snap of clarity flew back; when the door shut, and the cab driver left, Chuck would never see her again.

‘That was too soon,’ texted Chuck.

Almost instantly, Yoko sent a pouty face.

‘Should I turn around?’

‘Shit, I’m in a taxi coming you’re way.’

‘You can’t stay at mine, I’m sharing a room with another writer.’

‘Shit. I’m here.’

‘Damn, I’m at your house. Should I meet you here?’

‘No, I can’t, my brother’s there.’

‘So he’s not cool with you hanging out with people you found on the Internet?’

‘Stop.’

‘I’m on my way back.’

‘A room here costs $600 a night.’

‘We’ll think of something.’

Yoko was sitting curbside when Chuck pulled up.

‘Any ideas?’

‘No.’

They sat on the curb watching the void. Too many streetlights on to trace the stars. Tokyo tower loomed, lit up like a Christmas tree, glowing radioactively, turning the void blue like dusk. Chuck’s palms felt gritty with flecks of cement, fingers cold and bare, brittle as deciduous twigs.

**

4am came and Chuck and Yoko found themselves at a hotel overlooking Shibuya Square. Yoko perched onto the ceiling and Chuck sitting on the bed, trying to act casual, wheezing slightly from cigarettes and three hard days of drinking. His eyes ached when they were open, ached when they were closed. The sun slowly perched on the horizon, budding its golden head out, rays awakening the concrete protruding the earth.

Chuck walked to the windowsill and sat down, his head thumping as hard as his heart was. Yoko looked at her city waking up. The streets were still empty, but life crept through them.

‘I wish I were you right now.’

Chuck tried to look in her eyes but she avoided contact. She could feel her awareness through the glass wall between them.

‘Can I kiss you now?’

Yoko meets his eyes and shrugs her shoulders, Chuck stood up and stroked her hair over her shoulders and their lips met, teeth clunking in their new universe. Chuck prompted her to the bed and she obliged, long hair splayed out in a fan, he propped himself up and felt himself getting out of breath.

Hands weak, as if he fell asleep on them, he unbuttoned Yoko’s blouse. She gracefully exposed her bare shoulder into space, then another. Naked they laid as the white walls, white bed sheets, intensified with the strengthening daylight. They climbed under the sheets, their bodies touched as their lips melted together. Fully underneath, Chuck could feel the hot of her breath, soft body, cold toes. Heat began to build and they could not hide from the sun any longer.

**

Chuck woke up in the bright heat. Yoko’s imprint was there, and it was warm, but he wasn’t sure if it was from the sun. He went through the hotel as if her were a shell of consciousness, bumping into families and backpackers, calling him names in English and other languages. The bus was waiting for him, apparently for hours, and when he got his bag, their eyes stared coldly. Herein lies the last sight of Tokyo.

**

Was it love or was it the chemicals in his body, confused as to whether to be happy or sad? His mood ebbed and flowed like the sea. His face stayed stoic to hide the duality living inside. The earth shook beneath his feet, the change in his pocket felt like anvils, and his hands scraped through it like a toddler’s, feeling it fall between them. The cashier waited patiently as he pulled a wad of coins and bills, all foreign to him. The cashier picked out bills, which Chuck denied, leaving only the labour of counting coins, which the cashier did uniformly. The plastic bag stormed as the cashier put Chuck’s water in it, and crunched as he walked to the gate, all the while his phone thundered, one by one, with messages. He checked his pockets before he went into the gate.

**

As Chuck hovered over the sea from Japan, he rushed through a Japanese dictionary and some scribbles in his notepad—phrases that he hadn’t grasped the understanding of—in a desperate attempt to concoct a one liner that showed his romantic intent to Rose.

I kapparu da to o moy mas

He forced this attempt, with his eyes drying shut, mind sloshed of wine and information. The plane shook like a tambourine. Chuck passed on food and water, and felt hungry when the plane slid onto the hot Bangkok pavement.

**

Chuck never knew how lonely he was until Rose rung his doorbell, in the imposing manner he was used to. He set himself up casually, but had been curating open books around his apartment.

She stood in the open door, with a blank face as if waiting for a delayed show to start. Shoulder slouched, she barged through, lit a cigarette and obeyed the rules of Chuck’s house: puffing on the cigarette, setting up the fan to blow the smoke out the window.

Chuck joined her, a forced cigarette, lungs fading in the smoke. He looked out of the window, into the sweat of Bangkok, felt his lips numb and his tongue dry, his balls sticky, and his back cold from the air conditioning.

‘How was Japan?’ She said.

Chuck stubbed his cigarette, ‘Good.’

She unbuttoned her plaid shirt, her sparse freckles spotted like North Stars. He kissed her bones and she buried her fingers into his hair as she finished the last puff of her cigarette.

He picked her up with one hand; she was light but was like hoisting an awkward sized box. He could feel her ever bone within her skin. Her kiss relented freedom, and she laid splayed, expectant. Her tight denims slid off the same, awkward way. Chuck’s belly protruded as he crouched to do so; he angled himself so to hide it. Wiry legs pointed to his ceiling, like flagpoles, and they did, what they did a hundred times before. Her body was longer than Chuck’s; he visualized running through a field in clown shoes.

Fifteen minutes later they laid, exalted, on their backs, not touching, buzzing, feeling renewed, virtuous. Fluid dried on their bodies as the air blew.

**

‘..ever punch someone..’

‘..sure, a couple of times. You can’t go through manhood without that..’

‘..like what went down..’

‘..see this scar?..’

‘..sure..’

‘..a couple of dudes stomped me. Three dudes out of nowhere in an alleyway. Unconscious. Woke up to my friends trying to wake me up..’

‘..do you have any stories where you won? Or where you were heroic?..’

‘..let me think..’

Rose’s eyes were drunk and devious. The club was getting louder. Beats vibrated in their spines, their skulls in higher frequency.

‘..if you’re serious about her you better remember this face..’

‘..round of shots..’

‘..don’t bond with him..’

‘..round of shots..’

‘..you better respect me, girl..’

‘..round of shots..’

‘..round of shots..’

‘..where’s that bitch..’

‘..he’s my brother..’

Chuck was outside, blurred vision, fists up, looking up to a towering, blond german with piercing blue eyes and a gut hanging out of his navy blue shirt. His knees wobbled, eyes twitched, and he froze as the man stepped closer, feeling vibrations to every stomp. The man stared into Chuck’s eyes with mercy, but Chuck refused to turn his devious eyes away. His eyes erased of mercy and struck fear in Chuck’s. He raised his hammer fist and Chuck laid in the sunlight, a grassy hill. The soft hum of the wind blew and in the distance, a valley laid before him.

Cows were grazing in the distance, and farmers were tending to crop. He could see Rose playing guitar on her lonesome and Yoko waiting in winter clothing beside the creek. As far as he could see a creek ran North, if North was where he was looking.

Tornadoes formed in the distance and sucked cows out of the grass, but the people seemed not to notice. More tornadoes formed, two, three, four. Chuck could feel his shirt getting sucked into the black voids. The force of the wind cracked Rose’s guitar in her hands and flailed her into the air, limbs like an abused slinky, and Yoko’s jacket propelled her like a hot air balloon caught in the wrong drift.

He stood up, waiting to be taken away, but the wind calmed, and only green grass and blue skies surrounded him.

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