Monday, August 20, 2012


By Tomara Armstrong

You’re vaguely aware that the sun has risen. Shades of pink paint the inside of your eyelids, while the memory of last night is a blur of alcohol-scented flesh-colored money. You just want to sleep it off, but the swamp of saliva you’re resting in keeps bubbling and tickling 
your nose, preventing a deep, restful sleep.

The door rattles and footsteps cross the room. You’re pretty sure it’s Monday, which means Rosalinda, your cleaning lady, is here to clean up your weekend shenanigans.  She kicks a gaming controller across the floor on her way to the kitchen and flicks on the television. You don’t care that she’s cursing you in a foreign tongue—your leather sofa is like a cloud 
sent from heaven, cuddling you ever so gently.

Your head throbs, and you groan as Rosalinda pitches last night’s bottles and cans into the enviro-bin. You roll over, covering your head with a pillow, exposing your bare ass.

At what point last night did you lose your pants?

You shrug it off and smile, trying to ignore the draft and push further into your cavernous sofa.

She turns up the volume on the television, loudly announces that she intends to run the vacuum, and strongly suggests that you seek the comfort of one of your many bedrooms. You grunt, pulling the pillow tighter around your head, trying to drown out the TV.

… Our investigative reporter Gail Silverman is live on the scene. Gail?

Thanks, Dave. I’m standing outside of Smart EcoGen, President and CEO...

Your eyes pop open. Did she say your name?

Surely not. You close your eyes again, trying to get comfortable.

Picketers have started camping out in front of the mansion since reports first started pouring in that their popular waste recycling generator, the Environaut, is responsible for a slew of health related problems cropping up around the world. President and CEO…

You sit up. She definitely said your name. You fumble for your glasses and accidentally spill a beer on your cover of Scientific American. “Shit!”

...has yet to make a comment, but a Smart EcoGen representative stated early this morning…

You jump up, flinging the beer across the floor and onto the TV. Rosa shoots you the stink eye and stomps off down the hall.

…are looking into the reports, but insisted that the safety of the public has always been first and foremost…

You’re ashamed. Ashamed that you had too much to drink, ashamed that you had too many friends over, and ashamed that you burned the other copies of Scientific American to make s’mores—ten copies with you on the cover, sacrificed in the name of snacks.

…What started as a peaceful display of vulgar signs and chanting has become more…

While you mentally make the vow to NEVER drink again, something hits your window.

…Oh my god, Dave! Protestors are flinging…feces at the mansion! This peaceful protest just got ugly.

Your stomach turns as the clods of human waste thud against your home. Rosalinda is going to quit for sure.

“What happened to your pants?” You swing around and see your best friend, Smart EcoGen VP, Milo Sabe, sprawled out on an angora rug. While he has pants, he also has a moustache and “DERP” written across his forehead—you’re guessing with Sharpie.  You keep the information to yourself as you dig a pair of shorts out from under your couch.

“You hear what’s going on?” you ask, slipping on your shorts.

“Protestors outside—throwing shit? Yeah, I heard.” He rubs his eyes, shaking his head.

“What’s that about?” You walk over to the window and peer outside. “Uh…”

Outside, picketers have scaled the outer walls of your property and are quickly crossing the lawn toward the house. They’re dirty—real dirty. So dirty, in fact, you think that they’ve covered themselves in the very stuff they were flinging at your home moments earlier.

Milo jumps as a window breaks. You back away slowly at first, but as the bodies begin pulling themselves into the room and blood drips down the broken class, you decide it’s time to go.

“Come on!” You pull Milo’s shirt and run off down the hall, leaving the protestors' incoherent shrieks behind you. They’re still trying to get into the house and starting your way.

Heading toward the center of the house, you slip in a puddle of water in the hallway. You skid to a stop, but Milo slams into you, sending you through a bathroom door. You quickly hop to your feet, averting your eyes. “Sorry, Rosa.”

She is sitting on the toilet with her head down. The water is on, and the tub is overflowing.


She lifts her head, and looks at you, chewing on her thumb.  “Are you ok?”

Her bloodshot eyes stare through you, as she peels the fingernail off with her teeth and spits it at you. You watch it hit your chest and fall to the floor, sinking into the pool of water collecting at your feet. Drops of blood swirl for a fraction of a second then disappear with the current.

You feel beer vomit tickling the back of your throat as Milo pulls you back into the hall and gives you a shove. “Time to go!”

The sickness fades as you run toward your bedroom. Once inside the room, you slam and lock the door.

“What now?” Milo’s eyes scan the room as you palm your bookshelf, remembering the access combination for the secret passageway. “Plan ahead” was your motto when you had the house built five years ago—it’s finally paying off.

“Aha!” The door swings open and you pull Milo into the dark hallway.  You can hear protestors banging on the door as you close the entrance and head down toward the emergency bunker below the house.

Your hand traces the wall, flipping on the light. The fluorescent bulbs buzz and pop, illuminating a massive room filled with cutting edge technology.

“What the hell, Bruce Wayne? How long have we been friends? You never told me you had a Batcave. I hate you,” Milo says.

“Oh, shut up. What’s the point of having all this money if I can’t indulge in a little frivolous spending?”

“A little?” Milo snorts, looking over the extreme gadgetry and flickering control panel. “I want a raise.”

You fire up a large display, push several buttons, and instantly you can see the whole perimeter of the house as well as many of its rooms. It’s quickly filling with protestors. You see their painted faces and wild eyes on the monitors. A thought creeps into your head and you shiver. They’re hunting you.

Milo is staring at the screen too—the color drained from his face. “What button do I push for the Batmobile? You have one right?”

“Uh… Yes and no.”

You press a button and the room begins to vibrate. A door opens, revealing an impressive display room filled with boxes of comics ordered alphabetically. Action figures fill glass displays—some loose, others with original packaging. In the middle of the room, on a pedestal, sits the Batmobile—a miniature replica fit for a circus clown.

“Shit.” Milo deflates. “That’s not going to get us out of here.”

“No, but I have a car.” You smile and press another button. A garage door opens, exposing a custom DeLorean DMC-12.

“Of course you do,” Milo rolls his eyes. “Does it run?”

“Sh-yeah.”  You think it does anyway.