Scene II

"So, what would you like to replace your rotting arm with...a grenade launcher?" The scientist asked half-jokingly. He had actually planned to try just such a surgery, but his latest victim/experiment died the day before yesterday. "Or maybe something more subtle better suits your style?"

S-O-G looked around the makeshift laboratory, cunningly hidden in the basement of one of the city's many condemned apartment buildings. As she watched, a plump rat grabbed something red and pulpy from under the operating table and scurried into the shadows. "None of the toys you have here interest me, Doc, so let's cut the bullshit and put another arm on, okay?" Her gravelly voice was unsettling yet sexy. "I got six months out of this one and it worked well enough. Besides, you've already grafted enough hardware on me."

The scientist nodded and opened the old, stained refrigerator standing beside him. The rusted wire shelves held blood smeared plastic bags of various shapes and sizes. After a moment of thought, he reached to the back and brought out a long package. Laying it on a metal table, he carefully opened it and removed the muscular, heavily tattooed arm. Holding it out for S-O-G to see, he spoke with a hint of excitement in his voice. "You're going to like this one; it's strong, the hand has excellent manual dexterity, and the skull tattoos are right up your alley. Best of's fresh! No graveyard leftovers for my favorite Murderer." A rare smile flashed across the scientist's face before being replaced by his usual serious expression.

"Awww, Doc, you shouldn't have!" S-O-G said sarcastically, but the scientist could tell she was pleased. "Enough chit-chat - I have people to kill. This won't take long, will it?"

"Not at all, my dear. Just remove your top and lay down on the operating table. I'll have you back in action in no time." As S-O-G got undressed, the scientist couldn't help staring at her. Despite what she was, he was madly in love with the half-dead homicidal beauty. He secretly hoped that, when all this was over, they could have a life together. Much to accomplish before that can happen, he thought sadly. Perhaps too much...

Scene I

The night sky hangs heavily over the street corner as the crowd forms a circle, careful not to get too close to the peculiar juggling clown. Children cower behind their parents, peeking around legs to catch a glimpse of the freak show. Cracked, dried out rubber balls float in the air and mesmerize while strangled pipe organ notes ooze from an old portable radio. People start to shuffle forward unconsciously as they stare at the performer. Like magic, the balls disappear when they reach his hands, quickly replaced by dingy bowling pins. Higher and higher they go until the onlookers are craning their necks to follow them.

The pins meet far above the audience and burst into a shower of red confetti. They gasp in wonder, then clap a little too loudly as they watch the paper rain fall. A short, round man in the front row blinks and shakes his head, snapping out of his trance in time to see the blur of an enormous combat boot! His sternum explodes, puncturing his lungs with bone fragments when he leaves his feet, and he flattens the couple behind him. Across the circle, a woman drops to her knees and releases an inhuman wail as spikes slip out of her ruined eye sockets. Panic takes over and the mob scatters as Buzz Kill tears through them, laughing and screaming.

Rear tire sliding, a black motorcycle rips around the corner and heads straight for the mayhem. It jumps the curb and rams the killer clown, slamming him to the sidewalk as it rides across his back and skids to a stop! The dark rider slowly dismounts and turns to face his opponent.

"Get up, you twisted son-of-a-bitch, and fight like a man," Triple Zero growls.

Buzz Kill slowly raises himself to his feet and smiles at the figure in black, blood dripping from his battered face. "Now why'd you have to go and spoil a good time, huh? The fun was just getting started!" With a flick of his wrist, he produces a gore encrusted throwing knife and hurls it with incredible force.

Triple Zero barely has enough time to spin away! As he recovers his footing, Buzz Kill launches his formidable bulk and crashes into him full force. They fall to the cement and tumble into the street. Buzz Kill manages to gain the advantage, and pins Triple Zero's arms to the tar with his knees.

"Not so tough now, are you?" Buzz Kill sneers as he kneels on top of Triple Zero. "You're gonna pay for that little stunt you pulled!"

Lowering his arms, Buzz Kill lets his deadly spikes drop from their hiding places and into his sweaty grasp. Before he can deliver his death stroke a pair of short, powerful arms shoots out from under Triple Zero's long coat, one knurled hand closing off Buzz Kill's windpipe and the other crushing his balls! Completely surprised and in serious pain, he flails wildly with the spikes to try to free himself from that horrible grip. Bending his knees backwards like some sort of insect, Triple Zero gets his feet under Buzz Kill and pushes with everything he's got, sending the grotesque creature flying!

He rolls to his left and stands up as Buzz Kill lands hard against the curb. Triple Zero moves in to finish the job, but hesitates when he hears the sirens approaching. The brief pause is all Buzz Kill needs to escape; he throws a smoke bomb on the ground and vanishes. Triple Zero follows suit and speeds away, front wheel in the air.

The Clearing

The sun gives warmth, asks nothing in return;
A dragonfly taunts me, circling my head.
Tall grass bleached to yellow, waiting to burn.
Wind carries fragrance of sorrow and dread.

No longer here, did not care to save me.
Broken promises, hopes dashed against stone,
Leaving me hollow inside. How could she?
Starting to crumble, gray dust and white bone.

Across the clearing, glittering treasure.
My present of silver tells the story;
Her betrayal brings pain beyond measure.
Life loses purpose, ends with no glory.

To wipe clean the past, never know this love,
Better than death? My soul weeps from above.

Plight of the Living Ted

I sit on the couch and watch images that do nothing for me. The cameras deliver a new angle every few seconds but tell the same old story. Isn't that what you're supposed to do when you can't sleep - stare at a foolish box until you can't stand it anymore? Not much else to do in the middle of the night. If I go for a walk someone will probably call the cops on me again. I turn off the television and just exist for a while.

The expression goes "Life sucks and then you die." I know something worse. They call me lucky because I came back in one piece...sort of. Zoe Hendricks died in a horrific boating accident on Mirror Lake a number of years ago; the propeller chewed her to bits. When she woke up and hobbled into Murphy's General Store it was like the end of the world. Poor Zoe didn't know what the fuss was all about until she caught her reflection in the floor length mirror by the clothing racks. She just about lost what was left of her mind right then and there. They have her locked up with the rest of them over at the State Hospital in Greenfield.

Ever see a George Romero zombie movie? Yeah? Well, let me tell you, he doesn't know shit. Don't get me wrong; his movies are classics and very entertaining. It's just not the way it works. No satellite full of radiation came to our town from outer space. We didn't start shambling around, moaning and trying to eat people. We just came back, simple as that. To be fair to George, how could he have known what would happen? No one else did.

The biggest problem was that life kept moving while we were in the ground, and there wasn't much to come back to. Everyone except me had been dead for awhile and that wasn't so great, either. Needless to say, no one looked their best. I wasn't buried for too long but that rope sure did a number on my boyish good looks. How ironic is that? Ted, the one person who actually wanted to die, gets to live again while the rest climb the walls of their padded cells. Life just isn't fair.

Some day I might write everything down, publish my "memoirs" as they say. I doubt it would be good reading, though. Man kills himself, inexplicably comes back to life, and is bored to shit. The End. I guess for now I will just keep on going, alive on the outside and dead on the inside. Come to think of it, I know a lot of people like that, surviving but not really living, struggling to make it through each day. Maybe I don't have it so bad after all.