Monday, August 17, 2009


Note: on June 11, I began an experiment. I wondered what it would be like to try to write a short story using my status updates on Facebook. I wrote the first entry that day with a vague idea of what I wanted the story to happen. What follows is the end result of this experiment, presented in the way it was posted, each entry separate from the next. I finished the story with a mad dash of updates on August 16. Also, this is how it actually appeared. No editing has been done. Hope you enjoy.

Once upon a time... (no, wait, this isn't a fairy tale)... In a galaxy far, far away... (what? not scifi either. just start it already)... as the early morning rays of sunshine began to peak over the edge of the horizon, craig lay blissfully asleep, dreaming of a better world, a world in which he and holly had the true dream -- careers, kids, cars and a nice house in the suburbs. beside him, holly dreamed of nothing.

holly's lack of dreams was unusual. she, too, often dreamed of having a good life, sharing time with craig minus any worries. however, on this morning her dreaming had ceased. while it was apparent to no one at the moment, the sunlight creeping above the horizon would soon make its way through the slits of the window blinds and shine down upon the bed. the rays would illuminate the small bedroom and its contents.

and the morning's shine on the world would betray the night's events. the alarm sounded, the usual 6:15 a.m. wakeup call to signal the beginning of the couple's day. craig, as always, barely stirred, still deep in the world he created for himself each night. holly, who normally was quick to slam the snooze button and try to steal a couple extra minutes of slumber, lay silent.

only when the incessant buzzing of the alarm blasted its way into craig's brain did the day truly begin to divulge its news. craig, bleary eyed and trying to focus through his near-sighted haze, leaned over to reach for the clock, not registering that holly remained motionless. as he reached over holly with his right hand, he braced himself with his left. And he was surprised to feel his hand sink into liquid warmth.

"what the hell?" craig said as he began to nudge holly awake. "holly, what's on the bed?" she didn't stir. and the alarm continued its annoying buzz. craig reached for his glasses, and as he put them on, he held up his hand and saw, thanks to the shine of sunlight coming through the blinds, blood. he jumped from the bed, blood dripping down his arm. he saw the bed covered in it, and holly's clothes soaked in it.

just like that, the dream turned into a nightmare. for craig, the next few hours were just a blur. from screaming at the top of his lungs while cradling holly's body (the shell of her former self), to being questioned by police to being interrogated by police to being released back out into the cruel world on the promise that he would't leave town. Thirty-seven hours after waking from his perfect dream he returned.

he returned to an apartment with more questions than answers. an apartment he would never be able to live in again. an apartment that once signified a future of possibilities, but now signified great loss and tragedy. the bed was still covered in holly's blood. the blinds let in the light of a new day, shining down on the bed-side table and the blood-stained photo they had taken earlier that summer at the museum

craig wondered why the police hadn't taken the photo since they had taken nearly everything else. and still a crime scene in which he was told to touch nothing. his job... notice if anything had been stolen, moved or added? "wait," craig thought. "that photo used to be on the living room coffee table. why is it on the night stand?" of course, he had no immediate answer, nor any idea how he would live without holly.

leaving the apartment for what he thought could be the last time hurt craig more than he imagined. carrying two suitcases of clothes, and a box of photos. the blood-stained museum pic had to stay. police detective said it was evidence now. "i shouldn't have told them about it," craig thought. "of course, there are a lot of things i shouldn't have done, a lot of things i should have done."

it wasn't one of those classic boy-meets-girl-boy-loses-girl-boy-gets-girl-back-and-they-live-happily-ever-after stories. craig and mike had gone out for drinks after a trying week of long meetings and longer days, a couple of guys wasting a friday night. but it turned bad when craig spilled his drink... on holly. though the incident became fuzzy, craig was certain it was an accident. even mike would back up that up.

however, holly, who was about a bottle and a half into the evening, did not. before craig could even begin to say, "i'm sorry," she turned and landed a right hook squarely on craig's jaw. mike was stunned, but no more so than craig, who actually was only stunned for a second. before he could hit the floor, the lights were out. mike would later tell him, that holly even kicked him some before traci could get her out.

and despite the pain she caused him on that initial meeting, it was still a fond memory for craig. thinking of that night while surrounded by the bloody mess of a bed and the tangled sheets in which he last held holly's body, was nearly more than he could stand. so he simply left the home he and holly had shared for three years, the home where they had hoped to start a family, the home where they started a life.

the home where that life ended. the gloom of the day promised rain, but craig walked the sidewalks with no regard to the impending weather. he found it difficult to walk with a box under one arm, a suitcase in the other hand and tears blurring his eyes. he always thought of himself as a strong individual, capable of handling just about any crisis. he was like his dad that way.

but his dad's toughness was not shining through then. if his dad had been there, he would have told him to stand tall and quit the damn crying. "what's done is done," he would have told craig. yet, after that, he would have hugged craig for as long as he needed to. he would have calmed him and told him then that it was horrible and would be a pain in the ass to overcome. he would hold him and guide him through.

but his dad wasn't there. on that lonely curb, outside the apartment that once was home, only he stood. the box of memories under his arm would mean very little in the coming days. there, wondering where to walk, where to go, he realized he was not like his dad after all, not even close to being as tough. certainly not tough enough for this situation. so, instead of choosing a path, craig sat down and cried.

"it's going to be okay," holly said to craig then as she wrapped her arm around him, joining him on the curb. she leaned into him and hugged him tight. he cried harder. "it's not going to be okay," he said. "someone killed you and i have no idea why." he looked over into holly's tear-streaked face and gazed into her eyes. as they sat there crying and staring at one another, he leaned in to kiss her. but she was gone.

"come on, craig. let's go." craig looked up to see mike reaching for his suitcase. "you can't sit out here forever." craig didn't move. i can sit here forever, he thought. why the hell not? i've got nothing else to do, actually, nothing else to live for. so why do i have to do anything. "dude, really, let's go. you'll stay with us until you get back on your feet." craig saw traci get out of their suv. she was wearing

the awkward smile of a friend who had no idea what to say in this situation. and it certainly made craig feel no better. as a matter of fact, it made him feel worse. she feels sorry for me, craig thought. i'm so pathetic. "come on," mike said. he reached down to grab under craig's arm to help him up. traci walked up to him then, wrapped her arms around his neck and said, "i miss her, too." and they cried together.

the ride home was quiet. craig simply sat in the back seat clutching the box of photos. traci looked back at him and wanted to say something but couldn't. she'd turn back around and them moments later do it again. at this point craig was inconsolable. mike would check him out via the rearview mirror, but he had no words either. craig was nearly catatonic and fell asleep instantly once hitting the guest bed.

"what are we going to do?" traci whispered. "don't you think this is going to get out of hand?" mike sat at the kitchen table looking through the box of craig's things. he didn't look up. he didn't answer. "mike?" "what? quit worrying. we're going to do nothing other than help craig get through this. he deserves that much." traci leaned against the counter and crossed her arms. "i'm just not comfortable with this."

"traci, this isn't about comfort. it's about doing what needs to be done." mike stood and walked to traci. he placed his hands on her shoulders. when she looked away, he grabbed her chin and made her face him again. "this isn't a whim or a game. we thought this through and now there is no turning back," mike said. "but..." "but nothing, traci. please don't do this now. we are almost there. can't you see it?"

"i see trouble," traci said through tears. "what are we doing? this isn't right and you know it." traci cried harder when mike squeezed her face. "now, you listen to me," he said. "you wanted this as much as i did. as much as we all did. and now you have to live with it." mike released his grip and sat back down at the table. "i know you love craig, and i do, too, traci. but we're doing this for holly."

"holly?" craig was tossing and turning in the guest bed. "holly?" he could see her running away, her gown red from blood. but running away. "holly, come back. why are you running?" she looked back to him, tears running down her cheeks. she was reaching ahead of her, not back. why is she running from me? craig thought. "holly? holly! holly..." a hand grabbed his shoulder. "hey, it's okay," mike said. "it's okay."

"it doesn't mean anything," mike said. the three were sitting at the kitchen table again, craig having cracked open some bourbon in an effort to calm his nerves. it was a bottle holly had given him. of course it was. everything seemed tied to holly. but he couldn't grasp the meaning of the dream. "i just don't understand why she would be walking away," craig said. "she always, always came to me for help."

traci was drinking wine, trying not to look directly at craig. she didn't know what to say, because she knew too much and naturally didn't want to say the wrong thing. it had gotten this far, and they needed to carry it out to the end. she sat her wine glass down and picked up a small toy purple unicorn. it gave her something to do with her hands and focused her attention. it was better if she didn't talk at all.

but her nervous demeanor and apprehension was lost on craig. everything was lost on craig. he felt nothing, heard nothing, saw nothing. nothing but the pain that filled his soul overflowing. no words from mike would help, either. how does anyone get past this? craig didn't know and was worried he'd never know. he went back to bed. for days. he missed the funeral. he missed meals. he missed summer turn into fall.

lying in bed, not knowing anything about the world around him anymore, craig gazed out the window into the overcast autumn day. the trees were losing their leaves. the kids giggled as they walked to school. the smell of winter approaching was in the air. considering the events of the past few months, any normal person might have been more worried about craig. mike and traci did what they could, but they also allowed

him to wallow in him misery. sometimes craig would out of the blue begin to tell stories of his time with holly. his favorite thing to mention was her beautiful blue eyes. he talked about how those wondrous eyes pulled him into her soul. and every time he mentioned this, he cried. he wasn't getting better. he was getting worse. "how long do you think this will last?" traci asked mike. "i'm not sure i can bear to see

him like this any more." "it's almost over," mike said. "traci, just hang in there." "but what if we end up having to do what we hoped we wouldn't?" traci began to cry. "don't think that," mike said. "i have seen signs that he is going down the right path. more slowly than we would have liked, sure, be he has chosen the right path." mike hugged traci and prayed that he was right.

and he was right. as the snow fell in late december, craig surfaced from his bed and made his way outside. just skin and bones, but alive, he looked up into the sky, flakes falling into his face. he sat on the curb and lit a cigarette. he coughed from the inhalation of smoke that his lungs had gotten used to working without. he exhaled deeply, smoke mixed with his frozen breath. he sat on the curb.

craig looked around, taking in the winter neighborhood. he even waved as the neighbors. he didn't know them, of course. this wasn't his neighborhood, or his home, or his street, or his sidewalk. he was a stranger in this world. that's how he felt anyway. "so, holly, i haven't seen you in a while," he said. "it's like you've forgotten about me." he took another drag off the cigarette and blew out the smoke.

he looked straight ahead through the falling snow. "i haven't forgotten you," holly said. "how could you say that? you are the love of my life." he looked at her then. she wasn't actually crying, but the tears looked like they could gush forth any moment. "then why did you leave?" "it wasn't my choosing. but it's been long enough." craig looked away again. "long enough?" he said. "yes." she grabbed his hand then.

craig was confused. "long enough for what?" "for us to be apart. there's no reason for it, and you can fix it." craig stubbed the cigarette out on the curb and put the butt in his jacket pocket. he turned to holly again and gently placed his hands around her face. he pulled her close and kissed her. "i know. i know. and i'm now ready to fix it." holly kissed him back. she grabbed his hands and was gone.

mike was standing on the stoop, cold with no jacket on. "who're you talking to buddy?" he asked. "no one," craig said. "just myself. trying to work things out." craig turned to look at mike. he noticed traci looking out the window, and he waved. she waved back and offered a tentative smile. "why don't you come back in," mike said. "i will," craig said as he stood. "you know, i think everything is going to be okay."

traci set the table while mike put the finishing touches on dinner. in the guest room, where he had lost the will to live all those months previously, craig adjusted his tie in the mirror. he smiled at his reflection and felt good for the first time since that horrible day. in the kitchen, concern washed over traci. "this is not good," she said. "not good at all." mike said nothing as traci sat up on the counter.

"we are actually going to have to do it, aren't we?" mike looked at traci. "what am i supposed to say? he seems to have done what we thought he was not strong enough to do." "and we're screwed now, mike. i don't think i can do it. i really don't." mike went back to cutting the roast, the succulent smell the only that seemed worthwhile at that moment. "let's give it a couple more days. see what happens, and then come

up with a plan." traci looked down and shook her head. "i can't believe we have to do this. this is your fault." she hopped off the counter and set out the wine glasses on the table, while craig was combing his hair in the bedroom. craig was nearly giddy. he had suffered for so long, missing holly with all of his being. but light had been shed upon him and he knew it was time to move on. as he walked into the kitchen

mike was setting the food on the table. craig smiled and walked over to traci as she poured the wine. "traci. mike. honestly, i don't know how i could of gotten through this without you. of course, i nearly didn't, and i don't know why you stuck it out with me for so long. but thank you. it's a good day. i love you both." he hugged traci. she looked at mike and mouthed the words, "fix this." mike just shrugged and

said, "you know we would never leave you. you're family and always will be." craig released traci and walked to mike, hugging him, too. "let's eat," mike said, "and celebrate this, this, wonderful day." during the meal craig never alluded to the future, despite the many questions from mike and traci concerning what he planned to do next. he was caught up in the moment and didn't want to forget the feeling of release.

after two bottles of wine, a wonderful meal and nearly three hours of conversation, craig finally bid them good night and went to bed. mike began to clear the table. "mike..." "traci, don't. let's give it a little time. i mean, how could he possibly have made such a recovery just from sitting on the curb this afternoon?" "i don't know, mike, but we have to do something. this can't go on any longer."

mike leaned against the sink and sighed. "if this continues for two more days, i suppose that means something will have to be done. and don't worry, i'll take care of it. she was your sister, and it's probably best if you aren't tied to this any more than you already are." traci began to cry as she walked out of the kitchen. "one way or another, this will be over soon," mike said. craig lay in bed looking at a photo

of holly and himself sitting on the mall santa's lap two years previous. he remembered that as a good day: shopping, laughing, enjoying life. he certainly wasn't enjoying life any more. the pain was real and it was too overpowering. and he knew that there was only one thing left he could do. and then he and holly would be together again. he set the photo on the nightstand, took a last drink straight from the bottle

of bourbon and said, "see you soon, holly." hours later as the early morning rays of sunshine began to peak over the edge of the horizon, craig lay motionless. children ran around the street outside, playing in the newly fallen snow, but it was of no consequence for craig. while it was apparent to no one at the moment, the sunlight creeping above the horizon would soon make its way through the slits of the window

blinds and shine down upon the bed. the rays would illuminate the small bedroom and its contents. and the morning's shine on the world would betray the night's events. the knock at the door would have been enough to wake a normal person, but mike knew that considering the state craig had been in that he lack of response could be due to a regression into his depression. at least, that's what mike hoped that morning.

after another, more robust knock with no response, mike turned the knob and slowly opened the door. "craig? you okay, buddy?" mike peeked his head in. "craig?" no answer. mike walked up to the bed. craig lay motionless, a smile spread across his face. next to him lay an empty bourbon bottle and an empty prescription bottle. mike reached down and touched craig's neck. he found no pulse. he sat on the edge of the bed

and cried. "it's over," he thought. "finally." he stood and went back to his room where traci was beginning to stir. "mike, i had nightmares about this whole thing. what are we going to do?" mike laid down next to traci, grabbed her tight and said, "we don't have to do anything." "why?" "craig's dead. he killed himself last night." traci covered her eyes and cried. "now we can move on," mike said. "we can let this go

and get on with our lives." they held each other for nearly an hour until traci was able to calm down a bit. she wiped the tears from her face and looked at mike. "i guess it worked," she said. "i guess it did." mike grabbed her face and kissed her. a kiss of relief more than anything, but also a kiss full of love. "i'll make the call," he said. "and i'll let her know." traci grabbed her robe, for the news she had to

share did not require fancy clothes. she walked out of the apartment and stopped in front of the apartment next door. she knocked three times, waiting 10 seconds and then knocked twice more. she could hear movement inside and then the sound of the chain being withdrawn from it's slot. the door opened. "it's over, sweetie," traci said. "it's over." traci stepped forward and wrapped her arms around

holly. "it's finally over." and they cried. the end...

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Today is dreary and rainy, much like the day I first heard the news. But that day I didn’t realize it immediately.

Driving to the local diner for my normal Sunday morning breakfast/writing session, I noticed a sign stapled to a telephone pole. Through the rain running down the windshield and the swish, swish, swish of the wiper blades I could barely see it hanging there, a black sheet of paper, top right corner flapping in the wind. Large white letters, four of them each a different size, tried to tell me the news, but I was too busy trying not to forget the story idea that had jumped into my brain, too busy rushing so the rumbling in my stomach would cease, a rumbling that was the result of two days without food, two days of writing, writing, writing.

And that’s why the stark white letters on black paper, barely seen through the rain, failed to really register in my brain. The letters? WKAP.

Sitting in my local diner that day, in a booth by the window, watching the rain fall, barely any traffic to speak of, I wrote. I wrote of people who didn’t exist, places where these people interacted with one another, worked jobs, listened to music, watched movies and television, all for my pleasure. Sometimes they were nice and sweet stories. Other times they were sick and twisted. But it wasn’t real.

What was real was the young girl walking down the sidewalk, walking toward the diner. Normally I probably wouldn’t have noticed, but this girl had no umbrella, was dressed all in black, rain running down her face, her pale face streaked not only with brain but also black, black makeup of some kind. At least I assumed. What I noticed most was her shirt, and the same four letters in stark white on black. WKAP.

This girl, a girl who seemed like an apparition or simply some fictional character from one of my stories, then did the unexpected. She turned abruptly and came straight toward the diner’s front window, straight toward me. She was in no hurry, and she appeared to have no purpose. She stood right outside the window, hands to her side, long hair hanging around her face. She just stared at me.

I tried to ignore her, tried to concentrate on the fake people living their fake lives in my notebook. I even turned away from the window as best I could, but I sensed her. A chill moved up my spine, and as it reached my neck… BOOM!

The sound shook me to my core but the other patrons in the diner, and the staff, didn’t seem to notice. I turned around and saw the girl leaning against the window, hands flat on the glass, forehead pressed, as well. The rain came down harder then, but the girl didn’t care. She just stood there, just stood looking at me.

The truly bizarre thing was that the black of her shirt was running across those stark white letters. Then I looked at her face, her sad, pale face. Despair lived in her eyes, and I saw that I had been mistaken. Her face wasn’t streaked with black makeup ruined by the rain. The girl was crying black tears.

Her eyes met mine and I couldn’t look away. She never blinked, but only stared as the black tears streamed down her face, dripping from her chin, becoming one with her shirt. After what seemed an eternity, the girl closed her eyes and stepped away from the glass. Only then did I notice that her shirt was now white, the letters black. She looked at me again. Taking another step back and another and another, she made her way into the street. She never broke her gaze, her chilling stare.

I stood finally, making my way outside. The girl never moved and I said nothing. I didn’t know what to say, although I longed to know the meaning of those letters, those four simple letters. I approached her slowly, unaware of my rain-soaked clothes or the rain now streaming down my face.

We stood facing each other. The world around us slowed to a near stand still, even the rain hanging motionless in the air. Or that all could have been a figment of my imagination. But we stood there. She closed her eyes again and raised her arms to the side. I found my voice then and said, “What does this all mean?”

Instead of answering, the girl seemed to vanish. I could see through her shirt, her arms, her face. She then vanished completely as a car drove through the space she had just occupied.

I blinked and found myself back in the diner, sitting in the booth looking out the window. The girl was nowhere to be seen, and there was no indication that I had even been outside in the rain. What the hell just happened? I thought as I looked around the diner where the other patrons and the staff went about their normal business. I looked out the window again. The rain continued to fall, and on the fogged-up glass I could see the letters. WKAP.

The drive home was almost as surreal. The wiper blades were beating a path across the windshield, slinging water left and right, hardly able to keep up with the downpour. With each swipe a girl, and now even boys, would appear on the sidewalk, each different than the one before. They all wore the same black shirt with the same white letters. Then with the swipe in the opposite direction, the blade would erase the one and bring another. Then just as quickly it would wipe her (or him) away and bring another. Yet, when I looked in my rearview mirror, trying to see through the water streaming down the back window, I thought I saw the sidewalks crowded with the girls and boys, all soaked, all wearing the same shirts.

The radio was no comfort. Stations that normally played music 24/7 were all static. I hit the search button but the radio did not stop on any station. I switched to AM and got the same result. Frustrated, I hit the power button. Fitting in with the rest of my morning but making no more sense than anything else that had happened, the radio came to life.

“…Are unsure of the circumstances surrounding her death. We will keep you posted as we learn more. Right here on WKAP.”

No, the station’s call letters were not lost on me. The chill that ran up my spine, for the second time that morning, directed my right arm to reach up and hit the search button again. This time it quickly landed on a clear frequency. And thankfully, it was music.

“And is it getting harder to pretend/That life goes on with you in the wake/And can you see the means without the end/In the random frantic action that we take.”

The music and the singer’s voice were mesmerizing. I didn’t recognize the tune but felt that I had heard her before. And though I wanted to listen to more, my finger pushed the search button again. A new station.

“Mary have mercy now look what I’ve done/But don’t blame me because I can’t tell where I come from/And running is something that we’ve always done/Well and mostly I can’t even tell what I’m running from.”

Is that the same person? I thought. It certainly seemed like it was and I remember thinking how weird that was. I pressed the button again.

“As I wake up - two o’clock - the fire burned the block but ironically/Stopped at my apartment and my housemates are all sleeping soundly/And nobody deserves to die, but you were awful adamant/That if I didn’t love you then you had just one alternative.”

I was entranced then. I had stopped driving, stopped in the middle of the street, rain pouring down, girls and boys walking by in droves, many walking up to my car, just standing there. All the while, the radio stations were changing on their own, and the same voice kept singing.

“But who needs love when there’s Law & Order/And who needs love when there’s Southern Comfort/And who needs love at all.”


“And Blake’s been having trouble with his head again/He takes his pills but never takes his medicine.”


“It is so simple/The way they fall/No bang or whimper/No sound at all.”


“So what’s the use of going outside?/It’s so depressing when people die in real life.”


“I suffer mornings most of all/I feel so powerless and small.”


“Common sense may tell you/That the ending will be sad.”


“I’ve had better days but I don’t care.”


“But it’s better to waste your day watching the scenery change at a comatose rate.”


“Can’t we just wait together?/You bring the smokes, I’ll bring the beer.”


And a different voice, a reporter.

“…Are unsure of the circumstances surrounding her death. We will keep you posted as we learn more. Right here on WKAP.”

I blinked then and looked up to see the girls and boys surrounding my car. They weren’t threatening, just standing so I could read their shirts, which were all the same.

Another blink of my eyes had me standing outside my apartment door. Unsure of how that happened, I looked around the hallway. The quiet was unusual. No crying baby from the Walker’s apartment down the hall. No slamming door from John leaving Jane for the 100th time. No Mrs. Anderson peeking out her door and asking me to watch television with her because she’s been so lonely since Mr. Anderson died.


More unusual was that every door, with the exception of my own, was now painted black. Adorning each door, with the exception of my own, was a wreath, each draped in a ribbon, each ribbon bearing the letters WKAP.

Luckily, my apartment was normal. Well, at least it appeared that way. No girls and boys were roaming around, appearing and disappearing. No strange radio transmissions, with vague news reports or songs from the same woman.

I tried to forget my weird morning. I turned on the lights, kicked off my shoes, plopped down on the sofa and hit the power button on the television remote. Nothing. I hit it again and the apartment lights flickered. Again. Flicker. Again. Flickered out.

As the lights went out, the TV came on. Snow. I changed the channel. Snow. Changed. Snow. Again, again, again. Snow every time.

I hit the power button in disgust knowing there was no way I could get anyone to check the cable on a Sunday. Only then, instead of switching off, the channel tuned in. It was a newscast, but instead of the typical-looking anchors, one of the black-haired, black-shirted girls sat behind the desk.

“The body was found in a dumpster behind the Dairy Mart, but authorities are unsure of the time or cause of death,” the girl said. “If anyone has any information, please call WKAP immediately.”

On screen next to the girl was the photo of a young woman, beaten and bloody and barely clothed.

I hit the power button again. The channel changed. Now it was a different girl, wearing the same black shirt, with a different photo.

“The body was found on a bench in Woodland Park, but authorities are unsure…”

I thought. That’s the same woman, but how could she be found in two different places?

I hit the power button again. The channel changed again. This time the anchor was a boy in the black shirt. He was talking about the dead woman. This time she had been found hanging from a lamppost in the town square.


Found in the restroom of a local gas station.


Found in the pond at the old Johnson place.


Found in the gutter at the intersection of Main and Elm.







“What the hell is going on?”

I stood, continuously punching the power button on the remote, the channel continuously changing to another report of the same woman being found dead, each instance in a different place.

The channel changing stopped on a live report. The reporter was on the scene of the discovery. She wore a black trench coat and was standing in the pouring rain, with no other protection from the elements. Her long black hair was hanging around her face. Behind her the same (or seemingly the same) girls and boys in black shirts with the letters WKAP walked up and down, back and forth.

“The body was found here, on the steps of 123 Lexington Avenue, but authorities are unsure of the time or cause of death.”

I dropped the remote, and the TV clicked off.

They found the body here? I thought. What the hell is going on?

I went to the front window. The rain was coming down hard, but I could see the reporter on the opposite side of the street, facing…well, facing nothing, no camera, no satellite truck, nothing. I could make out on the back of her coat the same letters, WKAP. And walking around her were the hundreds of girls and boys in black shirts.

A bang on the door.

I turned, but couldn’t move.

Another bang.

I found some nerve and walked slowly to the door. I leaned forward, listening.


I jumped back. The rain continued to pound on the windows. I leaned in again. This time, nothing.

I slowly moved to look through the peep hole. The hall was filled with the girls and boys. I watched them, transfixed by the black shirts, until they became a blur.


I was startled out of my trance.


It was coming from inside the apartment. I turned and listened.


I walked to the bedroom.


I stood there listening. Just rain.

“I’m losing my mind.”


The bathroom?

I walked slowly, pushed open the door and saw…


I walked to the sink and looked in the mirror.

Why are my eyes bloodshot? Why is my skin so ashen?

I turned the water on, leaned over and rinsed my face. As I leaned back up…


I turned to the shower where the curtain was pulled closed.

“My darling,” came a woman’s voice from behind the curtain.

I reached over, grabbed the vinyl and pulled. Lying in the bottom was the same young woman from the news reports. Dead.

I leaned over to get a closer look. The shower was full of leaves and the woman wore a summer dress. Her skin was the color of the dead.

My legs gave out and I collapsed to the floor. I was crying.

The girls and boys, wearing the black shirts, flooded into the bathroom.

The young woman opened her eyes, and through my tears I saw her stand.

“My darling,” she said.

I closed my eyes, and then…


I opened them and was back at the diner, sitting in my normal booth by the window, notebook and pen on the table. The day was sunny, and the patrons and staff were following their normal routine.

I looked around, wondering if it had all been a dream. Did I fall asleep here?

It seemed possible, but how long had I been out? There was rain before, but sun now. It could have been hours.

What the hell happened?

“Are you okay?” the young waitress asked. “Can I get you anything else?”

“What?” I turned to look at her. “Oh, no. Thank you. I’m fine.”

She set the check on the table, smiled and walked away.

I looked out the window again. There she was, the girl with the black shirt emblazoned with the letters WKAP. She looked right at me. The TV overhead spouted the news.

“It’s been two months since the gruesome discovery,” the reporter said. “But the world’s question remains. Who killed Amanda Palmer?”

And the girl smiled.

Song lyrics contained in this story are copyright Amanda Palmer. For more information on Amanda Palmer and her album "Who Killed Amanda Palmer?", visit or