Sanz v. The World

Submitted into Contest #44 in response to: Write a story that starts with two characters saying goodbye.... view prompt

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General

THIS CALL OR VISITATION HAS BEEN MONITORED AND RECORDED. ANYTHING SAID CAN BE USED AGAINST EITHER CALLER IN THEIR CURRENT OR POSSIBLY FUTURE CASE. CALLERS MUST MAINTAIN RESPONSIBLE CONTROL OVER THE CONTENT AND DURATION OF THIS CALL.


“Oh! You don’t say!” The officer standing guard at the prisoners’ backs flinched when Riley’s hand shot up, refusing to relax even when she only put it to her mouth to cover her smile. 


“That’s right, sweetie,” the voice on the other end crackled. The reception in Belem was atrocious. Those doltish aides never listened. Riley had told them and told them and had even tried starting a petition, but every time she approached those stupid girls with a pencil they would all pull back like a retreating ocean wave- “ … you out in no time, all right? Keep talking to the psychologist. Keep in touch. I love you.”


Riley’s lips peeled themselves into a sneer. Her fingers curled around the phone cord. “Goodbye, Papa.”


“Bye, sweet-”


Riley hung up. She leaned back, sinuously stretching her arms, arching her back like a cat. The officer watched her hands carefully.


He shouldn’t have been so worried. Coronavirus kept her about six feet away from the nearest inmate. Solitary confinement and the pandemic had made her conservative about her attacks. Riley lolled her head back and smiled at him.


The tapes show that she was cooperative when the officers herded the prisoners out of the call room. When she reached her cell, she backed away from the door with her hands above her head. Her cellmate gave her a side glance from her bunk before shifting herself closer to the wall.


The cell door slid closed, and Riley lowered her hands. She gave her cellmate a little wave. “Hi there, Miss Conspiracy.”


Once upon a time, the tall Latina girl would have bristled. Now she only scowled. She had her hand laid on her stomach, and it twitched toward the ribs that had been bound in elastic for six weeks. “Hey, Riley.”


“Mail list!” A female officer lifted a clipboard to her eyes, pushing back her reading glasses. “Inmates in front of their cells! Hands behind your backs!”


Riley and Conspiracy stood side by side, though Conspiracy was slightly behind her cellmate. Riley looked from side to side and waved at the others. One of them met her eye, and she smiled and mouthed, “Hello, Miss Reckless Endangerment.”


“Abellan, Brisa. Abasto, Magda. Arias, Irene.”


Riley’s name didn’t come until after 18 letters and a dozen Gomezes, Gonzaleses, Rodriguezes, and Sanchezes. Not quite a long wait, since Coronavirus had sliced the list short. It would be an even shorter wait next week. Riley knew. She counted every single name up until the one that really mattered.


“Sanz, Riley.”


A yellow envelope slid smoothly into her hands like it was made for them. She ripped off the top and dug into it, pulling out several papers. Her grin froze as she read the first sentence. Then the next. The paper crumpled in her grip.


She was still smiling when they were ushered back into their cells. Once inside, she leaned against the wall, with her forehead touching the smooth concrete. For a solid twenty minutes, she stood like that, unmoving.


Then she swiveled her head to face her cellmate.


“Miss Conspiracy,” she said sweetly, beckoning her with her finger, “come here.”


THIS CONTENT HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM THE MAIN SECURITY FILE. IT WILL ONLY BE AVAILABLE TO CORRECTIONS OFFICERS OF THE APPROPRIATE SECURITY LEVEL.


THE FOLLOWING REJECTION LETTER HAS BEEN SEIZED AS EVIDENCE.



BananaBooks

553 Mansfield Dr.

Boulder Mountain, CA


18 November 2020


Dear Ms. Sanz,


Thank you for your interest in our publishing company and for submitting your manuscript for consideration. Our editorial staff and I have carefully reviewed your material, and we regret to inform you that we are declining to publish your novel, Gothica, as we do not find it appropriate for our publications. We found your manuscript too short and lacking the basic organization required of a serious piece. In addition, we would like to inform you that you are not welcome to submit any future work to our offices.


Sincerely, 


Seth Markle

Editor


Gothica

By Riley Sanz


His name was Victor Gneiss, but everyone called him Mr. Gneiss Guy. It gave him depression.


Victor was getting ready to go to work. He had no work or milk. He was sad as he got his taser and empty badge thing. It was empty because they took away his work badge. He has no badge and no work and depression. 


“Stone lions aren’t so cool,” muttered Victor. “Gargoyles are cooler than ice cucumbers.”


His depression didn’t answer. It cooked hot cucumbers instead.


“Beary, your depression is ruining breakfast,” scolded Victor’s wife, Anette, as she gargled bacon water. She was very gargoyle.


“No it’s not”, said Regis his youngest son. He was young and gargoyle. “It was already terrible. It couldn’t get worse in the first place.”


Annette pulled out a giant Satan fork. She had stolen it from Satan and beat his skimpy wee arse with it.“I will smite you where you stand.”


“No need,” said Claude, his second son, shoving Regis into his pocket. “He is smoke.”


“Smoking is bad,” Alphonse the eldest son said thoughtfully. “I need to check my smartphone for snakes.”


Claude was a gargoyle. Alphonse was a gargoyle. They were all gargoyles.


“I am late for work,” said Victor, checking his watch that was tattooed to his skin. He quickly jumped out the window and flapped his arms hard. The unemployed rock man flew to work. He had no work.


“Hey,” said Alphonse. “He forgot his lunch. And there are snakes in my smartphone’s ears. This is so stupidphone.”

*


Victor flew to a rooftop to think. But the rooftops were covered in death spikes and salmon juice. His depression was happy. Victor was depressed.


Wanting to be alone, Victor found a roof without spikes. It belongs to a law school for glow sticks. It is occupied by a one-legged pigeon and a law student with a cigar. Worse than salmon juice.


Wisely, Victor pretends they do not exist. They disagree.


“I smell depression,” said the cigar student. “It is like cucumbers but sad and warm.”


“This mortal vessel is only a shell of the horrors within,” said the pigeon. It opened its little beak wide and cast its soul into oblivion. Satan grabbed the soul and wiped his tears with it. He just wanted his fork back.


“Can you please not exist?” asked Victor.


“Shut ye geggie,” said the law cigar. “I am busy being sad inside. Go find your own roof, ye doaty roaster. ”


Victor frowned gargoylishly. He was a nice guy but depression.“Why are you sad?”


“I am a loser because I am not a glow stick,” the student law said very pigeonly.


Victor nodded sympathetically. “I am unemployed because I am not a stone lion.”


“Haha loser,” said the glow stick student.


“I will,” Victor said and ate his hand. He didn’t know what he would do. That was why he was on cigar stud roof.


“Haha loser,” said the glow cigar.


The pigeon’s eyes rolled to the back of its head. “There is no true authentic self. Constant evolution is the key to remaining a contender.”


“What?”


“Your lucky numbers are one, thirteen, thirty-eight, styrofoam, seven.”


*


Anette had Victor’s lunch and was texting with her teeth. She brought it to Victor’s work and placed it on a two-legged giraffe desk. “Here is husband lunch for Mr. Gneiss Guy.”


The secretary squinted. He was Satan but actually Stan. He knew who had his fork. “Mr. Gneiss Guy has been telescoped. He is not cool like frozen cucumbers. He is replaced by a stone lion two weeks ago.”


“Two weeks ago?”


“Two weeks and seven years.”


That was long enough to make tea casserole pie. Anette ate Victor’s lunch and went home to revenge.


*


Victor was depression but a Gneiss guy. “Wait. Can you repeat that for me, please?”


“Styrofoam seven.”


“No!” he said plane. “Before that.”


“Your lucky numbers are-”


“Before that.”


“This mortal vessel is only a shell of the horrors within.”


Victor started sobbing uncontrollably into his tattoo watch.


“There is no true authentic self. Constant evolution is the key to remaining a contender,” said the law cigar stick. “Pigeon is telling you that you must evolve or become dodo.”


“I don’t like dodos. They are like pigeon but dead.”


“Evolve,” said the pigeon.


“Evolve into stone lion?”


“Into yourself,” said the pigeon, walking away on one foot.


Victor got a text from his wife. She was bringing his lunch to work two minutes ago. He was filled with pudding.


“Oh no,” said Victor. “My wife is going to work to give me a husband lunch. I have to fly there before she knows I’m an unemployed hot cucumber loser.”


He jumps off the roof and flaps his arms hard. The pigeon and law student follow the smell of depression all the way to his old company building, BananaTech.


The replacement gargoyles are not stone lions. They are humans crouching on pillars like monkeys and making angry faces.


“No offense,” said Victor, “But you look absolutely ridiculous.”


One human paused his angry face and made an angrier face at Victor. “Offense taken.”


“What happened to the stone lions?” 


“They quit because the vending machines ran out of socks.”


“Ah,” Victor said. He understood this well. He hated running out of socks.“I will go and get my job out of the recycling bin.”


It was not in the recycling bin. They had put the paper with the plastics, which was very rude of them.


“I will give your job back,” said Stan, “if I get my fork back.”


Victor was sad. He didn’t have Stan’s fork. Then he looked into his lunch sack and saw a pitchfork in the soup can. He took it out and gave it to Stan.


Stan handed him a tree. “Here is your job back. Also, your wife was here.”


Victor ate the tree in fear. “She knows the truth that is now not true. I must go home now.”


“I will take your sick day,” threatened Stan.


“Okay.” Victor crashed through the window and flapped his arms.


When Victor came home, he found a note. It said, “You are an ice cold loser. I took the kids and we’re going to bike to Iceland.”


“Oh no,” said Victor. “There is an ocean next to Iceland. They will bike over water and break the laws of physics. The physics police will get them!”


“Hire me for the trial,” said the cigar law.


“I can’t do that. You have no degree. And you’re studying tax law.”


“Copyright infringement,” cigar law said helpfully.


“I must go find my wife and kids. I will fly to Iceland train!”


“Statute of limitations. Affidavits. Ceiling fans.”


Together they flew to the Iceland train. They found the Gneiss family and their bikes. The bikes growled. They knew the smell of depression.


“Anette, I have a job!” said Victor.


“No,” said Anette. “You are unemployed because you are not a stone lion. You are a liar and I’m taking the kids.”


“Anette,” Victor said, taking his wife’s claws in his. “I gave the fork back.”


Anette looked in Victor’s eyes and PAPA YOU’RE SO STUPID HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR YOU TO GET ME OUT OF HERE YOU’RE USELESS YOUR LETTERS ARE ONLY GOOD FOR TOILET PAPER YOU IDIOTIC


THIS CONTENT HAS BEEN REMOVED.



June 06, 2020 02:01

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