Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 174

Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

1 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

Prologue

I am not the main character in this story.


Neither are you, nor the president, nor his
vice. The real protagonist of this orgy of
words is a seventeen year old boy. He
walked into my bookstore one day. He had
artificially red and blond hair. He wore a
Pink Floyd sweatshirt which was in dire need
of a was. A black earbud hung from his left
ear. The other ear was the designated
listener of the day. From the earbud came
the screeching and emotions of a decade-
deceased local musician and his crew. He
had the look of a used man about him, he was
no longer capable of telling or
understanding a joke. Something was
draining at him.

“I want to come clean.”


“What are you talking about?”
“I need the truth to be told, if I do, there
will still be time to save everything.”
“Are you alright, kid?”

His unblinking stare answered that


questionable

“No.”
“Is there something I can help you with?”

2 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

“Print my book.”
“What?”
“I have the manuscript right here.”

I gave him a good lookover. His face said


to me:

“No joke.”

I observed the rest of his body. It echoed.


The color or content of his eyes was not
particularly remarkable, but he was trying
to make them such.

“What's it called?”
“In Bloom by Andrew Knox.”
“Ok, what's it about?”
“It's about the end of the world. As you
know it. It's about suffering under hostile
conditions, hallucinations and the loss of
loved ones.”
“So, it's a novel, I presume.”

His face turned red, his eyes had their life


restored to them. He took in a deep breath
and exceeded the legal decibel level for the
neighborhood.
“It's not a novel! This will happen! This
is a history book, an autobiography!”
“Okay, calm down kid, I understand. It's

3 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

okay.”

He took a minute to relax and get his normal


breathing pattern back.

“I'll give ya twenty minutes, then, I've


gotta go. How about you read some of it to
me.”
“Aight, let's start a tha beginning.”

And he began...

4 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

Longview

“Sit around and watch the tube, but nothings


on
Change the channels for an hour or two,
Twiddle my thumbs just for a bit,
I'm sick of all the same old shit,
In a house with unlocked doors,
And I'm fucking lazy...”

A high school student, Asian, sophomore, is


walking on an overpass. A white doohickey
connected to a white cord streamed from each
ear, converging at his chest's apex and
plugging into a white rectangle in his
pocket, instant and constant gratification.
Precariously and purposefully only twenty
feet above speeding and nearly instant
death. The sun lowered its weight onto
every object, living or otherwise, crushing
them with dizzying heat and blinding
invisible beams.

“Bite my lip and close my eyes...”

He sang as he stopped at the bridge's


middle. He climbed over the rail and leaned
into the wind. He was diving head first
into the river of gasoline fish.

5 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

“Take me away to paradise...”

If I wasn't omniscient, I would advise


sensitive readers to skip to the next page,
because the scene could soon get gruesome.
But I read ahead, and ruined the story for
myself, so sit down, shut up and get a grip.

Anyways, he lands hands first on the roof


of the trailer of an eighteen-wheeler, does
several back flips and:

“I'm so damn bored I'm going blind...”

then stands up, riding the roof of the


trailer like an urban surfer. After about
three hundred yards of the highway tides, he
jumped off and onto the sidewalk
conveniently placed where he landed.

“And I smell like shit...”

Apparently out of nowhere, he gets the


compulsion to start running on the sidewalk.
He runs about a block before his feet are
completely removed from the cement and he is
yet again airborne.

“Peel me off this Velcro seat and get me


moving

6 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

I sure as hell can't do it by myself


I'm feeling like a dog in heat...”

He is flipping madly, back and forth, back


and forth, back and forth. A hundred times
he rotated before the gods granted him
gravity yet again. People down below, so
small to him, like Lego people, pointed
upwards and gawked, this time remembering
that they actually couldn't help. The only
stand out in the crowd was ironically the
only one who separated himself from the rest
of the rubberneckers. He was an elderly
Asian gentleman, who had two slightly
english words to say:

“Is Gassirra!”

While the boy had only this to say:

“Barred indoors from the summer street


I locked the door to my own cell
And I lost the key...”

When he came down, gravity was rough on him,


first slamming his head into a stop sign,
and then his torso into a yield sign on the
other side of the street. Spinning around
the wooden pole, he landed again on the
cement, staying there both injured

7 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

physically and mentally, crawled into the


fetal position. A minute later he got up
and continued singing to catch up with the
part that he missed.

"Some say, 'Quit or I'll go blind.'


But it's just a myth..."

He flipped out his iPod, made some madly


exaggerated movements, started banging his
head, and then exited stage right.

8 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

In a land of make-believe, you don't believe


in me

I tried to write a book, with three words in


every sentence. I tried to, but I
couldn't. A book can not be composed in
that fashion. It can, but it is tiresome, a
drag to read. I would read that book if you
payed me. It ain't that atrocious. That
was to be the first chapter, but it was
tedious.

I decided to write an essay instead. “The


corruptions and ineptitudes of certain
alleged historical figures.” That's what I
called it. It was quite offensive to
society. I was proud. I wrote that
Galileo, Darwin, the Greek philosophes and
their ilk, were all optimistic hacks. I
also wrote that Betsuro is a dictator. I
should not have written that. That was a
terrible idea. I knew people who
disappeared forever for saying less that
that. I could have written king, president,
emperor, even ruler would have sufficed.
Never call Betsuro a dictator. His real job
title was that of “El Presidente”.

To make up for this indignity, I wrote the


rest of it down the party line:

9 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

'The government has shown with absolute,


irrefutable evidence that knowledge leads to
pain and suffering. We instead choose to
believe what we will. No one is right. You
can trust Betsuro. He is right. Proof is
choice.'

This made me sick. I had nearly plagiarized


straight from the “Bible of None of the
Above”. I've said it a thousand times. If
proof is (choice of) words, then the
government has all the dictionaries, few
have the thesauri.

'then there is no reason for organized


religion. The government is filled with
faith and hope. If the government bans it,
it must be something so obscene, so putrid,
that the espouser of it must be nailed up
on a cross. Law and Order are the deities.
Government officials are the priests, so
Betsuro is the pope.'

I will surely meet my sweet release of death


in the end. Such a misnamed phrase. It is
always bitter, done with malice and
sometimes greed, they don't release you,
they keep you alive as long as they can with
adrenaline and other twelve-dollar-worded

10 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

things in a drug cocktail iv. Hypocritical


doctors perform this operation, while
officers sit back and watch intently. I
remember when society viewed this as
atrocious and deeply offensive. This is the
generation that grew up on cable TV.

'You will work hard in your appointed


positions. Society and the government will
protect you from the capitalists. Imagine
the visage of Betsuro cushioning the entire
continent as the Capitalist stronghold in
Southasia fires it's last salvo of laser
missiles on our cities. The great Betsuro
stands up against the Capitalists and their
missiles, swatting them both down into the
ocean. Remember this Friends. Relax with
greatest luck. Remember, Ignorance is
Bliss.'

these were some of the other titles of the


essay, also some possible titles for the
book that was spawned from it.

• Ignorance is bliss
• The end of the world as you know it
• The prophet in the back row
• Memoria
• Atlantis Now

11 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

• KGB Flask
• Goodbye, France!
• Macadamia
• Futur-6
• Numb and slightly sticky
• Goodbye, Badbye!
• Cowboys and Canadians
• By any other name
• Crimson Tide

Warning, the following is an unabridged


account of things that will happen, wear a
hard hat and some safety goggles at all
times.

12 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

Dearly Beloved, Are You Listening?

I work in a mining camp in Seattlia, a


province in the northwest corner of North
America, or as it is known now “Tokelaui
Island #2”. I am not sure exactly where I
am, maps are illegal. Obscenely illegal.
There is no given justification there. They
are just all illegal. They fall under the
category of 'tools of corruption'. Like
cell phones, UHF capable televisions,
pagers, et cetera. Well, my point was that
I estimate, from memory, that my mining camp
is near where Issaquah was. Where it was.
I don't know what happened to it. I wasn't
here when it happened. All that remains of
Seattle are the first three syllables.

When someone commits a crime, something


unthinkable in the past occurs, the person
is rounded up, so are their family, friends,
acquaintances. As it is referred to on the
inside, an “infected web”. This 'web' is
either 'cleaned' or destroyed. The center
of the web, or the criminal as you would
call him, would usually be killed
'accidentally while in police custody'.
That is how they would report it, if they
reported it at all. They usually kept the
crime secret. The extent of the web would

13 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

either be lobotomized in a fashion where the


patient could return to work, or an
extensive session of brainwashing to make
them forget the center of the web.

Since there has been peace and overall


stability for so many years, the government
has held control over all industries. Film,
art, weaponry, agriculture. They all face
heavy regulation. We all have our quotas,
uniforms, rations, chains of command. And
we are happy. Political expression is evil,
and unthinkable to those untrained. Only
upper-castemen are allowed to get this
instruction.

“Let the government do it.”

That is something I hear often.

14 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

That Boy Needs Therapy

I have never seen a government official.


One day, someone uses a cell phone, freshly
imported from the Mandalay sweatshops, the
next day, the web is clean. They and their
families are gone indefinitely they may
never be seen again. The families, friends,
associates and acquaintances come back, but
are shunned by the majority of society.
Silently labeled as criminals. Guilt by
association.

The one major advance in technology brought


by the revolution was the MCLI. Mind-
Computer Linkage Interface/Implant system
was devised and implemented by a scientist
named Marshal Vonnegut. An amazing device
really. Basically a small computer with a
power button and a coaxial cable input. The
user had an implant in the back of his head
with firmware installed for simplified media
access. Like a simplified computer. Users
could think the URL they wanted to go and
their internet connection would respond.
Later versions could play music that the
listener knew, even record music based on
the listener's feelings and personality.

Version 1.0 was made with USB, Mini-Stereo,

15 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

VGA, Ethernet, Phone and PS/2 connectors in


the joint cable that was manually inserted
into each appropriate slot, where later
versions were self inserting based on
different magnetic field memories. With the
advent of Super Coax 8-92, A super high-
speed data cable, the system was much more
simple. The video and images would be
perceived in the mind as if they were
surrounding them. Music was so beyond old
standards that many audiophiles cried for
the years they had wasted when they heard
the quality of their favorites.

The media is sold in one gigabyte


cartridges, which could be holding nearly
anything. Books, Movies, Television Shows,
Albums, News Compilations, anything ever
released by the standard media of the old
world, with heavy censorship, of course.

16 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

Les Yeux Qui Piquent

“Tu te laves a quelle h...”


“Ding!”

The characteristic sound of the intercom


bled into the middle of the time where we
would correct the homework that we did
yesterday. So as it went:

“Sorry for the interruption, students, but


because of certain current events and
legislation passed today, all foreign
language classes and after-school programs
have been canceled, if you are in a foreign
language class, go to the library that
period and study for your other classes.
This is in effect immediately. If you are
in an after-school program, please go home
with your regularly scheduled
transportation. Thank you, and have a nice
day.”

There was a good twenty second of shell-


shocked silence, in which, the only thing
that was heard was the headphones of someone
who didn't want French anyways. Their
headphones were so loud that they could be
heard from space with the naked ear. I
wonder what childhood trauma led to that

17 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

requirement. The teacher opened her mouth


and vibrations echoed out of it because of
some chords called vocal. Others would say
she started to talk.

“Tu te laves a quelle heure a matin?”

There was some more shell-shock floating


around the room and it was silent some more
till one of the A students had the audacity
to challenge her audacity.

“But, Madame, the principal just...”


“I heard him.”

We stayed there for ten more minutes until a


security guard came by and 'escorted' the
teacher away, while instructing us to go to
the library. It was a solemn, yet quick and
uneventful walk down to the library.

I pulled out my mp3 player and started


listening to music you can guess the name
of. When the second song was underway, I
pulled out my red composition book and
started lying away. That is all that
writers do, lie and lie and lie. I was
lying about this Armageddon scenario, where
the dashingly handsome main character works
at a diamond mine in the future and spends

18 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

most of his time recalling events from his


childhood.

“Self-Fulfilling Prophecy”

Would read the cover art. Lower down on the


cover would be a humongous, stylized number
7, to represent that it was the seventh in
it's series. This 'book' was the seventh in
the series of “Fugiware Adventure
Novelletos”. Fugiware was a company that I
made with a friend in the fifth grade. A
company that was yet to turn a profit, or go
bankrupt. We broke even every year. I had
a skill in not paying for things, I was
planning to be an accountant.

The person at the table next to me was


talking to a friend about Richard Pryor.
They were talking about the last half hour
in 'Moving'. About how he:

“Turned all ghetto kung foo gangsta.”

That's a quote. The table on the other side


of me was experiencing marital problems. A
white couple, I think both seniors.
Apparently the guy did or forgot to do
something and broke the last straw. I could
provide a dialog for that too, but I was

19 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

trying to write. Aw, forget it. I turned


off my music and went to get a book to read,
leaving another “Self-Fulfilling Prophecy”
to be untold. I came upon an interesting
book that went by the name of

“The Life and Times of Beaucoup Salazar, A


compilation of essays and short stories, by
Andrew Knox.”

It was a long title, so I picked it up and


went back over to my table. I flipped open
to a random page and I was at the beginning
of a story I had read before, but decided to
read again, it went something like this:

“Chapter I

“THE TIME WILL BE 2:37 P.M. PACIFIC


STANDARD TIME, OCTOBER 31ST, 2005 ON THE
TONE.”

“BEEP.”

“… What are you afraid of, Bill?”

“… What do you mean?”

“What are you afraid of, Bill?”

20 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

“… Spiders.”

“Oh, well then. Like we won’t see


those today.”

“What about you”

“Uh, well, I’ll tell you later.”

“Pish-shah!”

Bill and his wife Jill were going camping.


Bill, driving their compact, underpowered
car, dragging a trailer in tow. The
countryside was unremarkable, the same that
they had seen for the past three hours.
Cell phones and FM radio were much out of
range. The aged hatchback only had a
thirty-dollar tape deck, the media of which
is no longer sold. They were bored. Six
years of marriage and they were out of
topics of conversation worthy of any
interest. They were alone with each other,
completely alone.

“I heard the Hendersons’…”

The Hendersons were their neighbors for the


past two years and were seemingly trapped in
a habitual state of home improvement. They

21 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

were up two hours before sunrise working on


the roof and up till midnight roofing. An
hour and a half were reserved for leisure,
including all meals, hygiene, business and
all other non-house-related projects.
Apparently, Mr. Henderson was an investor,
and lived well off of it. They were
despicable in all of their mannerisms. So
much of their time was wasted on housework
that Bill was not entirely sure of their
first names.

“… Are planning on renovating their patio.”

“Again! Useless Bastards.”

Much of the little conversing the couple did


involve of destroying the credibility of
their neighbors. After Bill’s final
comment, there was another hour long,
awkward silence.

Chapter II

They arrived soon at the campsite. Jill


purposefully booked a solitary cabin. They
had issues to work out. As soon as they had
moved in, rolled out their bags and stocked

22 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

the cupboard, Bill departed without warning


out of the cabin for a walk.

He passed a dingy wooden sign that said


“Pinecone Grove” with a printed sign
slightly below it, and crooked displaying
“Welcome Mr. and Mrs. Williams! Good Luck
with your weekend.”

He was expecting the first words but the


last sentence he was completely lost. What
did that mean? Good luck with what?

Jill got started on dinner, one of her main


grievances, and one she planned to work out
over the week end. She despised cooking.

The beans were coming to a slow boil and it


was getting dark outside.

“Where’s...”

Silence interrupted her. The hooting of the


Owls and the light tromping of foliage by
the deer was racking her nerves to the bone.

“Where’s Bill?”

Chapter III

23 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

It was definitely dark now. Pitch black


except for the dim kerosene lanterns off in
the distance, hanging at the door way of
every other cabin.

“Now might be a good time for that.”

She walked just barely out the door, pulled


out her lighter and brought the wick up.
She had a habit of repeating her actions to
herself when she was nervous.

“I have a habit of repeating my actions to


myself when I am nervous.”

See what I mean. This had arisen after her


first child, not with Bill, when she was
younger. She did this because it was said
that it would foster greater mental
development and some other medical jargon.
Her first child. Her first child, her only
child, where did it go? What was it’s name?

As she was pondering these questions, BAM!


A resounding thud echoed through the woods.
She jumped.

“What the hell was that!”

24 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

She screamed, not asked.

It took her a few seconds to realize where


the noise had come from. It sounded nearby
but not defined. Like something huge came
down from a tree without any semblance of
grace.

Chapter IV

She quickly went inside and locked the door,


instantly discarding her plan to sneak a
smoke. As she read the brochure in the car,
it mentioned something about a special flare
gun. One they advised to take on a hike and
designed to ward off natural predators “such
as Bears, Wolves and Genetic Mutants” the
label jokingly read, as by this time she had
run across the cabin.

Another thump, louder, closer and more


ominous sounded through the cabin, the
shoddy wooden walls shaking and rattling.
Jill was scared out of her wits. Cowering
in the center of the room, thinking that
what ever it was could grab her through any
of the walls, the only unsafe part were the
floor boards. She currently was not

25 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

rational enough to realize that the thing


probably could not burrow.

“...”

An eerie, sharply painful silence radiated.


No more Owls, fawns, squirrels. Nothing. It
was so silent that if there were any ants
scavenging for bread, you could hear their
footsteps. This time was worse than the
thumps, she would have liked to die then
rather than live till morning.

THUMP, something was at the door all of the


visible lights, even the one at the doorstep
was out. If she had an iota of courage or
oxygen then she would have peeked outside
the window.

Chapter V

“Jill, JIIIIILLL. Let me in sweetie. It’s


pretty cold out here.”

A raspy, horrific, stereo-typified voice


announced.

“Who the hell are you!”

26 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

“What’s wrong, it’s me Bill. Let me in, I


forgot my jacket.”

She was crying. Just having to converse


with that wretched voice was terrifying
enough, but she knew, that by weakness of
gullibility, or by force, that thing would
soon be in the cabin. Even if it was an
adorable puppy, she would die of terror.

“Leave me alone, get the hell out of here!


I don’t want you around, go you hell spawn!”
“Jill, sweetie, please let me in. What’s
wrong, I can help you.”

A horrific pain was arising inside her gut.


Like her insides were bursting out in
flames, she could no longer take it. She
jumped off the floor, clutching the flare
gun and made her way towards the door.
Reached for the door handle, closed her
eyes, ripped the door open and yelled the
only thing she could think of:

“Say hello to my little friend!”

Cliche, I know, don’t complain about it.

Chapter VI

27 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

“... Date is November 16th, 2005. John Doe


#116 has suffered first degree burns to the
abdomen and second degree burns to the upper
legs and torso, he is recovering
consciousness slowly and we have scheduled
reconstructive surgery for the 19th.

The other subject, Jane Doe #92, appears to


have late stage Lyme Disease. When the EMTs
found her she seemed to be having
convulsions and hallucinating. EMTs were
able to sedate her after some struggles, we
have kept her unconscious for liability
issues, since she appears to have inflicted
the wounds upon John Doe #116. We have
begun drug treatments to combat the ailment,
but it appears that some permanent brain
damage has occurred. Once John Doe has
regained consciousness, Lt. Oglethorpe will
begin questioning to determine the
identities of both. End Medical Log...”

Chapter VII

“Where am I?”

28 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

“You are awake?”

“Where am I? Oh my god! AAAAAAAAAAAH!”

“Twenty-five ccs of morphine, quick!”

“AAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!”

“Injection, go!”

“..., that feels good.”

“You are at Frederick General Hospital in


Boise, Idaho. You were picked up after you
were shot in the stomach by a flare gun.
You are going to be fine, we have treatments
scheduled.”
“And some more of that stuff?”

“We can give you morphine doses every four


to six hours, depending on your heart rate.”
“Good. I probably don’t want to look at my
stomach right now, I assume.”
“It is pretty graphic down there. What is
your name, son?”
“Bill Williams, where’s my wife?
“ Is she the one who shot you?”
“Yeah, crack shot, I wish she got me in the
face and ended me.”
“I’m not sure she’d enjoy your sarcasm.”

29 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

“Sarcasm?”

Chapter VIII

Jill was wide awake, she had heard the


monster outside of the cabin, confronted her
fear, and was still being terrorized by it.
When she attacked it, she glimpsed it out of
the squint of her eye, a wretched creature
not shorter than eight feet tall. It had
fallen from the trees, from the darkness,
from the sky. And was freedom bound on
making her life a living hell. Not to kill
her, hurt her, or even touch her. Just for
the sake of feeding off of negative emotion.

“Why don’t you just submit. I’ll give you


mercy.”

Curdled up into a ball with that thing


standing in the doorway, Jill was speechless.

“If you won’t be a gracious host, then I’ll


let myself in.”

It stepped several feet into the cabin,


shuddering the floorboards and flinging the
ball of petrified human named Jill several

30 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

feet in the air with every other step. It


was a lizard like thing, but with monkey
like hair sprouting in various places, at
least six sets of razor sharp teeth,
penetrating orange eyes with eery greenish
pupils, scales all over and an offensive
smelling neon purple ooze coming out of its
crevices.

“You’re not real.”


“You’re not real.”
“You’re not real.”
“You’re not real.”
“You’re not real!”
“Are you? Wake up and see.”

Now she was awake. A blurred line of


perspective separated her from reality, but
she had crossed and defeated that line, and
she was back.

Chapter IX

“Hey, Jill! This is Clarisse from work, just


wondering wh...”

“NEXT MESSAGE.”

31 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

“Hi, I’ve got a great offer for Jill


Williams! You could be the next recipient of
our 1 million dollar sweep...”

“NEXT MESSAGE.”

“Hi, Jill, this is Candy from American


Healthcare Services, just calling you to
inform you that your medication has been
sent to...”

“NEXT MESSAGE.”

“This is Jonathan from Visa, hey, uh, your


last few payments haven’t arrived and we’re
cancelling your premium card benefits and
multiplying your debt. Good luck wi...”

“NEXT MESSAGE.”

“Mom, are you there? This is Sam, you


misplaced me about twenty years ago, and I
was adopted. I hired a private investigator
to find you based on this one photo I had.
I know we’ve both started new lives since
then, but I want to meet you, I’ve had a
hole in my life since that day at the
carnival, please call me at...”
Chapter X
“INCOMING CALL, PRESS YES TO ANSWER.”

32 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

“Hello, Jill. As you see now, you are not


fake, neither am I.”

She instantly recognized the voice.

“You see, I actually arrived to help you.


Go. Meet your son, salvage the
relationship. Fix your marriage, don’t
shoot your husband in the stomach with
anything, and remember...”

She hung up, but she knew what it was going


to say, like it was right behind her talking
into her ear.

“I won’t be so courteous next time.”


The ride home was awkward at best. Bill
still had searing pain but a closed wound.
And Jill was nauseated from the octagon of
pharmaceuticals that she required to cure
the Lyme. And neither of them would talk,
as much as look, at each other. Bill
resented Jill and Jill was afraid that Bill
might polymorphize into something obscene
that also defied modern science. They both
agreed afterwards that the worst part of the
vacation was on the ride back to Chicago.

THE END”

33 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

It was as crappy as I remembered. Just


something that some guy decided to stuff in
as filler for his book, and possibly a brief
tie-in in a later chapter, I put the book
back, I didn't want to be distressed by
reading any more of that guy's crap. We
stayed in there till the period was over.
8:40. The bell rang and it was the passing
period and I had 5 minutes to get to math.

34 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

Queen of the Damned

It was New Years Day, 2006. That was the


day I met Katie Larriste. She was
beautiful, brilliant, bombastic, funny,
ironic, sardonic, witty. I could keep
throwing adjectives at you all day, but
there is no literal way to express how I
loved her. It was the perfect time for
teenage romance, since it was the last full
year where love was legal.

I was doing some community service hours for


school, I was working at a parade/fund
raiser for a charity which would like to
remain unnamed. Crowd security, not a
glamorous job, but a very good cause. She
was working it too. She went to my school.
She was in my extended group of friends. I
would have classified her as
“Techie/Political Activist” to a lower
degree than Betsuro. She was friends with
Betsuro. The kind of friend where they
aren't dating but aren't available. She was
available that day, since Betsuro wasn't
around, and I jumped on the opportunity. I
caught up with her afterwards.

“Hey.”
“Hey.”

35 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

“Didn't expect to see you here.”


“Yeah.”
“Uh, do you...”
“What?”
“Do you want to...”
“Go on a date?”
“Err... uh... yeah. That's it!'
“Sure, how about tomorrows, at the movie
theater near the mall?”
“Yeah, sounds great, uh... see ya!”

She decided where we should go, I liked that.

She was very beautiful to me, at least. She


was about 5'4” tall, more for lovin' and
brown haired. Goddamn, she was beautiful.
Her face and her eyes, especially her eyes.
The eyes she wore were a striking blue.
They shimmered from across the room in any
amount on light or angle. When I looked at
her, it was like a flashlight was
illuminating my corneas. I was blinded to
all but her, but it didn't sting, it relaxed
me. She nearly had the face of a Japanese
geisha styled doll, except she was white,
not Asian. Very, very smooth. I would go
on further but it may get pretty obscene.
Well, you get the gist of it.

As you saw, I asked her out to the movies,

36 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

she said yes. She wanted to see this


activist movie thing that was out.
Something about Che Guevara. Che Guevara,
her idol, her mascot. I am yet to remember
a day when she was not adorned with Che
paraphernalia. She tried several times to
put announcements in the school bulletin
about June 14th or October 9th, both important
dates in her book, and yours if you have an
encyclopedia within arm's reach.

I claimed that Rasputin was cooler than Che.


Mainly because he was poisoned with enough
cyanide to kill an elephant, shot twice,
beaten beyond recognition, thrown in a
burlap sack and tossed into an icy river,
only to escape, crawl to shore and die of
starvation. Katie said he gets extra points
for being Russian.

She basically taught me most of what I know.


I don't mean Columbus, and World War I and
2+2=5. I mean the stuff that matters, love,
compassion, critical thinking skills. She
was the smartest person I ever met. Smarter
than me, smarter than Betsuro, smarter than
the Language Arts teacher.

She probably had the worst grade in his


class. She did all of her work, to the

37 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

rubric, and then some. She answered all of


the test questions correctly, she raised her
hand at every question, and always had the
right answer and enough backup material to
fill several pages. She was intense. But
Mr. Hastings couldn't handle that. Me, the
person who got sorted into the Mining Caste,
got at least a B- average from him.

Betsuro had influence over her. He held


some mystical power over her that could make
her agree with him, no matter how ludicrous
the idea was. If I suggested some of the
less extreme ideas that he proposed, even
though I was her boyfriend for an entire
year, she would have dumped me in a
heartbeat. Good enough for me, I threw out
to her a lot of acceptable ideas.

“Where do you wanna go after school?”


“What?”
“Where do you wanna go after school?”
“Oh, how about the movie theater?”
“Which one?”
“The one down by the mall, next to the
natural market.”
“No, I'm broke.”
“I'll pay for you.”
“Nah, that doesn't feel right, and that
theater smells like shit and there are no

38 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

good movies out right now.”


“Okay.”
“How about we go downtown?”
“Sure, haven't been down there in ages.”
“Fuck 6th period?”
“Sure, why not.”

So we left right after fifth and got on the


346 metro, headed for the mall. There was
no drunk guy on the bus currently, so I
decided to fill in for him. His job
description mainly includes making lewd
comments about women who were on the bus by
themselves, but I decided to skip that part
and just be really loud and talkative and
annoying to everybody on the bus. Katie
thought that it was hella funny, so she
joined in. Man, we were annoying as hell !

“So he comes in here, and I says look bitch,


I'm Rick James, slapped him, Ahahahaha!”

My jokes are usually stolen or hella lame.


I gave up on that since my audience was
being unresponsive, I started making up
bullshit and feeding it to my straightman,
Katie.

“So Bruce Willis walks into the room with


his gun pointed at Chuck Norris, if you

39 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

count Chuck Norris's foot as a deadly


weapon, which you should, then we have a
good old fashioned 'Mexican Standoff', since
for some reason, Mr. T is pointing a gun at
his rescuer. So we have a Mexican Standoff
here and then out of nowhere, Al Gore pulls
the tree out from his ass and enters the
fray...”
“Next stop, Meridian and Northgate. Meridian
and Northgate, next stop”
“Thank you, you've all been a wonderful
audience!”

I pulled the stop cord so hard that it


nearly snapped, and we jumped out of the
doors laughing, although it wasn't funny at
all, even to me as I wrote it. I was drunk
off of love and skipping sixth period. We
got on another bus, but this time we used
less theatrics. We just hugged and kissed
each other for most of the bus ride.

“Westlake Center next stop, next stop


Westlake Center.”
We got off there. Westlake is this mall
that is pretty much downtown. There is not
much to do there compared to more modern
malls. Out of a lapse in good judgment, we
ate at a McDonald's. Walked around, made a
lot of talk about buying stuff and then I

40 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

kissed her goodnight and rode the 15 home


and went to bed.

There was the Washington State National


Guard Armory on Battery St. The one nearby
the Spay and Neuter clinic. I've never seen
it directly. It is impossible to see
through the natural fence of the blackberry
bushes. I just know that that was where
they kept the weapons.

41 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

The Day The World Was Born

But it wasn't over yet. Blood had not been


spilled, wars had not been fought. That was
soon remedied. Tokelau had all the
resources and started hiring mercenaries.
There were plenty to choose, there were pink
slips clogging up the drains. They had gone
out a few weeks after the incident. Workers
unions were armed and mobilized. For food,
which Tokelau was bountiful in after
purchasing it all immediately after the
incident, the unions could be hired up and
made into untrained armies that would impose
the will of the employer on the common folk.
Tokelau hired at first an aircraft
manufacture union, a car manufacture union
and some private extremist militias. The
president, his legacy and all of much of
history was destroyed or rewritten, fire was
all around. My family moved to Saskatchewan
and into a refugee camp. There was nothing
there to bomb, but that's for another
chapter.

The Russian army had disbanded, so had the


Spanish, Italians, British, Swedish, German,
polish, you name it, it was gone. Except
for the French. They started conquering up
territories around them. In a week they had

42 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

taken most of Spain and fringes of Portugal,


were miles from Rome, set camp on the Rhine
and had London under siege. They were
discreet. They could have taken more, much
more. The only thing opposing them was
friction. Although the governments and
armies and agencies and cetera had gone off
line, several broadcast stations came on.
Bringing French resistance messages along
the call sign TK002. The knowledge of
invasions and alleged atrocities was spread
amongst those formerly in the dark.

On June 17, all that the station showed was


the message:

“Citizens, grab your guns, band together and


attack the French! Do not stop resisting
till blood flows in the city of Paris.”

The problem with this message was that it


was in English and more than half of the
people who read it could not extrapolate a
logical message from it. The very next day,
It showed another message.

“Let Paris drown”

This was localized only a few hours later to


fit the audience, they got the meaning now.

43 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

What happened next is known widely as the


“Atlantis” incident.

44 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

Dialated

I was a depressed kid, sort of. About a


year before the revolution, I sat down and
planned out my funeral. It came down to the
paper like ice. Dead on, the way I really
wanted it, not the way that my
parent/guardians would assume. When I was
done, I tacked it up on the wall to be a
forever-lasting monument to my wishes. It
won’t end up like that now, I’m sure. After
the revolution and relocation, what I could
remember, I rewrote. It was something like
this:

• It was to be done at the University of


Washington arboretum, around noon.
• It was to be a memorial service, as I
wanted at that time, and still do want,
to be cremated and my ashes spread in
random and unexpected places.
• There were to be punch bowls and cake,
along with my favorite music playing in
the background at a deafening volume.
• There were to be several LCD monitors
with pictures of me with family and
friends. And if I ever got around to
it, a video of me singing like at Andy
Kaufman’s funeral.

45 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

• There was to be in each program a copy


of the lyrics to “Always look on the
bright side of life” by Eric Idle.
• About twenty minutes into the service,
everybody was to start singing the song.

“… Life’s a piece of shit,


When you look at it,
Life’s a laugh and death’s a joke, it’s true.
You’ll see it’s all a show,
Keep ‘em laughing as you go,
Just remember that the last laugh is on you,
And always look on the bright side of life…”
the chorus would sing.

I planned a small service, since at that


point in time; I was convinced that there
were only about twenty-five people in the
whole world who actually liked me. Thanks
to modern technology, I later found the real
number to be somewhere around eighty.

“Invite the media!” the note said.


“The TV stations, the newspapers and the
radio guys. Invite all that can come. Come
all and rejoice in the cynic’s demise.”

46 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

The last noel

O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum,
vie treu sind Deine Blaetter,
O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum,
vie treu sind Deine Blaetter,
Du gruenst nicht nur zur Sommerzeit,
Nein auch im Winter, wenn es schneidt,
O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum,
vie treu sind Deine Blaetter.

The first Christmas after the incident was


allowed, as it took several years for the
rag tag group of techno-terrorists to gain
full control. The militaries of the world
did much of what was needed anyway.
Billions are estimated to have died from
unrestricted pointless combat. What was
left over were the non-combat ready. Id
est: The weak, the women and children and in
many cases, refugees from the United States.
I don't know whether or not there still is a
heartbeat in the middle east, in Africa, or
in Asia. No one I know has ever been near
there.

It was still the most wonderful time of the


year. There were no cars, much less people,
and no corporations. It was Christmas the
way that Jesus would have wanted, and

47 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

thought of. Me and my family went for a


walk. It was cold out, but the main reason
was to cheer everybody up. It had been a
hell of a year. The sky was dark and rain
was the forecast. It made slush that was
impossible to drive through. Nobody had to,
though. There was no Oil currently being
produced or sold anywhere. It was just too
expensive to even remove from the ground,
you couldn't turn a profit from it.

This was a Christmas setting which had not


been seen for over a thousand years. With
the businesses dead, so was Santa Claus.
There still was the overwhelming presence of
peace on earth, goodwill towards men and be
thankful for what you've got. We didn't
have much. We had recently moved from a two
story house on half an acre of land, to a
much cozier place. We now lived in the back
alley between a former state liquor store
and a plasma donation center. Five feet by
forty. Three garbage can style wood
stove/oven/fire pits, plenty of comfortable
corners to rest in, and bedsheets made from
the Life and Arts section of a newspaper
from May.

We stood around the fire, singing carols for


hours until my sister fell asleep on her

48 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

feet. My parents put her to bed over in one


of the back corners. I pressed a button on
my watch and the alley was illuminated dimly
by the beautiful aqua green backlighting. It
said:

“AM 3:28”

I said:

“Goodnight.”

and I fell backwards and onto the cement.


It didn't hurt, I was already dreaming by
the time my head hit the ground.

49 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

A Memo to the President

A few weeks before the incident, I wrote a


Dr. Seuss-esque story for a school
assignment. It was kind of stupid, but some
people I knew wanted me to send a copy,
along with some illustrations to the subject
of the story. If I remember it all
correctly, it should go something like this:

“This is the story of a bird named George.


An eagle-like creature, born from the forge.

It was the best of times,


It was the worst of rhymes.

The Quigglebirds sat up in the spatula trees.


Floated in the clouds as high as could be.

He sat atop a tower of Wood.


Below, some were up to no good.

Obscured, below the Fricklebugs and


Pinkerton mice.
Many suffered, contracted with lice.

The Vet said that this must not be!


The Meese come back with purple pee!

The discomfort was universal,

50 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

It was near the point of sans reversal.

So, below the leaves and branches, laid


A snake of ill repute, he said:

“If we bite at his tree,


he will come down and talk to me!”

The plot laid out by an union of Malice.


He gathered many ants to storm the Palace.

They fired the weapon,


A beam of light.
It struck like napalm,
Just out of spite.

The big bird fell far from his home,


When he landed, his head rested upon a stone.
Animals, all his subjects, gathered round,
Their faces plastered with frowns.
Angrily, they turned their backs,
He lay there like a burlap sack.

They left him to his lonesome.


When he awoke no one helped him.
“Why have they left me?”
He thought in his head,
He got up and said:

“I don’t need them,

51 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

They can all rot in heck,


I will have my vengeance, go my men!
Give them the lost scowl of Gregory Peck.”

No one was there to hear his yells.


They had all gone to hell.

His troops were deployed in the land of the


Dragons,
Including those who had got on the bandwagon.
Garrisoned in Brickelstands that touched the
sun,
They stayed in all day and night, not much
fun.

He flew over to his brother,


Crossing the lake,
Although they didn't have the same mother,
They were siblings in cake.

“I will not help you...” his brother said.


“You neglected your people's health,
and helped the foreign, instead.”

George flew south, through the forest.


Decaying from obvious signs of molest.

Much sap had been sucked from the trees.


More then there ever need be.

52 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

He paid no attention to the wasteland below,


It was his doing, that much we know.
He had seen this landscape, and thousands
before,
But, during travels had found them a bore.

George finally arrived at the home of the


king of the south.
He knocked on the door, also known as the
Dragon's Mouth.

“I will not help you...” the king said


“Your Brickelstands stand on our soil
without merit.
And what we really wanted last Ramadan was a
pet ferret.”

He continued to fly south,


to a place he'd never been.
Not a sound came from his mouth.
He was lost from his next of kin.

“I will not help you...” Said a little black


mouse.
“Your people took my children, my wife and
my house!
Why do you call for me when you are down?
But, when I am there, upon me, you frown!
You expect me to pay respect to you?
You treat my people like stew.

53 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

You leave us there to simmer,


Just remember to set the timer.”

George flew for days and days without end,


Floating in the sky while he let his wings
mend.

He saw much of the world while up there,


listen:
“On Dasher, On dancer, a man named Chuck Van
derBlintzen!”

He said to the man:


“Oh Santa! I need your help, listen quick!
Much of my people are dying, sick!”
“George, I know what can help you over this
scare.
All you need to do is to reform health care.”
“How, Santa, how do I do it?
Oh, how I wish and I wish that I knew it!”
“Bird, calm down, come off of this fright.
I have some knowledge that will be to your
delight!”

The red suited man whispered in his ear.


Then, to the bar, to talk over some beer.

“You see my fine feathered friend,


Weapons cause problems and death to no end!
Take their aid away and let them fend for

54 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

themselves.
Divert these funds to pay for our health!
At first, take the money from your pants.
But, trust me, this totally worked in France!
Try that, and then you'll see.
Your popularity ratings will go as high as
me!”

With his wings fully healed, and his gut


filled with booze.
George flew home to take a long snooze.

When he arrived home, his heart filled with


dread,
Half of his citizens were nearly dead.

He called off the wars, brought the troops


back home.
His old Brickelstands converted to domes.

He immediately funneled the money,


From war to hire a dozen healing bunnies.

He was paraded about the forest floor.


Although the country’s coffers were still
sore,
And though the streets were still paved with
gore,
All the Meese (and Zabufellows and
Gargledypyeeth),

55 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

Would now have strong lungs, clear eyes and


some nice, shiny teeth.”

I got an F. I'm starting to think that I


was guilty by my association with Katie.
Damn you, Mr. Hastings!

56 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

The Battle of Seattle

57 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

Sappy

“Please, somebody, for the love of god! Kill


me! Kill me now! Please, I beg of you!”

That is the rally cry of the miners when the


wake up bugle blows. Everybody here hates
their job, because in my future, Mining is
an insult that they give to the moderately
intellectual types because there is not
enough room in the Accounting circuit or
whatever. The only good news is that it is
the highest paying job on the labor track.
We mine for diamonds, to heat the
intellectuals homes with their laser heating
systems and what not, and for coal, to heat
the hovels of the other laborers. It would
nearly be defined as a intellectual job, if
there were a library. The printed word is
something that I have not seen in years
unmeasurable. Mining, nonetheless is a
blindingly monotonous job, I recommend all
youngsters who read this to avoid questions
related to rocks on their placement exams.

Day in, day out. We get Sundays off, to do


what we will with, although there are few
options, since we are confined to our
quarters for twenty four hours straight.
There is only the holograph and the ration

58 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

dispenser to entertain us. I dream one day


of being promoted out of this hellhole, or
being nearly crippled for life, either way,
I would be transferred to the surface again,
or put out of my misery.

Escape is something that everyone here


believes to be impossible, including me.
There are limited design diagrams to aid new
recruits, but they are no good for what is
really needed. They show how ore, minerals
and jewels leave the facility. There is
also the vacuum lift up to the automated
processing and maintenance floor. There
have been at least 17 unidentifiable,
possibly human bodies found up there jammed
in the machinery, crushed and utterly
inhuman. If you could escape, it would be
through the supply corridor, although there
are two wall mounted Gatling gun drones that
shoot anybody who fails to give a passcard
in the time alloted. There have been very
many bullet riddled corpses along there too.
I don't know what is beyond that door.
There could be anything, everything that
anybody has ever said about it has been
hearsay and rumor. I doubt that the mining
supervisor knows.

I don't really care that much about it

59 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

though, now that I've let off some steam,


I've come to terms with the fact that the
only way out of here for me is through the
body disposal incinerator. Advancement
would just lead to more responsibility and I
strive to avoid that. Now that I've written
this all down, it can be used as evidence to
arrest me. I hear a knock at the door.

“Who is it?”

60 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

The Boy Who Sang St. Jimmy During a Math Test

“You will have 15 minutes for this test, you


may listen to music at an appropriate level,
and you may borrow a piece of scratch paper
or a pencil from me if you need it.”

I asked to borrow both, not because of my


lack of materials, but because I was too
tired to try to get them out. I got a
corpse formerly known as a pencil with gnaw
marks all over it and the eraser cut clean
off. She passed out the assignment sheet,
it had 15 problems for 15 minutes, but I was
good at these ones. When the last of the
assignments met the last of the people
without them, she opened her mouth.

“The test has now begun, I will give you a


warning when there is only two minutes
left.”

Let's see.

“x2 + 10x = 39
x2 + 10x -39 = 0
a=1 b=10 and c=...”
“Light of a silhouette
He's insubordinate

61 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

Coming at you on the count of 1,2,1,2,3,4!”

He's singing again. Betsuro had an ungodly


habit of listening to his music so loud that
they could hear his headphones over in the
next portable. Then there was the even
ungodlier habit of yelling it out loud, in
public, while people were attempting to pass
the math finals. Where was I, oh yes.

“c=-39.
-10-{4*1*-39}/2...”
“I'm the patron saint of the denial
With an angel face and a taste for suicidal
Cigarettes and ramen and a little bag of dope
I am the son of a bitch and Edgar Allen Poe
Raised in the city under a halo of lights
The product of war and fear that we've been
victimized!”

“Jonas, please put away your headphones”


said Ms. Gravis, apparently reading the
minds of everybody else in the class that
wanted at least a B. He didn't hear her,
apparently.

“-10-{156}/2...”
“I'm the patron saint of the denial
With an angel face and a taste for suicidal
ARE YOU TALKING TO ME?”

62 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

“Jonas please step outside!”


“I'll give you something to cry about.
ST. JIMMY!”
“I'm calling security, if you don't step
outside right now!”
“We're trying to get some work done here!”
“I really hate to say it but I told you so,
So shut your mouth before I shoot you down
old boy!
Welcome to the club and give me some blood,
And the resident leader at the lost and
found.”
“Hello, Security, Jonas is acting up again,
can you send someone down now?”
“It's comedy and tragedy
It's St. Jimmy
And that's my name...and don't wear it out!”

With that he was gone. Ms. Gravis couldn't


have handled him if he was aggressive. She
was shorter that the principal was wide.
She died two weeks later, like the rest of
the teachers. And I did all that scratch
work to find that there was no solution. I
got the test back the next day and found
that I had got that one wrong.

63 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

The Atlantis Incident

This is what happened. Dr. Marshall


Vonnegut, a computer programmer in New York
City, had been working on the “Atlantis
machine” for at least twenty some-odd years.
It was a weapon, not like a bomb, but not
reusable, that when planted and armed could
quickly erode super deep layers of sediment
so that the ground level would rapidly sink
into the ocean.

It was estimated by Dr. Vonnegut that within


an hour, all you would see of the old France
would be the very tips of the Alps. Spain
would become the world's largest barge,
eventually colliding with South America,
causing worldwide flooding, earthquakes and
famine, but that would be at least a hundred
years off. The rationale he used to justify
this was very simple.

“Our grandchildren can rot in hell!”

He was a confirmed bachelor.

There was a program that he had bought the


licensing agreements from. It was a small,
insignificant geography program designed to
run on nearly any quality Windows computer.

64 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

I say Windows computer because at the time


that the plan was carried out, the vast
world wide computer market was dominated by
a company named Microsoft, which is latin
for 'Very small and comfortable'. Not a
very fitting name, as they controlled all
markets of ones and zeroes, from a giant
global network called the Internet to
applications made for school children to
make visually pleasing presentations with,
even down to the very scripts and files that
kept these things from scaring the non-
techies. This last component was called
Windows. Windows was a Quadri-Chromal
dragon that flew around the inside of a
computer, greedily eating up little ones and
zeros, making itself fatter and fatter till
it exploded from the computer's natural
defenses trying to kick it out. These
defenses were collectively called 'Adware'.

This geography program, was a piddly little


thing. All it could do was guess about what
the weather patterns could be like in a few
weeks based on shifty data collected by
those con-men at the National Weather
Service. It's lack of accuracy, features
and popularity made it basically useless.
But, Dr. Vonnegut was one of those few
people who actually registered it past

65 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

Shareware.

“What a sucker!”

Said the CEO of Atlantis Software


Corporation every time he saw that someone
had actually bought a license. Even it's
creator knew it was garbage. So, this
universally recognized piece of crap had to
have a name. The CEO wasn't feeling very
creative when he was finished with it, so he
just labeled it:

“Atlantis 3”

As it was the third product in the Atlantis


line of products. He died a few years
later, laughing all the way from the bank to
the grave. He was diagnosed with Lung
Cancer, and he knew what that meant, no more
customer service!

Atlantis products inefficiently used the


same file extension for everything, *.aof.
It didn't matter if it was for FTP transfer
logs, or for a Word Processed document, or
for a 'Atlantis 3 Rendered Geography Map'.
Here's a big shocker, geography maps and
etc. worked in the 'Atlantis Machine' very
well. Although there wasn't much that they

66 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

could do.

On June 31st, Dr. Vonnegut loaded a file into


the machine labeled France.aof. On July 4th,
Frenchman Pierre Chateaux typed the access
code for the machine into the control panel.

“******” he pressed enter.


“Code Confirmed” said the screen. He
pressed enter again.

In your mind's eye, you may see the machine


as a hulking monstrosity, a thing of ungodly
proportions. It may look like a computer
from the 60's, taking up most of the good
parts of a room. You may see a Jacob's
Ladder on the top, pulsing electricity up
and down, crackling at a steady pace.
Thousand of switched may adorn the control
panel. Most of them not well marked.
Strobing lights and occasional chirps
informing you of the impending apocalypse.
If you thought that any of that was true,
you'd be absolutely wrong!

The real Atlantis Machine was a memory chip


that was inserted into a modified cell
phone. The chip contained data far beyond
my comprehension, that by clever use of ones
and zeros could rearrange all sorts of crazy

67 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

things. I try to not think about it. The


cell phone had had it's firmware modified so
that when the correct 6-digit number was
typed in, the timer could be set, and when
the timer went off, the device would be
active. Anything it touched would rearrange
itself in the tragic way I mentioned above.

“Doctor?”
“Yes, who is this?”
“It's Pierre. I'm ready to board.”

Pierre Chateaux had a flight booked from


Marseilles to London, then he had a
connection flight from London to JFK.

“Do you remember the code?”


“Yes, I think I do. I have it written on my
palm... let's see, is it 122...”
“No! You fool! Anybody could be listening.
Now listen, when you get rid of the device,
wash your hands off.”
“Why?”
“If you want to live, do as I say!”
“Uh... how long do I set it for?”
“Set what?”
“How long do I set the timer for?”
“Oh... give it about four minutes. If it
hits the ground, the agent still should be
primed enough to activate. Remember, we

68 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

don't know the full effects of this thing,


so when you get to London, run to your
connection.”
“See you in New York, doctor!”
“Yes, yes, just get on the plane!”

Both sides of the phone call clicked off.


About 20 minutes into the flight, the
captain turned off the fasten-seat belts
light and Pierre jumped out of his place,
ran to the lavatory, knocking several people
ahead of him to the ground. He was in, and
he was ready. He read aloud to himself,
taking a passage from the ancient scroll
known as the back of the hand.

“122789”
“******” echoed his phone.
He pressed enter and then set the timer so
that the screen said this:
“Countdown :4:11”

He read his watch and it told him it was


about 15h17. He pressed enter and dropped
the phone into the swirling dark blue
liquid. It was gone. Shot out the plane at
four hundred miles an hour and free falling
towards a large Parisian suburb. Pierre
went back to his seat, looked over his
itinerary, then flipped open a magazine. An

69 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

American tabloid. Apparently, that week


aliens were impersonating the Pope.

“3:21!!” said the screen.


“11.10.1” said the microchip.
“click.” said the circuit board.
“Zweeeeeeewombachuko!” said the now
activated Atlantis machine.

He reached the London airport and as he was


hurrying over to his connection, some very
tall guards came over and kindly asked for a
small moment of his time, hoping that it
wasn't too much of a bother. They took him
to an interrogation room, sat him down and
clicked on a recording:

“Doctor?”
“Yes, who is this?”
“It's Pierre. I'm ready to board.”
“Do you remember the code?”
“Yes, I think I do. I have it written on my
palm... let's see, is it 122...”
“No! You fool! Anybody could be listening.
Now listen, when you get rid of the device,
wash your hands off.”
“Why?”
“If you want to live, do as I say!”
“Uh... how long do I set it for?”
“Set what?”

70 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

“How long do I set the timer for?”


“Oh... give it about four minutes. If it
hits the ground, the agent still should be
primed enough to activate. Remember, we
don't know the full effects of this thing,
so when you get to London, run to your
connection.”
“See you in New York, doctor!”
“Yes, yes, just get on the plane!”

The guard pressed the stop button on the


recorder, took the tape out, replaced it
with a new one and then pressed record.

“What is this thing?”


“I'll start from the beginning...”

He went on to spill the beans. I don't


remember the rest of the conversation, but
at that moment, I needed to go learn a dead
language.

71 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

Exit – Salida

“ZZZZHOOOMMM!!!”

Another plane hit the ground.

For some reason, for several months after


the revolution, planes dropped like flies
hitting the bug zapper. They'd get to a
certain altitude and then nose dive.
Another reason to ride AMTRAK, I tell you!

“If you aren't afraid, you obviously aren't


paying enough attention.”
“ZZZRHHHRR, CRRRRUNJHCHSHFSZZXTTT!!!”

There goes another one.

72 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

Justifiable Homicide

It was cold, very bitter. It was a


beautiful but chilly February night in
Seattle. The grass was beginning to freeze,
the mammals were wandering towards the heat
of inside, and particles and pieces of
water, five miles up, were forming into a
well set pattern, ready to go ice. Me and
Katie were standing outside of a prefab
building. An orange neon sign glowed so
brightly that we conjectured it was seen by
those snowflakes countless leagues upward.
The sign was designed to make the outlines
of the Roman Alphabet. The shapes were
interpreted by my lab coated scientists as
saying:

“Hot Doughnuts Now!”

We were outside of a doughnut sales


establishment, debating the ethical what-ifs
of whether or not to enter. It was cold I
wanted to go in because I knew a fundamental
truth about indoors. It is always warm. My
teeth were chattering an obscure tune I
cannot name.

“Let's go somewhere else.”


“Okay.”

73 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

We got back in my car. It, by the way, is


nothing special. A 1997 Hyundai whatever-
it-is. I have the misfortune of being a guy
with a purple car. The key turned and
pistons roared. Ancient corpses of long
gone animals were being fed to them and they
wholeheartedly guzzled down the slippery
black goodness. It starts so many wars,
none good. Before long, we were speeding
down Aurora avenue, a highway the length of
the state. A very dirty place. I flipped a
switch on my dashboard and my CD player came
on. It was near the end of a song:

“I must be getting older


I'm starting to eat my vegetables “

“Where do we wanna go?”


“How about a Phở place?”

Phở (pronounced 'fa?' in English) is a


traditional Vietnamese noodle soup served in
a number of meats with beef broth. It tis
quite good. In Seattle, there are literally
dozens of restaurants that serve it as the
house specialty. There are quite a few
variations, but it maintains a similar
recipe in each one.

74 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

“Sure.”
“Which one?”
“How about that one on Greenwood?”
“The fancy one?”
“Yeah.”
“You've gotta let me borrow this CD. I
gotta rip it!”
“Okay, why don't ya take it when I drop ya
off.”
“Okay.”

I turned the steering wheel all the way to


the right twice and the vehicle made a
ninety degree turn almost immediately. We
passed through some red lights and other
bureaucratic tape designed to slow me down
and then we were there. I'll stop your
boredom and not discuss dinner. If you want
to know more about Phở, then move to a city
with a big Asian population. That's the
brakes, sorry.

When dinner was done, We got back in my car


and I took her home. I parked across the
street from her house. The lights were out,
her parents were asleep. We said our
goodbyes, kissed each other, said some more
goodbyes and kissed some more kisses and
then she went inside. The clock on my
dashboard said:

75 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

“AM 1:25”

I don't remember if it works or not. I


pressed the on button on my CD player again,
pressed shuffle

“She eyes me like a Pisces when I am weak.


I've been locked inside your heart-shaped
box for a week.
I was drawn into your magnet tar pit trap.
I wish I could eat your cancer when you turn
black.”

76 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

Saskatchewan

There was one tune that kept playing in my


head. The firing squad came out. Their
rifles loaded with metallic death. My
father was tied to a post down range. Each
executioner was a professional marksman,
skilled only in the craft of death on
demand. They were all dressed in black,
sweating to near death in the Arizona heat.
My dad had little but a blindfold left to
his name. But, he had done no crime. There
was no book of laws to disobey.

We ran to Saskatchewan when the U.S.


Government fell. To escape the rioters,
like many. When they came, they took us
all, down to Arizona. They are among the
few humans that I truly hate. They dress in
complete darkness, not their hands, nor
faces, nor legs are ever seen. They are
more like robots, without emotion or
compassion of any kind. Greedy bastards. I
didn't have to see the rest of my family
die, but I had to see my father get it.
They came over and took ten random guys with
them. They took them out into the plains,
over to a patch with some wooden posts.
They were tied up and left there for a few
hours.

77 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

The marksmen came out. They lowered their


guns onto a wooden guide rail and aimed.
The officer gave them a few minutes to check
the quality of their ammunition. When they
were all confirmed as ready, the officer
gave a countdown.

“On the count of one, fire at will. 5...


4... 3... 2...”

A vulture landed on a green cactus. It had


flowers with a light pink tinge. Years of
evolution had led to the vulture not being
bothered by the ever present spears jutting
from the desert tree. From my vantage point
in a abandoned garage converted into a jail.
There were old, but newly installed metal
bars on a square known as a window. The
little men with white lab coats inside my
head were scurrying about their office,
looking through file cabinets, rummaging
through their computers, for a sound file.
When it was located, it was sent to the
broadcast station, to be sent to the dead
man down the way. My dad received it as the
ammunition pierced his chest, and then his
lung, and then his spine, and then out the
way it came in, eventually hitting a cactus
a few feet behind him. The last words he

78 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

heard, even though they were not aural,


were:

“You showed me everything


Oh, you took me by the hand
Puppy dogs and Lincoln Logs
And castles by the sand
You gave me the courage
To spread my newborn wings
Like Mayonnaise and Marmalade
And other spreadable things
So I guess you are my hero
And there's something you should know
I want to make it clear,
So I'm going to sing it slow
If you weren't a man,
And my father, too,
I'd buy you a diamond ring,
And then I'd marry you.”

79 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

Who was Miranda?


The wake of Betsuro's death would tremor for
many days to come. It was not something
trivial like the death of a pop singer, or a
painter. This was the ultimate opportunity
for web cleaning. The bureaucracy loved the
smell of blood in the air. They are violence
whores who stop at no where to deliver their
unique brand of punishment. Nailed bat
beatings, skin flaying, breaking bottles
over the head, digit amputation, rape,
starvation, bronze knuckles, Chinese water
torture, tonal “therapy”, any and/or all of
these done with family present. You name it,
these sick bastards will do it. Keep your
mouth shut. You are already guilty.

When they came for me, the sense of dread I


had had for the past twenty five years came
to fruition. It was finally the time that
they caught the biggest heretic that I know.
I was pretty glad that they finally arrested
me. Mining is long, hard, unrewarding work.
If it weren't for my personal journal, I
would have had to mine those god dammed
rocks until I get pushed off of a cliff in
thirty or forty years to save on retirement
home dues and to save space for the higher
castes. In the old America, I remember,
from history class, that there was a

80 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

document known as the Constitution. This


constitution guaranteed many of the things
that I never had. Free press, a ban on cruel
and inhuman treatment, and some vague things
about alcohol and voting.

It doesn't matter whether you are guilty.


You are guilty. Lie detector tests, video
footage, eye witness testimony, none of
those will clear you. There are several
cases of murder per year where the victim
comes up and testifies before the court,
before god, that he is alive, and no crime
took place. Even, no, especially in those
situations the murderer is hung an hour
later and the victim goes swimming, at dark,
in the harbor, with their clothes on, and
trendy new cement sneakers.

“Dexter Baker... Click.”

The police had arrived. This had to be the


first police officer I had ever seen. Too
bad there were three of them. They keep a
discreet uniform, black metallic uniforms,
helmets that emit subtle clicks and beeps at
a constant rate along with the sound of a
camera lens adjusting focus or zoom. Every
time they talked, they apparently made a
squelch like noise as you would here from a

81 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

walkie talkie.

“Yes, that is me.”

“You are coming with us... Click.”

The accent was familiar. Something haunting


floated in their voices. Someone I knew a
long time ago.

“You are coming with us... click”

They all had the same voice.

“Don't you have to read me my Miranda rights


or somethi...”

I shouldn't have said that. I was answered


with a sharp elbow to the gut. I was amazed
how skillfully it was performed. I had
neither the time to block or brace. It hurt
really badly. How could a guy who was
smaller than me deliver a blow like that. I
was floored, mentally and physically.
Because, when I am being beaten, I'm
thinking about how to write it down when I
can walk again. They injected something in
my arm while I was on the floor trying to
breathe through the acidic vomit. Everything
went dark.

82 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

“Hey, buddy, you awake?”

I was in darkness, too weak to stand, or


even move.

“Yo! You awake?”


“Yes.”
“They'll never let us go.”
“I know.”
“They'll probably shoot you.”
“Yeah.”
“Torture, then shoot you.”
“Okay.”
“Torture, skewer, then shoot.”
“I think I've...”
“No! No, wait, torture mercilessly for
answers, skewer, torture for fun, then
they'll leave you out for exposure to kill
you, that way they don't waste metal, and
you fertilize the ground eventually!”
“Shut up!”
“Sorry, just trying to make conversation.”

I was gifted a few precious minutes of


silence.

83 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

A Bag of Fiddly-Sticks

I woke up, nothing special. I showered,


nothing special. I got dressed, nothing
special. I ate some synthesized Wheaties,
breakfast of chimpanzees, maybe sweeter than
usual, but not that pleasant or special. I
turned on the Noozocrohn (Tokelaui for TV)
and it's volume knob/on-off switch turned
especially not special. The momentary color
phasing was unique and substantial but not
important to or even noticed by most humans.
What I saw was something special.

“Martial Law declared by Supreme Order of


Justice. Stay in your quarters and do not
turn off the unit or change the channel.”

I flipped it from channel 7 over to channel


13. The unit silently yelled at me:

“DO NOT CHANGE THE CHANNEL!”

A few seconds later, it started audibly


yelling at me. And it wouldn't shut up. I
tried changing the channel, it was locked
up. I tried ignoring it, that never works,
it just yelled louder and louder. I tried
flicking the volume knob down, then tried
turning it off. That worked great, the

84 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

words went away from the screen, the one


problem was:

“DO NOT CHANGE THE CHANNEL! DO NOT CHANGE


THE CHANNEL!”

It was still yelling. I did sneak a glimpse


at that wonder of nature known as the
electronic phosphor organizing, so
beautiful, all the visible colors on at one
time for less than a second, it was a prize
that only I appreciated and even could see.
It wasn't like that with televisions back in
the day, you see, we had different systems,
more efficient ones.

“DO NOT CHANGE THE CHANNEL!”

It was still yelling out of the midget


speakers. Although the safety was supposed
to prevent things like this. I grabbed for
the power cord, yanked it and the cable
broke, the unit was not connected to the
wall anymore, and never would again as the
plug was still stuck in the outlet.
Something was happening that I knew defied
nature and every machine law on record.

“DO NOT CHANGE THE CHANNEL!”

85 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

Although it was physically impossible for


this to be happening, I still searched for
alternatives. The plug had three strands of
former wires coming out of it, emitting a
beautiful rain of instant death. For an
ant. I believed that the removal of power
would send my aural sensory units on the
road to recovery from a world class ass-
whooping, but it did not.

“DO NOT CHANGE THE CHANNEL! DO NOT CHANGE


THE CHANNEL! DO NOT CHANGE THE CHANNEL!”

I take a quick blink and I am out of my


quarters. I was in the complete darkness.
I say “THE” complete darkness, as there is
no darkness that compares, it is like
complete blindness, you can make it through
an area better with your eyes closed. Well,
I was in the darkness and I was just
standing there, when a super bass note was
played. I jumped, and out from the ground
came a phosphorous white and green smoke,
too dark and bleary to see through. There
was a far away sounding, heavily distorted
and completely indistinguishable electric
guitar being played by unseen hands. I
closed my eyes, I knew that I didn't want to
see what was coming. Another bass note
played and my eyes shot back open against my

86 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

will. Then, I saw what there was to be


afraid of.

A thin man, very short. Old, also. He had


a limp on his left leg and a cane to
compliment it. Had one eye comically larger
than the other. And what would be described
without dignity as a diaper, but with
dignity as a loin cloth. His hair was
peculiar as well, it was silver and yellow
highlights matted over brown straight hair.
It was pretty hilarious, but slightly
intimidating.

Nothing compared to that big-ass eye he had,


it would stare a hole through you bigger
than a tank shot. A dead on hit to your
soul. It could read your mind and see
malice, greed, kindness and any other form
of intent before the thought reached your
brain. He stood there looking at me from
his comfortable position of about thirty
feet with the white and green smoke shining
his ankles up so well that they could win
themselves a blue ribbon at some hick county
fair or something. His face was familiar,
not:

“Hey, I saw that guy on the bus the other


day.”

87 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

It was more like:

“Hey, I saw that guy in the newspaper this


morning!”

Kind of familiar.

He lifted his right leg up into the air as


if he was about to take a long step over
some feces on the ground. He slammed it
down on the ground and the bass note played
louder than ever, as if it was right behind
me, but I didn't have the balls to look
right now. Well, he had slid forward
several feet. He raised his foot up again
as if he was a caricature of a pacific
islander cannibal shaman practicing a dance.
Slam, boom and several more feet. Slam,
boom and even more feet. Slam, boom and he
was right in front of me.

If there was a moment that I was any more


scared than this, I could not remember it.
He just stood there, analyzing my reaction
to him ice skating on sound. When he was
done, I saw the fragments of words forming
together into wholes on his extensively
cracked and chapped lips.

88 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

“Boo.”

I laughed, he laughed, she laughed, we


laughed, he laughed some more.

Wait, she?

I looked around in the infinite blackness


for the feminine laugh, one more thing
familiar. I turned around and saw the image
of the guitar player. I blinked, I wish I
didn't. It all faded to black, then white,
then I was back in my apartment and heard
the friendly greeting.

“DO NOT CHANGE THE CHANNEL! DO NOT CHANGE


THE CHANNEL! DO NOT CHANGE THE CHANNEL!”

I tried blinking and I was rewarded with a


two second glimpse of a reddish-brown
negative.

“Come to me...”

Her face was not like the:

“Hey, I saw that girl on the bus the other


day.”

Or at all like the:

89 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

“Hey, I saw that girl in the newspaper this


morning!”

It was a more personal, almost as if...

I heard a knock at my door, and I was fully


back in reality.

90 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

Land of Milk and Honey

I flopped down in the chair, swung drunkenly


with a non-cooperative fist at the little
circle on the black Box. From the blackness
came the blue lettering pronouncing the name
of the parents of the device:

“Dell.”

I pressed the power button on my speakers.


They were off because they have a tendency
to beep loudly in the middle of the night
for god knows why. The cordless phone
strobed some bright lights and then abruptly
died. The computer was up to the welcome
screen and I clicked my icon, thus advancing
to the desktop. AIM fired up immediately.

“Logging on to Fugiware”

It then informed me that Betsuro was online.


I clicked on him and started typing.


(18:56:42) fugiware: YARK!
(18:57:13) Jose Ole: wtf?
(18:57:41) fugiware: NVRMND! Whatcha doin?
(18:58:02) Jose Ole: Just surfing. You?

91 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

(18:58:14) fugiware: French Homeworks. Sigh.


(18:58:38) Jose Ole: dude...
(18:58:46) Jose Ole: French is
sooooooooooooooo gay.
(18:59:15) fugiware: dumbass, you don't have
a langue.
(18:59:25) fugiware: do you?
(19:00:01) Jose Ole: Nah, everybody uses
English anyway.
(19:03:54) fugiware: Aren't you Japanese
though?
(19:04:14) Jose Ole: SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO?!?!?
(19:04:27) Jose Ole: That don't matter.
(19:06:34) Jose Ole: I did have it for a
quarter last year.
(19:06:45) fugiware: what happen?
(19:06:50) Jose Ole: dropped it...
(19:06:56) Jose Ole: The consonants are
fucked up.
(19:08:12) fugiware: ROFLMAO!
(19:08:22) Jose Ole: dude, check yer kaps.
(19:10:01) fugiware: srry...
(19:12:45) Jose Ole: I gotsta goes.
(19:13:06) fugiware: s'fine
(19:13:12) fugiware: gb
(19:13:36) Jose Ole: gb

Jose Ole has signed off.”

I surfed Wikipedia mindlessly for a few

92 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

minutes, until the computer decided to mimic


someone being at my door. A little balloon
popped up and said:

“TotalPinko is now online!”

I popped AIM on up and typed some randomness:


(19:33:56) fugiware: AYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!
(19:34:27) TotalPinko: Hey fonzie.
(19:35:03) fugiware: wsupwitchu?
(19:35:21) TotalPinko: nm...
(19:35:26) TotalPinko: u?
(19:36:03) fugiware: nm either.
(19:37:14) fugiware: wango get a bite?
(19:37:23) TotalPinko: whats?
(19:37:36) fugiware: food. Stuff you ingest.
(19:37:49) TotalPinko: o...
(19:38:08) TotalPinko: s'late! Wes got
schools 2morrow!
(19:38:26) fugiware: s'not that late, i'd be
atcha house in 10 tops.
(19:38:52) TotalPinko: srry, cant. Stuffs
to do.
(19:41:25) fugiware: k, cu l8tr.
(19:41:38) fugiware: i love you
(19:41:51) TotalPinko: yeah, bye.

TotalPinko has signed off.”

93 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

I was a little dismayed by her resistance to


me picking her up, or that she didn't repeat

“I love you...”

to me. I knew that I would see her again


the very next day, so I didn't worry that
much.

94 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

Movin' on up!

A knock came at my door. I was back in


reality.

“Package.”
“Door Unlock.”

My door opened up, sliding upwards in to the


ceiling and out of reality.

“Come in.”

The new delivery boy came in, as green as


possible for one his age, fresh from the
academy. The delivery boys at our facility
had a pesky habit of dying. If curiosity
killed the cat, then delivery boys are
straight up pumas. They are usually the
ones who try to escape, to see the sky.
They are the ones who we find in several
pieces in the maintenance floor.

“You are Dexter Baker, right?”


“Yes...”
“You got a package.”
“Okay.”

He handed me the package. It was about the


size of a shoe box. It was wrapped with

95 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

Christmas paper. I looked at him, as if it


was a joke, and he looked back into my eyes
with great excitement. I tore the wrapping
paper off briskly and crumpled it up,
tossing it into the proper receptacle. He
was still standing there. It was a shoe
box, an Adidas running shoe box. The box
had writing on it.

“To: Dexter Baker


From: Yer secret admirer.” Said the box.

It was very sloppy handwriting. The


delivery boy was still standing there.

“Well, are you going to open it?”

I opened the flap of the lid and saw the


contents. There was a yellow folded square
of plastic and an envelope. I took the
plastic out and threw it onto my bed, then I
took the letter and opened it up. Reading it
aloud, it went like this:

“Dear Mr. Baker,

You have been selected for promotion by the


High Official Council of Mining. You are
now being assigned to a supervisory position
at the Eureka Mining Facility. Enclosed is

96 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

an access card to be used to safely exit


your facility through the supply corridor.
When you are past the security systems, wait
for a shuttle and then insert your access
card into the input matrix and you will be
swiftly transported to Eureka! Should the
shuttle not arrive within the time bubble,
you may need to don the yellow safety suit
included in this package and walk to the
transport terminal along the path outside.
Take special care in putting the safety suit
on, as incorrect usage can lead to
instantaneous death from the toxins of the
outside environment. We have found you to
be a reliable worker in past situations and
we have placed our trust in your abilities.

Signed,
Donald Smith
#2654543857”

There was a look in that delivery boy's eyes


that told me he was up to something. A look
that was a mixture of jealousy and the
culmination of the planning of an
assassination attempt. He would kill me
without remorse if there were less security
here. But I had a feeling that he would try
anyway because of how green he was. His

97 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

skin looked as if it was turning purple from


me reading that letter out loud. Everybody,
young and old, wants out of this place.

“WHAT!”
“What?”
“How long have you been working here?”
“Too long, kid, too long.”
“How could someone with your record and low
ability scores get promoted?”
“That's usually how it works.”
“This is bullshit!”
“You want out of here, too?”
“Yeah, it's too cold here.”
“Where are you from”
“Uh, I was born in Antartica.”
“Oh.”
“Will you take me?”
“Sure.”

This guy was pissing me off. I decided that


he would never make it past the door guards,
but it would be an entertaining scene. I
kept reading.

“Transit Schedule: 1400 to 1600”

I looked at my watch.

“1353” It said to me.

98 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

“Okay, let's go.” I said back.

I grabbed the plastic off of the bed and


placed it back in the box, went over to my
desk and took out some personal trinkets and
records, some money too. I would never come
to this room again, so I was taking
everything that I wanted to keep. I walked
out the door. The delivery boy followed me
out. We left the door open, free game for
kleptomaniacs. I was walking towards the
Supply Corridor, and he started talking.

“I always wondered what it was like outside.


So you're Dexter Baker? M'names Andrew,
Andrew Knox.”
“You look a little young for a delivery boy.”
“Got in the academy at three, don't remember
my parents.”
“Okay.”
“Do you remember life before the revolution?”
“Of course, how old do I look to you?”

As I said that, I was reminded of an old


bootleg called “Old Age”. It reminded me of
so many things. I have a theory. That
theory states that the real memories kick in
at around five years old, and things you
remember from before then like songs or TV
shows or games, are acknowledged as

99 Out of 174
Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

familiar. They turn into something that


reminds you of home. Any Nirvana song has
the power to do this to me. I will stop
here to avoid another copyright suit.

“Well, I don't know. They might have erased


your memory or something.”
“Do you think they have that power? No one
can get inside your mind, that is the only
safe zone someone has. You're only in
danger when you move, speak, write,
gesture... the point is, this ain't the
movies, kid.”
“What are the movies?”
“Damn, you newbies are dumbasses. You don't
know anything they didn't teach you.”
“Ok. So, what was it like?”
“What was what like?”
“Before the... you know...”
“It was... heaven, I wish I could return,
but there is no room on the train to the
past.”
“Oh.”

Thank God, he was silent after that. We


were at the supply gate, the only border
between the safety of the sheet rock and the
mystery of the world outside.

“Insert Access Card!”

100 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

I put the card in the machine and it shot


back out. The doors opened. We walked
through them and we were in a place that I
had never seen before, it was the Human
Transport Station. I sat down at a bench,
he walked around in circles. The clock said:

“1408”

We sat there, I at the bench and he on the


floor for hours. I looked at the clock and
it said to me:

“1724”

I then looked over and saw a sign over a


door that said:

“Tram Broke?”

I unfolded the plastic tarpy thing and saw


that it was shaped like a nondescript human
figure. I read the instructions aloud.

“FUGIWARE INTERNATIONAL All-Purpose,


Disposable Safety Suit. Model FSS#4

Thank you for buying our products. We offer


the highest quality products in America.

101 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

This model is equipped with an Ultrasonic


emmiter designed to ward off predators and
do so in an efficient manner. All non-human
creatures within a 25 foot will run in
terror when the wearer enters the area.
This suit is also designed to protect
against unsavory chemicals and certain
levels of radiation from affecting the
wearer.”

Below this description was a diagram on how


to put the thing on. I followed this half-
heartedly as I suited up. Andrew looked
like he was in a deep Buddhist trance or
whatever.

“Yo!”
“What?”
“We're going up now.”
“But, I don't have one of those fancy suits
done you got!”
“It'll be fine kid, stop bitching and get
over here.”
“But, I'll probably die!”
“You'll definitely die when they find you in
here.”
“Okay.”

I opened the door with the sign that said


“Tram Broke?” above it. It was an elevator,

102 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

the one safe way to the surface was here. We


got in and Andrew pressed a button. The
Button said:

“Surface.”

103 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

Deus Ex Machina

“The path of the righteous man is beset on


all sides by the iniquities of the selfish
and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he
who in the name of charity and good will
shepherds the weak through the valley of
darkness, for he is truly his brother's
keeper and the finder of lost children. And
I will strike down upon thee with great
vengeance and furious anger those who
attempt to poison and destroy my brothers.
And you will know my name is the LORD when I
lay my vengeance upon thee.”

There comes a time in every book where


something out of the ordinary happens,
something not in sync with the rest of the
book, something impossible by the rules
already laid down, this little something is
called a moment of suspension of disbelief.
Every book has one, you may have found
several already by the time you got to this
chapter. Things that just don't add up,
well, in the real world, not in fairyland,
things are not equal to what math tells us
they should be.

How could the passengers on United Flight 93


call their families to say that they never

104 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

would be seen again, if a Canadian research


team two years later proved that there was a
1% chance of the cell phones even getting
adequate reception to know what network they
were on from that altitude. How do so many
people fall for triangle schemes and
subliminal messages?

Break Open Your Cold Ones! Toast The Padres!


Enjoy This Championship Organization!

As I have said, there comes a time in


everything for one of those, and here is
mine.

Late 2003, A frigate in the south pacific


ocean. US Navy. Full compliment. Secret
experiment.

Admiral Tippetappa was an old sea dog. He


had spent nearly a hundred percent of his
seventy years in, on or next to the water.
Fifty-two of those years he was on the
payroll of the United States Naval Forces.
Twenty-eight of those years he had his own
ship, with hundreds of underlings to do what
consisted of his bidding. He was a giant of
men, seven feet tall, three hundred pounds,
he could pick anybody up, and throw them off
the deck if he wanted to. He did, on

105 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

occasion, too!

Admiral Tippetappa, against both of our


better judgments, is not the main character
of this chapter, neither am I. He was on
shore leave when this story happened. What
is is another inanimate object, still
classified by the government in your world,
but lost into time in mine. The one
difference that you should concern yourself
with is, what is the sky like? As you will
see, in your world, there is sun, clouds,
great blue yonder, and what have you. There
is also the constant threat of rain, sleet,
snow, unbearable sunshine, and a condition
known well by many in the northwest as
overcast. But in the land which I live, and
let me tell you, it is not that way.

The main character in this chapter is the


USS Sturmheld, a Knox class frigate
stationed in the experimental devices
section of the Department of Defense, a ship
with few equals in the minds of Admiral
Tippetappa and myself. The character should
be thought of as an organism, it's circuits,
personnel, and weaponry make the brain,
blood and defense mechanisms respectively.
The creature called Sturmheld was out in the
south pacific ocean. The south pacific ocean

106 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

was a segment of a continuous body of water,


known as an ocean. Water is a basic
chemical that is essential to the survival
of carbon based life forms. It's recipe is
well known by humans, as they all learn how
to make water while they are in their
youngest forms, before they learn how to
make soup from a can. Water is very easy to
make, all you do is add one part O to two
parts H and stir briskly. Humans know the
recipe, but do not understand the process of
how it is compiled. There are several
possibilities of how water can turn out:
OHH, HOH, and HHO. They all taste the same
but have varying textures.

So the beast named Sturmheld was afloat in a


giant vat of OHH called the South Pacific.
The beast named Sturmheld had another beast
deep in it's stomach, this beast was called
Olivia. Olivia was an experiment done by
the united states military to see if weather
manipulation powers could be given to a
corporeal life form. Olivia was a
chimpanzee borrowed from the San Diego Zoo,
she would be borrowed, but not returned.
San Diego was a city in the southern region
of a state of the United States called
California. In 2013, a massive earthquake
caused the north American plate to rapidly

107 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

start overlapping the pacific plate, causing


everything west of the San Andreas fault
line to sink into the ocean in a matter of
hours, but that is not what this particular
story is about.

Olivia had lived a good life for a


chimpanzee, she was born in captivity at the
Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, and traded
along with her mother for a giraffe when she
was three months. She was now in San Diego.
A place in the desert, not a place where
monkeys are used to, in many ways the
Woodland Park Zoo was more like a native
habitat for her race, but she liked it. She
liked the heat. California was known for
many things, one was the supposed endless
sunshine. She was in the cargo hold of a
cold, dry, metal beast now, a beast called
Sturmheld, but originally christened
“Margaret”.

Dink. Dink. Dink. The doctor was coming


down the metallic stairs, clanking his boots
on the steel with each luxurious step. He
had a hypodermic needle with a syringe in
his hand, the syringe was full of a chemical
much harder to build and describe than
water. Humans are strange creatures, they
tackle some of the most complex projects in

108 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

the universe, but pass off the easier ones


as impossible. The chemical in the syringe
in the hand of the doctor who was coming
down the metal steps to the beast named
Olivia who was in the belly of the beast
named Sturmheld, nèe Margaret, which was
afloat in an endless vat of OHH called the
south pacific was one that would change the
world globally, but no one cares about that
now.

The doctor, now past the bottom of the


staircase, and already unlocking the cage
holding Olivia after that extremely long
sentence, was squeezing little squirts of
the chemical out of the end of the needle to
make sure that the syringe had no air in it.
When he was confident in the lack of O in
the plastic tube, he suddenly stabbed the
beast named Olivia in the shoulder. The
chemical released from the needle and into
her bloodstream before she could clean his
clock, and upon the right series of
conditions, she was out like a light. The
drug, or La Drogue as they would have said
in France, was a sedative, a appetizer for
what else was about to be flowing through
her bloodstream.

The doctor took a new syringe out of a

109 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

package, grabbed an unlabeled bottle from a


bag on the table, and filled it up to the
twenty-five mL mark. Again, he tested the
syringe for air, it passed. He walked over
to the comatose monkey and inserted the
syringe into it's arm. The chemical again
passed from syringe into the animal's
bloodstream and started to take effect
immediately. He dragged the sleeping beast
back into it's cage and locked the door. He
turned on the camera above the cell and set
it so that he could view it from his office
atop the metal staircase.

Dink. Dink. Dink. He scampered back up


the staircase, washed his hands, turned of
Armed Forces radio and resumed eating his
ham sandwich. The host on the show that was
currently on was a shock jock, a Disc Jockey
who specializes in trying to disturb a
certain element of the populace with satire
and occasionally scatological humor. He
wasn't that funny to the doctor that day.
That's alright though, I though he was off
that day too. The eating of the sandwich
and the listening to the unfunny radio and
the waiting for the monkey to awake carried
on. The amount of sedatives he administered
to Olivia was guaranteed to keep her out for
several more hours. By that time, he would

110 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

observe the behavior the monkey showed from


the new drugs in it's system.
“Damn good sandwich.” The doctor said to
himself.
“Hey Earl, you got the stuff in the system
yet?” The walkie-talkie squawked at him.
“Yeah, just a second...” The doctor named
Earl reached over and turned off the shock
jock.
“Ok, whazzup?”
“Got any coolies in the fridge?”
“Yeah, come on down, bring the Sporter with
ya, it'll be hilarious.”
“Okay, I just got off shift, so I comin'
over now.”
“Okay, see ya Chuck.”

A few minutes more and the seaman named


Chuck arrived at the laboratory of the
doctor named Earl armed with a vintage
American Civil War musket named Sporter.
The doctor grabbed two beers, both
coincidentally named Heineken and gave one
to Chuck. Earl turned the Shock Jock named
Howard back on. There was an interview with
a stripper on the show. It was not of much
interest to Earl or Chuck at the moment, as
they were about to commence in their
depraved version of wild game hunting. The
beers named Heineken had incisions made in

111 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

the tops of their head and had their bodily


fluids drained out by the Humans. It was
only a few minutes till the beers named
Heineken were dead and the beers named
Miller were next on the chopping block.

“Let's bring out the salad!” Chuck then


threw a carrot down into the cargo bay and
pounded on a button with a closed fist. A
beast called a Kangaroo jumped out of a
newly opened cage, intent on finding the
carrot, near death from lack of nutrition,
part of an experiment on the extremes of
hunger. It found the carrot in seconds,
picked it up and started gnawing on it.
Seconds later, something came out from the
barrel of the gun named Sporter, it was
metal death incarnate and it ripped a hole
the size of a golf ball right through the
fragile chest of the starving kangaroo. It
delicately flopped down onto the ground as a
trickle of blood mixed with carrot frothed
out of its mouth.

The body count was now up to five, two beers


named Heineken, two beers named Miller and a
Kangaroo named Jack. Chuck grabbed two more
Heineken's out from the mini fridge under
the desk. Earl looked through a code chart
and carefully picked the right button for

112 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

the moment. A tiger bounded out of his cage


and wasted no time getting to work on the
fresh kangaroo carcass. This tiger,
coincidentally named Peter, was part of an
experiment on animal behavior under stress
and famine conditions. His participation
was complete. Another shot echoed
throughout the cargo bay. The tiger was not
dead though, not yet. He took another shot
to the head and one to the rear before he
collapsed on top of the kangaroo carcass.

“Looks like our drugged monkey pal is still


asleep.”
“He wouldn't have made much sport though.”
“Better than that damn kangaroo.”
“Yeah, hey, listen, I gotta get back to my
post soon, my shift starts in a few minutes.”
“Okay, but help me dump the bastards.”
“Yeah, yeah, let's go do it.”

Dink. Dink. Dink. Dink. Dink. Dink.


They both went down the metal stair case at
once. When they got down to the center of
the cargo bay, they stopped to admire their
handy work before they threw them overboard.
Chuck left the musket named Sporter in the
control room and brought down his service
rifle to his hip and shot the tiger once
more in the head for good measure, with good

113 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

assurance that the kangaroo named Jack could


not fight back. Earl grabbed the kangaroo's
corpse and took it over to the incinerator
chute.

“Damn! He was a bigger bastard than I


thought he was! Help me shove him in here!”
Chuck came over and slammed all his weight
against the kangaroo's literally dead ass.
That did the trick.

“That did the trick.”


“Roar!”

They both spun around just in time to see


the corpse of the tiger named Peter slam
against the wall of the cargo hold. They
ran around the corner to see that the steel
bars on the cage mandated to Olivia had been
torn apart. There was silence, then the
distinct clicking of the Control Room
intercom coming on was heard.

“Gentlemen, you and your sports are quite


repulsive. You humans must learn to think
of more entertaining hobbies that torturing
creatures which you perceive to be of a
lower intellectual level than you. Just
because we aren't born with your
sophisticated vocal chords doesn't mean that

114 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

we are dumb asses. We monkeys actually had


developed quite complex algorithms on a
number of subjects before humans rose to
power with their hairless bodies. I might
not be able to overthrow you all from out in
the middle of the ocean, but I can do
something to assure that you humans are no
better than worms for quite some time to
come!”

“Chuck, do you see a monkey up there?”


“Yeah”
“Talking?”
“Yeah.”
“We're gonna die.”
“Yeah.”

Things around them started to rattle. Their


hair was starting to blow around. A
miniature tornado was forming around them,
they didn't move, they knew as well as I
knew that there was no point, they were
already dead. They were thrown all about
the cargo bay, being battered against the
walls and the ground and the ceiling. They
were then thrown down to the ground and
pinned there as a barrel started to fall
from a storage rack mounted to the ceiling.
It was spinning gradually as it fell and the
fall was so great that it gave Earl the

115 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

chance to read the last word that he ever


would. He had expected it to be God. It
turned out to be...

“Napalm...”

The entire cargo bay burst into horrid jelly


death, All the animals, beer cans and people
were covered in hell. The little chimpanzee
named Olivia was safe in the control room,
armed herself with Sporter, took a swig of a
beer that once belonged to a sailor named
Chuck, switched from the Shock Jock to
classical music and went kamikaze with “In
the Halls of the Mountain King” as the
soundtrack to her suicide. The mutant
monkey named Olivia put the musket named
Sporter up to her chin, took one last swig
of beer and then pulled the trigger. It
went click and the ball was supposed to go
through her head. But it was not loaded in.
The musket ball named Peter had been used as
the second shot on the tiger. A tear rolled
down her eye, she brought the barrel down to
her stomach, and thrust, bayonet first, into
her. Blackness oozed out and hit the metal
floor, sloppy and congealed. It was like
jam.

To describe the event with any clarity from

116 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

this point onwards, you must view it from


space. A large black mushroom cloud erupts
and forms a cloud of blackness, absolute
blackness. This cloud absorbs water from
the ocean at a gradual rate at first, but it
starts to accelerate around 2010 and by
2018, the oceans are completely dry, the sun
is completely blacked out, and the giant
worldwide cloud is raining twenty-four hours
a day. And then Humans have to move
underground because it is warmer and dryer
there.

The event was not discovered by the general


public until the summer of 2006, but not
many people payed attention to it, there
were more important things on their minds.
Remembering this story is making me question
why I chose to accept that promotion in the
first place. Here I go, up to the surface,
again. Goodbye, World!

117 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

The Eulogy for the Queen of the Damned

“--<LIVE:ACTION NEWS at 7! With Chet


Darringsford and the Action News Team>--
We bring you breaking news from St.
Laurentis Cathedral down here in Downtown
Seattle. The memorial service of Terrorist
Katie Larriste, the teenage girl who was
allegedly part of the liberal terrorist
group known within law enforcement circles
as the 'Knights of Tokelau', her memorial
service is welcomed outside by several
thousand protesters, some with guns, others
with insults. Her boyfriend, a teenager who
went to her school, but was not a member of
the alleged group spoke earlier... and we
have a sound clip of it... Frank? Roll
sound clip #4! Idiot!”

'I remember when I first met her. How


friendly she was. How funny she was. I had
no idea she was in this group. I don't
think she was. She was just shot
accidentally in the cross fire. She loved
Che, the Russian peasant peoples, Mr. T,
Campbell's Beef n' Barley soup, and the
Nirvana song, In Bloom. She listened to
that every day. She put that on right
before we had... Never mind, I have to go.
I can't take this anymore.'”

118 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

“You can master the intricacies of building


the perfect ham sandwich but you can't
remember to flip a goddamn switch on cue!
What do you mean we're live?... Well Chet,
soon after Mr. Lewis spoke, and subsequently
left the cathedral, the mob which had been
holding back stormed in firing weapons and
several hundred were hospitalized from
gunshot wounds and trample injuries. No
word yet on the official number of dead,
though. Back to you in the studio, Chet...
Ya air-conditioned bastard.”

“Thanks, Chuck. Now we go to some breaking


news, it seems as if a large, black
raincloud has been draining the level of the
ocean at a phenomenal rate. It seems this
explosion was caused by a secret Navy
experiment that went awry, scientists at the
University of California at Berkeley say.
They also say that in a few years, this
cloud could cause an unprecedented global
climate change as it continues to grow
exponentially. Wait, more breaking news
here, it seems as if the French Military
forces have made a dash to capture Rome as
the Italian Government filed for bankruptcy
and collapsed yesterday. There is currently
no government in Italy, so, France claims

119 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

that it is intervening to prevent chaos and


looting. Several months before the incident
happened, there was a great spike in
conscripts to the French Military, leading
many to believe that France was either
involved in, or had prior knowledge of the
plans to destroy the World's economy. Well,
folks, as the world collapses around us, and
armageddon begins to unfold, remember that
Action News will be here, broadcasting the
news till the end. Good night, and try to
have a pleasant tomorrow.”

I don't know what it means. I don't know


what it means, when he says yeah. I wasn't
particularly a Nirvana fan, or a Green Day
fan. I liked it all, it flowed through me.
I can't stand the media. They all hate each
other and try to steal each other's wives,
salaries and toupees. In this, I speak of
the Anchormen and women. Mostly just the
men, the women are tolerable. I still have
a tape of the news report that had the
article in it. It was released on MCLI
disks a few years ago under the 'Glorious
Rise of the Revolution' Collection. I say
Capitalism is still prevalent today, but it
is committed by the Government, so that must
be Fascism. I fell asleep in my closet with
the lyrics reverberating in my head.

120 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

“He’s the one


Who likes all our pretty songs
And he likes to sing along
And he likes to shoot his gun
But he knows not what it means
knows not what it means
And I say yeah.”

121 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

Nature Walk

The elevator door closed shut. I grabbed


the bar, a smart move I soon found out. The
elevator started to move, and that did not
agree with Andrew's body. He was thrown to
the floor by the rage of gravity.
I never knew how far down the mining
facility was, and since I didn't know how
fast the elevator was moving, I would never
guess accurately by myself.

“Ding!” The elevator said.

The door opened. We were in a forest named


Issaquah, there was a city here, as there
was a city named Seattle only a few miles
away. This forest named Issaquah was not a
dry forest, it was a rain forest. I stepped
out of the elevator and immediately heard
the familiar plinking of rain drops on the
plastic helm of my suit. Show tunes started
playing, we started dancing and singing and
we both lived happily ever after in a
spacious mansion in the good part of town.
We have three sturdy children which are
nearly ready for sale to the gypsies!

I looked up into the sky and saw more of the


infinite blackness. Few blasts of white

122 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

smoke came from it, these were free falling


rain clouds. Thunder and lightning also
struck all around. Andrew stepped out of
the elevator and felt the first fresh water
hit his head ever. He freaked out, started
screaming and crawled back to the elevator.
Desperately trying to make it go back down
to his home. It was stuck. I struck out on
the trail without a word and without a
companion. For a while down the trail, I
could hear him screaming much less from pain
and much more from xenophobia.

I was back in my element and I loved every


minute of it. I unzipped the helmet and
washed my hair. Not painful, much
refreshing.

There's a drought at the Fountain of Youth,


and I'm Dehydrated. Troubled times, you
know I can not lie.

I walked to the music of the familiar


weather for about half a mile before my
psychosis came back to bite my ass. The
rest of this chapter is officially declared
a non sequitur.

“Sir, we have found the Alcohol Well.”


“Good, get samples and report to the mother

123 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

ship.”

I was going crazy, some say I am crazy. I


looked behind me, and to my sides, there was
nobody there.

“So, Crylaon, Did you get the report about a


human being in the area?”
“Yeah, pretty funny. We both know that
humans are allergic to water.”
“But what about those reports of ancient
above ground settlements of humans that held
over ten million of them?”
“I've had enough of your conspiracy theories
for today, Surlok.”

I plugged my ears, but their voices were


even clearer.

“I heard that humans are twice as tall as


us, have dozens of rock hard teeth, and
screech at an insane volume when you get
close to them!”
“Have you ever seen a human?”
“Well, no.”
“Do you have any proof that they are any
smarter from the apes that they devolved
from?”
“Uh...”
“Do you have any proof that they have even

124 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

been to the surface of this blasted planet?”


“Well, we've only been here a couple days
and haven't searched much.”
“We are not going to find anything Surlok,
how can I get that into your head, you are
the stupidest...”
“Wait, there's something big coming down
this trail towards us.”

I stopped to listen.

“It has stopped, just around that bend,”


“Arm your blaster. On kill.”

I took a step or two to the left, and tried


to look down the bend. I couldn't see
anything, so, In a moment of feeling daring,
I ran down the hill.

“It has increased speed!”


“Arm your damn blaster!”

I got around the bend, and saw two midget


figures. I was still too far away to see
exactly what they were.

“Shit! It's a human! Fire!”


“I told you they were real!”
“Just fire, dammit!”

125 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

I stood still to make it sporting. Two


glowing yellow rings came whizzing towards
me, one hit me in the leg, and one hit me
right across my exposed face. They both
bounced off me and didn't hurt at all after
the momentary sting of being smacked by
something on the face.

“Sensors show no effect on the target.”


“Stand you ground.”

Emboldened by the sense of invincibility


brought on from surviving the equivalent of
gunshots, I walked down the path till I was
about ten yards from them and then yelled
out.

“Nice of you to think in English!”


“He can communicate?”
“Man, I told you humans were real!”

I flipped the switch on the Animal blocker


device and thus turned it off. I walked to
conversation distance with them. They were
textbook Roswell. Grey, big ass heads with
big ass eyes, small nostrils right above
small, lipless mouths. They were about
three feet tall. I said:

“Which one of you is Crylaon?”

126 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

“I am.”
“Raise your hand.”

The one on the left raised his tiny arm.

“Crylaon, I have crawled through the valley


of darkness with no more than a candle to
guide me. I brought with me a sea of lost
children. These children were lost at the
malls, grocery stores and post offices of
their home towns. I delivered these
children to the Shepherd of the North, as he
to this day, corrals the herd of children to
the land of milk and honey, he is my friend
and he knows me as such. I can not allow
the demons and hellfire to cast a doubt upon
my parallel journey, to find a place to
sleep. What say you?”
“Well...”

As he was about to answer, I caught him


across the face with a vintage roundhouse
kick. Very anti-climactic, I know, but that
is what I did. His corpse fell to the
ground, green blood oozed out of the
significant hole I had left when I
demolished the entire left side of his face.
I was now a killer, but it was in self
defense, kind of.

127 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

“Surlok, was it?”

He had his mouth gaped open. In shock from


the vulgar display of power and brute
strength I had just previewed to him.

“Hey, wake up. You want some more faux-


biblical ass kicking or do you want to tell
me about that alcohol sample you picked up?”
“Uh, It's about 40% alcohol and it was
flowing near some berries that I do not know
the name of.”
“You want to give me all of your samples?
How kind!”
“Uh, sure.”

He gave me some vials of clear alcohol.

“Breakfast of Champions!”
“Uh, sure.”

I took a swig from the vial. Tasted like


shit. When I was done, I bent down to his
level and let the alcohol talk for me.

“You want to live, don't ya?”


“Yes.”
“What is your kind's purpose here on Earth?”
“What is Earth?”
“Earth is this planet.”

128 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

“Oh. We plan to colonize.”


“Tell your alien buddies on your mother ship
that the king of the humans will exact a
terrible revenge on your kind if you try to
colonize. Humans are highly irrational
creatures who will stop at nothing to defeat
you until you and your kind are just piles
of dead bodies. Humans have weapons of
unimaginable description, and I am not
armed. I killed your companion with my
feet. Look at his face and glue it onto the
bodies of every other alien that you care
about. Go colonize Mars, bitches!”

He ran away in fear. I doubt he knows where


Mars is.

129 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

Birthday Present

Julia Knox was only four years old when the


incident occurred. Contrary to the
mannerisms of trees, humans, if cut open, do
not display rings for each year. They
instead show gore and gristle that few like
to see on occasion. She was a resident of
Paris, Just like the gentleman on the TV
show. He was her neighbor. There was only
one fundamental difference between them.
The one that separated the men from the
goldfish. He would die, and she would live.
She would live to drown another day.
Several years down the road.

“7:25!” she heard from across the street.

She had a instant case of anxiety, sprung


out of bed and out the door. She was in her
nightgown still, but kept running. This
irrational fear actually let her live. A
few minutes of running had passed and she
came upon an inner tube on the sidewalk. It
was a chilly day in the making. She decided
to sit down in the tube. A few minutes of
sitting helped to calm her mysterious
anxiety. Until the ground started shaking.

It trembled with a force unknown to god

130 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

himself and wished upon none. It shook the


sky, cleaning the pollution from the
conscience. It shook the foundations of the
buildings and threw cars across the
arterials. Julia held desperately to the
inner tube and hoped for the shaking to
stop. It didn't care. The entire landscape
started to slide towards the place she
sprinted from.

The sidewalk turned from friendly and


helpful walkway to conveyor belt, speeding
everything on it towards the emerging ocean.
The inner tube became an adventure in
itself, as it was mysteriously covered in
slipperiness. She turned about several
times while trying to stay mounted as it
slid down the street. There was the sound
of catastrophe in the air, floating and
loitering like an unwelcome guest. She
reached thirty miles an hour as the little
women in her head with their pink lab coats
tried to figure out what could cause this
ride.

Her parents, Enis and Gertrude were dead.


Her brother, Andrew, was drowning at the
moment. She would have died first, since
she had lived in the attic for the past six
months.

131 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

“Dad! I don't want to move down into the


basement!”
“Julia, we just can't afford a bigger house
right now. We need your room for the baby,
it's just closer to our room.”
“Why can't Andrew move?”
“I don't have a good reason for that, but
you'll have the bigger room! He'll have to
stay up in that cramped attic, while you
have that humongous cellar to crawl around
in!”
“But... there are spiders down there!”
“Call me if they start to bother you.”
“What if you and Mom ain't here?”
“Then ask Andrew. He can do it too, you
know.”
“I don't like Andrew!”
“Why not?”
“He owes me money.”
“Where'd you get money?”
“No! We were playing Monopoly and he
cheated, he didn't pay me rent for passing
'Go'!”

She was afloat in a sea of debris and


corpses. The stench had not set in yet. It
had been only five minutes.

“Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to

132 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

you, happy birthday dear Julia! Happy


birthday to you.”
“Yay!”
“Blow out the candles!”
“Why?”
“It's your cake.”
“I don't like cake.”
“C'mon! It's your birthday.”
“What's that?”
“The one day in the world, where everybody
pays attention, just to you!”
“Why.”
“Because it's your special day!”
“But, why do they do that?”
“Who wants to open presents?”
“Okay!”

She started to rip frantically at the


closest paper item.

“Wait! That's my calendar!”


“Sorry.”
“Try this one.”

Her father handed her a shabbily wrapped


present, one with no ribbon or label. It
had several large tears and it was very
crumpled. It looked like it was just taken
from a garbage can or a present drive for
homeless children.

133 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

“And this one is from your brother!”


“I dunno.”
“Where is he?”
“I dunno.”
“Where's your Mom?”
“I dunno.”
“Oh, well. They had their chance, let's
open more up!”
“Okay!”

They finally got to opening the decrepit


package. It was a box filled with silver
coins. These were American coins, only
usable at a collector's shop. Her vision
faded out on the metal coins, since her
birthday, she had kept them in a burlap
sack.

She was afloat in the sea of pestilence with


a black tube keeping her above the flow of
mud and debris. Millions instantly crushed
by the pressure of the rising water.
Although the water, as we all know now, was
not really rising, it was merely staying at
about the same level as most of the Iberian
peninsula was seeping down beneath it,
actually, it was more likely to lower the
sea level. She was left to float out in the
pestilence for a week, the scent was growing

134 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

by the hour, but she just sat there. She


had no idea of the depth of the situation.
She didn't know that her dad, mom and
brother were two miles down. There was
nothing to entertain her during the week but
the ancient pieces of American currency.

“Where was America?”

The little women in pink lab coats typed


into their fancy little learning computers.
America was a place she read about in books,
heard in a negative sense from her father.
America was a place supposedly down the
street, where she had never been. America
must have been down the alleys and back
streets of the downtown.

The helicopters soon came. They bore a red,


black and gold emblem. They called
themselves the Germans. She had heard about
the Germans from what her grandfather had
said about them. He told her of atrocities
he witnessed. Below is a transcript of what
she could remember:

“Julia, we escaped from Germany because


there was an evil man named Hellter. He was
killing all of us Gooes and trying to take
over the world. We came here to France to

135 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

escape Hellter.”
“Who's he?”
“I just told you, sweetie.”
“Who is he?”
“He's a bad man, but he's gone now. The
Americans helped us get rid of him.
Whatever your daddy says about the
Americans, you can always trust them to help
you if you need it.”

136 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

A La Gare

“Seattlia Regional Transit Center”

The sign said. I was finally here. I had


walked for miles through the supposedly
toxic rain. I had fought off an invasion of
hostile aliens that don't exist. I repeat,
do not exist. It was a small building,
about the size of a two car garage. It was
gray, and apparently made from aluminum. It
was in the middle of a clearing, one too big
to have come about naturally. There was a
ring of pine trees in a diameter of one
hundred feet around the building.

I walked over to the door, and pulled on the


handle. I met a thing called dry. Dry
welcomed me in with it's warmth, I said:

“Thank you.”

The room was white tile, floor, walls and


ceiling. It was a small and dingy place.
There were entirely ugly paintings on either
side of the room. They screamed pointless
Avant-Garde. There was a black bench in the
center of the room, with a black lamp
hanging over it. The bench looked like it
was made of chains and then covered in tire

137 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

rubber and sheep bones. There was an unlit


stairway in the back left corner. There was
a neon sign hanging over it, glowing with an
ancient, but modern, glow. It read:

“Departures”

I walked over and down the stairway, there


was no visible light coming from around the
corner. The bottom landing looked as if it
was infected with insects and bacteria and
mold. I reached the bottom and met all of
those creatures with the steel tips of my
shoes. There was a very brightly lighted
train station giving hope to any passing
transient. All along the corridor, there
were support columns made from cement,
painted egg-white. Between these columns,
there were black benches, like the one I
viewed upstairs. There were also ferns in
cobalt pots in between the benches and the
columns. There was a large green button on
the middle column. It had a large placard
over it that said:

“Press button to call tram.”

I pressed it and slowly, the outline of an


old New York Subway car appeared. But it
was not made of sweat, steel and bolts. It

138 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

was made of light. It sat weightlessly on


the tracks. It was bright and yellowish,
but not very descriptive. The doors made of
light opened and I stepped on. The doors
closed and it started to move into the
tunnel of darkness. When we were already
completely in the tunnel, the station now
out of sight, the train made of light was
extinguished and I started to fall.

139 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

Kentucky

“Thank ya kindly,”

said the astute southern gentleman in the


white suit. Apparently I had woken up in
the middle of someone else's conversation.

“Whatcha name, boy?”


“Dexter.”
“Ah, fine name, Dextah.”
“What's your's?”
“You call me the Colonel!”
“I'm in the chicken business, my boy. I
raise 'em, kill 'em and fry 'em up! They
quite fine delicious. Invented a new way to
fry 'em up, too. Faster, more efficient.
I'm franchising, boy, y'know what
franchising means, boy?”
“Well, it...”
“Exactly! People buy land, then pay me for
rent, resupplying and any other made up fees
I wants! If they refuse, theys don'ts gets
to bes “Chicken Fried: Kentuckies” no more!
It pure genius!”
“Uh, that doesn't sound very fair.”
“Capitalism, boy. Free market economy, its
whats separating us from the commies! If it
weren't for the noble deeds of the Colonel
and his Chicken Fried: Kentuckies, they'd be

140 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

runnin' 'mok throughout the whole of Canada


and be instigatin' border raids and attacks
like the damn Mexicans!”
“Communism actually would be better than
what I'm used to...”
“Yer a commie too, boy?”
“No, but I've seen some hard stuff.”
“Can agree with ya. I served in the Great
war! They don't calls me Colonel for
nothing! I led a platoon into Gallippy!
Lost over half a my boys in the battle of
Gulliavine!”
“I'm having a bit of trouble believing that
story, What country is 'Gallippy' in?”
“Damn, boy, y'all knows that even they don't
know which country wherever it with be!”
“Well, I've gotta go, uh, see ya Colonel!”
“See ya, boy!”

I was walking around in an apple orchard I


once knew. There was a setting sun, low in
the sky, dying as it bred, a new day, still
to come. In the sun, in the sun, I feel as
one.

There were scrawny apples that you couldn't


even pay homeless people to eat. I was
walking down the hill, off into the horizon,
when I felt cracking below me. I stopped
and the ground caved in, and I fell. I was

141 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

in a prismatic tube, falling without bounds.


It was strangely quiet. I fell some more,
then I heard something. A unique rendition
of something sacred to the patriots,
forgotten except at sports games by the
populous. It was a terrible, awe-inspiring
twisting of pain, virtue and Vietnam. It
was...

I hit a mattress. I was in a brick


apartment. I smelt the air, and detected a
medley of fruit, drugs and smoke. I looked
at the ceiling. I was in the 60's. I sat
up on the mattress and saw a black guy over
in the corner, with a mid-size fro and an
acoustic guitar in his lap. He was just
improvising and playing around. I opened my
lips and vibrations came from my vocal
chords.

“Hey.”

He seemed to take no notice of my sudden and


supposedly loud arrival. As if it was
normal for people to appear out of nowhere
and land on his couch. He just kept
strumming that tune. I looked out the
window, saw the Space Needle and the banner
that currently hung from it. My optical
sensors scanned the banner and sent signals

142 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

telling me what the banner meant. A man in


a white lab coat said to his assistant:

“Are you writing this? 'Goodbye 1964, Have a


Happy 1965!'. What do you suppose that
means?”

The assistant shrugged his shoulders. I


shrugged mine too. I knew what the banner
meant, unlike most of the people in my head,
but I didn't believe it. The guy in the
corner said:

“Hey.”

He was pouring out what was left of a bottle


of malt liquor onto his guitar. When he was
done with that, he ran over to a desk,
opened a drawer and brought out a pack of
matches. The matches were advertising the
liquor he just poured out. He lit a match
and dropped it into the cavity, lit it up
like a birthday cake, I tell you what.

“Oh, shit...”

he yelled. He was obviously very high. I


was still sitting on the mattress and he
went down his hallway and came back ten
seconds later with a rusty red fire

143 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

extinguisher. He carefully read the


instructions, stood 6 and a half feet back,
aimed and fired. A steamy liquid spurted
out, but not with enough pressure to reach
the fire. He threw the rusty fire
extinguisher at the flaming guitar and ran
out of the apartment yelling like a madman.
When the extinguisher hit the guitar, it
caused it to split evenly into the easily
definable parts of the fretboard, body and
neck. These pieces would soon be
unrecognizable from their consumption for
fuel. I would be devoured similarly if I
did not vacate in the fashion of the man in
the corner.

The ground beneath the mattress began to


cave in, and I was sucked back into the
prismatic pit. Again, I was falling,
falling, falling, falling. Finally, gravity
came back to me and I hit the ground with a
force of something terrible. I opened my
eyes and saw a sign at a bus stop that was
next to me that proudly labeled the
neighborhood.

“Crackton, a culture of diversity.”

I stood up and analyzed my surroundings,


there were trees in the side walk every

144 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

twenty or so feet that bore scrawny apples,


not unlike the kind I saw in the orchard.
The sidewalk was in terrible repair. The
windows of the buildings were all boarded up
and not a soul was seen anywhere, until I
turned around. I saw the good side of the
tracks. There were just white people, a
culture of monotony. It was even sepia over
there, compared to the harsh, but dull color
of Crackton. I picked up a remote that my
head had landed on. Everything over in
Cracker Town was moving really slowly, so I
pressed the Fast forward button. Green
letters appeared in front of me that said:

“Fast Forward >>”


Cars zoomed past, children ran down the
street in record times, a guy in an alley
netted dozens of pull-ups from a fire escape
in the second that it had been running. I
pressed pause.

“PAUSE ||”

green lettering down by my feet displayed.


The traffic stopped. The children. I was
testing the vagrant in the alley extremely
as he was midway through a rep. I walked
across the street and stepped over the
median, instantly turning gray and lifeless.

145 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

I walked into a market, the shopkeep was


resting his head on his palms, listening to
the 50's equivalent of a shock jock. A
miniature placard pasted on his apron read:

“Phil, Here to Serve You!”


“What does that mean?”

the little man in the lab coat said, his


assistant shrugged, so did I. I played with
the remote some more, I pressed the Menu
button. A screen popped up in front of me
that read:

“MAIN MENU:
CHANNELS: ... 1
COLORS: ... 2
TIMER: ... 3
OTHER: ... 4”

I pressed 2. Another screen popped up.


This one said:

“COLOR MENU:
STANDARD: ... 1
VIVID: ... 2
*SEPIA: ... 3*
NEGATIVE: ... 4
SOLARIZE: ... 5”

146 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

I was feeling very cautious. Otherwise, I


may have pressed two, or even five. I
really pressed one. The lab coated men in
my head still bicker to this day about the
pro's and cons of my choice. I left the
show on pause, and grabbed an apple from the
pyramid display, took a bite and tasted a
badly synthesized apple. It was tasteless,
I barely felt my teeth make contact. I
raised it up to get a better look, and saw
that the usual moisture of the fruit was
replaced by floating little ones and zeros.
I pitched the apple at the shopkeep, how
dare he try and fool the protagonist with a
gift of a binary-modified apple! I waited
to see his expression after the apple
impounded the entire right side of his face,
but it didn't hit him, I focused my vision
closer in and realized that the apple was
still in the place from where I had released
it. Not even a rotation had happened. I
looked over in the corner and remembered why
it was like this, I saw large green letters
over the wallpaper.

“Pause”

I pulled the remote out from my pocket and


pressed play. The tape slowly got up to
speed. The apple started to rotate, then

147 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

move, picking up speed, until it met contact


with the salesman's face. It shattered like
a light bulb. Some portions of the neck and
chin stayed with the torso, but the rest
flew around the room and landed in obscure
places. He was still listening to the
radio, until an unseen eye noticed me out of
it's corner, he turned his head, but since
there was no head to turn, he turned his
neck instead. Chords inside of his chest
cavity began vibrating, my aural units
picked up their signals and sent them to the
little men with white lab coats in my head.
No squabbling or color commentary, a clean
unadulterated message was delivered.
“Can I help you with something?”

I flipped out, looked away and pounded madly


on the remote. It continued until my
fingers navigated to a button labeled

“Eject”

Everything stopped and went black, I woke


up.

148 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

Rehash

A tube retracted from the back of my head


and I felt a vague sense of emptiness. IV
tubes and wires were pulled out of my arms,
legs and torso. A flap of cloth that was
covering my eyes was torn away. I opened my
eyes and saw, thru the guise of the little
men in white lab coats, the perpetual
grayness. A clear glass tube came down over
my head and sucked me out of my chair. I
was moving weightlessly and freely. Because
of the suction, I didn't hit the sides, I
stayed centered. I blinked, not because I
had to, but because I wanted to.

In my blink, photographs flashed, projected


onto my eyelids. I saw, at first, pictures
of me, with other people, but it soon turned
into celebrities. Malcolm X. Muhammad Ali.
Che. Kurt Cobain. Jimi Hendrix. The
photos finally fixed on the person I missed
the most. There was only one photo of us
together. I analyzed that one for the rest
of the tube ride.

“Cheese!”
“Whadya wanna do tonight?”
“How about we go to Green Lake?”
“Uh, sure, what would we do there?”

149 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

“Walk around, I guess.”


“Okay.”

Green Lake is an ocean of putrescence in the


middle of the city. Infinitely deep and
three miles around, it is contaminated with
a medley of duck poop and algae that leaves
an itch incomparable. There is an island in
the northwest corner of the mostly square
lake affectionately named:

“Duck Poop Island”

By many of the local children. It is not


uncommon to see the sidewalks around Green
Lake to be plagued with joggers, bikers and
walkers.

“RIIIIIIIINNNNNNNGGG!”

The school bell rang and I looked over at


the clock to confirm it. The clock
responded:

“2:15”

We were out. We took several buses who wish


to remain anonymous. And then we were
there. She kissed me on the cheek and I
kissed her back. We went over to a hot dog

150 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

stand. They had pretzels.

“Two pretzels, please.”


“With salt?”
“Yes, please.”
“Okay, that'll be $3.50, please.”

I flipped out my wallet, and there was


nothing in there. A moth fluttered out.

“15, 16, and 16.50, thank you and have a


nice day.”
“You too!”

I was facing a classic dilemma, should I be


a gentleman and pay for everything, even if
it sends me into thousands of dollars of
debt, or should I try to not be sexist and
let her pay for stuff too. As we were
walking and I was trying to find myself, she
tried to hand me my pretzel.

“Do you want it or not?”


“Sure...”

I grabbed it forcefully from her hand. She


nearly lost her pretzel.

“What the fuck!”


“Nothing.”

151 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

“Yeah, right. What's going on!”

The little men, in their little white lab


coats, pushing my buttons, were trying to
get me to say things, terrible things.
Things that would send me in a downward
spiral until one of us died or graduated.
Things like this were lounging on the tip of
my tongue. I'm really, really, really glad
I held them in. Instead, I said the best
thing that I could think of, in the best
tone of voice I could muster.

“I don't know if I like you paying for


stuff.”
“What?”
“I...”
“What do you mean by that?”

I was in deep shit. She gave me the darkest


look I had ever seen on her face. She
wasn't a charity case. In fact, she was
loaded. She always seemed to have at least
twenty dollars in her purse or whatever at
any time. She was still giving me that
look. She was pissed.

“What do you mean? You want to pay for


everything? Women don't need men to pay for
things, we could get along fine without you.

152 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

Why in the fuck do you think it's alright to


do shit like this?”

I said the only thing that came to my mind.


It was almost completely irrelevant, but it
was what was said.

“Leave it to Beaver!”
“What?”
“That's why I can't handle it!”

She was silent and not looking at me for a


few seconds. Then, she started cracking up.
She couldn't keep it in. I chuckled a
little to go along with it. We walked a
little more and the men in white lab coats
convinced me to apologize.

“Sorry, I didn't mean that, just got


stressed from other stuff.”
“No. It's okay, I don't mind if you pay for
stuff. Just more money for me!”

My head hit the wall. I had been shot out


of the tube. I got off of the floor, opened
my eyes, and scratched the bump on my head.
The first thing I noticed was the muzak,
then the white tile on the walls. The
ceiling was absolute light, the floor was
it's antithesis. I was at the end of a long

153 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

corridor. About a hundred feet down the


way, there was a white wooden door. There
were potted ferns every ten or so feet along
the walls and then every twenty feet, there
were black chain benches.

There was a sign hanging down from the


infinite light. It had letters on it, and
an arrow pointing down the hallway. It
said, according to the lab coats in my head:

“Main Office.”

I looked around for anybody else and then


started walking towards the door. It was
cold in that corridor. In temperature and
attitude. It was very, very lonely. I
started to get up to a jog, but then I was
there. I reached for the handle, and...

154 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

The Space Expedition

Inside this room, there was a console.


Basically a computer screen with a red
button below it. I figured that there could
be nothing worse than my current
predicament, so I pressed the button. A
little video started up:

“LOAD:\\\intro\video\Jupiter.video:::~

On the other side of the room, there was a


door nearly identical to the one I had
entered from. I walked over to it.

155 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

The Man Who Sold The World

So, I opened the door, and there sat a man.


He was thin, pretty old too. Shabbily
dressed and was in dire need of a shave.
One of his eyes was much bigger than its
twin. He had a shiny gold placard on his
desk. It screamed in bold, bank- Gothic
letters:

"Marshall Vonnegut, PhD."

His desk was extremely cluttered; the bulk


of the surface was horded by an antique Dell
computer. It looked like one from around
2002 and it had a big, black CRT monitor.
The rest of the desk was littered with half
done reports, knick-knacks and souvenirs.
The keyboard’s lettering was worn away from
over twenty-five years of documents,
spreadsheets and "Battlefield 1942".

"Can I help you?"

he said with a special upward bound cadence


to his voice. His eyes were analyzing mine
in an effort to overrun them and take the
ultimate bodily prize. Something composed
only of protein, treasured by some as gold.
The evil eye, that’s what he was giving me.

156 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

One time one of my middle school teachers


was out for a week with the flu because he
claimed someone had given him the evil eye.
"Can I help you?"

He inquired again. Inside his head, little


men in white lab coats were reading graphs
and staring at giant TV screens and writing
reports and poking at his synapses, eagerly
waiting for him to give a unique response.
He maintained his calm, although this had
been out of his habits for years. His
little white men sent a message to his vocal
chords, which then echoed their vibrations
out of his mouth, which traveled across the
room at seven hundred, sixty-one miles per
hour, and were intercepted by my aural
sensors and sent to my brain for decoding.
The little men in white lab coats in my head
processed this message then typed it into
their computers. I read their screen, it
said:

"Sir, are you lost?"


"No, I’ve come here for a reason."
"What is it?"
"Yes, I’m looking for Mr. Betsuro."
"Yes, just a minute, I’ll load him on up."

He pressed a combination of buttons on his

157 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

keyboard and a far away echo of machinery


came tumbling down from the ceiling.

“Excuse me, did you just say, 'load him up'?”


“Yes, he'll be here in a minute. In the
meantime, stand back.”
“What?”
“Unless you want to get hit by the screen
and probably die, step back about three
feet.”

I took several large steps backwards, and


soon after that, the sound that an elevator
makes as it free falls was heard by me. A
flap in the stucco ceiling opened up and
down dropped an LCD TV with only a single
button, a power switch. It was suspended by
two, equal sized, high-tension cables. When
it hit it's minimum level, it bounced back
up a little and then came back down. You
can always trust Newton, although he has let
me down several times this week. The colors
of the screen didn't phase, that only
happens on cathode ray tube screens. The
once black screen was instantly white.

“Loading is at about 75%, he'll display and


communicate when he's ready.”

A minute or two passed. Then I saw a face

158 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

hidden from me and the world for the past


twenty-five years. An Asian guy, around
seventeen, wore a familiar t-shirt and
smile. The little men in white lab coats
recognized him immediately, even though I
did not. They typed his name into the
computer, and then I read the screen, it
said:

“Betsuro, age 17, friend.”

I blinked and took a photograph, the men in


white lab coats filed it away for me.

“Betsuro?”
“Yeah? Who is it?”
“How ya doing?”
“Fine, do I know you?”
“Uh, I'm Dexter.”
“Dex? How'd ya get here?”
“You wouldn't believe me if I tried to
explain it to you.”
“I dunno, I have a pretty vivid imagination.”
“Well, here's the short story. Lived as a
miner for the past twenty-five years, then
about a month ago, I tried to start writing
a book. I've been put through hell and back
by your underlings in the past month. The
end.”
“Okay, sorry you got stuck as a miner, but I

159 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

was never the boss, I was only the


figurehead in a general sense, too. I have
actually been a computer program on his old
dell, never aging, never needing sustenance,
you need a real great imagination to survive
in here.”
“Isn't it nice in there? I mean, can you
change the setting and make different items
appear and dissapear?”
“Yeah.”
“Can I come in there?”
“Sure.”

I blinked and when I opened my eyes, I was


in the absolute whiteness, Betsuro stepped
out from behind the corner.

“Don't move. You're still trans-loading.”

I stood as still as I could while the little


people in white lab coats were telling me to
do things like set my house on fire or jump
off a bridge or sign a contract before
reading, or other crazy stuff that would
certainly mess me up, based on the minimal
understanding of the system I had obtained.

“Okay, you can move now. You'll get used to


the controls after a while, just think it
and it usually will be loaded, people, on

160 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

the other hand, you'll have to verbalize


their filename.”
“What'll happen with my body?”
“The cables will be removed from it, the
MCLI chip will be removed and inserted into
a baby, and then it will be removed from the
office and probably thrown down the
incinerator chute later tonight, your body
is now brain-dead, but your brain has been
copied over.”
“Sans the little men in white lab coats, I
assume?”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“Uh... never mind.”
“Just a second, I'll get you all set up.
>Computer:LOAD skin from
file/heroes/122789.aof; param=age, x=17.
@echo off. RUN.”

I shivered immediately, he held up a mirror


that had just appeared from nowhere, I was
seventeen again. I was shocked looking in
the mirror, so he continued to give commands
to the processor.

“>Computer:LOAD AI from
file/heroes/000002.aof.
>Computer:LOAD skin from
file/heroes/000002.aof; param=age, x=17.
RUN.”

161 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

162 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

Carkeek

She appeared before me, in all her splendor.


The little men in lab coats, having
successfully made the journey through the
fiber optic cable in the back of my head,
along with the rest of my overactive
imagination, stopped what they were doing to
stare at the figure before them that they
all adored completely. It was the most
beautiful person in the world. A placard on
the floor, not unlike the one on Vonnegut's
desk, said in big, bold Comic-Sans lettering:

“Katie Larriste”

I was too stunned to do anything, but she


wasn't. She was acting like she expected me
to arrive today. She rushed up, and gave me
a huge hug.

“I'll leave you two alone.”

He turned around, looked skyward and


dissipated into gas. Katie still had a
sleeper hold on my neck, but I wasn't daring
to move, lest this be the best dream in
years. She apparently could read minds,
because as soon as I thought that, she gave
me a light pinch on the cheek. It was real.

163 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

“I missed you.”
“I missed you, too”

She released me from her hug of death, and


took several steps back.

“Guess what?”

A few of the little men in white lab coats


stopped being transfixed enough to get back
to running things in my body, like my
respiratory system. I built up the courage
to ask a question:

“What?”

A blue guitar, electric, appeared in her


hands. She put the shoulder strap on and
started strumming. The notes were soft and
came out of thin air, without the need of an
amp.

“I didn't know you could play a guitar!”


“We're just computer files now, he can edit
our source code and give us different skills
and attributes. Okay, listen:

“We passed upon the stair,


We spoke of was and where,

164 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

Although I wasn't there,


He said I was his friend
Which came as some surprise
I spoke into his eyes
I thought you died alone
A long long time ago
Oh no, not me
We never lost control
You're face to face
With The Man Who Sold The World”
“Sounds familiar. I just thought of
something. What would happen if this
Vonnegut guy's computer were to die, like,
if his hard drive went bad, or something.”
“Well, since he couldn't afford a DVD drive
when he bought it and this one is the last
computer that can handle us on Earth, we'd
die. Our files would be erased, and we
would be dust in the wind.”
“Just like that, we'd be gone?”
“Yeah, we've already come to grips with
that possibility, and he keeps his system up
to date. He has a bag full of backup hard
drives, I don't know if he has many left
though. They last about a year the way he
goes through them. You've just gotta live
life to it's extent. There's a lot to do in
here.”

The guitar dissipated into gas, and in her

165 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

hand appeared a basket.

“Wanna go on a picnic?”
“You are so random.”
“Do ya wanna?”
“Sure.”
“>Computer:LOAD terrain from
file/terrain/orchard.aof; param1=Time;
param2=Weather; x= “Dusk”; y= “Clear”. @echo
off. RUN.”

The conditions turned from that of the


infinite light to that of the Carkeek
orchard. It was near dusk, the owls were
cooing, the bats were out in hunt of gnats,
a slight breeze was blowing throughout the
valley. There were no buildings in sight,
the beautiful sunset was not blurred by any
smog. This was Carkeek in it's prime,
before technology, before the European
settlers, even before humanity. The jewel
of the Northwest. The apples on the trees
were as scrawny as ever. When I was growing
up, they used to call apples and fruits and
vegetables like that:

“Organic”

It's meaning aside, I view that as the


ugliest spelled word in the entirety of the

166 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

English language. She had a book in her


hand, she handed it off to me. I read the
cover, and while my little men in white lab
coats decrypted it, she had her vocal chords
vibrate and send a message through the air
of the orchard at seven-hundred, sixty-one
miles per hour. She said:

“It's really great, that book, for a time


like this.”

My men with white lab coats had finally


decoded the name:

“A story of questionable believability and


grammar, or In Bloom, by Andrew Knox.”

I flipped to the end of the book and read


the last paragraph. We were sitting there,
she kissed my cheek and the sun sank under
the Olympic mountains.

“I love you, Katie.”


“I love you, Dexter.”

She got out a bread roll, ripped it in two,


and stuffed a half into my mouth. I chewed
and swallowed it, then I read the last
paragraph aloud:

167 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

“It was the best of times, it was the worst


of times. Remember this, my children, on
your journeys through the deserts and frozen
tundras of the bitter, unfair world.
Remember this, as life ends you in the
fashion that it brought you in. Remember
this, while you climb the mountains and sing
through the valleys and fight off the beasts
of lore. Remember this, your loved ones
never really die, they just fade away.”

The End.

168 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

Epilogue

“Well, kid, that is one hell of a story.”


“Yeah, and it's true, too. All that stuff
will happen.”
“I get it, kid. But, some people in this
world can't deal with that kind of change.
They think that they would be happiest if
things stayed the way they are. They don't
want diversity, corporate mergers, natural
disasters, alternative lifestyles, even
elections frighten them, because there is a
chance that the person that brought them
this existence could be replaced with
someone who will shake things up a bit.
These people believe that others, the ones
that disagree with them, should crawl into a
ventilation shaft and starve to death.
Either on purpose or under the duress of
combat. They are threatened by you, and all
that you stand for. If they read your
materials, and thought that it could happen,
they would go nuts. So, for their sake, I
would like you to publish this as a novel.
When this all comes about, you can do the 'I
told ya so' dance on their graves from dawn
to dusk.”
“Okay.”
“Well, kid, I'll pass this onto my friend
who specializes in digesting things like

169 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

this, you got your address on here, right?”


“Yeah, right there.”

He pointed me over to his address. For his


privacy, I will not mention it here.

“Okay, why don't you go home and wait for a


response. It'll be in the mail in a few
weeks.”
“Okay, thanks, man!”

He left and the door chimed behind him. I


walked over to my paper shredder.

“Say hello to my little friend!”

I dropped the manuscript in and pressed the


power button, shredding the once proud, but
mistake ridden, piece of literature into
confetti. The world was now rid of this
abomination, I would sleep well tonight. I
never saw that kid again.

170 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

Post-Script a.k.a. More lies I desperately


want you to believe

Miscellaneous facts about this novel and/or


the author and/or life.

• The word “Motherfucker” is not used at


all in this novel up till now.
• There are three endings to this novel,
all of them are false.
• The part with the aliens never really
happened.
• This is all based on a true story.
• Novel writing is easy, you're just too
stupid to try.
• Dexter's original name was something
like “Lewis Brody”.
• Dr. Marshall Vonnegut is in no way
related to or affiliated with his
namesake, Kurt Vonnegut.
• I believe that I am good at making up
chapter titles, but I am bad at naming
characters.
• It's true, vote, or... DIE!
• I want to be either a novelist,
comedian, musician or actor when I grow
up.
• I currently hold a house of

171 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

representatives seat for Wyoming.


• I don't eat pork, because pigs are
smarter than cows.
• Manatees are frauds.
• If you pray to god twice a day, never
have sex and eat nothing but celery,
all your dreams will come true.
• I hope all the companies and
organizations that want to sue me for
copyright infringement notice that I am
promoting their products and slightly
advertising them for free, like a good
American.
• My grandmother is German.
• I once knew a guy who didn't like
cameras for two different reasons: 1.
They would steal your soul or 2.
Pictures of him from his youth could be
used by the FBI to identify him. It
varied from day to day and camera to
camera. His personality made up about
16% of my mental image of Betsuro.
• Nirvana/Kurt Cobain is to blame for
much of the inspiration.
• So is Green Day.
• 2+2=5
• Dexter is named after the “criminally
insane” boy at the beginning of the

172 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

Avalanches song: “Frontier


Psychiatrist”.
• The end of the book accidentally
mirrors the song “The Man Who Sold the
World”. When I noticed this, I added
lyrics in there, I hope David Bowe
doesn't mind.
• This book was started on January 5th (or
around there) of 2006.
• This book was completed when you read
the last sentence.
• I was in French year 2 when I started
the book
• “Quelle heure est-il?”
• “Je sais pas.”
• “Il est temps de gelée et de beurre
d'arachide!”
• I'm not very good in it.
• If you liked this book, buy it for your
friends to read, if you still have
friends.
• I plan to make more
• I've decided to hide from the law under
the banner of Parody.
• Everything I said in the book was true,
I'm not pulling a James Frey on you
here.
• This book was drafted on a Dell

173 Out of 174


Rough Draft v4 Book sized In Bloom by Andrew Knox

Dimension 3000

174 Out of 174