Date Published: June 2019
Publisher: Crimson Cloak Publishing
Scott Free chronicles the life of a near thirty New York City filmmaker, ironically stuck working the concession stand at an upscale movie theater,, trying to negotiate his dead end relationships, too. He hops a “Greyhound $99 Special” en route to Hollywood, but in failing to reach the stars he lands on his knees, down and out in the San Francisco cleaning toilets and realizing that his life West resembles his life East as there’s really no escaping oneself.
I started by speed-walking and then high-stepping into flat-out mad dashing. I knew that my increasing anger was irrational. If you leave twenty bucks and a crackhead in your room alone, ain’t the inevitable your fault?
I convinced myself that I could smell the coke cooking as I approached, and so I immediately pounded on his door. When he appeared with a huge, welcoming grin spread across his Buddha face, I went completely off and threw everything I had into his gut. Just that quick (kapow!), he shot back at me with a thick wad of pink, gooey and chunky vomit, which caused me to react as if I had actually been hit by a bullet. I dropped to the floor, flat on my butt, and felt my face and neck as if searching for the wound. I pored over his nasty insides stuck in between my fingers and looked at him as if he were one of those disgusting creatures from the Men in Black movies or, better yet, Star Wars’ Jabba the Hut.
After a few breaths to recover, he plopped down next to me on the
“Whatchudodatfor, Scotty Tissues?”
Flicking goo off the bridge of my nose, I turned to Darnell. “You really
don’t know why…?”
“My twenty …?”
Darnell suddenly grew excited. “You gotta twenty?”
“No, fool, you smoked it up, my last twenty!”
“Oh, dat! I thought you left it there for me …?”
Coming back to my senses, relatively speaking, I figured conversation was pointless, and so I resolved just to clean myself up. After I got to my feet, I pulled up Darnell and intended to follow him into his room, but before I could take a step, I caught a reckless blow right across the jaw, which caused me to stumble a little.
Justin! He stood there huffin and puffin with a horrified look on his
face, one of those punk-ass white dudes (a metrosexual) who’d never hit a man before and was thus shocked by the reality of it. Moreover, he noticed a sticky chunky on his hand and shook it as if it were a bug. He was scared of a bug!
I went all Darnell Crackheady on him: “Whatchudodatfor?”
“I told you to stop messin with her!”
Justin repeated himself two times, slobbering out the words. He was hysterical and fighting back tears. I was about to crack up laughing. I didn’t wanna say anything like “I’m not messin with her!” because I thought that would make it seem like I was punkin out and perhaps embolden him more and lead him to take another shot. (And, c’mon, dude had hit me with everything he had, and I was fighting back the giggles!) To avoid any further drama, I tossed him a bone.
“All right, man, I’ll stop messin with her.”
I turned and looked at Darnell, who had a comical look on his face.
Seeing him looking all funny and fat and crackheady, I just burst out laughing.
Justin gave me an odd look and then stamped off. He left, pouting.
After he was out of view, Darnell swept me off my feet with an
enormous bear hug, and then, switching from a cackling storybook witch, which he really was, to a game show host, he opened his door to present Kelli, passed out on his bed but sleeping peacefully. Next to her was a pipe, all black and shit.
About the Author
Nkosi Ife Bandele writes for periodicals, stage, TV, and film. His three novels, The Ape is Dead! (2016), The Beast (2017), and Scott Free (2019), are all published by Crimson Cloak Publishing. His outrageous short fiction, including Fuckity Fuck Fuck Fuck, Fuckity Fuck Fuck Fuck Part 2: Shit Shit Shit Shit Shit, and Itty Bitty Titty Committee, appear in Akashic Books’ Terrrible Twosdays series.