PLANES, PHONES, and FLO from ALICE

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    Jul 25, 2013 4:24 PM GMT
    The plane pulled from the gate before my mother arrived, and I spent the time squirting Limeaide into my mouth from a spritzer bottle. The interior of the plane looked like stadium seating, angled high, though sparsely filled with passengers. Minutes later it appeared as if we were all sitting inside of a mall. I called my mother, but a recording on the other end said not to use the phone inside a plane. I tried again, and the other end said, "I told you not to call from a plane. Hilda is coming for you." Just then, this tall woman, who looked like Flo from the TV show "Alice," (though with black hair) came out of a side door. "I'm here to find the one using a phone inside a plane," she said. As she walked up the steep aisle, I rested my phone on my lap, letting it fall in between the folds of my shorts. "Now if the one violating our policy would just SPREAD HIS LEGS, we can get on here." I panicked while she grabbed both my knees and attempted to wedge them apart. Finally, I relented. "It's me," I said, "I'm the one who used a phone. But you see, I'm worried. My mother didn't make the plane, and there seems to be no place we can call her." Flo didn't care. She grabbed my phone and held it up high for everyone to see. Then, oddly, she began calculating a cheaper phone plan for the woman sitting next to me. While she was scribbling numbers on a half-sheet of paper, and chewing her gum, I woke up.

    This was my dream this morning. icon_wink.gif
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    Jul 26, 2013 4:22 PM GMT
    This was my dream with Art Deco, CuriousJockAZ and Matiz (Ariodante). I'm more twisted.

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    "The Boys Next Door"
    Part 1 of 2
    by eagermuscle

    The bike wasn't eagermuscle's style, a vintage girl's Schwinn with a white vinyl seat and matching wicker basket, but that's what he inexplicably found himself riding down a baked ribbon of asphalt sidewalk one blistering Miami afternoon. Why was he here back in his parent's neighborhood, pedaling away, just blocks from their house? It was too hot to even theorize the how's and why's, so Eager kept cycling along, admiring the eclectic architectural mix. His parent's house had been overbuilt for its time and reigned supreme for over three decades until a dozen years ago when the McMansion boom hit, leaving their sprawling rancher overshadowed by two story, $2 million dollar faux Mediterranean palazzos built from lot line to lot line, with one exception - Art Deco's house.

    Eager had met the neighbor lady when he was five, before his dad had even driven the stakes into the ground of their vacant lot to mark the footprint of their future home, and had thought Art Deco old even then. Her house was the type of tear-down typical of the neighborhood; constructed in 1952, it was a low lying ranch with a cathedral ceiling, fireplace, levered glass jalousie windows and slung, cantilevered roof that extended over a carport. Built when South Florida residents actually used fireplaces on chilly winter nights, in an era when few had central heat or a/c, it was designed to catch the breezes and seemed perfectly suited to the one plus acre lots of Dade County pine and swamp palmetto on which they discreetly stood. Only until recently deemed "ugly" it was odd how today they were considered "retro," mid century masterpieces worth preserving. The native pine and scrub? So long gone that oak and black olive trees matured in their place.

    Eager's train of thought was suddenly interrupted when a ten-speed bike raced in front of him, its rider clad in a pair of snug red Dolphin shorts and nothing else, all the better to display his tanned, muscled body. Something seemed a bit "off" about him; the face didn't quite match up to the physique or haircut, but that was the new normal, wasn't it? Eager was no slouch at the gym himself and, taking in the eye candy during his rests between sets, had become expert at what he called "The 60/40 Game" - was that member a well preserved 60 or a haggard 40? Seeing the rider hang a hard right on his parent's block Eager suddenly wanted to play.

    He was surprised to find the bike leaning against Art Deco's house and a late model SUV parked in front of the now-enclosed carport. It was once the pariah of the neighborhood, but given the market crash had been renovated and landscaped instead of razed. Had Art Deco died? Art had always played the Empress Dowager card to the hilt but had been nice to Eager when he was little, offering him treats in a porcelain candy tray when he'd go knocking on Art's door. He'd loved Art's house with its cuckoo clock, collection of Hummel figurines and ersatz blonde furniture - as a kid he thought of it as a big dollhouse. Eager had always felt a pang of remorse at not following up with Art whenever he'd visit his parents in the years after he'd left home. Last he'd heard, Art Deco had become somewhat of an infirm recluse, the block's own Miss Havisham. Eager looked down at his bike and realized that without the horizontal crossbar it'd make a perfect gift for Art, for her to safely rejoin the living if she was indeed still alive. So with equal parts charity, compassion, curiosity and libido, Eager knocked at the door. He had to check on Art, check out if the house had been more faithfully restored inside than out, and he just had to examine those tight shorts up close.

    "Who's there?" a voice called out.

    "I'm your next door neighbor Eager, I've come with a gift for Art."

    The door opened and a shirtless, sunkissed blonde of indeterminate age stood before him. "I'm so sorry, we're just short-term renters. I'm CuriousJockAZ but you can call me 'CJ'. Would you like to come in?" CJ's pecs were hard and firm, with a light sprinkling of sun damage. They looked like they were encased in taut salami skin, and between them and the running shorts the effect was hypnotic.

    "Sure," said Eager, feeling a blast of cold air from a portable a/c unit sweep across his body. He knew what awaited him at home - his parents were stingy with the air conditioning and standing there, about to keel over from the humidity and bright noonday sun, Eager found the invite irresistible. "Boy, that feels nice!"

    "We like keeping it cold," said CJ. "Ari? Ari, we got company!" Ariodante glanced up from a giant computer console on a teak Danish modern workstation in front of the freshly painted brick fireplace. Blinking as his eyes adjusted Eager didn't know where to look first. Ari? CJ? Or the fact that the designer had retained that darling original scalloped trim detail on the built-in bookshelves flanking the mantle?

    "I'm Ariodante, but you can call me 'Ari,' said the handsome brunette with the do-rag. "Don't mind me, I'm just working on my blog."

    Eager's eyes were still darting between the newly buffed terrazzo floor and CJ and Ari's faces. Yes, something was definitely, well off. They had youthful, well muscled bodies - bigger, taller and stronger looking than even his own - but the skin on their faces looked too-tightly pulled and seemed somewhat blotchy and mismatched in tone, as if both had recently returned from an intensive chemical peel. Telltale hair plugs sprouted from beneath Ari's headgear, and their lips were disconcertingly plump. Were these two plastic surgery junkies?

    "We're plastic surgery junkies!" Ari gushed enthusiastically. "We keep a blog on it! In fact we're in town with our club. We're going to have procedures together! Group discount!"

    Were they 60, or were they 40? Or 30? Or 70? What did it matter - Eager's curiosity was piqued. "Oh, I love that!" Eager said, trying to peer at the invasive cosmetic procedures plastered across Ari's screen. "You tell me what you had done, and I'll tell you what I had done!"

    Ari swivelled the screen so Eager could take a full gander. "You first," he said.
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    Jul 26, 2013 4:24 PM GMT
    "The Boys Next Door"
    Part 2 of 2
    by eagermuscle

    This was the part Eager liked - where he got to show them up. "I had a nose job," he teased before launching his closing salvo. "Just a scar revision on the bridge - look, you can barely see it." Eager whipped off his glasses and thrust his face forward, setting the stage for his favorite part. He was proud of his unblemished, unlined skin and at fifty was often mistaken for being at least 20 years younger. Then he moved in for the kill. "How old do you think I am?" he intoned, relishing every syllable, priming himself to bask in the inevitable compliments given not only when he disclosed his real age but that he came by his youthful good looks naturally.

    "First, let us get you something to drink and some snacks," said CJ. Eager would've been crestfallen had snacks gone unmentioned. "Why don't you make yourself comfortable in the other room while we make up a platter." CJ opened a french door into the home's rustic den, then joined Ari in the kitchen.

    Eager remembered this room - it was very incongruous for Miami, and retained even more so than the rest of the house its original vintage charm. Dark stained french doors and quarter sawn birch log interior siding set off the nicotine-stained wallpaper sporting bucolic hunting scenes plastered onto the ceiling. But something still felt off. Why was he told to wait in this unairconditioned room? It was a stifling, humid hotbox, making him sweat even further. He started feeling dizzy. Eager heard CJ and Ari rattling around in the kitchen, whispering. About him? He tried the doorknob, half expecting to find it locked. But it turned easily so he walked back into the living room. Ignoring his growing sense of trepidation and innate flight response, he continued towards the kitchen.

    Suddenly CJ grabbed him from behind in a mock chokehold, pouring a dixie cup of something dry and gritty down his throat as Ari emerged with a covered platter. Panicking, Eager tasted it on his tongue – coarse sea salt and brown sugar granules. A perfect energy booster to rehydrate with. Relieved, Eager relaxed as did CJ’s hold. But then CJ grabbed him in a far firmer chokehold, pulled him tight against his hard torso and thrust a tablet against the roof of Eager’s mouth, which Eager felt instantly dissolve with a distinct chemical aftertaste. “Fuck, this is it.” thought Eager, unable to break free. His next thoughts, nearly his last, were how he should’ve listened to his parents. "Never go into a stranger’s house unless someone knows you’re there. Never let vanity get in the way of your better judgement." Ironic how he now knew he was going to die mere seconds away from the safety of their house, a veritable fortress his parents built to last. It was okay - he always knew it'd outlast him. But he never thought they would.

    Ari whipped the doily off the platter, revealing it to be a stainless steel tray laden with surgical instruments. He picked up a huge hypodermic, grinning cruelly, which caused his do-rag to slip back further, revealing a frightening, separating incision sliced temple to temple just as a meaty skin flap flopped free. Ariodante pressed the flap back against his exposed skull as matter-of-factly as he'd blot bacon, squirted the air out of the syringe and continued dispassionately. “It was time for us to take a break and change identities again before we move on,” he said. “We don’t care how old you are. We just love your flesh.”