Bang (part 3)


Penelope and Billy held up in their motel room for several days, watching the news and living off the pizzas that Josh brought them. Late at night, after Josh got off work the three of them would plan the kidnaping and the subsequent press release they would send out about why Tabitha Kraft was joining the Hollywood Liberation Army.

The plan was to have Josh’s friend Mike, the PA hand Tabitha a phony schedule telling her that she was supposed to convince  a pizza delivery boy to play a prank with her. They would hide the camera on her so the delivery boy would not know he was part of the show.

Josh’s grandmother was currently living in a nursing home and Josh was living in her house. They would then take her there where they would have her make various videos saying she had joined the HLA and was on the side of all the poor oppressed aspiring actors in Hollywood.

They sent their rent in and passed the next two weeks at various motels around Nevada. They spent two nights sleeping in their car. Billy dyed his hair black and Penelope dyed her’s red. Billy ate a lot for about five days while Penelope basically starved.

They watched the news whenever they could. They were relieved when they heard that the woman who was shot was said to have recovered and returned home. The night before they were to head to Josh’s grandmothers to carry out their plan. they discussed the possibility of ditching Josh, but realized the only way to do this effectively was to kill him.

Penelope lay awake in bed that night, secretly excited about the plan. Although she had never been political, she liked the idea of doing something that would have a lasting impact on other people. She’d wanted her hold up to make a statement, now maybe it would.

“Are you still mad at me,” she asked Billy as they drove to Josh’s grandma’s desert home.

“I don’t know,” he answered gruffly. They drove in silence for a moment. “It’s just that I think you should think things through more before you do them. I mean we could have planed the robbery together. Plus, you just ordered that pizza without asking me we coulda gone to the Taco Bell drive though and avoided this whole goddamn mess.”

“Uh-huh,” she answered.

They arrived at the house where Josh was putting his pizza delivery outfit on, even though he did not have a shift that night.

“Okay, the crew is off tonight they’ll be at some strip club. My friend Mike will be there pretending to hide the camera on her and mic her and so on and so forth. Afterwards I’ll bring her back here. Mike will follow us and we’ll start making the tapes. I got you guys thick horn rimmed glasses, wear them at all times.”

Penelope put on glasses and stood looking in the mirror. She had whitened her teeth and was applying a great deal of lipstick. She ate a few bits of the pot infused brownie bites that Josh had stashed in the kitchen, then she had a few more.

Billy turned on the computer that they had purchased from a man on Craigslist. He made sure the camera was working and took care to make sure he did not go online. They had both turned off their cell phones for fear that they could be traced. After about an hour they heard the car pull in to the driveway followed by laughter.

Mike, a tall dark haired man walked in with Josh and Tabitha Kraft.

“Hey you guys this is Tabitha and Brad. These are my roommates Scott and Katie.” “Hi” Penelope and Billy said.

“Hey,” Tabitha said looking Penelope up and down judgmentally.

“Well, I’ll be right back, “I gotta get Kraft services,” Mike said.

“Get Brie and apples,” said Tabitha in a baby voice.

Mike left and the car pulled out of the drive way. Penelope and Billy served Tabitha and Josh coffee and brownie bits.

“So, Mike told us you would be filming part of a reality show here over the next few days,” Penelope asked innocently.

“Oh, yeah, it was really fun, Tabitha said. Brad here came over to deliver a pizza and I dragged him along to gift wrap Brittaney Spears hotel room door, it was really funny.”

Billy and Penelope laughed nervously. They chatted a bit more about Tabitha’s reality show and Mike came back in with the three large bags of groceries. After they had snacked on wine and cheese. They told Tabitha it was time to make the first video.


Time (part 9)





The machine rumbled and stopped; I stepped out cautiously. There was nothing in the closet except two rats who stared up at me after I came out of the machine. I bolted out of the closet and into the bedroom which contained many more rats. I ran to the front door, but there wasn’t one: they building had been abandon. I walked down the stairs avoiding several more rats along the way. I almost tripped over a homeless man on my way out.

The street outside was just coming to life in the early morning hours and a boy skated past me on a hover skate-board. A little old lady walked by me with a small yapping dog in a pink designer bag. I did a double take and realized that the dog was actually a robot. The woman looked familiar as well, she was tall and thin with white hair and a pointy noise.

I walked towards the train station to find it still open and operational. I went to buy a ticket, but discovered that the machine was not accepting cash. I went into a drug store and went to the prepaid credit card rack. The selection was very sparse and there were signs everywhere saying “Micro-chipping deadline January 31 2041.

I loaded the card with $100 and walked back out into the street. The neighborhood had definitely gone way downhill. I wondered if North Hollywood wasn’t the new Downtown, based on the homeless people wandering around the train station. There were many abandon apartments and several homeless shelters lining the street.

I purchased a ticket which I was shocked to see was $10.00. I asked several people on the train platform if they’d ever heard of an antiques store called Luther’s most of them looked at me oddly and shrugged their shoulders. One man told me he could find out he rolled up his sleeve and revealed a small screen on his arm. He gave me an address in Silver Lake.

I got on the train to find almost everyone staring at their arms. I looked around at how the girls were dressed. Business clothes hadn’t changed that much and skanks had taken to wearing halter-tops with skorts and high heels. I couldn’t help but notice that the majority of people looked a lot fatter than they did back in 2014; I’d never felt so thin. The train itself was likely the same one I’d ridden on thirty five years earlier (a few hour ago). It had not aged well, the seats were torn and there was scrub off graffiti on the walls.

I got off at The Sunset and Vermont station and headed up the escalator. Several hover mopeds raced by on the street. A couple of young white men walked by wearing backwards baseball caps and pants down around their ankles. I walked by a pizza shop called Old School Slice, boasting bacon, gluten and sugary sauce on the windows. I found Luther’s in a tiny shop on Sunset. I walked in to find a pretty young woman standing behind the counter wearing a backwards baseball cap, a Taylor Swift tee-shirt and a bored expression.

I looked around the store for a moment. There were several old movie posters including Showgirls, The First Wives Club and The Interview. I looked to see if there were any posters for any of the early 21st century Oscar winners, but I couldn’t find any.

Two soft faced young men wearing backwards baseball caps walked by me. I noticed one of them had a teardrop tattooed on his face.

“What you have to understand is that most of Penshee’s concepts were based on Buscaglia’s early writings, which were fundamentally exercised in pop culture existentialism,” one was saying to the other.

A man of about eighty or so entered the store carrying a large box. He set it on the counter and began to remove Items the girl did not help him.

“Do you know how many copies of we have of A Night in Paris? The girl said tossing it aside.

“What’s this?”

“It’s a Salad Spinner, “The man said trying to sound cheerful.

“You spin meat in here?”

“No People used to make salad out of vegetables instead of meat and candy. It used to be hard to get them all combined.”

“Well I doubt people are gonna wanna put there algae tablets in it.”

“Believe it or not some people still eat vegetables,” the man said somewhat impatiently.

“”A hundred,” she said.


“Fifty Shades of Grey? Everyone who went to high school listened to this book,” she scoffed.

“That’s signed by the author. I know you can use it you have a very educated clientele around here. Radsters love classic literature. I’m not so old that I don’t know that.”

“I’ll go get Barry,” she said rolling her eyes.

A moment later she returned with a man of about fifty who came out and took a look at the book. There was more negotiating and the old man walked out with $200.

“Hey there Kelly are you still here? See something we can help you with,” Barry said to me.

“Ah no, Well I mean yes I’m not Kelly. I’m her sister Tracy. I’m visiting from Denver. I thought she said she was coming here and I guess I must have missed her.”

“I thought your hair looked different,” He said.

“You don’t happen to know where she might have gone do you, “I asked trying not to sound too anxious.

“I really don’t know. She never says much when she comes in here just sell her stuff and goes. We’re always glad to see her! I don’t know how she does it, but everything is always so well preserved it looks like she bought it yesterday.”

“Oh, she comes in often then I take it? “
“About every two months or so, but she never mentioned having a twin.”

“You don’t have any idea where she might have gone do you?”

“Sorry, I don’t” Barry said.

“Why don’t you just use your GPS. The girl said pointing to her arm.”

“Oh, yeah right duh, I’ll try that,” I said heading into the street.

I walked down the block looking to see if anyone would lend me an arm.