He was worried about him. That’s how it started.

His friend was a writer. ‘Nuff said. So he wasn’t wrapped tightly anyway. And between that and not hearing from him for ten days, well Harry just had to check.

The truth was Harry didn’t know how Jake coped as a writer. Actually he never really got anywhere. Oh sure, he occasionally sold something to like ten people at one time. Afterwards he’d ride the crest of a high for days.

Crests were few and far between though.

Facing the day in day out reality of it all, now that was the killer. Murder as in a slow and painful death Jake used to tell him.

“Why do you do it then, for Christ sakes?”

It was his thing, he’d answer.

Harry could understand that but he still didn’t think it was worth the pain.

“I’ll do it till it kills me.”

He had no doubt. That was why he was checking on his friend now.

Since he wasn’t answering his phone, Harry decided to go to that shitty bar Jake worked in only to be told by the owner he hadn’t been in for five nights.

“And I’m firing his ass.”

Yeah, whatever man.

“If you see him, tell him.”

A barely perceptible nod, mixed with contempt for the boss.

Why doesn’t it occur to people someone might be sick or dead?

Jake always said nobody cared—only friends, real friends. And since Harry was a real friend he went to Jake’s apartment in order to check there.

The Sun Dial Apartments very south of South Beach on Miami Beach was the place. The halls smelled of bug spray and dead dreams. But it smelled of something else too—something like death.

Harry ran up two flights of stairs still smelling it only it got worse as he neared the apartment.

There were two men standing outside of Jake’s door; the landlord, chewing an unlit cigar and another guy who was poking something in the keyhole.

“He changed the locks, the bastard.”

At last the door sprang open and the full force of the stink made itself known. It rocked everyone on their heels.

It was worse than death. It was a salty smell like blood or something.

“Jesus! What died in there?”

Jake sauntered over to greet them. He looked nuttier than usual.

“What didn’t die in here, that’s the question! But it’s okay! I’ve finally created something memorable! I’ve done it!”

He gestured toward what looked like a corpse.

“It’s made outta body parts, see?”

They looked to see a repulsive looking stink-filled, bloody hulk leaning against the wall.

“I sewed the parts on myself. Pretty good eh?”

Yeah, terrific. The head was composed of a few different heads, well faces really with mismatched features.

“Now, this is special. The eyes come from critics and reviewers. That mouth for instance, that comes from one person. Yeah, I tracked her down finally. She said I wasn’t ready to be published! She had to have known that was a lie. People can’t say things like that and get away with it!”

And there was hair, too.

“Now that white hair that’s from one publisher and the blonde, see? That’s from an agent that never gave me the time of day! Why if she had only read my lousy manuscript I’d have left her alone!”

Harry muttered. “It’s like Frankenstein.”

Jake grinned with a fierce, insane look on his face. “It’s better. Watch.”

He was holding some sort of keypad which he pressed. Just then the hulk began to move.

Jake cracked up laughing. “It’s alive! He screeched, “it’s alive!”

At last the thing stopped moving. No one said anything, just Jake.

“Want to know how I did it? I used Bicore circuits. “Yeah,” he said tapping his temple. “My science degree paid off. Bicore is the foundation for the mechanism factor of BEAM robots.”

Poor Jake. He was telling them all about it on the way to the nut ward. “See, It’s just a simple oscillator but when grouped together it can produce complex behaviors…I made it, anyone can really!”

Yeah, great. He finally created something people would talk about like forever!

copyright © 2012 Carole Gill