ASMSG Scifi Fantasy Paranormal Emagazine March 2014 - Page 36

EXCERPT FROM THE SHEPHERD Travis Luedke Chapter One Thursday, September 9th, 5:15 p.m. Shit happens, life happens, but for some reason it happens to me a lot. I was kinda hoping life would give me a break – maybe crap on somebody else for a while. Yeah, right. rule number four: No children over the age of fourteen allowed. For the record, Justin is sixteen.” Returning to the action, I caught Tommy’s upturned face lit with excitement, and then slid the view up the playcenter to Justin. “There’s the big man, putting on a show for his new best friend.” It kinda stung in a way I didn’t like to admit, that Justin was doing all this for Tommy. A couple months ago, Justin was my best friend, my idiot. Or so I had thought. I mean, look at Justin Shelby. I’m sitting here in my car, in the McDonald’s drive through, and what is he doing? He’s climbing up the side of the damn playcenter. Probably faded on prescription pills he stole from his mom. This guy is begging for life to hit him upside the head. But it never does. But Tommy was cool. Popular and wealthy, he also happened to be one of the biggest arrogant pricks in my class, and Justin’s ticket into the ‘cool crowd.’ And then there’s his buddy, Tommy Schroeder, goading him on. “Always trying to prove something.” I shook my head. “Do it man! You’re almost there!” Tommy and I don’t get along so well. It’s a Rachelle thing. One of those life things that happens to me so often. One of the wrestling elite of Moses Lake High School, Tommy’s mere presence inspired Justin to new hei ghts of idiocy. Justin scaled the side of the outdoor playcenter like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible. Justin skated religiously, a regular at the downtown Moses Lake skatepark across from the Aquatic Center. Like most of us skaters, he was thin, moderately athletic, and had a strong sense of balance from endless hours busting his ass on the concrete. Climbing the playcenter wasn’t any more dangerous than the skate tricks we recorded and posted to YouTube. He quickly reached the apex, damn spider monkey. He stood exalted atop the dome of the airplane-shaped plastic toy. An elementary kid inside gawked up at him from the Plexiglas window. “This is classic!” Tommy whipped out his cell phone and started recording. Looked like a good idea to me, so I did the same. You never know what folly you might catch on video. I mean, this was live action stuff. I could be ten seconds away from a viral Youtube video, Gangnam Style. Tommy encouraged Justin’s antics with loud catcalls. proclaimed his status as king of the hill, arms held high. Justin “Yeah bitches, hell yeah!” Justin yelled and hooted at the top of his lungs, pumping his fists in the air. I narrated to my potential audience of millions, “This is a flagrant violation of the rules.” I panned my cellphone camera over to the placard by the entry gate and zoomed in to catch a clear shot of the playcenter rules. “There it is folks, rule number three: No climbing outside the playcenter. And we can’t forget 36 | P a g e I should just keep my mouth shut and catch some choice video, but you know what they say, the observer always affects the observed … “Hey ass munch, get down before you break your neck!” Justin’s head whipped around to the sound of my voice, causing his body to sway with the sudden movement. As soon as he spotted me parked in the drive-through a nasty smirk bloomed across his face. In a moment of sublime inspiration, Justin dropped his pants with a show of lily-white butt cheeks. He obviously hadn’t seen me recording with my cell phone. Tommy noticed me too. “How about a double McAss burger Mikey?” He loves to call me Mikey. He knows I hate it. No one but Tommy calls me Mikey. The girl delivering my cheeseburger held her hand over her mouth to cover her braces as she giggled and snarfed at the sight of Justin’s naked rump shaking back and forth while he taunted, “It’s a full moon tonight Mikey. Hope you enjoy the view!” Perfect. Now Justin’s calling me Mikey. God I hate that name. “It’s Michael, asshole! And thanks for the killer video. Goin’ straight to Facebook.” I held my cell phone out the window for him. Justin looked back over his shoulder in surprise, attempting to pull up his pants at the same time. The knee-jerk reaction caused him to lose his delicate balance atop the apex of the plastic airplane. He fell onto his right side, and slithered down