DEFEAT. 002 – Smashed Fruit & Liberated Seed

[DEFEAT. is Rendar Frankenstein’s truest attempt at fiction.   Presented in weekly episodes, the novella tells the tale of Daryl Millar – a hero who dies at the intersection of pop culture, science-fiction, war epic, and fantasy]

Daryl got out of the car, took three steps, and then stopped dead in his tracks.

The seventeen year old turned around just in time to see his mom applying her second coat of lipstick as she drove away. The Volvo screamed as its conductor slammed a high heeled shoe onto the accelerator. Remembering what he had left in the car, Daryl frantically rifled through his backpack, tossing his books and folders onto the damp, leaf-ridden street. Finally, a brown bagged lunch was snatched up and ripped to shreds.

Clutching the piece of fruit in his right hand, Daryl unleashed his best impersonation of Roger Clemens. The trajectory of the red delicious shocked even the teenager himself and the apple miraculously hit the rear window of the Volvo. Thud! Unfortunately, the glorious display of smashed fruit and liberated seed wasn’t perceived by Daryl’s mother and she continued upon her journey of unwitting pedestrian endangerment.

“Fuck,” Daryl whispered to himself, “8-Bit is going be pissed.” He returned the contents of his bag to their rightful places and continued trekking towards the high school’s front door. With his head bent towards the ground, it was Daryl’s periphery that spotted the movement of a grayish blur behind a tree. Attentive, he refocused his gaze.

Daryl saw a middle aged man wearing a gray trench coat and aviator sunglasses. He was peeking his head out from behind a thick tree trunk – none too discretely. With Halloween over a week away, it was pretty safe to assume that the attire wasn’t a festive costume. Daryl felt compelled to say something.

“Hey, what the hell are you doing? Are you spying on me?”

Caught in the act, the man behind the tree sucked in a fat gulp of cool air. The shades were lowered to the tip of the nose by a shaky hand and a pair of disbelieving eyes peered over them. The (less than) secret agent responded, “Well…ugh…technically yes, but I’ve already been…well, no, um, I gotta go!”

Leaving no time for rebuttal, the man fled the scene. His ability to run was hindered by a significant limping of the right leg, a perpetual and uncomfortable dragging of the foot. Daryl took note of this, muttering to himself that he couldn’t even be “Fawned upon by an able-bodied child molester. Pitiful.”

Wishing that the confrontation would’ve been more exciting, Daryl made his way to the high school. He would have preferred to have walked away with a sweet story about upper-cutting the head off of a pederast. Instead, he headed straight towards his locker, toting only an apology for neglecting to return his best friend’s comic book again.

“Hey Daryl, what the H-E-double-fucking-hockey-sticks is up!?” Excited to see one of the few people who didn’t treat him like garbage, 8-Bit’s eyes practically spilt out of their sockets. The effect was further magnified by his coke-bottle glasses.

“Not too much man, not too much at all.” Willing to admit his gaffe, but seeking clemency, Daryl tried to strike a deal. “I got some good news and some bad news for you. What do you want first?”

Producing a blizzard as he scratched his scalp, the nerdier of the two deliberated. “Hrm. Well, maybe you’d better give me the bad news first.”

“Ok, I’m sorry, but I left your copy of The Dark Knight Falls in my mom’s car. And I know how important it is to you that your comic books maintain their integrity. If my mom puts something on the comic and causes a crease, or if she crashes the car and dies in a fiery explosion, or if anything else happens to it I’ll gladly buy you a new copy.”

“Oh dude, don’t even worry about it.” 8-Bit was excusing his friend. Had any one else failed to return a comic, a verbal beatdown (see: exasperated lecture) would have ensued. Instead, an exception was made. “What’d you think, though? Amazing or what?”

“Honestly, it may have been the most inspiring thing I’ve ever read. The way Miller has Superman go-” and then the bell rang. “Shit, I can’t be late for this class. We’ll talk about it this afternoon.”

“Wait — what do you mean this afternoon?”

“Oh, that’s the good news: to make up for my transgression, I’ll buy you a pizza at the arcade.”

“All is forgiven, my son.” 8-Bit rolled his eyes backwards and covered Daryl’s forehead with the palm of his hand as he said this, pantomiming the local reverend who had been arrested for spiking the Sunday school’s holy water with dog piss. Daryl laughed, tossed his friend a high-five, and made his way to class.

The first class of the day.

The first day of the week.

The last week of his life.