DEFEAT. 045 – after words.

[DEFEAT. is a   coming-of-death novella. Brian Galiano lends his artistic talents to each episode. this is the post-coital cigarette.]

Rimina Jacoby sat in Bandini’s Café, leisurely smoking a cigarette and drinking coffee. Black. Bandini himself had tried to persuade her to try the espresso but she said she’d seen what it was capable of. And frankly, she laughed, she didn’t think it would be quite strong enough for her taste.

With her gray sleeves rolled up to her elbows, Rimina handled a newspaper. Her eye searched the front page, settling on the date. “Yes, yes, yes…that is when today happened.

The little bell above the door jingled. The Woman in Gray Robes didn’t look up to see who was entering. She already knew. She had planned on meeting him here, at this moment. In fact, years later she would tell him to make sure he was there so that they could palaver. As equals.

Or as close to equals as they would ever be.

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DEFEAT. 035 – Anachronistic Pepsi

[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]

The man in the gray trench coat watched as Rimina Jacoby left Bandini’s Café. “Ah, the clever bitch beat me to it! One eye and she’s got a foresight I’d kill for. Well, if ya gotta get beat, might as well be by the best.”

After limping over to a park bench, the visitor sat down and reached into the innards of his coat. He produced a bottle of Pepsi Free, popped off the cap with a twist, and drank greedily. He downed more than half the bottle, then wiped his mouth and chuckled. “Gah, why the hell did they ever stop making this? To make room for energy drinks? Fetid! Sometimes the world makes no sense at all.”

He briefly contemplated following the mystic. After all, it’d long been a dream of his to finally hold a second meeting of the minds. Last time they met he was but the learner, and now he was on his way to becoming a master. But he knew that she was long gone, vanished into an unquantifiable mist.

He was a master of a discipline that, although related, was at odds with the teachings of Rimina Jacoby. “If only we could palaver, everything’d be sorted out. She calls upon the stars, asking them for advice. I redefine astrophysics, discerning how it was that stars even came to exist. She moves only forwards, but can project infinite possibility onto any consciousness. I move in any direction I choose, but can still only experience a singular reality.”

The Pepsi Free was finished, the glass bottle held up in a makeshift salute. The man in the gray trench coat saw that he was alone…but something told him that the Woman in Gray Robes could hear him. “So we have it, one for the ages. Art versus science. And you’re winning…

“If if I didn’t respect you so much,” a smile of remembrance crept cross his face, “I’d be pretty pissed. Hell, I’m one of the world’s greatest scientific minds and I’m being outclassed by a gen-u-ine gypsy mystic.”

The lighthearted rival of the one-eyed seer brought himself to his feet and began shuffling away. It’s not that he didn’t want to keep sitting, thinking about his most formative days. Because he did. But he also knew that that he was a day away from Event Zero. And to be sighted this far into the game, to have to rely on reignition, well that was simply unthinkable.

He was out of sight just in time see Daryl and Clark as they left Bandini’s Café. From his vantage point, he saw them perfectly. Clark looked rewarded. Daryl was determined. And this made sense.

Of course it made sense. It couldn’t be any other way.

The wind picked up, kicking leaves and threatening to knock over the spy. He held his own, pushing back and limping along as he always would.

DEFEAT. 034 – espresso self

[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]

Bandini’s Café was lost in time.

The year outside of the diner was most certainly 1986. Ten months in and gazes were still directed skyward, accompanied by somber sentiments for the crew of the Challenger. The Boston Red Sox and the New York Mets were trading blows in the World Series. And twenty-three year old Katherine Hushaw reveled in an admiration only awarded to a Playmate of the Month.

The year inside the diner, well that was up for debate. The booths were wide and cushioned in such a way as to support the heavy aspirations of those celebrating VJ Day. The walls were decorated with yellowed posters assuring patrons that I Like Ike and asking them to Drink Pepsi-Cola. And the most recent hit that the jukebox would sing was I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch). Moreover, no one inside of the anachronistic haven had been born after the year 1940.

Except, of course, for Daryl Millar. But, not unlike the diner, Daryl was in the process of becoming timeless.

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DEFEAT. 020 (III) – Ugly Old Thing

[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]

Like any noble leader, Daryl allowed a bit of entertainment only after ensuring that his friends were given their opportunities. 8-Bit returned, looking as baffled as ever. Daryl tried to reassure himself. “At the very least, it can’t be any lamer than that Ouija Board we tried to use.” 8-Bit and Riff didn’t say a word, but responded with eyes that did plenty of talking.

What you’re about to experience is the real deal.

Surprised by the reproachful staring of his two best friends, Daryl was now forced to reconsider his dismissal of the Woman in Gray Robes. Zipping his lips and nodding, steps were taken into the supernatural workplace.

Quickly accepting the possibility that he was graced by the presence unknown forces, Daryl was only marginally astonished by Rimina’s greeting. “Well hello there, Daryl, I’m quite glad to see you. Always the best for last, I suppose. I can already tell that the soothsaying I am to provide you will be of the utmost importance.

“So sit down, time is of the essence, especially in your case.” Outstretched hands, one of which held a cigarette (of course), beckoned the teen to rest in the chair. He was now directly in front of the embodiment of conflicting messages:

A woman doing the job of a wise man.
A pirate’s accessory on an astoundingly sexy face.
A healthy disposition residing in such an unhealthy environment.

Daryl was ready. So was Rimina. Sensing the beginnings of psychic fatigue, the last remaining leaf from the Jacoby tree did not ask for permission. Instead, she simply took an especially long drag from her cigarette and then snatched hold of Daryl’s hands. She waited a few seconds. When his eyes looked upward from the table Rimina blew smoke right into them. The exhalation was both blinding and eye-opening…

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