Far Too Much Mold

Mold spores

Previous.

I don’t know why I’m telling this story. Maybe it’s so I can start the process of forgiving myself, knowing that what I did was beyond my control. Or maybe that’s a lie. Maybe I wanted to do it all along. I honestly don’t know.

When my buddy Raul and I heard that the Puerto Rican government was paying people to help clear the abandoned and unlivable properties that got wrecked by Hurricane Maria, we jumped at the idea. After the hurricane, neither of us were able to go back to work. Things were looking pretty bleak until that opportunity presented itself.

We went to the coordination center and got a map telling us the areas we’d be responsible for and what to do with the stuff we dragged out of the ruined houses. It was pretty straightforward – pull all the furniture and carpets and appliances out of the houses and put them on the side of the road. Trucks would pick up the junk, and, eventually, the homes would be properly demolished.

I did my best to not grimace when we were told how to tag and handle any bodies that had been missed by the initial sweeps right after the storm.

There were red X’s on the map showing where other crews were working. One spot on the far end of the grid was unmarked. It was ours.

“You’ll want to bring these,” the coordinator said, and handed us a pair of gas masks. “The mold might be toxic.” Continue reading “Far Too Much Mold”

Deniehyfield, Australia is being dismantled.

cattlehead

Three cows disappeared from John Pierce’s place. He reported them as being stolen, but an investigation of the farm yielded nothing. No forced entry, no damage to the fences, no footprints. Nothing. It was chalked up as “one of those things.”

Six weeks later, two of those three cows were found in the trees of a nearby park. It was clear they’d been mutilated, but their advanced state of decay precluded any definitive answers. Again, “one of those things.” Now, though, people were starting to take notice. It’s not every day that cows wind up in trees. Especially dead ones. Continue reading “Deniehyfield, Australia is being dismantled.”

The Cave in the Lake

undersea cave

A long time ago, I used to scuba dive with my college buddies. It was my passion. It made me feel like an intrepid explorer, charting the unknown and discovering the unseen.

That was way before my daughter. Way before my ex-wife, too. Like so many things, I gave it up when the drive to start a family kicked in. After Penny was born, scuba was just a frivolity I had no right to focus on. And that was that.

Twelve years later, after the divorce, I started looking at the world like I had before it all went south. I could resume the activities and hobbies I’d abandoned. Scuba diving was at the top of the list.

Once everything was finalized, I bought a house two states away from the one I’d shared with my wife and daughter. It was nothing special. It wasn’t the house I cared about when I closed the deal on the property. It was what sat behind it: a lake.

Continue reading “The Cave in the Lake”

My four-year old son woke up with a full head of gray hair.

Sleep EEG

Our little Phillip had complained about his nightmares for weeks. Lisa suggested we take him to a doctor. I resisted. I had nightmares when I was his age. Awful ones – ones that, to this day, I still shudder to recall. It seemed poor Phillip was more like his old man than his mom and I had hoped.

After a particularly wretched night of his howling and shrieking, I caved. I couldn’t bear to see my son suffer from terrors he was too young to understand. Continue reading “My four-year old son woke up with a full head of gray hair.”

I tried to mine some Bitcoins and I think I might have unglued the fabric of the universe.

Bitcoin logo

(A horror story about Bitcoin.)

A little help?

I’m a research assistant working at a science facility in China. We’ve got one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world. We had to power it down a few months back to do some upgrades, and we’ve got a skeleton crew until it’s all done. Last night, my friend Chen and I were the only ones on the overnight shift. The majority of the hardware was up and running and we were supposed to be stress testing the nodes.

We had software we were required to run, but I had the bright idea to mine Bitcoins to test it instead. God knows those calculations can stress your hardware.

It didn’t take much convincing to get Chen on board with the idea. If we could make a little extra money on the side from our endeavor, it was that much better. Besides, we could run the regular software after.

Chen downloaded the blockchain, installed everything, and we started processing. Lo and behold, BTC fractions started rolling in. It was way faster than either of us had expected. After an hour, we’d made a couple hundred USD. This supercomputer is something else. Adiabatic quantum emulation, baby. Not quite full QC, but close enough where it matters. When the upgrades go public, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

All that said…I think we f*cked something up.

Continue reading “I tried to mine some Bitcoins and I think I might have unglued the fabric of the universe.”

Road Head

Death Valley highway

I won’t bullshit you. I know how dangerous it is to get your hog sucked while you’re driving. But you know what? Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

The woman I picked up by the truck stop the other night was beautiful. Long, curly brown hair, green eyes, and soft, baby-smooth skin. Sexy hoop earrings, too. I love hoop earrings. I knew a girl in high school who liked to put her heels behind her hoops. Now that’s an image.

Anyway, I’m not going to lie and build myself up as some sort of stud by saying my lady friend and I went at it right away. I’m 55 with more gray than brown these days. Got a decent gut, too. The libido’s strong as ever, though. No blue pills needed. Regardless, there’s still a hint of gentleman left in me.

I know you’re already thinking I’m a pig. Well, maybe. I’d rather call myself a “Lothario.” Similar definition but infinitely classier-sounding. Don’t worry. I promise I’m not all bad. Continue reading “Road Head”

Wet Bedroom

In an abandoned house about ten miles south of our high school, deep in the woods, there’s a bedroom that is always wet.

On the surface, it sounds unremarkable. Woods. Abandoned house. Water. Leaks. Wet bedroom.

Go inside, though, and you’ll realize it’s a little more complicated than that. A little harder to explain.

The water in that room clings to the floor and walls and ceiling in heavy, gelatinous globules. Touch one and it’ll break, spilling foul-smelling water on you. I made that mistake the one time I visited on my own. It takes days to get that stink off. Continue reading “Wet Bedroom”

The Secret Doctors of NASA: A Psychologist’s Suicide

“The Secret Doctors of NASA” is a series of memoirs, diaries, and reports from actual doctors employed by an undisclosed arm of NASA between 1970 and 2001. These writings contain true accounts of the unusual and often highly-classified medical conditions experienced by astronauts during and after their space missions. Following the defunding of the clandestine medical program after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, the majority of these accounts were left, forgotten, on tape drives in a NASA storage facility. In 2016, a former intern, whose job was to clean out one of these facilities, discovered them. Two years later, he is ready to release what he found.

Thus far, the following report has been released: A Dentist’s Discovery

Releaser’s Note: This report is an annotated interview with an American astronaut which took place in 1981. His name has been changed. The psychologist self-refers as “Interviewer.” The report was originally found at the location of the interviewer’s death.

A Psychologist’s Suicide

Interviewer’s Note: The patient is a 42 year-old astronaut. It has been two weeks since his last mission. Up until that point, he had been in perfect physical and mental health. During that recent mission, he spent 31 days in low-Earth orbit conducting various experiments pertaining to inorganic chemistry. His condition has not been determined to be the result of any of his work in orbit. Continue reading “The Secret Doctors of NASA: A Psychologist’s Suicide”

The Secret Doctors of NASA: A Dentist’s Discovery

“The Secret Doctors of NASA” is a series of memoirs, diaries, and reports from actual doctors employed by an undisclosed arm of NASA between 1970 and 2001. These writings contain true accounts of the unusual and often highly-classified medical conditions experienced by astronauts during and after their space missions. Following the defunding of the clandestine medical program after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, the majority of these accounts were left, forgotten, on tape drives in a NASA storage facility. In 2016, a former intern, whose job was to clean out one of these facilities, discovered them. Two years later, he is ready to release what he found.

A Dentist’s Discovery

Arnold F. A*******, DDS
August 4th, 1989

I met the astronaut after a half-year mission on the Russian space station. He’d gone through his preliminary post-landing physical but complained about pain in his jaw and gums. His health, aside from those complaints, was fair.

It was my job to find out what was wrong with him before moving him on to the next specialist. The urologist, I think. The order always changes.

The patient was in decent spirits when we met, although I could tell something was on his mind. We chatted for a little bit. It turned out he’d been working on the Feng-Lee Discovery. My heart sank. Continue reading “The Secret Doctors of NASA: A Dentist’s Discovery”

Dermatographia

I have a condition called “dermatographia.” It is what it sounds like: you can “write” on my skin. It’s not as bizarre as it looks. All it means is I get scratches very easily. If I run my fingernail across my skin, I’ll get a raised, red trail. It doesn’t hurt or bleed and it goes away after a half hour or so. Still, it’s pretty noticeable.

Kids used to make fun of me at school, as they’re wont to do with anything they find new or weird. It wasn’t too bad, though. Nothing traumatizing. I’m grateful for that, because as I got older I realized how great a bar trick it was.

Maybe that makes me a little weird. I’m okay with it.

I’m going to dispense with the backstory because I need to talk about what’s been going on lately. The other day, I woke up with a word on my stomach. It said “soon.” Continue reading “Dermatographia”

Lippy

For most of my life, I’ve been self conscious about the appearance of my inner l*bia. It didn’t come out of nowhere. I think I first noticed I was unique when I was 13 and saw my first few p*rn scenes. The women there looked different from me.

Still, I didn’t feel uncomfortable until I was 16 and my first boyfriend made a hurtful comment. “What’s wrong with your pussy?” he sneered, and giggled to himself. That was all it took for me to develop a complex.

That relationship, thankfully, didn’t last very long. But the embarrassment and insecurity remained. I didn’t seek out new boyfriends or sexual partners for the rest of high school. I didn’t say anything to my mother, who’d noticed I’d grown depressed and self conscious. All I did was hate myself and wish I could change.

Continue reading “Lippy”

The Only Solution

Whenever I see him on the screen, I feel my fingers clenching. It’s as if they’re practicing the motion for when I squeeze the life from his small body. And it will happen soon. Finally.

I’ve watched the boy for years. Watched him grow from an infant to a toddler to the preteen he is now. He smiles easily. His heart is innocent and carefree. I will make sure it stops beating.

One of my recent breakthroughs took me beyond the viewing screen and allowed me to transport into his room as he slept. I hadn’t perfected my technique to be there physically at that point, but that was coming. Just my consciousness would travel. I floated over his bed and gazed down. My hatred seethed, and, for a moment, I feared he sensed my presence because his eyes flew open and he gasped. Continue reading “The Only Solution”