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Gore City - Chapters 1, 2

Any criticism is welcome provided you don't think it's complete crap. Because if you do, it probably wasn't written with you in mind. Check the tags to see if it'll mesh with your biases.

It begins:

Hello. I am Tom. I will be the narrator of this story because the rest of me is busy being Trog. Trog is not the same person as me but he uses my body sometimes. This will be confusing which is why I am telling you. So you will not be confused now.

Trog and I have a job breeding burritos and tacos and things at Taco Shack. We have learned so much about breeding foods that we were specially given this job, no application necessary. We are somewhat famous for our breeding skills. I am better at it than Trog but don't tell him I said that.

I have heard that in some places they do not breed their deadfoods, only living types. Special cabbage or sheep made from all the best cabbage and sheep bits. I don't know much about breeding life, only death. Death is much easier since there's none of that mucking around shit!

But there are no perfect ones in this batch. Trog grabs a small squealing too-hard one and takes a bite – no one cares what happens to the rejects so we usually eat them. For our trip we have a large bag packed tight with reject chalupas, tacos, and burritos. The claustrophobic screaming is unnerving, but it's not like they're alive. They're just food. What really bothers me is the looks we get, carrying a big suitcase full of dozens of tiny screaming things, begging in taco-speak to feel the touch of the sun again. People look at us funny as we drag our suitcase and it bothers me. I ask Trog if it bothers him, but I know it doesn't. Trog is fucking hard.

-

Trog is 19 and I am 25. We live and have lived here in Horseheads for all of our lives (both of them). Horseheads is a cool name but a lousy town and so we are planning on leaving. Right after we finish work (perfect specimens: 1, eaten specimens: 4) we are off. Sort of.

Where are we going? Trog asks in our head. I want to see the city, I tell him.
Yes.
We have lived in New Fig all our lives and we have never been to the city. Fig City. It is very famous for it's tall buildings and rich people and poor people and hobos and swearing. I want to see it for the tall buildings and rich people. Trog wants to see it for the hobos and swearing.

It is not hard to pack because we don't have anything worth taking. Trog packs a heavy flashlight. “For seeing people. And then hitting them” he says. Sometimes I think Trog tries too hard to be tough, but don't tell him I said that. I pack our 100 function Swiss Army knife. It weighs about four pounds but I take it everywhere because it is neat.

We argue about what to wear for a while. Eventually we compromise: Trog gets his trenchcoat and combat boots and I get my Television Town shirt. Television Town is a place of history for punks. It is the place where post-punk and pop-punk reverted and punk was born again. It had almost happened before, many times, but always the players - musicians and writers and addicts and prophets – always they were conscious of what they were emulating. The people that played Television Town had never heard so much as Blitzkrieg Bop. They didn't call themselves punks. And ignorance is very punk rock. Trog didn't want to wear the shirt because it's too fashionable now and he doesn't like brands, but I think it will be neat to see the real Television Town and want to show my support. I didn't want to wear the combat boots because they're uncomfortable and the I think the trenchcoat is too heavy, but he likes the power of the boots and the cape-like effect of the coat. I think Trog secretly wants to be a superhero.
We also wear old, torn blue jeans because we don't have any other kind of pants.

We had discussed transportation earlier. This is how we had discussed it:
Okay, how are we going to get there? I had said. Huh? asked Trog, taco-bits running down our chin. How are we going to get to Fig City? And wipe our chin, that's disgusting.
Airplane!
He mental-shouts. That's too expensive, I complain/explain.
We should steal a car then. On a punk road trip you have to start by stealing a car. I can feel him grin at this suggestion.
Don't be stupid, we shouldn't do anything that illegal. Not yet anyway. Maybe on the way back.
Trog frowns.
Then grins.
Horses! We'll ride into town on a horse like Clint fucking Eastwood!

-

The bus smells of crack and death. I don't know those smells that well really but I suspect that this is what they are like. A sample of things to come, eh? I say. Trog grins. We pay the bus driver, a tiny, hunched over hairyman sitting on a pile of books, his greasy beard tangled in the greasier underside of the dashboard. He croaks out something and twitches and nods and we look for a seat.
Our eyes look around the bus and take it in. The other passengers give us just a glance but we give them a thorough lookin'-at.
A sweaty fatman is sitting with his legs half-crossed.
A sweaty teenage mother tries to quiet her child.
A bearded black man with bulged eyes scoots to cover two seats. He does not want us next to him.
Trog moves to the back of the bus and sits between a red-haired little kid in a plaid hat and a fidgety nerd man. The driver looks back at us with evil-swimmy eyes and says something unintelligible in a shreaky voice.

The trip is a long one. At first we pass the time by playing games. Tic-tac-toe gets old fast. We try a thumb war but find you can't do it with left and right hands. Also we get very strange looks from other passengers. This doesn't bother Trog but I don't like it so he growls at them to stop. Their eyes get wide and they shuffle a bit and look away. Most of them. Nerd Man keeps eyeing us. I can tell Trog doesn't like it. I don't either.

At least half-way into the trip, we finally resort to conversing with our buserly comrades. The kid is eyeing a tattoo on his arm. “Nice tattoo, kid.”
“Fuck you in the cornea, scum-faggot.” he growls, and looks back at his tattoo. So much for conversation. I bite our lip so Trog won't get involved. He might hurt the kid and I don't think that'd be okay. Trog realizes what I'm doing though, so he punches the Nerd Man in the face instead.

CHAPTER 2

The bus shriek-grinds to a stop and we step out, dragging the Nerd Man behind us. Wouldn't want him to miss his stop. If this isn't his stop, well, we will probably apologize. Or we would if we didn't leave him on the sidewalk. Trog justifies it by citing the apathy of the big city.

The moment we're outside we're hit by a semi-tangible energy that makes us drop our buddy. Cynicism and anger infest this place like magic. This is a place where the pissed-off and the impatient converge with the pretentious and the paranoid. I think Trog will fit in here. I'm unsure about myself, but I'm just here as a tourist, I guess. The bus drives away while we take the city in.

Eventually it occurs to us that we have no idea where we are. The bus let us out in Mars, but other than that we've no clue. We walk to the end of the huge street. The street sign says W 34th. To our right and left is Bowie. Good place to start. Television Town is near Bowie, right? We head left.

Fig City is divided into three areas: Mars Island, the business area, heavy in huge corporate skyscrapers and hipster/capitalist yuppies; Kingstown, where the poor, the immigrants, and the students live; and The Crunch, where smaller businesses and only semi-rich cityfolk live.

It's very overwhelming for me - there is a kind of controlled anarchy in the city, driven by capitalist intentions and bored yuppies. There are so many people.

We ask a man with a The Scum t-shirt and he directs us to Television Town and gives us the finger when Trog turns our back. We return it without turning around, startling him jumpy.

Sometimes being two people has advantages. One of these is that, being different people, we don't always have to look in just one direction. This is handy for when we are being snuck up on or flicked off. Another advantage is that we can take turns sleeping if we want, although after about a week it starts to effect us physically, dropping our chin and giving us the drools and slow reactions. Recently I have been letting Trog use our body more. This way I don't miss anything since we sleep at the same time, and I can always take over if I really want to, although I haven't tried recently.

We find Television Town quickly thanks to the rude punk's directions – Trog is surprised that they were accurate at all. The place is smaller and more humble than we thought it would be – just a big black sign and a door, really. But this is it and we are hyped. We jaywalk-run to the door, followed close by honky sounds. We enter. Inside is thick with cigarette smoke and flyers. There is a post-noisecore band playing quiet for irony. People sit at the bar and stand on the floor. Nobody dances, but there is a lot of shuffling. We look at the stage and think of Terrible playing there and get shivers. Then we go to the bar to get beers.

An old man is sitting next to us getting hammered and reciting strange rhymes. He says his name is Steven. He's dressed in an old-school punk way – tight jeans and a dirty graphic tee with a funny red tie. The dirty graphic is of a woman bending over as viewed from behind. He has thick mess-greasy black hair and is wearing sunglasses even though it is dark inside. He says he's been punk longer than anyone in here and what the hell is punk anyway (you can't really be punk if you admit to it). We ask if he had a band. “Kid, I been in more shitty bands than I can count. I was in the Dead... somethings. Dead somethings.”
We ask about this place – was he here when the punks restarted?
“Nah. Who cares. Fuck them. Yeah, I was here. Good, fun stuff those kids played. Whathisname was a helluva fuckin' songwriter. And it's interesting watching it change from then... Hasn't been so long, but people come in like it's ancient fuckin' holy ground. Tourists. They're the real punks, not us – we were just shitty musicians.” He is so wise. I think.

He gets up then and crosses the room to the stage – people get out of his way. The singer stops for a second when he sees him coming. Then he stops for longer when Steven pulls him down on the floor and starts stomping on him yelling something about him getting a song wrong or something. What a cool guy.

He comes back. I tell Trog to tell him “that was neat”, and he does after some protests over the language. He's usually accommodating enough which is another reason I haven't bothered to use our body so much.
“Thanks. You're alright. What's your name again?”

Our name has always been an important and difficult issue with me and Trog. We used to always use my name, but I felt bad about it and so we started switching. Trog would have Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays with his name; and I would have the rest of the week with mine. Eventually this became inconvenient and so we started only using the name of the one of us currently using the body.

“Trog.”
The singer has climbed back up and is trying to cough out another song.
“Goodta meet ya. But I gotta go, this fucker is pissing me off.” He throws a bottle at the singer and there is a coughy scream. “He's getting better though.”
Trog realizes that this role model is leaving and chokes out “Bye. Nice meeting you man. See you around maybe.”
“Yeah sure. Not if I see you first, right?” He looks at us and winks. Cheesy, yet awesome.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.

energy beams

Hi, I liked this bit. My only constructive criticism would be, when they got off the bus, did some kind of security energy-device force them to drop the Nerd-guy, or was that a figure of speech? So, I would say, just clarify that. Otherwise, cool idea!

Thanks a lot, always nice to

Thanks a lot, always nice to have something like that pointed out. Otherwise, who knows how long that woulda stayed in there.

Uh, and this might be a stupid question, but I could swear that when I edited it just now a big chunk of the story was missing... Is it different now?

Uh, actually it looks like

Uh, actually it looks like you had left out the first chapter before, or something, and now it is there.