So check this out, friends and readers.
A few years back, I was commissioned to write a story for the 'We're Alive' podcast.
Long story short, it didn't pan out.
But I spent a very long time writing it for it to languish in my computer. I spent that time not only writing it for the 'We're Alive' folks, but mostly for my readers.
So what I've decided to do is publish my initial story here, via my blog, as a work of FAN FICTION, a completely unofficial piece about a character from the series. This is completely unofficial and unauthorized, but I think my work and time spent on this project deserve to see the light of day.
I would like to encourage everyone who might enjoy this fan fiction to check out the officials 'We're Alive' website HERE. It is a fantastic and well-developed world created by a group of professional writers and expert voice actors.
In the meantime, here's the completlely unofficial, unauthorized 'We're Alive' fan fiction, originally entitled (WORKING TITLE: BURT)
BOWIE V. IBARRA
From an idea from the creators of the
“WE’RE ALIVE” podcast
Copyright 2011 PRODUCERS OF “WE’RE ALIVE” PODCAST, BOWIE V. IBARRA
CHAPTER 1 - PLAY >
TWO HOURS EARLIER
“Perhaps there’s more to Newman than meets the eye?”
“No. There’s less.”
Burt chuckled at the finale of yet another humorous episode of the American situation comedy, Seinfeld. His laughter melded with the canned studio audience laughter as the credits rolled over a freeze-frame of Elaine making a funny face at Jerry in his living room. George looked on, bemused, while Kramer was stuck making a wild gesture of surprise. It made his freeze-framed face and hands blurry under the whimsical closing music.
“I love that show,” mumbled Burt. His shaking hand reached for the remote control from the cushioned comfort of his recliner.
As he was about to change channels, the afternoon news pre-show teaser appeared on the television screen. The rapid playing of the final credits led directly to the teaser, doing its job of reeling Burt in with interest.
Legislators are nearing a historic vote on yet another controversial piece of immigration legislation. Reality TV star Brooke Nash speaks out about her drug rehab experience. And breaking news from downtown Los Angeles. You are seeing shocking images of rioting that is now taking place outside a Los Angeles hospital.
The person doing the voice-over remained as professional as possible in spite of the images relayed on the screen from a news helicopter that was circling the unrest.
Police officials are at a loss as to why the riots are…
The noble voice could not finish its story. Burt had pressed the channel change button.
He was sorely disappointed at what he found.
… lyn Richards ‘Tweets’ a complaint about her new fragrance line, Riches. And rioting down…
Burt groaned and clicked to the next channel. His blood was beginning to boil with anger.
… pass a controversial new immigration reform bill, and riots in the streets of Los Angeles…
“Dammit all to hell,” groaned Burt, pressing the ‘on’ button on his universal remote control to turn on the VCR. He didn’t want to get his blood pressure up, and watching the riots would do just that. The TV screen immediately turned blue. In white, across the top of left portion of the screen read ‘NO TAPE’.
Burt took a deep breath. He didn’t want to get out of his chair. He was comfortable, but needed a moment to calm down. There was nothing that frustrated him more than riots. It was hard for him to understand how the people of Los Angeles, any city for that matter, could do such a thing to its city, to its people. It frustrated him to no end.
The last thing he wanted to do now was watch the news, watch the chaos. In one moment, his afternoon ritual was disrupted and he hoped that would be the only disruption he’d have to face. It was his day off from work. The shop was closed. All he wanted to do was rest and relax. Fact is, the store hours had been erratic for a while.
Slowly, his anger began to fizzle away. He took deep breaths, trying to relax. He hadn’t served over 20 years in the United States Marine Corps defending America overseas to have jackasses trash the streets his tax dollars helped pay for.
“Idiots are just giving a cops a chance to rough you up. Goddamn idiots,” he grumbled.
He wished he could punch the city in the face, make it stop. When the city fell apart like it did, just like it had many times before, he wanted to crush it. It became like an enemy, something he wanted to fight. But it was a fight he could not win, and he knew that. Too much danger. Too many idiots.
But at the end of the day, the truth was he was just too old for fighting, too old to run, too old.
Burt took another deep breath before rising from his chair. His joints creaked like the old gears of a rusty tractor. His muscles strained as he rose from his chair that he had been sitting in the last two hours solid. A stressed groan left his lips like a beast rising from a hiding spot behind a tree in a fairy tale.
TBS, which Burt was to understand by the TV promotional commercial was ‘very funny’, held a four hour Seinfeld marathon. Burt gladly accepted the programming as a perfect opportunity to do absolutely nothing for the morning. Hell, it was a pretty good idea for the rest of the afternoon as well.
Waking up, he had been too unmotivated for breakfast. Instead, he filled a cup with cold coffee from the day before. He took a few saltines from an open bag that might or might not have served as a snack for a charming rodent living in the apartment. It just didn’t matter anymore. Life. Not to Burt, anyway.
Burt walked to a plastic rack filled modestly with VHS tapes. A movie would be the perfect way to pass the lunch hour. It took his eyes a few moments to adjust to the dim light of the room, using the illumination from the kitchen and the television to find his movie.
“There you are,” he whispered, smiling. “Hello, old friend.”
Burt took the VHS tape from the rack. He wiped off a small layer of dust that had fallen on the box since the last time he watched the movie, which was only a few months back.
“It’s been a while, hasn’t it?” he said, letting the plastic video tape fall out of the box and into his trembling hand.
Moving to the VHS player that was sitting precariously on top of the television, Burt took a moment to steady his hand to place the tape in the mouth of the player. He gently pushed the tape into the opening before the player swallowed it down. The slender door to the player slapped shut as it gulped the tape into place. Gears clicked into motion, technology was spurred to life with a familiar ‘whirring’ sound.
As the words on the TV screen changed to PLAY, blue switched to black as Burt turned back to look at his dingy apartment. Blinds were shut, letting thin rays of light mark the flight path of floating dust. It was evident the apartment was once well kept. But that time had passed.
Burt flopped back into his seat with a moan of relaxation. It was as if the muscles in his body were thanking him for taking the strain off of them.
Before he could reach for the remote to press play on the VCR, his phone rang. The phone was positioned right beside his chair. He leaned over and read the caller ID.
“Uncle Oscar,” he muttered. “Not right now,” he said, lifting the receiver and hanging the phone. He’d let the ‘call notes’ record the message. He’d get to it later. He took the phone off the hook. Nothing was going to interfere with his special movie morning.
“Here we go,” he muttered, watching the large red Warner Brothers logo fill the screen. As the lead-colored title screen swept into focus, the flash of special effects from the 1980s illuminated the words.
“The Road Warrior,” whispered Burt reverently.
He never talked to himself. That was something that had only recently developed, a trait formed to fill the still air of the empty apartment. His apartment was his house, but his house was no longer a home. It began to feel more like a nursing home, or a hospice center where old folks went to die in comfort. He still had a lot of time left to live, but he just needed to figure out what for. He was having a hard time believing it was worth finding a reason anymore.
‘The Road Warrior’ was one of his favorite movies for years. More recently, it provided comfort. It was an abstract connection to days gone by, happier days, days when he wasn’t alone. There was a time when his future held only good fortune and companionship. In ninety-one minutes, his consciousness could be there again, away from the shattered hope of his present, away from the madness that was beginning to rock the city.
The narrator spoke. It was another voice in the room, familiar, yet alien. Burt mouthed the words, falling into the fantasy world of the post-apocalyptic Australian outback.
My life fades, my vision dims. All that remains are memories…
Every time the disembodied Australian voice said those words, Burt sighed and looked to a framed picture on the wall. Coated in a light blanket of dust was a picture of a woman. It was clearly an old picture taken in the mid-sixties judging by the fashion statement made by the hairstyles, clothes, and quality of the picture. It was a high school graduation picture.
“Shirley,” whispered Burt with longing.
… To understand who he was, you have to go back to another time…
Burt always recalled his past with that line. Faces. Places. Events. The choices he made, both measured and foolish, that brought him here, to this moment; a tired, lonely widower, slowly allowing himself to fade away.
…Men began to feed on men…
The riots in the city returned to his mind as the ghostly images of unrest the movie used to illustrate the collapse of society flashed on the screen. Their frightening glory was displayed in haunting black and white, fading into each other like a true nightmare. Abstract. Racing. It always reminded him of the Frankenstein and Wolfman movies from his youth.
…He became a shell of a man, a burnt out, desolate man. A man haunted by the demons of his past…
His youth. His youth.
…And it was here in this blighted place, he learned to live again…
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