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
7B. THE SPRINGTIME OF LOVE
THREE MONTHS LATER
It was a long day at work, but productive. When customers weren’t in the store, and after Burt had made sure all his daily duties were completed, he worked on his business plan. The possibilities of running his own gun shop made him happy, and he knew he could pull off financing and running the new store.
Burt was taking a few minutes to wipe down the glass display cases as the clock tick-tocked to the 8 o’clock hour when the front door of the store ding-donged with digital dullness.
Burt looked up and was surprised to see who it was.
“Shirley,” he said, smiling. His heart skipped a beat. “Come in to rub your big victory in my face?”
Though she was clearly crestfallen, she had enough in her for one of her signature sexy comebacks. “I’d rather rub something else on your face, ‘Satchmo’.”
In spite of the comeback, Burt could tell she was sad. He put his cleaning implements down and walked to Shirley. He offered a hand, but she took him in an embrace instead.
“Just hold me for a minute, you big lug,” she whispered.
It was a peculiar gesture, but much welcomed. He felt her soft, feminine body against his. It was quite a jolt, as he hadn’t held a woman like this in years.
“What’s going on here, Shirley?” he asked.
“I need a drink. Need to talk,” she sighed. “I want to have a drink and talk to you.”
Something big happened. He didn’t want to ask any questions, at least right now. But Burt was more than happy to oblige her request.
“Let me lock up. I know a little dive just a few blocks from here.”
She nodded her head. She smiled.
Shirley wasn’t playing around we she said she needed a drink.
Burt and Shirley had not been in the bar more than ten minutes and Shirley had already taken two well tequila shots (the well tequila was called Julio Lentes), and was now working on a well whiskey-based Manhattan (the well whiskey was L’Amour).
“I was on the other side of town near Pomona when I got the news,” she said, taking a long swig. “They said he was putting a perp in the back of a squad car when the perp’s girlfriend, this crazy bitch who had been shouting… talking shit to him the whole time, pulled a gun and shot him in the head. Bitch knew he was wearing a vest.”
Shirley took yet another drink, almost finishing the cocktail she hadn’t had for more than ten minutes. Burt took a swig with her from his drink. He wasn’t nursing his Jim Beam on the rocks (easy rocks), but wasn’t drinking as fast as Shirley.
“They wouldn’t let me see him at the morgue. It was a closed casket funeral.” She was fighting back tears. Burt held up two fingers to the bartender with one hand while pointing at the two empty shot glasses of tequila with the other.
“I have to admit…” Then she paused. Burt could sense the advent of an emotional purge about to begin. He prepped himself, because he knew he was right.
“I have to admit,” she said again, trying again to say the words without crying to no avail. She closed her eyes tight, and her face began to grimace with repressed sadness. Tears began to fall from her eyes, squeezed out and rolling down her cheeks. Eye shadow laced the tears in black, as if a dark tumor on her soul had been squashed like an orange. Her body was cleansing itself of its negative power through her tears, the blood of the monkey on her back that had died when Greg had died. She was Atlas unburdened. The transition was painful, but liberating.
All of it, everything she was holding back, was finally going to come out.
“I have to… admit that I’m glad the bastard is dead,” she finally said, laughing through her tears. “I’m so glad he’s dead,” she chuckled again. It was a true, real release. Pure joy. Burt could feel it. “Oh, my God, I’m glad he’s dead.”
She lifted the remains of her Manhattan and chugged the rest.
“Atta girl,” chuckled Burt as the bartender brought over two more shots of the cheap tequila, dressed just as before with salt and a lime.
“You don’t know how good it was to say that,” said Shirley, wiping away the tears. “Shit. My mascara’s running.”
“Don’t worry about it,” said Burt, handing her a cocktail napkin.
Shirley began to wipe the black streaks off her cheeks, the purged abscess of her soul. She said, “My two kids hated him. They stopped coming to the house when I started dating him.”
“Kids?” asked Burt.
“Two girls. They’re all grown now and married. One’s in Sacramento. The other is in Fremont. It meant so much when they would come visit. Now,” she chuckled, “I guess they’ll start coming back.” She began to chuckle, then whimper again. She leaned in to Burt for an embrace. He was more than happy to take her into his arms. He could smell cigarette smoke in her hair.
Burt gently stroked her back, patting it every so often. Her hands gently stroked his back with appreciative affection before gripping him tighter. Then, they both released their embrace.
“You were not happy, were you?” said Burt.
“At first, yes. But that shit stopped quick.” She paused. “He abused me, Burt. Physically. Sex.. sexually. He was a total jerk.”
“I’m sorry,” said Burt, handing her the tequila shot and taking his.
“You know,” she mused, “I’m glad it was closed casket. Because if it was open, I would have spit in that fucker’s face.”
She hoisted the glass.
“What are you toasting to?” asked Burt.
“A toast to new friends, and to the devil. May he cook that sonovabitch and fuck him in the ass for all eternity.”
Burt smiled, raising the glass. “Atta girl,” he whispered.
The glasses clinked as if casting the curse they placed on Greg’s dead soul. They licked the salt off the rim, took the shot, and squeezed the lime in their mouth to complete the social hex.
“Another Manhattan, another Jim on the rocks, easy rocks, and two more shots,” said Burt.
“Oh, my God. Whose idea was this?” chuckled Shirley.
“This idea was yours, young lady,” said Burt, also running out of breath. “All yours.”
“It wasn’t my idea,” she said, smiling.
“Don’t throw this misadventure on me, kitten. No, no, no,” he replied.
They were only a few yards from the large, white, and iconic ‘Hollywood’ sign, having climbed up the hill for the past few minutes.
“Are we going to get in trouble?” asked Burt.
“Maybe,” said Shirley, taking a seat on a patch of ground. Burt joined her.
“The last thing I ever thought I’d be doing after work on a Tuesday night is sitting under the Hollywoood sign, drunk, carrying a .45 Colt.”
“My .45 Colt,” said Shirley. “And me, the same, with a bottle of Jim.”
“My bottle of Jim,” said Burt. They chuckled, looking over the sprawling L.A. county. The lights of the city burned with energy like a Pentium processor chip in a super computer, sizzling with life.
The L.A. night buzzed below them as they sat on the quiet hillside. The sweet wind of the California night gently cooled them down.
“What is it about life that makes it such a roller coaster?” asked Shirley, taking out a pack of Marlboro Lights. She removed a cigarette for herself. She offered Burt one. He waved her off.
“Who knows?” he said. “God, maybe.” Burt spun the cap off the bottle of Jim Beam and took a swig. He passed it to Shirley, who took a swig herself.
“You know, if it wasn’t such a roller coaster, who’d want to live it?”
“Some people don’t make it,” she replied. There was an awkward silence as they both reflected on Greg.
“The end of the world comes quick for some, huh?” said Shirley, breaking the silence.
Burt tried to change the subject. “What is the end of the world?” he asked. “Sure, individual death. But what about the world? The end times? What is it?”
“Plague,” thought Shirley. “War. Anything. I see the world ending by some kind of plague.” She gazed off into the distance, as if hypnotized by the thought and the sparkling LA night. “Everyone just dying. The world leaders finally coming together, but its too late. Everyone just dies.”
Burt took a moment, then blurted out, “Did I ever tell you I wanted to have a gun shop of my own?”
“Are you serious?” said Shirley.
“Absolutely dead serious. Just like the place I’m working at now, but named ‘The Armory’.”
“That’s such a dumb name.”
“What?” asked Burt. “The Armory is not a dumb name.”
“You need to call it something cool. Something gun lovers will enjoy saying or telling their friends about.”
“Okay, Miss Business Smarty-Pants. What should the name be?”
“Locked and Loaded,” she replied with confindence.
“Locked and Loaded?” whispered Burt. “Locked and Loaded.”
“Locked and Loaded,” said Shirley, nodding.
“You know what?” said Burt. “I like it. Locked and Loaded it is.”
“See, I told you there were better names.”
Burt looked at her quizzically. “How did you come up with that name?”
“Because I’ve always wanted a gun shop of my own, too,” she said. “That’s the name I would call it if I had one.”
The two shared a smile, then looked back out across the sizzling city lightscape.
Silence. All that danced between them was the gentle breeze of the night.
“You know,” said Shirley, breaking the silence yet again. “You didn’t have to throw the competition.”
Burt blushed. “I didn’t throw the … are you saying I took a fall?”
“You didn’t have to take a fall for me.”
Burt explained. “I made a shot. A good shot.”
“One you knew I could beat,” she said. “You didn’t have to take the fall.”
Burt turned and looked Shirley in the eye. “I didn’t have to fall for you, either. But I did.”
Shirley blushed. A moment shocked them with heat. Part alcohol. Part fire that had been burning in their hearts since that first day they met at the gun shop.
Breaking the tension and the gaze, Shirley looked over at a cactus in the distance. “One shot. That cactus flower. Winner take all.”
Shirley pulled out her pistol. She took aim.
Burt smiled. He pulled out his piece. He took aim.
The flower was summarily removed.
Turning to Shirley, Burt said, “You didn’t have to take the fall.”
“I didn’t have to fall for you, either,” she said, leaning into Burt. “But I did.”
And with that, Burt leaned in. He might not have had the company of a woman for many years. But he was man enough to know when a woman wanted knowledge of him. And he was man enough to satisfy the request.
Their lips met for the first time under the lascivious gaze of the white hot letters of Hollywood.
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