Here’s another challenge from Chuck Wendig at Terrible Minds:
The challenge was to try to explain the article that he linked to. There were these creepy spider web looking objects that remain unexplained by scientists. I tried to explain it by linking it to a drug-like substance from Wendig’s book: The Blue Blazes (good book by the way–check it out). I’m not sure how well it worked, but ehh it’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
The White Fire
“Yeah I’ve seen those all around, what the hell are those things?” Jack asked.
“That’s what I’m trying to say I’ve tried them–it’s some good shit,” Brian answered. To Jack, it appeared Brian couldn’t keep his hands steady; they either shook uncontrollably or they were busy scratching at his arms and neck.
“What the hell do you mean, tried them? They look like little spider webs shaped to resemble crowns. They’re all over the place under 93rd Avenue,” Jack said.
Brian’s eyes widened as he considered this. “They are! We’re going to make a fortune, man. We should go into business together and sell this shit. Let’s go gather it right now.”
“Slow down Speed Racer. What the hell are you talking about? Tell me exactly what you mean by tried it.”
“Have you ever heard of the Blue Blazes?”
“Well, I saw this stuff in the subway tunnels, and I thought of the blazes. They say that shit is guarded by gremlins or something, so I don’t even think about that stuff—but I thought these white crowns might be something similar, you know?”
Jack didn’t exactly know what Brian meant by ‘guarded by gremlins,’ but he didn’t press the issue. You can’t take everything a sociopath says at face value, after all. “No, I don’t know. What exactly did you do with it?” Jack asked. His face started to grimace with frustration because he wasn’t getting the information that he needed from Brian, but he held himself together enough to allow Brian to continue without feeling pressured.
“First, I tried to rub it on my temples like they do with the blue.”
“And, nothing happened. I did notice it crumbled in my hands like powder. So I took the next logical step.” Brian’s feet shifted while his gaze turned downcast. It was clear to Jack that Brian didn’t want to tell him the truth, but he knew he’d get it out of his friend eventually. They told each other everything after all.
Jack twirled his fingers in a ‘go ahead’ gesture.
“So I snorted it. I couldn’t think of anything else to do.” Brian shrugged as if he really didn’t have a rational choice beyond treating the object like a controlled substance.
“Hold tight…you did what?”
“I snorted it. What else would make it kick in?”
I don’t know, eating it. Or just leaving it the fuck alone, Jack thought. It’s probably a dangerous fungus or something, dumbass. Jack didn’t say this out loud to Brian, however. Instead, he settled for, “Sooo, how do you feel.”
After the question, all the tension in Brian’s body released. He tried to hold it together, but he couldn’t do it any longer. “I’m fucking wired, man. I’ve never seen the world so clearly—it’s like I see individual molecules float by in front of me. It’s insane. I feel like I could knock out an ultra marathon, no problem. My brain is going nuts. Have you ever seen that movie Limitless?” Brian’s words all seemed to come out in one breath. He expelled the paragraph of information in the span of six seconds.
Despite the auctioneer pace, Jack’s comprehension didn’t fall below every other word or so. He smiled and nodded at Brian’s last question, although it didn’t matter. Brian started back up before he could have possibly registered Jack’s nod as an affirmation.
“I feel like that. My brain is gonna explode with an influx of information, ya know? Hell, I don’t even use the word influx, but it came out without me even trying to sound smart. My boss is gonna love me tomorrow—gonna get so much shit done,” Brian said. Once again, the words came out as an onslaught of information between breaths.
While Brian panted in order for his lungs to keep up with his overworked mouth, Jack went over all of the information available. Bloodshot eyes. Can’t stand still. Scratching himself compulsively. Hyper. Feels invincible. “Are you sure you didn’t do a few too many bumps of cocaine?”
Brian’s palatine uvula stared at Jack while his jaw slacked toward the pavement. The look on his face expressed both confusion and hurt. “No, it’s not cocaine! What the fuck is wrong with you—I’m no coke head? It’s natural. I saw it growing in the subway tunnel. It’s like some sort of unique spider web or something.”
Jack wanted to point out that the fact that it was in a subway tunnel suggests that there’s a good possibility that it wasn’t natural. He couldn’t remember ever seeing a single plant in the tunnels. He didn’t bring this up, though. Sure he didn’t want to hurt Brian’s feelings, but more than that, he wanted to hear his friend’s rationalization of the alleged controlled substance.
“I feel good; like all my neurons are working for the first time since birth. I’m jacked up on life, my man—don’t try to downplay what I’m feeling.”
Instead of responding, Jack stared at his friend with a blank stare that seemed to look beyond Brian.
“Okay, so it may or may not be cocaine,” Brian admitted. His shoulders slumped in his admission of defeat.
“How much did you say is down there?”
“Tons of it,” Brian replied. This time his voice wasn’t quickened by the drug. Ironically, the admission of his possible ingestion of a controlled substance seemed to sober him up.
Jack shrugged. “Well, that sounds like a lot of money. We’ve done worse things than sling drugs.”
The two ventured off toward the fortunes in the subway tunnels.