The Rock by Joshua Moses

June 16, 2014 Comments Off on The Rock by Joshua Moses

In the garage out back there’s a 1986 El Camino. In the back seat there’s a body, and in the body, incredibly, impossibly, there is a diamond the size of a walnut. Forget, for the moment, the who and the why. Let’s stick to the what:

Diamond. Body. Car.

I trust you understand our predicament.

Let’s say we take your advice: we call the cops. Cops come, take the body, so long diamond. And then we have to explain the car and how it came to be in our possession. Or, alternatively, let’s say we listen to Rico: I don’t even own a tape measure, let alone a bandsaw. And let’s also just say I’m not inclined to go sawing into flesh. Call it a personal thing. Rivers I won’t cross and what not.

Listen – I said no who, no why. What’s important here . . . well, shit. That’s the thing, right? Here we are, huddled in the basement of a house with no heat, the most valuable thing any of us have ever laid eyes on trapped somewhere in the nether regions of a decomposing corpse. And what are we going to do, exactly? Sell it? It’s a diamond the size of a fucking walnut. I’m pretty sure somebody is going to report it missing.

I know I should have thought of this. Believe me: I know. It’s just, just, under the circumstances, what were we going to do? I mean, look, here we are, freezing, all but homeless, and there’s a rock out there that’s worth than all the manual labor we could do together in a lifetime. It’s like it just fell into our laps. I mean, it literally, literally fell into our laps.

No, I don’t mean literally literally.

Anyway, even if I wanted to apologize, and I don’t, it’s not like we can do anything to fix the situation. Right? I mean, so far as I can tell, we’re fucked no matter what.

We. We. Yes, we. You’re as much a part of this as I am. Jesus. Yeah, and Rico too. I know it was my idea. It was my idea alone. Trust me, I did not intend for this to happen. None of it. Not the car and not the body and certainly not the diamond.

OK, maybe the diamond.

So Rico is going to be here in twenty minutes. We have twenty minutes to come up with a plan, something that will work, something that salvages whatever we can from the situation and that we can all live with afterwards. Something that doesn’t involve cops or bandsaws.

I really wish we had some coffee. Or some whiskey. Or, really, anything.

Yeah, anything except the body and car.

Asshole.

© 2014 Joshua Moses

Josh Moses is an investment banker by day and a writer by night (when he’s not taking care of a baby). He has been rewriting the same novel for ten years. No, he does not sleep.

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Apartment C by Joshua Moses

September 20, 2012 Comments Off on Apartment C by Joshua Moses

I wrote Dr. Karovich a lengthy letter, asking whether it might be possible to arrange a private meeting with him. His publisher apparently forwarded it to his niece, Julia. She was kind enough to send the letter back to me with a note appended, indicating that her uncle had been deceased for a great many years. This should have been my first clue that Julia was not, as they say, “right in the head.” Dr. Karovich was, of course, alive and well. I had purchased a signed copy of his survey of Jewish erotic art at a used bookstore only the previous year. I considered whether it made sense to argue by letter with a lunatic. Concluding that it did not, I put on my best suit and a tie and went to call at the return address on the manila envelope.

The building was a four-story walkup constructed of red brick. Apartment C was labeled “J Karov,” and I pressed the buzzer beside it. A woman’s voice responded. I indicated that I was a fan of Dr. Karovich and would very much appreciate the opportunity to speak with him regarding my own contribution to Jewish erotica. I also mentioned the letter I had written so that Julia would understand that her uncle had not suddenly become a worldwide sensation. She apologized over the intercom, said that I apparently had not received her note — which, of course, I had — but that her uncle had been dead for the better part of two decades, and it would therefore be very difficult to arrange a meeting.

This seemed a very strange thing to lie about, and so I asked her whether she had considered the possibility that she ought to seek a mental health evaluation. She had no reaction to this, and so I took the opportunity to suggest a number of doctors with whom I was familiar. Eventually someone came out the front, and so I slipped into the building as Julia was unresponsive and apparently unwilling to continue the discussion.

Apartment C was on the second floor. I knocked and stated firmly that I wanted to speak with Dr. Karovich, adding that Julia needed to see a psychiatrist. Julia did not answer, and it eventually occurred to me that she had perhaps slipped out some back exit. I scurried back down the stairs in time to see a woman, in shorts and a t-shirt, dashing down the block in bright green sneakers. I am not a runner, and so I took out a cigarette and proceeded to smoke it in the vestibule while considering my options. Eventually, I selected a few of my favorite erotic self-portraits and slipped them under Julia’s door, along with a note pleading that she show them to her Uncle and share my telephone number with him as well. I also reiterated my offer to provide a personal referral to a mental health professional.

If I still get no response, I will return.

© 2012 Joshua Moses

Josh is a devastating advantage. He is feared and available for rent. http://thehappykilljoy.tumblr.com

The Necromancer by Joshua Moses

April 2, 2012 Comments Off on The Necromancer by Joshua Moses

Sick of the world’s many ills, and bored by conventional means of fixing them, I resolved upon necromancy. Having acquired a number of dusty old tomes by various and sundry means (a garage sale in Porter, Indiana; an occult club of like-minded individuals; a cheerfully wrapped birthday present from Aunt Margaret; etc,) I began to call upon members of the esteemed demon community. The first I channeled from the netherworld was a beast named Uz.

Uz was only too eager to help, having taken out a half-page ad in a regional demonology magazine, and was full of ideas. Unfortunately, he took the form of a flicker of light in a glass of water, which was not very useful in resolving the issues of poverty or childhood illnesses. At my behest, he did lead to the suicide of my neighbor’s cat – a mean fat orange thing named Charlie – but felicide was not the primary focus of my research. Being that our goals and abilities seemed mutually incompatible, Uz left my service with no hard feelings, and I paid him with the carcass of one young castrated male goat.

Before returning to the Pit, Uz recommended that I call upon Quddus, a demon whom I gathered was both more capable and more corporeal. I slit the throat of a chicken on a moonless night (I took the precaution of using a whole pre-dead Chinatown chicken, head intact), and Quddus appeared in a puff of crimson smoke with two tickets for the following evening’s White Sox/Red Sox game. I was a Cubs fan, but I agreed to go, and Quddus proceeded to drink eleven beers and vomit on a family of four in town from Massachusetts, calling them “vermin.” Having been to Massachusetts I did not entirely disagree.

Post-game, at the only bar in Bridgeport, I requested of Quddus that he deliver this world from sin and make of it a paradise. Sadly, he demurred, claiming that his collective bargaining agreement would prohibit such an arrangement. This devolved into a back-and-forth whereby I suggested this, that, or the other thing, and he curtly declined, granting that he would be more than perfectly happy to do so were he free to act of his own accord, but that the union would simply not allow it. We argued and fought, me taking, to my own surprise, the position that organized labor had become bloated and corrupt, and him contradicting me by way of a river of blood.

We ultimately agreed that one child who would otherwise have starved would be fed. He gesticulated and rent the sky in exchange for six drops of my blood. Success! But brief it was, as said starving Hottentot now trots boldly through space and time to devour my liver fortnightly. This has done no favors for my pursuit of a better and more just world, but Quddus now seems to screen his calls and the courts in my jurisdiction are hopelessly backlogged…

© 2012 Joshusa Moses

Employed in all the world’s most hated professions, J is not that bad a person once you get to know him.

The Head by Joshua Moses

December 12, 2011 Comments Off on The Head by Joshua Moses

So I’ve got this head in a jar, and I’m not sure who it belongs to. I showed it to my lawyer, and he was none too happy. “Lisa,” he said, “you can’t just show me a head in a jar. Attorney-client privilege doesn’t cover that.” Which I pointed out, of course, assumed that I’d put the head in the jar, and had committed a crime in doing so. Both unfair assumptions. But then people tend to assume things about me.

My landlord assumes I’m a hoarder. My father assumes I’m insane. My parole officer assumes I’m trying to show up to work, I really am, but that it takes a certain amount of time every day to line up all the dead animals on the sidewalk before anybody else can. It’s hard living up to expectations.

It’s difficult to make out too many identifying features on the head. The eyes are closed, for one thing, and for another, the water has just gotten murkier over the past week. I’m pretty sure it’s a guy, and I’m pretty sure he was white. Other than that, he was kind of chubby. Unless he’s got bloated in there, which might happen.

I don’t like to jump to conclusions. But in this case I’m going to. Fat guy, mid-twenties. Describes a quarter of this shitty burg, frankly, so it’s not much help. I suggested that my attorney drive me around while we look for the dude with the missing head. He said no.

Guess the court won’t cover gas expenses. Just as well, I’m pretty busy.

© 2011 Joshua Moses, first appeared at Fictionaut.

Employed in all the world’s most hated professions, J is not that bad a person once you get to know him.

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