<<loud electronic music with an ageless female’s voice sweetly reverberates through a one room apartment. the room is well lit due to several spot lights clamped to various pieces of furniture and wall fixtures. there is the smell of fresh coffee and of sizzling bell peppers. a dark brown skinned man is sitting at a drawing table, sketching a pretty red headed girl firing a laser gun at a space monster. the man is named Hopskotch Sunday. he draws and drinks coffee as his breakfast of kale, peppers and eggs sauté on the stove. he has long, clean black and brown dreadlocks tied back with various strips of red ribbon. the man finishes his drawing and his cooking and takes both over to a chair in front of his computer. he scans the art into his art blog, and consumes the breakfast with his mouth. after updating, hopskotchsunday.com, Hopskotch use his Backmook Prole computer to check his email. the first email is a comment about the drawing he just posted online. “I love the way you drew that girl’s hair mister Sunday! We should get married. I have never had a real boyfriend before but I’m not a virgin and am ready to move out of my stepfather’s house. He’s kind of an ass, but you’ll haft meet him at least once before the wedding…” Hopskotch laughs and closes the email. Hopskotch Sunday is pretty well known in the current ‘Merican’ art scene, but he is an world wide icon in the realm of laughter.>>
<<during the first week of Hopskotch Sunday’s tenure as the Dishwasher of the Bucket o’ Blood, Hopskotch was summoned out of the kitchen by a bar patron who heard Hopskotch laughing about something in the kitchen. after meeting the man behind the laugh; the bar patron, named Benny, insisted on buying the Dishwasher several pints of his favorite beer. this beer is called Samuel Hein. it was bought in the attempt to get Hopskotch to sit and talk and laugh with Benny the bar patron; which Hopskotch gladly did. this blatant encouragement of employee joviality infuriated Hopskotch’s boss, Notnek, a great deal. after declining the offer for marriage from his random internet fan; Hopskotch moves on to check his email account for new messages from his comic book publisher. the pretty girl shooting space monsters that Hopskotch was drawing is a character in his new comic, “The Space Friend Ship”. Hopskotch hopes to make enough money selling his comic book to quit his day job (not before he tells Notnek to “eat a big ol’ bag of dicks”). sadly there are no new messages from Hopskotch’s publisher this morning.>>
<<Hopskotch sighs and says,>> “Guess I’d better show up at the day job then… but first it is time to break the fast!!!”
<<Hopskotch switches from reading his email on the computer screen to reading off of his mobile device. as the Myphone 9 uploads the current onslaught of personal and mass email, Hopskotch thinks of cooking. in his mind’s eye, Hopskotch Sunday walks back through the steps that lead to creating his first meal of the day. he pulls a pan, a cutting board and a knife out of his various cabinets. all the cabinetry in his studio apartment have stickers of different bands Hopskotch likes along with dozens of magazine clippings and random drawings affixed their doors. this is a convenient way to remind himself of the awesomeness that lay out there beyond the Oklahellmouth City border. and this habit of affixing images of things he likes to the surfaces of his dwelling just keeps him in his trademark Hopskotch Sunday good mood. this morning Hopskotch had decided to fix one of his favorite breakfast dishes of recent. he takes half a bunch of kale and washes and chops it into bits, stem and all. after coating his pan in olive oil (wrung from the bodies of virgin olives sacrificed in the prime of their lives) Hopskotch slides in the kale and adds some fresh red onion and yellow bell pepper that he had pre-chopped and stored in his fridge. as the veggies sauté, Hopskotch grabs some garlic to peel and chop, and some egg to crack. breaking him from his cooking meditation, Hopskotch’s Myphone 9 pings and he leaves his memories of preparing breakfast and glances down at his phone screen. there is a message from his best friend Finnegan. the title of the email is “Help Hopskotch”. it reads: “Woke up this morning and found my baby gone…” Hopskotch Sunday sits back in his computer chair, takes a sip of coffee and wonders exactly what Finnegan means. Finnegan is a fan of cryptic speech and blues music. Hopskotch knows the email contains the line from an old Robert Johnson blues song. Hopskotch, or Hop as his friends sometimes call him, also knows that Finnegan (you) can be a bit of a drama queen sometimes. ok, most times. especially if you have had a little too much wine (or Jesus Juice as you like to call it.) Hopskotch puts his phone down, tastes his cooking food and chops up some more garlic to add to his dish. as he separates bits of skin from the clove, Hopskotch thinks back to how he became friends with the Bucket o’ Blood’s latest kitchen manager.>>
<<Hopskotch Sunday and Finnegan L’Argent du Sang met each other in a Painting class at the Ticky Tacky University, where they both attend. their professor, George Afedzi Hughes, saw right away that their work had similar intentions and suggested that the two collaborate on a painting or two. after arguing over starting points and subject matter during their two hour long late afternoon class, Hop and you decided to go get some food (and wine) and work on the painting later that evening. Finnegan took Hopskotch to her favorite sushi joint, El Pescado Crudo, which was right next door to the Howdy Partner Pizzeria. Hopskotch did not quite know his way around town yet, as he was a recent transplant to Normal Towne.>>
“I just moved down here for school. I’m most recently from Oklahellmouth City. It is a stones throw from here by train.”, explains Hopskotch.
“Yeah I have been there several times when I was a kid. Other than my time in the service, I’ve lived in Normal Towne all of my life.”, you say.
<<with your trademark sad bastard monotone of voice.>>
“It’s a pretty big, modern city. Well it is for what passes for modern in Oklahellmouth these days anyway.”, you say.
“Yeah it’s not bad for a West ‘Merican’ city. There’s a subway to ride around, art galleries to see eye candy, sushi bars to get food imported from the coasts. a few big buildings to look up at. Although I do prefer the architecture of the Eurasian redneck cities in southeastern Oklahellmouth.”, confides Hopskotch.
“Oh you mean like Naaww-Leans in Anna-Louis or CharliesBrowne in Sweeeet Caroline…or what is left of those faded cities of yesteryear?”, you ask.
“Yeah you got it man. They have more interesting architecture and the people have an old world charm. Almost like class. Ja ja ja. It’s like being alive is more of an adventure for them, not just ‘getting by’ like they…I mean we, do here in midwestern Oklahellmouth.”, says Hopskotch Sunday.
“That is too true. The getting by part. Plus all the drinking festivals with women showing off their breasts for plastic jewelry is also pretty appealing too, right?”, you say with a smile in your words.
“You’re not wrong Finn!”, says Hopskotch with a laugh.
<<Hopskotch tops off each of your glasses with the customary Saké that you drink with your meal of sushi. after dinner you decide that the two of you should grab another bottle of wine and head back up to the painting studio to take another shot at artistic collaboration. this leads to a fast friendship between you two artists. it also leads to many evenings painting and drinking Jesus Juice until the early morning. you and Hopskotch develop a painting routine full of debauchery that many artists have been prone to embrace throughout the centuries. you would finish off an evening’s second or third bottle of Brohemian Grove Pinot Noir and exclaim, “I’ve been drinking that Jesus Juice, and now I’m speaking nothing but truth. Capitalism is just paid slavery. Let’s paint untill the cows come home!” Hopskotch would smile and shake his head knowingly and giggle at your proclamations. the two of you would paint and Hopskotch would listen to you rant about the socio-economic status of persons who lived far from the wealth and luxury of West ‘Merican’ cities like the Oklahellmouth. from time to time you would roam the streets of Normal Towne, long after the painting and drinking and the Hopskotch had finished their day. You would be hesitant to go home, as Ruben was often away working overnight in his Laboratory McCow Towne. you and your husband spent much time lost in your separate worlds.>>
<<you, miss Finnegan were focused on your drinking. and,>>
Fuck you Virus.
<<sorry, not sorry. you were focused on what was wrong with the internal wiring of society, of external human relations. Ruben was preoccupied by thoughts of rewiring the internal human physical condition. atleast that was what Ruben always told you was on his mind. Ruben tried to seem completely open about the work that he did in his laboratory. so ofcourse you knew that he was hiding something. you often told Hopskotch that what Ruben said and what Ruben did were most likely two different things. Ruben would go into extensive details about his work that would make your wine woozy head swoon with images worthy of a science fiction film. long story short, the two of you were in love with love and each focused on your own separate agendas. just like most other human couples. you and he worked regularly at giving each other glimpses of what was going on in the work the two of you did. and at many times each of you could not find interest in eachother’s thoughts.>>
At least I tried… Well not every day of course…but… Never mind.
<<quit crying Finnegan. i do not have any brain tissues. you and Ruben’s shortcomings were not a problem both the two of you at first. you and he still had much to talk about when you actually did spend evenings together. it did seem for a time that your marriage could withstand your bouts of mental instability and Ruben’s indifference and distance. but Hopskotch has noticed that you and he have not been painting together much as of late.>>
Hey! I still paint some… I have had a lot on my mind…
<<riiiiiight… Hopskotch has been as focused as ever, but you have been distracted by problems with your family. Ruben and you have been arguing over money. Ruben and his movie star looks and personality had come from money. his father actually was some sort of successful business man in the land of movie magic, Kaliphonyia. this is a magical land that defies the ocean rise and inland drought at the western edge of Oklahellmouth. as of late, you and Ruben did not have much money. in the beginning, the money was plentiful from Ruben’s family, and even more money from Ruben’s laboratory’s research and development. but the inventions and scientific breakthroughs caused controversy in the greater scientific community. this controversy lead to lawsuits. there were well funded medical institutions on the opposing side of the lawsuits, such as the ‘Merican’ Dental Association and the ‘Merican’ Cancer Society. the lawsuits dried up Ruben’s research money. as for the money from Ruben’s father, it vanished suddenly as well. a few years back Ruben announced to his father that he was going to have a child with his painter wife from Normal Towne; his father (you still did not know his name) became enraged. Ruben’s father swore that he would never send his son another dime. but that was fine because Ruben and Finnegan were so very much in love and wanted to start a family and change the world. their love would overshadow their debt and lower middle class poverty.>>
You’re mocking me aren’t you? This is what mockery sounds like from a disembodied voice inside my head isn’t it?
<<you and Ruben always spoke of a revolution that you two would start. as the Ruben-Finnegan Duo started their life with their child, Baby Thor, everything seemed possible. despite the fact that you and your husband were financially disowned by Ruben’s wealthy coastal family. but you did not know them anyway. it would not make much difference on the shape of your dreams, would it?>>
Your foreshadowing blows Virus.
<<Hopskotch warned you early on that,>> “Folks that come with money don’t tend to stay too long with folks that don’t”
<<you assured your friend that,>> “This thing with me and Ruben is different man, we are soul mates, you dig?”
<<before long, the lack of money became a serious issue between you and Ruben. your child, the beautiful boy named after the god of thunder, was growing up fast and Ruben wanted to send him to a private school. it was around the time that the fights were becoming a daily occurrence, that Ruben’s father Ace (suddenly Ruben became compelled to tell you his father’s name.) invited Ruben and Baby Thor (not you) to come and visit the Kaliphonia family estate. Ace wanted to meet his grandson after all. and there were things that Ace needed to discuss with Ruben. it was after Ruben and Baby Thor returned from their Kaliphonia vacation that the fights over private school ended.>>
Ace paid for the schooling.
<<in both East and West ‘Merica’ the humans had embraced two types of schools. the first was known as a private school. this is code speak for “upper class” training camp. private school/upper class training camp was formulated to educate and enhance, to positively influence the minds of the little persons who attended them. these schools charged a considerable fee for this service ofcourse. the second type of school system is known as public school (a.k.b.s.a. as free school.) this type of school was devised to educate little people who attended it in the ways of something called the status quo. the status quo is where free school children learn how to grow up and work for private school/upper class children. the free school children could look forward to a life of doing things like cooking food or cleaning toilets or mowing yards or wiping butts or even holding doors and welcoming the private school children into big box multi-product stores. here the private school children would spend lots of money on things that both types of school systems taught the children to need and want desperately. this need, along with the status quo idea, is part of what is called “the free market economy”. do not be fooled by the “free” part. there is no such thing as a free market or free food. speaking of markets and food, Hopskotch Sunday has finished his breakfast and email reading. the Dishwasher washes his dishes, smokes some weed, grabs his apron and bicycle and rides in search of his buddy the Cook.>>