Mayfly by Marshall Edwards
It began when I heard, then saw, an old college friend run down in Omaha. I was relaxing at my favorite outdoor café when:
I heard the screech of tires, familiar enough, often streets away but now very close at hand –
I heard a man scream – this too was familiar, and with a specificity that struck the breast –
As I turned to look, I saw a shuddering bulk of cobalt blue and a stricken body thrown free –
And following the arc of vision I saw a late-model smartphone flung free and high, emancipated from the now-familiar corpse.
A throng of pedestrians rushed in, and I with them. I was sure the dissembled corpse, strung here on the warped hood and across the ground, was that of my old friend, Roger Maybury.
I stood there, dumbfounded in the tumult, recalling dear old Maybury, terror of the Philosophy undergraduates. Not a class or social gathering or casual conversation went by without him blistering in tumult, screaming that humans were slaves to the desires of others. He aggrandized Nietzsche, claiming man (he always said “man”, not “humanity”, now matter how often corrected or by whom) was a chrysalis, a larvae, stuck between its base drudgery and the realm of the gods and that one day, he would prove it. We’d pass the wine and the weed during these rants, basking in the rage; then we’d step in to revive the cupidic scowler when he, breathless, passed out. All this larval talk and vasovagal extinction earned him the name Mayfly – a name I now regretted, seeing him thus on the pavement.
And as we clamored over the busted man – the body was gone, scraps of viscera left behind like footfalls in the frost.
The crowd shifted from excitation to mad bafflement. A tall conical man called emergency dispatch as a legion of smartphones captured the anomaly. I began to think of my bag. Whatever was going on, I’d feel more secure with laptop in hand. As I turned away, my attention was hooked by a scream on the edge of sanity and there was Roger, no longer a wet mess of red, but clean and howling breathless. The look in his eyes, a haunted agony that withered his features and his sanity, made me wonder if he wasn’t better off dead.
Presently I was shaking him by the shoulders, urging him: “Roger! Roger, it’s me. You’re okay, Roger. For the love of God, stop screaming!”
The ambulance team beat its way through the crowd – some still filming, some trying to touch the resurrected in religious fire. And though Roger seemed physically fine, he was frozen in terror.
I rode along and guided Roger through hospital check-in and, given Roger’s state, they allowed me to stay. The sedatives soaked his tissue, and he stopped clawing the air, and released my hand from his pin-and-needle grip.
As I sat, the adrenaline released me, and a cold ache settled in. His breathing steady, Roger pooled his composure further into his absence. The steady beat of machinery and hospital bustle pulled me into a nodding doze.
“I thought it was you.”
Roger spoke, pulling me from my fitful nap. HE was fixed on me now, Allen wrench eyes digging into sockets long unused.
I shifted in my seat, pantomiming relaxation in an overwrought way. “That was one hell of a trick, Roger. You okay?”
My jocular tone didn’t sway him. He pursed his lips to speak, then relented and returned his gaze to the wall.
“When we were at school, I often went on for hours while you listened. I know you thought I was a joke. But there was something else there, wasn’t there?
“I’m sorry – forgive me. I was an asshole, I treated you horribly. But, more than ever, I need someone to listen now.”
He bored into me again with flint-sharp eyes. His cracked lips quivered. “Please,” he rasped. “Help me.”
I should have run.
Illustration by Dennis Coyle III
Everyone, this is the Patreon for the Prairie City Response series! The funds will go toward PCR #2’s art. In return for your patronage, I will update several serial fiction projects on a monthly basis, serialize Issue 1 as a webcomic, and provide behind-the-scenes art and info about the Issues 1 and 2. Please check out the campaign! There’s sure to be something you like. Thanks!
When Lugo’s son Edwin Avellanet, 26, went outside to dispose of a bag of garbage, he was approached by police investigating a parking cone. Someone had placed a cone on the street to reserve a parking spot without city permission. Avellanet was stopped and questioned about the suspicious cone, but insisted that he had done nothing wrong.
Not accepting his denial, police demanded identification. Avellanet had nothing to show them. When he was grabbed by the arm by one of the uniformed bullies, he broke free and retreated into the house.
Avellanet went into the residence and closed the door. The NYPD did not take kindly to this, beating on the door, breaking through the windows, and forcing their way into the home. Backup officers poured into the house.
Looking for Avellanet — the suspected cone placer — police went around breaking doors in half, attacking family members with pepper spray, and bludgeoning people with clubs.
“They threw me like a piece of garbage on the floor,” Evelyn Lugo said.
Her son, George Lugo, and family friend Luis Ortega were attacked repeatedly with a baton and suffered severe facial injuries.
Evelyn Lugo’s daughter, Alba Cuevas, was attacked with chemical pepper spray and retreated into a bathroom when she started suffering from an asthma attack. Police ripped her out and arrested her.
As officers stormed the house, they knocked a birdcage off of a dresser. The small green parakeet, Tito, was flung helplessly from the cage, landing on the floor. NY Daily News reported what happened next:
“I screamed, ‘The bird!’ ” Lugo’s daughter Anna Febles told the Daily News, “and he said, ‘F— the bird,’ and he, like, stepped on it.” “I was shocked,” Febles, 30, said. “It was a blue and green bird. It was really pretty.”
While not Prairie City Response-related, you need to check out this cover Dennis Coyle III is putting together for “MAYFLY” Vol. 1. The serial horror story’s first volume should be available around Christmas in zine format!
Here’s some more concept sketches for Issue 2! This new character is really coming together. After thinking about him for so long, it’s cool to see him come together. Erick’s spin on this character is shaping up nicely!
I have never seen one of my characters in flight before. When I saw that first sketch, I was floored.
are you really bisexual?
Prove it, complete this bisexual obstacle course
omg can I please?
that sounds fun
Like some kind of bisexual Wipeout
This started as me caring about my bisexuality and turned into me just wanting to be on Wipeout/American Gladiators/Double Dare/Wild and Crazy Kids.
Oh bi goodness
Hello, everyone! I’m proud to announce that PCR #1 is now available this Wednesday (comic book day, of course)!
We will have a “store” tab on the blog in a few days, but until then, you can buy the comic here. Minimum donation is $2, but if you feel the comic is worth more, or want…
I really encourage folks to support this book.
Thanks for the shout-out! Would you mind telling your followers that this link will take them to the store? That’s the most current link. :)