Dark Days Under a Black Sun
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Dark Days Under a Black Sun

By: Desmond Baiden Ongoing

Language: English
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Chapters: 7 views: 15

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The cover read: The 800 Methods. “Oh, I couldn’t.” “This has eight hundred deadly moves,” Marvin said. “It’s the most comprehensive monograph on the subject. Most of the strikes kill with one blow, once you master them. I’ve dog-eared some of my favorites. It’s actually padded with a few techniques that are hard to use outside laboratory conditions. But they’re still good to know.”

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7 chapters
LARKS
The tall man left his car by the pumps and started walking towards the station store. Sam called from the curb. Always good to give them space.“Hi, excuse me, sir, are you heading to Seattle?”Of course, he was; there was nothing between Ritzville and Seattle but Moses Lake, and this man wasn’t a steelworker. But it was always good to hear “yes” first thing.“I am,” said the man. He was at least six and a half feet tall, broad at the shoulders, and muscular. He had light brown eyes and skin, black hair buzzed close, wore an orange tank-top, khaki shorts, and flip-flops, and smelled faintly of cannabis.“Oh, hey great,” Sam said. “I wonder, may I have a ride, please?”The tall man stepped forward, smiled, and held out his hand. “Yeah, sure. I’m Marvin.” His grip was firm but not demonstrative. “I’ll be a few minutes. Can I get you anything to drink?”It was awfully nice to ask, Sam said, but he was just fine.When Marvin entered the store, Sam took a longer look at his car, an early n
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GREENVILLE
Amid the industrial grinding, blurting, spasming–where there might have been horns–Sam could hear method; each emission was in its own time, but they met every few seconds on the beat of a plastic drum machine. And then a beeping sound, like a truck backing up, out of place, just another gear for no reason. Finally, a horn blast, an actual horn, or a sample of an actual horn, signaling, drawing the whole mess together for another round. And again. Marvin looked over at Sam and shouted, “Right?”“Yeah!”“You’ll hear it, just wait for it.” Marvin’s eyes were wide as he beat his chest in time with an open hand. “Okay!” he said. “It’s…yeah, here it is!”And there it was: Pachelbel’s Canon, right out of a box, laid over the top of the mayhem like cellophane.“Right?”“Yeah!”It went on for longer than Sam would have expected and moved directly into the next track, even faster, featuring the unmistakable sound of an air wrench and a pounding beat that made every surface of the car tremble,
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PTSD
You grew up doing this stuff? Martial arts?”“Forever.”“Teach before the Army?”“Nah, I started training men the first time I was overseas. It felt like, how could I keep that knowledge to myself when it might save their lives? Any time I wasn’t on duty, I was teaching. It was all bullshit, though.”“How’s that?”“No hand to hand in combat anymore.”“Mmm. Guns and bombs.”“Guns, rockets, missiles, bunker busters. Mines in the middle of the fucking road—not Muay Thai and jiu-jitsu. Military cares about hand-to-hand like they care about CPR training. Doesn’t do shit, but they say it empowers a soldier. Nah, I wasn’t teaching men how to fight.”“So then?”“I was teaching them to kill.”“Oh.”“More precisely, I was teaching men to be able to kill.”“Ah, I get it.”“You don’t. No disrespect. I didn’t get it either. I thought I was hot shit, training guys on my own. Army taught me to teach better—efficiently. Give a soldier everything he needs, but only what he needs. They don’t have years
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TACOMA
“Yeah?”Meditation, good. Not uncommonly, obvious remedies for what plagued a driver were contained within their confessions. And often enough for Sam, allaying their concerns was as simple as reminding them that they had been wearing ruby slippers all along.“What I realized was, I wasn’t scared of dying or getting hurt. I was scared I was going to lose my soul over there. I’d get cut loose from God and become a monster. So I had this idea, and it seemed crazy, but I knew it wasn’t. So when Mattie was out, picking up the kids, I went to the pet store, bought a cat, brought it home, and I squeezed it to death in the kitchen.”“Oh fuck!”“Yeah.”“Oh fuck. Sorry, I’m just—”“Nah, nah, it’s cool,” Marvin said. “I understand. I know what I did was awful. But I had to. I had to do something evil so I would know what it felt like—or if it wouldn’t feel like anything at all.”“Jesus.”“I did it slowly, skinny orange cat, looking right in its eyes the wh
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SAN DIEGO
“No,” Marvin said. “It’s not going to work. Even if I could…be okay with it, MMA’s not big in Seattle, not yet. If it was just me, fine, but with my family—for breadwinner money, you need to be in L.A.—maybe San Diego, they’re coming up.”“I hear San Diego is great.”“But really, ah fuck it.” Marvin shook his head. “I’m fooling myself. None of this matters anymore.”“Wait, why not? Why wouldn’t it matter? San Diego, now that sounds like a great—”“I tell you, man, I’ve been fighting so long. My whole life, the solution to anything that came at me, muscle up.” Marvin suddenly flexed his arms and tightened his grip on the wheel until his forearms quivered with effort. “Bear it, fight it. But this time, this last thing—gotta say, it hurts. And after I gave my whole life to them. It makes me feel like, fuck it, I don’t want to fight anymore. I just want to let go.” Marvin released his grip on the steering wheel with both hands, so that only the lower portion of his
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THOMAS AQUINAS
This is confirmation, Sam. You were meant to be at the truck stop. I was meant to give you a ride.”“Right! Confirmation?”“So last week, I was driving and turning the dial on the radio and just…boom, right there, on NPR, this amazing sound, like nothing I’d ever heard before. It was right at the start of the second part. You know what I’m talking about?”“Yeah—with…the strings.”“Exactly! Suddenly I didn’t even remember where I’m going or what I was doing. It didn’t matter, I just had to hear this. So I pulled over by the side of the road and listened. It was everything I’d been thinking and feeling. Everything. It was the Army, Mattie, my kids, my shoulder, all of it, right there.”“Right, okay, right.”“Listening to it, somehow I knew, something’s going to happen. I don’t know what, I don’t know anything, just something in the music. Got me so excited, chills down my back, even though I didn’t know what I was waiting for.” Sam didn’t either. It had been ye
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SCHUBERT
“He said that?”“He did!”“That’s beautiful.”“Fuckin’ A yes it is! Aquinas was a genius. And that’s why I’m here, so we can listen together to the stream of the river of the core of the artery—of the heart. And we have figured it out, Marvin, we have!”“We have?”“Yes, yes we did! This music, it’s kind of like—it’s really like, like a love song between Schubert and his Maker.”“Huh. How’s that?”“How? How is—it’s because you can hear it. You know what I mean, that feeling that something’s going to happen, right?”“Okay.”“Yeah, and Schubert’s not just giving you a little sip from the source. As you said, he put everything in this one. He’s saying fine, fuck it, you want the sublime, I’ll give you the sublime—and I’m going to show you how I made it, too. So he lays out all the different parts, right? You can see all the pieces. And he lets you listen to him building, building, building towards it—getting close, slipping back, trying again, and you
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