I've Got a Receipt (I-III)

Or, The Garden II

As the sunlit sanity of the waking world burns the night to ash,
embrace the unbound madness of your wildest dreams,
laugh into the endless abyss of your darkest fantasies,
and rage against the coming dawn.

PulpBusters is a presentation of Pocket Theater of the Absurd! Original tales of the weird and strange from the mind and madness of “Amoral Crackpot” Steve Arviso.

Tonight’s tale...


I’VE GOT A RECEIPT
I-III: The Garden II

Cassie and Sister walk through the evacuated bowels of a modern day shopping mall. A foul, sinister, yet catchy prayer echoes in the distance.

NARRATOR: (voice-over) For what little it's worth, The Garden was the sort of place that should have gone out of business during the Clinton Administration, plowed, and turned into yet another lot of overpriced, low-quality condos and shops marketed towards Millennials who will never afford them.

And yet, here it was. A four-screen, second-run movie theater dillydallying at one end. A vacant, two-story nothing at the other. And somewhere between this was a sparsely populated food court, a furniture store holding the world’s longest going out of business sale, and a fountain that had not been in active use for several years, yet hadn't been cleaned in even longer.

Fortunately, this unsightly mess of utter economic failure had the benefit of distracting Cassie and her sister from how utterly depressing the whole thing really was.

CASSIE: Okay. Is it just me, or is this place a lot bigger on the inside?

SISTER: I dunno. But it definitely smells like pee.

CASSIE: It always smelled like pee.

SISTER: Oh, right.

CASSIE: How is this place still open? Half the shops are closed.

SISTER: Yeah. And the other half are just a bunch of kiosks selling phone cases and little helicopters.

A cheap remote-controlled helicopter zips by.

CASSIE: Didn't there used to be a carousel in here?

SISTER: Oh, that? They had to get rid of it after some homeless guy hung himself on it.

CASSIE: Wait. What?

SISTER: (ignoring Cassie, pointing) Found Boulder Holders!

To be continued...

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The chill of night brings with it a still darkness,
brings with it an alluring promise of peace.
Till the light of day warms your cold bones,
may your eyes never rest,
and may those little slices of death never come.

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YOU ARE NOT ALONE
PULPBUSTERS
Steve Arviso
2021