A Quick Fix

A Quick Fix

A Story by I Cast a Shadow
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This is a story I wrote around 4 years ago for a writing class. It's very very much a draft and nothing more. Whether I come back to it or not, it's fun to read. I really should finish it.

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The Quick Fix

by Casey Martin


Part I

The Accident


To Howard, the world was nothing more than a dwelling wherein he did business. All the stars and the moon and the whole universe for that matter didn’t mean much to Howard P. Killingsworth. For Howard, the cosmos was already set in perfect motion. He was nearly finished with his first case out of law school. It was a case in where a woman was suing a furrier for a number of coats that she had purchased that turned out to be too big. Howard was representing the woman. The case was simple. Because the woman was so short (four foot eight to be exact.), she couldn’t get rid of the coats and was thereby going to sue the furrier. What a joke. To think that a woman of such snob-like demeanor could even stand a chance in court. It was laughable to an extent. However, Howard needed to thwart this attitude and figure out how to bend the judicial system into a victory over the furrier.

Howard had returned that morning to his place of dwelling in the outskirts of Chicago in a suburban area known as Aurora, Illinois. He lived there with his newly-wed bride, Costella. Everyone who knew Howard would consistently ask him, “What kind of name is Costella? It sounds like Stella,” and every single time he would sigh and give a little chortle and say, “I don’t know. But if I do end up like Stanley, I’ll kill myself.” Costella really was a beautiful woman and had no reason to think otherwise. She was the kind of dame that turned every guy’s head on the road and woman would sneer in her presence out of jealousy. The way her locks of blond hair bounced in the sun made it seem like time was slowing down. Howard was still at the point in the marriage when he would sigh just at the sight of her. He could eye those long smooth legs all day and pretend to undress her with his eyes revealing those heavin-

“Howard! What on earth are you staring at?” Costella busted forth suddenly.

“OH! Well… Nothing dear. I was just admiring that lovely purple blouse you’re wearing.” Howard managed to say without stuttering. However, He had dropped his doughnut in his coffee splashing it on his white shirt. She then began to laugh and explained that she was only joking and then called him her, “Horny Honey”. He laughed a little and his cheeks reddened slightly. 

They were sitting at the kitchen table of their large home that sat on the end of Orchard Avenue. Their house overlooked the river next to a bridge and two parks. It was a simply blissful city experience at half Howard’s salary. Howard loved that tooting noise that the boats made at night passing up and down the river and the little clinking sound of the boat bells that reminded him of fresh fish. Howard looked down at his briefcase and tried to think of a better combination than 0-0-0 that stared him in the face from the little scroll wheels on both ends of the shiny, black, leather briefcase. 

“Hey, I’ll be right back. I need pee.” Costella said suddenly.

Howard’s attention was turned to the small television that sat on the counter in the kitchen. There was an interesting report about a new statistic about woman. He had missed it, however, and only caught the ending. It had something to do with recent irregular menstruation patterns in woman or something along those lines. It didn’t concern him in the least for Howard P. Killingsworth was born with not two but zero ovaries and that made him very happy later on. For Howard P. Killingsworth was about to discover some very interesting information within the upcoming week that would change his view of the world, the stars, the moon, and the universe all together.

The day had gone on just as exciting as the last. Howard had gone into the bathroom gone through his daily routine of brushing his teeth, showering, shaving, and counting obsessively every movement that he made carefully so that he wouldn’t miss a single beat of the morning. On his way out the door, Howard opened and closed the cabinet above the vanity mirror three times and looked in the mirror to check his face one last time for any kind of blemishes. In the cabinet were basic items of any newly wed couple. In the upper space sat a few bottles of aspirin of various brands. There were Nuprin, Advil, and one other one that either of them could remember unless they saw it. And the bottom side of the cabinet had only one item of interest. None of that interest belonged to Howard however. Costella kept her “phemenon products” on that bottom shelf and the only thing that Howard ever noticed about that particular item was the color of the box. The box had a light, baby blue tinge with two thin dark blue lines that ran horizontally along the top and bottom of the box.

Howard had finished his files for the case, he had readied his combination on his briefcase which now read 1-2-3, and was ready to depart from his sweet Costella. He was so busy getting ready for work that he had completely forgotten where she had been. “Where could she be?” thought Howard as he wandered the house calling out her name until he heard a faint call back from upstairs. “The bedroom. Of coarse.” Howard made his way upstairs and along the narrow hallway filled with random paintings and framed certificates that Howard had obtained through school. He finally came to the end of the hall where the master bedroom lay. Turning the doorknob slowly clockwise, Howard heard the sounds of the clicking gears in the door. To Howard’s surprise the door knob didn’t turn all the way and now seemed to be locked. Why would the door be locked? Is there something wrong?

“Costella babe? Is there something wrong? Why’s the door locked?”

“Oh, well. I just need some privacy right now. I’m uh… attending to… girly issues.” Costella managed to say aloud without stuttering. Howard had no idea what “girly issues” meant. It could have been too many things. “Girls have too many issues for me to even want to know,” thought Howard.

“Alright then. I love you and I’ll see you tonight. You still on for a super sweet dinner?”

“Oh you know it you big beast of a man,” Costella hurried out with a laugh following.

“Awesome. Bye then! Mwah!” “Mwah” was a noise that the couple made to let the other know, and everyone else around them that they were kissing each other long distance.

“Bye bye bye! Mwah mwah mwah!”

Howard hurried down the stairs and out the door to his little red Ford Focus. Howard had no idea what kind of car he had and never really did recall any brand names from previously cars. He was very bad mechanically and always put his car’s life in the hands of an untrustworthy grease monkey. They would charge three times as much with a job that only a wrecking yard owner would appreciate. Howard never complained though. The notion of a shotty mechanic never existed in his book of stereotypes. His car would end up being the problem and so Howard spent thousands on repair and replacing murdered, mangled, and tortured cars.

The way to work proved to be most tedious. If it wasn’t the traffic that got to Howard then it was definitely the broken window and missing stereo. Howard had just stepped outside and found that the window of his year old Ford had been smashed to bit and the expensive stereo system had been removed completely leaving only the connective wires hanging outside the now empty docking area for fancy and noisy devices. There was fire running through the veins of Howard but only for a minute or so. For Howard was a patient man and knew that he must get to work without his precious tunes. 

Crossing over the bridge seemed easy enough and it really was because traffic was running particularly slow that morning. He was only a few blocks from the court house when Howard was stopped by a flagger. Apparently there had been an accident ahead and this meant that a detour had to be found or else Howard would be late for work. He looked in his rear view mirror and saw a line of cars behind him that had appeared, it seemed to Howard, from absolutely no where. He looked ahead of him and saw a small blue car from the eighties that had run into the back of one of those new big red pickup trucks. The entire front of he small car had been destroyed and looked like if the driver hadn’t ducked it would have ripped the head right off their shoulders. The drivers looked to be gone by Howard’s eyes but something seemed a bit fishy about the accident and Howard just couldn’t make out what it was. The scene was gruesome indeed. The rear window had been covered in blood in a kind of splattered fashion and there were cracks coming from around the backside. “Hmmm…” Howard thought to himself trying to play detective in his head. “Why would the rear window be covered in blood if there were only the one passenger and the back of the car was intact?” It really was an interesting question that didn’t need to be answered at the moment because time was running short.

A car horn blared behind him and Howard came back to reality and saw that the flagger was yelling at him to move and so Howard proceeded to go through the alley that was marked, detour.


Part II

The Meeting


Howard made his way through the doors of the court house, briefcase in hand like a partner in crime. He walked all the way up to first floor and into a conference room where he met with a couple of other lawyer buddies of his. Just before he opened the door, he heard what sounded like a heated discussion about something. Hurrying in to find out the topic of discussion, Howard vigorously turned the handle and pushed through.

“-hear about those broads killin’ each other after they killed their husbands. Ain’t it sick? Oh Howard! How ya been? I was just talkin’ with Biggs here about the frequent murders that have been goin’ on downtown and around Illinois. Have you heard?

“No I haven’t Wedge,” Howard said befuddled shaking his head slowly as he poured some black coffee from a table in the corner of the small and dimly lit room. “What’s been goin’ on?

“Well… The one we were just talkin’ about happened just the other day. I heard it from Carl yesterday. He’s taking the case. This married lady and her husband were apparently visiting their neighbors and they had gotten into an argument with one another,” Wedge looked over at Biggs.

“Yeah and the wives each killed the opposites husbands and then killed each other. No one knows what happened. There have been other similar situations dealing with woman murdering men over minor confrontations such as one that happened just up in Chicago just last week in where a woman killed the owner of a convenience store because he was sold out of tampons.”

“Holy cow,” Howard uttered softly stirring some creamer into his cup of coffee. “You know? I’ve been hearing some weird stuff on the news myself. There was something on this morning about woman around this area. I just can’t remember what it was…”

“Oh well. Wow! Look at the time. We better get going or the judge’ll have our asses.”

“Yeah. Later there Howard,” agreed Biggs.

Howard made his way to his case and came out victorious, however, they couldn’t find much of a settlement. Six cents was the final verdict. It was, after all, the law and the law awarded Howard P. Killingsworth six measly cents. Victory almost seemed to have the quality of defeat this time around and Howard thought he’s sulk a while in the meeting room where he had been earlier. He sat down and had another cup of coffee while watching the turned on T.V. set in the corner of the room. The reporter man’s deep baritone and handsome voice started the news.

“Seven more are dead today and this time they’re all the way in Toledo. It all happened when The husband had asked his wife if she wouldn’t mind doing him the favor of washing the dishes for him and then there came a heated argument. After an hour of screaming, the neighbors had come and she couldn’t contain herself any longer. This woman must have been raving mad too just look at these pictures of the crime scene. I must warn viewer that the following pictures contain very violent content…”

The pictures were incredible. The whole (what appeared to be) living room was covered in blood. One could tell where the carpenter had made mistakes laying the wood floor because puddles had gathered in some areas. It was truly disgusting.

“…The woman was apprehended by heavily armored police units after the woman had killed her husband, three of the neighbors, the dog, and two police officers all with the use of a bat from the shed, a knife from the kitchen, and a shotgun from the mantle piece in the living room. The woman…’

A picture was just then put up of the crazed wife. Her hair was a complete mess in knots and tangles of blonde. Her face also looked a complete mess. She all and all looked like the type that had no good in her at all. Pure evil. The worst part of the picture was the woman’s smile. It looked almost stepford-esque. Like she belonged on an old vacuum cleaner ad in Good Housekeeping. That smile. Howard gave a short shiver, looked down at his coffee, and then up again at the television just in time to see the reporters co-anchor. She was a beautiful woman from the side profile she was displaying. Red curly ringlets of hair and a bright blue blouse. That last second of the news before it went to commercial was very strange. The co-anchor had been glaring at the main anchor for the whole report apparently by the statue-like look on her face. And then she said in a shrill voice, “I think the b*****d deserved it!” The channel went to immediate commercial and Howard’s heart was thumping hard against his chest like he had just ran a mile in sub zero temperature. “Did she just say what I thought she said?” Howard thought loudly and nervously. He hardly noticed that he had spilled his coffee down his shirt. A rush of feelings overwhelmed Howard. The whole period of time spent in between commercials he felt paranoid beyond all other emotions. The door opened with a silence breaking squeal to reveal his friends, Biggs and Wedge. Howard jumped out of his chair into a standing position and let out a yelp.

“Hey sorry there Howard. What’s up?”

“Yeah what’s up?”

“Not an awful lot really. Hey listen. Have you ever noticed the way-” Howard stopped in midsentence and thought about what he was saying. If he decided to finish his sentence his friends would probably think he was raving mad. Howard felt a pinch of frustration dust over him. How would he get people to see what was happening, if, after all, it was truly happening? 

“Yes?” Wedge said bringing Howard back into his unfinished conversation.

“Oh… I forgot what I was saying.” Howard replied shifty eyed.

“You were about to ask us a question.”

“I was”

“Yeah, you were. What’s wrong with you? How’d your case turn out?”

Howard could no longer focus on anything either of them were saying. He had to leave. He had to get home and see what was going on. Out the door, to the car, and on the freeway. It was moments like this that made Howard notice how long it took to rush. Out the door, to the car, and on the freeway took much longer than that and Howard new it. There was the time it took to get to the car (and that took a while after Howard forgot where he had parked), open the door, start the car, get through traffic, and then onto the freeway. All of this took Howard an average of sixty eight minutes a day. When Howard was in a “hurry”, he saved nine minutes, however, hurrying made a 75% chance of Howard getting a Charlie horse that prevented him from walking at normal speed. Howard never knew this. It would bring much stress to find out that his “rushing” actually made him nine minutes slower than normal.

On Howard’s way down the stairs, he felt a pain in his upper quad muscle tighten. There was no way out of it now. Unless Howard got a sixty minute massage in thirty seconds, he wasn’t going to get home at his predicted time but rather the narrator’s prediction. 

After being nine minutes late, Howard staggered out of the car and climbed the steps to the front door. As quickly as e could, he opened the front door and found the house to be particularly quiet. Howard turned his head on his shoulders and scanned the area. Everything was where he left it when he had left that morning. He called out his wife’s name. No answer. Again. No answer. He went upstairs to the bathroom. The stairs echoed with loud creaks every few steps. Howard came to the bathroom door and opened it quietly just in case Costella might be sleeping (it was rather late.) Howard attended to business and upon leaving opened and closed the cabinet door three times. Something wasn’t right. Howard got a shrill shiver up his sharply straightened spine. He looked at the cabinet with a suspicious stare and opened it again. There was a new box in the place where the other blue box used to be. What was this? Howard wasn’t ever used to any kind of change even if it was tampons. He was very obsessive compulsive and had to figure out why she bought these instead or it would gnaw at him all week.

For the first time Howard picked up the box and looked at it. The box was crimson and had large black letters that read, “Quick Fix Tampons”. Howard shuddered and turned the box around. In Howard’s mind was the thought of some cheesy comments about the product and began to wonder why he was even bothering to turn the box around. What he found surprised him a bit. There was a picture of a man in a white lab coat with an upside down egg-like head and a large, white, long mustache that was thin and went past his chin. The white coat seemed dark compared to his skin which looked to have seldom pigment if any pigment at all. He also had large coke bottle glasses with black frames that magnified his red eyes. “He’s albino. Hmph,” thought Howard aloud. He wore a large (and just as he thought) cheesy grin upon his face that said, “Buy our product.” No. “Buy our product. Please. I want the money so desperately.” 

Howard put the box back up into the cabinet and went to his bedroom to find his wife in bed. She looked over at him and smiled and immediately got up and rushed him into the door.

“I missed you too.”

“I love you soooo much babe. Did you win?”

“Win what?” Howard said shrugging his way out of the tight hug.

“Your case silly.”

“Oh. Yes but-”

“Oh that’s fantastic Babe,” flinging her arms around him again.

“Yes, but I only got six cents.”

“Six cents?”

“That’s the law. They had to award the furrier something and they made it six cents.”

“Well how much of that do you get?” She was massaging his back on the bed now.

“Nothing. He get the whole six cents. Ooh that feels good. Hey I noticed something just a minute ago. In the bathroom.”

“What’s that dear?”

“There’s a new box of t-t-t-” Howard stuttering again.

“Tampons?”

“Yes… Those.” He said with an embarrassed relief.

“Oh yeah. They’re a new brand that just came out. They’re really cheap and I’ve been seeing them everywhere so I thought I’d give them a try.”

“Oh… Have you heard about all the murders latel-” He was hushed by his wife, Costella who pushed her finger on his mouth and threw the covers over them frantically.


Part III

One Year Later

To Howard P. Killingsworth the world was cruel. He now knew in his mind that humans were put on this world to try to survive. Trials would be placed in front of him and he would have to find new ways of overcoming them and in turn, learn a lesson. Howard had been stuck in one big trial for the last ten months. His life had been stripped from him and he had to resort to cowardice. There was a chance that he had in the past to change the future and he hadn’t taken it. Howard P. was now waiting. Waiting for his next chance to save man from what roamed the streets above.

“Want some more coffee Howard?”

“Thanks.”

Howard had a full beard now and was clad in his six hundred dollar suit that was now had many rips and tears in it and looked to be covered in many foreign substances of nondescript colors. His eyes were a little sunken in and his briefcase… His briefcase was worn and looked defeated. Howard knew not why he still carried it around with him. He knew, however, it was the only sentimental thing that he had left. After he was forced to run, he didn’t have the chance to go back and find anything else material. It was too dangerous. Howard looked up and took a drink of the bitter coffee that had a kick like a school girl.

“How are we on supplies Wedge?”

“We’re running low on food. We’ll need our scouts to go up and scrounge up some.”

“Alright. Just be careful. If you’re caught… well… you know.”

“I know.”

Howard dismissed the group of men that Howard now called his family. There was Biggs and Wedge from the court house, Bear from the lumber mill, Dex from Microsoft, and the triplets One, Two and C. C. didn’t like to be thought of as a number. He was a rebel like that. They also had Pooch. It was a German Sheppard that they found. It must have been either a blind seeing eye dog or a police dog that got left behind because that dog was a genius. They used it almost everyday to check their food and make sure no one was around. It seemed fairly young too. It’s coat was thick and quite beautiful and soft. It had one strange marking, however; there was a large black spot on his belly where Sheppard are usually a beige or white color.

It had been another four hours before the triplets, Biggs and Wedge, Bear, and Pooch returned from their journey above ground. However, there was someone else with them.

“Who’s that there? What’s going on?” Silence.

“We were ambushed. Bear was like an animal up there.” Wedge explained looking up at the nearly seven foot tall Native American lumberjack.

“We made it into the Franz store around at the back entrance. We were about to loot an entire rack of bread in our suitcases when this a*****e blew our cover running in there looking for cover. Bear saved our butts though. He blasted about four of the b*****s.” Bear looked at Howard and winked looking back at his twelve gauge sawed off shot gun, gave it a kiss, and smiled.

“Release him.” Howard was nearly in tears. They did as he said and a few replied in unison, “Who is he?” 

“Father?” Howard spoke softly. There was a gasp amongst the group and then silence. “Where have you been?”

It had been years since they’d seen each other. The last time they saw each other was when Howard’s father had divorced his mother in high school. Howard hadn’t yet come to atone with his father. He looked miserable. His looks were just like Howard’s. He had the same deep blue eyes and the same tall and lanky appearance. They also both sported the same beard, however, Howard’s father’s beard had grown almost white.

“My son… I have been everywhere looking for someone to share the antidote with. That mad man up there thought he had the world by the balls. Well… He thought wrong. I’ve been hiding underground like you except I’ve been at the university trying to find a cure for this madness.” His sentences were broken every now and again by wheezing and coughing. It looked as though he had been wounded by one of the “b*****s”. “As you all know, the disease was spread in secret by the “Quick Fix” tampon company. It made our woman’s menstrual periods abnormally long. Sometimes lasting over a month. After that the woman would all go on killing sprees. Their periods were so close together that the premenstrual syndrome would be so bad that they would have an entire week where they were literally like beasts.  It’s a real horror, I know. I guess old Dr. Vanguard thought that the best way to do it was through our woman. It’s just sick,” Cough. “Anyhow, The disease has spread across the country and there’s no stopping it… However, I have created this antidote with some friends of mine at the university and was hoping to test it on someone. I put it in the Franz clerk’s coffee before this big oaf scooped me up and rushed me away. It should only take twenty four hours to take effect. None of the woman can really buy the other tampons or pads anymore because the “Quick Fix” were so cheap and the periods were so long that the convenience was incredible. Because of this, “Quick Fix” put a monopoly on all the competition.”

“So what do you propose? That we put that stuff in all their coffee? That’s not gonna work doc,” Biggs said rolling his eyes and folding his arms.

“You need to learn to use your head boy. If this test succeeds, all we need to do is get a concentrated form in abundance and dump it in the bottled water supply. They just put up a new Evian factory downtown Chicago.”

“That’s just crazy enough to work… or get us all killed by blood thirsty “b*****s”.”

“Yeah… Let’s do it,” Howard said slowly gazing at his father. “But first… Let’s get you bandaged up.”



© 2012 I Cast a Shadow



Author's Note

I Cast a Shadow
This started as a satire and will remain so and will be adapted on ridiculously.

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Added on April 20, 2012
Last Updated on April 20, 2012
Tags: quick, fix, tampon, humor, men, women, gender, commercial, criticism, satire, parody, wit

Author

I Cast a Shadow
I Cast a Shadow

Portland, OR



About
I read classics, science fiction, philosophy, and very little fantasy. I am inspired by Taoism and other Eastern philosophy, anarchy, new concepts, my ancestry, my muse, her family, my own family, .. more..

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