Category: Episode 30

Episode 30

Happy Halloween In Between Altered States lovers!  There is no better time to roll out the theme of “Mistaken Identity” than this date full of costumes and altered personalities.  You are about to enjoy some of the many different variances of how one can be mistaken for another.  Please read them in order of their publishing and then go ahead and repost your favorites if you wish.

I am thrilled to welcome new comers: Keith Deninger, Ken Poyner, Dora Gonzalez, and Laura Huntley.

Blessed by the ghouls that keep on coming back for more:  Cheryl Ann Gardner, Michael D. Goscinski, Jesse Bradley, and Maude Larke.




By Michael D. Goscinski, Assholeated Press – October 25, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) – A recent Assholeated Press survey reveals more than 80 percent of American parents who have children with Down syndrome have mistaken another child for their own.

A truth Jack Cleet of Intercourse, PA knows all too well.  “I can’t help they look alike.  I done brought my daughter Lindsay home and she done had pork and beans between her legs”, he confessed about a time he picked up the wrong child from daycare.  “I just don’t git why some hippy would let their son at four have long girlie hair.”  Though he refused to go into further details about discovering the “pork and beans between her legs” he remarked “if that was my boy, I’d be mighty proud”.

In an anonymous interview with a representative from Child Protective Services Assholeated Press learned “no laws have been broken”.  The representative told us “physical similarities such as microgenia (abnormally small chin), mongoloid fold, a flat nasal bridge and a protruding tongue protect the parents from any wrong doing”.  “It’s a simple mistake, not a crime” the representative concluded.

Despite Child Protective Services stance on the issue political groups on both sides are lobbying for the government to step in.  The ACFU believes “the children should be paid restitution by the state for their suffering” while the Teabagging Party of Idaho “wants stricter laws to determine legitimate Down syndrome from illegitimate Down syndrome” with both sides suggesting “branding” legislation.  “Something as simple as their initials branded on their wrists would dissolve the issue” a spokesperson from the ACFU told AP.

Several government officials turned down invitations from the Assholeated Press to be interviewed for this story.  Though President Obama declined to speak, Vice President Biden said “the Republicans have launched a war on mongoloids, and now it’s time to stand up and fight back like Gengis Khan and the other great mongoloid warriors from the past”.  Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney commented “I like Corky from Life Goes On.  I like Corky.  He should have won an Emmy”.

Samantha Yick of Muleshoe, Texas was “outraged” when she heard about the branding legislation.  “They ain’t foolin’ me.  They don’t care about no regular children, there ain’t no way in hell they care about disabled children.”

When Oumar discovered that he was going in front of the cameras, he felt some beads of sweat trickle along his bushy eyebrows. He was shown into a room where a girl sat before a set of well-lit mirrors. Once he sat down, she eyed him carefully, then took different pots and compacts out of a set of cases that looked to him like tool boxes. She lightly coated his face with something half-dry, half-gooey, then sat back and eyed him again.

“Yes, that’s enough to keep the light from reflecting,” she said. “I’ll show you to the wings now, and a PA will usher you in when it’s time, just before the interview.”

Oumar raised his eyebrows, but said nothing, and followed the girl into another part of the studio. She looked him over once more, straightened his tie, smoothed his jacket sleeves, and left. He looked around; there was no place for him to sit in while he waited.

A few minutes later he heard some sort of little song, then a man waved him forward and walked with him to a chair set by a table. At the table across from him, Oumar saw a distinguished-looking man in a light gray suit, who nodded to him and shuffled a few papers on his table.

“It’ll only be a moment, we’re coming to the end of the commercial break,” the man said.

Oumar waited patently, hands joined on the table.

Another brief melody sounded, then the man looked up at a camera whose red eye had just opened.

“We have here now, in our studio, Kokou Yetognon, minister of foreign affairs for the Republic of Congo. Mr. Yetognon, do you see the effects of the economic crisis in your nation?”

Oumar took a deep breath.

“Congo is not my nation. I’m from Bobigny.”

“Bobigny??” the man asked. “But don’t you live at your consulate in the tenth arrondissement?”

“I don’t live at a consulate. I never worked at one either.”

“But surely as minister of foreign affairs – ”

“I’m no minister of foreign affairs.”

“But Mr. Yetognon – ”

“My name is not Yetognon. My name is Oumar Nkonga. I came her for a job interview, for a janitor’s job.”

The distinguished man’s mouth dropped open.

“Didn’t anyone tell you that you would go in front of the cameras?”

“Yes, but I thought that was how things were done in a television studio.”

The distinguished man picked up the handset of a telephone that was sitting next to him, waited a moment, then said, “Albert, could you see if you can find Mr. Yetognon?” He hung up, put on his largest on-screen smile, and said, “Thank you, sir, for your participation today. The PA will show you to your interview.” He turned back to the camera. “We’ll be right back after a brief commercial break.”

At midnight I heard bacon sizzling in the abandoned restaurant along the boardwalk. Each evening the heavy smells woke me in my apartment above the beach. Following my nose, I stepped carefully down the stairs.

The restaurant had closed a week ago and the chairs were like crouching dwarves under the shadowed tables. The woman was behind the bar working at the griddle, hair flopping at the shoulders of her nightgown, her eyes cast downward, even as she turned to me.

“Richard, darling. How do you like your eggs?”

I didn’t know who Richard was. I stepped up to the bar.

“Are you ready?” the woman said.

A groan to my left startled me. I flung my eyes into the darkness. A derelict slumped in the corner, the moonlight reflecting on his greasy face, his drug-filled eyes shining with a knowing calm. My heart began to beat in my ears.

The woman flipped the bacon on the griddle with a dusty spatula. Her shuffling movements made me think she was sleepwalking, drawn to the restaurant from one of the summer homes along the shore.

The woman placed a bag of something on the counter, a substance that shimmered in the dank lighting.

“Once you’ve seen it,” she mumbled, “once you’ve finished your breakfast…”

“I’m not who you think I am,” I tried feebly.

“Then what are you?”

I didn’t have an answer.

I was startled by a loud noise, the door slamming shut behind me.

I turned to the woman, her face devoid of expression, and suddenly I knew what this woman wanted from me and my heart began to beat faster and faster.

The swami said his dance card was filled when I propositioned him at the party. Artists have such interesting friends. Maybe it’s the grit under their fingernails or the turpentine smell on their breath, or maybe, it’s the idea that because they are artists their opinions strike everyone as fresh. The artist was a friend of ours. Between the art talk, the cat food pâté, and the tinkling glasses of bubbly, we hadn’t seen him all night, so we sat on chocolate plush and talked. In another life, the swami said his name had been Frank. When he was Frank, he’d lived a life of barbed wire and hemp knotted tightly where the days were dusty, full of burning sagebrush and lies. I thought that sounded like an interesting life for someone named Frank.

The only Frank I knew up to that point sold stale pretzels at the corner of Sussex and 57th Street. He was an artist too. I might have even had sex with him once. The swami said, “Anything is possible,” even for someone named Frank who may or may not be an artist and sells pretzels for a living. Later, I wondered how one might become a swami. If anything was possible for pretzel Frank, then I, at least, had half a shot. I’d had a lot to drink by then, but the idea still seemed like it had some merit. I asked him how to go about it, and the swami said, “You have to find your own way.” Even when sober, I’m directionally challenged, but how hard could it be?

The next day, I crawled out of bed with a hangover, went to 57th Street, had a pretzel with mustard, and then I fucked Frank

I envied her, every glorious red strand and every dark colored inch of flesh. My pale skin, the opposite contrast against my black curls, disgusted me. A tan and dye later, I entered my apartment with hair curl free. We could almost pass as sister. I giggled at the thought and smiled innocently when she walked out of her room and saw me for the first time, really saw me. Her friendly smile all rosy red and fake faded. The side of her lips twitched for a second before her face turned a blank mask.

She left. I followed her. She entered a hotel with a man. His broad form radiated pure fitness and his smoldering eyes drove a new jealousy deep into my heart. I moved closer. They checked into a room and got lost behind its four walls. I waited. I started to lose the sensation in my legs and headed for the bathrooms.

I pushed the door and held my breath as my roommate stared back at me. She had her purse open on the counter, a stack of money peeking out. She grabbed her purse and entered a stall. I did the same. She took longer. I washed my face and was about to leave when another woman entered. Her face contorted with disgust. I felt a pang of pain on my side. I looked at her with a confused and hurtful expression and then down at the knife jammed into my stomach.

She pulled the knife out, her pale fingers red with my blood. “Whore,” The woman spat, her voice thick with venom and malice.

I fell to the floor. She left, her black heels clicking against the marbled floor. My eyes lost focus as a red blur stepped out of the stall, a scream in tow. I cursed my luck. I cursed how the tan lady had gotten the hue right and how the hair salon had found the last bottle of burgundy red

Nancy Bellerose came to me in a dream, and I was grateful for that, I had my publisher breathing down my neck for my next book that I hadn’t started. She had immaculate glossy raven black hair. She had impressive cheekbones and her hazel eyes were almost cat-like. Her sultry lips were painted red.

Chapter one was going well, I’d introduced Nancy Bellerose immediately, and she was behaving like a luscious bitch in a coffee shop, almost curdling the cappuccino she sneered at whilst jangling her disgustingly expensive gold bracelet. But I was getting a headache and needed a short break.

I decided to take a leaf out of my very own beginnings of a book and pop out for a coffee. And fuck me, guess who was there? Could it really be? But how is that? She looked just like her. I had a strong desire to slap my own face. That woman couldn’t be Nancy Bellerose, I mentally chanted, because I had made her up. She didn’t exist. I watched her rebuff her foamy drink and heard the jangle of the bracelet I had just written about moments before.

She turned in my direction and noticed my intent gaze and she smiled that deadly smile with ruby lipstick.

‘Nancy?’ I called across the room. She shook her head.

‘Caroline,’ she said.

‘You’re Nancy Bellerose,’ I assured her.

‘I think you must be confused. My name is Caroline Hawkins,’ she said.

‘You’re in my story, your cappuccino, your bracelet.’

Her smile began to fade.

‘I’m sorry; I don’t know what you mean. I’m leaving now, goodbye,’ she announced, picking up her handbag.

‘We both know that you’re Nancy fucking Bellerose,’ I scoffed.

She hesitated at the door and looked back at me, winked and blew me a scarlet kiss.

The policeman was standing at Main and Boxtop without pants, and all I could think of asking was whether a policeman without pants was still a policeman. Not what happened to his pants, nor why did he not seem to notice he had no pants, nor was he cold in our moderate climate without his pants.

And my mother looked at me and said: this is the kind of person that you are.

She was right, of course.

I last saw the policeman – and he was still very much a policeman, with or without pants – gesturing to pedestrians to cross with the light. As they stepped out it was most important at that moment that they were being directed by the heft of a policeman and that I had been silly enough to worry about his pants, to consider whether they made any difference at all.

His jacket, from the start, should have been, clearly, enough.

He surely had a pair of pants at home. Even now, his wife would be ironing them, fixing the crease just so, elaborating the cuff, aligning the waist band with her spider silk fingers, as pernicious as the exhaustible flies of August. Her face would be the round O of belief and her breasts would happily get in the way. She would be thinking that this is all there is to it. This is what matters to my policeman.

Chief Donaldson aims his .38 Special at the moaning postal worker lying on the ground, kicking his right arm away from the knife half an inch from his fingers.

“You’re losing it, Chief.”

Chief Donaldson looks over his right shoulder at a shadowy, preteen figure, its footsteps splashing closer. He catches the Mets cap, the boy’s blue eyes in the ambient streetlight. “What are you doing here, Timmy? This wasn’t one of your cases.”

“It’s worse than I thought.”

Chief Donaldson turns to Timmy as he hears elastic stretching, the gun shaking in Donaldson’s hands. “Whatever you’ve got aimed at me boy detective, drop it.”

“This is the only way to bring you back from what Adam did to you.”

“What are we really working for, Timmy? I can blow you all to Hell and you’ll finally go home.”

“Not like this, Craig.”

Chief Donaldson howls as the knife dives between his shoulder blades. He turns, fires two shots at where the postal worker laid. As he turns back to Timmy, a pellet breaks against Chief Donaldson’s cheek, sending him wilting to the concrete. Timmy walks over and kneels down, listening for the Chief’s ragged breathing.

“He’s…right. What…are we really working for, Timmy?” Timmy looks up, peers through the rain dripping down the brim of his baseball cap at Leopold taking off his postal worker disguise, removing the bulletproof vest from his chest to look at where the bullet crumpled.

“To end all this madness, eventually.”