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The Box

Chapter 1


“So I've been told ,A long, long time ago,A giant lived, now he sleeps. The legend goes that when

The creature shows, He'll bring a gift the world can keep. So we're gonna, Take it 'til we're satisfied. so we're gonna take it back

You know you wanna. You know you wanna join our side, If you want to live past tonight.

Now, we're raging on like a locomotive .Shout, we're coming through. We're heading for ya

(We're coming, we're coming) We are above all of the commotion. We are on track so get back behind us

Here we go. We're coming. Yeah, here we go. We're coming

The mortals played while the beasts have been away. His power and might, a memory. Now here to stay

To make the mortals pay. He'll make it all, it used to be.

So we're gonna take it 'til we're satisfied. So we're gonna Take it back.

Now, we're raging on like a locomotive. Shout, we're coming through. We're heading for ya

We're coming. We are above all of the commotion

We are on track so get back behind us

Here we go.”

Lower Than Atlantis - Here We Go


The Smoke Shop





“This is going to be great!” A voice says. The glass doors swing open and two men appear in the doorway. “See? Look at this place! It’s huge! We can really do some big things here”  The taller man says, walking into the empty building. The second man walking slowly behind the first begins to examine  the dark room. He walks over to the east wall which was aligned with windows, and begins to turn the shades, letting in the sunlight.  “It’s a good location for sure” he says, peering at the hospital directly across the street. “ It’s a main road, right off the highway. A restaurant next door. A shopping plaza down the street. This could work, Pete.” He says. “ but a little ironic with the medical center right in front of us. Don’t you think?” He finished.


“Well. “ Pete said, appearing besides the shorter man. “ Fuck it!”  he scoffed as he began to walk away. “Look, Ramon” Demanded Pete. He walks his colleague to the south wall of the building. “ We can get rid of this office and these bathrooms. We won’t need them.”


Ramon slowly walks  down the small unlit hallway and flips the light switch to the ladies restroom. “ Ew, Good thing.” He says. “It looks a little creepy.”  


Pete pokes his head into the small room. “ Yeah,well,  I can’t imagine  too many people using these much.” He added.  “Hey look over here, a back door;  For deliveries and things.” He pointed as he disappeared around the bend.


Ramon, still closely examining the building, walks from the restroom hall, around the corner , and to the front counter. Along the wall behind it, he sees a dusty sign offering snacks and drinks. As he walked around, he notices an empty space underneath. He stood there, for a moment, looking out into the room.  He could see the entire unit from this position.  The sunlight shone heavily into the building now, through the opened blinds, and onto the drab carpeting, an awful color, especially in the sunlight.  With his eyes now adjusted , he notices imprints on the carpet from what appeared to be tables or something heavy enough to leave indents.  Along  the North wall he saw  the  discoloration from where paintings used to hang.


“Did this used to be a bar?” Ramon asks Pete loudly,  who was standing outside the back door, leading into the parking lot behind the building.  


“Not at all” He shouts back. “ Why do you ask?”


“It just looks like it could have been one, that’s all. What exactly used to be here?” He shouts to his partner again.


“ It was a pool hall. Some kiddie type of place. Very innocent.” Pete responds, now walking back into the building. “Been here for years apparently . The owner wanted to sell it to some people he knew but couldn’t. He eventually dropped the price to get rid of it and retire, or something like that. Offered me the whole thing at first;  the building, the license, the tables, everything! He wanted too much for this runned down building though.  I guess he couldn’t find any other buyers so he finally agreed to sell  it to me.”


Pete walks up to the front of the counter and leans against it, looking out into the empty room.

I can’t imagine it being a big money maker without selling booze. Probably a bunch of  snotty kids.” he laughed.


“Okay,” Pete began. “ In that area along the wall we can put the novelty items; The hookahs , the pipes, the rolling boxes. All that stuff. Over here in the middle, we can put all the imports and zippo displays.” he says, walking and pointing into the empty spaces . He turns and looks back at his friend “Right where you’re at, we’ll  clear that entire space and turn it into a walk-in humidor. That’ll be the perfect place for it.” He finished.


“Don’t you think it’s a bit too big, Pete? I mean, look at this place! Are we really gonna  be able to fill this place up?” Ramon Asked


“Ray. I’ve done all the research around this area. There is only one small place in this city with any kind of selection, especially when it comes to cigars. All the other ones are novelties. I want this to be a Tobacco superstore, a  one-stop shop for everyone in the surrounding area. A Tobacco land of sorts!” Pete says with his arms extended.  


Ray smiles and walks over to Pete, now standing by the front windows. “Well, you have the vision, I guess.” He says. “ It’s going to take some renovating. The inside shouldn't be so bad. Knock down a couple walls and get rid of this ugly carpet. What is this, maroon?”


“Yeah, it shouldn’t be too hard in here.” Pete agreed. He walks towards the front doors and invites Ray outside.  The sun shone down on them both as they exited the building. They walked onto the sidewalk along the main street and turned to look back at their investment.  


 Passing cars and trailers darted past as they stood and spoke, pointing in all directions; the parking lot, the gas station next door , and the highway off ramp, easily visible from their position, finally turning their attention back to the old building.

“Going to have to make some drastic changes to the outside though.” Pete said loudly. I want people to forget this “kiddieland” ever existed! And right there, we can put up a big red  sign that says  Tobacco….Heaven? Tobacco- World?  I don’t know, something like that, I guess.”  He says, pointing at the space above the front doors.


“ This is going to work, Peter! I know it!” Ramon says putting his hand on Pete’s shoulders. “This space is going to finally be a place worth visiting. I love the idea about the sign too. It’ll be huge! Maybe we can eventually build an upstairs office as well! Have you seen the roof?”  He turns and looks at Pete. “ Do we even know if it’s  in stable condition?” He asks.


“Well, there’s only one way to find out , Ray. Right?”


As they begin to walk towards the front doors, they hear the screeching of tires on the street behind them.  They turn  to see a car quickly pulling into the  parking lot, coming to a sudden stop in one of the two open spots at the front of the building.

A large man opens the door and places his foot on the asphalt, lifting his body out of the old dusty Cutlas.  

“Hey. What’s up? What are you guys doing here?” He says.


Ray and Pete look at each other in confusion.

“Um, who are you?” Pete asks.

The man looked at them both and then at the building.

“Did you guys buy the building or something? What are you doing with it?” He said, completely avoiding the question the two men had asked him

Pete looks at the brown man for a couple seconds, wondering why they were being interrogated by him.

“Listen man, I don’t know who you are or what you want but we are the new owners of this dump and we’re tearing it down”  He finally responded.


 The man in the car gave them both a final look  and returned to his seat , he slammed the rusty marron door forcefully and backed up out of the parking space. Smoke from the tires rose from the pavement as he sped around the building and around to the other side. Pete and Ray watched with amazement as the car came to a screeching halt, just before exiting out into the street. The man, looked out at them both , lowered his sunglasses and shouted  “You guys have no idea what you have here.”  Spinning his tires again, he raced  out of the lot and drove  away.


“What the fuck was that all about?!” Raymond shouted, sparking laughter from them both.

“No idea!” Pete says, still laughing. “ I guess someone had a hard time letting go of his childhood!” He quips. “Come on, let’s go see if we can find the hatch for the roof.” He finishes as they both walk back into the building.


Upon entering, Raymond quickly walks back, behind the counter, where he remembers seeing a flashlight in the space underneath. “ I knew it!” He rejoiced. Grabbing the flashlight and turning it on, met his companion and they began to  inspect the ceiling, looking for the entry to the roof.


“Is it me or was that pretty weird, the way that guy looked at the building, just now?” Ray asked. “ Why was he so concerned with what happens to it?”


“Who knows!” Responded Peter. “Some people hold onto their adolescence for too long, but honestly, it couldn’t have been all too great if they spent it at a pool hall. How great could it have been, really!?” He asserted . “You come in. You shoot pool. You go home. ” He scoffs.  “Real chick magnet, I bet.” he  laughs.     “What a boring time it must have been!Seriously!” he finishes. He turns to find his friend missing.  Alone now, he stood in the room. “ Ray?” he whimpered, gazing into the murky space.  “Ray?” he demanded again, now walking towards the restrooms. As he neared the dark, lonesome entrance, he paused.  Again, he demanded for his partner.


“Peter.” Answers Ray, poking his head through the office doors, and startling his friend.

“What the hell!?” Shouts Peter, holding onto his chest, fearing his heart would leap out. “ Didn’t you hear me calling you?!” He shouts, attempting to regain control of his breath.


“ No, man. Sorry.” Ray apologizes. “I found the hatch and  a ladder here in the office. I was trying to open the hatch but I think there’s something blocking it. Come help me.” He said.


Peter, regaining his composure, follows his friend to the  corner of the office where there stood a wooden, folding ladder. He looks up to see a faint light peering through the crevices of the hatch. A simple hue of green and brown, reflecting  off the wall  right below the opening. Peter looks at Ray, confused. “There must be a window or  vent cover  or something over it.” He suggested “ Maybe if we push together we can open it.” He said, prompting his accomplice to climb the ladder from the other side.


Together they climbed both sides of the ladder until they reached the ceiling, putting each of their hands flat against the hatch and begin to push. There was sudden movement from the door, followed by a noise they had not expected. The tinkering of glass. This caused them to simultaneously halt their drive and look at each other. “Did we break something?” Ray asked. Shrugging his shoulders, Peter prompted his friend to continue their assault. Inch by inch the hatch began to open and the rolling sound of glass intensified, until finally, the door swung open, to the sound of broken glass.

Anxious to see what had caused the commotion, they each raced to poke their heads through the  opening. The sun beat down on their faces as their heads peeked the ceiling and out onto the roof. Instantly, a reflection of the sun’s  light shone onto their eyes, blinding them and causing them to shield their faces.


Finally, their eyes adjusted, but they were quickly  muted from celebrating their success by the sight of the roof. End to end there lay a wasteland of bottles. Green, Brown, White, Blue, all colors of the rainbow lay there, as if , in memorial to the building.  Taking a closer look they noticed that these monuments had a common relation. They each had writings on them that they both recognised. Labels. Jack Daniels, St. Ides,  Jose Cuervo,  all lay in tribute.  They look on in amazement like sailors into the vastness of the ocean. Brown Miller Lite bottles, White Smirnoff Ice bottles, Captain Morgan, Boones Farm, Mad Dog, Goldschlager;  bottle of all shapes and sizes, of all brands, and all alcoholic. Completely bewildered, Pete shakes his head in disbelief. He closes his eyes, and opens them again to reassure himself he wasn’t hallucinating. Suddenly he feels a tap on his shoulder and turns to see Ray pointing at the north corner of the roof. Shielding his eyes from the radiance of the light reflecting off the bottles like tiny mirrors, his eyes fix on a large silver object, laying on its side. It was a keg of beer, with the tap and pump still attached to it.


“Peter?” He hears Ray say. “ I thought you said this was a kiddie pool hall?” He asked.


“I don’t think these people were as innocent as you may have thought.”  

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