Tag Archives: Drugs

Gateways: “Fantasy Me” by Lindsay Morris read by Kat Evans



TRANSCRIPT:

**A content note before we begin: this story touches on eating disorders, weight and body image issues. This story will be challenging to some listeners who may wish to skip this episode. **

Lindsay Morris is a local playwright and storyteller who lives in Andersonville. She prefers dark comedy and loves to write about all the ways her vagina has screwed her. She’s performed in dozens of shows in Chicago and recently had a play workshopped with the Agency Theater Collective. She describes her work as “Larry David meets Black Mirror”.

Fantasy me is everything. She is the instagram post of people. Filtered, poreless and with an actual butt. Unlike regular me who spent months working out only to lose her tush and her tits.

Every fantasy I’ve ever had always starts out with me, the protagonist, going into hiding. What I mean by that is I am plucked from my everyday existence and given the opportunity to revamp myself away from prying eyes.

On vacation or secluded in a secret underground bunker I can finally figure out how to lose the weight. I’ll be committed to a diet of colorful gruel and spend my days learning mandarin and how to really squeeze my pelvic floor muscles. At that time I won’t speak to anyone. I’ll be a missing person, a ghost to my friends and family.

My own private montage will lead near perfect results of course. My stringent diet and squat training will have me emerge, hairy but healthy. After laser work, a new haircut and highlights, an eyebrow threading, a bikini wax, mani pedi, quick trip to my dermatologist and a set of new clothes I’ll finally be the woman I always wanted to be.

My clothing will be simple yet hip, I’ll wear high rise because it’s cool and not because they are the only jeans that don’t give me a yeast infection. Did I mention my no carb diet will lead to a candida free vagina? No more scratching for me.

Of course when I’m ready I’ll text my friends. Nothing too eager. Lets meet for Dinner and catch up. Perhaps that night I’ll stroll into my favorite coffee shop just on the off chance I run into someone who knows me. A perfect meet cute that will have them absolutely stunned.

“ I heard you were missing, we were all really worried. The police thought you’d been kidnapped. Have you spoken to your mother…. The usual small talk until they finally say, oh my, wow you look fantastic, you lost so much weight”.

“Oh. thanks I’ll say. I just added an extra couple of glasses of water to my diet. It’s amazing what acqua can do to your system”.

Then I will bask in their awe of my willpower, to swim in the sunshine of my after picture.. But then again the new me… I mean the new you didn’t realize your teeth had lost some of their pearly exuberance. So you buy whitestrips and hastily apply them before dinner.

Perfect. Much better than before but then there’s those eye crinkles. God I laughed too much. No more laughing. Is that a zit?

Concealer, blush, eyeliner, lipstick. Now I can make eye contact. They’ll really be shocked now.

For the first time in years you can meet your own eyes in the mirror. You can appreciate what you see. Gone is the chubby, acne riddled teen, gone is the shame of being too big to shop at the cutesy hormonal no tits teen store. You are a fantasy come to life. Oh fuck.. Damit. You feel the dampness in your panties. Your hip jeans are covered in the red sticky residue of your uterine lining.

Perfect Fantasies don’t bleed. You call up your gyno. Better get that IUD. No more periods here I come.

You take vitamins before dinner. Not too many or the nausea will set in. Fantasy/ perfection requires constant upkeep. Multi, E, D, C, Biotin, Fish oil. All cylinders need to fire so you can remember your mandarin Ye Hoi ma.

New pair of pants and even newer you.

You check the temperature. Fuck 27 degrees. It’s winter. Fuck. No cute coat. No perfect entrance. You drink shots of whiskey, if only to insulate your bare arms to the cold. You haven’t eaten for days. Your liver reacts to the fish oil or perhaps the alcohol content. Your barfing into your kitchen sink.

All the better. You can be that much skinner. You might even be able to ingest some carbs if you keep this up. Maybe you should take it up again, shove that toothbrush down deep. So close to your goal weight, of course that ticker keeps sliding. All bodies are beautiful hashtag Love Yourself

You walk into the restaurant. You’re still drunk, your arms raised by goosebumps, your breath like battery acid, your eyes glassy. You look beautiful, you look near perfect, they’ll love you now. But.. They loved me… you before. But that couldn’t have been real. Ugly girls don’t deserve love. That’s what your middle school bully said. That you were covered in fleas and too fat for love.

No fleas, not fat.

The tables are empty. They’ll come. They have to. To remember me from before. To give me the likes I deserve. The likes I need. To heart me in real life.

Please…. I’m so tired….. Please…. Is this enough?

 

Kat Evans has been performing in Chicago since 2006 with theatre companies such as Promethean, Black Button Eyes, The Hypocrites, and City Lit. You can see her onscreen in feature film NONTRADITIONAL, and Web Series: Lucky Jay Seasons 1 & 2, Geek Lounge, and Why Don’t You Like Me? You can hear her opinions as a guest on Fox Valley Film Critics and Reel Geek Girls. Kat is part of the performing and writing ensemble of Starlight Radio Dreams, and is the creator of the audio serial comedy, Truth Kittens. In addition to Starlight, you can hear her in podcasts Our Fair City, and Toxic Bag.


Gateways: “A Story in Which Nothing Happens” by Michael Jachowicz read by Kate Akerboom



TRANSCRIPT: Michael Jachowicz has written sketches and comedy scripts for podcasts as well as some comic strips. You can hear some of his scripts with Starlight Radio Dreams, a Chicago based comedy podcast. He tells us, “I found a quarter today, and I’m just happy to be here.” 

Content Warning: This story depicts drug use. Please care for yourself while listening to this piece of fiction.

The crowded subway car was a cacophony of life, but Arabella could only hear the sound of her heart beating wildly in her chest. She tugged at the cuffs of the oversized club jacket she had found thrift shopping with Celeste. Celeste had told Arabella that a baggier jacket would look good on her. In fact, the more Arabella thought about it she realized that Celeste had essentially picked out the entirety of her outfit. Even the beat up, old Chuck Taylors she bought back in high school were only to match with Celeste. Arabella was looking forward to seeing Celeste tonight; she was almost shaking. She was going to make tonight count, she was gonna get something out of tonight. No, she was gonna get everything.

Arabella bit the inside of her bottom lip- which she often did whenever she was deep in thought. She thought back over all the years she had known Celeste, playing back the memories in her mind like a movie- well, not really so much like a movie. More like a music video set to some pop punk song she would listen to in jr. high, probably something by My Chemical Romance or some Nightcore remix of a Jimmy Eat World song. The memories of Celeste and her began to flow and shift, one leading to another in no particular order until they landed on a specific memory, the memory.

It was when they were both in highschool theater. Arabella and Celeste went out for the same role and against all odds, Arabella got it. It was one of the proudest moments of her life, but then Celeste cornered her backstage after school. Celeste convinced Arabella to give up the part she wanted and go back to stage crew. Arabella was happy to do it. Celeste’s attention was everything to Arabella.

The subway screeched abruptly to a halt. Arabella was snapped out of her thoughts and into her surroundings. She looked up to see what stop they had pulled into, but it didn’t look like they had even made it to a stop. Outside the window of the subway she only saw the tunnel walls. As she was looking out the window she happened to make fleeting eye contact with the man sitting across from her. He seemed disheveled and panicked which, to be fair, wasn’t all together uncommon for folk in the city. However this guy seemed really shaky, his eyes kept darting to the door next to Arabella. She followed the man’s gaze to the door and as if on cue the door opened. A police android with the Synthetic Taskforce walked in.

The android stood motionless for what felt like an eternity, then it’s electric yellow eyes began to glow bright as it silently and methodically scanned the subway car. Arabella clutched her jacket closed, trying to hide from the imposing officer. She hadn’t done anything wrong, but she couldn’t help herself, something about the police androids unsettled her. Maybe it was how you could see their robotic skeleton underneath their translucent navy blue skin. Watching the false flesh twist and stretch over the artificial man just reminded Arabella how fake they were, no matter how close to real the state tried to make them.

Suddenly the officer’s head jerked towards the man across from Arabella. “Henry Gordolski, you have been charged with possession of illegal substances including narcotics and Stemsplicers with intent to use and or distribute. Come with me.” The android’s voice was calming and had the cadence of human speech, but was distinctly digital, nothing more than an advanced simulation of a human’s voice.

The man sitting across from Arabella was sweating profusely, his eyes whipping frantically around the subway car. Arabella made sure she was staring at the floor, feeling her feet tremble. The man across from Arabella stood up slowly and shuffled towards the police android. As he got close he pushed the artificial officer which caused the blue automaton to stumble back a few steps. The man reached in his pocket with blinding inhuman speed and pulled out a knife. In one fluid motion the man struck at the machine, like a cobra striking its prey.

“GET FUCKED YOU POPO-ROID! YOU STUP-AAUUUGGHH” The man was cut off as the android caught his knife wielding hand midway through the stabbing motion and swiftly broke his hand. Then the android grabbed the man by the neck and squeezed. There was a loud crack then silence.

“Thank you for your cooperation. Have a great rest of the day!” The android spoke genuinely, however it’s words rang hollow as it dragged it’s victim off the train. The doors closed behind it and the subway began to move again.

In recent years the state had really started to crack down on Stemsplicing, it was unpredictable and hard to control. Using Stemsplicers, people could rewrite their DNA to make themselves into anything.

Of course as with anything that powerful, Stemsplicing had major negative consequences with prolonged use. That’s why the state created the Synthetic Taskforce, to combat the Stemsplicer threat. What had just happened to Stemsplicers like Henry Gordolski wasn’t uncommon in the city, in fact it was the new normal, but still… The car was silent for the rest of the ride.

Arabella was so relieved to step off the subway she actually ran to the nearest pillar and hugged it. She took out her phone to see where she was supposed to go to meet up with Celeste.

“It’ll be good to be with friends after all that.” Arabella thought to herself when she heard someone call out to her. She turned to see Celeste waving at her with a big smile on her face. Celeste was standing with a couple that Arabella didn’t recognize, but she hardly noticed. She was drawn to Celeste, her bright blue eyes and her curly blonde hair were so inviting and innocent. Arabella felt a smile force its way onto her face as it pushed past all the shit that happened on the subway. Including digging up the memory from high school.

“It’s in the past,” Arabella thought “None of that matters now.” The two friends embraced in the middle of the near empty subway station. Celeste took Arabella by the hand and brought her to meet the two people she was with. One was just Teph, a burn out Celeste and Arabela went to school with. Arabella said hi to Teph who just kinda widened their eyes at her. Teph was already strung out on something or other. They had always been a pothead, but that turned into a full blown drug habit after high school. Arabella had even heard that Teph dealt Stemsplicers.

The other person Arabella didn’t know. She was tall and thin with strong features. She had white facial tattoos that contrasted elegantly with her ebony skin. Arabella wanted to ask if the tattoos meant anything, but then the woman looked at her and Arabella forgot how to make the words do the word thing with her mouth.

“Is this everyone?” Said the tall woman, her voice low and powerful. Celeste nodded and in her usual bubbly way started talking about how great Arabella was and how she was like a sister to her and that they were family. Arabella couldn’t help but be a little hurt by that description of their relationship. The tall woman held up her hand to signal to Celeste to stop talking, her open palm turned into a finger pointing down the subway tunnel, meaning to head that way.

As they walked Arabella noticed the woman was holding a steel box. She was about to ask what it was, but before she could the woman stopped. They were at their destination, apparently, an abandoned stretch of tunnel. The tall woman set the steel box down and then took out three syringes.

“This is primer. Inject this, then inject the Stemplicer your friend has brought and enjoy yourselves in The Box.” She said handing out the syringes before standing next to the box like a statue.

“What does she mean?” Arabella asked, sheepishly fiddling with the syringe she was given.

“It’s, like, so cool Bella!” Celeste said, her voice ringing like a bell on a spring day as she shot herself up with the primer, “Teph brought some “Shrimp Sauce” Stemsplicer so we take it and we’ll shrink small enough to party in this totally bitchin’ club!”

Before she could say anything Teph and Celeste were putting the Stemsplicer syringe labelled “Shrimp Sauce” into their arms. Teph looked at Arabella, handed her a syringe and said, “Look The Box has everything. Sex, music, drugs. Everything. Shit’s lit.”

Celeste and Teph began to writhe and their veins began to glow. They both doubled over and Celeste fell to her knees. Arabella rushed to her side, but before she could do anything Celeste began to shrink. Arabella’s eyes went wide, she had heard of the wild effects of Stemsplicers, but she had never seen them in person. She watched as her friend’s bodies contorted in unnatural poses as they grew smaller. There was also this horrid stench, like burning hair, from the energy given off during the transformation.

After what felt like both an instant and an hour Arabella was towering over her two friends who were now no taller than a grain of sand. She watched them march like ants into The Box. Arabella looked to the syringes in her hands then to the tall woman who hadn’t moved during all this. She then looked to The Box. The Box which had swallowed Celeste… Arabella wanted, for so long and so badly, to be noticed by Celeste, but this was insane.

Arabella dropped the syringes, her mind flashing back to the ride down here on the train and how much the man who was killed for this shit reminded her of Teph, how Celeste would never notice her… no that wasn’t it. Arabela’s mind flashed back to the memory and for the first time she saw it, really saw it. Celeste had noticed Arabella, she’d noticed her and decided she could use her. Arabella put her hands in the pocket of her jacket and walked off down the train tunnel. She got nothing out of tonight and that was more than enough for her.

Kate Akerboom is a multi-creative individual living in Chicago. She loves telling stories, especially about the past, and considers it an honor to tell new ones that people come up with. By day, she talks about animals at Shedd aquarium. By night she creates as much as she can. Kate is a proud graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay holding degrees in Theatre Performance and History.