A rejected short story written for the second volume of Machine of Death, an anthology based on the idea that there is a machine that can predict, without fail, what someone will die of.
10:48: Check the paper
All those bastards out there, they don’t know what they’re doing. Look at this, man runs across street, causes accident which kills three pedestrians. Said he didn’t care, his death card said “spiders” and so why the hell should he care about crossing the street safely? I hope he chokes on his own bile. Selfish.
Comics are stupid, as always. Ziggy is going to die alone and unloved. Serves him right. What kind of asshole doesn’t wear pants, I want to know. Beetle and Sarge are a couple of lovers. Good for them. The number 93 showed up a dozen times. What does it mean?
11:03: Second cup of coffee, cigarette
My doctor says I should stop smoking, but smoking calms me down. What the hell does he know, anyway? My card says “killer bees.” Stupid, stupid asshole. Those went extinct what, twenty years ago? It was the radio waves. Damn things didn’t stand a chance. Cellphones and radio waves, going through everyone’s skulls, well bees don’t have skulls to stop them, so of course they died.
11:07: Gotta take a piss.
Bathroom door’s locked.
11:09: Door opened. Nobody was inside
Nothing beats a good piss. Thought I saw something out of the corner of my eye again. Damn place must have rats or roaches or some damn thing. Also heard my upstairs neighbors again. They were talking about me. They didn’t say it but I knew they were. They gotta keep it to themselves.
11:24: Check the paper
All those bastards out there. The man who ran across the street, I just know he has something to do with that girl I saw the other day, on the escalator. I was just minding my own business and listening to the music when this girl just falls down next to me, splat, right onto her face. What am I supposed to do? So I ask her if she’s okay and she just looks at me and glares like I just said the worst possible thing on the planet, then her boyfriend or something picks her up and she’s just crying about how she’s bleeding and how this is like what the card said and he’s all, “Don’t be silly, escalators are safe!” I bet she’s like all the others, getting a card like ESCALATOR or PIGEON or some crap like that and whenever they see that they just hold their breath and run until the voices stop so they don’t have to think about how this time might be their last. And then they trip and fall and it becomes the last. Stupid.
12:03: Make a sandwich
Was going to make bologna and cheese but I could tell that the bologna was off. I didn’t even have to look at it or smell it, I just knew it was. So it was just cheese on rye. Felt something on my foot while I made it. Must be the roaches or mice or something. Sprayed more bug spray, see if that gets rid of it.
12:09: Puke it up
The cheese was tainted. Had to get it out of my body. Someone told me so.
I’m hungry but all my food is tainted. Doc is trying to kill me.
I’m gonna take a nap.
2:07: Woke up
Felt something crawling on me. Looked down and it wasn’t there. A mouse or a roach or something. Sneaky bastard. Gonna take a shower.
2:29: Buzzing in my head
I was showering and heard a buzzing and I felt something land on my head. Who told me the bees were extinct? I think it was Doc. Yeah, pretty sure it was Doc. I shouldn’t have believed him. He’s in on it. He wanted me to think they were gone so I wouldn’t worry, but I know he’s the one who put it in my shower. I hit the bee with my hand and I didn’t feel it crunch or see it fall into the drain but it must have gone away. Didn’t sting me. Thank fuck for that. I ain’t ready to die yet. You hear me, Doc? You and the poison you keep feeding me, well you know what, I haven’t been taking it either. Screw you.
2:40: Buzzing again
Heard more buzzing in the room, couldn’t tell where it was coming from. Covered my ears, didn’t go away. I could feel it, in my eyes, in my back, on my soul. Buzzing, bzz bzz bzz, go away. Just go away. I ain’t afraid of you, stupid little bees. I’ll turn all my radios on and call Time & Temperature on the cellphone and leave it running and that’ll show you.
2:42: Secret weapon
The bees are afraid of music. I know this because when I have the radio on the buzzing stops. I still see them out of the corner of my eye but they’re sneaky bastards, always disappearing when I go to look at ‘em. But I know they’re there, just waiting for the music to stop. I’m not gonna let it stop.
5:07: Neighbors want to kill me
The asshole from upstairs came and told me to turn the radio down. Like hell I will. I smiled and said, “sure I’ll turn it down,” and he left, but no way am I turning it down. Even when there’s a couple seconds of quiet the bees come back, and I can feel them landing on me, feeling my skin, tasting me. I know they’re trying to lay their eggs in me and get me that way. Gonna turn all my radios to different stations, keep the sound there.
5:42: My teeth hurt
5:67: I know they’re talking about me
He’s outside the door talking to his wife saying how he’s gonna call the cops on me and I will die and I should kill myself because the bees are in my eyes. But they aren’t, he’s lying, I know he is because he’s talking into my ear when he’s outside the door. He’s using the radio.
6:84: Trying to kill me
He cut my power, and the bees are back. I know they are, I hear them, hiding behind the curtains, buzzing all around me. I tried yelling and singing and screaming but that didn’t make them go away and he’s just shouting how he’s gonna call the cops if I don’t cut it out, and I don’t care I just want the bees to go away. Weren’t ever any roaches or mice or rats, it was always the bees, I know it. One landed on my head. It laid an egg in my ear. I can feel it in there, growing, getting ready to hatch already. I’ve got a hammer. Gonna smash it good.