One Of My Biggest Regrets

I don’t like to use the word “regret”, but I feel like it is appropriate for this story. In the mall there is a Japanese restaurant in the food court that has the best orange chicken and noodles I’ve ever had. This place has ruined me from having the same dish anywhere else because I know it won’t be as good.

I’ve been going there for about 4 years now. I had a job at a JC Penney in the same mall and used to eat there on my breaks every Sunday. Then my next job was at an Ashely Furniture right across the street from the mall, so my breaks consisted of the same meal.

I became such a regular that whenever I walked by, the Chinese workers at the counter would start preparing my dish. He would even give me more chicken and not charge me for it. If it was quiet, we would exchange some small talk and pleasantries.

Then one day it all ended. I took my girlfriend to the mall SPECIFICALLY to try out that special combination that pleasured my taste buds to no end. As we approached the food court I felt a great disturbance. There he was, that Philippian was being hauled away by a pair of men dressed in black overcoats. As he struggled to get free, our eyes locked. He screamed out “Joe Reyes!” and I reached out my hand and screamed “That Asian guy!” and that was the last I saw of him.

Actually, the story really was this; I took my girlfriend to the mall and the Japanese place was bought out by another company and under new management. But the Vietnamese man wasn’t there anymore. I assumed he owned the place and when he sold it he didn’t work there anymore.

That was the end of it. Simple, yet it was sad to me. 4 years of knowing someone, exchanging light conversation, yet I never knew his name. I don’t know why, but I really regret it. Maybe because the food there now is so horrific. Seriously, how do you screw up noodles? They were just plain noodles. And the chicken, don’t get me started on that. Okay I’ll tell you. It used to be big chunks full of life and Asian pride, now they are crispy and small. Almost like they were shrunken by being so overcooked.

So that’s my story. Doesn’t really sound like too big a deal, but I felt selfish after the place closed. The guy saw me as a regular, gave me extra food, asked me about my day, yet I didn’t even think to ask his name.

Joe Reyes

 

 

Conspiracy Files Disclaimer

The content written in the Aftermath Conspiracy Files are NOT the opinions and feeling of the author JOE REYES. These opinions are SOLELY those of the FICTIONAL character TRUTH and in no way reflect the OPINIONS and ACTIONS of the author JOE REYES. Just wanted to make sure I have my bases covered because the FICTIONAL character TRUTH will say some pretty controversial and borderline terrible things on the upcoming articles.

Joe Reyes

 

The Beast

No one knew where the beast came from or what its name was, but when it came through everything died. Within a week, the massive island was barren of all life. The humans thought they could stay and fight, but they were the first to go.

The beast stood a gargantuan three hundred feet. Its belly became fat with all the life it’s eaten. Nothing was spared, not even the animals. It drank the rivers dry just to see the fish flail around and go still.

The birds were the lucky ones. They flew away early on. The beast never tried to cross the ocean. There was no telling if it could swim or not, it just roamed the land searching for life to extinguish.

After seemingly months of wandering around, the beast heard nothing but the wind. In sheer frustration, the beast let out a great roar that was so powerful it uprooted the trees. For a few moments, there was nothing but silence. Suddenly, there was a low roar in the distance. The beast turned in shock and stomped its way towards the distant sound.

After miles and miles of travel, the beast let out another roar and waited a few moments for a reply. High above, in the frozen mountains, a reply echoed. The beast mindlessly climbed up the mountainside. Thousands of feet the beast climbed with its gaze transfixed on the summit.

The cold didn’t bother it at all. The beast’s thick skin made it immune to the elements. Many doubted if the beast was able to feel pain at all. A few times it started to slip and fall, but its giant claws locked him in place.

The beast looked tiny at the top of the mountain. It turned around again and again and didn’t see a single thing. The beast let out one last roar. In the distance, yet another roar called back. The beast snarled at the noise coming from another mountain.

The beast started to walk and slid on the ice. It stabbed its claws into the mountain to stop its fall. The claws started to break and the beast fell helplessly down the mountain. Jagged rocks didn’t slow the descent.

The ground erupted as the beast finally hit the ground. Its body was broken, yet it still tried to rise up. Finally, the beast laid flat on the ground, fading away fast. It moved its eyes while searching for the source of the roar. Little did the beast know, it was chasing its own echo.

Joe Reyes

 

Dreams Snatched Up

Dream Snatched Up

Just a few more hours,” Deron encourages himself as he throws water on his face. The doorbell rings outside, but Deron doesn’t notice it. His stomach is in knots and he doesn’t want to leave the safety of the bathroom. He then picks up a hand towel and dries his face and hands. The lights flicker slightly, but Deron doesn’t pay any attention to it.

“Deron! Mr. Spencer is at the door,” an elderly woman shouts.

“Be right out grandma,” Deron replies while looking at himself in the mirror. He has a mammoth body, but currently feels minuscule.

Deron softly challenges himself getting pumped up, “You ready?” He beats his chest once and opens up the door.

“There you are, boy,” Grandma June takes Deron’s arm and directs him down the hallway. The whole two bedroom Georgian suburban home is packed with family and friends to support Deron. “D, steaks are almost done,” says his father.

Deron replies over his shoulder, “Thanks Pops,”

“Man, you’ve been in there so long we thought you got stuck,” his friend KP, who is much smaller than him, jokes while putting an arm around Deron. Deron convincingly tries to laugh it off.

“While you were there powdering your nose, we have been keeping Mr. Spencer entertained,” June scolds him.

Mr. Spencer, a well-dressed man in his fifties stands up and extends his hand. “Please madam, call me Sam,” he politely introduces shaking Deron’s hand.

“Thanks again for coming by today, sir,” Deron says with generosity.

“No problem, son. I know how stressful today can be and its best if I’m here to fill you in on trades and rumors,” Sam conveys.

KP states, “Yo, Double S, I’m hearing Miami is trying to trade up,”

Sam tries to smile off the ridiculous name they have given him, “Well, we have a few hours left until the dance so I would imagine a lot more teams will try to jump up,” Sam takes a seat on the couch.

“It would be nice to stay down South,” Deron thinks, hoping his agent can make this happen.

“I’ll see what I can do. Now we just hang for a few hours, eat some barbeque, and relax,” Sam crosses his legs and takes a quick glance at his phone.

Deron takes a seat next to Sam, “You really think I’ll go number one?” Deron cups his hands and looks at the television. On the screen, the sports experts are discussing the draft. Deron sees his name at the top of all the draft boards.

“It’s not an exact science, but I hear from every GM in the league and they all say the same thing about you, ‘Take him now,’” Sam looks at his watch. “Now, the film crew should be here soon,” Sam stands up. “It would be best if you sit in the middle of the couch with your father and grandmother on either sides of you. Sound good?” Sam asks while looking around.

“I’m deferring to you on this,” Deron stands up and moves over a cushion.

Sam says, “I’m glad you listened to me about staying here and didn’t fly up to New York for this,”

“Yeah, why didn’t you want him to go there?” KP asks.

Sam begins to say, “Always best to stay home for these things. Just in case something bad happens,” Deron looks surprised about the “bad” part. “And it looks better seeing you at home with your family,” Sam continues.

“Umm, what bad can happen?” asks Deron curiously.

“Well, like I said, it’s not an exact science. If you don’t go first, then you might drop down a bit,” Sam says while Deron nervously sits down.

“How far is a bit?” Deron wonders.

“Depends. If the first teams don’t pick you then some of the others will start to panic and then you find yourself in the upper twenties, if you’re lucky,” Sam nonchalantly takes out his phone and to answers a call.

Deron feels the knots in his stomach returns and wants to sit down, “No! Just play it cool. You’ll get picked…eventually, and eventually is better than not at all,” he reassures himself.

BUUZZZZZ!” The television makes a quick high pitched sound and then goes black. “See! My boy needs that first round money to pay the bills up in here,” KP jokes, but nobody acknowledges him. The power goes out in the house. The partying stops and everyone looks around.

A firetruck barrels down the street followed by a half-dozen police cruisers. Some of the guests go outside. “What the Hell is going on out there?” Deron’s grandmother inquires following the group outside.

“Hello? Hello?” Sam looks at his phone, “Call dropped and I have no service all of a sudden,” he says to Deron.

The house begins to shake slightly. Everyone starts to steady themselves. Plates fall from the shelves in the kitchen. “Hey, everyone! Come out here!” someone yells from the backyard. Deron runs outside, followed by KP.

Deron swings open the door and stops dead in his tracks, “Move Deron I can’t see,” KP exclaims trying to push past. When he finally does, he stops as well and his jaw drops, “Oh my God,” he utters. Smoke columns rise up in the distance as missiles fly above them in all directions.

In the corner of his eye, Deron sees Sam jump into his car and speed away in panic. Deron is too scared to be angry at Sam. Deron’s father grabs June by the arm, “Deron! Go inside now,” his father orders, leading her inside.

Some of the other partygoers drive off as well. “Pops, should we leave to?” Deron looks around at the people leaving. Neighbors scream in terror as the came outside. An ambulance speeds by towards one of the pillars of smoke.

“We lock up and stay put until we figure out what’s going on,” his father looks to the other people while debating what to do, “Everyone come inside with us,” he says, leading people in. More explosions ring out in the distance.

As soon as Deron goes inside he locks himself in the bathroom. He leans against the wall and runs his fingers through his hair, “This was supposed to be my day,” he looks in the mirror and throws a punch that shatters the glass.