Sunday, July 3, 2022

Therapeutic Skin Jobs #5

I once wrote a 90-page screenplay that was nothing but Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty beating the living shit out of each other across parallel worlds while arguing about the meaning of life, but that was five computers ago and never went online anywhere so it's long gone.
There's some discs I can't throw out because they might have something on hem, but I have nowhere to run them. Maybe that's where the old things belong.


    “But what’s the point of it?” asks Kristine, leaning back in her orgasmatronic car seat and savouring the resulting sublimely pleasurable and highly illegal sensations. “Why bother?”

    “Look, it’s perfectly simple,” answers Doctor Jakob Skin, concentrating on his driving. J Street traffic can get terribly uncivilised. “It might just look like you’re showing off, but occasionally you make contact. Sometimes you find someone who understands what the hell you’re babbling about.”

    “I’m not convinced,” pouts Kristine. “It still feels like a waste of time to me. Who cares what you know? Who cares what movies you’ve seen? Who cares what books you’ve read? Who cares how many pop culture references you can cram into one insignificant little story?”

    “I care so much it hurts,” mumbles Skin.

    “And that’s your problem,” retorts Kristine triumphantly.

    Skin realises he can never win this conversation, so lets the matter drop. Dropping down a gear, he blitzes past a double decker bus driven by a sentient purple telephone. The bus is dawdling along in the fast lane, so Skin flicks the driver the appropriate signal.

    Kristine yawns. “So what’s the next one about?”




    “What a spectacular idea!” hollers Kristine, finally showing some enthusiasm. “I haven’t eaten in days.”

    Skin spies a particularly useful store, and deftly pulls the Car With No Name over to the sidewalk.

    “Fudge,” he whispers, pointing in towards the sweet shop. “You love fudge.”

    Kristine almost squeals with excitement as she leaps out of the car and goes inside. Skin remains seated, flicking through a playlist he made 22 years in the future, in search of something newly groovy.

    Suddenly the front windscreen shatters, showering Skin in supposedly unbreakable glass. Miniature slivers cut his face, blooding the interior.

    Skin takes the time to wipe the last of the glass off the shoulders of his impeccable dinner jacket before paying attention to the man standing on the bonnet of the car.

    “Professor Scorpio,” he says with little joy. “And what does my delightful nemesis want now?”

    “Doctor Skin,” replies the man, scratching his nose in a disinterested manner. “We still haven’t finished our debate.”

    Skin turns to the reader’s mind-eye and winces. “Wonderful. The one person in the omniverse capable of holding his own against me wants to argue a terribly minor point while pounding the shit out of me.”

    Skin pauses for dramatic effect.

    “Don’t you hate it when this happens?”

Bloody Scorpio

{Therapeutic Skin Jobs #5}

     In a flash, Skin leaps forward, all muscle and motion, tackling Scorpio off the bonnet of his car. They both fall to the hard concrete of the street; Skin taking particular care to make sure Scorpio’s head takes the full impact. “Look,” he mutters as he does so, “this is pointless. We’re never going to convince each other that our relative beliefs systems are sound. I know I’m right, you know you’re right and never the twain shall meet.”

     “Maybe,” says Scorpio, twisting around and squirming out from underneath Skin. “But you can’t blame a guy for trying.”

    “I don’t blame anybody for anything,” says Skin, stretching back and kicking out towards his adversary’s face. “But it’s getting monotonous.”

    Scorpio ducks beneath the booted foot, lashing out with one of his own, striking the ankle. Unfortunately for Skin, it happens to be the one supporting him, and he tumbles to the ground. “Monotonous? Impossible! Our argument is pure and true and old. It never goes out of fashion.”

    “Debate is never a matter of fashion,” says Skin, getting back on his feet with unnatural grace. “Argument is essential, if only for the pure flow of thought it produces.”

     “Exactly,” smirks Scorpio, diving forward, flipping over and kicking Skin in the chest with both feet. “So we agree on that point.”

    Skin flies backward, landing on the pavement. It takes me a moment to catch his breath, but his retort is ready when he has. “I never said I didn’t think argumentative talk wasn’t crucial, it’s the subject matter of our own particular discussion that bores the crap out of me.”

    Scorpio strides forward, fists clenched. “You’re getting old, Skin. Time was you’d be only too glad to quibble over this matter with me.”

    “What?” Skin dodges Scorpio’s admittedly sloppy punches with ease, grabbing hold of the left wrist as it shoots past and breaking it over his knee. The insanely audible crack of snapping bone can be heard a universe away. “How dare you call me old!”

    Scorpio sucks up his pain, showing no sign of obvious agony as he retreats back a step, “You’re as old as you feel, Skin,” he spits out with undisguised venom. “And your general apathy is a sure sign.”

    Skin pulls back his arm to deliver a giant haymaker of a punch, but Scorpio smiles and shoots up into the air, instantly lost amongst the J Street sky.

    “Huh,” mutters Skin. “I didn’t know he could fly.”

    He’s still looking up when he notices Scorpio returning, shooting down out of the heavens like an incandescent comet. Skin doesn’t have time to avoid a collision, so stands still, ready to take it like an idiot.

    Scorpio slams into Skin at top speed. The impact would reduce any ordinary human’s bones to powder, but it’s been consistently shown that Skin is far from ordinary. He simply grunts in mild discomfort as the ground cracks open beneath them from the impact, creating a hole in the street and sending the two protagonists tumbling into the earth.

    It’s dark down there.


    Kristine glows with pure joy as she inspects the many and varied choices of fudge on offer. Black, white and purple sweets all tempt and tantalise her.

    She’s so engrossed in her choices, she doesn’t even hear the sounds of combat right outside the window.


    Skin’s eyes quickly adjust to the darkness under the street, and he doesn’t like what he sees. “Oh, for God’s sake. Are you seriously telling me that out of all the wonderful arenas for fighting in this exceptionally talented street, we end up beating the snot out of each other in a sewer? How ordinary.”

    “Don’t blame me,” replies Scorpio, circling Skin in the dark. “I’m along for the ride.”

    Scorpio lunges forward, intending to sever Skin’s spine with a well-placed judo chop. Unfortunately for him, he’s forgotten about his broken wrist and his resultant attack has all the ferocity of damp cabbage.

    “Aha!” cries Skin triumphantly, poking Scorpio in the eye with his terribly long index finger. “Are you saying you’re not responsible for your actions. That everything we do is pre-destined?”

    “No, I’m saying I’m a slave to my own actions,” answers Scorpio nonchalantly, rubbing his eye. “ I can’t help what I do. It’s in my nature.”

    “But that implies that you don’t have any free will,” says Skin, moving in for the kill.

    “Of course I have free will,” smiles Scorpio, grabbing Skin by the lapel and flying off down the sewer tunnel. The air rushing past messes up Skin’s hair. “We all do.”

    “No you don’t,” says Skin, punching Scorpio in the small of the back with little obvious effect. “You can’t if you can’t help yourself.”

    “My inherent nature does not affect my conscious actions in any way,” says Scorpio, shooting straight up through the tunnel ceiling, through ten feet of solid street and bursting through the pavement, making certain Skin takes the full brunt of the shocks. ” I still make my own decisions.”

    Skin is actually dazed by this attack, but doesn’t let that get in the way of asking a good question. “How long have you been able to fly, Scorpio? That’s a new trick.”

    “Power upgrade,” smirks Scorpio, headbutting Skin to the ground. “All the cool people are doing it.”

    “And you think you’re cool?” asks Skin, spitting out a mouthful of blood, and getting back to his feet.”

    “Cooler than you,” says Scorpio, unleashing a fantastic and furious flurry of kicks, punches, headbutts, knees and elbows.

    Skin blocks them all before rudely taunting his opponent. “Liar, liar, pants on fire.”

    “Right!” screams Scorpio, losing his cool. “That’s it! Time for some serious damage!”


    Kristine steps back out onto the street, arms full of 73 different kinds of fudge.

    “Oh dear,” she mutters, noticing the shattered windscreen and gaping hole in the ground.

    “Oh dear,” she mutters again, noticing that her beloved Jakob is nowhere in sight.

    “Oh well,” she finally sighs, wiping glass off her car seat, sitting down and proceeding to eat her fudge. What else can she do?


    They’re still pointlessly fighting. Neither gladiator able to gain the upper hand. And finally, Skin has had enough.

    “Wait, wait,” he cries, raising his hands. “Time out."

    “What?” asks Scorpio, utterly perplexed. “This is a clash of supercharged egos. You can’t call a time out.”

    “I just did,” smirks Skin, using the pause in combat to catch his breath. “Look, I’ve just got one more question before we finish this for good.”

    “Oh?” says an intrigued Scorpio. “And what is that?”

    “This debate. The one we’re involved with now. The one we’ve been arguing for twenty-three years.”

    “What of it?” remarks Scorpio, jumping up and down on the spot, obviously restless to get back into it.

    “What is it about?” asks Skin, stepping back and folding his arms.


    “What are we debating?” declares Skin with smug self-satisfaction. “Why are we arguing?”

    Scorpio looks about to answer, but realises he doesn’t know. He doesn’t know what they’re fighting about. “Fuck.”

    Skin’s grin grows wider as he realises the fight is over for now. “You’re an idiot, Scorpio.”

    “Damn it,” curses Scorpio, kneeling down. “I’ll have to get back to you on this one.”

    “Take your time.”

    Scorpio wags a finger at Skin. “To be continued,” he says before leaping up and disappearing into the bright J Street sky.

    “Curious,” mumbles Skin before turning to an innocent bystander. “Well, what do you think of that?”

    “Don’t look at me,” answers Max Zero, looking confused. “I’m irrelevant.”


   It takes Skin 10 minutes to get back to his car. By then Kristine has finished off her fudge, and is sitting back in her seat, a ridiculously satisfied expression on her face.

    “Did you have fun?” she asks Skin as he gets back behind the wheel.

    “Bloody Scorpio,” he answers, starting the car, and pulling out into heavy traffic without looking, another bad habit Matron never quite managed to beat out of him. “Dragged me into his pointless debate again.”

    “Oh, you poor boy,” says Kristine with mock sympathy. “Did you win this time?”

    “I don’t know,” says Skin, flooring it. “I’m not sure it works like that.”

    "So you don’t even know if you’ve won or not?”

    “No. I have no idea.”

    Kristine gazes out the window, watching J Street zoom by at a ludicrous rate. “Then what’s the point?”

    “You tell me, baby,” says Doctor Skin, gritting his teeth in slight frustration as he drives onward into infinity.

    “You tell me.” 
Happy trails, Hans!

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