‘LIVING THE LIFE’ is a series of four more short stories that take place in the year 2020 in a fictional State named Callisto located in the Northern part of the United States. In Callisto, life is the same, yet different, because no one outside the State really understands anything about what actually goes on here. Along with the location; the characters, events, and conversations, are completely made up and you’re not meant to find morals, or meanings, or signs; But neither I, nor anyone else, can tell you what you think. Here we meet our same characters, seeing red, about to burst through the front door. This isn’t Part 3.
LIVING THE LIFE, CHAPTER 6: What Happened
Jonathan was walking towards the door with an incredible amount of haste.
That was the sound of him kicking down the front door without even breaking stride.
Jackson, trailing behind, was impressed with Jonathan’s leg strength but he knew now was not the time to mention it.
There was some tension between the two of them because when Jonathan heard that Alonzo recruited someone to help rob his house, he assumed it was Jackson. Jonathan thought that must have been the reason why Jackson wouldn’t tell him how he got to be in this position, working with Alonzo. In reality, though, Jackson didn’t want to tell Jonathan, because, turns out, it’s very personal. He told him, though, because he didn’t want Jonathan to curse his name all the way back to Callisto, and because they were in it together now; there had to be trust between them.
Jackson told Jonathan that he was abandoned as a child. His mom gave birth to him and left him at the hospital. He said his dad might’ve been dead, whether he was or not, either way, he was dead. The hospital was forced to send him to an orphanage where he lived for something like seven years until he was mercifully adopted. Of course the orphanage was a dump. Jackson said if you can imagine a typical orphanage, you’d know how he grew up. Tragic.
Anyways, his foster parents weren’t so bad, he said. They didn’t treat him exceptionally well but it was a much better circumstance than the orphanage. Jackson was glad that they actually cared enough to adopt him, and they treated him well, but one chilly night in October back in 2019, Jackson was waiting for them to come home from vacation and he heard a knock on the door. It wasn’t his foster parents, it was a police officer, and she was bearing bad news: the plane that Jackson’s family was on crashed in the ocean and they didn’t survive.
Jackson didn’t know how to react, but he was pretty shaken up and he was alone for some time, trying to survive, until one day he received a letter in the mail. It said pretty much the same thing that Jonathan’s said, and it was signed by the myth named O.J.
Al though that was a pretty believable tale, Jonathan was still skeptical; he hardly talked to Jackson on the way back, but he calmed down and waited to see what Alonzo had to say.
“ALONZO!” Jonathan’s voice echoed through the mansion. He’d never heard himself sound this way before. “ALONZO WE’RE BACK. LETS TALK!”
They heard hurrying footsteps, similar to a rats, heading their way. “Hey, guys, what’s with all the commotion? Is something wrong? What happened in San Diego?” Alonzo said, dressed in his usual silk robe and house slippers.
“What happened was I learned an interesting fact. It was you who robbed my house.” Jonathan reached for the glock from behind his back and rushed up to Alonzo and pointed it in his face. “It was you who robbed my house, wasn’t it? Tell the truth; I swear to God, you son of a bitch.”
Remember how shook Alonzo was when he bet 20 thousand on the Super Bowl and he didn’t have it? That was how he was now. After months of living the life, worry free, he came back down to earth, facing death again. He knew he’d better fess up to what he did, because he knew Jonathan wouldn’t fall for anything else, and he knew Jonathan would actually shoot him.
Alonzo let out a woeful sigh. “It was me. But look at how how everything turned out, Jonathan. You’re much better. Look at you.”
“You think I care about all that? The Jonathan you robbed would’ve allowed this to pass, ‘cause look at me, right? But you broke into my house, what would you do?”
“Sit them down and ask why they did it.”
“You’re a liar, or a coward. Either way, you’re pathetic. ” Jonathan punched him square in the mouth.
“Hey, hey, Jonathan, calm down,” Jackson said, not really feeling bad for Alonzo at all.
Alonzo was slumped down, leaning his back against the wall.
“I can’t calm down, Jackson.” Jonathan aimed the glock at Alonzo, just to scare him some more, he wasn’t a murderer, even though he had a part in the massacre at The Rolex Store. “Any last words, you sorry bastard?”
“That’s enough! Put the gun down,” said a voice unfamiliar to Jonathan and Jackson. The sun shone through the foyer as the door opened. Jonathan, Jackson, and Alonzo all froze and turned around to see a tall, cleaned shaved, smiling, middle aged man in a precisely fitting black suit. “I’m the one you want, Jonathan.”
Alonzo’s face looked like he saw God come to save him again. Jonathan turned around, so did Jackson. It was their first time meeting but they already knew who it was.
“So I guess you’re the one they call O.J,” Jonathan said, with a little attitude.
“That’s right. Orwell Johnson; nice to finally meet you in person, Jonathan. You too, Jackson.” Jackson nodded. “Listen, though” O.J. continued. “I’ll let it slide this time, but make sure you know who you’re talking to. You don’t talk to me like that.”
Now Jonathan was the one who came back down to Earth. “But who are you? And why did you get me involved in all of this?”
“I’ll tell you guys a story. Not even Alonzo knows the story. It’s pretty interesting. I’ll tell you who I am, and everything you need to know about your situation.”
O.J began walking and Jonathan, Jackson, and Alonzo followed behind. He led them through the usual hallways in the house. O.J’s presence made everyone anxious so it was very quiet.
They walked down the hallway with the scenic paintings and O.J stopped in front of the picture of the huge silver tree standing alone in the middle of a circle in the snowy woods with a crescent moon, that had a bright aura around it; the night sky was pitch black and had tiny yellow stars dotted all over.
“Do you guys know where this is?” O.J asked them. “I already know you know, Alonzo.”
“No, but that tree looks pretty intense. Is that here in Callisto?” Asked Jonathan.
“It is. And you guys have been closer to it than you think.”
“What do you mean?”
“You drove by it on your first delivery. But that’ll be part of the story.”
O.J removed the painting off the wall, and of course, in a medieval themed mansion, there was a lever hidden behind it. It looked like a fire alarm. O.J pulled it, then he turned around and out of nowhere, the wall was gone, revealing what looked like an actual lair. It was dark, with dim lights, dark brown and slate leather couches that looked older than vintage, a Victorian Era type dining table that was the same colour as the couches; its chairs had upwards pointing arrows carved in the back, and lastly, of the things worth mentioning, there was a huge book shelf with several thick books.
Jonathan was wondering what sort of rituals took place inside this mysterious chamber. He was imagining the different scenarios when O.J said to take a seat at the Victorian table, which was able to seat 12. O.J sat at the head, Alonzo to his left, and Jackson and Jonathan to his right.
“I’m going to tell y’all my story. Don’t interrupt.” O.J looked directly at Jonathan. Then he proceeded to tell them what happened:
“Some time in May, back in 2018, I was driving back to the city from a golf tourney in Toronto. What’s with the faces? You don’t think I play golf?”
“You just interrupted yourself,” Jonathan said. “… But yeah, golf is kind of random.”
“Anyways, I was feeling like crap because I played like crap. I was contemplating killing my golf career and I decided that if I continued to play poorly on my next tourney I would pull the plug.
As I was driving on the highway, with that on my mind, and you might find this funny, but I felt the sudden urge to pee. Out of nowhere, I had to go really badly, so I took the next exit off the highway, which was four miles away, and found myself on the side road where you guys drove to drop off your first delivery.”
Alonzo, Jackson, and Jonathan were very much intrigued, and O.J could tell he had their attention.
“By the look on your faces, I know I wont have to remind you to not interrupt me.” O.J chuckled a bit, then continued. “Where was I? Oh. I was driving down the side road where you guys made your first drop off, still feeling the urge to pee. I figured I could hold it a bit longer because I didn’t want to pull up right at the highways exit, you know.
I was driving for around two minutes, which feels like ten when you have to go. Then it got to the point where I was literally about to burst so I drifted off the road and skidded onto the gravel path. I flung the door open and ran into the woods. I’m going to spare you the details of me using the washroom. When I finished, I was able to take in the beautiful scenery that was the woods, and you know when you have a feeling? Like a feeling that you have to do something? I had a feeling that I had to walk further into the forrest. That’s what I did, and after around forty yards of hiking through those thick trees, I broke through the last batch and found myself standing in the presence of that tree you saw in the painting. I became completely mesmerized and I was feeling like I wasn’t in control of what I was doing when I began walking towards it. I kept on walking, though. And when I got right up to it, I guess you could say I was hoping something would happen, but I also thought to myself that this was real life. So when I touched that magnificent silky smooth tree, what do you think happened?”
Jackson and Alonzo, even O.J, figured that Jonathan would answer.
So he did. “I’ll go out on a limb and say that nothing happened.”
“That’s right. Nothing happened. Because what was supposed to happen from touching a tree? I wasn’t in any rush to get back to Callisto, so I relaxed in the shade underneath the tree. Eventually I fell asleep.
I awoke from my slumber after what felt like three days, but when I checked my watch, I realized that only forty minutes went by. Forty minutes isn’t a long time, relatively speaking, but I was concerned about my car parked on the side of the road for so long. After the weekend I had, I wouldn’t have been surprised if 1. It was stolen or 2. It wouldn’t start. I made myself anxious just like that. So I used the tree as support, and also used it to scratch a lingering itch, got up and made my way back through the woods and found my car where I parked it. It also started up with no problem, and I was off, driving back to Callisto.
I made it back to my house, this house, that night. This house has always been where I lived. It was my parents house, and has been in our family for generations. I’m just kidding, my grandparents bought it for my mother, their daughter, before they died. By then she was already married to my father, I was born that same year: April 14, 1980. I’ve been able to keep living here because I run a major sports betting league; the biggest in Callisto. Huge dough goes around. Ask Alonzo, it’s really serious; like life and death if they’re really unlucky. That, mixed with selling drugs, weapons and all that allow me to make straight CASH.
Now let me get into how by continuing where I left off.
I got home, watched a little sports news, ate, and went to bed; a typical night. When I went to bed, though, I wouldn’t say I had a dream, but, to this day, I still have no idea what it was. Maybe one day I’ll find that out, but it was way too real to be a dream. Now, you can choose to believe me or not: I saw a bright yellow orb about the size of an average sized globe. Imagine that, floating in the middle of my pitch black bedroom. I began to hear a voice, it was coming from the orb but I could hear it from every direction around me. Here’s what it said, boy was I antsy, it said ‘Don’t be afraid, Orwell. Whatever you think; do it. From now, until the day you die; whatever you think; do it. Whether or not this is real doesn’t matter; if you tell yourself it’s real, you have to believe it. That’s how this works. If you don’t think this is real then just forget about this whole interaction. I’ll inform you of one thing; dreams are real, too. What’s the common phrase, again? It’s all in your mind. Figure out what it means. Go about your day tomorrow believing that either way, this was real. And remember what I said: whatever you think, do it. Say it. Be it.’ Then it disappeared. That was the first of three visions.
I woke up early that morning, and everything was the same, but it didn’t take me long to remember what happened during the night, and when I did, I told myself that it was real. I believed it because I can believe in whatever I want. So I tried taking the globes advice, but even when you know something, you’re not going to change in one day, but I felt my state of mind was different; a lot more positive, a lot more ‘I don’t give a fuck’, a lot more ‘I’m the man, they’re not’.
The next golf tourney I went to after that was fascinating. Out of 40 players, I finished 12th, and I felt so great about myself, the funny thing is, at the golf tourney in Toronto, I finished 11th out of 40, and I told myself I played like crap because I didn’t win. How stupid.
That’s what caused everything to happen that brought us here today. I had an idea that I can do more than golf, I wasn’t winning any money anyways. When the golf season ended, I took the sports betting more seriously, I tried to get new people and that led me to meet a few interesting connections in the drug and weapons business. They saw the money I made and came to me with a proposition, they wanted to retire from that lifestyle, you see, so they said ‘buy everything off us for a cheap price, resell them, and keep all the profits’. It seemed like that was where life was taking me so I did it. You know how much they sold it to me for ? A warehouse in San Diego, fully stocked up with practically every drug and weapon. Take one wild guess, Jackson.”
Jackson, who, at this point was on the edge of his seat said “Ten k!”
“Two thousand bucks!” O.J continued. “Now, listen, I made that back in the same day. Oh yeah, I didn’t meet those guys after a week or even a month of focusing on sports betting; 2018 ended and most of 2019 went by; I met those guys in September 2019.
I had so much inventory to sell, though, and I realized I would need help getting rid of it all. So that’s when I devised my plan: I wrote an ad for kijiji about me needing help, but I didn’t get specific about the details of the job, obviously, and I suppose that was kind of shady so no one replied to it until the day I thought about taking it down. It was a kid around your age, you’ll know him as the guy you met in San Diego, Jonathan, the guy who exposed Alonzo. His name is Alex, and contrary to what he told you, he still works for me. Alex runs the inventory in San Diego and whatever interaction you guys had was part of the plan to get us here today.
Anyways, I hired him and we began working together. It went smoothly all the time but we still had so much to sell, and it was tough to go back and forth from Callisto to San Diego, so we needed more men. That’s when I had my second vision, and this is where you come in, Jackson; I saw you at home with you foster parents and they were tag teaming you, just saying all these things about how they shouldn’t have adopted you. Then you went back to your room and wept. I saw that, and I knew I had to get you out of there. I began thinking of different ways to get rid of your foster parents, then the plane crash happened. I didn’t cause it to happen because how could I? I’m only one man. But maybe I did. Maybe me thinking of ways to help you caused the plane crash. Everything works out, remember. I was able to help you and if your foster parents were still alive, I wouldn’t have been able to. A few weeks later, you received your letter in the mail signed O.J for Orwell Johnson.
And then there were three: it was me, Alex, and Jackson. I was still doing sports betting because it was my other source of income, and the biggest event of the year was approaching: the Super Bowl. Around that time is when I had my third vision. I saw you this time, Jonathan. You were at school, in one of your classes, sulking, and instead of taking notes, you were drawing aliens and ufo’s and writing down bullet points about what you think the point of life is. You seemed extremely depressed, but it seemed like you were ready to get out of that state but you didn’t know how. You needed a little kick. I know you guys aren’t the only ones with bad parents, or the only ones who draw in class and wonder what life is, but for some reason both of you were the ones I dreamt about.
So, Jonathan, just like how I did with Jackson, I had to think of how to get you here, but I had to make sure you were in the right mindset. I had to think of a kick, and after a few days of thought, I made a choice to rob your house to see how to dealt with that major setback. Alex and Jackson decided that robbing an innocent persons house was too far and I wasn’t going to do it by myself. In comes Alonzo, the fool, you guys still don’t know what he did. Well here it is: Alonzo came to me about a week before the Super Bowl and said he wanted to put twenty thousand dollars down on his favourite team, the L.A Rams. I asked him if he was a madman but he insisted he wasn’t, and he insisted that they were going to win, as if he was psychic or something. If the Rams won, he would’ve gotten 500 K in return, so I don’t blame him for going for it. As you all know; the Rams lost and Alonzo owed me twenty thousand so I called him up and asked for my money. Did he have the 20 thou? Is the sky red? No. Except on judgement day, but that’s a different story. So I went to his house to get my money and he could only give me five thousand; I was furious, and I was really about to end him when I remembered I needed help to rob your house, Jonathan. So instead of killing poor ol’ Alonzo, I gave him the option to work for me, and what choice did he have?
This might be disturbing to you guys, but in order to prove he’d be loyal, I told him he had to kill someone else to make up for me sparing his life, so that’s what he did. Alonzo burned a man alive, who I tied to the tree. A few days later we robbed your house, Jonathan, and we kept an eye on you for a few months to see how you’d deal with the kick. Then I sent you the letter in the mail, signed O.J for Orwell Johnson.
And you know how the story goes from there.
The table remained silent for some time, everyone was contemplating and trying to fully grasp what they they just heard. Throughout O.J’s story there were mixed emotions, but no one was really mad anymore because all that was in the past now. They were mostly confused because all that about the dream and the yellow orb and the tree seemed unbelievable, but that was Callisto.
“I dont really know what to ask,” said Jonathan.
“What are you thinking?” Asked O.J.
“Whether or not I believe all that about the talking yellow orb, but for some reason I do believe it.”
“Like I said maybe it was a dream, maybe it was real, all I know is one night I saw a bright yellow orb floating around my bedroom. The dreams I had about you and Jackson weren’t real, I wasn’t there, I was in my room but for some reason I saw you guys as if I was there. If I didn’t find the tree I don’t think any of this would’ve happened, though.”
“Did you have any other dreams besides the so called visions?” Asked Jonathan.
“I did, but they weren’t visions. I had dreams and I still have dreams, but I had the visions at the exact time I needed to.”
“I thought this was your first time meeting O.J., Jackson, but you’ve actually seen him before?” Jonathan was accusing Jackson as being a liar.
“No, man. I never actually saw his face or heard his real voice until today.”
“The only person who met me prior to this was Alonzo. And Alex because he was first,” said O.J.
“How’d you know the exact time to come in and stop me from hurting Alonzo? How do you have eyes all around Callisto?”
“The truth is, I’ve been in this secret spot the entire time and I have microphones, not cameras, around the house so I can hear. I heard what was going on, snuck out the back and came in through the front door. And I paid people to inform me of how you guys were doing.”
“So you’re saying you’re a stalker.”
“How many people have you killed?” Interrogated Jackson after O.J didn’t reply to Jonathan’s statement. “How did you plan to kill my foster parents, if the plane crash didn’t do it first?”
“I haven’t actually killed anyone, but I had a part in killing the guy Alonzo killed, he was a real jackass, though. And I guess we all had a part in what happened at the Rolex store. And I was going to kidnap your foster parents and toss them into the lake with bricks attached to them.”
“I don’t really know what else to tell you guys. You’ve really helped me out and we still have a bunch of inventory to sell. Once all of it is gone, you can take your money and we can go our separate ways, or we can continue what we’re doing; Living the life.”
“How did people even find out about this. Like the guys who robbed the Rolex store; How’d you get in contact with them?”
“You can get anything you want if you look. It’s 2020, the worlds changed, and you already know how Callisto is.”
“So does the guy I met in San Diego, Alex; does he still work for you?” Asked Jonathan.
“That lying, eavesdropping, conversation interrupting bastard.”
They all let out a chuckle.
Alonzo was quiet through the question seminar but broke his silence to ask: “So, you only spared my life so I could help you rob Jonathans house? You never had a dream about me, either. I feel like I’m the most useless person in the group.”
“I own you, Alonzo; you’re like Wormtail and I’m Voldemort.”
Jonathan and Jackson burst out laughing.
“So what do we have to do now? Asked Jackson.
“I thought you’d never ask,” said O.J. “Our team is set. First we need to get your money back from the guy who stole the LSD from you. I’m going to call the guys who robbed the Rolex store to assist us; this is going to be fun. Then we’ll wait for another order to deliver. But I want to discover what the tree is about, too. So we might pay it a visit sometime soon.”
“What a rush.”
O.J got up from the table and Alonzo, Jackson, and Jonathan followed him out the hidden door. They walked by the painting with the mysterious tree with the sharp crescent moon and the million stars floating around it and went to get lunch from the kitchen. All of them were feeling on top of the world.
Meanwhile, at 70823, in the abandoned house in the middle of nowhere, our friends Bryce, Jason, Weston, and James were planning their next move.