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Tangerine Dream

Your basket:

Main Ingredients:
distant acquaintance
mung beans

Spice Pack:
1/4 tablespoon of anticipation
1 dollop of enthrallment

"My step-brother?"

"Your step-brother... But it's worse than that. There's something I need to show you."

"I'm not flying down there."

"You don't have to. I'm here already."

I peeked out the window, a grey sports car pulled up.... the sort of car that James Bond would drive. The anticipation made me grind my teeth. A short man stepped out and sauntered towards the door.

As he approached, I thought I recognized in him some distant acquaintance. He drew nearer and it dawned on me that he almost looked like red-haired RockeHearst, slightly miniature, with an elongated face. I opened the door before he knocked.

Without stopping, he stepped in and closed the door behind him.

"Is it my mother?"

"Yes, well, no. It's you, Brutus."

He held out an iPad. But it wasn't exactly an iPad, it was like an iPad, only newer. He swiped the screen and an image appeared.

"They've been watching you, Brutus."

"That much is obvious."

"No, I don't think you understand. Your mother and my father have been watching you. She is very worried about you." He poked at the screen. "You might want to sit down."

I held the tablet in my hand and sat in my mother's chair. "So? It's a cooking website. A strange one. But I don't get it."

"You don't remember writing any of this?" His stubby finger poked at an entry: BrutusCorbin, Dog Milk. "Brutus, you're mother has been reading everything you've been writing."

"But I didn't write any of this. How did you know about this?"

"Well, she doesn't know that. To her, you are experiencing some kind psychotic episode.... you believe your life is a series of recipes. You are chasing down 'Kohlrabi,' harassing strangers on the bus, fighting with people.... it breaks her heart."

"But this is all fake!"

"Yes, yes, of course it is! My father is an expert at this sort of thing. Not personally, but it's what he does, he generates content. What you don't know is that his contracts revolve around obscure manipulations that introduce ideas at critical moments, based on predictive analytics. Did the world need another reality show? Do microorganisms date? Did you really go back to high school? The world is much stranger than you know."

"Well! What does this have to do with me?"

"Who knows!? Maybe father is trying to break your mother down for some reason. Maybe our parents really are in love and you stand in between me and my inheritance. Maybe RockeHearst really is dead, but we want someone in this forum to believe he is alive. Could be that the opposite is true."

"But, but...."

"...But," he interrupted as if I wasn't even there, "I think this is all in your mind. You're just a jealous little boy who wishes he were the captain of his own destiny. You can't stand the idea that she'd be enthralled by some eccentric old man, who neither knows nor loves her. And, so, you are finally cracking up."

"But I have proof! The police came to Whole Foods, I could turn myself in!"

"No you don't. It never happened. Maybe 'Kohlrabi' got to them and they quietly covered it up. Or maybe you were just wallowing in your own filth all day and hallucinated it all. And now the failed author with the feeble imagination is trying to write himself into a cut-rate Fight Club. Or maybe, the Matrix, a pathetic version of the Matrix! That's it! You're the Messiah who fantasizes about suckling dogmilk and rubs himself with beef broth."

"I'll kill you!" I whipped a tangerine at him. He laughed.

"That'll help, killing a figment of your imagination! Your mom will love this recipe! Gotta figure out a way to work those mung beans in there, old sport. Or maybe I am real, and she'll come home to find her son locked away for killing his own step-brother!"

"I'll capture you and make you write for help." I grabbed him.

"Not likely," he twisted my arm and I collapsed on the floor. "You know, she doesn't even know I exist! That's how crazy you are to her right now."

I rolled on the floor in agony. I wet my pants. Super rich people always knew special martial arts.

"Think about it," he continued. "So many things about your story don't even make sense. You BORROW your neighbors computer to do a bunch of stuff, but you are posting new 'recipes' every day. You have a long lost relative in town for a dog show who made you sick with nanoparticles. You even write like a fool, 'Super rich people always knew special martial arts.' You're pathetic, but not that pathetic. I think it's the crazy talking. This whole thing, a cry for help. You are having a desperate meltdown, trying to convince her that her sweetheart is a very bad man! But she isn't reading any of this. And now, as you realize all this, you are going to finally just give it all up. Hopefully you'll seek help."

I screamed.

"Or, maybe your mom is reading all this. She's begging, 'Mr. RockeHearst, please, please, please save my little boy.' And he promises to ship you off to clinic where you can get the best help money can buy. What if she's just decided to give up on you, altogether? Maybe she's comfortable in the Cayman Islands. Things are much easier there, without you."

He crouched down and grabbed by injured hand, giving it a hard shake. "It's been a pleasure getting to know you Brutie.... I'll let myself out!"

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