Brendon is running as fast as his legs will let him.
He can feel the sweat dripping down the sides of his face and pooling at the base of his neck. Brendon is running towards the Ferris wheel in the middle of the pier. He frantically, but carefully, pushed through the crowd of men, women and children to get to the line just before they closed for the last ride of the day. “Brendon! Wait for me,” his girlfriend, Audrey, yells from somewhere behind him.
He keeps running anyway. When he reaches the small gate he quickly says “Two,” to the person standing beside the gate, about to lock it. Brendon turns around and climbs onto the railings to search for Audrey’s hot pink hair. When Audrey finally reaches Brendon in the line, her ice cream is melting all over her hand. “Asshole, you could have waited for me,” she spits in an irritated tone. Brendon looks at her, laughs, and plucks the cone from her hands.
“Oops,” he says dropping it on the concrete, “it slipped.” Audrey grins and they walk to the last empty seat on the wheel.
Audrey loves being at the highest point of the ride so Brendon slipped the conductor a ten for a few extra minutes at the top before they climbed on. However, when he looks over at Audrey today, instead of seeing her delighted face at seeing the lights of the city, her elbows are on the bar that goes over their laps, her head rests in her hands and she has a look of sadness on her features.
“What’s wrong babe?” Brendon asks wearily. Audrey gets like this sometimes, depressed; Brendon tries to remember if he’s done anything stupid in the last seven days.
“Brendon, can’t you feel it? Times are changing; something big is going to happen. I can feel it.” Audrey replies simply, and he briefly wonders if he’s going to get dumped at the top of the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier.
“What do you mean,” Brendon questions, “is something wrong?”
Audrey turns and gives him a look of utter annoyance. “Don’t you see what they’re doing? What the government isn’t doing? I have a bad feeling about all of this,” Audrey said, “I know it’s going to end badly. Jesus Brendon! Don’t you watch the news? They suspect a major attack on our government. Why the President hasn’t made a single announcement in weeks? He’s been incognito for the last two months. Something is going on and we’re all going to be innocent victims of something major.”
Brendon listened carefully and let everything she said rollover in his head. “Baby, you’re crazy,” he laughed, “there’s no way that could happen here. We have freedom, and we’ll always be taken care of. They can’t take that from us.”
Audrey glared. “You’re laughing at me? God sometimes you are such an asshole and sometimes you make me wonder why I’m in this relationship with you.”
“It’s quite simple my dear, it’s because you love me,” Brendon cooed.
“Yeah? Well, sometimes I wonder.” Audrey mumbled under her breath.
They’d spent so much time talking that they didn’t notice when they were at the bottom of the Ferris wheel until an old man, that wasn’t the same one that had let them on, unlocked the bar for them. Brendon turned around to say thank you and saw that the man was glaring at Audrey.
“I remember in my time when girls had self respect for themselves. Dying her hair neon pink? Atrocious.” The old man said without trying to hide it from them.
Audrey’s face turned a darker hue of pink than her hair. “Yeah, well I remember when old people kept their comments to themselves so young people wouldn’t send them away to nursing homes because they became a burden on everyone else’s life.”
Brendon tried to calm Audrey down before things got out of hand. “Audrey, let’s go. Forget what he said, his opinion doe-."
“I remember when young women weren’t whores, and when men knew how to pick classy women,” the old man cut him off, “but I can’t wait until you young ones see what comes in your near futures.”
Brendon turned around and stared at the man with a puzzled look, “What are you talking ab-.”
“Screw him, let’s go. The old fart doesn’t know what the fuck he’s talking about,” Audrey pulled him away.
They walked down the exit of the pier and hailed a cab to take Audrey home. “I’ll see you tomorrow baby,” Brendon said kissing her sweetly on the lips. Audrey pulled away quickly and got into the cab, it pulled away and she didn’t look back once.
Brendon walked home thinking about everything Audrey said at the pier. Was she right? Was there something going on and, if so, then what? He thought about it a little more and laughed it off again. Audrey watched the news too much. She believed almost anything they said and would go against it. Brendon called her a “rebel with a stupid cause” because she went against things only to be against them.
When Brendon got home and looked at the clock it read 10:15pm. He decided to watch some of the ten o’clock news on ABC and see if there was anything on about what Audrey babbled about.
Ten minutes into the news and Brendon had to change the channel. Everything was unbelievable garbage. Another war, killing, or robbery, it was the same thing every day with different names and different places. Just as he was channel surfing to get to LifeTime he flipped over a channel that looked quite interesting. It was politics but there were no men or women in neat and creased suits and ties. Instead there were two men and two women in clothes worn by everyday people. It also looked like it could be live from one of their houses, not some paid for studio. Must be one of those weekly cable shows, Brendon thought. He decided to watch it and see what they would go on about.
“You see what is going on?” A blonde woman said straight into the camera. “They’re going to try to control us women. They want us to repopulate the world. Birthrates are declining in every race; fewer babies are born every day. They want us women to start pushing out babies like they did when women had nothing else to do.”
“It’s mad,” a dark-skinned man said, “they want to do the exact opposite of what China’s doing. Instead of limiting how many children we can have, they want to force families and couples to have at least six kids.”
“They can’t do that? Can they? This is a free, democratic country. They can’t force us to have kids. In fact, my girlfriend and I don’t want any,” a short, skinny man said.
“They can’t force us, and they aren’t going to be in the room making sure we procreate, but they want us to please, “for the sake of the future,” have more children,” the original blonde woman explained.
“I know from a reputable source that they’re going to “reward” those families and couples who have six or more children,” the last person, an Asian woman filled in.
“Are kids going to become a write-up on our taxes? Look here, I had a set of twins! Do I get double the amount of money? And they’re both girls who can later give birth and have children. Do I get a few more dollars? It’s disgusting and immoral. We want to have children because we want them not because we’re going to receive rewards for having them,” the dark-skinned man said in disgust.
Brendon stared at the television stunned before rolling his eyes, laughing and changing the channel. He thought that those people had definitely smoked something in the room before they went on air.
Brendon woke up one morning and something felt different in the air. He got up and shivered at the cool air of his apartment on his skin. He opened his bedroom door and walked down the hallway slowly, a little afraid that something was going to pop out of nowhere and hurt him.
He grabbed the shirt he’d taken off the night before and put it back on.
Brendon had the day off and decided to stay in and record some music on his computer. Brendon played around with all different types of instruments. He had his own music room. He entered the room and looked joyously up at the east wall that had guitars lining up one after another by type and color. In one corner rested a well used drum set. Another wall had a few basses hanging. Two sets of keyboards and his precious Steinway piano that was left to him by his grandmother were also in the room. Brendon smiled and sat down at the piano. He began to play songs he made up and before long he started to sing along to the tune he played.
Brendon didn’t notice how long he had spent in his room. He had woken up at about 10:30 in the morning and when he checked his phone it read 7:57pm. He hadn’t eaten or done anything all day, but this didn’t surprise him, it happened before.
Brendon got up and went into his kitchen and served himself some of the salad that he and Audrey had tossed the night before. He walked into his living room and was about to sit and watch some mind-rotting television when a knock came to his door. He set his plate on the coffee table and went to get the door. Before he reached it the doorbell rang six more times. “I’m coming! I’m coming,” Brendon yelled at the person on the other side of the door.
When Brendon opened the door he found Audrey slumped against it but she made no effort to move, he opened the door completely and caught her before she fell to the ground. Audrey’s arms immediately went around Brendon and she dug her fingernails into his sides. It wasn’t until he door was shut that Brendon realized that Audrey was shaking and that his shirt was sticking to his chest with moisture.
She was crying.
Brendon pulled her away from himself and looked at her face. She was a wreck. Eyeliner and mascara ran down her cheeks and the lipstick she wore was smeared. “Audrey, what’s wrong?” Brendon asked her.
Audrey didn’t answer but began to shake more and crying harder.
Brendon shook her urgently. “What happened?” he asked her again.
“Th- they- they fired me,” Audrey replied simply.
“They fired you? Is that why you’re so worked up?” Brendon smiled. “Sweetheart, you’ll find another job, and in the meantime I can help you with whate-.”
“They fired me because I’m a woman, and women can no longer hold jobs. All the women were fired today,” she wailed.
Brendon pulled her to the couch and lied down pulling Audrey on top of him. He rubbed her back in continuous circles as she cried. He let her cry as long as she needed. Brendon thought about what she’d told him. All of the women were fired.
Brendon shot up on the couch quickly, almost knocking Audrey onto the floor. He turned on the television and flipped to the news channel.
Breaking News. The television said along the bottom of the screen.
“The President was shot this afternoon. While Congress was in joint session this morning, four men walked into the Capitol Building and into the meeting room. They set off bombs that were strapped to their bodies. Everyone that was inside the building has been pronounced dead,” the news reporter said in a monotonous voice, “The Vice President was found hanging from a hotel shower rod about an hour ago.”
Brendon and Audrey listened to the reporter go on about the tragedy. Shootings and bombings happened all day in the nation’s capital. Everyone and anyone that could be appointed to the presidency were killed that day. Fire had been set to all of the historical buildings in the nation’s capital.
“It’s starting,” Audrey whispered. Brendon turned to her with a horror stricken expression. Her eyes met his and she started to cry silently again.
They continued to watch the news until the television simply went black. Brendon flipped to CNN, and nothing shown there either. Brendon realized that all of the news channels had all been cut off.
As if it could get any worse, thunder and lightning began to occur outside and their power went out. Brendon had a feeling in his stomach that power outages were soon going to be the least of his problems.
Audrey moved in the very next day.
She and Brendon never talked about it. Audrey went back to her apartment for a few hours, to pack only the most important things and showed up at Brendon’s door. He let her in without a single question.
“Did your landlord know you were leaving?” Brendon asked.
“He wouldn’t miss the crappy rent money, especially since I haven’t paid him rent in over a year.” Audrey replied solemnly.
Audrey brought very few things with her, considering how many things she had back at her apartment. She was a packrat, but all she’d brought to Brendon’s apartment were three normal sized suitcases and her everyday bag stuffed with make-up and hair products.
Brendon and Audrey were a couple but it didn’t surprise Brendon when, instead of setting up her stuff in Brendon’s room, Audrey walked into the guestroom and situated herself there. It was small, but it was hers. She made it hers fairly quickly, painting the walls and making it a mess. She cried during the night and many a night after that. Audrey hated crying and hated being in a vulnerable position. She hated having to be dependent on somebody else for things she could do better herself.
Brendon’s thinking back to the day after Audrey was fired and she moved in. They were lying in Brendon’s bed after sex and he reassured her that everything would be okay. Brendon told her not to worry about anything; he told her he’d work more hours and take care of them both.
Audrey glared at him and yelled, “But I don’t want you to take care of me! I can take better care of myself.” She ran and locked herself in the bathroom crying. She hated feeling so inferior to Brendon, he could go on doing whatever he wanted, and she had to stay home or find something to do outside. As much as Audrey hated working, she missed it. It gave her a sense of purpose.
Constant headaches were a pain in the ass, so Audrey stopped crying. She went out looking to buy cigarettes at the seven eleven across the street from Brendon’s apartment when all hell broke loose.
“Sorry miss, the card doesn’t work,” an old man told Audrey from behind the counter.
“Could you try it again?” Audrey asked, annoyed.
The man gave her a look but swiped the card again, “Miss, it still doesn’t work.”
Audrey was about to reach into her purse to look for cash when a hand stopped her, she looked up and saw a man that could be a police officer, but wasn’t dressed like a normal one.
“Listen miss, you better leave. Your money’s no good here.” The officer said.
“What the hell? My money is perfectly good and this assh-,“ Audrey began chanting but she was cut off.
“No woman, your money is not good because you can’t buy anything anymore, and I suggest you empty your bank account into that of a man that you do trust, before 3:00pm tomorrow, or all your hard work from the time past will be useless because your money will be taken away,” the officer gave her a smirk and turned and walked out of the store.
She looked at the man’s figure as it walked away and let the tears slowly start falling from her eyes. She was about to walk out when the elderly man who was at the register handed her three cartons of cigarettes. “I’m sorry for your loss,” he said.
Audrey walked back to the apartment and into Brendon’s music room. In a fit of pure anger at the world, she cut the strings of all of Brendon’s guitars and basses, she took knives to Brendon’s drums and was about to attack the Steinway but stopped. She was angry, and she’d already ruined most of his instruments, but she couldn’t bring herself to destroy the Steinway. She knew how much Brendon loved it, how hurt Brendon had been after his grandmother had passed, and how happy he’d been after the reading of the will and he’d been told that she had left it to him.
Audrey stepped back and looked at the mess she’d created. Brendon would be home from work in less than two hours. She walked to Brendon’s room and found the safe he hid in his closet under boxes of shoes. She tried to remember the combination Brendon had told her once, just in case anything should happen to him. After a few minutes Audrey heard the click of the lock and she opened it. Quickly she shifted through papers until she found Brendon bank account number. If she was being forced to do this, she was going to do it alone.
“Next,” a man called from behind the counter, “Good afternoon Miss, how may I be of assistance?”
“I need to empty my bank account into my boyfriend’s,” Audrey said weakly. The man nodded and asked a few questions.
“Name of person money is being transferred to?”
“Do you know his account number, if so, please enter it on the keypad.” Audrey quickly punched in the numbers and pressed ok.
“Very well miss, the complete sum of eleven-thousand nine-hundred sixty-seven has been transferred to Mr. Urie’s account.”
Audrey nodded and left. She decided to wander around the park for a few minutes but didn’t notice the time pass by until the sun was setting. Brendon had to be home by now.
“Shit,” Audrey muttered. She ran home and up the stairs to their sixth floor apartment.
She opened shoved the key in the keyhole and opened it. She left her dirty shoes at the door and tiptoed around the place looking for Brendon. She found him crumbled on the floor staring in at his room.
Audrey was about to open her mouth to explain and apologize, but Brendon jumped to his feet and looked her dead in her eyes.
“I hope you realize that I didn’t want this to happen to you,” Brendon said monotonously, “but I appreciate you taking it out on me.” He walked around Audrey, pulled his jacket on, grabbed his phone, keys and wallet and left with a loud slam of the front door.
Brendon went out to the nearest bar which was located about three blocks from the apartment building. He took a seat at the far end of the bar, next to a man in a tight black sweatshirt and black jeans.
“What’s got you down kid?” the man asked.
“Girlfriend,” Brendon replied.
“Oh, I see. Same here. My lady doesn’t see what I see,” the man said. He extended a hand to Brendon, “Name’s Pete.”
“Brendon,” he took his hand and shook it.
“What’s your girlfriend’s problem?” Pete asked.
“She’s living with me now, and she hates it. Goddamn government, or lack thereof, I wonder who’s running this fucking shithole,” Brendon cursed and picked up his beer to take a drink.
“She’s pissed because of the women’s firing?” Pete questioned.
“Who the fuck isn’t?” Brendon looked over at Pete, “What’s your woman’s deal?”
Pete looked towards Brendon but focused on something behind him, thinking. After a minute he answered, “She doesn’t see my vision. I know what I’m going to do, what we’re all going to
do. It’ll be so perfect, but she doesn’t see it.”
“Sucks for you. I’m sure it’s pretty great if you’re so worked up about it,” Brendon joked.
But Pete’s face grew serious, “It is great, I know what I want to happen. And it will. I’ve given up too much; I’ve sacrificed too much for this not to work.”
Brendon stared at him questioningly and heard him mutter, “This needs to work, I didn’t give him up for this not to work.” But it probably wasn’t meant for him to hear.
Brendon smiled and clapped Pete on the back, “I’m sure it’ll work man. She’ll see it. You have to give a little to get a little. Buy her a necklace or something.”
Pete laughed in earnest, “I like you Brendon. Want another beer? On me.”
Brendon nodded and they stayed at the same spot at the bar for over four hours, drinking and complaining about the women they were in a relationship with. Brendon learned that Pete had a wife named Ashlee and a son named Bronx. He also knew that Pete had an awesome plan, but he never elaborated on what it was.
When the bartender told them it was closing time, Pete dropped a few hundred dollar bills on the countertop and told Brendon, “I’ve got you covered man.”
Brendon beamed and they parted ways at the door.
As Brendon walked away he heard Pete yell out, “Wait Brendon I didn’t get your last name.”
Brendon turned around, “Urie. Yours?”
“Wentz. Pete Wentz.”
“Cool, maybe I’ll see you again Pete Wentz,” Brendon told him.
“Oh, you will,” Pete gave Brendon a mysterious smile and slipped into a black car that was
waiting for him outside of the bar.
Pete’s smile and tone of voice at the last statement made Brendon shiver involuntarily. He jogged the three blocks home, trying his hardest to avoid looking over his shoulder.
When Brendon got to his apartment and was walking towards his bedroom he noticed the light from the music room pouring into the hallway. He turned to look into the room and found
Audrey was crumpled on the floor asleep with his guitars, basses, and brand new strings all around her. A few of them had been fixed.
Brendon smiled and went to pick her up from the floor. He tried not to wake her but Audrey was a light sleeper when she wasn’t in a bed. When Brendon had her safely cradled in his arms he heard her whisper, “I’m so sorry. I tried to fix them, I’ll finish them tomorrow, but I don’t know what to do about the drums. I’m sorry.”
Brendon shushed her, “It’s okay, I forgive you.”
“You’re too easy on me,” Audrey whispered half asleep already, “I’d kick me out if I were you.”
“I’m not you though, that’s the difference baby. Now go to sleep,” Brendon laid her down in his bed and covered her with a blanket. He changed and slipped into the bed next to her. As his eyes were slowly closing, and he slipped away from the real world, he heard Audrey tell him she loved him.
Brendon fell asleep with a smile on his face.